Imaginary Engineer - Yale SOM '08

Industrial Engineer dreaming of an MBA

Monday, January 30, 2006

MIT Sloan - Waitlist

AHHH another waitlist...........

What are the next steps for waiting list candidates?
We encourage waiting list applicants to keep us updated on their situation and intentions, but please wait until at least February 10, 2006, to submit updates or inquiries, as we are busy processing Round Two applications. You are welcome to submit via hardcopy only any additional information you feel will be helpful to us. Please understand that due to the high volume of correspondence, we are limited in our ability to answer individual questions. Please refer to this page which will be updated as needed.

Please send letters to:


Please do not send any correspondence to individual admissions committee members

I'm surprised at getting ANOTHER waitlist. I was ready for any sort of decision today. I'm a little bummed but I'm taking this as a great opportunity to show MIT how hungry I am to go there. Unlike Wharton, it seems MIT accepts additional materials for waitlist candidates so I get to write another deep soul searching essay on why I'd be a great fit at MIT.

Going back to my previous Adcom or Girlfriend post, MIT is the girl in class that plays hard to get. Sure Yale is sitting right next to you and is hot, smart, and loyal; but there's this part of you that can't stop thinking about MIT every waking moment. Most likely you'll end up content with Yale, but deep down, you wonder what could've been with MIT..

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Columbia Interview..

When I got accepted to Yale in December, I had already applied to 6 schools (Wharton, MIT, Yale, Columbia, Haas, USC). I knew Yale was one of my top choices, so I immediately sent emails to Columbia, Haas, and USC to withdraw my application because I pictured myself in New Haven in August. All three schools did not give my application fees back, but I still gave them notice that I was planning on going to Yale.

Fast forward to the end of January, and I get responses from those three schools. I have interview invites to USC and Columbia, and a flat rejection from Haas. I'm pretty sure I won't be attending USC if I were offered admissions, but the Columbia interview invite made me wonder about the possibility of living in New York. Even though ranking systems are flawed and fluctuate year to year, many different b-school rankings have Columbia and Yale at relatively similar positions. Also, New York is 10x better than New Haven as a place to live, so all else being equal, Columbia has an edge on location. It couldn't hurt to interview, but I'm still leaning toward Yale right now. My Haas rejection gave me good perspective on how it feels to get rejected. Maybe it'll soften the blow if I don't get into Wharton or MIT, but I am so thankful that at least Yale wants me. It sure feels good to know I'll be going back to school this fall.

For those interested, I just got back from Tahoe and my weekend was amazing! It snowed on Saturday (bad omen for MIT decision in 14 hours) but cleared on Sunday (good omen?). Today, the powder was soft and dry, and I felt like I was skiing on pillows. For those that have been to Kirkwood, all the lifts were open and I got to do "The Wall".

I also had much better luck gambling in South Lake Tahoe vs Vegas; I'm definitely going to miss Tahoe Trips!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

40% Chance

As of right now, there's a 40% chance for snow this weekend in Lake Tahoe. I'm dying to hit the slopes the weekend between playoffs and Superbowl, but I learned my lesson 3 years ago to never drive in inclement weather (had a memorable spin out on I-80). The 40% chance also translates to 60% chance for good weather. I realized this is exactly the same odds for me getting into Sloan (read on b-week forums that 60% of MIT interviewees get accepted). Hopefully, the good weather this weekend will be a sign that I'll get the accepted phone call on Monday, Jan 30.

BTW, the winter Olympics are coming up in a few weeks, but I haven't really seen any advertisements/promotions. I'm a bigger fan of winter Olympics than summer Olympics, and I'm surprised that there is no hype in the media. This is the one time where stoners and curlers can earn gold medals. This is also the year where Michelle Kwan will finally get a gold medal (i love you)!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

MIT Sloan Interview

Today I finally completed my last interview with an ADCOM member from MIT. Overall, it went okay, but I feel 30 minutes is not enough time to really get to know someone. The website from Clear Admit really helped me prepare for the interview because MIT is a little different from other schools. The interviewer only asks a few questions, but really probes your responses and keeps asking things like "how did it make you feel", "why did you do that", "how did the other employees react". He specifically instructed me to not use examples I used in my essays so it is definitely good to have some extra stories/examples prepared for the interview. The questions I was asked:

-Any updates to your application?
-Why did you choose your undergrad major?
-What's a personal goal you've set for yourself in the past 1-2 years?
-Describe a time when you've confronted an obstacle.
-Why MIT?
-Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
-Do you have any questions for me?

