Only five (working) days left

26 06 2009

It’s hard to believe it’s gotten to this point already.  As Orlando wrote in his recent post, there is a lot of waiting involved in MBA admissions. When I first got my admit call way back in early December, I thought it would be forever until I finally got to move to Evanston and start school. However, sitting here at the end of July, with only 5 more days of work until I resign, and a little over a month left until I move, it seems like the time has just flown by. And there is still a lot to do between now and then.

I officially gave my 2 weeks notice to my job this past Monday (they’ve known unofficially for almost 6 months now), and already the HR wheels are a-turnin’ to process the seeming mountain of paperwork involved in actually separating from my employment. This past Wednesday, my boss organized a little going away dinner for some of my closest friends and colleagues at work. It was a lot of fun, and everyone had a good time, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sad. I definitely plan to keep in touch with each of the people there, but at the same time won’t see them every day like I do now. This is also the only “real” job I’ve ever had – working at Nathan’s doesn’t count – so I think it feels a little weird as it sinks in that when I walk out of the office a week from Monday, for the first time in my adult life I won’t be an employee of this company anymore. I’m sure I’ll get used to it pretty quickly, but it’s making me feel a little weird right now.

On the preparations front I’m still burning through the to-do’s. I’ve mailed in my medical information sheet, sent in my MPNs to Discover to finalize student loans, and am just about to send in my health insurance forms. Looking at Kellogg’s official to-do list there’s not a whole lot left to do, although on my personal to-do list there’s still a ton of stuff to do. This weekend, I’m heading down the shore with a bunch of friends tomorrow, then may be off to New Orleans for work on Sunday (yes, they’re possibly sending me out of town my last week with the company). Normally, I’d be excited about an all-expense paid trip to the Big Easy, but given the circumstances I’d rather not go. I should find out in the next hour or so whether they need me to go. Either way, it should be a fun weekend.

Advertisements




Not so fast

21 06 2009

Reading my last post, I had to smile at how quickly the emotional high of thinking I sold my condo went away.  I say “thinking” I sold my condo because after signing the deal Sunday morning, I got a call from my attorney on Tuesday morning to tell me that the buyers had backed out of the deal, without giving a reason.  Our deal lasted all of about 48 hours.  Now I know that the way housing contracts are written, it’s not a binding contract until after your attorney reviews and approves the contract, so the buyers were well within their rights to do what they did.  But even though it was perfectly legal, I can’t help but think it’s not really the right thing to do.  Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I believe that if you tell someone you have a deal, then you stick by your word unless there was bad faith involved in the negotiations or a material change in circumstance (i.e. house inspection turns up major issues).  Given how quickly they backed out, I just can’t help but think they just found a better deal somewhere else and decided to go with that instead.  If they weren’t sure they wanted to buy my condo at the price we agreed on, they should’ve thought of that before they signed on the dotted line.

OK, so enough ranting.  The good news is I’ve gotten another good offer for the condo and am now in the process of negotiating price with this potential buyer (my realtor should be calling me back today with an update on their latest counter-offer).  If we do reach agreement (which looks pretty likely), it will probably be for slightly less than the last deal, but still within the range of prices I’d be happy with.  So I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that.

In other preparations, since I couldn’t find my original vaccination records, I had to take a blood test to show I’ve had all my shots.  The results should be in early next week, and then I can send in my health forms to the school and cross that off the list.  The core course waiver information also became available last week and I’ve sent in the paperwork to waive out of the core accounting class this fall.  I had thought about maybe not waiving it and use the course as a refresher since it’s been a few years since I did any accounting work, but in the end decided it would be better to use the opportunity to take more electives.  Still haven’t heard back from my chosen lenders on whether I’ve been approved or not for my student loans, so I should probably follow up on that next week.





Housing update

15 06 2009

Big news over the weekend (those of you who follow my Tweets already know this): I now have a signed sales agreement for my condo here in NJ.  It all happened pretty quickly.  The buyers made their first offer on Friday afternoon, by Saturday afternoon we had reached verbal agreement on terms, and all met on Sunday morning to sign the paperwork.  By no means is this over yet – it’s not even considered a valid contract until after our respective attorneys review and approve the contract wording – but it’s a huge step in the right direction and a weight off my shoulders.  The timing works out well too – we’re targeting an August 17 closing date, so there will only be a few weeks where I’m paying for two places to live.

So now that the sale is in process, I’m going to have to get my butt in gear to start going through all my stuff, boxing up things that are either going with me to Evanston or into storage at my parents’ house, and trashing the rest.





3 weeks to go

12 06 2009

It’s hard to believe that I only have another 3 weeks at work.  As much as I’ve been looking forward to resigning and starting school, now that it’s getting close it’s also starting to feel a little weird.  The last time I was unemployed was September 2001 – the summer after I graduated college.  For the last 8 years, a large portion of the time I’ve been awake has been spent working.  It’s the only company I’ve ever had a real adult job at, so I’m sure it’ll be a little weird leaving the office for the last time, knowing that this part of my life and career is behind me.  Looking back, there were some definite highs and lows, as I think all jobs have, but overall I wouldn’t change anything.  I’ve learned a lot, worked with some really incredibly talented and fun people, and gotten to experience things I’d have never imagined.  I will definitely miss my colleagues – many of whom I now count as friends – and really hope to keep in touch in the future.

