James Joyce doesn’t teach time management, but fate is the great equalizer

I should honestly be working for a marketing company. I mean in the last 5 days since I took the GMAT I have gotten more e-mails about what I got and why am I keeping people waiting…the hype was building. It finally reached a crescendo last night when someone broke into my apartment to find out what I got on the GMAT. (That last one isn’t true, but I did get a lot of e-mails and I want to thank those who cared enough to drop me a line). So why you ask did I wait this long to deliver this tidbit of news? Well something has been happening behind the scenes here at the blog. An exciting thing, a somewhat disappointing thing, and things that will have a huge impact on my life. But before we get to that, here is rundown of what happened on my GMAT.

I arrived at the testing center at around 7:25 for my 8:00am test. Why, because I am neurotic about being early. As I am looking for a way into the locked building, a woman asks me if I am here to take a test. I told her I was and she told me to follow her and that she was running late, she was sick, and the other guy who was supposed to be here today has a pregnant wife, so he might be a little late, or just not show up at all. This woman is talking a mile a minute and is pretty much giving me a verbal rendition of her autobiography. I pretend to intently listen, while inside a fire was burning. One that would fuel me to achieve greatness on this test (at least I hoped it was that and not just gas…). Too make a long and frustrating story shorter, lets just say that the guy whose wife was going to have the baby, forgot to come into work because he though it was Columbus Day weekend and the center was closed. I didn’t start my test until about 8:20, so I was just hanging out with 14 other people for about an hour. One hour, to think about the test…my strategy, the score I needed. I think I freaked myself out a bit during that time because when I went in to take the test, I wasn’t as confident as I was when that fire was burning inside me (it turned out to just be gas…).

The test began well enough, answering questions left (or wrong) and right. Swatting all comers away with confidence that I was getting them right. I was on question 20, when I realized that I hadn’t looked at the clock yet. This isn’t unusual, as timing has never been my problem. When I looked at the clock, it was a moment of sheer terror. If it was portrayed in a movie, the camera would have zoomed in on my horrifying expression, while some eerie music plays in the background. I don’t remember the exact numbers in play here, but needless to say, I was pretty much screwed. I think I had 20 questions left for 30 minutes, or something insane like that! I immediately hit the panic button (there wasn’t an actual panic button, but a metaphorical panic button instead)! I start whizzing through problems by just narrowing down answer choices to 2 and then picking one. I don’t think that was one of the strategies that Manhattan GMAT recommends…I finally catch-up to where I am supposed to be and there are about 5 questions left. I answer those to the best of my knowledge, but the damage was done. Time management had ruined my Quant section for sure. After this emotional and physical beating I still had verbal to contend with…

I don’t know if it is the GMAT in general, or I have just been really lucky, but every official GMAT I have taken has started the verbal section off with a sentence correction question (my least favorite of the verbal questions). Despite that I make my way through this section without much fuss, but with a constant eye on the clock. I finish it off and I feel pretty good about verbal, but I just know that my quant score it going to tank my overall score. I click through the questions about my background and I get to the section that asks if I want to cancel my score. I seriously think about doing this, but I was always told to never, ever cancel your score, unless there is something ridiculous that happens, like a lion breaks into the testing facility and bites your leg off. So I don’t cancel my score. Out of nowhere someone breaks through the door into the testing center with a trombone and plays WA-WA-WAaaaaaaaaaa. I see my score up on screen….640. Just as I suspected my quant had destroyed a good test. My breakdown was a 40 for quant (8 points lower than last time) and a 38 for verbal (2 points higher than time). So what did I learn? Well first, James Joyce seemed to help me, but not as much as I would have liked. Secondly, and probably the most obvious…even it has never been a problem for you before ALWAYS CHECK THE CLOCK! Time management ruined my GMAT and my day…but all was not lost.

On Thursday of the week prior to the GMAT I was supposed to have a call with Randall Sawyer of the Johnson School to discuss what I could do as a re-applicant to better my profile. The call didn’t happen because he wasn’t in the office. I don’t know if he had something happen, or the admin did not block that time out on his calendar, but they get a pass…once is a mistake and I can handle that. I was bummed out, but not totally destroyed.

