Around the world in (less than) 80 days

29 10 2007

It’s getting to the point where I need a few minutes when I wake up to remember where I am. Over the span of 9 days, starting last Sunday, I will have travelled around the world, making stops in Beijing, London and DC, and racking up over 30,000 frequent flyer miles in the process. I probably spend more time in the air than most flight crews. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot that’s good about it. At a (relatively) young age I have seen a great deal of the world, at a cost that is heavily subsidized by my company since so much of it is business-related travel. But on the personal side it takes a heavy toll to spend about 50% of your time living in various hotels.

Beijing was an interesting trip. It was my second time in China, but first in Beijing and first with any real time to spend doing tourist things. My schedule worked out so that I could take a 4 day weekend while I was over there, and a good friend who’s living in Beijing let me stay at his apartment for the weekend and took me out to see the city. It’s an interesting city to see the mixture of old and new architecture, and interesting to see the rate of growth and construction, which I’m sure is also being driven by the Olympics next year. Construction crews literally work 24/7 – there was a crew outside my friend’s apartment putting in a road/sidewalk. One night I went to sleep and literally woke up the next morning to see it completely finished. There is a bit of another side though. My friend’s roommate teaches English to a local man’s daughter. The man has a little corner store, and recently the government came in and said they were going to demolish the store. No due process, no compensation, nothing he could do. It really reminded me that as much as a great story China is economically, on the political side it is a very different system to what we have (and often take for granted) in the west.

Once I get home I’ll see if I can post a few pictures from the Great Wall and Forbidden City.


Let the great waiting game begin!

19 10 2007

Ok, so I am really the least patient person ever to walk the face of the planet. Ever since I got the email notification that my last Stanford recommendation was submitted, I could not concentrate on anything else. Eventually I just gave in and did the essay revisions that I planned to do tomorrow. Long story short, the essays are done and in as good a shape as they will ever be. Application is submitted. That is the last of my planned applications for the year. Funny enough it’s not nearly the emotional relief I thought it would be to have them all done. Maybe because I know this is not the end, just the beginning? Maybe because I know that now I’ll have to think harder about what to write about in this blog since I can’t just give updates on app progress? Either way, now I am going to go home and relax, knowing that tomorrow I’ll have to do the work I put off doing today. Good luck to all the other Stanford R1 applicants out there.

All recommendations are done.

19 10 2007

Just got the email confirmation from Stanford that my backup recommender submitted, so now I’m all set. Just have to revise essays, do a final review of the app, and I’m done. Being this close to the finish line (ok, not the real finish line, but the finish line for this phase) it’s hard to believe it’s been 6 months since I seriously started preparing for the GMAT and researching schools. On the one hand it seems like so long ago, but on the other hand it seems like just yesterday I was in Borders buying the Princeton Review and Official Guide. I can only hope that the weeks of waiting go by just as quickly.

It always pays to have a backup plan

19 10 2007

I am disappointed in my third recommender for Stanford. After promising to get it done by last Monday, I got no love. Followed up with an email. No response. This person has a reputation for missing deadlines. Not good. Rewind to last Thursday. I was discussing the situation with another partner (who had already written me a recommendation for Chicago) who also knew my Stanford recommender. She was concerned and told me if I needed her to write one for Stanford, she would do it. I told her the Stanford recommender had promised to have it by Monday, so thank you but I don’t think I’ll need it. As Monday turned into Tuesday and Tuesday turned into Wednesday, I started to have another concern. If my Stanford recommender hadn’t started it yet (when he promised to have it done by Monday he indicated he hadn’t started yet), would he have enough time to write a quality recommendation or would it be a generic “he’s good you should admit him” letter? After thinking about it, I decided to go back to the Chicago recommender and ask if her offer was still on the table. It was, and she said she has time Friday (today) to do it. While I am more confident that she will get it done on time and it will be good, since she already has the basic outline and examples from Chicago, I don’t feel great about telling the first recommender I don’t need him anymore. I sent him an email to let him know I didn’t need a recommendation. I’m going to see him in China next week so I’ll have to smooth things over then. Even though I feel bad about it, the bottom line is that I had just lost confidence that he would actually get it done on time.

