Imaginary Engineer - Yale SOM '08

Industrial Engineer dreaming of an MBA

Thursday, December 29, 2005

How to get the Rainman Suite in Vegas is awesome. On Dec 24th, we were able to reserve a room at the 5 Star Venetian for $100 ($120 with tax) for one night, Dec 26th. After we get to Vegas, we decide not to check in until after a little gambling and dinner. I assumed that it wouldn't be that busy because we were able to reserve the room on such notice. Before we know it, it's already 11:30 PM and we needed to check in. The line was surprisingly long at that late hour, and apparently, they're sold out of rooms! Fortunately we had a reservation, so they had to upgrade us. Because we were only staying one night, and the only room available was on the 35th floor, we got the rainman suite for $100!! When I describe this suite, it had an amazing view of the strip and was 5 times the size of my apartment. Not only did it have a luxurious bathroom (2 showerheads) but it came with a GYM and Sauna. For every regular dude out there, you don't have to be a whale to get the rainman suite; you just need to get a little luck (sold out night) and check in late.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Xmas

2005 went by so quickly, I can't believe it's Christmas already. It sure is nice to be back in southern california, today I went golfing in shorts. Bay area weather is alright, but nothing can beat golfing in shorts in December. How am I going to adjust to New England weather next year..

Last night, my brother showed me This website is ridiculously awesome. He searched for 5 star hotel in Vegas, and we got the Venetian for $100 ($120 w/ tax) for Dec 26th. This is an incredible deal; you literally set your price limit at $100 and they booked the Venetian for one night (last minute). Venetian, like Bellagio, is one of the best hotels on the strip and rooms usually go for at least $200. I believe in Kharma and something bad has to happen soon because after I got into Yale, everything is going my way!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wharton Waitlist

AHHHHH, Dec 22 was supposed to be a day of decisions from Wharton, how did I get waitlisted? The description says my app will be reviewed again alongside Round 2 candidates. I just hope that if I get off the waitlist and decide I want to go to Wharton, I haven't submitted my $$$ deposit for Yale yet.. My spirits aren't too crushed because Yale is definitely an awesome choice. The wait continues...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

28 Hour Countdown

In 28 hours, I'll know if I got into Wharton or not. Getting into Yale definitely makes the wait easier, but as Thursday nears, I'm getting more and more nervous. Part of me wants to get rejected because it'll make my decision to go to Yale very easy. I love how Yale fosters a truly team oriented environment by not giving out grades (P/NP). Even though Wharton has a big name in the business community, there's something to be said about having that Yale diploma written in Latin hanging on your wall. At this point I've narrowed down my MBA potential schools to the final 3: Yale, MIT, and Wharton. I'm still jittery over getting into Yale, reality still hasn't sunk in yet. Looks like I'll be leaving California for a couple years, and I look forward to driving across country!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Caller ID: 203 - Yale wants me

Holla! I can't believe I'm in!!! I loved the Yale campus/students. I'm completely speechless, I got the wonderful news 2 minutes ago. This is one of those life changing moments, when I know I'll be attending business school next year! I'm supposed to get a follow up email and an informational packet in January, but I still can't believe it. This is Yale. Wow, what am I going to do for the next few months? Should I quit my job and travel? This is all amazing!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

MIT Sloan Non-Teaser

Just when I completely gave up on MIT (see earlier post) I got the interview email! I can't believe ADCOM's working on Sunday morning, but I guess there's still slots availabe for the west coast hub interviews. My choices are: Jan 16-17 (Santa Monica, Palo Alto), Jan 18-19 (San Francisco), Jan 19-20 (Seattle). The good/bad part of this late interview is that it is right before final round 1 decisons come out (Jan 30) so the interview will probably be fresh in ADCOM's mind when they make the final decisions. I read somewhere that 30% of the candidates get interviewed and 60% of those candidates get admitted. Looks like it's slightly better than a coin flip but there are still 40% that get the rejection email.

Hooah, at least I made the first cut!

ADCOM or Girlfriend?

