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In retrospect....

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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 12 May 2011, 13:03
[quote="bschbound"]
Second, I do think people take the hanging out thing too much to the other end. I saw this at Harvard's ASW. Some people were overdrive. You know, introducing themselves to everyone and not taking the time to make meaningful conversation. They were going for everything that was happening. Quality over quantity people./quote]

bschbound, I have to agree with you strongly there. I met a few people at ASW that were exactly as you described them. I actually found that during the champagne reception, I met one or two people I really enjoyed and talked to them the entire two hours, while others were running around trying to "tag" as many people as they could with their presence.

I think we're all out to get something different out of the MBAs. For me, I'd like to learn a lot, and make a few really deep connections. No matter what, we'll all make hundreds of acquaintances. But how many of them can you truly count on when you need a hand... or better yet - a friend?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 12 May 2011, 13:09
icemanjs4 wrote:

bschbound, I have to agree with you strongly there. I met a few people at ASW that were exactly as you described them. I actually found that during the champagne reception, I met one or two people I really enjoyed and talked to them the entire two hours, while others were running around trying to "tag" as many people as they could with their presence.

I think we're all out to get something different out of the MBAs. For me, I'd like to learn a lot, and make a few really deep connections. No matter what, we'll all make hundreds of acquaintances. But how many of them can you truly count on when you need a hand... or better yet - a friend?


Interesting. Maybe I didn't meet those people since my wife and I skipped the champagne reception during R1 ASW to have dinner with some good friends. We're pretty laid back anyways but we were happy to meet lots of really nice folks that I'd gladly call friends. I've got a lifetime to network. My two years at HBS will be spent making meaningful relationships. :-D
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 12 May 2011, 16:09
eskimoroll wrote:
Interesting. Maybe I didn't meet those people since my wife and I skipped the champagne reception during R1 ASW to have dinner with some good friends. We're pretty laid back anyways but we were happy to meet lots of really nice folks that I'd gladly call friends. I've got a lifetime to network. My two years at HBS will be spent making meaningful relationships. :-D


Well shoot... Now I'm really hoping I get to meet you and your wife. :-D I can't wait to get a whole new set of really good friends who open up the world to me. It's going to be a good 2 years!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 12 May 2011, 21:35
Rhyme you are the go-to guy mann. Thanks lot
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 13 May 2011, 01:48
icemanjs4 wrote:
eskimoroll wrote:
Interesting. Maybe I didn't meet those people since my wife and I skipped the champagne reception during R1 ASW to have dinner with some good friends. We're pretty laid back anyways but we were happy to meet lots of really nice folks that I'd gladly call friends. I've got a lifetime to network. My two years at HBS will be spent making meaningful relationships. :-D


Well shoot... Now I'm really hoping I get to meet you and your wife. :-D I can't wait to get a whole new set of really good friends who open up the world to me. It's going to be a good 2 years!


Ditto dude. There's a bunch of us regulars on gmatclub that have decided to go to HBS so I'm looking forward to putting a face to a screen name. :-D
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 13 May 2011, 04:10
Just stumbled on this post - thank you! ive been feeling overwhelmed with school choices and it's good to hear this from someone's who been through it already!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 13 May 2011, 20:34
Insightful, indeed!

:-)

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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 14 May 2011, 08:32
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Having just gone to my Kellogg 1st year reunion, I was shocked at how many people hated their jobs and really blown away by how many had already moved on to a new job. Some of this may be a result of tough recruiting and improving options. However, a lot is people taking jobs based on brand/pay without regards to other factors. It seems pretty common for some companies to give the bait and switch, this may be unintentional on their part...honestly it is very difficult for a company to know exactly what you will be doing 18 months after recruiting take place. My friends from banking all looked like walking zombies and most talked about how it was a two or three year plan before leveraging their experience for something better suited to having a life.

