Imaginary Engineer - Yale SOM '08

Industrial Engineer dreaming of an MBA

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Email from Yale's Dean

The following is an excerpt from Dean Podolny summarizing the new curriculum:

1. Orientation to Management

The first six weeks consist of a series of courses designed to develop the basic skills and language of management. This first segment will also provide structured opportunities through class work and other exercises for the exploration of your career goals and aspirations.

2. Organizational Perspectives

This twelve-week segment is made up of eight interdisciplinary courses organized around key organizational roles that a manager must engage in order to achieve success. Instead of being taught Finance, Marketing, Economics and other management subjects in discrete, unconnected classes, you will learn about the functional management disciplines in a series of multidisciplinary team-taught courses that will allow you to develop a coherent, integrated view of management practice. This segment also includes a two-week international experience scheduled in January.

3. Integrative Leadership Perspective

The final six weeks of the year will bring together the material you have learned in a series of cases focused around managerial challenges in organizations scaled from a small entrepreneurial start-up to a large corporation or social sector organization.

My first thought with Yale SOM's changes was "wow, sounds really cool!" Then I read the line about the 2-week international scheduled trip in January and I thought "man, cool just got cooler!" Then my quantitative brain starting calculating the weeks and 6 + 12 + 6 = 24. I'm not sure if the 2 week trip is part of the 12 weeks, but assuming it's not, 2 + 1 (spring break) + 1 (Thanksgiving) + 4 (Christmas break) = 8. 24 + 8 = 32... Does this mean that my summer break is 52 - 32 = 20 weeks long?!?! I must be missing school weeks somewhere, I wonder how everything will add up.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Snow is Melting

Rain in Northern California Friday and Saturday. Avalanche Warnings close Hwy 88 until 23:00 on Sat Night. All roads re-open with chain control on Sunday. Partly cloudy skies forecasted. Ingredients for another amazing snow day in Tahoe?

Surprisingly the conditions on Sunday were good, but not great. As seen by the picture I took on the ridgeline between the back and frontside of Kirkwood, much of the new snow quickly melted because it was unusually warm (high at 48 degrees). There was no snow on any of the trees and the overall snow base seemed noticeably lower than that of last time (you can see little tree tops and rocks jutting out).

With the snow melting, I guess Spring is here, which means Baseball season is just around the corner. My basketball picks were completely wrong, so I am looking forward to moving on to baseball. I've gone to many Giants games since they opened Pac Bell Park, but have never experienced the game from McCovey Cove. Hopefully I'll get a chance to sit back and experience a game in a rented Kayak just beyond right field (I doubt there'll be any more splash HR's with a non-roided Barry Bonds)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yale SF Reception

Tonight was the Yale SOM San Francisco reception for admitted students. About 15 students and 1 ADCOM member showed up, and I am truly impressed by my future classmates. Everyone had interesting backgrounds, and I don't think I met a single boring person. The good news is Cal will be well represented next year because by my count, there will be at least 6 other fellow alum. In fact, I recognized another Cal math major.. what are the odds?

The topics ranged from the new dean/curriculum to welcome weekend plans. Evidently, Yale SOM's new dean is changing the curriculum in favor of a more multi-disciplinary approach. The most visible impact will be a smaller class size (180 total planned students divided into 3 classes of 60). I asked the ADCOM member if this was just a one time exception, but it seems 180 will be the new target class size in the near-term (at least until the new buildings are complete). The smaller class size will naturally lead to a more competitive student body (especially as application volume rises), but I wonder how many future CEO's Yale would unfortunately lose because of this decision. For me, I'm just thrilled I got accepted in Round 1.

If this cross-section of 15 students represents the class of 2008, I can't wait to go to school in August. I'm already practicing my "GO BULLDOGS" chant and am looking forward to painting my face blue for the Harvard-Yale football game.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Online Traffic School

Dear Brownoski,

This email is to notify you that you did NOT pass our traffic school exam. You scored 65% on your exam taken on 03/22/2006. You need 80% or higher to pass. Please review the course material and retake the exam.

Coordinated Court Services, Inc.

