Go Blue!

I received word a few days ago that I got into Michigan!  This is the first and only acceptance I have so far, but it definitely is a great opportunity.  As of today, I am wait listed for Duke, have an interview scheduled for USC, awaiting a Georgetown decision (with interview), and awaiting to hear anything from UCLA and Berkeley. 

I am planning to attend “Go Blue Rendevous” in April which is there admit weekend.  This will be my first time going on campus and I believe I will be pleasantly surprised based off of everyone I have researched and heard from others. 

After looking at the summer timeline, it seems like I will have a lot of time between getting out of the Army and the start of classes.  A friend mentioned going into a pre-MBA program like the ones offered by Deloitte and other companies.  Getting a head start on refining my career outlook will probably make my first year more focused in order to ensure my time is well spent.  Michigan also offers summer treks to different parts of the world to get to know your fellow students better.  Seems like a great idea, but just getting my life in order in the next few months seems like more then enough to handle…. on the other hand, it might be a while before I get to travel while not conducting any sort of business.

Thank you, Ross, for the very straight forward and timely admissions process.  I am likely to see you this fall!

Michigan Ross School of Business Interview

First, I’m back from my third and final deployment!  I have about 4 months left in the Army and I still have no idea where I will live once I’m done… hopefully Michigan will turn out to be a viable option.

I opted for the Skype interview for this one.  I feel that the interview went “ok” and it went be very quickly.  They asked a pretty traditional set of questions:

-Walk me through your resume and highlight anything of note

-Why MBA, how does it tie to your goals

-Why Ross, how will you contribute, what do you want to get out of Ross

-Personal Weaknesses

-Questions for him

I was hoping they would ask more more leadership questions, but that did not seem to be the focus for my interview at least.  A friend of mine told me they asked a completely different set of questions, which leads me to believe they gear the interview to what they think might be weak or missing in your application.  I would say my MBA goals and why I wanted to go to Ross might not have been clear within my application, but I am probably reading too much into it.

I still feel hopeful to hear from at least one of my California schools, but if I don’t…. GO BLUE or HOYAS!

Focus on the Target

It seems to be pretty easy to get wrapped up into your immediate/ short term goals with respect to applying to MBA programs.  I just recently started looking at the GMAT forum, blogs, etc. and realized that I was sucking myself into the time consuming task of “inactively waiting.”

For the last week, I have been pouncing on my tablet everytime I heard a ding from my email app…. I’m 31 years old and I am acting like a teenage girl waiting to hear from the boyfriend that may never actually call (sorry if you’re a teenage girl).  Since I can only wait at this point, my free time could be better spent going onto Khan Academy to review statistics, researching companies that I will eventually intern in or work at, networking with students at the schools I am planning on attending, or a host of other productive things that will focus me in on doing well in an MBA program, easing my transition out of the military, and focusing in on long term trajectory.

I’ve fallen into the trap a few times before and it always ends the same way:  a climatic end, a sense of relief followed by a vegetation period, and then an abrupt realization that the journey hasn’t even started yet…. no sir! You won’t get me this time.

No dice on Duke

Failure sucks, but it definitely is part of the up and down roller coaster of the admissions process.  Fuqua School of business (Duke) put out their interview invitations yesterday, and unfortunately, I was not invited.  Being realistic, it is unlikely that I will be accepted.

It put me in a bad mood for a few hours… but I got I over it.

Still waiting to hear from Marshall (USC), Anderson (UCLA), and Haas (Berkeley)- my California Trio.  At this point, Bulldogs and Wolverines are looking pretty nice =).

Interview Invitation Week

After some quick research online on MBA program interview invitations, it seems like this week is the start of the big push for all programs to hand out interview invitations for Round 2 applicants.  So far, Ross (Michigan) and Georgetown are in the bag, but I still have not heard from Haas (Berkeley), Anderson (UCLA), Fuqua (Duke), and Marshall (USC).  Duke’s will come out on the 5th according to their website.

I really hope to have a California option in the next few weeks, but getting into a program is the primary goal.

3…..2……1…..  let’s see what this week brings.

Georgetown Interview

This interview was probably the first interview I have done in about 5-6 years or so.  I think it is safe to say that the interview went well and I will count it as a victory in my MBA journey.  Not having done an interview for quite some time, I made sure I was able to answer some of the basic questions with relative ease such as “Tell me about your background/Tell me about yourself” and “What are your short term and long term goals.”

After that, the interview just began to take shape on its own, and I realized that being in the army for as long as I have been, stories about leadership, working on teams, leadership challenges, etc. are readily accessible in my head and I was able to narrate my story with relative ease.  For any vets worrying about an MBA interview, I would say that the amount of challenges we deal with on a daily basis gives us a world of things to discuss.  As long as what you are talking about has some explanation in a civilian context and much of the jargon is removed AND there is thoughtfulness and a good taste of introspection, you have a recipe for success.  Recording yourself is also a big help.