Also on Thursday of that week, I had a 2nd interview at a bank in the city (this bank may or may not sponsor Liverpool F.C.). After 2.5 hours of interviews I emerged confident that I would be receiving an offer, but then I was told that because of funding reasons, the position would be put on hold until January. I was thrilled about that because I knew that I would find out about Cornell, Columbia, BU, and ND before January, so if I got in somewhere I could politely decline an offer, or if I didn’t get in…the new gig would have been a nice fall back option.

So what ended up happening? Well, the new bank was so impressed with me, that they ended up putting through an exception to make me an offer, which was incredibly generous, like 25% higher than what I make now generous! The offer came on Monday, which is incidentally the day that I was going to hit the submit button on my Cornell app. After talking it over with my wife, my family, my extended family, random people on the street, and a homeless guy who was trying to catch a unicorn….I decided that I am not going to be applying to B-School this year and I am accepting this new position. The past few days have been a whirlwind, but I finally got the official offer letter last night and I gave my two weeks notice this morning.

I am saddened to leave my current job, as the people around here really make the company what it is. Although I will miss the people I work with, I know that this is in my best interest now and for my future. Once I made the decision I decided that I should call Randall Sawyer to let him know that I wouldn’t be applying. I thought that he deserved to know why I wasn’t applying because he had been so helpful to me throughout the process. I have too much respect for him to just leave him guessing. I called Randall and while he was disappointed that I wasn’t reapplying, he said that getting an offer in this job market is something I should be proud of. I thanked him for his help, he thanked me for the call and we said goodbye, but not before he added that B-School would always be there for me in a couple of years if I still want it.

So now what? Well the blog dies….I don’t really know why I would keep it around if I am not planning on applying to B-school for at least 2 years. I had a great time blogging and sharing my successes (I don’t know how many there were but there had to be some, right, right????) and failures (multiple, soul crushing failures). I believe that all things happen for a reason. I was meant to take this job and to not go to B-School. Why? I have not idea…but it is going to be really fun to find out!

Before putting a knife in this guy, I just want to thank everyone who read,  commented, was a fan of, casually glanced at, or even hated my blog. Hopefully I have helped you in some small way, and if not, hopefully you had fun reading about my life. I want to thank my wife and my family for supporting me throughout the process. This experience took time away that I could have spent with them, but they always understood and they never let it become a problem. They were my biggest supporters and my best friends.  Love you guys!

I want to thank Clear Admit for featuring me in the Friday From the Frontlines. I want to thank anyone who has ever done a guest post for me and lightened the burden of having to come up with a brilliant post everyday. Lastly, I want to thank John Byrne from Poets and Quants for featuring my blog on his website, his stuff is cutting edge and he isn’t afraid to give you his opinion on things. Plus, he is a Jersey guy, so we have that bond going already. Go to his site people…you won’t be disappointed.

If you ever have a question about applying or want to mock me for coming this far only to stop about 1/4 of an inch from the finish line, I can be reached at sgargiulomba at gmail.com. So I bid all of you adieu and like Ryan Seacrest, I’M OUT! (cue curtain and applause)

Ding, Ding, Ding…

Am I good or what? I pretty much figured that once I got that Dartmouth e-mail that it was all over for this guy. My decision letter from Dartmouth confirmed those fears. As I posted on Thursday, this isn’t a nail in the coffin for me, but it obviously hurts. Starting off the process with a ding is no way to build confidence.

It is often said that learning from ones mistakes is the key to success (I don’t know if people actually say that, or if I just made it up now), and I fully intend to learn from my Tuck experience. I believe my interviews will be sharper and my questions will have laser focus. There is no time to cry over spilled milk, I would have loved to have been part of Tuck ’12, but thing happen for a reason and maybe I am supposed to end up at Cornell or NYU. Maybe I am not supposed to get into B-School at all…who knows what lies ahead, but win, lose,  or waitlist I will be accepting of what comes my way.

Congrats to all those who were granted admission, I hope it truly is everything that you hope it will be! Thanks to Tuck for considering me, peace out bitches….no blog post on Monday (Cornell interview instead!)

