After getting an early morning acceptance call from the Chicago Booth School of Business two days ago, one would think I’d be more calm and zen than I was when I got up this morning. I was actually–its a huge relief that you have somewhere (really good) to go to for b-school after all of the blood sweat and tears that all of us have put into this process over the past 6-12 months (closer to 12 for yours truly).
Curiosity Kills the Cat
Then I gave into my lower nature. I logged into BeatTheGMAT and GMATClub simultaneously and began checking updates from people around the globe as they got acceptance calls from Wharton; and I did so in side-by-side windows as I ate breakfast. Utter and Complete Lunacy.
While I took some comfort in seeing that most of the admits seemed to be in Asia, Europe and the East Coast (and I figured the West Coast would get our calls hours later), there is just something about watching other people progressively post their updated status as new admits to Wharton’s Class of 2015 that makes you go slightly crazy if you’re still waiting for yours.
An hour or so later, I was about ready to start my commute and told myself that I wouldn’t panic until lunchtime when the online statuses were supposed to be changing. In the meantime, I’d keep my phone by my side like a drug dealer and would not be putting it on buzz when I got to work. My quiet office of e-business folk would just have to deal with its noise until I (hopefully) got that call.
The call from (215) 898 – 2585
Then at 8:16 am, a call from a familiar area code blasted onto my phone. I know that 3-digit code well, as my favorite hip-hop group (actually my favorite group period) of all time is The Roots.
Philly. Illadeph. South Street. Cheese steaks. Bahamadia. BlackThought. Black Lotus. Jill Scott. Will Smith. The 215. I know those numbers well, because I’ve recited those numbers in countless lyrics over the past #@%^@% [age alert!] years.
It was Ankur Kumar, Wharton’s Director of admissions. She had called to put me out of my morning misery. “Hello, ******** speaking”, I said, as if I hadn’t already checked the caller ID; as if I wasn’t already doing cartwheels and full gainers into P-Diddy’s infinity pool in my head.
“It’s Ankur Kumar”, she said with an audible grin. “Yes! Talk to me Ankur!” I belted shamelessly. Why have pretense NOW?
After welcoming me into the Wharton Class of 2015, she sweetened the deal with a generous fellowship (actually for the exact same amount as Booth’s offer) that I was more than grateful to hear about. Groupon on a Wharton MBA? I’m definitely listening. Small talk with “thank you thank you” somewhere in there. Phone clicks. Jabberwocky-like Celebration ensues.
A Star Sighting
So, a little history and prequel to this conversation.
Nearly two months ago, I was elated to have received back-to-back invites to interview from Chicago Booth and Wharton on Halloween and November 1st, respectively. While I signed up for a local interview with an alumnus for Booth, I had only two domestic options for my Wharton interview: Philly or San Francisco. I chose San Fran.
On the morning of November 16th, I got up at about 5:30 after having slept at the home of a friend who lives in Long Beach so that I could be at the LBC’s tiny little makeshift airport by 6:30 without morning traffic and make my 7:30 flight without a hitch.