Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Yale Interview

With R1 (the round in which I applied) over and done with and R2 concluding this Thursday, I had been feeling less than optimistic about my chances of being admitted. (Yale's SOM had a kick-ass R2 in terms of number/quality of applicants, or so I have been told.) But yesterday, I opened up my email to find an invitation to interview in New Haven!

When Yale said, "Jump!" I asked, "How high?" I have done everything to prove my interest upon being waitlisted - except visit the campus - and it appears to be paying off.

Truth be told, I was hoping for an admit without an interview, given my recent debacle with Oxford. But I don't think this interview is about trying to get a better sense of who I am or why I am interested. I feel that this has been communicated. I think this invitation is the final test of my devotion. That being the case, I have no choice. Yale is where I want to go - Now I have to go there to prove it.

So my interview is on April 11th. I am so close I can almost taste it. (I just got this image of me walking around the campus, licking every building. Hmmm . . .) I REALLY, REALLY WANT TO GO TO THE YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT!

That said, I am taking this interview seriously even though it may not be a "make or break." Friends of mine have volunteered to serve as "interviewers" in a series of mock interviews I have planned for next week. I will not have another Oxford. I will zip up my fly. I shall prevail!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I received the following email from Oxford this morning:

I hope you will not mind me contacting you with an invitation to attend our imminent Saïd Business School Information event, to be held on the 14th April at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View. I realise that you may have already have attended an event, have applied to the course, and may even have a place - however we did not want you to miss this opportunity to familiarise yourself further with the Saïd Business School and the programmes we offer, and to meet with MBA and other Oxford Alumni.

Let me get this straight: The school rejects me (based solely on my lackluster performance at the interview) then asks me to make it look more popular by taking up a seat at its info session at Google?

The school wants me to give it something in return for nothing, or am I looking at this a bit too cynically?

I would like to ask about reapplication procedures (should Yale decide to reject me, leaving me with the ding I am expecting from Harvard and no options until the following year), but this is not an “opportunity” for me. It’s an opportunity for the school.

Maybe I can make a deal with Oxford: Offer me a place and I’ll attend your info session. LOL! No, no, no. They don’t need me. They’ve made that abundantly clear.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Users and Spongebob

I had a minor incident at work today. Two weeks ago, a recruiter approached me about creating some posters for her new hire orientations. Just a week before that, she wanted me to create a flyer and a business card. Yesterday (when I was out of the office, sick), she left a post-it on my monitor asking me for an ETA on the materials she had requested. When I opened my inbox this morning, I found an email from her asking me to make changes on the flyer that I had already created for her, a question about another flyer that she had asked me to make (a request she had made in passing, the details for which I never received), and news about the merchandising acrylics that she had asked me to order for her. Okay. Enough was enough. I composed an email stating that I would not be able to get the items to her until next week. I also suggested that, in the future - if the need was urgent - she consider using our graphic designer, a vendor who does great work. I noted that this is someone we use when creative demands exceed our ability to produce. It was a very polite email, which was hard to affect because I was now fairly certain that this woman was officially harrassing me.

What upset me about this incident was that she seemed to think that I had all the time in the world to devote to her projects, as though I were her employee. I wanted to tell her, "My paycheck comes out of Marketing's budget; and until that changes, I can offer you only occassional support." But we don't always get to say what we want to; rather, we say what we have to to keep relationships intact. Anyway....

Rather than reply to me, she leaves my manager a voicemail. An hour later, I walk into my manager's office and she tells me about this voicemail. She plays it for me. In the voicemail, the recruiter says that she is going to talk to our region president and our finance manager to determine if her department would be able to pay for the designer. Interpretation: I'm telling on you.

I showed my manager the email I sent, which my manager agreed was kind and helpful. I then explained that I felt the recruiter was taking inappropriate advantage of our team's generous offer to provide marketing support to our partners. ("Generous" because we are desperately understaffed.) My manager sends the recruiter a vitriolic email from my computer, making sure to copy herself and the recruiter's manager. (I have so many issues with this approach I don't even know where to start!) All I know is that I am bound to have something unpleasant from the recruiter in my inbox on Monday. It appears as though I'll have to go to the recruiter's office to speak with her face-to-face. It's nice to know I'll be starting next week on such a positive note!

I'm watching Spongebob. It's the episode where Plankton teaches Spongebob how to be more assertive. At the end of the episode, Spongebob says,

"You used me . . . for land development! That wasn't nice."

I guess nobody likes feeling used, not even animated sea sponges.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Hybrid Says

Hybrid recently informed a poster on BW that the wait list was long (I believe her words were "not short") and that it would not be reviewed until the end of April.