This is an automated message generated to inform you of your status
Please ignore this message if your status has changed

Coordinated Court Services, Inc. is a non profit organization founded to assist the courts and DMV to improve the safety of driving

15 minutes and 5 atempts later

Dear Brownoski,

Congratulations! You have completed and passed our traffic school final exam. You scored 85% on your exam taken on 03/22/2006. Your certificate will be sent directly to the court. You are NOT required to do anything. A confirmation via email will be sent to you when your certificate is sent out to the court.

If only I could retake the GMATS with the same questions until I got an 800..

The funniest parts about Traffic 101's test were the ridiculous non-traffic questions that make you skim the materials and retake the test. For those looking to save some time, the answers are: the author is 5'8", loves basketball, lives in CA, likes Sourdough bread, loves carrots, drinks 8 glasses of water/day, 5 is his lucky number.

I must have good kharma because I was barely eligible for traffic school this ticket (20 months since my last ticket). Alas, I need to drive more carefully over the next 18 months which means I'll be taking my time driving from CA to New Haven this summer.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tourist in San Francisco

With 10.5 weeks left in San Francisco, I felt an urge to be a tourist on this gorgeous weekend. I accomplished my goal of eating clam chowder from a sourdough bread bowl and pot stickers from U-Lee in Nob Hill (the plate is normal size, the pot stickers are HUGE). I had a blast and will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wharton Non-Update..

The Admissions Committee has completed its secondary review of your application and would like to offer you the option to continue on the waitlist. You will be notified of any changes in your status by the end of Round 3. If you wish to withdraw your application from consideration, please send an e-mail to with the subject header "Waitlist Remove."

In the spirit of fairness and equity, we will not accept additional materials for inclusion in your application. Thank you for continuing to observe this policy.

After sipping a few cocktails and staying up all night on the S2S Chat with Pupstar78, ArmyAli (stay safe over there), Masoisa (thanks for opening a spot in MIT), and a few others, my R2 Wharton Status got updated to: Waitlist for R3. Congrats to everyone in the chat who made it, and I wish all the best to those who got the unfortunate ding. This puts an interesting spin on my Wharton App because now I'll have to put my Yale deposit down in April because the next R3 status update is all the way in May..

Oh MIT, where are you?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

March Madness Picks are in

Finally my March Madness Picks are complete. What was my methodology? Did I create a complicated algorithm based on statistics that would make Mr. RPI jealous? Well, not really. I completely went with my gut and picked schools that I remember doing well in last year's tournament. I figure tournament experience trumps all statistics. Some noteables:

-West Virginia making it to the Elite 8 (I love the name Pittsnogle)
-Pitt making it to the Elight 8
-UCLA making it to the Final 4
-Illinois beating UCONN
-Boston College over Villanova
-Duke beats Ohio St in the Finals to win it all

As usual, I'll probably get half my picks wrong and Jessica Simpson will beat me again this year, but it's fun to root for the underdogs during March.

BTW - Why does Cal ALWAYS get hosed in location. We got killed by Pitt in Pittsburgh one year, then by Oklahoma in Oklahoma the next year, why do we have to play Texas in Texas this year? Seriously - HOSED. At least Richard Midgley will have fun beating NC State again to finish off his career at Cal.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Pi Day

Happy Pi Day everyone! In order to celebrate one of the most famous irrational numbers on 3/14 at 1:59 AM, I decided to post a nerdy math blog. What does pi have to do with the MBA application process? Well both are irrational and never seem to have an end. I started my Wharton App in August '05 when they posted the essay questions online (first school to do so). Because I hate procrastinating, I finished my app well before the October deadline, yet it is 3/14 and I still don't have a decision. I may hear some update when R2 decisions are released this Thursday, but this process is wayyy too long. I can't imagine applying to a job and waiting over 6 months to hear back.

For those with too much free time and nothing to do like me, here is one way to calculate pi:

Probably a more practical way of celebrating Pi Day is just eating a good pie or pineapple. I haven't decided what to do yet, but something tells me that I'll probably figure out the 1,000th digit of Pi before I hear back from Wharton or MIT.

