Preparations continue

28 05 2009

It’s hard to believe how quickly the time is passing by.  I’ve got just over a month left until I leave work, and just over 2 months until the big move to Evanston.  There’s still quite a bit to get done between now and when I leave for Evanston, so it’s going to be a busy few months.  I have a moving company coming by today to take a look at how much stuff I have, and give a quote for the move to Evanston.  The internet quote they gave me was $2200-$2600, depending on actual weight, so it seems like it’ll be pretty reasonable.  I also decided to do the drive to Chicago in 2 days, since a 12 hour drive seems like a lot for one day.  I’m trying to decide where to stay overnight; there’s really nothing too attractive along I-80 between NJ and IL.  The trouble with all this is: I still don’t know exactly when I’ll be moving.  My lease starts 8/1, and I’d like to move the week of 8/3, but if I get a good offer on my condo and the the deal is contingent on a closing date before 8/1, I’ll need to move my stuff out sooner and shack up with family for a few weeks.  Of course, since I still don’t have any serious offers on my condo, that situation is looking less and less likely by the day.

I’m still waiting on my final financial aid award from Kellogg, so I can start the process of applying for loans.  I’ve already done my comparison shopping, and have decided to go with Discover Student Loans for Stafford and GradPLUS loans.  They have a good deal on waiving most fees, and the GradPLUS is at 8.25% .  I’ve decided to stay away from private variable-rate loans, since I think interest rates are going to spike up in the near future.  Now I just need the official award letter from Kellogg so I can accept the aid, and start the application process.  I know a bunch of other admits that have gotten their letters, so if I don’t hear by tomorrow I’m going to give the financial aid office a call to see what’s up.

I’ve got another hockey game tonight.  The team we’re playing has a reputation for being jerks and playing dirty.  Watching them play their game before our game last week, there was a lot of stickwork and stuff after the whistle, and nearly a fight in the parking lot afterwards.  Guess they didn’t get the memo that this is just a rec league and there is no big silver cup waiting for the winner. Should be fun.


Weekend update

23 05 2009

Well I’ve received the first offer on my condo, but I’m not sure if the buyer is actually serious about it since he offered about 13% below asking price. To put that in perspective, other similar condos in the area are selling for about 4-6% below asking price. So while it’s nice to finally get an offer, I don’t think this is going anywhere. I’ve made a counter offer at 2% below asking price, so we’ll see what the reaction is to that. Otherwise, a few more realtors have come to show the place. I think there have been 3-4 this week, so still not time to panic.

I’m looking forward to the 3 day weekend. Today is a birthday party for my nephew, who is turning 3. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by, it doesn’t at all seem like it’s been 3 years already. He’s a really cool kid, and I’m definitely going to miss seeing him as much when I move to Evanston. Other than that, I just have a relaxing weekend planned, spending time with friends and enjoying the nice weather we’re supposed to have.

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend. Please take a moment to remember the meaning of the holiday, and honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country. May God bless our troops and their families, and may they all return home safely.

Memorial Day

Well that was anticlimatic

20 05 2009

After doing one last check through KWEST options this morning, I logged into the registration site promptly at 11am EDT. All told, it took about 5 minutes to walk through the registration and provide all the needed information. I ended up putting Egypt ahead of Morocco, so my top 5 were: Mystery, Egypt, Morocco, Italy and Playa del Carmen. Now it’s back to waiting until we find out which trip we’re actually selected for. I have no idea how long this takes, but saw that Samantha wrote on her blog that it takes over a month. I really hope it doesn’t take that long, I prefer immediate feedback to waiting.

Finished the math course yesterday. Nothing really new there, but helpful to refresh myself on things like logs and standard deviation, which I only vaguely remember. I think I’ll do the math exam and economics course today since I’ve got a pretty light schedule at work.

One day until KWEST selection

19 05 2009

So KWEST registration is tomorrow morning at 11am EDT. I’ve got the time blocked off on my calendar so I know I’ll be able to be at my desk, ready to register as soon as the link becomes available. I’ve known for a while now that my first choice will be the Mystery Trip, but since the popularity of that trip causes registration to fill up very quickly, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my second choice. Although several of the Carribean trips and the trip to Mexico look incredible, I decided to focus instead on trips that are a little harder to do from the US. I quickly focused on Morocco and Egypt as looking like incredible trips, only problem is I can’t decide which to put as #2 and which to put as #3. I think for the past few days, I’ve been flipping them back and forth. It’s going to come down to the wire, and I may just end up flipping a coin.

