Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Your status at school Z has been updated

School Z has made the incredibly difficult decision to ding you without interview.

The tour of the school should be real fun now.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

time drifts by like a neon snake

Updates have been sparse this week. This is due to a current experiment in my daytime world of our team. It is the increased workload, decrease headcount experiment. Time series data shows this experiment trends towards failure, but if it works offers great rewards to the implementer.

Anyway, this means I am hectic busy, silly hours busy. That, and outside of times I am spending as much in the company of Ms Soliloquous as possible – mostly because I am away for a week visiting A, 2, and Z. Not just that, but then a week after I return she is away for a fortnight over easter on Maid-of-honour and family visiting duties.

This can be summarised to mean two things:

If I find interweb access, you may get some posts while I am in the US. If instead I am absorbing culture whilst listening to HNAS and Nu-Creative Sounds and other stuff then sorry. Everyone needs a holiday (of sorts).

From my return, we will pick up more on the GMAT stuff. I have elements noted down and constructed but they aren’t ready. Folks, I know that GMAT is a topic of great value to some, and just plain huge bad-mind discussion to others. Every word is likely to be assessed, so I have to make sure it reads as intended. I want to get it right, and the two weeks that Ms S is away are a good opportunity for this. Though there may be some Champions League football around then, and pubs open. So, don’t put your house on it being every day.

But, for the meantime, let’s have a roll call on the schools.

  • A – Interviewed. Visit arranged.
  • 2 – Interview arranged. Visit arranged as well.
  • Z – Visit arranged. Radio silence phase one persists, and could for about another month before serious concerns begin. Softly, softly, catchy monkey.

    Any other business

  • So that is the schools bit. In other things, I was indulging in a happy pastime of fatty TV™ (read ITV2, ITV3, BBC3, BBC4) last night. Modern programming seems to have moved a focus onto kids who only eat chips (applause when they eat a sausage) and only eat beans. Then there was the 27 stone teenager, who needed a leg-pressure gauge on her arm to take her blood pressure. Well, last night was the fattest kid on earth, the 17 stone seven year old from Russia. Chubby delight. The Stanley Cup of Fatty TV, he was. As ever, they send a doctor along from A-Developed-CountryLand to check him out, and conclude that he is fat. Not only that, but concluding that being seven years old and weighing more than an overweight 6ft man isn’t healthy. Fall off your chair stuff it was, really. ADCL Doctor reckoned that his mom was feeding him ‘roids to get him into being a mythical beast (he was praised as a reincarnation of some mythical heavy, honest) and to become a pro sumo wrestler. He has the bone structure of a 13 year old, they say. Well, considering he is one-and-a-half times my late-twenties bone structure carries, it is just as well. It was FAF to watch 17-stone fatty take on a normal size kid his age at sumo. Unsurprisingly, he won. Sumo coach was impressed with his skills. Beyond the humanitarian and health mask to the programme, they fit in the “look at the fatty!” moments with style. Small carriage of big wheel (legs dangling)? Check. Swimming? Check. “Exercising”? Check. In a bumper car, trashing smaller peoples cars? Check. Filling a front seat in a car? Of course.

  • There is new theme music on hollyoaks. It has been given the thumbs down by the jury.

  • I made a sock monkey at the weekend when the rugby was on (I didn’t watch the rugby). It was a nice day in the pub with friend photographer and his lovely lady. Her sock monkey was the better of the four, but it appears to have lost its ears in transit on the way back to Nottingham. Photos of the dwarf, mentally impared-looking sock monkey I made may arrive later in the week.

  • The Saints have won the league. After all the concerns in the recent post, schedule means I will play the final game, make the ball, and get to the US. We won at the weekend 5-2 in a somewhat impressive performance. I apologise (for about the umpteenth time) to the player I hit in the head with the ball, and needed length medical attention to stop the bleeding. Unintentional, as he understands. Getting their forward sent-off was a bit more planned. Anyway, third and second played at the weekend, and the result all but gave us the title, barring some very suspicious score-lines (and also us having to lose badly against second place this weekend). That means champagne and all on Saturday. Hoorah.
  • Friday, 9 March 2007

    World MBA Tour (except not really much of the world)

    I have been running with song titles as blog headlines for quite a length of time now (in such an infant page, this claim can be dealt with the disregard it deserves). But last night was one of those things that fill rare qualities on here. “Relevance”, being the main one of those qualities that is so rare, we best dwell on it.

    The World MBA tour thing hit town. It was in Holborn, and I was interested in going along for a variety of reasons. First, I have the big dinner thing coming up at the same venue in a fortnight, so I could scout for pubs. Second, I have done very little of the “conventional” MBA research stuff. I did GMAT from a whim in a NYC bookstore (well, a bit more considered than that, but lets sell it as “self-started” and move on), I selected MBA schools without them trying to select themselves onto me, and I have only really talked about what and where with people [i]once[/i] I had applied. Third, there were some schools there where meeting them might be a good idea.

