Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Wharton: Since I didn't post much about Wharton at all this semester, it's difficult to sum up. But I'll try to summarize the highlights:
I drank a lot. Maybe even more than I did as a Penn State senior. And I dressed in silly outfits more than a person probably should.
I passed MGEC and Accounting! Still waiting on a lot of grades, but I think I managed not to fail anything (fingers crossed).
I dropped 13 resumes and so far have 1 interview (that I won in bidding).
I became hyper-involved. So much so that I probably overdid it, but I wouldn't change a thing.
I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone.
I blew off way more than I'd typically be comfortable with. Being that busy meant a lot of things just didn't fit in. Like sleep. And laundry.
I discovered Zipfizz
I realized that even a somewhat scaled back social life is still pretty expensive.
I finally started to get the hang of this networking thing.
I learned a lot about business, which is what I am here for in the first place!
Sports: This year has been, by far, my best sports year ever. My co-ed softball team won the championship for the 3rd time last summer (although I missed the championship because I was taking the math test!). My cohort won the flag football championship. I won in fantasy football. Penn State finally beat Michigan and won the Big Ten Championship and is playing in the Rose Bowl tomorrow. The Eagles, despite a somewhat wretched season, managed to pull off an unlikely historic win against Dallas to sneak into the playoffs (and send the Cowgirls home). And of course, the Philadelphia Phillies ended a 25-year drought for Philadelphia to become the world champions of baseball. Ah, I loved 2008!
P.S. Hi Arthur!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The nice thing is all my hard finals (accounting, linear programming) were last week. The remaining ones are open book or take home, so I just need to make sure I understand the concepts and get organized enough to be able to find stuff in my notes during the exam. My biggest obstacle is just getting myself to sit down and do it! I want to watch football and drink hot chocolate!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I can't really express how busy I've been. A coworker warned me that a friend of his virtually disappeared for 2 years when he went here, but I figured it couldn't be that bad. I had majored in engineering, that was hard. This might be a lot of work, but it wouldn't be hard, right? Wrong! It IS a ton of work and it IS hard. The only reason I have time to write right now is because I should be working on a cover letter (ah, procrastination). But somehow, I have found a little time for "networking" with my classmates and, hopefully, my career activities will get me a summer internship. Of course, that assumes that the sky is not falling and employers will actually be hiring. Not a given these days. I've learned to ignore the bail-outs and the bank failures and the doom doom doom coming from the news. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed that I'm not flushing $150K down the drain ...
No, no, of course it is worth it even if I don't get a job. I think.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
But the reality is that we are lucky to have these "problems" to worry about. Millions of Americans worry every day about how they will put food on the table, or whether rising gas prices means they have to get a new job because they can't afford to commute to their current one anymore. Politicians may talk about how much they care about "Joe Sixpack" or the suffering middle class families. But they rarely mention the true desperation of our country's poor. Some say that as a country we are only as good as our weakest link. We, as Americans, need to step up and remember our neediest neighbors. The simple things often help the most: volunteer at a soup kitchen or a food bank, donate to charity, anything. At this election time, we need to remember that we are ALL Americans, and we all have a responsibility to help take care of each other.
Thanks for reading!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Second years are interviewing right now for their full-time positions. As you can imagine, a lot of companies are canceling their recruiting or severely downsizing the number of positions they will offer (not to mention all the companies that suddenly don't exist anymore!). The fact that investment banking is typically a huge source of employment for Wharton grads is a serious concern for everyone. Even if you are not planning to go into banking, we all expect the competition for things like consulting and investment management to increase due to the migration of those folks to other opportunities. And when competition rises there, the trickle-down effect will almost definitely impact other career choices like marketing and general management. In other words, it's a total shake-up, and no one knows what to expect.
For first years, we start meeting recruiters this month. The typical schedule means that we'll be interviewing for summer internship positions in Jan/Feb. Does anyone actually think things will be better by then? Highly doubtful. What about by this time next year? Maybe (we can hope!) but it's looking less and less likely by the day. That makes the idea of getting an internship that will lead to a full-time offer more and more important. But when companies are reducing internship opportunities to try to cut costs, we're looking at a much harder job search that's going to require a lot more work.
Don't misunderstand - I am still optimistic. I'd rather be here at Wharton than many other schools. If companies reduce their number of offers, they will probably do so at other schools first. Many companies still see MBA recruiting as an investment, and therefore will make cuts elsewhere. Others may not have interviewed at Wharton before due to lack of interest by students, but they will come this year in anticipation of the shift I described above. Unless the bottom completely falls out of this economy, most of us still expect to have net gains from our time here.
So what am I saying? I guess the current situation just makes the whole ROI of the MBA that much more important. If you were unsure that you needed an MBA before this whole mess unfolded, you should be looking even more carefully at the decision. If you are convinced, as I am, that an MBA from a top school will help you achieve your goals, even if the job prospects are diminished from previous years, then you should continue with your applications. Just be careful not to view this as a 2 year vacation.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
1. Show IMPACT. Adcoms don't want people who are going to pass all their classes and that's it. They want people who are not only going to be engaged, but are going to have an impact on their classmates and into their careers. So don't give a laundry list of your job responsibilities. That's for the resume, and you don't need to repeat it in your essays. Show how you had an impact on your company, your project, your group outside of work, yourself. Impress them with your actions and your accomplishments, not your title. They've seen a lot of titles.