In other MBA-related news, I’ve started the pre-enrollment courses. So far I’ve breezed through the accounting course in about 10 minutes, and am about halfway through the math course. Still to go are economics and statistics. At least it gives me something to do when I get bored at work.

Are you not stimulated?

17 05 2009

Saw this posted this morning over at Greg Mankiw’s blog:

Stimulus chart

As Prof. Mankiw points out, it doesn’t necessarily mean the stimulus has been ineffective since the baseline could have been worse than originally thought. However, I can’t help but note the irony/coincidence that the actual unemployment figures so far have pretty well tracked the forecast of what would have happened if we hadn’t spent an extra $787 billion to stimulate the economy.

Update from Starbucks

16 05 2009

Probably the biggest pain of selling my condo, other than having to constantly keep my place in showroom condition, is having to be out whenever realtors want to come show the place to prospective buyers, or during open houses.  Some realtors are pretty cool about it and give a 30 minute window when they’re planning to stop by, but some give a much bigger window (e.g. between 1pm-3pm) – requiring me to vacate my apartment for long stretches of time.  Today, I basically have to be out of my apartment all day, since there will be a procession of realtors showing the apartment throughout the day until about 4pm.  It’s sort of bittersweet, on the one hand it’s a pain being temporarily homeless, but on the other hand it’s good to have so much interest in my apartment.  I can only hope to get an acceptable offer soon so this part of the selling process will end.  That reminds me, I need to add “Call my lawyer” to the to-do list so he’s all set once I do accept an offer and we start dealing with the sales contract.

So while I’m sitting in Starbucks I decided to work on putting together a detailed budget for next year.  Once I get my final financial aid letter from Kellogg I’ll need to decide exactly how much loans I’ll be accepting, and other than a few back of the napkins calculations I hadn’t yet thought about how much exactly I plan to spend.  It actually wasn’t too hard to put the budget together, but somewhat shocking how quickly the number got to be very big.  My budget ended up being a little higher than the school’s budget, since I’ll still be making car payments (which aren’t contemplated in the student budget) and I included costs for KWEST, ski trip, and Evanston rent during the summer months since I don’t think my internship salary will be enough to cover 2 rent payments.  Let me say, while many of the items on the to-do list help to build the excitement of going to school, dealing with the details of exactly how much this little adventure costs isn’t one of those items.


15 05 2009

Well, not really an anniversary, but it was almost exactly one year ago today that HBS released its application essays and I started seriously working on my applications.  On the one hand it’s hard to believe that another year has gone by so quickly, but on the other hand so much has happened in that time that it seems like a distant memory.  As I watch (virtually) this year’s crop of applicants beginning the process, I can’t help but feel relieved that that portion of my MBA is done with.  After two years of going through the emotional ups and downs of applications, and the endless waiting for decisions, I’ve finally (or just about finally) reached the payoff.

On the preparations front, activity is starting to pick up:

  • Our final financial aid award letters are due to be sent in the next few days, so I’ll have to nail down which lender(s) I’m going to use.  I think I’m going to stick with federal loans (Stafford and GradPLUS), since interest rates have nowhere to go but up and I’d rather lock in an interest rate now.  So there’s not much comparison shopping to do, just looking at who offers best deals on fees. 
  • Pre-enrollment courses are now up and running.  Is it weird that I’m actually excited by this?  I don’t know if that means I’m a nerd or just that bored with my job right now.  I breezed through the accounting course yesterday and started on the math class.  Not really any new material, but the math has been a helpful refresher on some material I hadn’t used since I was an undergrad. 
  • I’m making slow but steady progress on selling my condo in NJ.  There have probably been about 5 potential buyers that have come to look at the place, but none have turned into offers yet.  My realtor is having open houses each of the next two weeks so hopefully that generates more interest.  And hopefully that interest turns into actual offers.  There’s still plenty of time so I’m still generally relaxed about this.

Also on the to-do list: finalize my preferences for KWEST trips (registration is May 20th), find my vaccination history to send to the school, and deal with moving companies to start getting that organized.  Only about 2 and a half months left until I plan to move to Evanston.  There’s still a lot to do so I think this time is going to go by really quickly.