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In retrospect....

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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 05:34
Does COMING from a non-traditional hurt your chances with traditional MBA firms during recruitment?

I ask because my pre-MBA background is with a non-traditional firm and the "traditional as transition" situation Alex Chu described (in terms of what he's seen) is representative of my own plans. It's not that we don't have MBAs at my boutique consulting firm (CEO from Kellogg, head of my region from HBS, some CBS/Stern/HBS folks around at the MD level) but there is no recruiting presence and my work experience, as a proposition, may not be easily 'understood'. Does that close the doors to traditional recruiting such as vanilla IB/MC/F500 GM and marketing?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 09:01
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osbornecox wrote:
Does COMING from a non-traditional hurt your chances with traditional MBA firms during recruitment?

I ask because my pre-MBA background is with a non-traditional firm and the "traditional as transition" situation Alex Chu described (in terms of what he's seen) is representative of my own plans. It's not that we don't have MBAs at my boutique consulting firm (CEO from Kellogg, head of my region from HBS, some CBS/Stern/HBS folks around at the MD level) but there is no recruiting presence and my work experience, as a proposition, may not be easily 'understood'. Does that close the doors to traditional recruiting such as vanilla IB/MC/F500 GM and marketing?


I don't think it will necessarily hurt your chances, but it will put more of a burden on you to adequately communicate the value and relevance of your background.

If you come from Bain and want to go into banking, then all recruiters will know the nature of your past work. That might not be the case for you (it wasn't for me), so you've got to work a little harder (or better) on that.

Also, it could give you an advantage, at least in the sense that you might be more unique than the average candidate.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 09:38
Rubashov1 wrote:
Definitely not too late once school has started, especially in two-year programs, since hardcore recruiting won't start until midway through the year (of course you might be a lot busier than you were before school, depending on the type of job you had). Your career center will have additional resources for that sort of research, plus the general knowledge of your peers on campus will help to answer the sorts of issues you raised.

One of the challenges for non-traditional routes (and even traditional routes such as PE/VC) is the timing versus on-campus recruiting. I think part of the reason I went the consulting route was because of the security of getting a job through on-campus recruiting and essentially having a year of worry-free fun after that. Of the two people I mentioned who love their jobs the most, one got hers about a month before graduation and the other got his three months after graduation.

So you'll have to make the big decision whether to not fully participate in on-campus recruiting and wait to find something less traditional later in the year.


So theoretically you can interview for the on-campus companies and ask them questions, talk to more people etc and if you don't get a good feeling about them, you still have time to then go through a second wave of interviews with some lesser known companies? Or is this not really something that is likely to be pulled off?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 10:20
Michmax3 wrote:
Rubashov1 wrote:
Definitely not too late once school has started, especially in two-year programs, since hardcore recruiting won't start until midway through the year (of course you might be a lot busier than you were before school, depending on the type of job you had). Your career center will have additional resources for that sort of research, plus the general knowledge of your peers on campus will help to answer the sorts of issues you raised.

One of the challenges for non-traditional routes (and even traditional routes such as PE/VC) is the timing versus on-campus recruiting. I think part of the reason I went the consulting route was because of the security of getting a job through on-campus recruiting and essentially having a year of worry-free fun after that. Of the two people I mentioned who love their jobs the most, one got hers about a month before graduation and the other got his three months after graduation.

So you'll have to make the big decision whether to not fully participate in on-campus recruiting and wait to find something less traditional later in the year.


So theoretically you can interview for the on-campus companies and ask them questions, talk to more people etc and if you don't get a good feeling about them, you still have time to then go through a second wave of interviews with some lesser known companies? Or is this not really something that is likely to be pulled off?


I imagine that that would be difficult in most situations. Speaking only about full-time positions, rather than internships, the on-campus recruiting starts really early in the Fall and generally wraps up in November with a few laggards beyond that. Companies that don't come on campus are more likely to recruit in the Spring, which would happen after the deadline for accepting any on-campus offers. There are exceptions, but I would wager that the timelines I laid out apply to ~80% of companies.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 11:15
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Michmax3 wrote:

So theoretically you can interview for the on-campus companies and ask them questions, talk to more people etc and if you don't get a good feeling about them, you still have time to then go through a second wave of interviews with some lesser known companies? Or is this not really something that is likely to be pulled off?


It sort of works like b-school admissions. If you get an offer, you have to get back to them with a yes/no before you'll get a chance to hear back from other companies that aren't on the same recruiting cycle.