There is a lot to be said about really looking hard at any company you are planning on joining, get away from the folks involved in recruiting. Remember they are basically sales people, they are selling their company to you. Even if they are alums and you like them, I found it rare that they would open up about the really bad things about a company. However, alums and others I could contact who worked at companies who were not involved in the recruiting process were generally very very open about the pros/cons of their company. There were companies I decided to completely avoid based on what I learned; I felt no matter how great the brand, pay, and supposed opportunities that I would hate being there.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 14 May 2011, 13:15
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riverripper wrote:
Having just gone to my Kellogg 1st year reunion, I was shocked at how many people hated their jobs and really blown away by how many had already moved on to a new job. Some of this may be a result of tough recruiting and improving options. However, a lot is people taking jobs based on brand/pay without regards to other factors. It seems pretty common for some companies to give the bait and switch, this may be unintentional on their part...honestly it is very difficult for a company to know exactly what you will be doing 18 months after recruiting take place. My friends from banking all looked like walking zombies and most talked about how it was a two or three year plan before leveraging their experience for something better suited to having a life.

There is a lot to be said about really looking hard at any company you are planning on joining, get away from the folks involved in recruiting. Remember they are basically sales people, they are selling their company to you. Even if they are alums and you like them, I found it rare that they would open up about the really bad things about a company. However, alums and others I could contact who worked at companies who were not involved in the recruiting process were generally very very open about the pros/cons of their company. There were companies I decided to completely avoid based on what I learned; I felt no matter how great the brand, pay, and supposed opportunities that I would hate being there.


This is good advice. Like riverripper, I've been shocked by the number of people looking to leave their firms. To be fair, I was one of those (and I've since left) largely because I was sold what I thought was a bag of goods in recruiting and the real job didnt come close to living up to the real thing. It wasn't money in my case -- just the lesser of a few options and the only job offer I had that didn't require me to move or to go back to consulting (which I had no interest in doing) - but after a year at that gig (actually after about 2 weeks) it was clear to me that it wasn't a fit. They (recruiters) know how to market to MBAs... I had dinner with the CFO and CEO of a company that employes over 50,000 people - and yet, when the rubber met the road, the job lacked responsibility, challenge and intellectual rigor.

Some of my friends who chased money are happy - some are just wired for the 100 hour week - others are miserable beyond compare. A "sorta friend" of mine who I ran into while visiting London told me he was making $100K ish base, plus a $50K sign on, plus another $100K bonus on top of that and he was unhappy beyond belief. First class was empty and I got him bumped up - we spent the next 10 hours catching up. A year later he called to tell me he was back in town, had quit, was making half what he had been and was a million times happier. Good for him I say.

I've since gone to a non-traditional firm myself (they dont come to campus) and I couldn't be happier. I may not be making quite as much as some of my peers, but I've got everything I need: a comfortable single family home to raise my family in, a nice backyard i can spend years fighting weeds in, a interesting job, a loving wife, and I'm home by six.

The broader point riverripper makes is a good one: the 'menu' of options presented at MBA programs is woefully small when one stops to consider all the opportunities that are out there. And if you step away from either brand or money for a moment, and really think about what you would want to do, the world opens up.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 14 May 2011, 13:53
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I also joined as Rhyme put it a "non-traditional" company, they do hire a few MBA's every few years from a handful of top programs. However, they do zero recruiting. There are lots that just post jobs and let people self select. Initially I was skeptical that the opportunity would be as good as at a company who targets MBA's. A few conversations with people who had gone through the program dismissed that fear quickly. In many ways it is a better opportunity since there aren't 20 other grads in your cohort. There is no real structure, so it has been up to me to find projects and add value to the company. If you can successfully do that while not appearing as an overly aggressive MBA who thinks they deserve everything on a silver platter and you will do well.

Do not be afraid to find your own path, a lot of companies wont blink at paying you a six figure salary if you can show them your value. If you blow them away you could advance very rapidly, unlike traditional firms there is really isn't a history to compare you to and there is also no set path. When, I was hired and recruited, my exit option from my year or so of training were laid out for me. Fast forward to nearing the end of my year, I have multiple options to choose from and none are anything like the original idea. Personally, I am much more excited about the potential options and they all came about due to my personal efforts to make it happen. As my mentor at work put it, you are the champion for your own career. Finding opportunities and making things happen will move you along much faster and higher than if you wait for people to seek you out to.

