Monday, March 31, 2008

Darden Days

In February, I attended Day@Darden, which was an admit weekend for first round applicants. The short notice was difficult to plan, but the trip was quite beneficial. I always said I'd also attend Darden Days as you never know who you will meet or influence by being there. As my schedule gets more packed by the day, I'm starting to retract the thought of attending Darden Days at all. It doesn't make sense for me to go for one day of the planned 2 days if I'm flying to the East. That Saturday is my last women's game of the season and since my team is injury prone especially in the defense, I'll need to be there. Also, Spinsters has their biggest event of the year, Patron's Reception on May 2nd, I know I can designate tasks to my committee, but it would be a good idea for me to be there as well. It's not that I think Darden Days wouldn't be beneficial, but my deposit is in and I'm not sure one day justifies the cost to fly there.

Friday, March 28, 2008

We Received Our Apartment Assignment!!

HAPPY FRIDAY! It's been a whirlwind week and I've probably averaged 5 hours of sleep over the last 8 nights. I suppose you could distinguish it as practicing, however, I think it's crazy. I've been SLAMMED, but in the midst of soccer practice, soccer games and catching up with friends, I heard some great news today, my roomie and I have an apartment!!! WOO HOO! I'm still trying to figure out housing at Darden. Most people live in Ivy Gardens or Huntington Village, both are within walking distance of grounds. It seems these are basically dorms for grad students in the form of apartments, sounds good to me. :) We plan on having lots of visitors. We received our first choice - 2 bedroom + den. Apparently the den is on a SECOND floor, which makes me wonder if this place is bigger than the model. Suppose we'll see.

The roomie wants to move in during July, which is fine as we have to pay 12 mos rent anyhow, but I wasn't planning to drive out until end of July. I've thought that it may be better driving out early and then flying home for a few weeks and essentially "visit" home, but I'm not sure how feasible that idea is. I still haven't booked my trip to Europe. My dad just returned yelping about how expensive it is. I know that shouldn't deter me, but perhaps I'd be better off bumming around the US or the islands. I'll worry about this some other time.

Have a good weekend! :D

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Is it just me or do you ever get sick of the rankings? The schools to which I applied were chosen based on more than what some magazine, website or book said. I did attend an HBS information session and I wasn't impressed. At an MBA tour, I walked into a UCLA and USC chat, I left the UCLA chat halfway through. It wasn't for me. Duke was also on my radar, but in the end, didn't give me butterflies. There are a handful of programs I didn't even bother in investigate - Stern, Tepper, Notre Dame, Yale, Chicago etc... It doesn't make them bad programs, I just made a choice early on and decided they weren't for me. I don't believe that is good or bad, it just is.

What is the "best" school for one person may not be for the next. Yes, they talk about fit and as we write our thoughts into 500 word essays we chuckle to ourselves, what the heck is fit? But in the end, I believe there's more merit to the concept than many of us give credit. It's important to feel comfortable in all aspects of the school, so that you never look back with, I should have.

Because of the rankings, I do believe schools build reputations and I do believe doors are opened, however, I want to be able to open some of my own doors. Yes, an MBA from the top 5 will lift eyebrows from anyone in or out of the MBA business. That's nice, but I would hope that I'm also chosen for a position based on my own aptitude. It sounds a bit silly huh? It's like those girls obsessed with Gucci, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana etc... at the end of the day, it's just a brand. None of schools that sit in ranks 10-20 or even 20-30 think themselves as a second tier school and I'm sure none of the attendees think that way either.

I guess what I'm saying is sometimes I think we're too focused on the numbers - rankings, GMAT score, age, years of work experience etc. There are a handful of candidates that attend business school immediately after college and another handful that wait until they are 50. There are so many other factors that make more sense than who someone else thinks is the best.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Evolution TSE

As half of us will embark on pre-MBA travels, some of us on MBA research tours and the rest on current MBA ventures - CHECK THIS OUT!

