Thursday, September 27, 2007

Simply Off

Do you ever have those days where you want a friendly voice and a big hug? They aren’t bad days, but by no means are they good. It’s a day you’d rather not have in your repertoire, but because it’s over, you move on. Yesterday, was that day for me. Not only did I run late all day, I just couldn’t grasp myself or articulate my thoughts. Both huge problems when you have the first of your business school interviews, Georgetown. I felt under prepared, but perhaps I couldn’t have prepared any better. I honestly can't decipher how it went, but seeing that's the exact feeling I had about the GMAT, I'm thinking positive.

I’m a bag of mixed emotions right now and stressed seems to be at the top. I’m excited for this weekend and seeing a bunch of old friends, but I realize I need more time for everything that is on my plate and specifically, more time for my essays. Some days I feel like I’m a competitive candidate and my story makes sense. Those days are offset by the ones where I wonder what the heck I’m doing. How can you radiate confidence if you’re not sure you’re confident? I need to take a step back and reflect.

I picked up a book yesterday called "Now, Discover Your Strengths". It was recommended by one of the panelists for the Forte Foundation. She said it helped her figure out who she is and how to articulate it. I'm hoping it will do the same for me. I also browsed a book titled, "You Don't Need to Have a Title to be a Leader". I took some notes and opted not to buy it, but hopefully those notes will help me convey my message. I am your classic behind the scenes leader. I am not a manager and I'm not in the management position, but I have developed leadership skills and I'm often at the forefront of an initiative. I easily adapt to where I'm needed, although I prefer to be in a realm that feeds off my current skill set. I'm hoping this book will help me focus the conversation I'm having with adcom reps and put forward my best foot with my essay. I guess only time will tell.

In the meantime, I continue to cultivate ideas and add to what I've already written. I have also started anew quite a few times because I didn't like the direction of the story. I was struggling with not repeating myself in my interview and I'm hoping to dig up more examples from my last 3 years at Ensemble.

"There's only so much you can do, but if someone doesn't give you the chance, there is nothing you can do." - Charlize Theron

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Quest Continues: Darden

I went from knowing all the schools I wanted to apply to not having a clue who numbers 4 and 5 will be. That may have changed last night. Darden held a non-traditional reception in San Francisco. I walked in, not knowing a lot about the school and perhaps I still don't know a lot, but I understand the culture. I call the reception non-traditional because the admissions director talked for maybe 5 minutes and the rest was left to mingling with various graduates of Darden. I spoke with members of '93, '07, and '86. I got some great advice about Darden and MBA programs in general.

What I noticed most about these graduated members of Darden is their charisma. They all know how to interact and more importantly, network. Isn't that what the real world is about anyhow? My mom comments that I network better than most people she knows. Perhaps that's true, but my excuse is that I simply like people and I like to bring a smile to their face. In the reception atmosphere, I got a good sense that everyone wanted to help each other. The turn out was good considering the presence on the West coast has recently increased. The alumni network remains small compared to other top programs, but it's very close knit. There was also a lack of arrogance that I liked. I think Darden just went from investigation to apply.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Must Be Monday

You can only push a girl away for so long. Until she walks out of your life on her own, so be careful and make sure this is what you want because once she turns around, she isn’t coming back.

Every story has an end, but in life, every end is just a new beginning.

Don't be wreckless with other peoples hearts, don't put up with people who are wreckless with yours.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Politics of Leadership

There are different forms of leadership. There's leadership in the general sense of running things and being the pinnacle of an organization. There's behind the scenes leadership where one contributes to a goal without the transparency of seeing who is doing the work. Leadership is initiative, interaction, teamwork, guidance, organization, and prioritizing. It can be managing people, things, and general tasks. It's also inspiring/influencing peers to meet a goal. Leadership can also be creativity and encouragement.

There are tiers of leadership and one is just as important as the next. Someone may not be in charge but show characteristics of leadership. The important part to remember about leadership is that there is no single definition. And because of this, many people view leadership differently.

