Imaginary Engineer - Yale SOM '08

Industrial Engineer dreaming of an MBA

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

MIT Sloan update

Wow, been a busy blog posting day for me. I just got an email from MIT:

Dear Brownoski,

The Admissions Committee of the MIT Sloan MBA Program has considered your application and has regretfully concluded that we cannot offer you a place in the incoming class.

As you no doubt realize, the MIT Sloan School is comparatively small, with approximately 324 MBA students entering each year. While our size offers advantages to both our students and faculty, it also creates an extremely difficult selection process––this year, well over 2,900 candidates will compete for the 324 places in the class. I think it is no exaggeration to say that the majority of our applicants would be good students for our program. Since we have so few spaces to offer, the problem is not only choosing academically and professionally qualified applicants, but also choosing the very strongest candidates from a field of extraordinarily talented individuals.

We realize this news comes as a disappointment. I do hope, however, that you will accept our best wishes for your success.

I'm glad I got to visit Sloan, this rejection helps put closure and I still think highly of Sloan's program. Surprisingly, I am not that upset and expect a similar letter from Wharton soon.

Part 3: Wharton Visit

Some Pictures:
Huntsman Hall

Beautiful Walkway

Case Competition

Typical Classroom

Study Room

Overall Wharton Impressions:

The Good:
-Facilities: Huntsman Hall is "unbeevable." The study rooms have these flat screen monitors you can hook your laptop to, and you can use a stylus to write on that screen to input data
-"Wharton" brand
-Access to Wharton alumni network (bigger in business world than Yale or MIT)
-Huge faculty, wide array of electives to choose from
-Feeder school to many awesome companies, recruiting may be slightly easier
-Wharton is the crown jewel at UPENN, unlike Sloan at MIT
-Philly is warmer than Boston
-Campus Gym is huge, and right next to Huntsman

The Bad:
-Ginormous class size (not as close knit as Yale or MIT)
-Not super diverse (significant banking/consulting subsets)
-Culture of many students seem to be solely $$ driven
-grade non-disclosure in jeopardy

Part 2: MIT Sloan Visit

Some Pictures:

MIT's Money Shot

Inside the Dome

View of Charles River/Boston from Sloan

Building E52

Main Auditorium

MIT Sloan Overall Impressions

The Good:
-Small class size similar to Yale
-Demanding coursework (great education)
-Big Grad Student population (outnumbers undergrad)
-Boston area has lots of schools near by
-Easy to take classes at HBS (2 stops down the red line)
-Great entrepreneurial resources (smart peers to collaborate with)
-Awesome Supply Chain / Logistics resources (my intended concentration)
-Great alumni network, especially in engineering/consulting/VC

The Bad:
-marketing class?
-too "quant", students refer to buildings by number (E53) and not by name
-Research seems to be the top priority at MIT
-not as diverse as Yale in terms of backgrounds
-Competitive grading, harder to stick out when recruiting
-Costs of living in Boston is similar to SF, much higher than New Haven
-Classroom discussions at MIT are not as interactive/energetic as that of Yale (both studied materials from case studies but the Yale students were more engaged)

Yale SOM Dean Speech on new Curriculum

Welcome Weekend speech is available online at: Dean's Speech

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Part 1: Yale SOM Welcome Weekend

Wow, SOMers definitely know how to have fun! After flying in on Thursday Night, we started our evening at "Bar" on College/Crown. The place was packed with cuties, and the beer and pizza were really good ($1 beers after 10:00). Afterwards, I headed over to a house party on Mansfield St hosted by a first year. The second person I met was flatpoint and he did a great job selling Yale. I met people with interesting backgrounds and got a nice sample of the diversity of Yale SOM students.

Skull and Bones Society

Chinese President Hu protestors

One of Yale's Singing Groups

Yale SOM at Night

Yale SOM (very small school)

My Overall Impressions of Yale:

The Good:
-Very small class size (180 students), get to know everyone
-Great Faculty:Student Ratio (60 faculty for 180 students)
-CDO (career develop office), big full time staff for small class size provides a great personal resource to find my dream job
-VERY diverse. I visited MIT and Wharton, and Yale had the least percentage of "traditional" MBA's (aka consulting/banking). Of the 160 Welcome Weekend Attendees, there was a chef, Senator's press secretary, Entrepreneur, Certified professional Negotiator (Navy), diverse industries represented...
-faculty extremely accessible, attributed to small class size
-"Yale" brand
-Close to NY, only $14 by train (1.5 hrs)
-Int'l Trip in Jan: China, Brazil, Africa, England?
-Every Friday no class, focus on recruiting/interviewing
-Pass/Fail makes classes truly team oriented
-Easy to take any Yale class (ie: corporate tax class in Law school)