Travel search engines(TSE) have become very popular over the years. We all have our individual preferences - Orbitz, Cheaptickets, Expedia, Travelzoo and many others. The benefits are great as it is a pain to individually input the same information into even a handful of different sites. I used to love Travelzoo's Super Search functionality because you could still search individual sites (which tend to be a few dollars cheaper than TSEs) by clicking on the website name. Though the functionality is still there for some destinations, most of the displayed portals are now other TSEs instead of individual airlines.

Today, I found a new TSE, Momondo, though it is European based, you can still use it for cities around the world because you don't actually purchase the tickets through the site. They simply list the websites, prices and alternate flights that may be purchased at the designated price. However, they do not guarantee the price due to the fact that they are simply searching other sites. Momondo was among a handful of new sites to be recognized by CNN. Check that article here.

I'm also testing Yapta to track price changes as I haven't booked my tickets to Europe, Charlottesville or Vegas yet. I'll keep you posted as to what I think!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Stop Looking

I promise, I'm going to stop looking, but it's so hard! The market is crazed with sellers as JP Morgan announced yesterday that they will purchase Bear Stearns for $2 dollars a share. TWO DOLLARS?!? Are you kidding me? Bear is one of the largest securities firms in the world and it's being sold as a micro cap stock. On its plunge from $26 a share, it's taken the market with it, hence, I NEED to stop looking at my portfolio. I feel like a pin cushion and the needles are coming from all directions. Perhaps, it's hard to avoid the market as I do work in the industry. My dad and I spoke at dinner last night about our thoughts on the economy and what it means for the world. It's difficult because we guess about 10% of the population truly understands what's happening and it seems those 10% still don't know what to do about it. On some level, I'm extremely happy that I applied to business school this year because next year, there will likely be more applicants and another very strong pool.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I feel like my boss and I have been on completely different pages lately. I can't tell if I've simply "checked out" or he's being unreasonable with his requests. Am I not doing my job as I should? Or is he making unfair assumptions? Though I don't want to taint the four year experience I've had, I'm getting more frustrated by the day and thus more apathetic to tasks at hand. Performance could have been ready on Monday, but I've been slow to put myself in gear and finally finished the numbers today. More time is spent on researching venues for my party than setting up 3 new accounts in our portfolio management system. In the end, I don't enjoy my position anymore and each task is worse than pulling teeth. The fact that my boss and I have difficulty communicating is icing on the cake. I swear we're playing telephone every time each of us tries to explain something. Granted, the important projects are completed and far before they need to be and I'm not abnormally lazy, but my plate is empty and deadlines are practically non-existent. Plus as much as I didn't believe that DST affects me, I've had to retract that thought as I've been exhausted all week even though I go to bed "early".

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I've been a West coast girl all my life. Though I went to school in Colorado, I'd still consider it the West. These days I look around my room and wonder what I'm going to bring with me and more so, how the heck I'm going to get it to Virginia. My furniture will stay, which means I must purchase new furniture. It doesn't have to be fancy, but if I invest in something nice, when I move next, it may come with me.

I sent an evite today for a going away party I will throw in July... yes, I'm early, however 25 years of birthdays in July has taught me it's everyone's favorite month to go away. I once threw my birthday party in May for this very reason. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, yet I also feel it makes the move more real as if it was fictional before people started saying they'd miss me.

After college I was set on returning to the Bay Area and though I know I'll be back, I'm not sure if it will be as soon as others anticipate. (Don't tell my mother though, she likely won't let me leave then.) If I was given the chance to live in NY or DC for a couple years I may take it. I'd definitely check out London given the opportunity, yet these are all thoughts that I haven't shared (until now). This is definitely a big move in more ways than one and I'm still months away.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Forearms STILL Hurt

Another weekend has come and gone. I continue to plan my traveling, which will start in May with some US based trips. I still haven't purchased my ticket for Europe, though it's on my long list of things to do. The Pre-Matriculation modules are on hold as I have not been home for long spells in the last 4 days. How did I get so busy??

