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)


Weekend Rewind – Yankee Stadium Style

I am a posting machine today…truth be told, both of my bosses are on vacation, so while the cats away…the mice will post on their MBA applicant blogs. That’s the saying right?

Probably a little late, seeing as how it is Thursday and all, but I wanted to let everyone know about something I participated in this weekend that benefited a great cause and was an incredible experience. I ran in the Damon Runyon 5k at Yankee Stadium this past weekend! This is a 5k that is run through the concourses and on the warning track of Yankee Stadium. The proceeds go to benefit cancer research. My family organized a team that all together raised about $1k for the event (Go Team Spencer! – more on that later). Running and raising money for worthy charities is something that I really enjoy doing, so when you add that together with Yankee Stadium, how could I miss this?

I got to run 2 laps around the warning track of Yankee Stadium…btw I definitely pretended to make a leaping catch over the wall when I ran by it. Pretty fantastic catch, if I do say so myself! While you were running they had camera crews there that showed you up on the big HD screen that is in center field. Goosebump type stuff here people…The only problem with the event was that during this 3.1 mile run there were 268 that we had to climb! 268! I can honestly say that this was the hardest 5k I have ever done, my legs are just coming back from the beating that they took on Sunday. All in all, it was a great event that everyone who is runner (or a Yankee fan) should think about doing next year.

The funny/awkward part of the event was my family’s team, Team Spencer. Spencer is our family dog, and he did in fact have squamous cell cancer of the ear last year. So we decided it would be great to make shirts that had a picture of him on the back. So we had the shirts printed up and we all wore them during the race. The only problem was that many other people had the same idea, except the picture, or message on the back was of a loved one who had passed away. So we are the assholes that have a picture of their dog on the back of their shirts. Not very good foresight on our part…thankfully no one ever called us out on it, and at least one woman thought that it was sweet of us to run for our dog, but I am pretty sure that everyone else was throwing visual daggers our way. Note to self for next year…no dog pictures!

The Plunge!

I will start by saying, that this was NOT my finest hour (or day for that matter). On Saturday I participated in the Polar Bear Plunge in Sea Isle City, NJ. The point of the event is to jump into the ocean in the middle of winter, just to say you did. In order to pull this off you have to get drunk enough that you aren’t worried about the cold weather or the freezing water. In that respect, I passed with flying colors. In any other measure of human being, I failed pretty miserably…

The day started off well, a hearty breakfast to “lay a base” for drinking. Eggs, home fries, and toast was the breakfast I chose and it was pretty delicious. A fine start indeed…the first problem I noticed was that is was goddamn freezing outside. Normally this time of year in NJ it is about 40 degrees, but Saturday was 30 degrees with a strong wind, so it felt like it was 14 outside. My brain immediately began dissecting this problem, and in logic that can only be described as fundamentally sound, it decided that I needed to drink more to compensate for the c old weather. (What could be the flaw in that logic?)

We arrive at the house for the pre-plunge festivities around 10:30. I had my guido outfit on (no pictures yet, maybe tomorrow) and I was ready to start drinking. The only problem was, I forgot that I can’t really drink that much….Don’t get me wrong, I can drink, but it is usually beer. The specialty of the plunge this year was Jameson and Jagerbombs, which was a problem because whenever you invite one of those guys to the party, there is always trouble. Now both of them show up…I am totally screwed. I started out by drinking some beer and then doing some shots, I am certainly feeling good, but not that drunk yet. Then all of a sudden, the Jameson shots start and then………….nothing. I literally don’t remember anything from 12:30 – 6:30.

I woke up in a bed, with about 20 around me and cheering that I moved for the first time in about 2 hours. I obviously inquire about what happened during this horrendous black-out and find out that I started chugging Jager from the bottle (never a good idea) and finished the bottle of Jameson before 12:30. After that I was a drunken mess, but it really got bad after I jumped into the ocean. I think I went into a state of shock and simply couldn’t function. I stumbled back to the house and puked for about 3 hours. It sounds pretty terrible, but when you can’t remember a damn thing, it really isn’t that bad.

At this time I would like to publicly apologize to my fiancée, who took care of me in my time of need….ladies and gentlemen, the Polar Bear Plunge 2010. Here’s looking forward to participating in (and remembering) 2011!

The evidence:

I fall, in a drunken stupor...

My fiancée checks to see if I can put my shoes on by myself

I can't....a little help from my fiancee and my sister!

My sister told me to take a picture with this chicken (I have no idea who it is)

My buddy Bob joins me in posing with the chicken...

Now my sister and fiancée join the party...(look at how black-out drunk I am)

I might have more embarrassing picture tomorrow, but I make no promises….

A fungus among us…

Yesterday I had a creeping sense of dread, like something bad was about to happen, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was. When my fiance arrived home excited (not to see me) about something, I knew that something was amiss. What could it be though? Monday night is usually reserved for football, so I didn’t think too much of it. That was of course until 9:00pm rolled around. Then it hit me. Like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, I just knew something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong…As my fiance comes bounding into the family room, in a heightened s frenzy, I immediately know what is about to occur. Before I know it, the remote control is taken from me and my night of studying and then watching football has been ruined by this fungus that seems to be spreading like wildfire.

I would like to think that I am a pretty reasonable person and that even though it might not be my thing I can appreciate most “girly” shows and movies. If they are well done, they can be one of my favorite movies of all time (like Shakespeare in Love), but if done poorly, nothing can be more painful to sit through. This fungus falls into the last category for me…I just don’t get it! On some level I suppose I do, it is about rich people and love, so that isn’t too far fetched. But when something is sooooooooo over dramatized (notice my overly dramatized “so”, for ironic purposes) how can people take it seriously? How can they watch it and say, “this is a great show, with good acting and believable story lines, and wonderful character development!” How?

This show is so heinous that I think if they performed studies, it would be shown to mildly reduce the intelligence of those watching it. (Slightly harsh, but I base this mostly on the glassy look of my fiance eyes during the show, coupled with her drool I have to clean up during commercial breaks) The show I am talking about is obviously Gossip Girl, which made its long awaited (dripping with sarcasm) season debut last night. In my argument against this show I leave you with the only evidence I need, a clip. Look at how “Chuck Bass” is dressed in this video. Reminder, he is in high school at this point. I must have missed the “I just walked off my sail boat in the 1950s period of high school fashion.” My biggest problem is the acting…really bad. So without further adieu, I present, Gossip Girl:


Lessons 7/9/09

  1. Manipulate an equation to its simplest form & then pick #s
  2. Ratios can be manipulated just like an equation
  3. Remember to divide the interest rate in half when it compound semi-annually
  4. Convert small #s to scientific notation and then treat them like normal exponents

Happy studying! Thank God tomorrow is Friday!