2. Focus on how you will contribute. Yes, schools want to know why you love them. You definitely need to show your fit with the program and why you are applying there. I believe this only gets you halfway there. Smarter applicants then link this to why the school should want them. Discuss the unique perspectives you'll bring to your classes. Discuss ways that you'll leave the school better than it was before you came. This is a great way to differentiate yourself from similar applicants that don't quite "get it". If you aren't sure how to do this, try putting yourself in the position of the reader, perhaps a student reader. Why is that student, who has his/her own impressive background, going to want you as a classmate?
3. Don't just describe your goals. Describe WHY they are your goals. Explain how everything you've done so far has led you to this point. Don't leave adcom wondering, connect the dots for them.
4. Tell good stories. Don't be afraid to open up. Remember that application readers are people, and all people like reading stories. If your essays are just fluffed up resumes, your reader will be bored. If you are an exceptional applicant with alumni parents that donated a building, this won't matter. But if you are not (and most of us are not), you need to differentiate yourself as much as you can. Try to write something that is enjoyable to read. But don't force it with gimmicks, like random quotes or dictionary definitions. Just try to be your authentic self, and the rest will come. You are interesting, show it.
5. Prioritize and make cuts. If you are a strong applicant, you have loads of leadership examples, extra-curricular activities, accomplishments, etc. You can't fit them all in, so don't try. You need to keep the best stuff that tells the best story in. Let the rest fall away or leave it to a brief mention somewhere in a data sheet. It's so easy to want to make sure the reader knows that in addition to starting a charity and running a professional club, that you also volunteered for the special olympics every year while you were in college. Of course these are all good things, but what value is the special olympics example bringing when you've already showed that you are volunteer-minded and a self-starter? Try to keep the law of diminishing returns in mind. Leaving some stuff out leaves you more space to reflect deeper on the most valuable points.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Nine months ago, when Wifey got into Wharton, I had a bunch of comments thrown my way by friends and family that gave me pause:
From my brother - "Ohhhh, now you'll have a Sugar Momma"
My friends - "You going to be a stay at home Dad?"
My grandmother - "What about grandkids? I'm not going to be around forever"
My parents - "How are you going to pay for this???"
While TinyD's post-Wharton salary would certainly surpass mine, I was totally cool not being the breadwinner. I also liked the thought of stay at home Husband, raising TinyDancer, Jr., with days full of watching SportsCenter, teaching TinyDancer, Jr. the minutia of a curve ball and learning to cook. (Just replace Sports Center with Oprah and I figured that's what stay at home Mom's do).
But as the start of pre-term at Wharton drew near and I learned more about our next 2 years of B-School, I got a little nervous. Move from our 2,000 sq ft house into an 850 sq ft apartment in Center City, full days of classes, hours and hours of group work and studying, tons of extracurricular clubs, interviewing for internships and full-time jobs, guest speakers, learning team retreat, winter break global treks, etc. etc, etc.
Holy crap. When again was I supposed to see my wife? Would she ever be home for dinner? How many frozen burritos could I possibly take? Would I be included in any of this stuff or would I want to be involved? How in the hell would we be able to afford $150G's in just two years??? It was a little scary.
I was beginning to think that three's a crowd. Wifey and I had a great life together and Wharton was going to be the third wheel. Yeah, long term benefits aside...the next two years might really suck and we'd be in major debt to boot. Then after graduation, Wifey would get some crazy cool job and we'd be up and moving again to a far away place and I'd just be along for the ride. Maybe I'd be the third wheel since she'd be spending most of her time with Wharton.
Now don't get me wrong, TinyD and I talked about this quite a bit. She told me it wasn't going to be that bad, she'd try and come home and make dinner, I could be involved in some of the fun stuff and she wanted to stay near Philly after graduation. I also was told about the Wharton Partner's Club and I could make friends with some of the other 'partners' (that word gives me chills, probably the subject of a future guest post if TinyD lets me write again). But going into pre-term, I wasn't convinced.
Well, I can say, Wharton passed the 1st test. I know pre-term is much less of a time commitment than the 1st Semester, but I had an absolute blast. TinyD worked really hard, but we went out and partied with her classmates ALOT, met some great people, did some really fun activities and loved living in the city. Honestly, I haven't drank this much or stayed up this late since College...and overall, it was great. It actually got to the point where I needed Friday or Saturday night to recover from parties from Tuesday through Thursday.
I'm sure my opinion would be different if I was a partner moving to Philly from far away or internationally, but not all that much.
To all potential future Wharton husbands - don't spend too much time feeling bad for yourselves that your wives are smarter, going to be more successful, etc. Enjoy the next two years for all that they are...and try and meet a really smart Wharton grad to hook you up with a sweet job and maybe Philadelphia Eagles club box seats.
Sidenote - I do need to start going to the gym. I'm going to get a major beer gut unless I start working off the extra liquid carbs.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Explore Wharton: Diversity in Action (This is my favorite one because I wasn't sure if it was going to be the only time I had my name on something that said Wharton. Aw.)