On a more random note celebrating nerdy math, here's an interesting proof I found on the internet a few years back:

I think the next geeky holiday is Mole Day on 6/02 at 10:23 AM. I hate chemistry, but I'm sure there's a fun way to celebrate that day.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

MIT Called..

As I was driving on the freeway, I get a call from a 617 area code. I thought it was a friend from San Diego (619) but it turns out it was from MIT! My heart stops and I almost get into an accident as the person introduces herself from MIT. She mentioned I was near the top of the waitlist and was wondering if I was still interested in Sloan. With an emphatic "ABSOLUTELY" I eagerly awaited any response. As it turns out, there's room in the Round 2 pool to re-review Round 1 Waitlist candidates, and she said I will likely hear a decision by April 3rd. Still not an admit, but with Wharton Round 2 decisions coming out next Thursday, my anxiety just jumped up 1000 percent.

BTW - Happy B-Day Marina!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mavens, Connectors, and Salesman

Inspired by IWMI to read Freakonomics and Marina who is reading The World is Flat, I decided to stop by Barnes and Noble and pick up the business book The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Surprisingly I find myself with a lot of free time these days, so reading is a nice way to take a break from watching tivo and compulsively checking my email.

I just finished the chapter on Mavens, Connectors, and Salesman, and this book is really fun. It's interesting to hear his theory on how ideas/fads/information are started by Mavens (who are experts in one area) who tell Connectors (who have tons of acquaintances) who tell Salesman (the ones who convince people on the fence to give the fad a try) the Mavens' original message. In the real world, I'm not sure if I fit into any of these categories because I'm definitely not a Maven (no trend-setter here), not a Connector (don't have 100 friends on friendster), and definitely not a Salesman.

However, in the online MBA world, I hope that this blog serves like a Maven for the MBA application process. By posting my experiences on this blog and Clearadmit's Wiki, Connectors like Hella, MBA League, Businessweek, and S2S will help communicate my experiences to anyone interested. The Salesman are the Admissions Consultants who can use this information to help their clients improve their MBA candidacy by drawing upon Maven experiences.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

So much powder

Lots of rain in the Bay Area translates to heavy powder in Tahoe. Throw in a clear Saturday, and you have ingredients for, not the perfect storm but the perfect ski day with fresh, clean, virgin powder. After scouring the weather reports on Thursday and Friday (in between reading blogs and businessweek forums), I knew Saturday would be one of the best Tahoe days of the season. Instead of going to the Cal/USC final home game, I opted to tear up Northstar with my freshly waxed skis. The best part of the trip was discovering a new favorite run. If you take a right off the Lookout Mountain chair lift and ski down the border by the picnic bench, you'll find the deepest powder in Tahoe. At one point, I skied past a tiny little tree whose branch caught my right knee and I found myself tumbling and landing in waist-deep powder. As I lay in the snow, I thought this is what it must feel like to lie on a million pillows.

I hope the ski conditions in Vermont are similar to that of Tahoe because I don't know if I can survive two consecutive powderless winters. With only 12.5 weeks left in the Bay Area, it seems like I won't have enough time to complete my Bay Area checklist. Ah wells, I guess I'll need to start a new checklist for So Cal. Any ideas?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Columbia Ding

Status Description
After a careful review of our Wait List, the Admissions Committee regrets to inform you that we will not be able to offer you admission.
It was extremely difficult to make this decision. As you are aware, we have an extraordinarily competitive applicant pool and therefore must disappoint many fine candidates. Please be advised that if you wish to be reconsidered for the Columbia MBA program, you may reapply by using the reapplication checklist available through our website at

We do appreciate your interest in Columbia Business School and wish you success in your future endeavors.

I'm glad Columbia didn't wait until the summer to tell me I'm dinged. I don't regret not sending any information to the waitlist manager because I'm not that passionate about Columbia. Columbia is a great school, but I think I'll be pretty happy at Yale. If applications are up and schools won't be going off their waitlists, I hope Wharton and MIT can offer the same courtesy by giving me my ding before April so I can start looking for a place to live in New Haven.