    So, I trekked across town (WC sucks), the Central line in rush hour being the typical bandit-fare as ever. There was a lengthy queue outside the venue. This was the first bad sign. A queue to get to see some tables. I got flyered for courses in the queue. This was fun – the last time I got fliers in a queue I found out that Ariel Pink was doing another show in town (outside the Boredoms gig, it actually gave me the url for upset the rhythm so I knew of their shows). These were not so fun. Do people really spend £1000 on a training course on GMAT? If so, I have dead-straight got myself a sideline earner when I get into school. I would guarantee one-on-one tuition to get someone up to their required GMAT for $1500. Reasonable cap meaning I don’t get people saying 800 and all. That will safely cover the bills.

    Anyway, that isn’t the point. I am waiting outside what is little more than a recruitment fair, at 6pm in a street in London. Because the registration is taking too long (this being after online registration – registration appeared to be checking your name on a bundled list, taking some money off you and giving you a sticker). I waited about fifteen minutes, mostly with the aim to see one school and then float around.

    Once I got in, it was like societies fair at university. Tables, little presentation screens, gimmicks to try and draw you in. It seems very odd to me that Schools are so keen to make an effort to recruit – it almost points to the fact they are struggling for numbers or quality applicants I find. Sure, this is not a factually based thought, but it is the impression that you get – a desperate desire to increase numbers, quality or whatever. I think this is actually partly based upon the fact that I hate this type of event.

    Anyway, World MBA tour was somewhat a misnomer. Several of the schools advertised on the site earlier in the week had pulled their stands, most significantly including the one that I wanted to see. International scoring on the stands was three Australian, one Windies, one Singaporean, and seven US. The rest were European. Not wanting to go to a European school, this kind of killed the night off for me. Sure, before I get told I should research these things, I was there for one school, that I found out was pulled as I went in. Having queued and paid, I had a look around (and picked up a monster.com ugly toy thing.) As for the popularity, the LBS and INSEAD stands were rocked off their feet, and every other stand was trying to lure people in. Not much surprising there, then.

    The crowd was very representative of every business school trend I have seen reported. Sure I had read that there was the huge surge in Indian applications, but I was taken aback when I was in the fair. I had lazily assumed that this would be a localised effect on global applications, whereas it became rapidly apparent that the MBA is a big thing to Indians, full stop. It was very fun to be in a space where there as such a demographic mix – sadly, there was little reason to be there. There were lots of really quite serious looking people there too. I suppose I should have expected this, but it left me feeling quite distressed. I hoped for lots of work hard, but look like they would be fun in the pub folks. I got people who would probably order crème de menthe. Not good.

    I looked into the presentation rooms, but it was a talked-to powerpoint on preparation. Given I have applied to three schools, interviews with two, it was all a little late for me. Given that I hate powerpoints even when they are even relevant (unless the presenter is actually captivating, which is sadly rare). Lots of people were there, and I hope some got a lot out of it. It was disappointing for me that none of the major schools were there, but I suppose this sits so badly in their schedule of stuff to do, it is hardly surprising. As I alluded to earlier – having your admissions staff here would suggest you are low on applicants to review, or – maybe – you are in town interviewing around the date.

    Whether I get in or not, I will not be heading back to one of these events. Interaction with the desks for the schools didn’t look as though it would be particularly beneficial to any applicant’s case. It was more having someone to speak to about things, formulate their first ideas about MBAs, GMAT, in a place where you know they will try and sell whatever you want to hear to you. If you want that, these things are great. If you don’t, then you will probably feel the internet has superseded the necessity for such road-show events, as you can find the information yourself. I am firmly in the latter category.

    It did look like a good party venue though, and at least when I return to the venue, there will be alcohol.

    Wednesday, 7 March 2007

    Foreign Accents

    With most the deadlines for people hitting dates in the next month and half, there is clearly some tension seeping into the MBA communities as announcements are awaited. I would obviously like to consider myself an exception, and for the most part I am managing quite well. I am not stressed about the notices from them, I am stressing about how I can arrange to visit them, and then stressing about the possibility of doing so permanently.

    I am going to have to either the last game of the season for my team (top of the table clash, no less, in fact it will most likely be for the title if we win this weekend), or going to have to miss the end of season ball. I can’t miss the end of season ball, as it will be my soiree if everything MBA goes right. Which also means that if everything goes right, this will be my last game for the Saints. At least for two years; possibly forever. Thinking about this kind of change really brings it home to me the scale of what I am planning.

    I have never been a person of a large group of friends, but the guys from my team are amongst the best people I have met. Two years of sport and partying, involving some very drunken nights of discovering that sambuca doesn’t mix well in a 10 pint jug, that gin in the jug gets everyone going crazy, that I am really unfortunate at arrogance, quite good at three coin spoof (especially with ghosts), and can about hold my own in games of aliens and its variants. The bouncing coin game is still a loss to me. There was the alleged falling asleep in a club (I don’t remember this), the whole of the festival where I had my drinks spiked, and drinks in town where we had to carry a few of the players home. In true stereotype of this fine land, there is a concurrent theme. We got promoted both seasons too, but that is a side issue (the fact that this season in the league above the other that it has been an easier year is an unexplainable side-issue).

