Imaginary Engineer - Yale SOM '08

Industrial Engineer dreaming of an MBA

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Chuck Norris

I used to watch Conan O'Brien religiously because I love his humor. He used to have a "Chuck Norris" lever where at any time during his show, he could pull the lever and a clip from "Walker Texas Ranger" would pop on the screen and show Chuck Norris kicking butt. From a friend, I found this hilarious website that lists random Chuck Norris Facts. Everyone has their favorite Chuck Norris Fact, but my favorite one (because I'm a math dork), is "Chuck Norris can divide by zero."

Now if only I can call Chuck to do something about my waitlists...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Welcome Weekends

I think the hardest part about being waitlisted is the fact that I am not invited to each school's Welcome Weekend. Because I would be torn between Columbia and Yale, the Welcome Weekend experience would play a significant role in helping me decide which business school is best for me. Besides seeing the actual school environment, I would meet potential classmates and get a true feel of how happy I would be at that school.

Because of all the recent MIT and Columbia updates, I nearly forgot that I am still theoretically in contention at Wharton. Similar to the MIT Waitlist Chat on, there's an archived chat for Wharton Waitlisted folks. After seeing application stats like 4% jump at Yale and 30% jump at Haas, I fear this is the wrong year to be on any waitlist because so many more people are applying for the same number of seats (after two consecutive down years). Don't get me wrong, I'm still thrilled to have the opportunity to go to Yale, but I wish I could attended each school's Welcome Weekend to get an honest feel on what school is best for me.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Columbia Status Update - WAITLISTED

DUDE, I GOT ANOTHER WAITLIST, this time from Columbia.

The Admissions Committee has reviewed your application and has recommended that your name be place on the waitlist for the September 2006 class.
The Admissions Committee was impressed with the strength of your candidacy and would like to encourage you to remain an active candidate as long as possible. We suggest that you contact the waitlist manager provided below to confirm your willingness to remain active in the admissions process. Your waitlist manager will then assist you with the waitlist process and facilitate any further communication with the Admissions Committee. We would also appreciate it if you would inform us if you cannot remain on the waitlist.

Columbia waitlisted me when I applied for undergrad, and now she's still undecided. Maybe it's my GPA? Maybe it was my interview? Who knows, but this is dang frustrating.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Drunk Stanfurd Tree

When I went to the Cal/Stanfurd basketball game, I knew something was different with the tree because of the way it was dancing and taunting the student section. I've been to many Cal/Stanfurd games in basketball and football over the past 7 years, and had never seen the tree mock Cal the way it did last week. It turns out the student inside the tree was drunk! I have nothing against getting drunk during sport events, but man, I wish I was there to see the tree get arrested. It would be hilarious to see a mug shot of the tree from the front and side profile. The article brought back memories from when I was a student at Cal and found out how Oski drinks (because of his enormous head, Oski needs to drink with a plastic funnel that goes through his right eye).

All in all, this is kharma for the Stanfurd band. After crazy antics like dressing up like the KKK or a pregnant nun at Notre Dame, they deserve to get in trouble for something.

By the way, with a 75-66 win over Arizona, Cal is tied for 1st place in the PAC-10 with UCLA. THIS IS OUR YEAR!! I don't remember a time when we beat both Arizona and Stanford back to back.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm Bored

All is quiet on the MBA front. I haven't heard anything from Columbia (14 days since interview), which tells me I'm probably gonna get a big fat ding. Looking back, I don't think I did a good job of answering the "why Columbia" question in the essays/interview because my generic response centered on how cool New York is versus any meaningful information about the school itself. I won't hear anything from the waitlist schools until much later, so the only thing MBA related coming up is the Yale SOM Admit Reception in SF on Thurs, March 23. I'm actually looking forward to meeting future classmates and hopefully I'll meet a carpool buddy to drive with me across country in August.

The biggest story in the news cycle this week is Dick Cheney accidentally shooting someone on a hunting trip. It seems the news media is actually focusing more on "how" the information was released versus the actual shooting itself. For me, I don't really care whether the information was released Saturday night or Sunday morning, or even if Cheney should've held a press conference himself. I wish we'd actually focus on the shooting act specifically. What's done is done, and fortunately no one died; but this is a great opportunity for Dick Cheney and the news media to focus on gun safety and what measures everyone can take to prevent this from happening again in the future. Similar to how the Bush daughter had to do community service for underage drinking, Cheney should do some community work to educate gun safety and we should move on to more important issues.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Supplemental Information for MIT Sloan Waitlist

I ran a google search for "MIT Sloan Waitlist" and my blog was the first hit! Maybe because I had a previous post with the exact phrase, but I'm surprised there aren't that many resources available for those on the waitlist. has an archived chat transcript with MIT ADCOM members from Feb 2005 that had some good information. The key message I got from that chat is MIT is looking for candidates to show continued interest, but not to go too crazy with the phone calls. Jon McLaughlin, Assistant Director of MBA Admissions said:

For us, we encourage a limited number of updates if they are significant and relevant. The types of information we have found useful (in no particular, with no order) are usually a short letter of continued interest, a recommendation that sheds new light (hard to do), an update on a significant career or personal event relevant to us (i.e. a promotion, deepened extra curricular) and any insights from a visit or conversation. There is judgment involved here, and too much is definitely too much. I get flooded with emails that don't contain a lot of information.

