Sunday, February 27, 2005

Better . . .

I got an A- on my midterm. Not bad, but not what I was hoping for. Fortunately, this midterm was only 25% of my grade.

In other news, I should be getting my performance review at work sometime this week. I'm confident that I'll be receiving a salary increase. What I'm hoping for is a titular promotion. I'll have to see how this plays out before sending an update to Yale.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sad . . .

I think I just bombed my midterm.

I spent the last month convinced that my professor was a little soft in the head. Then he handed us the midterm. The first few questions were easy. The last few questions were even easier. It was the set of questions in the middle that stumped me. I wasn't the only one who found it difficult, but that's small consolation.

It looks like getting into Yale has suddenly become less likely.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

ISG Interviews

I had three interviews yesterday with the Internet Services Group of my company. The first two went well. The third one did not.

I have never met anyone who had such a strange way of communicating. Her interview style was totally archaic. She didn't do a behavioral interview. She did a, "Don't give me the details, tell me about the process," kind of interview. I wasn't prepared for that.

If I am accepted into business school and begin in the fall, switching jobs at this point might be a mistake. However, having some internet experience might help me land an internship with an internet company. I'd really like to learn how internet marketing differs from retail marketing, which is what I do now. I suppose marketing is marketing is marketing, and I'll just have to get better about making that kind of case with future employers.

Anyway, I have a statistics midterm on Thursday and I should be studying. No more procrastination.

Monday, February 21, 2005

HBS Round 3

It looks like I'm applying to HBS - Round 3. Not crazy about the thought of having to write six new essays, but I gotsta do it.

My partner - who has never been crazy about the b-school idea - wants me to apply to a school in a city he likes.

It's all moot. I'll never get into Harvard at this stage of the game - well, at any stage, to be honest. But he has asked me to consider it and I can't deny him this one request. How could I when I'm asking him to leave his job, pack his bags, and come with me?

At least HBS will get a good laugh out of it.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

More on iNTj

I can't believe how accurate this is! I have bolded what is particularly true for me:

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of "definiteness", of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise -- and INTJs can have several -- they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don't know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be "slacking," including superiors, will lose their respect -- and will generally be made aware of this; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers. On the other hand, they do tend to be scrupulous and even-handed about recognizing the individual contributions that have gone into a project, and have a gift for seizing opportunities which others might not even notice.

In the broadest terms, what INTJs "do" tends to be what they "know". Typical INTJ career choices are in the sciences and engineering, but they can be found wherever a combination of intellect and incisiveness are required (e.g., law, some areas of academia). INTJs can rise to management positions when they are willing to invest time in marketing their abilities as well as enhancing them, and (whether for the sake of ambition or the desire for privacy) many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality.

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations.
This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. :-) This sometimes results in a peculiar naivete', paralleling that of many Fs -- only instead of expecting inexhaustible affection and empathy from a romantic relationship, the INTJ will expect inexhaustible reasonability and directness.

Probably the strongest INTJ assets in the interpersonal area are their intuitive abilities and their willingness to "work at" a relationship. Although as Ts they do not always have the kind of natural empathy that many Fs do, the Intuitive function can often act as a good substitute by synthesizing the probable meanings behind such things as tone of voice, turn of phrase, and facial expression. This ability can then be honed and directed by consistent, repeated efforts to understand and support those they care about, and those relationships which ultimately do become established with an INTJ tend to be characterized by their robustness, stability, and good communications.

This was taken from and was written by Marina Margaret Heiss.

My partner is eNFj, which is also rare. Wanna know what it would look like if Oprah Winfrey and Steven Hawking were married? Spend a day with us and find out! :D

Personality Testing

I went to a conference at work last week in which all of the company's marketing professionals were brought together to discuss the company's "vision" for 2005. I suppose I would have felt differently about the conference had it not consisted almost entirely of information that I had already heard back in December of 2004.

One interesting aspect of the two-day conference: A half-day was devoted to personality types. This was meant to show us how we differed from one another and how best to work with colleagues of different personality types. As it turns out, I am iNTj. According to, here's what that means:

The Portrait of the Mastermind Rational (iNTj):

Of the four aspects of strategic analysis and definition, it is the contingency planning or entailment organizing role that reaches the highest development in Masterminds. Entailing or contingency planning is not an informative activity, rather it is a directive one in which the planner tells others what to do and in what order to do it. As the organizing capabilities [of] the Masterminds increase so does their inclination to take charge of whatever is going on.