Wharton Winter Welcome
Wharton Welcome Weekend
Wharton Health Care Conference
Wharton Learning Team Retreat
And my fav ...
My shiny new professional Wharton name tag that make me look like I work in a hotel.
EDIT: Yes I know that I just identified two as my favorite. I can have two favorites if I want! It's my blog!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Click on the graphic on the right to sign up!
Friday, August 15, 2008
Let unhappy body = x
Let feeling of excitement and fulfillment in choice of MBA = f(x)
As x increases, y increases. But as value of x gets large, y is subject to diminishing returns. Recommendation: student should take night off, watch Olympics, and get extra sleep!
Yes, I passed the math test.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I'll try to post again soon.
Monday, July 28, 2008
*At Wharton, and I suspect other schools that have grade non-disclosure (Wharton doesn't have GND as a policy anymore, but the student association votes to have it as a student policy), you will often see 2nd years advising 1st years not to worry too much about grades. As long as you pass, your grades really don't matter because they won't be a factor in recruiting. Of course, you want to learn, but there is no need to go for a super-high GPA for any reason other than an ego boost. GND fosters a sense of community and cooperation among students, because it theoretically stops people from scratching and clawing their way to #1 in the class. It also, theoretically, gives you permission to pry yourself away from academics enough to socialize and participate in clubs. But there are always some students who care very much about grades (many would argue too much) and end up studying way more than everyone else. These people miss out on stuff. I don't want to be one of those people. But as your standard-issue-overachiever-Wharton-admit, I have a feeling it will be hard to really convince myself "that grades don't matter."
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
You're So Money: Live Rich, Even When You're Not
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It seems like every year there is a scandal in the MBA world. A few years back, it was the Harvard application decision "hacking" scandal, where students who followed the advice of a BW poster were able to modify the Apply Yourself website to see their decisions early. Harvard rejected them all due to their poor ethical choice (debatable, but I'm not going to get into it). Last year it was the Duke cheating scandal, where several students were expelled for collaborating on an individual take-home test. This year, it is the GMAT cheating scandal.
It seems that a site called Scoretop (which has since been shut down) was selling actual live GMAT questions to potential test-takers for $30. Then the questions were discussed on the site in a forum. Presumably, the MBA hopefuls that bought the questions may have seen them on the actual test, which means they had information that others didn't. GMAC won a court order to shut down the site and claims to have a hard drive that they are searching to discover the identities of those who purchased the questions. They will cancel the culprits' scores and notify the schools that they sent the scores to. So far no schools have come out and said that they would take action against those students, but it's within the realm of possibility that some students may have their offers revoked or get kicked out of programs if they are already enrolled. A ray of hope for waitlisters, perhaps (wink wink)?
In all seriousness, this is scary stuff. I wonder how many people purchased access to the questions without realizing that what they were doing was against GMAC's policy? I doubt Scoretop disclosed that little tidbit. Some people probably didn't even realize they were live questions and may have thought they were buying practice questions similar to those provided by other legitimate companies. I guess ignorance is not an excuse, but I feel bad for those people. On the other hand, I'm sure the majority of people that paid the $30 knew exactly what they were doing. Regardless of whether it actually helped them, I think they deserve whatever punishment is handed down to them, although I'm sure the harshness will vary by school. I guess we'll just have to watch and wait for the fallout.
Friday, June 20, 2008
As a reminder, I've got a list of recommended books on the right side. Except for this new book, my recommendations are all based on my personal experience using the book.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Hence, my poll. Should I get BusinessWeek or The Economist? Which will be more useful in keeping me up-to-date on the business world while I'm working on my MBA?
Please vote in the poll on the right!
And as I've mentioned, we are contemplating borrowing less than Wharton's budget for first-years since my husband's salary will likely cover a lot of the room and board expenses. It's really hard to decide how much to borrow. I want to take advantage of these two years as much as possible, and there are a lot of expenses associated with that (i.e. social activities, travel, club membership, business wardrobe, etc). But at the same time, I don't want to live too far beyond our means, because that will just cost us more in interest in the long run. My husband is lucky enough to have never been in any kind of debt besides our mortgage, so all of these dollar signs associated with my education are pretty scary. We both know it will pay off in the long run, but it's not like I'm planning to go into investment banking or consulting so my pay off period is going to be longer than many of my classmates. I guess we both just need to get over that now. This is about my education, not everyone else's. Right ...
I keep thinking back to a mantra that was heard over and over from the students that hosted Welcome Weekend. "It all works out in the end." They said this so often, about so many subjects, including class waivers, tuition, technology, learning teams, academics, feeling overwhelmed, etc, that it started to become funny. But they all said it really is true. So I will go with it. It will all work out in the end ....
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Of course, as expected, not all the information came in on Friday. Not sure if we'll get it on Monday, but it probably won't matter for me because I have too much other stuff to take care of, including exit interview, transitioning all my other projects, and cleaning out my desk. I've done my best to have everything in the best state that I can get it before I leave. That's all I can do. I really wish that I had a replacement to train like Julydream, it would be so much easier! I've already had to deflect many last-minute requests to do more work and I've had to say no. Not sure what kind of superhuman they think I am!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Here is what I know about Kellogg, which should help you frame your essays:
-Teamwork. This is hugely important to them. They want to know that you are a team player and want to see evidence of this. They want to know that you understand how important it is to them and that is why you are applying to Kellogg (they consider this a major differentiator between them and other top schools).