Friday night, a group of us attended Ladies' night at Mission Cliffs, a rock climbing place in San Francisco. This was probably my first official time wall climbing - I've climbed before, but the person on belay was a professional. Six of us took an hour class to learn how to tie knots and work the belay. As soon as the class was over, we had free reign. My partner and I started climbing a 5.6 then a 5.7. I attempted the 5.9 - four times, but by then, my arms were exhausted and I had little grip left. I'm not exactly sure what the weightings mean, though they started down at 5.1 and increase to 5.12 (or maybe higher). Once you hit 5.10, they are also lettered A-D. I suppose it designates another degree of difficulty. All in all, a blast, but it seems even my weight training didn't have me prepared to lift my own body weight all night. Definitely still hurting when I grip - even when I open the car door.

I met another potential Darden student on Saturday morning for coffee/cocoa. I gave us an hour as I had to go Bridesmaid dress shopping afterwards. Honestly, I didn't think I'd need that much time, but I was wrong and thus late to my appointment. He is an international applicant who was visiting his brother in the South Bay. Originally from Israel, he was very fun and talkative. Round of applause for the adcom! ;) He's not a 100 percent sure Darden student... yet! I always forget about that, not everyone has decided and some have great options like B-School Bound (How's that going, btw?). I don't like to cut down other programs, so I do my best to play fair and entice people on the fence to join me at Darden. There again, if I didn't like them, I'd let them go on their merry way and probably talk up the other programs they could attend. I'm sneaky like that. ;) He ended up meeting my friend and I out later that night. Good times were had by all and I was impressed at his dancing ability.

Overall, another fabulously busy weekend! And a W for RipTide, my women's team, as well!

Friday, March 07, 2008

How do you keep them straight?

HAPPY FRIDAY!! Oh I can't begin to explain how excited I am that the weekend is here, although the sleep for which I long will have to wait until Sunday evening after my soccer game. Argh. Busy is good, however busy is also, well, busy. I attended a Lifehouse concert at the Warfield on Wednesday, which is another converted playhouse, now awesome venue. It's quaint for a live show. I'd never been there before and I wish I would have frequented it sooner as we do get a number of great acts in the Bay Area, but life gets away sometimes.

Last night we had our first prospective membership event for Spinsters. This is when those 'who are you' questions flood the conversation. Luckily, we also strayed past the MBA to discussions on shoes and logistics of walking to work in heels versus flats. Highly thought provoking...kidding. :P Anyhow, there's 175 members in my philanthropic organization. A small percentage of them are easily recognizable as they are very involved in the leadership of the organization. Then there is the other type of member who is no longer a new member, thus not required to partake in anything and will simply show up when or if it's convenient. I actually ran into one of those members at the event last night, she joined my women's soccer team this season and in 2 years, I'd never seen her at a Spinsters event. Go figure we travel in similar circles.

Next, we have the potential new members, which last year consisted of 250 women competing for 60 or so spots. It's like business school, but we don't critique the essays, however each person does need to network like crazy. Meet the right people and meet them often. This is where I have difficulties, keeping everyone straight. Granted, I should try to remember a handful of people, make some notes and move on, but what happens when those people walk up to me at the next event, expecting me to know who they are. We'll repeat our initial conversation because even if I recognize them, I've probably forgotten all the basic answers. And the worst part, I'm on the membership selection committee this year and hence it's imperative that I remember who these people are. Anyone have tips and tricks for keeping people straight? I had the same problem with MBA events. I'd even recognize other applicants, but wouldn't be able to remember where I'd seen them or if I'd even talked with them. This is why I thoroughly enjoy networking sites, there's a lot of basic information at your fingertips for which you don't have to ask.