I started thinking about my event last night. Spinsters of San Francisco put on their first fall charity party of the 2007-2008 year. I am the hostess co-chair and thus organize a small group of hostesses for every event. I, along with my co-chair, report to a member of the Board. My co-chair and I decided that we would alternate who is running the committee at each event. The balance lets one of us work and the other have fun.

For the most part, I rarely stress. The benefits of stress simply aren't worth the hassle. However as the second shift began, I started to fluster. I had already gotten a cancellation and decided that I would simply step in for the shift. One of my hostesses was diligently early as was asked of her and I quickly gave her directions and a position. I tried calling the missing hostess a few times. Next I knew, my phone was ringing and the person was asking who this was. It was easy to tell that she was somewhere in the venue and with slight disdain, I snapped, "aren't you supposed to be hostessing?" I don't mean to sound forward or rude, but I feel we ask very little of our hostessing members. It's a required hour of their time that they choose and an extra 5 minutes we ask for that seriously helps me out.

Finally pulling myself together and relieving my old hostesses and replacing them with new ones, I tried to calm down. My board director asked how things were going and I commented, well, as long as I don't have to call people to show up for their shifts. Perhaps that was snooty of me, but it wasn't what I needed to make the night flow. She asked who, to which I replied I don't want to name names. She pulled the, I'm your board director, you have to tell me, so I did. Turns out she was friends with the girl. I quickly retreated to my post, a bit miffed that I said anything at all.

This is the other difficulty with leadership - politics. I don't care if you're my best friend, if you're supposed to be somewhere, I have no sympathy when you don't follow through on your obligations. As a leader, you have to think quick on your feet and often fill the empty holes of a project. I'm not about to burn a bridge over a power trip, but as college educated females, we should understand our commitments. Hostessing is the first impression that everyone gets of the Spinsters, we want it to be a good one so that they return for future parties.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Investigation: Grad School

Sometimes I wish I had a bit more time to investigate grad school, but seeing I don't, I have tried to move on to the actual investigation. My weeks have been filled with information sessions from various schools. Some of which I'd consider applying and others that I want nothing to do with. Either way, it's a process; one that is hardly done.

I want to apply to 5 schools. I picked that number to give me some breadth in the type of schools I apply as well as giving myself some options. It's a lot of work as a candidate to write 3-6 essays per school. It's a lot of work as a recommender to answer school specific questions about the candidate. It's not that I'd like my bosses to forget that I'm applying to graduate school, but I do not want it at the forefront of their minds.

Thus far, I'm excited to say I'm applying to Northwestern, Harvard and Georgetown. I also am highly considering Michigan. I am looking at UVA and Wharton. London Business School also interests me as well as Texas. It's going to be hard to narrow down the options because there's so many of them. I definitely want to find the right fit and the right program for me.

Next Post: What I Want from B-School

You Have No Upcoming Events

A miraculous thing happened today or perhaps it's not miraculous and just a sign of life mellowing out. I logged on to evite today and was met by "You have no upcoming events". As a member of both Spinsters of San Francisco and the soccer community, my social calendar is never empty. If it's not a game or a meeting, it's a party or a fundraiser, but this week, it's empty, at least as far as evite is concerned.

My week is not as empty as it may seem, but after the events of the past few months, I'm looking forward to having a couple day breather. I still have practice on Wednesday, a Spinsters event on Thursday and a game on Sunday. All fun things, but without MBA information sessions as I've had the last few weeks, I may actually get a moment to start my grad school essays. Here's hoping.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Everyday is Learning

What I’ve found is I’m not perfect
I’m flawed in ways that I can’t quite explain
My advisors don’t always have the advice I need
And I spent too much time listening to them
Rather than myself

I cruised,
In everything I did
Be it work, play, friendship, relationship
I let it mold me
Instead of molding it
I don’t have regrets
Only natural mistakes