If you are humble and very proactive with seeking out projects for decision makers you can really open a lot of doors. I volunteered for a very shitty assignment for one of the top 3 guys in the company, during a meeting he made mention of how they just removed a person and needed to fill the position as fast as possible or they were screwed. I mentioned to the VP I report to that I could fill it until they could hire a fulltime person, he put it to the executives everyone agreed it was a great idea. I didn't do this because I wanted to suck up but because I saw the value in learning the function could play in my long term success. I ran this for three months and while it definitely wasn't glamorous, it turned out to be a very valuable learning assignment and helped me to network with many of our senior leaders. Best of all, when they finally filled the position the Senior VP pulled me aside and says he owes me one and will remember I took one for the team.

However, it can work the complete opposite way if you are not able to navigate the situation well or come in with a big head. The big wigs in the corner office may be responsible for bringing in big name MBA's, and they may even think you are destined to be a senior level manager someday but everyone else around probably doesn't. Remember you only have one chance at a first impression and being willing to take less glamorous assignments, displaying flexibility, and basically doing whatever is asked of you without complaint and giving it your all will go a long way. I was hired with another MBA, who definitely has not created his own opportunities and thinks the company deserves him something.

It is interesting how two people brought in with at the same time and in the same situation can view it so differently, I know he hates it and has said as much. He feels there are no good options for him going forward (he started several months before me and should have already moved on)...while I the choice of multiple assignments and am having a hard time choosing since two of them I think are amazing and would really go a long way to advancing my career.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 14 May 2011, 22:30
Great topic. I hope more 2008/2009/2010 gmatclubbers will chime in with their 'in retrospect's as well :)
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 15 May 2011, 03:51
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rhyme wrote:
Financier wrote:
rhyme wrote:
#5: Take good professors not good classes
------------------------------------------
Personal experience here but a good professor a good class makes. Simple.


Rhyme, very good advices, but one question:
how do first year students usually get personal experience of Booth's professors?


You misinterpret. I dont mean you should get "personal experience" with professors what I mean is that my personal experience has led me to the conclusion that you should pick what classes to take based on which professors are good not on which classes are good. A "good class" with a "bad" professor is a waste of time. An OK class with a great professor turns into a great class.

Find out who the best are and take them.

Schrager's class, for instance, is arguably the most influential, interesting and compelling course I've ever taken and I think 90% of those who take it would agree. Its not the material that makes it that way, its him.

http://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/bio ... 2825686016

Alan Bester teaches a stats course. It's statistics, so its by definition not that exciting. And yet, his class is incredible - so incredible in fact that I know people who skipped statistics, took regressions and then went BACK and took stats anyway because of him.

http://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/bio ... 2824553472

My point is that, in my opinion, you should pick classes based on who teaches them, not based on what they are. Thats perhaps a bit of an odd thing to say I admit.



Great insight Rhyme and we could definitely use much more of this. Maybe when you have the time, would you consider posting your thoughts/impressions on courses/profs that you came across during your time at Booth and write a short brief about it.

I understand that something of this nature is already available to current students but not sure if the course reviews there are insightful enough (the school hasnt yet granted us access).

On a related note, I think a very important part of choosing/applying to a school has to do with how much 'love' you feel for it. I feel that a lot of MBA hopefuls would benefit greatly from these reviews and who knows maybe we would have even more converts choosing Booth over the traditional top 3 trio of H/S/W, based on the writeups they see here. I would be more than happy to keep the chain going by posting my own reviews, as I go through the program.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 15 May 2011, 05:14
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Great insight Rhyme and we could definitely use much more of this. Maybe when you have the time, would you consider posting your thoughts/impressions on courses/profs that you came across during your time at Booth and write a short brief about it.