-rejection can crush your heart instantly
-if accepted, wants commitment
-experiences can change your life forever
-some are interested in how much money you make
-you bare inner soul that regular friends may not see
-can be high maintenance (3 recs, 5 essays, GMAT)
-may make you wonder if something better is out there
-coming off the waitlist is like settling for someone
-persistence sometimes pays off (repplicants?)
-makes you stare at your phone waiting

-ADCOM not monogamous
-don't have to worry about meeting ADCOM's parents
-$200 fee?

This is the week

Dec 22 is the day when all Wharton Round 1 decisions are released. Half the people interviewed get in, the other half gets rejected.. Yale may release some decisions this week too, but I don't mind waiting till January as long as I get in :). I have completely slacked on my Stanford and UCLA essays, and part of me thinks that I'll never finish the apps. I find it interesting that prospective Med School students apply to millions of schools, but most prospective MBA's only apply to a handful of schools.

At this point, I'm pretty sure I got dinged from MIT without an interview. It looks like they sent out the San Francisco hub interviews and I still haven't heard anything from them. I never had the opportunity to visit the Sloan campus, but MIT was definitely one of my top choices because it has a strong supply chain/operations program. It sucks but maybe I'll hear good news this coming week from Wharton or Yale.... fingers crossed ......

It seems Columbia hasn't even started to process my app yet (January) and I'm still waiting to hear about potential interviews from Haas and Marshall. In the beginning of this MBA application process, I thought I was going to only apply to California schools because I want to eventually settle here. However after talking with my Wharton interviewer and visiting the Yale campus, I wouldn't mind going to the east coast for 2 years. It'd be a paradigm shift and I can actually experience 4 distinct seasons in the year. It'd be tough making new friends but school is probably the best way to make a new network.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bay Bridge Traffic

I HATE TRAFFIC. When I lived in Orange County, driving through the "the orange crush" where the 5, 22, and 57 intersect drove me crazy and don't even get me started on the 405. Moving to the bay area, I assumed that there would be less traffic than LA/OC because there are more public transportation alternatives (BART, AC Transit, Muni, etc); but it took me over an hour to cross the bay bridge (less than 5 mile stretch) on Saturday night. As I waited, I counted how many lanes feed the bridge. Going west bound, there are 5 total lanes. The toll plaza has 20 total lanes. Naturally, the optimal ratio would be every 4 lanes in the toll plaza feed 1 lane on the bridge. However, when you look at how the lanes merge, the planners were totally smoking crack. The 880N -> 80W interchange feeds the far right section of 3 toll lanes. These 3 lanes ultimately feed the far right lane on the bay bridge. The 580W -> 80W feeds the left side of the bridge and you can choose the 10 left toll lanes, including fast trak lane #5. The 80W (from Berkeley) feeds the next 7 lanes, including fast trak lane #11. If you take fast trak lane #11, there is only one merge (from the right) and you automatically become the center lane on the bridge. Depending on how aggressively people merge after the lights, the 7 lanes from 80 feed lanes #3 and #4 on the bridge. The 10 left toll lanes from 580 feed lanes #1 and #2. In summary, the 10 lanes from 580 feed 2 lanes (5:1), the 7 lanes from 80 feed 2 lanes (7:2), and the 3 lanes from 880 feed 1 lane (3:1). Also, as was the case on Saturday night, if one of the lanes on the bay bridge is obstructed, overall utilization dropped 20% because 1/5 of the flow has to merge to another lane. Depending on which lane this occurs (in my case, center lane), utilization from 80W got screwed because the 7:2 ratio evolved to 7:1, thus an hour struggle to cross the bay bridge from 80W.