My contact in AdCom made no mention of the length of the waitlist, but she suggested that it would be reviewed sooner rather than later.

Maybe the R1 waitlist will be reviewed at the beginning of April and the R2 waitlist at the end?

I suppose I should stop trying to guess when a decision will be made. If what Hybrid said in previous posts is true regarding the 20% YOY lift in R2 applications, I can't imagine anybody getting in off the waitlist any time before the end of April, when accepted candidates are required to make their intentions known. I can't imagine anybody getting in off the waitlist at all.

This is maddening. I envy those who already have admits and are in the throes of making arrangements. Good things come to those who wait. - I hope.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Letting Go - The HBS/AY Scandal

I am sick to death of hearing about this. I am mostly tired of hearing techies proclaim that what these people did was not hacking. People seem to be grasping at straws by honing in on the “hacking” part of it, arguing that because it wasn’t really hacking and the information was there to be viewed, that nobody did anything wrong. . . . except AY for creating an insecure system, and then Harvard for choosing to punish the offenders.

Not all of us are technologically savvy enough to know the difference between a “crack” and a “hack.” Most of us are unable to draw these kinds of distinctions. It’s similar to having a computer that suddenly stops working. Most of us are not really interested in knowing if it’s the hard drive, an issue with the software, what have you. These are details with which we would rather not concern ourselves. Yes, Harvard’s use of the word has put a criminal spin on the actions of these people. But I’m guessing it was AY that told Harvard that this was hacking. The school undoubtedly just picked that up and ran with it. At any rate, Harvard’s issue wasn’t that people “hacked” into the system. Its issue was that the people who did it should have known better than to “crack” or “hack into” the system. The people should have waited for the school's decisions to be released - officially. This is what Harvard believes. And this is an argument about beliefs.

I saw the post by brookbond late that night. When I first saw the post, I knew that it was only a matter of time before it was yanked off the forum. Knowing that, would I have made the decision to check anyway? Maybe. Temptation is strong and this process is tough. I did not have an application in at a school that uses AY, so I was fortunate to have been able to allow my circumstances to make my decision for me. The fact that the post appeared so late and was gone within nine hours meant that thousands of others were equally fortunate. Most of us were simply “lucky.” Some of us were not.

This is what I believe:

Harvard is right to be upset. Do I think the school’s decision to ding all 119 was harsh? Yes, but it was the school’s decision to make.

The HBS119 feel unfairly punished and stigmatized. Certainly, what these people did does not warrant the ideological beatings they have had to endure. Whether it was ethical, opportunistic, whatever, will forever be a subject of debate. There is no "right" answer here, contrary to what the more dogmatic individuals on BW and elsewhere would have us believe.

AY has an interesting take – but I don’t agree with it. How dare the company suggest legal recourse?! Kudos to Stanford for publicly stating that AY also must be held accountable.

I think sbsean – an offender with a great deal of personal integrity – had the right idea in expressing his desire to move on and in wishing luck to all. It’s time to stop the hair-splitting, the condemnation, the self-pity, and the ridicule. It’s time to let this go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Hacking, Sneezing, Sniffling

Yes, I have a cold. Me and nearly everyone else in the city. Not achy, fortunately. Just 90% mucous. (TMI, I know.)

My trip to Florida has been cancelled. That's fine. I'm not much for sun holidays anyway. I would prefer to look at old churches and visit museums than spend time on a beach somewhere.

I received a reply to the update letter I sent to Yale. You know, I've really enjoyed communicating with the school. It may sound hard to believe, but there's something refreshingly friendly and open about the people in adcom. No pretention. No attitude. Just very comfortable conversations. This jibes with the personalities of friends of mine who did their undergrad at Yale.

Admit weekend is coming up. Mid-April. I was told that the waitlist would most likely be reviewed at the beginning of April (after R2 decisions have been sent). Who knows? I may be in New Haven in the middle of April, having cocktails with Anne and Lindsay, scouting out apartments, and looking for a good taqueria.

I hope they have good Mexican food in New Haven! Well, if not in New Haven, maybe in New York.

Okay. Time for bed. I have to go to work tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Oxford Ding

I got the ding via email this morning. I was surprised by my reaction. I was actually RELIEVED.

Oxford was attractive to me for a number of reasons, and I knew I could get in. Oxford was my "safety" school. As time went on, I started to doubt my decision to apply there. Could I really live in England for a year, especially if my partner was unwilling to go with me? Would I really be able to learn enough in a year? Would I enjoy Oxford, given that I don't like London at all?