I am totally judging you right now…

Along with my boy XLick, I have been chosen to be a judge for the Beautiful B-School Photo Contest. Pretty flattered about being chosen (you love me, you really love me!!!!!), but also realize that with great power comes great responsibility (yep, it’s from Spiderman). My responsibility is to encourage everyone to submit their photos. So consider this me encouraging you…great, you have been encouraged.

I would also like to say that I will be holding up the esteemed practices of other NJ natives, as I will be openly accepting bribes. If you want to win this contest, just send me a check and if you send the largest…I will ensure a victory. I am of course kidding (unless you were really going to send me a check, then I was serious), and I will do my best to pick the best photo. So bring on your best!

P.S. – I am in total freak out-mode (because the Dartmouth decision day is upon). 7 hours!!!!!!

Crazy Game of Poker…

Apologies to OAR for completely stealing their song title, but I though it the best possible title to my post this morning.

I am hitting a whirlwind time in the application/decision process of applying for my MBA. Riding into work on the train this morning, I couldn’t help but relate my upcoming slate to a game of Texas hold-em. It might be a bit of a stretch, but follow me on this one…My hand has already been dealt. It was dealt long ago, in college (GPA) and with my GMAT score. To be honest it is probably a middling hand, at best. Am I the best candidate ever? No, but I think I am competitive at the schools to which I am applying. So lets say that I am currently holding a Q-10 off-suit. Not the best hand, but not the worst hand ever. It is a hand that is easy to play, but difficult to win with. Some have higher cards than I do, some people at the table are suited up, other lucked out with a pair to start.

Since I applied to only 3 schools I see it breaking down like this.

The Flop: Dartmouth – it doesn’t break my hand if I don’t get in, but it would certainly be a crappy start (I find out Friday at 5:00pm EST). I would need some luck with only two “cards” left to flip. On the other hand, Dartmouth could certainly make my hand if I flipped a set, or even (dream scenario) a full house. An inside straight draw would be the equivalent of the waiting list, as it is good enough of a hand to stick around, but you are going to need a lot of luck to pull that one out.

The Turn: My interview/decision from Cornell (Monday the 21st). This is my best chance at making a hand for myself. If I am still looking at rags after this card, it might be next to impossible to win the hand.

The River: NYU interview invite/decision. The last hope…If I am floating down the river at this point, I sure hope it is with a paddle. People have been known to “suck-out” on the river, but it doesn’t happen very often. When it does happen though, the relief/joy can not be compared to any other joy experienced during the game.

My cards are on the table, how about you? Shuffle up and deal!

Dartmouth, a looming feeling…

Dear Steven,

Thank you for your interest in the Tuck School of Business. Your admission decision will be available online at 5:00PM EST on December 18. Log on to your Tuck application and then click on the “Your application decision is now available online” link at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at tuck.admissions@dartmouth.edu.

Sincerely,
Tuck Admissions Team

I received this from Tuck just now. That is not going to be fun for me, as I think Tuck is a pretty big reach school for me. I think the interview went only ok, so I am not holding out much hope. If any of you have ever seen the show Winney the Pooh, I am pretty much Eeyore, always thinking the worst. So until next Friday I am going to be sitting on the bank of the river alone, prepping for Johnson and awaiting my Tuck decision.

NYU Visit

Went to NYU for a class visit and a “coffee break” yesterday with my fiancee. I went last year, but I wasn’t taking the MBA thing as seriously, so I didn’t remember as much detail, or who I spoke with. I wanted this to be the crux of my Essay #2 (What is you experience with the Stern community) and I was very pleased with how things went.