-Community. This is a tie-in to teamwork, but they want people who are going to be very involved in the community of the MBA. Play up any community involvement you have in your background. Volunteer work is part of this and is important, but also they like to see any other activities you might have such as a recreational sports team or alumni club or maybe you organize a family poker competition (see what I mean, look everywhere for evidence of this). Even if you have done some extra-curriculars at work, this will show that you are going to be someone that will contribute and not just attend and go home to study. It will probably help to discuss what clubs and activities you specifically want to be involved in
-Leadership. This is a new focus for Kellogg, but they definitely want to see that leadership learning is a priority for you. But the leadership focus is within the teamwork concept. Show that you've been a leader in a team situation (so it doesn't have to be where you supervised people, but any situation where you took the lead in helping a team make a decision would work).
-Personality. It helps to visit so you can see it for yourself, but the typical Kellogg student is very outgoing and "fun". This is probably a result of the aspects of focus above. It probably matters more for your interview, but you want to show that you are not only smart, but nice to be around and will be an asset to any team you are on.
-Uniqueness. There is an essay question from last year that I would expect to be there again, since it has been there for a long time. They ask what makes you unique and what will you contribute to the class. This was the hardest question for me, and requires a lot of self-reflection. I think you need to think about what makes you unique in all aspects: work experience, extra-curriculars, interests, etc. Sure, many people may share any of these with you, but no one is the same combination of all of these as you! Show that you understand how every aspect of who you are will help you contribute to the experience of everyone else. And they really do want to know who you are.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Can't wait till Tuesday when I will be officially unemployed!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I am lucky to A) have some money put away and B) a spouse that will be working full time while I'm in school. Therefore, I have some decisions to make about how much money I really need to borrow and at from what sources. The Stafford loan is a no-brainer, but I am not sure if I will take a Grad PLUS loan or an alternative loan. Grad PLUS has a rate of 8.5%, which right now is really high. Alternative loans have lower rates (assuming you qualify), but they are variable. You can find many predictions for what rates are going to do in the future, but who the heck really knows. Another option we're considering is a home equity loan or line of credit. We've got a little bit of equity in our home and the rates might be pretty good, especially if we can get fixed rates. We'd have to make payments during school though, which is a consideration.
Sooo, Hubby and I have a lot of work ahead of us to figure out our budget, how much money we really need to borrow, and what type of loan. Lots of fun on a hot day.
Hope all readers on the East Coast are finding ways to keep cool!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I was reading Samantha's blog and she was discussing women in business. She touched on something that is also my pet peeve and I've been wanting to discuss:
I also want fellow women to get their acts together. Maybe it's me being
too critical, but I do it out of love! I want women to succeed. The 50s-ish
woman with the wardrobe left over from the 80s with bad, unconfident posture,
the women my age who say "like" waaayy too much ... sexy wrap dresses, nails
painted red, skirts with high slits, twirling hair, chewing gum, tucking your
shirt in and not checking your backside at home so I can see your thong through
your pants, being overly demure and quiet in meetings, overusing !!!, the list
goes on and on. Of course I'm not perfect, but women need to realize how much
work we have to put into our professional appearance/demeanor in order to be
taken seriously and sometimes I just want to smack some sense into people.
I couldn't agree more! My company has a business casual dress code that is actually on the rather formal side. But I see so many women, young and old, that act like it doesn't exist. I work with a woman my age who wears sundresses to work that I'd wear to a brunch. Women wear flip flops and open-toed shoes all the time in summer. They wear capri pants and skirts way above the knee. We all want to look good, but I wish women would think like men for five minutes when they get dressed in the morning and realize that dressing sexy or casual creates distraction and takes attention away from the work you are doing. It's the same as that one guy that wears golf shirts when all the other men are wearing dress shirts. People think that guy doesn't get it. My company has a few fundraising events during the year where you can wear jeans to work if you donate $5 to the cause. I did it once or twice until I realized that I never saw a man doing it. I bet the men probably didn't even know there was a reason we were all wearing jeans and who knows what they were thinking of us. Please understand, I'm not saying that women need to emulate men because they are men. I just think men are better at obeying the dress code and making it work for them. (Granted, it is easier. All you need is a closet full of white and blue shirts). We women need to get better at projecting competence and separating how we dress for business from how we dress socially. This goes for communications too. Please stop firing off emails full of !!!! and misspelled words and lack of punctuation. Again, this does not project competence. It doesn't take that long to write out complete, grammatically correct sentences and it makes you look SO much better. And finally, I know this sounds funny coming from a paragraph full of complaining, but women need to stop complaining so much. I know there are men that do this too, but at least where I work, I notice so many more women always complaining about their job, their boss, the company, etc. No one likes a whiner! And when was the last time the whiner was chosen for that high profile position? Women have come a long way in business so far, but we still have a long way to go. We need to help the rest of the business world see us as the professionals we are!