There wouldnt be much point - I took 21 courses out of who knows how many options. The odds that mine are the same you'd want are slim, and on top of that, there's no guarantee that the same professors are teaching the same courses anymore (I can think of at least 2 that I took who I know have moved on to other places). That said, its not hard to find out who is well respected. Schraeger and Bester are classics known for their impressive courses. Kevin Murphy is considered the most bad!@(# econ professor there - and with good reason - his course demands approximately 16 hours a week of study when most courses average 4. Those who take him cry like schoolgirls during the course and then feel like hardened men when done. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you want to learn from "the best", his class would be hte generally accepted answer. Richard Thaler is also incredibly well known as the father of behavioral economics. In my personal opinion, his research is more impressive than his class, but I am in the minority there - most people love it. Steven Kaplan is probably the most sought after PE professor, and I'm told he's a hardliner... cell phone goes off in class, get ready to get thrown out. Rajan and Zingales are both well known for their respective fields, if those interest you. Kevin Rock teaches a number of advanced finance courses - cases in financial management is probably his most famous and is heavily in demand by those interested in banking jobs. Its a tough class for those without a banking background - and the only class I took that I didn't get an A in.


Quote:
I understand that something of this nature is already available to current students but not sure if the course reviews there are insightful enough (the school hasnt yet granted us access).


You probably do have access if you have a cnetid. Try to find them and try again. That said, don't expect too much. You'll see a score of 1 to 4 on a few dimensions. Pay attention to anything lower than a 3, and pay particular attention to the distributions. Most classes have a distro you'd expect: a few 1's (people pissed off at life), a few 2's (mad for some reason), a few 3's, a lot of 4's and a few 5's. The ones to watch out for are the ones with oddball distros: lots of 1's and lots of 4's. In my experience those classes are trouble.

Dont sweat this stuff, you'll figure it all out quite quickly.

Quote:
I would be more than happy to keep the chain going by posting my own reviews, as I go through the program.


A noble offer, but you won't. Life will take over and this site will be the last thing on your mind.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 16 May 2011, 06:58
http://poetsandquants.com/2010/06/30/best-mba-speakers/

Echoes some of the same messages that were just expressed on this thread.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 16 May 2011, 15:43
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Cookiesn wrote:
http://poetsandquants.com/2010/06/30/best-mba-speakers/

Echoes some of the same messages that were just expressed on this thread.


This isn't an MBA commencement speech but it's one from 2005 that the late David Foster Wallace gave to Kenyon college. I read it every so often because it helps me stay grounded and remind my-self to not always follow "my default setting".

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122178211966454607.html

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"

If at this moment, you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise old fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be. I am not the wise old fish. The immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude -- but the fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense.

A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here's one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it's so socially repulsive, but it's pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you've had that you were not at the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real -- you get the idea. But please don't worry that I'm getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called "virtues." This is not a matter of virtue -- it's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default-setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.

People who can adjust their natural default-setting this way are often described as being "well adjusted," which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.

Given the triumphal academic setting here, an obvious question is how much of this work of adjusting our default-setting involves actual knowledge or intellect. This question gets tricky. Probably the most dangerous thing about college education, at least in my own case, is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract arguments inside my head instead of simply paying attention to what's going on right in front of me. Paying attention to what's going on inside me. As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head. Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal-arts cliché about "teaching you how to think" is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: "Learning how to think" really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about "the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master." This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in the head. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger. And I submit that this is what the real, no-bull- value of your liberal-arts education is supposed to be about: How to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default-setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone, day in and day out.

That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. So let's get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in, day out" really means. There happen to be whole large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I'm talking about.

By way of example, let's say it's an average day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging job, and you work hard for nine or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired, and you're stressed out, and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for a couple of hours and then hit the rack early because you have to get up the next day and do it all again. But then you remember there's no food at home -- you haven't had time to shop this week, because of your challenging job -- and so now after work you have to get in your car and drive to the supermarket. It's the end of the workday, and the traffic's very bad, so getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping, and the store's hideously, fluorescently lit, and infused with soul-killing Muzak or corporate pop, and it's pretty much the last place you want to be, but you can't just get in and quickly out: You have to wander all over the huge, overlit store's crowded aisles to find the stuff you want, and you have to maneuver your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts, and of course there are also the glacially slow old people and the spacey people and the ADHD kids who all block the aisle and you have to grit your teeth and try to be polite as you ask them to let you by, and eventually, finally, you get all your supper supplies, except now it turns out there aren't enough checkout lanes open even though it's the end-of-the-day-rush, so the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating, but you can't take your fury out on the frantic lady working the register.