I want to address weaknesses in my application (i.e. undergrad GPA, extra-curriculars) but I have nothing new to add because I already addressed my weaknesses in my optional essay in the original application. Contrary to my friend who got into Stanford GSB last year off the waitlist by networking to find an influential alumni to write an amazing rec, I don't know any influential Sloan alumni nor do I have my friend's networking skills to find one. I have nothing significant to update, but I want to do everything I can to improve my position on the waitlist. I've decided that the only thing I'll do is to write a new letter to the admissions director.

I've already written a rough draft of my letter and so far it's pretty concise - down to one page. I basically wrote a little paragraph on why I love Sloan and the rest of my letter was designed to show my personality and how I get passionate about work and life. Sloan's interview was behavioral and probed into past experiences to learn about a candidate, so I included a short story of an important work experience that I hope will show ADCOM something new and how hungry I am to get in off the waitlist.

The last part of my letter is controversial and I'm not sure if I should include it. Several of my friends who have proofread my first draft suggested I take it out, but another suggested I expand on it. I summarized my business school application status by mentioning my Yale admit and Wharton waitlist. I didn't want to sound like I was "bragging" about Yale, but it seems Sloan may be interested to know what my backup options are. Most people agree that Sloan, especially for my industry, is ranked higher than Yale, but ADCOM should psychologically feel better knowing that they were able to recruit someone over Yale. I'm not sure there's any value added for mentioning the Wharton waitlist, but had I been accepted to both schools, I would have definitely chosen Sloan. I'm still undecided about mentioning and updating my business school status in this letter, but at least I get another shot at trying to convince ADCOM why I'm a good candidate.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cal over Stanfurd

Tonight Cal is in sole possession of 2nd place in the Pac-10 after a solid win over Stanfurd. I got to complete my 3rd item on my checklist and am very excited about March Madness prospects. I really believe Cal can make it to the Sweet 16 this year! This will be our best shot in many years to go deep into the tournament because Richard Midgley will be graduating and Leon Powe will be leaving for the NBA (inside source).

During one of the time outs, the Stanfurd Tree was dancing around in front of the Cal student section like a stupid green bobble head doll. Fortunately, Oski (and his new blue shirt with a Kapono head band) came out and knocked it down where it belongs. Supposedly Stanfurd kids are smart, but there was a dumb kid in that tree that learned to never taunt the Cal student section (Welcome to the HAAS of PAIN).

Some people ask why I never finished my Stanfurd business school application. Many agree that Stanfurd is one of the three elite business schools (Harvard, Stanfurd, Wharton). For me, even if I were accepted, I probably wouldn't go because I don't like the Stanfurd environment. The campus and students are way too clean and polished. Palo Alto is not really a college town and does not have much personality. It's probably easier finding a sweet job coming out of Stanfurd than Yale because recruiters know how competitive Stanfurd is to get in, but I believe Berkeley, Boston, and/or New Haven offer more diverse environments that provide a richer MBA experience. I have the rest of my life to live in a quiet, sterile boring community, why waste two valuable years?

Sunday, February 05, 2006


I'm going to create a checklist of "Things to do in the Bay Area before I leave." Last weekend, I got to accomplish one of the top items on my list: visiting Yosemite. Even during winter months, the weather was gorgeous and there was some breathtaking scenery. The picture above is my best attempt to be Ansel Adams with my Canon SD400. From this point, I captured Half Dome in the center, and the face of El Capitan on the left. If you look closely on the right side, there's a waterfall that lines up with one of the near trees. The lush valley on the bottom contrasts the snow covered tops. I wanted to include a lot of blue sky so I have a place for my icons when I set this picture as my desktop wallpaper.

This picture is meaningful to me because it represents a quick snapshot of where I am in my life. The face of El Capitan shows the difficult MBA journey ahead. Half Dome, which is dead center and far away, represents my ultimate personal and professional goals. While earning my MBA is important, I hope I don't ever lose focus on the big picture and what really is important to me.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Columbia Interview complete

This morning, I drove to Marin County to interview with a Columbia alumni. The questions I was asked were:

1) Walk me through your resume.
2) Where do you want to be/what do you want to do? (why mba?)
3) Why Columbia?
4) Columbia is known as a finance business school, why does someone with your background want to attend Columbia? (interviewer had finance background)
5) What kind of leader are you?
6) What makes you different?
7) Any questions for the interviewer?

Overall it was a standard interview and I wasn't thrown off guard too much by any of the questions. The interviewer was very friendly as it was very conversational and it seemed like he was genuinely interested in my story. I had a little trouble making a convincing argument why I wanted to attend Columbia over any other school because I am still slightly leaning toward Yale. We'll see what happens from here, and how much weight ADCOM puts on the interview, but I need to start writing my "I Love MIT" letter.