Today we're at my parents' Jersey Shore house, enjoying some lovely weather, a Phillies win, and we're heading out to see Indiana Jones shortly. I hope all of you are enjoying your weekend too!
I've added a Twitter application to the page so that I can add short thoughts without writing a full post. That way I can still add some content to the site even if I'm busy or unable to get on Blogger.
Friday, May 23, 2008
are you having any uncertainties? what will you fear/dread/not like very much
Ooooh yes. I have many fears and uncertainties about B-School. Some rational, some not.
First, while I am definitely certain that my matriculation at Wharton is the right decision for me, at times I realize the enormity of the decision to leave my job and spend lots of money for this degree and it hits me like a ton of bricks. Not only that, it's just going to be such a huge lifestyle change for me. I haven't been in school since 2001. I think I forgot how to do it. It feels a little like standing on the edge of a cliff getting ready to jump.
Speaking of money, I'm definitely worrying about my budget. With the additional temptations of living in the city - endless restaurants, drinking establishments, awesome shops, etc - downgrading from the professional lifestyle to a student lifestyle is going to be really hard. I'm worried about finding a balance between putting myself in massive debt and missing out on the social life of school and living in Philadelphia.
Another subject I have been discussing a lot with my husband is the pressure I feel to make the most of this opportunity. I am so excited about everything I'm going to learn and the networks I'm going to build. But two years feels terribly short. And actually, considering the recruiting schedule in the second year, I have far less than 2 years to figure out what my post graduation job will be. I have an idea of what I want to do, but I want to keep my options open as much as I can. But how to fit open options into the recruiting schedule?
Welcome Weekend was great, and I met so many great people that I can't wait to call my classmates. But one thing I've been thinking about is the size of Wharton's class. At 800 people, it's just too big to be able to know everyone. I know that I will make plenty of friends, but I wonder if the size of the class will make close friendships difficult to find? Also, as silly as it is, I am really hoping that the friends I've already made will be in my cohort. But I'm sure most of them won't be - the chances are too small. This makes me sad.
Finally, probably my biggest concern is how I'm going to fit in all the activities I want to do and still get decent grades. There are so many clubs and activities that I want to be involved in that I am overextending myself before I even start! Prioritization will be key, but I've never really been very good at that ...
I think those are the biggies. There's definitely not anything I'm dreading (well, maybe exams?)or thinking I won't like. I'm sure some dislikes will come up once I start, but for the most part I'm really looking forward to getting started. Pretty much can't wait, actually!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Tonight we went to the Viking Cooking School in Bryn Mawr for sushi class. It was so fun! My first roll fell apart, but after that I got the hang of it and did pretty well. It all tasted very good too :) Hopefully I'll be able to find a good store in Chinatown to procure sashimi grade fish and other supplies.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I've decided that my last day at work will be June 16 (a Monday - long story). Meanwhile, I found out that my company doesn't pay out remaining vacation days when you leave, so I have to either use them or lose them. Naturally, I'm trying to use them. It's actually harder than you'd think, because I have jury duty next week (fun) and various meetings that I can't miss in the next 4 weeks. I'm taking a lot of half days to fit them in. Oh yeah, and I have to figure out how to get all my work done too. With the economic situation, I'm not sure that they will replace me right away, so I feel obligated to make sure that my team is all set to cover my projects when I leave. It's not just that it's the right thing to do, but it's also a matter of pride. When I started, there hadn't been someone in my position in a few months, so I had to figure out how to do everything by myself. So I did, and over time I improved the processes significantly. I don't want all that progress to get ruined!
I hope I'll have time to blog more now that we're semi-settled. But I still have a LOT of unpacking to do so I can't get to distracted by the internet ;)
Monday, May 5, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I was voted into the Top Ten Applicant Blogs in Clear Admit's Best of Blogging 2007-2008! I am really happy with this accomplishment, especially considering that I didn't start this blog until December. Thanks to my fellow bloggers and the celebrity judges for the honor! And thanks to my readers - this would be no fun without you! Congrats to Julydream and m@ and all the other winners!
Today we participated in a neighborhood yard sale at a local elementary school. It was cold and windy, so we had a disappointing turnout. Still, we were able to make about $150 and say goodbye to a good amount of clutter. It was strange, some things that I totally expected to sell were ignored (like picture frames and bestseller books) but other things I never expected to go sold for a decent amount of money (like my old karate pads and this awful computer desk I've had for 10 years that most recently held tools in our garage and is missing several parts).
Meanwhile, I have been thinking that I jinxed our house renting situation by blogging about it. After our prospective tenants' realtor told us they wanted it, a two weeks went by and we still haven't seen a signed lease or a check. This is quite vexing to say the least, since they want to move in May 17! We are putting ourselves out a lot to make this quick move happen, and they are either stalling or lazy or I don't know what! If we had another option I would tell them to forget it, but despite continuing traffic no one else has come forward with a check. FINALLY today we got a call that the lease is signed and we'll have it tomorrow. I'm not holding my breath but I hope we close the deal this weekend. At least then we'll know for sure when we are moving.
I hope to blog during the madness, but it may be impossible. If only I could blog at work!