    Some applicants seem to choose to apply to local places, and others look to improve their status and wages in moving overseas. I am in the third camp – the group that decides that going somewhere entirely different (country, attitude, choice of cars, temperature of beer, climate – everything) would be the best way forward for me. There is nothing wrong with where I am at all. I have one of the best business schools in the world nearby. I just feel that this whole thing should be a change. And actually flying out to see the schools is the first time I have actually thought how absurd my plan is.

    It will be a big change – one in which I will be Best Man for my man T in Ibiza during the summer 2008, with me being somewhere in the US. One where my photographer friend, who is kipping round mine at the weekend, will probably want to visit even more, but will less likely give me a weeks notice. One where Mr Chow and his lovely lady won’t be able to invite us to a cheese and wine evening of such surreal carnage, where I will bump into a friend who’s phone number I lost when I got mugged and thought I’d never get again. Ten years of good friends are all soon to be a huge flight away (school friends aren’t under any consideration here as they number a cool zero). I knew all this when I started, but as it moves closer to being a reality it is becoming more of a wrench. Not one that I will back away from, but one that I had not realised would be quite as difficult to me as it most probably will turn out.

    So everything becomes a stress about friendships. I am going to be hugely absorbed in School if I go, because all my friends will be made from arriving at day one. It is like going to University all over again, but this time I am somewhat more assured and confident in my abilities. I told the gf how I would be disappointed if I didn’t top one class while at school. She laughed. I need these kind of objectives for going through this, as I am inherently lazy if I don’t give myself targets.

    But most of all, I will be making a new group of friends, away from enforced relationships and all that is typical now. I know it isn’t so bad – I went to University in a city I had never been to in my life, and was selected purely by a mixture of the sensible (it was a top rated course), the reasoned (it was sufficiently far from home), and the absurd (on page five of the viewbook there was a picture of a bulletin board with a poster on it of a band I liked playing a gig). This time I almost feel like I am overpreparing.

    Friday, 2 March 2007

    Yes Sir, I can Hardcore

    One post on GMAT, a link from the MBA blog-router and suddenly all goes crazy on the site-stats. I guess that this will put a strange perspective of me from some – taking a stance anti GMAT-importance is a lonely place. Given that people clearly feel there is more to read about this test (even they dare not give it the status of exam), I will return to this for maybe one post a week, or fortnight. Trust me to be a refreshing air on this favourite MBA topic, otherwise I won’t post about it at all. More than enough exists to put any candidate in a frenzied panic over their preparation, ability and potential; I have no intention to contribute to the volumes of information that already provide this invaluable service.

    I am planning a bit of a road trip to A, 2, and Z in a couple of week’s time. Transatlantic flights are pretty cheap at the moment, internal US flights even cheaper, but the carbon-offset for all this is going to be hefty kick in the tail. School 2 has asked me to interview, and unlike A, my research appears to show they are not keen at all on off-campus interviews. At the moment this is all being on hold – I am trying to pretend I haven’t really seen school 2’s email. Having logged into the site and had a look at how arrangements work, it would seem most unlikely they will fall for this. They must think I am playing it cool. Or scraping together money for flights.

    The truth for school 2 will be hurtful. As they are making me fly transatlantic, I am being ever the environmentalist and fitting in campus visits for A and Z at the same time (a fortunate part of my choices is that this will not involve huge internal flights and all). Not only that, but I am desperately procrastinating in the hope that Z might show its interview card, and I can kill two birds with the one stone. Whilst trying to appear blasé that, you know, flying there from Europe is just the kind of thing I do. School A were very kind about the idea of me visiting them already, and I am looking forward to going there despite already having completed an alumni interview. After all, interviewed or not, the flirting must continue until they announce whether they want to have a shot at the two-year MBA date, or whether not.

    The trip will provide a nice opportunity to see my brother, and meet with a few other people who have helped me to get to this point in the whole process. And let’s not forget that I can enjoy the power that is cable once more ($1.94 per sovereign coin is it now?) and buy something altogether unnecessary purely because it is relatively well priced.

    In other things, I am trying to ween myself off bad habits that I have developed through this process. First is that, through waiting MBA emails, I now check my spam all the time in case anything sneaks through. So far nothing has, and I doubt it will. I have, however, erstwhile become much more aware of the market price of Viagra, how I can make my girlfriend happier, and also of some Russian girl who I apparently said I would IM and wants to send me pics. From an email address of someone named Jeff. If it weren’t for the Spam Casserole recipes, it would be so easy.

    Life is slow. I am off to the pub. If you catch me at the bar I will buy you a pint, and we can just talk some crap. I am super Friday bored. If someone can find me a copy of photoshop for idiots or something so I can get an almighty great crustacean at the top of this thing, I will up the odds to a carafe.

    Oh, I have been asked to DJ again, with my friend who I used to run a club with. This gig might not happen, but the potential for me to kill a dance-floor once again is in the offing. Ferenc and others are still to hand, and the kids still don’t know them, so it could be fun.