I wonder if I subconsciously sabotaged my interview. I wonder if I did the same thing with the Internet Services interview. If I am sabotaging my chances, why not just remove myself from consideration and spare everybody the hassle? Am I playing this weird game of chicken, wherein I express interest only to disengage during the interviews just to see how far I can get? What would be the point of this? To see how desparate the other parties are? Revenge, perhaps, for the desparation I sometimes feel/felt?

I used to be in recruiting, so I know what a good interview looks like. I didn't get my current position by giving a bad interview.

At some point, I'll have to figure out my motivations. In the meantime, I am still on the waitlist at Yale and doing everything I can to get off it. Maybe there's a part of me that knows that Yale is where I belong. I feel great when I think about going to school there. I feel great now.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I finished my Harvard application late last night, but had to wait to submit it. I had my performance review this morning, and I wanted make sure to include my new salary info on the app. Perfect timing.

This application was by the most difficult. It was also the best damned application I have ever written. Ever!!! Ding or no ding, I am proud of this!

I also sent an update letter to Yale today. Some good new responsibilities, a raise, and a solid midterm grade to report. I read somewhere that they will start reviewing wait-listed applicants in the middle of March. Hopefully, I'll hear something by the end of the month.

All I have to do now is wait. I'll be heading to Florida next week to get some much deserved R&R.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Terrible Headache

Sitting at home, stressed out of my mind.

I have to find one more recommender for Harvard . . . I know who I want it to be, but I was too busy last week to ask her. I'm also worried about the strengths and weaknesses essay. This has been the hardest one for me to write. I wonder if others find this essay as challenging as I do. Plus, I have to go through and fill in all of my work history. I have been working since I was fifteen years old. Do you have any idea how many jobs I have had?! Plus, I am paranoid that if I put the wrong date somewhere that I'll get blasted in the verification process . . . should I make it that far. Why can't Harvard make it simple, like Yale? I guess it's just one more way for the school to weed out the less-desirous. And they still receive, what, 7,000 applications every year? Crazy.

The deadline is this Wednesday at 2 p.m., PST.

Friday, March 04, 2005


So I finally have some perspective on the whole Oxford interview fiasco. I am not sure how important the interview is in the admissions process. A good number of those who interview are accepted. And it's not like I puked on the interviewer's shoes or anything. Okay, so maybe he caught a glimpse of my boxer briefs. But I didn't deliberately flash him!

I sent him an email, thanking him for the interview. I'll know next week whether or not I got in.

In other news, I told the ISG folks that I was no longer interested in the job. Truth is, I didn't think that I would feel comfortable working with the woman who interviewed me last. I dropped out of the race, only to discover that fate - cruel, sarcastic fate - had decided to intervene. One day later, I was told that she was moving from ISG to Retail and that she was going to be my boss's new boss! That means that I'll have to play nice whenever I see her. Ugh. For once, I want someone to have kiss my ass, knowwuddumsayin'?! The more I think about her, the more I realize what a freak show she is.

My final thought for this post: The whole HBS-ApplyYourself "scandal" really needs to go away.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Oxford Interview

I just had my Oxford interview.

All the questions I had anticipated - Why an MBA? Why now? Why marketing? What is your business idea? - were asked.

The question I didn't anticipate: "We have students from all of the world. What would make our students say 'I'm glad that J.B. was in my class'? " My answer:


5 seconds of silence.

*Blink. Blink*

Another 5 seconds of silence.

"That's a good question."

*Blink. Blink*


Then, in starts and stops, "Well, I think I have some unique work experience. So on the academic side of the experience, my H.R. and marketing contribution . . . [enter poorly worded conclusion to this sentence here] . . . On the personal side, I have a diverse background. . . ."

It was probably the worst answer I have ever given to any question. The question was simple, "What can you contribute?" The answer was . . . well . . . complicated and inarticulate.

To be fair, I was tongue-tied throughout the entire interview. At one point, I actually stopped to say, "I'm sorry. I'm not being very articulate." For those of you not in the know, THIS IS SOMETHING YOU ARE NEVER ALLOWED TO SAY. EVER. It makes you look like a blithering idiot. At than moment, that's exactly what I was.

The last thing I said, in true Jerri Blank fashion, was "It was a pleasure." Okay, clearly I did not find the experience pleasureable. I'm sure Professor Westbrook, my interviewer, didn't find it pleasureable either. That the poor man had to suffer through that interview . . . Ugh. He's such a nice guy, too.

The icing on the cake: I realized at the end of the interview that my fly was open.

So, congrats to the Said class of 2006. I'm 99.9% sure of the fact that I will not be among you. Maybe I should send a letter to the admissions committee explaining my poor performance. Although, that would probably sound stupid, too.