Friday, January 30, 2004

I have nothing new to report today. I'm just waiting to go to the admit weekends, I guess. I haven't actively sought out current students or alumni from the schools I am interested in, which seems to set me apart from most people who are trying to choose a b-school. It seems to me that whatever those people say is going to be based on their individual experience and therefore it won't necessarily hold true for me. For example, when asking people about classes or professors in undergrad you would often get very different opinions about a professor. The only time the advice was trustworthy was when everyone you spoke to either loved or hated the prof, in that case I usually loved or hated her as well. So, since the advice I get from people at each school is pretty uniformly positive, it doesn't really help me to differentiate between the schools.

This is why I have largely resigned myself to deciding based on my long term career objectives and my experiences at the admit weekends. So, while I would wager that I will end up at HBS, I am still going to visit Stanford in the meantime. Have a good weekend, and enjoy the Super Bowl! (Go Panthers!) (I guess...)

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Well, I continue to try and decide between Stanford and Harvard. I have been contacted by students of each school, here is what I thought and what they said:

The student who called from Stanford was female, and sounded young. And hyper. She had almost a valley-girl accent and she was just oh so excited about Stanford. On top of that, she told me that the only school she had applied to was Stanford, and if she hadn't been accepted she was just going to wait and reapply. Although I can understand that, I did find it a little hard to believe, and a little irrational. Anyway, I asked her about the aspects of Stanford that really stick out in her mind and she recited the usual: small, close knit community. That aspect of the school is what initially piqued my interest, but I have to say that the novelty is wearing off, and most people don't seem to have a whole lot else to say about Stanford. [As you can see, I am really starting to lean towards Harvard, and it is coloring my interaction with Stanford people. I'll try to cut it out.] Overall, she was very nice, and I would like to have been able to talk to her longer, but my cell phone cut out and she never called back. I guess she thought I hung up on her…

I have been contacted twice recently by Harvard, I received an e-mail from a student and a voicemail from Britt Dewey, the Admissions Director. I had been expecting Britt’s call, it’s too bad I wasn’t there to take it. The student who e-mailed me just encouraged me to attend admit weekend and invited me to e-mail him with any questions that I had. I took him up on the offer and asked him about the level of competitiveness and camaraderie at HBS as well as the housing situation. His response was that with 900 students you get all types of behavior, including cutthroat competition. However, the vast majority are very friendly, have a lot of fun, and it is a great place to go to school. He said that housing can often be a headache, especially compared to Houston, and he recommended that I try the lottery process first and if that fails plan to spend a long weekend in Boston at least a month before school starts. Seeing as the lottery deadline isn’t until May, and you don’t hear from them until shortly before June, I don’t think we have a choice to look earlier if we go with the lottery.

I can’t wait to go visit both schools for admit weekend. Right now it is 26 degrees in Boston and 52 in San Jose (and 56 here in Houston). I don’t know how I feel about the weather in Boston.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Well, last night I met a couple of guys who also got into Harvard and Stanford. They were both formerly in I banking, and one was now in industry and the other in private money management. They both sounded like they had really great, and really terrible, work experience. Great because they obviously learned a whole lot but terrible because they had to work crazy hours. As I have been in industry my whole career (all 2.5 years), my average work week is probably about 41 hours! That's a far cry from what these guys used to work.

Anyway, all this has left me feeling slightly intimidated. I know that I have a decent finance background, having passed the CFA level 1 exam, but what the I bankers of the world have done is in an entirely different league. In a way I almost wish I had gone to work for Merrill Lynch after college, like I probably could have. Of course, I have really enjoyed the last two years of having a personal life, so I guess it worked out better in the end. I got to have my two years and still get in to Harvard and Stanford...

As for making a decision, I would say that I am 80% towards Harvard. The reasons behind that lean are mostly career and location oriented. I see Harvard as being the perfect school to prepare people to succeed in large companies, and that's where I see myself in the future. OTOH, Stanford is definitely infused (and probably inseparable) from the entrepreneurial spirit, which I definitely want no part of (the thought of starting my own company gives me chills...). So from a career POV, Harvard wins out. Location-wise, I would really like to spend a couple of years of my life living in the Northeast. If I am only going for a short stint up there, b-school is the perfect time. I am less interested in Cali, so that's just another mark in favor of Harvard.

My plan is to hang out until I go visit both schools. If my visits reinforce what I already feel then my decision will be easy. Otherwise, we'll see...

Monday, January 26, 2004

Well, I just heard the news from Kellogg. I didn't get in. Not even a waitlist. I think it's ironic that I would be accepted to Stanford, which is more or less a more selective version of Kellogg, but not accepted to Kellogg. Or even waitlisted. Oh well, I had already ruled them out anyway. It sure would have been satisfying to boast about going 4 for 4 with b-schools, but this will keep my ego in check... You know, I gotta keep it real... ;)

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Ok, after playing around with my blog for a while I guess I had better get to sleep. I have added the Haloscan comments capability and the free web counter so that I will be able to tell if anyone is actually looking at this. Tommorrow I am going to try and go running for the first time in a while, so I need to go to bed. I will have to mess with this some more tomorrow.

This is the very beginning of my BLOG. My current status is that I have been accepted to Stanford, Harvard, and Texas business schools, and now I have to decide where I will spend the next 2 years. Ideally, I will continue blogging here all the way through school, but we'll see.

A little about me: I was born in Houston in 1978. I lived either in Houston, San Antonio, or Austin for my whole life. I went to the University of Texas and studied mechanical engineering. I met my wife, Jie, and we were married one year and one day ago today! Now I am applying to b-school and writing this blog. Also, today Jie and I bought a digital camera online (a Canon S50) and so maybe I will have some pictures to link to after we go on our admit weekend visits to Stanford and Harvard.

Anyway, this is enough to get started, I hope you all enjoy it!

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