The good news is, it seems I've moved past my nostalgia for basic conversations and actually enjoyed myself last night. There are a lot of great women trying to join the group. On the Darden front, I should be meeting with an international student, who is in the Bay Area visiting his brother, tonight. It'll be nice to meet another classmate, but I'm hoping the night isn't late as I do have to go bridesmaid dress shopping tomorrow before my soccer game. See... busy. ;)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pre-Enrollment Modules

The DardenPortal is ever changing with constant new messages from various staff members, updates to admitted student events, friend requests and of course, information you need to know before matriculation. I was excited to see that the Pre-Enrollment Modules were posted yesterday. The last thing I want is to scramble to finish them in Europe or when I return from the big adventure. Luckily, I shouldn't have to worry. There is downloadable text, which I skipped initially. Then there are three tests you must complete and pass (80% is passing) by August 18th. Each test may be taken as many times as you want, no time limit, open book/open notes. I thought I'd try my luck on the accounting exam as I was indeed an accounting/finance major. Only difficulty, this is MANAGERIAL accounting, not financial. The questions talk more in theory and perception than hard data. Needless to say, I'm happy to report, with a few google searches and some previous knowledge, I passed. Granted, I will likely still read the material provided just to make sure I'm on the same page as everyone else. Today I will tackle Business Math and Statistics as well as Fundamentals and Economics.

On another note, this summer's plans are slowly developing. I booked a Mediterranean cruise yesterday for the middle of my trip to Europe. 12 nights, 7 cities and I won't have to move my stuff! WOO HOO! :D Italy, Greece and Turkey, here I come. My date will be my brother, though I'm still worried about that. He can have a temper and gets crabby when he hasn't slept enough. Maybe I can find a female to entertain him. :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Let's Get to Know Each Other

I don't know about you, but I'm a bit burnt out. I'm sick of the same conversation and feel like I should carry around a one page resume saying where I'm from, which college I attended, what I do for work and what my 3 month outlook/plan is. Lately, I've missed the comfort of old friends and being able to sit in silence without it feeling awkward. Although I'm excited for business school, I hope my summer travels will put me in a better mindset when I get there. I was thinking about all the people I've met through soccer, Spinsters, MBA related events, friends, family, work and vacations and wonder how I keep them all straight. Perhaps the secret is, I don't, though I try my very best.

I read something once about Dunbar's number, which is approximately 150, and "represents a theorized cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable social relationships, the kind of relationships that go with knowing who each person is and how each person relates socially to every other person." This may be the reason I feel I'm on overload. I try to stay connected with far too many people. I likely meet AT LEAST 150 people a year through various means and when I say meet, I simply meet introduced via another relation or on my own. Don't get me wrong, I love people and love meeting new ones, but I think I've been spending more time doing that than balancing the current relationships I've built over the last several months and years. There again, I may simply have too much on my plate and not enough relax time, which could cause me to be a wee bit introverted with strangers. However, I would never describe myself as introverted on a normal day.


The weekend was another busy one and my legs still feel like jello. Of course after 3 soccer games, 4 hours of dancing and some flag football, apparently, they have good reason to be tired and sore. ;) Saturday night I went to Ruby Skye in downtown SF. The venue is Las Vegas-like and many known DJs frequent it. I love electronic music, though some sub-genres of the music better than others - my favorite being house/vocal house. I had seen Kaskade twice before, however, Saturday night was the best I have seen him yet. Not to mention, he also spun his own songs, something some DJs often overlook. I mean, that's half the reason you know who they are and you want to see them live, right? The music was incredible, the venue was packed and though I didn't intend on staying until after 3 am, I just couldn't help but dance the night away, sober mind you. I brought a pair of flip flops to change into once my feet started to hurt, which proved to be quite useful. Though I have noticed that I dance differently in heels versus flats, this thought was vindicated when a guy asked if I danced in a crew. If I hadn't just seen Step Up 2, I likely would have looked at him blankly and had to ask what that was. Simply an awesome night!