Tuesday, March 30, 2004

A week in the Life ...

I woke up last monday with a strange feeling. If I had to give it a name, I would probably call it freedom. It felt great to finally have no pending to-do lists of essay topics, school visits, deadlines. It was also a temporary freedom from having to wait for any results of my pending applications. So, I decided to continue this and spend an entire week not thinking about the three-lettered-acronym that has consumed my life since october last. To regain a week of a time when the difference between 720 and 750 was thirty minutes of extra sleep in the morning. Simple rules : ease off on the blogging, no BW forums/s2s, and email and other blog checks only twice a day. Oh, and find some use for the $200 bucks I saved by chickening out on the Stanford app.

That's why this blog has been awfully quiet. But my week's been anything but. I'm still surprised by how effortlessly I've spent the last seven days without ever thinking about my applications. Part of the reason why I was able to was knowing that the earliest I was going to hear from any of the other schools was this week. Also, I think I have convinced myself that the only news I'll hear from HBS and MIT is bad news. It's too late in the game now to realistically expect anything else. It's amazing how having something fixed to look forward to can calm the mind. Remove the element of suprise from the result and all you have to wait for is for it to be delivered.

Ah, the week itself. Work, and I mean really work (for a change :), monday thru friday. Late nights spent engrossed in The DaVinci Code. Friday night bar-hopping with a friend to further my newly-made acquaintance with scotch. Destinations : Strolled into Cottonwood Cafe - older crowd, bad location, good scotch, caught some basketball action at Charley's Saloon - OK crowd with a couple of redeeming elements, cant-get-better location, good scotch, and on to Blue Cat Cafe - cool crowd, OK location, good scotch.

Saturday began with Grisham's The Last Juror over a long breakfast at Flour, a bakery run by a Harvard grad. I don't know why it matters, but every reference to this bakery seems to mention the Harvard connection, as if the owner broke some taboo by associating the H-word with a bakery. Anyways, with nothing else to do, I speed-read thru the book and was thoroughly disappointed. I am convinced Grisham didn't write this book, the publisher must have had it ghost-written. It sucks big time. Had to beat the blues by hooking up with some friends who I've ignored with my 'ive got to work on essays' excuses for too long, at 33, a lounge-like space. I'm not the clubbing type, so it was a short night.

One of the coolest neighborhoods in boston is its North End, the Italian part of town. Sunday morning's wake-up call was from a pal from grad school complaining that we haven't visited that part of town in a while. So, we go. Spent the entire afternoon at Caffe Paradiso amongst soccer fans sipping machiatos and watching Real Madrid use Sevilla for target practice. Next destination: the bookstore. I'm officially a convert. The Da Vinci code had me begging for more and so I picked up a copy of Angels and Demons. And I finished it within 24 hours. Slow day at work today, so it was dedicated to the appreciation of Mr. Brown's awesome literary talent. I must agree with Hella that A&D trumps DaVinci code, no question about it. Wow.

So, the week's come to an end. And along with it, the carefree life. HBS decision day is wednesday, which also marks the beginning of the 14-day period of prayer, which is when Wharton releases interview invites for R3 applicants. Rod Garcia at Sloan will start to make his congratulatory calls around April 5, and LBS releases its interview invites on April 9. A long two weeks indeed.

One of the reasons I decided to take my mind off the applications for a while was because of the prospect of striking out, 0-6. If it happened, though I wish it didn't, could I just get past this and go back to being who I was ? I think the answer is mixed. yes, and no. I am very sure I am not going to obsess about it, maybe shed a silent tear and move on. Find new opportunities and new things to do. no problemo. But, I have changed because of the process of introspection that has been central to answering these essays. I have mapped a very ambitious goal for myself and though right now I am convinced that b-school is the most effective way to get there, there are other roads that lead to the promised land. I have also been affected in subconscious ways. I don't think I have ever read with so much attention paid to the actual writing, looking for ways in which authors convey their points, build up their stories etc. I have my essay writing to thank for that ! While watching the soccer game, I marvelled at the management skills of the Real Madrid ownership that can keep so many superstar players on a single team happy and winning. Something my own bosses don't seem to be able to. management skills ? pre-october i'd shoot anyone who talked such gibberish at a soccer game !

I think I'm finally getting to understand the purpose of the gruelling application process. I am much more prepared to enter business school today than I was last October. And it has nothing to do with work or responsibilities. The preparation needed was personal; to solidify my goals, align them with my skills and capabilities, and envision a path through business school to get there. Also crucial has been to bring, at times hesitantly, my weaknesses and shortcomings to the fore; not to be ashamed, but to find ways in which I can address them during business school or otherwise. When viewed in the context of what is really involved in preparing an application, an acceptance seems infintely more joyful and rejection terribly crushing.

I take issue with schools who offer no feedback to applicants they reject. I understand that there is work involved, but I don't think it is much beyond the actual conversation. The application readers have already made their notes and impressions and they need to be relayed to the applicants. I take greater issue with schools like Tuck, who, I was disappointed to find out, hand-select the applicants they wish to offer feedback to. Kudos to Wharton for having what I believe to be a very just admissions process.

wow, it's almost 6 in the morning and I have a meeting at 10 ! this is enough rambling for one night. will pick up the pieces some other time.

before I forget, good luck Joey for HBS. And Trip, I'm really hopin' you get into Yale. Well, Stanford actually, but Yale would be a good start. I hope to read good news this week.
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