It is in their abilities that Masterminds differ from the other Rationals, while in most of their attitudes they are just like the others. However there is one attitude that sets them apart from other Rationals: they tend to be much more self-confident than the rest, having, for obscure reasons, developed a very strong will. They are rather rare, comprising no more than, say, one percent of the population. Being very judicious, decisions come naturally to them; indeed, they can hardly rest until they have things settled, decided, and set. They are the people who are able to formulate coherent and comprehensive contingency plans, hence contingency organizers or "entailers."

Masterminds will adopt ideas only if they are useful, which is to say if they work efficiently toward accomplishing the Mastermind's well-defined goals. Natural leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command of projects or groups, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once in charge, however, Masterminds are the supreme pragmatists, seeing reality as a crucible for refining their strategies for goal-directed action. In a sense, Masterminds approach reality as they would a giant chess board, always seeking strategies that have a high payoff, and always devising contingency plans in case of error or adversity. To the Mastermind, organizational structure and operational procedures are never arbitrary, never set in concrete, but are quite malleable and can be changed, improved, streamlined. In their drive for efficient action, Masterminds are the most open-minded of all the types. No idea is too far-fetched to be entertained-if it is useful. Masterminds are natural brainstormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them. They are also alert to the consequences of applying new ideas or positions. Theories which cannot be made to work are quickly discarded by the Masterminds. On the other hand, Masterminds can be quite ruthless in implementing effective ideas, seldom counting personal cost in terms of time and energy.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Stressful Weeks Ahead

On Valentine's Day, I got the time and location of my Oxford interview. I am very nervous about it. Some people get grilled, others get off easy. I hope I fall into the latter camp.

These next two weeks are going to be stressful: I'm interviewing on the 21st for a marketing role on the internet services team at my company, I'm taking my first stats midterm on the 24th, and my Oxford interview is on the 1st. I suppose I would feel more relaxed if I didn't have to ace my midterm. (Yale recommended that I take this class in order to prove that I could handle its quant heavy core curriculum.) If I don't get an A in the class, I don't get into Yale. If I do get an A, I may not be admitted even still. This is all somewhat frustrating. But, it would all be worth it if I got in.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Edit Nazis

Why do so many bloggers detail their edits?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is an online journal, akin to a diary. This doesn't make me a journalist. I am bound by no code of ethics here. I write this primarily so that I have a record of my thoughts and feelings about the b-school experience. If anyone can relate to what I'm writing here (and I don't flatter myself that they do), they are welcome to read it.

Are there "edit nazis" out there reviewing the blogs, ready to pounce on every edit that hasn't been noted by its author?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

B-School Forum on

I am really astonished by some of the things I read on this forum.

A few of the people who post on this forum seem capable of reason. But the vast majority strike me as petty and/or ignorant.

There's a poster that goes by HBomb05, for instance, who claims that Harvard is number one and that anyone who attends any other business school is just pretending to study business. This is so ridiculous I don't even know where to start.

"Fit" is more important than "brand." I know too many MBAs who found this out the hard way. Additionally, the school you choose is not as important as the kind of person/professional you are and what you have accomplished in your career. A high emotional IQ will take you farther than a high IQ alone. I don't deny that having Harvard or Stanford on your resume will generate some interest; but your prior work experience and ability to play well with others are the factors that will ultimately land you a job. I know I'm not the only one who gets this, but I feel as though I am often in the minority on the forum.

BTW, if one more person on the forum suggests the mass consumption of alcoholic beverages as a way to soften the blow of a ding or to celebrate an acceptance, I may totally lose it. The occasional drink is fine, but anyone who advises others to "get drunk" is either 1) trying to sound cool, which only serves to show how un-cool he/she really is; or 2) an alcoholic.

Also, I would like to propose that the words, "dude" and "mate," never again be allowed to appear in the forum.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Stats Chapter 6

Tonight, I begin studying continuous random variables and their probability distribution.