Besides that, everything else for Stanford is going well. Got my reviewers’ feedback on my essays, and it’s positive with only minor suggestions of places where I ramble at bit and could be a bit more succinct and impactful. So, I will work on revisions tonight and tomorrow and submit tomorrow afternoon or evening. Then it’s off to a bar with some friends to lift a glass and celebrate being done with this stage of the process.

It’s done

16 10 2007

My supervisor submitted the Chicago recommendation last night so it’s 100% complete. I don’t know exactly why, but I’m not nearly as nervous about submitting this one as I was for HBS. I was a bit paranoid about hitting Chicago’s submit button after my post-submission discovery of 2 typos in my HBS application, but after reviewing the Chicago app like 5 times, I hit the button and am now in a somewhat Zen-like calm state about it.

Now to turn my attention to Stanford. Did a review of my data sheet last night and came across the part-time employment page. The instructions say to include summer employment, internships, etc., so I’ve gone back and listed the two jobs I had during summer and winter breaks from college. I haven’t gone back to the fast food job I had during high school since I don’t think that sheds any light on my candidacy for bschool (well, I did rise to the rank of “Assistant Manager”, but that just took staying at the place for a few years rather than any demonstrated leadership abilities). How are other Stanford applicants handling this?

Good luck to all the other Chicago R1 applicants out there. Hopefully we’ll see each other in Hyde Park at Admit Weekend in February.

2 Down, 1 More to Go

15 10 2007

Chicago is officially submitted. Well, actually that should be “submitted*”. My supervisor still has not submitted his recommendation. But everything else is in and submitted so now my focus is 100% on Stanford. I am very happy with the Chicago application. Even though I struggled at first with the “put yourself in someone’s shoes” essay, I think the application I submitted is as strong as it could be. It’s done a lot to bring my confidence back after my bad experience in the BusinessWeek forums. I do have a bit of a concern that I’m getting better at this as I go, which would imply that HBS will be my weakest application. Not good since it’s my first choice school. Oh well, c’e la vie. Nothing I can do now but wait and see how it all shakes out, and try not to think about it too much.

Stanford is in pretty good shape, but am going through a last round of review and revision on my essays. Data sheet is complete so it’s really just the essays at this point. Well essays and one last recommendation. Plan is to finish it and submit on Saturday before I fly off to China, and to chase down the final recommender this week and make sure he’s on the ball. Hopefully the 2 week trip will keep my mind off the waiting game. Unlikely, since I’ll have access to email while there, but we’ll see.

Gekko says lunch is for wimps? I think he meant sleep is for wimps

12 10 2007

Well after a week of 14 hour days at work (today I’ll “only” be at work for 10 hours), I have made no progress on essays. I’ve sent my Chicago drafts to a final reviewer, and will do my final revisions to them over the weekend. I also plan to do my first round of Stanford revisions over the weekend, and get them out for final review. And I have work-related stuff to do over the weekend as well. Needless to say it’s gonna be a busy weekend. On the recommendation front, 1 of my Chicago recommenders submitted, my supervisor promised he’d submit over the weekend. I spoke to my final Stanford recommender and he also promised to get it done over the weekend or on Monday at the latest. So basically it looks like everything is coming together. Now I just need one last push to get everything done over the next week or so, and then I can take a deep breath.

For those in HBS R1, in case you haven’t seen the latest post on the Director’s Blog, interview requests should start to go out the week of Oct. 22. Of course, they’ll continue to go out through January 16, so there still could be a lot more waiting to go. What’s nice, and I’m not sure if it’s different that last year, is their use of an online self-scheduler for interviews so you can try and pick a date that is most convenient for you. Should help with my travel concerns.