Class Visit:

As I stated in my earlier post, I was scheduled to attend an International Economics class taught by the one and only, Nouriel Roubini.   We arrived about 15 minutes early and were asked to wait in the admissions office. We waited, and waited, and waited some more until it was apparent that no one was coming to get us. A woman from admissions kindly took us down to the class before it started. When we got there it was a fairly large lecture style classroom and the students were all milling around talking with one another. The admissions woman asked a student where we should sit and they decided 3rd row was a good spot. While shuffling into our row, one of the students told us that Nouriel was not going to be teaching the class today, as he had a prior speaking engagement. Complete and utter dissappointment….As we sat waiting for the stand-in professor I chatted with a few of the other applicants in the class with us. When the stand-in got there I was pretty impressed. Instead of Roubini we had the head of LatAm Fixed Income research for JP Morgan, not exactly chopped liver. This got me thinking about how unique NYU and Columbia are because if a professor cancels, they can just call upon the many financial (or other types) professionals that make NYC their home. It truly is amazing the access that these two schools have to the top minds in their fields. You can bet that this made it into my essay #2!

 

Coffee Break:

The class was interesting and informative, but the coffee break was a chance for me to speak with current 1st years and to get a lay of the land from those who live it everyday. Danielle and I got to speaking with one of the 1st years who is looking to go into a managerial rotation program. She was in IT consulting before Stern and came here because she loved the students. I was very impressed with how she handled the questions and spoke about the school. To demonstrate how helpful the students are she told a story about how two students were vying for the same position at a boutique firm. Upon learning that only 1 spot was available, the students asked if they could split the 12 week internship into a 6 week internship for each. I was very impressed by the story and while I know it doesn’t happen everyday, it happening once is pretty impressive to me.

The conversation took a stark turn as we started talking about the social aspects of B-School. I am well aware that drinking is a big part of the B-School experience because there is a lot of stress and what better way to take your mind off it than to kill the very brain cells that are thinking about it, but I think our students was taking it a bit too far. She started talking about how drinking was a big part of getting your MBA and how if you don’t drink you should start now because you are going to have to build up a tolerance. I was fine with that…good natured joke to lighten the mood, but then she continued…She said and I quote, “Listen I am at school from 9am-11pm Mon – Thurs. because I get blackout drunk every other day!” – Ladies and gentleman the future leaders of America. I am not a prude, I obviously drink, but I thought it was a tad excessive and slightly inappropriate for an applicant discussion. It got worse (at least for me) as someone turned the discussion to dating while at Stern. The student said that everyone dates, and you have to be careful because the guys will not tell you if they are married. She said that MBA stands for: Married But Available. As the words leave her mouth, my fiancee shoots me a stare that could have killed a lesser man. Needless to say she is slightly less than excited about the prospect of me going to Stern and she is now openly rooting for Tuck.

We left after the coffee break and returned back to Jersey. I finished off Essay #2 and sent it over to my Stern specialist.

Overall impression was a great class visit with a so/so student visit. I will say that I was more impressed with the Tuck students than the Stern ones. Not just because of the one student we spoke with, but just a general consensus. All-in-all Stern is still my top choice because of the convience it provides me and it also allows Danielle to keep working while I am at school. (Big Plus!)

Weekend Happenings and Goals for the Week

This weekend was something of an oddity for me…I had a day to rest. Friday night I had a family party to attend at a great Hibachi place in central Jersey, but on Saturday I woke up with absolutely nothing to do. I wanted to give myself a day of rest because my last few weeks had been rather hectic with Dartmouth and finishing my essays. I had no idea what to do…its was very strange. I watched some early morning soccer (Aston Villa vs. Chelsea) and then watched Notre Dame vs USC (heart-breaking loss for the Golden Domers). Other than that my night was solely dedicated to the Yankees. Who played an epic game and came out the other side with a 2-0 series lead. Sunday I went to the Jets game with my dad and my sister…one of the worst games I have ever watched in person.

This week is an eventful one. My future brother-in-law is getting married on Friday (so don’t look for any posts), so last minute prep is in high gear. Some of my fiancee’s family is coming over from Italy for the wedding, so Tuesday and Wednesday are reserved for entertaining them. Somewhere, somehow, I want to get a final version of my Cornell essays to Yoda for a final look before I hit the submit button on that guy. If all goes according to plan, I will have Cornell done by the end of the week. Then my energy will turn to NYU. Pretty busy week for me, but I will try to post as much as possible. Hope everyone is not hanging themselves over not hearing about R1 apps, or hearing bad news about R1 apps. It all works out in the end. Happy Monday (if there is such a thing…)!