Now the waiting game begins. I should hear back from MIT by Jan 30 but regardless of the decision, I'm satisfied that I put forth my best effort.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Vegas owns me

I flew out to Vegas over MLK weekend to celebrate my buddy's bday and going away party. As with most Vegas trips, this was truly memorable because a) I ate my first escargot (sp?) and b) experienced my worst blackjack beat ever.

I'm sure those who've played blackjack have experienced this before, but this one stung because I had bet a large sum of money. I was dealt 5,6 (11) and the dealer showed a very weak 5. I barely had enough money to cover the double down but this is one of those situations all gamblers dream about. After doubling down (essentially going all in) I was dealt a 9 which gave me a solid 20. The dealer flipped over a 7 which gave him a 12. The next card he flipped over was a 3 which gave him 15. At this point, my 20 against his 15 is awesome because I have a 92% chance of winning/not losing. Also, keep in mind a 10/face hadn't shown up in ages. However, the one card that I didn't want to see (6) showed up and his 21 beat my 20 and I lost my gambling money. For those who count cards, the count was already at +11 (the reason why I bet soo much money) and it just happened to be one of those weird streaks where very few face cards come out after many hands.

After the shock of what happened wore off, I realized how truly excited I am about going to Yale (maybe Sloan or Wharton) because I wasn't really that sad. In the big picture, part of me knew I was going to lose the money I set aside to gamble and I had such a fun experience going out and drinking to the point of having one long constant buzz for 2 days. Hopefully if I get into MIT, I can meet members of the infamous crew from Bringing Down the House so they can share their secrets on how to actually win in Vegas.

Anyone else experience a bad beat in Vegas?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship

I can't believe it but my MIT Sloan interview is next week. December seemed to crawl by but January is zooming! As I'm doing research on MIT, I'm finding that Entrepreneurship seems big there. I don't know of any other school that has a competition like the MIT 50k. As I read the case studies of past winners, Entrepreneurship seems like a very exciting career path for after business school. I never really considered it before but there is something alluring about being your own boss. Because I have ADD, I quickly changed my focus from researching MIT interviews to possible ideas to submit to the competition. Even if I don't get into MIT, I may end up pursuing Entrepreneurship at Yale or Wharton (slim slim possibility of latter). It seems regardless of what school I end up going to, if I have a good idea and the passion for it, I can be successful (although certain alumni networks may make it easier).

If I were accepted at MIT, my entry to this competition would look something like this: a tivo-like radio device for one's car. I enjoy driving my sexy Audi and listening to the radio, but I hate commercials and I hate waiting for the traffic report. If there was a tivo-like device which constantly records radio signals based on user preferences, I would buy it with no hesitation. Imagine clicking on a traffic button and you can rewind and hear the latest traffic clip on your whim. Or if you love a certain Coldplay song that just came out, you can listen to it over and over and over again. After fast forwarding through the commercials, you can listen to your favorite talk show or morning show as you drive an alternate route because you found out there was a big accident. Lastly, if you're stuck in your car during a big sport moment, you can relive the excitement over and over with such a device. I missed the Duke/Virginia Tech game this year but if I had such a device in my car, I could've listened to the play by play of that amazing shot Duke made from half court at the buzzer to win. With memory cards so tiny and cheap, and sound files are smaller than video, it seems like Tivo can make the device easily. I hope someone from Tivo is reading this so I can buy one really soon!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Insurance Rates by Zip Code

As I'm sitting around waiting for business school, I ran across an interesting article on Basically, there is a debate among lawmakers, consumer groups, and insurance companies about what factors insurance companies should use when determining their rates. The part that really caught my eye was whether insurance companies should use zip codes as a factor to calculate rates.