Statistics, so far, has proven to be interesting. I definitely see its value. The only thing I wish I had more of was its history. For instance: Who, exactly, was Mssr Poisson? How did he come up with the distribution formula that bears his name? What drove him to spend hours and hours figuring this stuff out? Why at that point in history? How did it move the field forward? Did people make fun of him when he was kid because his last name meant "fish"? (Okay, this last question is somewhat gratuitous.)

I can deal with being given a formula and being instructed to use it without question. But it helps me to know how to use the formula when I am given information on how it came to be. Maybe I just remember "context" more easily than I do a bunch of Greek and English letters piled on top of each other.

Oh well. Better start studying.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Yale Waitlist

When I received notification of the adcom's offer to waitlist me, I was floored. I was 100% positive that a DING was on the way. I never received an interview or heard anything from the adcom after the last of my transcripts had been submitted. It only made sense. I had even started coming to terms with it. I only had myself to blame, I reasoned. I didn't spend enough time on the essays. I didn't do well enough on the GMAT. I totally over-shared, which, you'd be surprised to learn, makes many people uncomfortable. Plus, when I re-read my application essays about two weeks after submitting them to Yale, I saw a sentence in one of them that shocked the hell out of me. I won't tell you what it was. Let's just say that if you knew me and heard me say it, you would think it was hilarious. If you didn't know me and you read it, you would certainly raise an eyebrow.

So, in my eyes, a flat-out rejection was definitely in the cards. Fortunately, Yale's adcom is very forgiving. I gladly accepted its offer to place me on its waitlist, and then contacted the school for feedback. As it turns out, my quant score was a point of concern. (Yes, I did well enough on the GMAT in terms of my overall score, but when you look at the the math and verbal scores individually, well . . . What can I say? My B.A. is in English, people!) The adcom recommended that I 1) retake the GMAT, or 2) enroll in a stats or finance course. Well, the GMAT wasn't going to happen. The test is too stressful. And besides, I don't know how often in my career I would need to be able to measure the surface area of a balloon in ten seconds or less. I reasoned that a course in stats would be more indicative of my quantitative ability and would give me knowledge that I could use throughout my professional life, regardless of whether or not I got into Yale. So I started a stats course - three weeks after the first class had begun - through UC Berkeley Extension. I am pleased to say that I am already caught up.

Yale also had a question on my resume, but this was easily straightened out.

So, I'm hoping that Yale will be able to render a decision sometime after my first midterm. I know that's extremely optimistic. Still . . . I got this far. Who knows what could happen?!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

OK, here's the deal . . .

I have already applied to two schools, Yale and Oxford. I have been waitlisted at Yale. I will be interviewing with Oxford at the beginning of March.

Why Oxford and Yale? Well, first, I created a list of what I wanted in a b-school: students from all over the world, a small class size, bright and ambitious classmates, etc. Then, I created another list. This list enabled me to determine where I stood a reasonable chance of admission based upon my UGGPA (3.3 from top public school), GMAT score (90th+ percentile), age (early 30s at time of entry), and other factors. When I used my lists to determine which schools I would apply to, Yale and Oxford were the only programs that rose to the top of my third and final list - the "Yes, apply!" list.

I drew the following conclusions when going through the usual list of suspects: I'm too old for Stanford and Harvard. My GMAT's too low for Columbia. Harvard, Kellogg and Wharton are too large. I hate Boston, so that was another strike against Harvard and the only one I needed to rule out MIT. Also, while I don't have to be in a major city that I enjoy visiting, I have to be near one, so Tuck fell out of the picture (although, of all of the essay questions that I read, Tuck's were the most interesting, and this alone almost lead me to apply there). I didn't want to spend half a year writing anywhere from four to six essays per application. And I didn't want to return to my alma mater, nor was I interested in its sister to the south.

And that's how the decisions were made. I know that there are differences between Yale and Oxford in terms of how the programs are structured. If I'm lucky enough to get admitted into both programs, I will face a very difficult choice. Right now, my perception is that both schools will be able to offer me the education and challenging (but intimate) environment I am seeking. I'm pretty flexible, and my expectations are reasonable. I know that it will be up to me to make the most of any school's academic offerings and that finding a job in my field (not IB, finance, or consulting) will be largely dependent on my own efforts.

I am now trying to get myself onto Yale's admit list. I am also preparing for my Oxford interview. I have a lot of work to do.