Anyway, you finally get to the checkout line's front, and pay for your food, and wait to get your check or card authenticated by a machine, and then get told to "Have a nice day" in a voice that is the absolute voice of death, and then you have to take your creepy flimsy plastic bags of groceries in your cart through the crowded, bumpy, littery parking lot, and try to load the bags in your car in such a way that everything doesn't fall out of the bags and roll around in the trunk on the way home, and then you have to drive all the way home through slow, heavy, The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing comes in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I'm going to be pissed and miserable every time I have to food-shop, because my natural default-setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me, about my hungriness and my fatigue and my desire to just get home, and it's going to seem, for all the world, like everybody else is just in my way, and who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem here in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line, and look at how deeply unfair this is: I've worked really hard all day and I'm starved and tired and I can't even get home to eat and unwind because of all these stupid g-d- people.

Or, of course, if I'm in a more socially conscious form of my default-setting, I can spend time in the end-of-the-day traffic jam being angry and disgusted at all the huge, stupid, lane-blocking SUV's and Hummers and V-12 pickup trucks burning their wasteful, selfish, forty-gallon tanks of gas, and I can dwell on the fact that the patriotic or religious bumper stickers always seem to be on the biggest, most disgustingly selfish vehicles driven by the ugliest, most inconsiderate and aggressive drivers, who are usually talking on cell phones as they cut people off in order to get just twenty stupid feet ahead in a traffic jam, and I can think about how our children's children will despise us for wasting all the future's fuel and probably screwing up the climate, and how spoiled and stupid and disgusting we all are, and how it all just sucks, and so on and so forth...

Look, if I choose to think this way, fine, lots of us do -- except that thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic it doesn't have to be a choice. Thinking this way is my natural default-setting. It's the automatic, unconscious way that I experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I'm operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the center of the world and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world's priorities. The thing is that there are obviously different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stuck and idling in my way: It's not impossible that some of these people in SUV's have been in horrible auto accidents in the past and now find driving so traumatic that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive; or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he's trying to rush to the hospital, and he's in a way bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am -- it is actually I who am in his way. Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket's checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have much harder, more tedious or painful lives than I do, overall.

Again, please don't think that I'm giving you moral advice, or that I'm saying you're "supposed to" think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it, because it's hard, it takes will and mental effort, and if you're like me, some days you won't be able to do it, or you just flat-out won't want to. But most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line -- maybe she's not usually like this; maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who's dying of bone cancer, or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the Motor Vehicles Dept. who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a nightmarish red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it's also not impossible -- it just depends on what you want to consider. If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important -- if you want to operate on your default-setting -- then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren't pointless and annoying. But if you've really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars -- compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff's necessarily true: The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship...SUV-intensive rush-hour traffic, etcetera, etcetera.

Because here's something else that's true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship -- be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles -- is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things -- if they are where you tap real meaning in life -- then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already -- it's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power -- you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart -- you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.

Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the "rat race" -- the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.

I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational. What it is, so far as I can see, is the truth with a whole lot of rhetorical bullshit pared away. Obviously, you can think of it whatever you wish. But please don't dismiss it as some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma, or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness -- awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: "This is water, this is water."

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 17 May 2011, 07:32
rhyme wrote:
Quote:
Great insight Rhyme and we could definitely use much more of this. Maybe when you have the time, would you consider posting your thoughts/impressions on courses/profs that you came across during your time at Booth and write a short brief about it.

There wouldnt be much point - I took 21 courses out of who knows how many options. The odds that mine are the same you'd want are slim, and on top of that, there's no guarantee that the same professors are teaching the same courses anymore (I can think of at least 2 that I took who I know have moved on to other places). That said, its not hard to find out who is well respected. Schraeger and Bester are classics known for their impressive courses. Kevin Murphy is considered the most bad!@(# econ professor there - and with good reason - his course demands approximately 16 hours a week of study when most courses average 4. Those who take him cry like schoolgirls during the course and then feel like hardened men when done. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you want to learn from "the best", his class would be hte generally accepted answer. Richard Thaler is also incredibly well known as the father of behavioral economics. In my personal opinion, his research is more impressive than his class, but I am in the minority there - most people love it. Steven Kaplan is probably the most sought after PE professor, and I'm told he's a hardliner... cell phone goes off in class, get ready to get thrown out. Rajan and Zingales are both well known for their respective fields, if those interest you. Kevin Rock teaches a number of advanced finance courses - cases in financial management is probably his most famous and is heavily in demand by those interested in banking jobs. Its a tough class for those without a banking background - and the only class I took that I didn't get an A in.


