Why Visiting A B-School Campus Is Like Online Dating


    • Re-Energized.  I’ve been slacking on the application process again, and with a little more than a month away from the due dates, I’m ready to ramp things up full speed!

Musing: Kind of bittersweet that the Occupy movement is no longer, though in my dear PNW city, the movement was starting to drive me nuts.   Our office was just 2 blocks away from where the protesters had set up a tent city, and I was able to observe it each day from the comfort and security of my office window.

I used to walk by the Occupy tent city on the way to the gym, (made sure to change out of my suit and into gym clothes as even suits in my PNW city are a rarity unless you are going to court) and was intrigued by the messages on the signs.  Having participated in a number of protests and demonstrations back in the day (mostly relating to budget cuts, school funding, and the War on Iraq) I was slightly sympathetic to the protesters but in retrospect, wondered if they might have taken a cue from the organizations they were protesting: having a solid identity, message and brand really could have helped their cause.

It was hard to understand what their desired results were, what they wanted to accomplish because of their varied statements: “Free Tibet!” to “Shut down Guantanamo Bay!” to “Stop your Spending!” (um, you’re saying that to the girl who is carrying 4 shopping bags and has already tried to hide her credit cards?) and perhaps if they had a united message and with the proper spin and “marketing”, they could have gotten more people to identify with their cause.  Of course, using iPhones and smart phones to share their message, bundling up in cozy Patagonia jackets and using the Starbucks and McDonalds restrooms might have also worked again their credibility…

As I am working towards Round 2 application deadlines, I realize I really do have my work cut out for me!

A lot has happened in my life since I scratched out my last posting including:

  • Initiated, planned and hosted a fairly successful Happy Hour for the Educational Foundation I am a part of through my company…hardest part was that I was in Asia for the weeks leading up to the event, but luckily I had some amazing team mates that helped get everything in order.
  • Roommate announcing that she is moving to South Lake Tahoe to unofficially become a snowboarding bum, which will result in me moving back home by the end of month. I’ll be too caught up with apps to figure out where else to live, so I’ll be at home for the time being.
  • My personal life had gotten kind of um, complicated, which in retrospect detracted from my original plans of focusing on the B-School applications during the home stretch.  Well, no longer, and I’m feeling pretty good about moving forward!
  • Leading up to this major deadline, I found myself sneaking peeks at my friends Facebook photo albums of their first years at B-School.  I know that I’m probably over-glamorizing the whole experience in my mind and that what the photos and status updates depict might not actually be what happens in reality *cough* Kardashian Wedding* cough* but at the same time, it seems like they are having an incredible time even through Finals Week.
    • I might say a little about my school visits to Columbia and Kellogg as they really helped me solidify my decision.

What I realized is that, to be blunt, screw applying to schools just for the sake of applying!

    • I had to get serious about the next big commitment of my life, which leads me to my next analogy: school visits are a lot like online dating –  you may have built up in your mind this amazing idea of what a school is like, but you can’t really make a decision of whether it is right for you until you go and visit and have that interaction.

None was more true than when I visited Kellogg and Columbia in the middle of October (wow. a month and a half ago?!)   In my mind, I had been “researching” and “learning about” the two schools, even to go as far as communicating with the schools virtually, emailing them questions and letting them know I’d be visiting campus.
On paper, they were both, um, very handsome specimens: Kellogg I considered to be friendly, social, and down to earth, but also cold (literally – right outside of Chicago the Windy City) and err… large? (student body was pretty big  – how would I fit in?) and perhaps not the best looking (had heard from a Northwestern friend that the campus was um, homely).  Regardless, it exuded that Midwestern, down-to-earth charm where you’d feel very comfortable being yourself.

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