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)

A life interrupted & a Team Spencer pic

My life has stopped. In the past two days, I haven’t run, I haven’t studied, I’m not even sure if I have slept. Why has my life stopped you may ask, because I moved yesterday. Is there anything more interrupting in your life? Where did we move you might ask yourself? Let this sink in for two seconds before trying to comprehend it, as your brain might actually explode…we moved back to the exact same building that we moved out of 1 year ago! What, what, what!?! Yep, I paid for someone to move my stuff from a building to another and then paid them again to move it back. Fantastic feeling.

I have been without TV or internet at home for 2 days now and I looked like a crack addict last night. I was curled up in the corner muttering to myself…thank God someone is coming today to install everything for me. Pretty soon I was going to start selling my body on the street for some internet or TV time. This has obviously impacted my amount of study time, which has been 0 for the past 2 days. I am planning on hitting the books pretty hard this weekend and delaying my Manhattan GMAT test until Sunday instead of my normal Saturday test.

Lastly, I wanted to leave you with this picture of my team at the Damon Runyon 5k Run/Walk….for those of you that don’t know, I am the incredibly handsome one in the center, with the smoking hot wife on my arm. What, you don’t see anyone matching that description? Ok I am the incredibly average looking gentleman in the center with the smoking hot wife on my arm. OK fine, I’m # 1226.

From Left to Right (Brother, Father, Friend, Sister, Hot Mama, Yours Truly, Uncle, Cousin, Cousin)

Good or Bad & Weekend Plans

Bloomberg Businessweek has an article talking about how applications to some top B-Schools were down last year. It points out that applications to Cornell were down 12% last year from the recession high of the year prior. So the question I ask myself is…is this a good thing or a bad thing. Let’s discuss:

1. It is good:

This is a good thing for me and other future applicants because if the total number of students applying is down, then the acceptance rates should be higher. You can also say that the next application cycle should see applications fall even more, as the job market firms up, and in some instances, like Financial Services), actually is doing quite well. I got on the wait-list this year, which means that they would have admitted me this year if they had a spot open up. With a further decreased applicant pool, this may turn into an admit.

2. It is bad:

I didn’t get in last year and applications were down 12%! I suck! I’m a failure, oh woah is me…ok, got that out of my system. But seriously, it isn’t a very good sign that in a depleted applicant pool I didn’t get into Cornell. After numbers like these Cornell may double its efforts to recruit people to the school, which might actually increase the applicant pool this year.

It could really go either way…although it seems I have a more plausible scenario laid out in the “Good” section, I can’t really get over the first point in the bad (not getting in, in a smaller applicant pool).

Weekend Plans

So if you were a reader of my previous blog entries you might remember that I was a big fan of the NY Red Bulls (soccer team for those not in the know). The problem was that the Red Bulls were historically bad last year…I mean the soccer team I played on when I was 6 could have beat them. That team pretty much just packed into a little scrum around the ball and kicked each other in the shins (at least we stayed compact at the back), but I am pretty sure that we could have found a way around the Red Bulls defense last year. This year is a totally different story. We have a new coach, a new GM, a new stadium, two very important new players, and we are currently in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.

With that being said, my weekend is going to kick off with a monster of a game between the NY Red Bulls and the LA Galaxy (sans David Beckham <– he is hurt). It is going to be a sell out (25,00 people) crowd on Saturday night, so Red Bull Arena should be rocking. My dad, brother, sister, and wife are all coming, so it should be a great time.

On Sunday I am running in a 5k inside Yankee Stadium. The 5k is going to benefit cancer research. You can check the website out here, so that you might be able to do this next year (sold out this year). I will let you know how it is, but I know it is going to be really hard because the course consists of 268 stairs! Are you shitting me? I am not exactly a finely tuned athlete, but I can run in the occasional 5k or 5 mile race. I usually look like death when I finish, but it is because I push it pretty hard. I can’t even imagine running one and adding stairs into the mix…not going to be fun.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Yankees win, I’m tired, and Yale?!?

Last night the New York Yankees clinched their record-setting, 27th world championship. It was a great night and a great performance by the team (really just Hideki Matsui). If it isn’t already, I think November 4th should be a national holiday in Japan celebrating all that Matsui is. The 6 RBIs in a World Series game was a record and his performance earned him MVP honors for series. I would have still voted for Rivera, but without Matsui we would have never one this game. What a season and I couldn’t be happier for all the guys on the team because they worked hard and they deserve the title. Friday’s parade down the Canyon of Heroes should not be missed because this city goes wild when the Yankees win.