Quote:
I understand that something of this nature is already available to current students but not sure if the course reviews there are insightful enough (the school hasnt yet granted us access).


You probably do have access if you have a cnetid. Try to find them and try again. That said, don't expect too much. You'll see a score of 1 to 4 on a few dimensions. Pay attention to anything lower than a 3, and pay particular attention to the distributions. Most classes have a distro you'd expect: a few 1's (people pissed off at life), a few 2's (mad for some reason), a few 3's, a lot of 4's and a few 5's. The ones to watch out for are the ones with oddball distros: lots of 1's and lots of 4's. In my experience those classes are trouble.

Dont sweat this stuff, you'll figure it all out quite quickly.

Quote:
I would be more than happy to keep the chain going by posting my own reviews, as I go through the program.


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Thanks Rhyme, this is all very helpful. And hey you're still on here posting reviews so let's give him the benefit of the doubt :wink:
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 17 May 2011, 09:47
Michmax3 wrote:
rhyme wrote:
Quote:
Great insight Rhyme and we could definitely use much more of this. Maybe when you have the time, would you consider posting your thoughts/impressions on courses/profs that you came across during your time at Booth and write a short brief about it.

There wouldnt be much point - I took 21 courses out of who knows how many options. The odds that mine are the same you'd want are slim, and on top of that, there's no guarantee that the same professors are teaching the same courses anymore (I can think of at least 2 that I took who I know have moved on to other places). That said, its not hard to find out who is well respected. Schraeger and Bester are classics known for their impressive courses. Kevin Murphy is considered the most bad!@(# econ professor there - and with good reason - his course demands approximately 16 hours a week of study when most courses average 4. Those who take him cry like schoolgirls during the course and then feel like hardened men when done. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you want to learn from "the best", his class would be hte generally accepted answer. Richard Thaler is also incredibly well known as the father of behavioral economics. In my personal opinion, his research is more impressive than his class, but I am in the minority there - most people love it. Steven Kaplan is probably the most sought after PE professor, and I'm told he's a hardliner... cell phone goes off in class, get ready to get thrown out. Rajan and Zingales are both well known for their respective fields, if those interest you. Kevin Rock teaches a number of advanced finance courses - cases in financial management is probably his most famous and is heavily in demand by those interested in banking jobs. Its a tough class for those without a banking background - and the only class I took that I didn't get an A in.


Quote:
I understand that something of this nature is already available to current students but not sure if the course reviews there are insightful enough (the school hasnt yet granted us access).


You probably do have access if you have a cnetid. Try to find them and try again. That said, don't expect too much. You'll see a score of 1 to 4 on a few dimensions. Pay attention to anything lower than a 3, and pay particular attention to the distributions. Most classes have a distro you'd expect: a few 1's (people pissed off at life), a few 2's (mad for some reason), a few 3's, a lot of 4's and a few 5's. The ones to watch out for are the ones with oddball distros: lots of 1's and lots of 4's. In my experience those classes are trouble.

Dont sweat this stuff, you'll figure it all out quite quickly.

Quote:
I would be more than happy to keep the chain going by posting my own reviews, as I go through the program.


A noble offer, but you won't. Life will take over and this site will be the last thing on your mind.


Thanks Rhyme, this is all very helpful. And hey you're still on here posting reviews so let's give him the benefit of the doubt :wink:


At least one person in the room believes me! :shifty:
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 17 May 2011, 12:58
rhyme wrote:
riverripper wrote:
Having just gone to my Kellogg 1st year reunion, I was shocked at how many people hated their jobs and really blown away by how many had already moved on to a new job. Some of this may be a result of tough recruiting and improving options. However, a lot is people taking jobs based on brand/pay without regards to other factors. It seems pretty common for some companies to give the bait and switch, this may be unintentional on their part...honestly it is very difficult for a company to know exactly what you will be doing 18 months after recruiting take place. My friends from banking all looked like walking zombies and most talked about how it was a two or three year plan before leveraging their experience for something better suited to having a life.

