I remember feeling relieved to see the 9/11 date when I first registered. My relief came from the fact that 9/5 was on my calendar as the date of the biggest beta release in years for my company’s software.
For the past somewhat hellish month, I’ve been making cross town commutes during rush hour to attend info sessions for the likes of H/S/W in the middle of some very long days at the office. MIT Sloan held their info session on my side of town; yet, I still had to return to work to get in several additional hours of critical tasks afterward. So, needless to say, I felt pretty good about knowing that the Booth info session was to take place after the pre-launch hysteria at work would be over as well as after some of the post-launch dust had settled.
…If only my life worked out that way.
Great Timing…Not so Much
Our beta launch got pushed back nearly one week, placing it right on–you guessed it–Sept 11, the same day as the Booth info session. In the back of my mind, I knew that my attendance at this event would be unlikely. I still came into work at 8am, however, with hopes of leaving at 6 to fight traffic and make the 7pm start time for the info session.
As 6pm rolled around, however, it became clear that making it by 7 would be a pipe dream as QA and development were still testing and tweaking our systems before the actual beta launch. Then there was the fact that it would be my job to send out all of the marketing messages to our customer email list, discussion group and social media following once the beta actually arrived.
The clocked rolled by 6:30, then 7…7:30…7:45. Finally, I got word that beta was live and that I could send out our marketing messaging. By the time I finished what had ended up as a 12 hour day and gotten to the parking garage it was nearly 8:40. To be honest, I was dead tired.
At the same time, I felt that it was important to show up at this event–even if everyone was leaving. I really work hard to show genuine interest in each school that I am applying to. As I have said before, I won’t be applying anywhere that I would have reservations about attending. So, I did what any self-respecting Los Angeleno would do: I sped on the freeway, arriving at the Westin Bonaventure at about 9:10.
It is important to note, however, that I was only speeding in relation to the speed limit. I was well within the flow of traffic by LA standards, with my Jeep being ceremoniously passed by numerous souped up sports cars on the way.
Negotiating and Networking
Somehow, I talked one of the valet attendees into letting me park in one of their spots free of charge as long as I promised to return in less than 20 minutes. Don’t ask me what I said, because I cannot remember. I just kept talking until he agreed.
Once inside, I b-lined to the Hollywood ballroom where the event was being held. I noticed that most of the attendees had left. I had seen many of them leaving as I was circling the block earlier, desperately looking for (non existent) street parking to save both time and money. I refuse to pay for parking at places where I am going to be present for less than an hour.
As I busted into the room, late as hell in a button down, jeans and sneakers (the official IT management uniform; usually with loafers, though) I scanned the room looking to identify an actual Booth representative. This was no easy task, as the Booth staffers looked (at least to me) as young as the prospective students who were in attendance.
I walked up to one young lady who had noticed me walk in. As I got closer, I saw that she had on a Booth name tag, so I went up to introduce myself to her. I thought she was a current student or alumnus (you know, that young thing I told you about), but as it turns out, she was a member of the admissions committee.
I explained why I was late, and she was very understanding. I felt somewhat bad about missing the actual event, seeing as I had already missed the opportunity to speak with Booth at the Riordan/DMAC event back in August when they cancelled their appearance. I was impressed, however, with the fact that one of their senior admissions officers offered to speak 1 on 1 with anyone who had intended to sit with them at Riordan. It was a great experience and earned a big fat +1 for Booth in my eyes.
Time was of the essence, as I needed to get back to my vehicle before I went over my free.99 time limit and got charged by the valet. After a few questions about Booth I took a brochure and her business card and emailed a thank you both to her and the admissions officer who I had gotten to speak with previously.
The Application Deadline Clock is Ticking
So, here’s the current status of my Round 1 apps and deadlines
9/24 – HBS: App done, Essays done (but still fussing over them), 1/3 recommendations in
10/1 – Stanford: App done, Essays done (but still fussing over them), 0/3 recommendations in
10/2 – Booth: App done, Almost done with essays, 0/2 recommendations in
10/3 – Wharton: App done, Essays done, 0/2 recommendations in
10/24 – MIT Sloan: App done, Rewriting essays, 0/2 recommendations in
Since my 2 primary recommenders and 1 secondary recommender are on my team at my current job, the launch push back has affected them as well. Each of them had planned to start my recommendations just after the intended 9/5 launch, but that has not happened, so I will be sending out reminders this Friday and having lunch with the busiest of them one day next week so I can herd everyone together and get these knocked out prior to the deadlines.
As far as my apps, I’m in more than good condition to turn those in whenever I need to; I am just slightly perturbed about being robbed of this past week, which I had intended to use to really tighten my Booth essays.
Well, at least I have complete clarity on what I’ll be doing this weekend…
MBAOver30 offers the perspective of a 30-something, California-based entrepreneur who is applying to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Northwestern, Chicago, Dartmouth, Yale, and Berkeley.. He hopes to gain acceptance to the Class of 2015 and blogs at MBAOver30.
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