The Bad:
-Housing options. I checked out all areas: Grad Ghetto, Mansfield, Downtown, high rises, and I didn't find a single place I liked. I'm not very picky but I just want a place with a decent bathroom.
-Weak West Coast recruiting
-untested new curriculum changes

*more details about NY, MIT Sloan, and Wharton to come soon

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New Cell Phone

My cell phone history starts in 2000 when I got a bulky Nokia phone and a Cellular One contract. 2 years later in 2002, Cellular One got bought out by ATT Wireless, so I upgraded to one of the smaller Nokia phones. 2 years later in 2004, a new Nokia phone came out with this cool qwerty keyboard feature, so I upgraded. I love Nokia phones and thought I would never switch brands.

Then I decided to call customer service to switch over to the nation-wide plan. Up till now, I've been on a local California plan and never needed to make phone calls out of state. Unfortunately, with the Cingular takeover, my phone's ATTWS SIM card will not work with the new Cingular network (something about 16 bit vs 32 bit). In order to switch over to the Cingular nation-wide plan, the customer rep told me I would need to get a new cell phone! I didn't want to buy a new cell phone but because I've been such a loyal customer for 6 years, they offered to give me this really cool Samsung D307 phone for free:

I'm really excited because this phone has two swivel modes, the regular swivel to talk, and the other swivel mode to type messages (I'm a text message fiend). I can't wait to test out the quality when I tour the East Coast (can you hear me now).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Public Transportation

Transportation needs in my 6 days on the East Coast:

-4 Shuttle rides to/from airports/hotels
-1 bus ride from NY -> Boston
-2 Amtrak legs (NH->NY, BOS->PVD), 1 SEPTA train in Philly
-Airports I'll be going through: OAK, LAS, BDL, PVD, PHL
-3 subway trips on the Red Line in Boston
-3 subway adventures in NY

I am definitely going to miss my car, I've been so spoiled in California that I don't know what it's like to use public transportation.

-Yale Dean addressing new curriculum
-New professors coming to SOM
-Yale SOM Applicatation Volume up 11%
-After reading my blog, China's President decides to visit Yale at the same time
-I submitted my Clear Admit BoB vote (let's just say Bay Area Sweep)
-I got an amazing haircut at Six Weeks in the heart of the Castro

Monday, April 10, 2006

East Coast Trip

In planning my east coast trip, I had to consider the following constraints:

-avoid red-eyes at all possible costs
-Need to be at Yale on April 21-22
-Visit buddy @ Columbia over the weekend
-Need to visit Wharton and MIT during a weekday
-I have 2 free Southwest rapid rewards tix (doing one leg flights are free)
-Southwest doesn't fly into JFK or LGA (only Long Island)
-Southwest does fly into Bradley and Philadelphia..
-I can only take a vacation from 4/20 -> 4/26, and I need a full day at home to do errands

After listing all of my alternatives in Excel, I chose the following cheapest option:

Thursday, April 20
-Fly all day from OAK -> BDL (layover in Vegas gives me 1 hr to hit the airport bars and possible $0.25 slots)
-check out the night scene in New Haven (exciting..)

Friday, April 21
-Welcome weekend festivities

Saturday, April 22
-look at apts in the afternoon, take the train over to NYC for dinner
-check out NYC on a Saturday Night (EXCITING!!)

Sunday, April 23
-be a tourist in NYC until afternoon
-take 4-hr bus to Boston late afternoon
-check out Boston on a Sunday Night (exciting..)

Monday, April 24
-Tour MIT
-sit in on class
-Stop by ADCOM to say "hullo, I really like you"
-fly to Philadelphia late afternoon (cheap and quick rapid rewards point)
-check out Philadelphia night life (exciting..)

Tuesday, April 25
-Tour Wharton
-Grab lunch with current student
-Stop by ADCOM to say "hullo, I really like you"
-Fly home Tuesday Night (zzzzzzzzz.....)

Wednesday, April 25
-Finish my errands, get ready to submit my Yale deposit $$

I'm definitely excited to visit all three schools. If by some miracle I get off one of the waitlists, I figure it would be good to get a taste of student life before forking over my deposit. As of right now, my ranked preferences are:

1) Sloan (top resources for Operations/Supply Chain Management)
2) Wharton (amazing brand with tons of electives to choose from)
3) Yale (amazing people, potentially amazing experience with new curriculum)

Who knows, maybe my east coast trip will change some of my perspectives, but I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to share with everyone.

Monday, April 03, 2006

MIT non-update

As with Wharton, R2 d-day passed for Sloan and I am still on the waitlist. After checking out the b-week forums, it looks like some people got in off the waitlist from R1 (congrats to those folks). I'm just gonna continue waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting....