My school to-do list is getting shorter by the day.  I’ve finished all the pre-enrollment courses, submitted my 360 degree self-assessment and sent out requests for others to assess me, accepted financial aid and started the loan application process, figured out plans for my drive to Evanston and made hotel reservations for my mid-way overnight stop (yay Toledo!) and this weekend am going to my doctor to deal with the medical records.  I’ve been procrastinating a bit on this one.  The last few weekends have been so nice I could think of many better things to do than sit in a doctor’s waiting room.  One other bit of good news: I may be close to reaching a deal on selling my condo!  I say “may” because I haven’t actually received the offer yet, but my realtor tells me it should come today.  It’ll be real nice to have that monkey off my back.  KWEST trips were also announced and I got one of my top choices!  I’m very excited, and very much looking forward to it.  I’m sure the way time has been going by that before I know it I’ll be on the way to O’Hare with 20 new friends .





Financial Aid update

9 06 2009

I spoke with someone in the financial aid office yesterday.  My file has now been entered into the system, and I will get my final award notification this week.  Then I just have to let them know which lenders I plan to use by the end of the month.  The financial aid officer said Kellogg won’t start certifying loans until July, so I’m really not in danger of missing any deadlines.  Once the loans are certified, I sign a master promissory note and we’re done.  I’m glad that this seems to be sorted out, although I won’t be 100% convinced it is sorted until I see that email in my inbox.

Oh, and we won’t actually get any money in our bank account from the loans until Sept. 21 (the official first day of classes), so I need to make sure I have enough cash on hand for living expenses through then.





MIA: My financial aid

8 06 2009

I still haven’t received my final financial aid award letter from Kellogg, which I need to start applying for my loans.  Deadline to notify Kellogg financial aid office of what aid we’re accepting and to start the loan process?  June 30.  After Kellogg financial aid never responded to an email I sent asking about this about a week ago, I gave a call out to the financial aid office on Friday.  The aid officer I spoke with said that she would look into why my award hadn’t been entered into the system yet and call me back.  I’m still waiting, and will call out there again today to find out what the deal is.  I have to say, I’m less than impressed with the service of the financial aid office so far, and can only hope it’s not indicative of how other departments – especially career services – respond to the needs of students.

Had a really fun weekend, including a completely random trip to Atlantic City.  As much as I’m looking forward to Chicago, and think it’s a fun town, I’m really going to miss being within an hour’s drive of the ocean.  I’m sorry, Lake Michigan just isn’t the same.  I’ve booked a few weekend trips with friends to go down the shore over the next 2 months, so definitely trying to take advantage of it before I move.  It’s hard to believe how few weekends are actually left before August, and how quickly they’re getting filled up.





Controlling healthcare costs

1 06 2009

My career plans following Kellogg are to work in the healthcare industry, so I’ve been following the push by the Obama Administration to overhaul the US healthcare system pretty closely.  Today, the plethora of health industry groups that recently pledged to cut $2 trillion (with a “T”) in health costs over the next 10 years sent the President a letter outlining exactly how they plan to achieve that.  Some excerpts:

  • “We have convened seven all-day meetings and multiple conference calls” (NB: nothing says “we’re determined to figure out how to improve efficiency” like all day meetings and multiple conference calls.)

Ok, that’s the last snarky comment, I promise.  I just couldn’t resist.  Now onto the serious ideas presented in the letter, and my commentary:

  • Several of the proposals focus on examining the utilization of medical care and creating protocols for preventing “overuse” of medical services, medical devices, drugs, etc.  Overall, the groups project savings of $150-$180 billion through better utilization of care.  However, creating guidelines for when it is appropriate to use certain medical services/products will not reduce the overuse of these services/products without some sort of accompanying mechanism to prevent deviation from those guidelines.  The last time this was attempted, it was by the HMOs and patients fought back against the strict utilization rules.  It should be interesting to see now whether the trade-off between cost-reduction and flexibility has tilted from where it was when the HMOs tried this.
  • Reducing administrative burdens by standardizing claims submissions, eligibility, claims status, payment and remittance.  Sounds good.  Not a huge fan of asking the government to mandate the required standard, but I guess if they’re asking the government to mandate the standard that the industry agrees is best, it’s not so bad.  They also said they will support market reforms to make it easier for consumers to compare plans’ benefits, price and other features.  I am a big fan of making the insurance market more competitive and transparent by removing the multitude of state mandates on insurance coverage, but that’s beyond what the industry can achieve on their own.
  • Adoption of Personal Health Records.  I’m skeptical of the claim that this will save $11 billion a year, but think this is a huge step in the right direction purely from a quality of care standpoint.
  • The hospitals have proposed cutting costs by preventing a laundry list of complications, including MRSA, central line blood infections, surgical infections & complications, etc.  Um, I’m not a doctor, but shouldn’t the hospitals have been working towards eliminating those things anyway?  (Ok, maybe there was another snarky comment in me after all)
  • Developing a regulatory framework for biosimiliars (aka generic biotech drugs) – seems like a no brainer if the science can be worked out.  Generic drugs are a hugely cost-effective alternative to branded pharmaceuticals.
  • A few proposals relating to better preventative care, to reduce reliance on more expensive acute care.  Good idea, but will have to rely on some changes in behavior in the patient population.

Overall, a good effort from the industry, both to present some real reforms but also to try and steer the agenda so change isn’t entirely forced on them from Washington.  Of course, this doesn’t address (nor could it address) the 500 pound gorilla: whether any cost savings achieved by the industry are dwarfed by the increased cost of providing insurance to the uninsured and the cost associated with the presumed higher utilization of care once the previously uninsured have coverage.  Stay tuned.