I can complain all day about traffic, but whining won't help. As I sat through the grueling ordeal, I thought of ways to help alleviate the situation. Obviously to improve flow you have to reduce the number of cars on the bridge, and the only way to do that is to convince people to carpool. A unique carshare programming seems successful, where individuals who want to go to SF but don't have a car wait around at the BART station, and a driver who has room in his car that wants to use a carpool lane picks up the individuals from BART to drive them across the bridge. Reading testimonials from craigslist, this idea is brilliant! All parties have motivation to carpool and it is a win/win situation. City planners should adopt this carshare program and formalize it. Instead of wasting millions of dollars on empty buses with crappy schedules, they should spend the money organizing an official carshare program. The city can displace some bus drivers and their salaries to work at BART stations and set them up with a computer and a phone. Using the internet, they can help coordinate live ad-hoc scheduling needs so a commuter can know if he can get a ride with carshare. If it was free and faster, I would drive to BART and hitch a carshare ride to downtown SF versus sitting in traffic and paying bridge toll. People can call ahead or go on the internet to plan a specific route (crossing the bridge) and local government can even help promote this by giving a dedicated lane to carshare (beyond fast trak). For me, if I could get a free ride to downtown SF in 15 minutes vs 40 min, I'd leave my car at home.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Competition is good right?

According to the business week article business schools are experiencing more applicants this year than previous years. My business brain wants to believe competition is good because thats how new ideas and products flourish in the free market. My selfish entitlement-culture brain wants to believe that competition is bad because I'll have a statistically worse chance of getting into business school. At this point, it doesn't really matter because I've already submitted my Round 1 applications to the 6 schools I really want to go to. I don't even know if I'll ever get around to applying to Stanfurd, and UCLA seems like a better school academically than USC, but USC has such a powerful alumni network in California that is better for long term relationships and opportunities.

Reading the businessweek online forums actually make me less stressed about the application process. It's comforting to know people are in the same situation as me. It's already the 2nd week in December, and I haven't heard from MIT, Columbia, Berkeley, or USC. It's good to learn that MIT hasn't interviewed anyone on the west coast, and Berkeley doesn't do interviews until a "super saturday" in January. I hope to hear good news from Yale but who knows, the admissions process seems kind of random and half of those who get interviewed are rejected. The only definitive deadline coming up is the final Wharton Decision on December 22. This is the same day Cal plays in the Vegas Bowl so I hope to cover both spreads!

Friday, December 02, 2005

MIT Sloan Teaser

I check my email today and I see an email from MIT Sloan MBA Admissions. My heart skips a beat and I think I either got rejected or invited to an interview. It turns out to be just an informational email that says they got my app ready for review. For a school with a repuation of smart engineers, I'm surprised it took them a little over a month to get my app ready for review (Yale was immediate and Wharton sent out interview invites within 3 weeks). It could be a good sign that maybe they're inefficient because they have a small comitteee that thoroughly reviews each app, but I don't want to read too much into this. After surfing around the businessweek forum, it looks like others are in the same boat and I haven't seen anyone mention they got a SF hub interview yet, so in the words of Jim Carey in dumb and dumber "So, I still have a chance."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stanfurd Essay's are tough

I am totally clueless how to write the two Stanfurd essays. I literally count how many times the cursor blinks in MS Word (56/min) and compare that to how many time an aim window blinks (25/min). I tried writing first drafts in August/September but because I had no idea what to do, I focused on the other schools and decided to apply Round 2 (maybe 3). You would think I'd be pretty focused by now because I wrote so many essays for other schools, but these broad topics are really really tough.

Topic 1: What matters to you, and why?
My family and friends matter most to me, but I don't know how personal this essay should be. Also, I'm still focusing on getting into business school, and have so many other experiences I want to write about that doesn't really relate to this topic. I've written good stories for other schools on topics like leadership or teamwork, but they don't relate to why my family matters so much to me. If I include them, it'll look like I'm cutting and pasting from other college essays and not answering the question; If I leave them out, I'd be missing a lot of good stories to help ADCOM see personal attributes........ ack ....

Topic 2: How do you plan to achieve your learning objectives at Stanford? How do you see your career developing?
This question is a little easier, similar to the Why MBA, Why Now questions of other schools. However, it's still difficult because part of me doesn't want to go to Stanford. I really am partial to Berkeley, and think Haas would offer such a richer experience. The only reason why I'd even consider Stanford is their brand and name recognition. I wasn't particularly impressed with the campus/students and I fear I will sound fake when writing this essay... BLAAAAH

I hope I get into Wharton so I don't even have to finish the Stanford app