There is a lot to be said about really looking hard at any company you are planning on joining, get away from the folks involved in recruiting. Remember they are basically sales people, they are selling their company to you. Even if they are alums and you like them, I found it rare that they would open up about the really bad things about a company. However, alums and others I could contact who worked at companies who were not involved in the recruiting process were generally very very open about the pros/cons of their company. There were companies I decided to completely avoid based on what I learned; I felt no matter how great the brand, pay, and supposed opportunities that I would hate being there.


This is good advice. Like riverripper, I've been shocked by the number of people looking to leave their firms. To be fair, I was one of those (and I've since left) largely because I was sold what I thought was a bag of goods in recruiting and the real job didnt come close to living up to the real thing. It wasn't money in my case -- just the lesser of a few options and the only job offer I had that didn't require me to move or to go back to consulting (which I had no interest in doing) - but after a year at that gig (actually after about 2 weeks) it was clear to me that it wasn't a fit. They (recruiters) know how to market to MBAs... I had dinner with the CFO and CEO of a company that employes over 50,000 people - and yet, when the rubber met the road, the job lacked responsibility, challenge and intellectual rigor.

Some of my friends who chased money are happy - some are just wired for the 100 hour week - others are miserable beyond compare. A "sorta friend" of mine who I ran into while visiting London told me he was making $100K ish base, plus a $50K sign on, plus another $100K bonus on top of that and he was unhappy beyond belief. First class was empty and I got him bumped up - we spent the next 10 hours catching up. A year later he called to tell me he was back in town, had quit, was making half what he had been and was a million times happier. Good for him I say.

I've since gone to a non-traditional firm myself (they dont come to campus) and I couldn't be happier. I may not be making quite as much as some of my peers, but I've got everything I need: a comfortable single family home to raise my family in, a nice backyard i can spend years fighting weeds in, a interesting job, a loving wife, and I'm home by six.

The broader point riverripper makes is a good one: the 'menu' of options presented at MBA programs is woefully small when one stops to consider all the opportunities that are out there. And if you step away from either brand or money for a moment, and really think about what you would want to do, the world opens up.


Haha, add me to the list of people who quit their first post-MBA job less than a year after starting it. :lol: I went to Kellogg fully expecting to pursue a non-traditional route but fell victim to the consulting sway and eventually took that path.

Worst idea ever.

After a waste of 7 months I'm back at a non-traditional company doing work that is actually interesting and meaningful to me (with a small pay raise to boot). Just yesterday I was at home after work cooking dinner (something that wouldn't be possible if I were still a consultant) and somehow the thought came to my mind about how much incredibly happier I am now that I've prioritized an industry, type of role, company and especially company culture that really appeal to me.

Moral of my story: The recruiters and practitioners at the firm I joined duped me. Only rely on the people you trust the most when evaluating a company.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 04:43
Rubashov1 wrote:
Moral of my story: The recruiters and practitioners at the firm I joined duped me. Only rely on the people you trust the most when evaluating a company.


I'm so sorry to hear that... I got duped into my current "consulting" company and after fighting to find interesting work inside and outside of the firm decided to give up and apply to B-School. I went into the firm expecting to work on a team with other smart consultants on challenging projects but was instead shipped off to a government site where I was tasked with filling a staff augmentation role that is usually performed by someone with far less education than I have. When I looked for work outside I was told I lacked experience in a certain industry (say, finance) or that I hadn't worked in the public sector. I think those responses are in part due to the tight labor market. Most of the system engineering skills I've gained working for government clients are transferable to other industries.

Anyway, at an ASW, I asked the consulting panel about the types of projects they work on. How would I know I wouldn't be tasked with an IT implementation project or worse - staff aug - if I joined their firm. Every panelist up there said that there was no way a client would pay all that money for a top MBA to do anything less than C-level strategy consulting. A former banker and I talked about it afterwords and both agreed that we don't plan on recruiting heavily for consulting this fall because we aren't confident that we'll be given meaningful work.