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The other service I've been taking advantage of is my selling account on Amazon. It's great if you have books you no longer want, because you just list it and when it sells, Amazon takes care of the payment and you just package it up and send it away! Amazon deposits all your revenue into your bank account. Lately some of my favorite authors have released new books in hard cover. I don't really like to keep hard covers unless I really love the book, so I buy them, read them, and then sell them to get a good chunk of my money back.
Lastly, my mother-in-law got us a table at a local flea market this weekend. Hopefully we'll be able to free ourselves from the rest of our junk then and see it all go to nice homes! Anything left over is going to get donated.
I can't wait!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Unfortunately, my posts are likely to continue to be few and far between for the next several weeks because .... drum roll ... we have (nearly) rented our house! I say nearly because we don't technically have a lease or a deposit yet, but have been assured that they are forthcoming. The catch is, they want to move in May 15! So today we began packing and pricing items for our moving sale. Luckily, there is an apartment available now in our building of choice in Center City, so this just might work out. It's going to be a logistical nightmare, since we have a lot of junk and various pieces of furniture to get rid of or store between now and then, not to mention figuring out how we're going to move the few items that are making the cut for our new high rise lifestyle.
Sooo ... while all this is going on, I will try to post. No promises though. The plus side of the situation is I will be nice and settled in to my new digs well before Preterm starts, so I should have plenty of time to blog then. Wish me luck, and I'll see you on the other side!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Funny story, the email address to request a ballot is firstname.lastname@example.org. So I started out my email "Hi Bob," .... and then I realized. Oh. It's BOB for Best of Blogging. Ha.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sampling of major movies that have recently filmed here or will be filming soon:
The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson) – Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz
The Happening (M. Night Shyamalan) – Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo
Our Lady of Victory – Carla Gugino, David Boreanaz
The Dream of the Romans – Jeff Daniels, Lauren Graham
Tenure – Luke Wilson, Gretchen Mol
Major TV Shows Shot Here:
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
So what does this mean to you? Celebrity Sightings! I mean, how cool would it be to have a beer at Roosevelts with Mark Wahlberg, who always seems to be shooting movies here. Also, movies always need extras so you could have a chance to be in a movie! I heard you even get paid!
Also, if you would like to get a good flavor for the city through cinema, there are plenty of ways to do so. I’m sure everyone knows about Rocky and Philadelphia, but there are many other great ones that can give you a good feel for the culture and scenery. I personally recommend:
Invincible – the neighborhood is South Philly, don’t worry you won’t be living there. But the portrayal of Eagles fans is dead on !
National Treasure – Featuring many landmarks of Philly
The Sixth Sense
Finally, “The Colbert Report” is in Philly (at Penn actually) filming all week. Tune in if you can!
For everything you ever wanted to know about the Philadelphia film industry, plus job postings (get your headshot ready!), visit the Greater Philadelphia Film Office at http://www.film.org/
Sunday, April 13, 2008
This week I was busy with something every night. Charity meeting Monday, had my brother over for dinner and later met a friend from my old consulting job on Tuesday, did volunteer work on Wednesday, and traveled into the city for a Philly admit happy hour on Thursday. Friday I crashed. The weekend was filled with projects to prepare for the move and cleaning the house in an attempt to impress potential renters. Exhausting!
Speaking of meeting the friend from my old job ...
One of the perks of a consulting career, especially with a big firm, is that you will meet people from all over the country and potentially the world. You will probably make more friends than you would at any other job because you will be working closely with people for longer hours. And since you are all on the road, probably socializing with them after work too. The unfortunate drawback of this is that all your friends are from all over, and they will go back to those places when the project is done. I got to meet one of my best friends from my consulting days for drinks on Tuesday since he happens to be in town for a project. It was so great to see him and catch up. It makes me sad that I so rarely get to see him or any of my old buddies anymore. I have a feeling that business school is going to be similar. We'll all make a lot of great friends from all over the world, and then everyone is going to spread out again after the two years are over. I know it's naive to hope that many of my new friends will stay in Philly after graduation, but I do hope many head for NYC since it's just a little train ride away. And I guess having far-flung friends can be nice when you want to travel to visit them!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
And every social networking site you can think of is blocked. Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn. Youtube is blocked of course. And now as of today, the final straw - blogging sites are blocked!! I was so sad when I tried to log on today :( The reason the evil blocking page gives is the website may have "dangerous software." BOOO!!!
Yeah yeah, I probably shouldn't be blogging at work anyway, but this is ridiculous! I feel like I'm going to regress technologically and be lost when my classmates start talking about twittering or something (yes, twitter is also blocked).
Unfortunately, I didn't really save the info for any scholarships I found that I didn't qualify for. Sorry! But, to answer another question, I didn't have any inside info on places to look. I really just googled as many phrases as I could think of, like "scholarships for MBA," "MBA scholarships for women," "grad school fellowships," etc, etc etc. So if there is something out there for you, I don't think you should have a problem finding it either through a) googling b) using the information your schools send you and c) googling some more! Definitely go through the hassle of registering for the websites that allow you to search. I think they all have a somewhat different selection of scholarships in their databases.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
It seems like there is a lot of money out there if you have critical financial need and/or are a minority demographic or international student, which should be good news for many of you. Just doesn't seem like there is much out there for my particular profile. Oh well. I wanted to have a smaller debt load, but I can handle it. Maybe in Year 2 I will find something!