I’ve learned that I want to be better
Inside and out
I want to share time with those special in my life
I don’t need to know everyone
But those few close people dear to my heart
My effort should be with them
And for them

There’s a balance of selfish and selfless
It takes time and communication, to discover what is right
Sometimes you have to give everything
And sometimes nothing
It’s never even,
But it can’t be one sided

Love sneaks up on you
Whether you want to feel it or not
Be aware of it,
It’s an important and phenomenal feeling
It can also destroy every part of you
Tread softly

Dreams are what we make of them
Without the risk of failure,
A dream is nothing
But the risk,
Is what makes trying all the better
Taking a step out the door is vital,
But you must take more than one step to get to the road.

We change daily.
Your best friend today
May not be your best friend tomorrow
Cherish the moments you share today
Plan for tomorrow as if they’ll always be there,
But if they’re not,
Be strong enough to carry on

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mendo/Ft Bragg

30+ Friends
3+ Houses
2 Full Days of Soccer
Hot Tubs
Nice Weather
Baked Goods


Mendocino for Labor Day weekend was a treat. I played 6 games of soccer in 2 days and didn't sleep much between late night chauffeuring and partying. The late group that I drove left later than anticipated. When Jenna, Eva, and I finally arrived at our house, it was pitch black. We walked around one side and finally found the front door. There was a map and a note. With no flashlights to lead the way we went exploring like school girls in a haunted house. We tried to be quite, but couldn't help but to burst out laughing. We finally decided to crash in the "living room" off the kitchen. It wasn't bad except that the house awoke at 7:30 am for the first set of games.

Coffee grinder in full swing, Jenna looked at me probably with the same though I had, please make it stop. We were up 30 minutes later and out the door shortly after that as we got a call to help the first team, Bridezilla. By the time we got to the field, the rest of the players had shown, they were moving slow because of their hard partying the night prior.

The first game I played was rather rough. We weren't as warm as we should have been and we definitely weren't playing like a team. We started to flow in the second game and outplayed the opposing team in every aspect of the word, however they had scored a fluke goal and even with 30 shots on frame, nothing hit the back of the net. We cruised to a 3-0 victory over the final team on Saturday.

Saturday afternoon was met happily with a nap. The girls that were not playing in the tourney made a lovely dinner. Ten of us sat at the table, cocktails in hand, making toasts to great friends and a fun weekend.

A group of us visited the other house on Saturday night to watch some beer Olympics. I was impressed by the organization, although I don't think many events were completed. I was in the hot tub for a short spell before it was time to head home. The morning cracked early again with the alarm blaring at 7:30 am. Our first kick off was 8:30 am. We won the first game with flying colors, as did Bridezilla, meaning they were our next match. My team played well. We shifted the field nicely and played to feet. We had a 4-1 victory. The highlight for me was stopping Slover on the line about 4 times. Classic when you have all your friends watching. :)

I was a bit productive in the late afternoon - updating my resume and such. The view from our house with some chill music made the day simply perfect. The weather was warm and the sky was clear - couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

The big party was initially supposed to be at the other house, but due to some technical difficulties with the HOA, we had it at our house. It worked well. Two kegs, a full entertainment system, hot tub, and karaoke machine made it easy to party until 6 am. People drifted in and out. Keg stands were done. Twelve plus people jumped in the hot tub after 3 am. It was good times with good friends. I finally hit the pillow at 7 am after helping Nate cart people back to the other house. 10 am was a bit earlier to wake to people cleaning, but I didn't have a choice given the location of the bed I was sleeping in.

The last highlight was Jenna, Eva, and I returning 2 half full kegs in the middle of the labor day parade. They stopped traffic to let the three of us cross the street, kegs in hand. Jenna had the middle, Eva and I had the sides. No idea what people were thinking.

We made it back and I was luckily still awake. Great weekend. Now if only I could find time to catch up on sleep.