Point of my story - thanks for sharing your experience. It's yet another data point that confirms my fears about consulting.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 06:07
Rubashov1 wrote:
rhyme wrote:
riverripper wrote:
Having just gone to my Kellogg 1st year reunion, I was shocked at how many people hated their jobs and really blown away by how many had already moved on to a new job. Some of this may be a result of tough recruiting and improving options. However, a lot is people taking jobs based on brand/pay without regards to other factors. It seems pretty common for some companies to give the bait and switch, this may be unintentional on their part...honestly it is very difficult for a company to know exactly what you will be doing 18 months after recruiting take place. My friends from banking all looked like walking zombies and most talked about how it was a two or three year plan before leveraging their experience for something better suited to having a life.

There is a lot to be said about really looking hard at any company you are planning on joining, get away from the folks involved in recruiting. Remember they are basically sales people, they are selling their company to you. Even if they are alums and you like them, I found it rare that they would open up about the really bad things about a company. However, alums and others I could contact who worked at companies who were not involved in the recruiting process were generally very very open about the pros/cons of their company. There were companies I decided to completely avoid based on what I learned; I felt no matter how great the brand, pay, and supposed opportunities that I would hate being there.


This is good advice. Like riverripper, I've been shocked by the number of people looking to leave their firms. To be fair, I was one of those (and I've since left) largely because I was sold what I thought was a bag of goods in recruiting and the real job didnt come close to living up to the real thing. It wasn't money in my case -- just the lesser of a few options and the only job offer I had that didn't require me to move or to go back to consulting (which I had no interest in doing) - but after a year at that gig (actually after about 2 weeks) it was clear to me that it wasn't a fit. They (recruiters) know how to market to MBAs... I had dinner with the CFO and CEO of a company that employes over 50,000 people - and yet, when the rubber met the road, the job lacked responsibility, challenge and intellectual rigor.

Some of my friends who chased money are happy - some are just wired for the 100 hour week - others are miserable beyond compare. A "sorta friend" of mine who I ran into while visiting London told me he was making $100K ish base, plus a $50K sign on, plus another $100K bonus on top of that and he was unhappy beyond belief. First class was empty and I got him bumped up - we spent the next 10 hours catching up. A year later he called to tell me he was back in town, had quit, was making half what he had been and was a million times happier. Good for him I say.

I've since gone to a non-traditional firm myself (they dont come to campus) and I couldn't be happier. I may not be making quite as much as some of my peers, but I've got everything I need: a comfortable single family home to raise my family in, a nice backyard i can spend years fighting weeds in, a interesting job, a loving wife, and I'm home by six.

The broader point riverripper makes is a good one: the 'menu' of options presented at MBA programs is woefully small when one stops to consider all the opportunities that are out there. And if you step away from either brand or money for a moment, and really think about what you would want to do, the world opens up.


Haha, add me to the list of people who quit their first post-MBA job less than a year after starting it. :lol: I went to Kellogg fully expecting to pursue a non-traditional route but fell victim to the consulting sway and eventually took that path.

Worst idea ever.

After a waste of 7 months I'm back at a non-traditional company doing work that is actually interesting and meaningful to me (with a small pay raise to boot). Just yesterday I was at home after work cooking dinner (something that wouldn't be possible if I were still a consultant) and somehow the thought came to my mind about how much incredibly happier I am now that I've prioritized an industry, type of role, company and especially company culture that really appeal to me.

Moral of my story: The recruiters and practitioners at the firm I joined duped me. Only rely on the people you trust the most when evaluating a company.


What's the best way to find non-traditional opportunities? How did you know this would be something you find interesting and be happy with? I ask because it seems like people go into traditional paths thinking they'll have interesting work and be happy also. But if those jobs don't turn out as expected, I would think other opportunities would be just as likely to go sour. What's the best way to evaluate a company/position/company culture?
Re: In retrospect....   [#permalink] 18 May 2011, 06:07
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