P.S. If anyone knows of any scholarships I may have overlooked, please drop me a line!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Hold on, here's the actual statistic: "12% of women MBAs reported having divorced or separated as compared to 5% of male MBAs." Um - 12%? Yeah it's a lot bigger than the male number, but still, 12%?? Maybe I'm crazy but that's still a small number to me. I'm not fearing for my marriage over 12%. The article goes to discuss that women think they can have it all but it's just a myth, etc etc. To an extent I agree with that, but don't you think we're jumping a bit to far to say that MBA = Divorce?
I clicked through to the WSJ article the post is referencing. More similar discussion.
"For women, a professional degree is often hazardous to marital health."
"'Unlike men,' she says, 'women can't have it all because there is a social stigma to having or being a stay-at-home spouse.'"
And then this statistic: "Women with M.B.A.s described themselves as divorced or separated more often than women with only bachelor's degrees (12% of female M.B.A.s compared with 11% of women with only bachelor's degrees) "
I stopped there. A 1% increase with an MBA is hardly anything to fret over. Sure, the difference between the statistics for women vs. men should be explored, but why do we have to jump to panic mode and imply that women are sabotaging their personal lives by pursuing advanced degrees?
I'll give you a hypothetical example. Say your name is Sarah O. Johnson. Your choices for your prestigious Wharton email ID would probably look like the following:
And that's it! You can't even try to make up one that maybe makes more sense. Seriously, who's going to remember that Sarah Johnson's email address is joso@wharton??
Ugh. I picked the best of the list but I still hate it. Consider yourself lucky if you have a unique name.
UPDATE: So, it seems the Penn key is NOT your Wharton email address. I stand corrected. Remains to be seen if choices for Wharton email address are better than Penn Key. Fingers crossed.
UPDATE: I was right! Your Penn Key user ID is also your Wharton email ID. Hopefully we'll have the ability to create an alias or something, but I'm not holding my breath!
You might not have known it if you attended the Saturday night Winter Welcome party where people were smoking, but Philadelphia has indeed banned smoking at *most* restaurants and bars. Unfortunately it's not a complete ban because places that derive at least 90% of revenue from drinks (i.e. don't serve food) are exempt, which I guess includes the club where the party took place. Hey, at least we got most of the way there. And if you are a smoker then you know where to go!
Also, we weren't gonna let New Yorkers be the only health nuts so we decided to ban trans fats too! Yeah, there aren't really any penalties set up and there are exceptions for places that make wedding cakes and stuff (apparently wedding cakes are artery-clogging death on a china plate but you can't make them without trans fats). But again, it's something!
And finally, lest you think a trip to the ballpark must mean as many dollar dogs as you can eat, you should know that last August PETA said Citizens Bank Park was the #1 vegetarian-friendly ballpark! Don't worry meat eaters, there are still plenty of Dollar Dog Nights. Just be careful when Dollar Dog Night intersects with College Night. It's a perfect storm.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I have lived in Philadelphia for most of my life. Scratch that, I've lived around Philly, but never actually in the city limits (until July that is!). I did work and stay in hotels there for about 6 months. So this probably doesn't make me quite an expert, but I believe I'm qualified to give you my opinion on the city. Now I have a lot to say, so I think this is going to end up being a series of posts. I'll try to give you a good picture of life in the City of Brotherly Love: the good, the bad, the ugly, the quirky, and anything else I can think of.
If all you know about Philly is Rocky and that Eagles fans are crazy and eat too many cheesesteaks, well you have a lot to learn my friend. Back in October 2005, National Geographic Traveler declared Philadelphia the Next Great City (Next Great City: Philly, Really). Many people probably thought that was strange, but Philadelphians have been noticing for awhile that the city is becoming cool again. People are moving back into the city, big beautiful condo complexes are going up, retail is moving in, fringe neighborhoods are up-and-coming cool, and the restaurant scene is getting really good. And we got Live 8, how awesome is that? (I went, it was incredible). Read the article, it will tell you more.
Here are some things you might not know about Philly:
-Philly is relatively cheap. Wharton students mostly live in Center City near Rittenhouse Square. Guess what, this is the nicest part of the city. How many other urban business schools can you attend where you can actually afford to live in the nicest part of the city?
-Because of PA's arcane liquor laws, it is difficult for restuarants to get liquor licenses. Therefore many of them are BYOB. So you can bring your own bottle of wine to many nice places, and it really reduces the cost of a night out.
-Philly has Fairmount Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the country. It's great for running, especially along Kelly Drive near Boathouse Row.
-Jon Bon Jovi is a part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul, the arena football team. Richie Sambora is too and just bought a sweet pad in Philly. Imagine that! Potential star sightings in Philly!
-Compared to other schools not in the South or in California, the weather here is actually pretty good. It's typically about 5-10 degrees warmer here than Chicago or Boston (people from those cities will tell you that's not true, but I've lived in all three. Trust me, they are colder. Or don't, check the statistics yourself!). Philly also doesn't get as much snow. What we do get are a lot of wintry mix storms where are not fun, but it's a lot easier to get to class in than snow.