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Apprentice 6

Today I accomplished another item on my checklist - to audition to be the next "Apprentice." Overall it was a fun experience and I'm glad I took pictures. Unfortunately, the only North California casting call was held in Sacramento at the Channel 3 TV studio. I thought it was lame that people from the Bay Area had to drive all the way out to Sacramento, but I guess it's better than driving to LA.

The plan on the website instructed applicants to arrive at 9 AM to receive wrist-bands. Only those with wrist-bands would be allowed to interview. Here's how the line looked at 8 AM.
10 AM - After waiting 2 hours, I'm excited because I finally get a wrist-band, which will guarantee me an interview.
1 PM - it starts raining while we are standing in line. This is Donald's first test to see who is truly committed as people in the line start leaving.
2 PM - it starts pouring as if a waterfall decided to drench everyone outside. More people leave, and those remaining start getting impatient and soaked.
3:30 PM - I finally approach the entrance to the building. As I'm let in, there's another HUGE LINE!!!
3:45 PM - After sweet talking the custodian, I'm allowed to walk into the Channel 3 news room and take a picture from the anchor desk. The room was pretty big and I was just excited to finally be sitting down! (yes I'm wearing my fav brown suit with my A-Game on)

4:15 PM - My group is standing right outside the interview room. We can hear shouting and angry voices.

4:20 PM - My 10 minute 12-person group interview starts. We spend 5 minutes introducing ourselves by 1)Name 2)Age 3)Location 4)Occupation 5)One sentence to set yourself apart. The last 5 minutes was a mock boardroom where the interviewer asks "Are we safer today than we were before 9/11?" Everyone in the group starts arguing with each other and then it's over quickly.

In retrospect:
Behind the interviewer was a 4 foot stack of applications. After seeing all those applications, I now understand the scope of what the MBA Admissions Offices go through. This is why it can take weeks just for your app to go complete. I'm pretty sure I won't get a call-back because I didn't really stick out much. My sentence was pretty boring but I threw in the MBA angle because most of the people in the group worked in the Real Estate industry with minimal college experience.

The mock boardroom was pretty dumb because no one made a coherent argument. Before I could gather my thoughts and think about my answer, people were shouting ridiculous non-related topics just to stand out. Someone said, "It's all Bush's fault, he's an idiot." Another chimed, "No, he's a liar." My favorite line was when someone said, "Look at the border, there is no security at all" and then another person immediately replied, "No, you're wrong, terrorists can go through the border." ... huh? ... I tried to calm some of the emotions and the one line I could squeeze in the debate was "Look here guys, the topic is whether or not we are more secure than we were before 9/11. Certain aspects of life are more secure, like airport security. Before 9/11, anyone could walk up to the passenger terminal and carry bombs in their shoes. At least now, we have more rigid security procedures at airports. Other aspects of life have the same pre-9/11 security levels. For example, port security hasn't changed much. We inspect the same ~5% of incoming cargo now like we did before 9/11. Bottom line, we are more secure in some areas and have the same security levels in other areas." My tactic of relying on facts and sticking to the question didn't work because people just ignored my points and talked about how stupid Bush is. Very lame way to interview.

As an Industrial Engineer who continually strives to improve processes, the day could've been a lot more efficient. After receiving the wrist bands, we really didn't need to stand outside in the rain all day. Simply by looking at the unique sequence number on each wrist band, the producers could've easily scheduled each 10 minute time slot to 12 unique wrist bands numbers. That way, everyone could go grab lunch and come back at a specific time without waiting in that huge line.

Also, a 5 min boardroom isn't an effective way to do the first filter. Instead, they should take all the applicants (plus few undercover producers) to a big park and tell them to socialize with each other for 3 hours. At the end, people should rate the top 18 people they think should be on the "Apprentice." The producers can figure out the call-backs by ranking those individuals who are the most popular choices. I think this is more effective because the process would also do valuable market research for the producers. I noticed everyone in line was a HUGE Apprentice fan and part of the key 18-35 demographic with no kids and lots of disposable income. Also, everyone was very sociable/Type A personality and we all got to know each other very well in the hours we spent waiting in line. If I met one of the final Apprentice candidates today, I feel I'd know him/her better than the producers after multiple interviews. The idea of having a long 3 hour social interaction is influenced by the book I'm reading, "Blink." In it, the author describes how Pepsi will always win the Coke/Pepsi challenge because people prefer Pepsi's sweeter taste in sips. But when analyzing soda drinking behavior over an entire can, Coke wins out. Similarly, audiences might prefer one candidate over another given a long 3 hour interaction versus a quick 10 minute interview... I'm tired, forgive me if I'm just rambling on and on as this post never ends.........