The People Make The Place

by on January 16th, 2013

I really envisioned a carefree winter and spring after being admitting into Wharton and Booth a few weeks ago. Pipe dreams. Though, I must say that the kind of intensity that I experience now feels much better than it did when I was waiting to find out whether I “got in” to any of my dream schools or not.

The intensity that I speak of mostly involves all of the activities around saving money and making plans for upcoming admit weekends plus the big move to…wherever I end up.  I’m every bit as busy as when I was GMAT-ing and applying–just happier and less stressed about it all. To that end, I wish a hearty good luck to all of the talented, bright applicants who recently poured your blood, sweat and tears into R2 applications at some of the world’s best business schools.

What am I talking about though? I’m still not quite out of the woods myself with apps. I still have my MIT Sloan interview pending and will be devoting the lion’s share of this weekend’s “free” (ha!) time to reviewing my app and preparing to be flayed and probed to the bone since Sloan is one of two schools (that I know of including HBS) that features “open” interviews where your interviewer has reviewed your entire application as opposed to just your resume; should be “fun”.

It’s in the People

One thing that I am really seeing at this point in the process, however, is just how much your experience is enriched by going to really ANY of the elite programs (basically anywhere that anyone who reads this blog would even bother applying to) that put such an emphasis on only selecting many of “the best” students to attend (of course, we also know that many of the “best” will also not be admitted to a given school; different conversation, but I certainly get it and empathize).

As 2013 got started, the networking with my fellow admits at Wharton and Booth reached fever pitch almost immediately. Both Facebook book groups are figuratively engulfed in flames of networking activity, with admits arranging local meetups, agreeing to share hotels for admit weekend with folks half way around the world that we’ve never met, etc. The adcom members have been fueling those flames with a steady stream of info on Chicago and Philly, upcoming important dates and where else we might be able to connect with our potential c/o ’2015 classmates.

Current students and alums have also been reaching out to extend their advice. One such student sent me a list of classes that are “must takes” at Wharton, replete with which professors to take (and not take). Meanwhile, a certain current c/o 2014 Boothie who shall go nameless has been graciously introducing me to current classmates of their who are in the startup game while at school.

I’ve especially enjoyed connecting with people on LinkedIn. That experience in particular is largely what inspired this post. Through a series of conversations with the special and talented people that I’ll be meeting within the next 3-4 weeks, the sharing of info regarding books to read, school resources, profile introductions, etc has really allowed me to fully appreciate the quality of people that I’ll get to spend the next 2 years around. Thank you, thank you admissions committees.

While my current job is full of bright and interesting people who I love working with, some of the buffonery, coonery and all out fraggenackle BS at previous jobs where people were NOT as sharp and intriguing caused a great deal of of unhappiness in those environments. I am utterly convinced of having suffered a net loss of 10-15 IQ points (at a previous company) that I swear I have yet to recover. Business school is shaping out to be such a welcomed departure from some of the darker, more medieval eras of my business past. I truly understand that old saying that the PEOPLE make the PLACE.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Something else that has begun is the application verification process–which, naturally, there is a tax for (of coooooooooooooourse!). I got Wharton’s notice a day or two ago and suspect that Booth’s is soon to follow. I plan to jump on both prompts fairly quickly as it can take up to a month or more for the process to be completed; and you’re not “official” until that has been  handled, which brings me to another ever so popular item of important  business: deposits.

Until a $2,000 – $3,500+ deposit is paid, you ain’t got a spot at nobody’s top business school; thus, I’m not “officially” part of a damn thing just yet. Here’s the breakdown:

MIT – interview incomplete, no offer nor denial of admission as of yet; interview next week; admit or ding by 1/29

Wharton – admission offered, no verif, no deposit paid; welcome weekend 1/31 – 2/1; deposit due by 2/19

Booth – admission offered, no verif, no deposit paid; welcome weekend 2/7-2/8; deposit due by 2/19

So alas, there is work to do yet.

I really don’t know how  this will turn out in the end. What I do know, however, is that regardless of whether my next steps will be taken in Boston, Chicago or Philadelphia, I’ll be surrounded by bright, interesting and stimulating classmates thanks to the selectivity of the admissions process at all of these programs.

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