-You probably aren't going to bring your car to Philly, which is fine because you won't need it and parking is a nightmare anyway. But maybe you want to take a trip to Ikea or to visit someone in the burbs? You can rent a car for cheap from Philly Car Share or Zipcar!
-And finally, Philly just recently declared itself the nation's best beer drinking city. Maybe you disagree? Well it will be fun to find out for sure won't it?
Monday, March 31, 2008
One of the sessions I attended at the Penn State Powerful Women Paving the Way Conference this weekend was a panel session called "Discovering your Leadership Style." In it, a woman in the audience discussed her fears that today's women are entering the workforce with a competitive attitude and are stepping on each other to achieve success. Her fear is that this creating an environment for women in business that is worse than the male-dominated environment it is replacing. Some women disagreed, but I was one who can see her point. I have been lucky enough to work in an environment where the women supported and helped each other, to the benefit of all. I have also worked in an environment where the women were cliquey and where I felt that I had to "watch my back."
I am not sure if this phenomenon is truly unique to women (think Mean Girls), or if we just notice it more or take it more personally because we don't expect women to be competitive with each other. Either way, I believe a competitive environment can create a toxic situation. Let me be clear though, I think "competitive" can carry both a positive and negative connotation. The positive meaning suggests that someone is capable and driven to succeed. I'm referring to the negative meaning, which suggests that someone views their coworkers as adversaries to be beaten in order to achieve personal success. I can tell you from my experience that it is not fun to work in such an environment, and it can hamper productivity.
Where does this scarcity mindset come from? Many people probably have a tendency to approach the world from one mindset or another to begin with. But I also believe that much of it comes from leadership. The team I worked on where the women supported each other? The leader of that team fostered an environment where the team's goals were all of our goals, and our individual accomplishments needed to support that goal. A failure of any one member would have meant failure for the team, and we were encouraged to help each other. The job where I felt the other women were competing with me? The leader of that group did not work to foster the team spirit. As cheesy as corporate team-building can sometimes feel, people notice when it is absent and make assumptions about leadership's priorities. Our goals were structured based on our leader's goals, and as a result people realized that individual accomplishments were what got you ahead. I assume many of these people felt that helping others achieve their goals would be to the detriment of their success.
So readers, I believe it is up to us, the future business leaders of the world, to make sure that we are fostering an abundance mindset at school and at work. Don't let Mean Girls happen to your team!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
The first speaker was Michelle Austin, an entrepreneur who founded the Fluidity fitness system. You may have seen her infomercial with the free-standing ballet bar. She showed a case study of her company, including how it took her 6 years to raise capital and how much she had to learn about in order to protect her intellectual property and structure good deals with investors. In addition to making me really want to be on Donny Deutsch (click here for Austin's Interview) one day, it made everyone there want the Fluidity bar :)
The second speaker was Anne Weisberg from Deloitte. She is one of the authors of Mass Career Customization: Aligning the Workplace With Today's Nontraditional Workforce. According to Anne, the reason why most flexible work arrangements don't reduce attrition rates or otherwise don't live up to expectations is because they are always set up as exceptions to the norm. Also, tradeoffs such as reduced pay that come with the arrangement usually aren't clear to those outside the arrangement, so it can breed resentment among other employees. Deloitte is implementing Mass Career Customization, which allows each employee to customize their career-life balance across four areas: pace of work, workload, location/schedule, and role. The tradeoffs for "dialing-down" one of these areas are clearly stated, and the choices are incorporated into the employee's performance expectations and review. For example, if you are going to work 80% of full time hours, it will be clear to everyone that you are also receiving 80% pay and your goals will reflect the reduced hours you work so that your performance rating will be fairly assessed. I think it's a great idea and I'm encouraged to see that a big company like Deloitte is giving it a try. I hope other companies join in, because once the baby boomers start to retire in large numbers, companies are going to have trouble finding and keeping good knowledge workers. I think a system like this could help keep people who might otherwise leave. There is an activity on the website where you can customize your own career/life preferences, check it out.
Other than these two, my favorite speaker and a big part of the reason I attended was Sue Paterno, wife of legendary coach Joe Paterno. Sue is very involved in many philanthropic activities, including the Special Olympics and Libraries Advisory Board, among others. She and her husband also donated a significant amount of money to build a library on campus. She discussed the benefits of giving back in any small or big way that you prefer. It was a great way to wrap up the conference: although we are all going to work hard on making our careers the best they can be, it is important to remember that giving back creates valuable rewards for both giver and recipient.
One last note for anyone considering Penn State's Smeal College of Business for their MBA. I got to visit the new Business Building on campus and it is really nice. Smeal was recently ranked #1 by Princeton Review for best business school facilities and I completely agree! The program itself seems to me to be a good up-and-coming second tier program with a very small class size (<200). If that sounds like a good fit for you, I encourage you to check it out. The campus atmosphere and town are beautiful and the football experience can't be beat. I love my alma mater and I've met few fellow alumni that don't feel the same way! It was great to be back this weekend.