Obviously, if you live in a poorer area of Oakland, there is statistically more crime than a rich area in Marin County like Tiburon. Therefore, insurance companies charge higher premiums in Oakland than Tiburon based on the risk of crime. I'm no actuary, but it seems that it costs more (insurance rates) to drive if you live in a poor zip code, versus if you live in a rich zip code. I may be oversimplifying the issue, but this just seems wrong. I understand insurance companies are businesses that need to make money to survive, but they do have a social responsibility to not exploit the poor. I'm not suggesting insurance companies should lead the way in redistributing wealth by overcharging the rich and giving discounts to the poor, but I believe they should give slightly better treatment to safe drivers in poor zip codes over safe drivers in rich zip codes.

My limited understanding of the insurance business is that they make money by taking out their "overhead" costs from the big pool of money they accumulate from charging premiums to every customer. Regardless if 10 poor customers pay $10 more or 1 rich customer pays $100 more, the insurance company still makes the same money from "overhead" costs. I believe if zip codes are used as a factor to determine insurance rates, the responsible thing to do is to charge the 1 rich customer $100 more so 10 poor customers can save $10 each (assuming all other factors besides zip codes are constant). This should apply to every insurance company so rich customers can not defect to cheaper alternatives. The insurance businesses make the same profit and the size of the pot of money to draw from to pay off claims remains the same. This post may sound really naive, but I do believe insurance companies can still make big profits while being socially responsible.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I'm a Lame Duck

After getting into business school, it's becoming increasingly difficult to maintain focus at work. How can I concentrate when I know I'll be gone in a few months. My co-workers and managers know I'll be leaving (bad mistake to open my big fat mouth so early) so it just feels really awkward to continue working. This makes me wonder what lame duck politicians do when they are not re-elected. In those final weeks before they end office, they might as well just go on vacation because it's pointless for them to make decisions that would represent a constituency that didn't vote for them. Similarly, I wish I could take one big fat happy vacation (7 months) before school starts........ too bad I need to save more money and my lease on my apt doesn't end till May...............

The best part of being a lame duck - leaving work early. I would feel guilty, but there's nothing my manager can do. He wants to make sure I leave the company on good terms (the company definitely wants me to return) so he can't fire me. Part of me feels guilty for taking advantage of my situation, but after working my butt off for the past 4 years, nothing beats chugging beer at Harry's in Pac Heights on a Thursday.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Wharton Waitlist Instructions

According to my waitlist email:

• In the spirit of fairness and equity, we will not accept additional materials for inclusion in your application.

I wonder if the waitlist process is a hidden test to see if candidates REALLY want to go to a particular school. It's kind of like when some people say "let's not exchange presents this Christmas " but get mad when you don't get them a present after they break their own rule and buy you a present. Similarly, I wonder if Wharton is testing to see if waitlist candidates will go out of their way to write them a letter saying "puhleeze let me in, I love Wharton to death, etc etc." I usually follow directions, but I wonder if it would help if I wrote one of those corny letters (business schools want to attract people that have a certain drive and are willing to go beyond the norm). The realistic side of me says Wharton ADCOM is way too busy to read additional materials, but if I wrote such a letter, would it hurt?

I talked with someone who got into Stanford Business School off the waitlist, but he wasn't any help. He said he received similar instructions, but he found an influential alumni through his network to vouch for his passion to go to Stanford. He doesn't know if he would've gotten in anyways, but having an alumni speak on your behalf sure does help.

Unfortunately, I do not have that kind of network, nor do I feel comfortable asking a friend of a friend of a friend to say good things about me when that person doesn't even know me. Also, I don't think I could even write that corny letter because it'd probably sound fake (I really would be happy attending Yale). However, I do want to show Wharton that I have that drive/hunger to succeed in business but I guess they already have that information in my essays. Alas, I'll do nothing and sit around dreaming of New Haven (Bschool is only 32 weeks away!!!)