All these late night games have taken their toll on me and I am like a zombie today! You can tell the people who stayed up to watch the game last night because they are either sleeping or “spacing out’ at their desks. I fall into the later category. I decided to write this post before I fall asleep in a pool of my own drool.
Lastly, I have been looking around for another school to apply to. Why? I don’t know, sheer masochism…but in my search I started to look at Yale. Why, no clue, maybe because it was close to home? I find it to be somewhat of a pariah in the MBA applicant universe. It is ranked as a great school (top 15 or so), but I never hear anyone say, “Yale is my #1.” Heck, I don’t even know anyone who went there,  applied to go there, or  thought of submitting an application. I don’t know what it is about the program, maybe it is its general management focus? The fact that it doesn’t specialize in finance? It is a very prestigious school with an alumni network that is pretty tight. So why the cold shoulder from upper end applicants? Maybe I am looking to hard at this and lots of people are applying to/want to go/are dying to be a Yale Bulldog, but I just don’t see it. So what say you, have you thought about Yale, are you applying there, is Yale like the red-headed step child of MBAs? Help me out people!

Weekend Happenings

Halloween night was a lot of fun, as I had a get together with some of my high school friends. Two are married, one of which is having a baby! This is just making me feel old…but alas, it was great fun! Lots of food and drink (especially drinks). As promised I dressed up as a female (the ugliest female in the history of females), and people enjoyed the costume for a little while and then it started to creep them out. I can’t really blame them for that…Pictures are not available right now, but look for them either tonight or tomorrow.

I woke up early on Saturday morning because I had to journey back north for a dentist appointment. I really don’t like the dentist because i am guilty of never flossing, even though I should. You can’t lie to a dentist either because he or she will know immediately. Your teeth tell them all they need to know, there is no way to game the system. I would like my chances better against a lie detector…

Fulham beat Liverpool on Saturday, which angered my English colleague. Notre Dame won, which angered the rest of college football fans. The Yankees also won, although I fell asleep in the ninth inning, so I didn’t actually witness it.

No essays got done this weekend because wedding duties called and it was my fiancee’s b-day on Sunday. I took her to Babbo in NYC, which is a great restaurant that you should all try if you have the chance. I wined and dined her and we both had a great time. The Yankees didn’t help me either, keeping me up late (again) to win another and put them one win away from the championship! Unfortunately this means that this week will be cramming for me….how does this always happen. Why can’t real life just neatly fall in place behind MBA stuff? It would make things so much easier. NYU essays, here I come!

Halloween Weekend & Happy Hour Recap

Last night was a pretty good night for myself…we had a work happy hour (more on that later) and the Yankees played a very nice Game 2 of the World Series.

The happy hour turned into a pretty solid night out for me and my colleagues. We went to Green Rock, which is in Hoboken, NJ. It was a $1 beer night there, so there was a lot of drinking to be done. We tossed back quite a few beers in a short amount of time. There were 6 of us (4 guys and 2 girls) and by the time I left (around 7:30) we had drank 48 beers already. Needless to say I needed to get out of there, so I could come to work today and function. I left about 7:40, which got me home just in time for the first pitch of the Yankee game. Four of my colleagues closed the bar last night, so one of them is taking a “personal day,” two are still drunk and wearing the same clothes from yesterday, and the other is severely hungover. I made a fantastic decision! While I am sure it was an epic night, I can’t jeopardize my Halloween weekend festivities for a cheap thrill during a happy hour!

Tonight I am heading down to Philly to a friend’s house for a Halloween party. These are high school friends, so things should get pretty aggressive in the drinking department. My fiancee is accompanying me to the party and we are dressing up as one another. Pretty lame, but it is cheap, and it is funny to see me as a woman…I will hopefully have pictures for you, so you can see just how disturbing it was.

Dressing in drag is pretty much going to be enough for the weekend, as the only other things I have planned are a dentist appointment on Saturday (after an all night drinking binge, that should go poorly) and completing my NYU essays (or at least starting to complete them). I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and I expect a lot of picture in the MBA blogosphere on Monday! (Non should top the horror that mine will elicit)

Cornell done & NYU Plans

Got the final revision back from Yoda yesterday (just as the Yankee game started, but I will not be discussing that). I need to make the final changes tonight and I should be on track to submit this bad boy tomorrow. A little late, but at least it is the best it can be. My sight then turns to The Violets of NYU. I have some serious work to do on those guys because I haven’t touched them in over a month! My plan is to get them done by the 8th, so I can submit them to the NYU specialist and receive his/her comments in time for a quick final revision.

I have a visit scheduled for the 11th of November for Stern. This is the 2nd year in a row that I have visited on the 11th (Veteran’s Day), but this time I will be searching for things to spice up my essays. Adding a personal touch to my Stern experience will be the last thing I do with these essays and should make them really stand out. I am counting the days until the 15th, as I want this process to come to a swift and successful conclusion.

Not much else going on these days, but hoping the Yanks can come through with a big win tonight! BTW…work happy hour tonight, so hopefully there will be some good stories or hangovers here tomorrow.