Friday, March 27, 2009

Quarter Four Insanity

I just got done one of my craziest weeks ever at Wharton. So many things converged at once that I literally couldn't find an extra half hour for a meeting. Quarter four classes are definitely a big work load. There is a ton of reading every week, and professors seem to be a little more intent on doing little things to make sure we read everything before class. And this quarter we have sabre, which is a marketing simulation. Sabre has been really fun. It feels similar, at least theoretically, to what brand management will be like. You have your product portfolio, market segments, market research, and forecasts. And you have to make decisions wisely to try to increase your company's profits in the face of changing tastes, competitors' actions, uncertainty, and a limited budget. Reminiscent of first quarter Marketing cases, my team spent about 14 hours on sabre this week. Supposedly it will get easier in subsequent weeks since we won't have to get ramped up again .. I hope that's the case! At least, as opposed to case write-ups, working on sabre is actually fun :)

Oh yeah, and last night was Wharton 54. Totally insane.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

This and That

Man I haven't posted in a while! So, update on recruiting. I ended up with 2 offers, and declined several 2nd round invitations. So DIP was very good to me. In hindsight, I would not have applied to so many places. But I was scared - it's hard to know how successful you will be before you really go do all the interviewing. Most of my friends now have gotten offers. There are some still looking. I'm trying to help them where I can. I think everyone will have something in the end.

In other news, I've started listening to podcasts on my walk to and from school. My favorite is This American Life. Last week's episode (which I didn't listen to until yesterday) was particularly good. It gave a very easy-to-understand explanation for the financial crisis. For me, the discussion of why or why not to have the government take over the banks was really interesting. Check it out here, the title is Bad Bank. Warning - the explanations are pretty basic, so I don't recommend it if you think you already have a pretty good handle on it.

Finally, I'm heading to Japan on Saturday for spring break! So excited.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

B-School Checklist

Over the course of the year, I've come to rely on some essential items that help me get through business school with my sanity intact. If you are headed for b-school this fall, you may want to pick up these highly recommended items:

Smart Phone
I love my iPhone. Not only because it is cool, but because it really helps me navigate my crazy business school schedule. I can check my email, manage my calendar, and even sign up for interview slots while I'm on the go (or, er, in class ...). A few times, I was meeting a person I had never met, and I could easily look them up on Facebook to see what they looked like. If you are blackberry person, I recommend going for one that can get the real internet. It is truly life changing to have internet at your finger tips!

Wireless Headphones
If you are planning to live with a spouse or roommate, these will make your life a lot easier. We waited to long to get these, but once we did they were key! Now my husband can watch the game, while I still get a quiet apartment to work in.
Sennheiser RS120 926 MHz Wireless RF Headphones with Charging Cradle

Zip Fizz
Lack of sleep is par for the course in bschool. I found a great alternative to coffee called Zip Fizz. It's a powder combo of caffeine and vitamins that you mix with water. This stuff has a small but devoted following at Wharton. You can buy it cheaply at Amazon or Costco.
Zipfizz-Healthy Energy Drink Mix, 30 Tubes Variety Pack

I have this on my iPhone, and it has been a lifesaver at times when I've been trying to finish a paper or study for an exam in a distracting spot. All I need is a good station to drown out the noise and I can focus.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Take a DIP in the Self-Doubt Pool

We've just completed the dedicated interview period (DIP), which is a two-week period when all core courses are cancelled to give first-years the chance to "dedicate" themselves to interviewing for internships. Most companies therefore come to campus for first rounds during these two weeks. To say that we have been dedicated to interviewing is a gross understatement. I swear my life has transformed into one long interview. I answer all questions in the STAR format, my wardrobe has consisted of nothing but 2 interview suits and 3 dress shirts, and I have memorized the artwork on the walls of every waiting area the McNeil interview dungeon.

For months we've been building to this point. We've been feeling good about ourselves for so long. We are here at Wharton, one of the most elite schools in the world, and we are proud. We are leaders, strategic thinkers, highly desired by recruiters from every industry and function. Despite the economic disaster that is palpable all around us, we were confident that our hard work, preparation, and passion would get us fabulous summer internships, which would lead to full-time offers.

Two weeks later, what a difference. We've all experienced rejection - whether it was a "you have not been invited to interview" or a "we will unfortunately not be able to move forward with you in the second round process, but we hope you will keep in touch with us" or a "while your qualifications and experience are certainly impressive, we regret that we are not able to offer you a position." Even though we knew it would happen, its still pretty tough to know that the company you've been building a relationship with over the last 4 months is just not that into you. It's a harsh switch - for months the companies have been inviting us to get to know them better, feeding us, inviting us to their offices, and generally wining and dining us. Then suddenly in that little interview room it is now us trying to prove ourselves to them. And they are interviewing 17 people for 2 spots. One single 45 minute conversation decides your fate.

There is definitely some good news to go around, but there has been a lot more disappointment. A whole lot of people are not going to be working in their first choice industry over the summer, let alone their first choice company. It's been quite a reality check. I am exhausted, but I am one of the lucky ones. I got an offer, one I really wanted! But so many of my friends didn't.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guest Post: Bad Dancer gives it the old college try

In my 1st, and only, post, I talked about how much fun pre-term was and how I was getting fat from drinking so much beer. Well, needless to say, 1st semester wasn’t quite the same party as pre-term, at least for her.

Now don’t get me wrong, the social scene at Wharton has been fantastic - between half-dressed pub crawls, happy hours, Thursday night parties and the Wharton Prom (at least I called it that), I had a great time. The major difference was how freakin’ hard Tiny worked, day-in and day-out. Not only was the rigor of schoolwork quite overwhelming, but between extracurriculars (Tiny has joined an MBA record 38 clubs), applications for internships, a variety of other random activities…man she worked her a$% off.

For example, Tiny and I are die-hard Phillies fans and we’ve been waiting for a season like this past one for almost 30 years. During our World Series run in October, it took everything in her power to take a 3 hour break from studying to watch each game. Tiny was even studying at a local bar before game 3, with dozens of other hammered Phillies fans around screaming and yelling and carrying-on! (note: she did take a few extra hours off to drink champagne on Broad Street when we won).

So, let’s get to me. Even though Tiny was working herself into a frenzy, I had a great 4 months. I played football with her Cohort and felt really welcomed by her classmates, we went to some great parties, had couples dinners with a lot of really interesting old, married people like ourselves, and I even started hanging out with a few of Tiny’s friends, even while she was home studying.

My experience was so good, I decided to apply. Last Wednesday, I hit submit and sent in my application for Fall 2009 admittance. Of all the great things I witnessed about Wharton these past few months, I’m not totally sure what made me decide to apply. Of all the excellent aspects of Wharton I’ve seen, #1 has to be the quality of people that Tiny is in school with. The amazing variety of personalities and diverse backgrounds, the good nature and intense bonding between classmates and how ridiculously brilliant most of them are, were all inspiring reasons to try and be a part of that culture (disclaimer: I am geographically challenged since Tiny will be in Philly for at least 1.5 more years and our long term plans are to stay in Philly, I couldn’t exactly explore the similarities of other great programs).

Now unfortunately, my GMAT score is nowhere near what Tiny’s was and falls slightly outside the Wharton middle-80th percent. Maybe I have a 5, 10, 15% chance of getting in? But I’m not worried – If I get in, amazing. If not, I’ll still get to share another year and change at Wharton with wifey and personally get a ton out of it.

By the way, the other reason I want to get in is so I can go on the Antarctica trek. I don’t give a crap about Finance, I want to hike across our southern pole and bring home a penguin as a pet. I’m sure it’d do well in the bathtub of our Center City apartment