I’m feeling good about this MBA thing so far.  It seems like people at Georgetown are excited about Georgetown and that I will be surrounded by “Good Dudes” who are all way smarter than I am!   That isn’t a bad thing- I think it will be very beneficial for my own growth and hopefully this “old dog” can teach them something as well.

Still haven’t heard from any of my California schools yet…  The journey continues.

What’s my next mission?

I began thinking about how effectively I will be able to transition from the Military into business school and futher transition into the civilian workforce.  I recently heard of a a former friend of mine undergoing a difficult transition.  The most simple way to sum up his difficulties: No more missions to accomplish…

Finding meaningful purpose in what we do is probably something we all strive for; otherwise, our lives are pretty bland.  The biggest disconnect I beleive I will feel and others I know have felt when they leave the service is a loss of a higher purpose, loss of the feeling of being part of a massive team accomplishing great missions.  A friend of mine who use to be in the military told me, in a nutshell, being in his industry sucks and all he is doing is trying to make money for people he dosen’t care about.  I had another friend who got out a few years ago tell me he was frustrated with the way “civilians” do not prioritize the “mission” like Soliders do.  I think these our common complaints among people first coming into the Civilian/business world, but I don’t think they are lasting complaints-or at least, not to the degree that they are complaints in the begining.

The majority of people, over a period of time, will eventually articiulate their new mission in life and learn to be in a comfortable spot.  The success or failure of this is knowing what you are passionate about.  This shouldn’t be misinterpreted with what you are skilled at: “I was a good at shooting things in the army so I should become a police officer…” or “I loved making powerpoints (…said NO ONE ever) so this office job will be great.”  Finding the root of what drives you as a human being will pay more dividends than just finding what you are good at.  They could also be one in the same thing though for those lucky individuals.

What does “passion” sound like?

Examples- “I like to help others” “I like to solve complex problems” “I like the feeling of pure exhausition when I am on my last squat repetition” “I like guiding others through life” “I like to see the positive impact my leadership makes on my subordinates”

With these examples, they provide more of a framework that can possibility be applied to anything that you do or any job that you start.  So, it may not be a matter of finding the “right” job, but a matter of how you approach that job that will ease your transition.

Ross School of Business Interview Invite

Received an interview from the Ross School of Business (University of Michigan), which I am pretty excited about!  Ross is my top school outside of California, and if I had to decide between the other schools I hope to get accepted to and Ross, it would be a difficult decision.

Ross offers the on campus, off campus, and skype interview like Georgetown did, but for their on campus interview, they have a team based exercises as part of the evaluation process which seems pretty interesting.  The timing of it doesn’t work out with my redeployment, but I will at least get a skype interview in.

I’m relieved that things are going positively thus far.  Hopefully the success continues!  Once I actually do one of these interviews, I will write more specifically on how it went.

Georgetown Interview Invite

So, I made some progress on my applications.  I received an invite from Georgetown for an interview!  I was actually a little suspicious at first since it came only 2 weeks after I submitted my application, but I guess it is really counterproductive to to be suspicious at something that needs to happen before being admitted, hah!

I outlined some of the questions that are typically asked and recorded myself on video (I will be doing this interview on skype)…I quickly realized that I suck.  It is probably due to the fact that I am not actually interacting with another person; nonetheless, I will be working on it for the next week or so.

One thing I need I am truly weak at is selling myself (Probably not the best quality to have as a businessman).  I know I can prove my worth in action/work/execution, but trying to prove to someone  that I do not know, that I am valuable to them in 30 minutes… I don’t know if they will truly get a feel for the type of person I am. ..

I guess I do “interviews” all the time: first impressions on people I meet that either need something from me or I need something from them.  The most successful encounters I have had, I was natural, thoughtful, and I knew what I was talking about….. I just answered my own question, sweet.  Thanks blog.

Putting value to things that normally would have zero value

I talked with one of my Lieutenants after the Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) 12 Mile road march and he mentioned things like the EIB, which is a blue, squared shaped badge with the emblem of a rifle on it,  are things that Infantryman hold value to and we use it to discriminate who is better than the other.  If it wasn’t for everyone who has earned it previously and the value we put to it, it is just another piece of metal.  The same thing goes with the Ranger Tab:  In itself, it is just a piece of cloth, but as a organization/ culture, we give it value and encourage others to attain the Ranger Tab.  Every service of the military has the same badges, trinkets, medals, awards that the organization gives value to.  Outside of the organization, it really isn’t worth anything.

If you ever want to believe in anything in life, you have to drink from the trough of Kool-aid in front of you.  Ask yourself: What do I believe in?  What will I give 100% for?  What am I willing to sacrifice to uphold and defend my beliefs?  You can easily go through life having absolutely no direction and no meaning, and you die.  When you embrace life (drink the Kool-aid) things that previously had no meaning now have meaning.  When you now have purpose and meaning, life begins to take on various shapes and colors, making for a fulfilling adventure.

I might have lost you in all that… to sum it up, don’t downplay the many things that different cultures put value on.  Although some things may seem silly from the outside, they are simply examples of people trying to find meaning in a crazy world.  Those people are trying… are you?