Here's basically how it works for the heaviest MBA recruiters (banks, consulting firms mostly):

FIRST YEAR

September: start class
November: firms do the shrimp cocktail recruiting presentations for summer internships
December-February: resume submissions for summer internships
February: interviews for summer internships
March: offers made, most want you to say yes/no before April
June - August: summer internship; offers for full-time made to summer interns by end of summer

SECOND YEAR

September: back in class; full-time recruiting starts pretty soon
October: resume submissions, interviews
November: full-time offers made
January/February: most want you to say yes/no to their offers by now
September: first day on the job


So you can see the challenges of trying to do non-traditional and traditional recruiting at the same time. For the MBA factories (i.e. banks and consulting firms that hire MBAs by the boatload), they know their headcount needs way in advance because of their labor model:

Churn and burn.

80-90% of MBA hires either leave or get fired within the first 2 years. So they know they need to replenish the labor pool and approximately the numbers they need well in advance (+/- 10-15%, but still, as a bank/consulting firm you know you need to hire a boatload no matter what).

As such, they can plan their recruiting well in advance, and the schedule above reflects that. In order to ensure their "yield" is as high as possible, they will try and get you to say yes to an offer sooner than later. Some banks will pressure you to say yes right away, or soon thereafter (like a cheap used car salesman, but calling them that would be insulting to used car salesmen). Consulting firms will give you a bit more time but still they will want an answer before you've had a chance to even look at non-traditional jobs/industries.

For summer internships that start in late May or early June, the banks and consulting firms are giving out offers in March (sometimes even as early as January or February depending on the firm). That's MONTHS in advance for basically a 2 month internship. A lot of firms outside of these MBA factories won't even know what they need until a few weeks beforehand. Or even a week beforehand (i.e. "can you start next week?"). So if you're looking to do an internship at a small company, an industry not accustomed to hiring MBAs, and so forth - you're going to have to wait it out until like April or May to really focus on internship recruiting. Which means you're forced to choose between going through the banking/consulting recruiting or avoiding it altogether.

Same goes with full-time recruiting. Some folks know at the end of the summer whether they've gotten an offer from the firm they interned for (i.e. they find out in August for a job that starts a year later in September after they've graduated - a YEAR in advance). And if not that, most banks/consulting firms give out offers by November of your 2nd year, with a deadline to say yes/no by Jan/Feb for a September start date. Which means that these recruiters know a year or so in advance what their hiring/headcount needs are.

And this also forces the hand of many other traditional MBA recruiters that don't hire armies - like consumer products, F500 firms, tech companies and so forth -- but they can only do so much to push their recruiting schedule to match the banks and consulting firms. Most will try, but may be a month or so behind the banks/consulting firms. Most of the time, you will have *barely* enough time between when you have to say yes/no to a bank or consulting firm, and when these firms give out offers. In other words, Microsoft or GE may try to give an offer by February of your 2nd year. And even then, that means that these bigger MBA recruiters know their hiring needs 6 months in advance. Moreover, some of these firms that aren't banks or consulting firms would rather have you start sooner than later. So if they give you an offer in say February, they ideally want you to start as soon as you graduate in May.

Which then leaves the truly non-traditional industries and small firms (i.e. VC, PE, HF, IM, etc with small staff, or startups, boutiques, etc.). Most of these firms operate like normal businesses. When they need someone, they need them right away. So when you interview with them and they like you, it's usually "can you start tomorrow?" or something to that effect (i.e. within weeks, not months of getting the offer).

As such, if you're looking at non-traditional full-time, you have to wait until April or May of your 2nd year before you even start interviewing, and even then, you likely won't have a "summer off" -- expect that they'll want you to start right away, not in September. Most companies that aren't MBA factories or traditional MBA recruiters may only be looking to hire 1-2 people TOTAL, not 25-50 *per* school like Citigroup, McKinsey, or whatever. So their needs (if any) are typically very specific and immediate. That goes with the coveted private equity jobs as well which so many MBAs seem to drool over like hungry dogs. If you want those jobs, you have to wait until close to the end of the year for the most part.

So that's what you're faced with, and why so many MBAs end up going to these MBA factories -- the timing of the offers doesn't really give you the opportunity to pursue non-traditional paths -- UNLESS you are committed to the non-traditional path and completely eschew the banking/consulting recruiting process altogether.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 11:29
Awesome reply AlexMBAApply! With your information said, does it make sense to recruit for both consulting/banking and non-traditional career paths?

Ideally, I'd like to pursue non-traditional recruiting, but don't want to give up the security of having an offer on or near graduation. Given the different timelines between non-traditional and traditional recruiting, I doubt that it would be acceptable to accept a traditional offer by December/January, and then recruit for non-traditional opportunities. Moreover, I doubt that it'd be ethical to turn down an accepted traditional offer once a non-traditional offer is in your pocket. How do b-school students deal with these conflicting commitments and do they often spurn an accepted offer?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 11:33
futurestrategist wrote:
Awesome reply AlexMBAApply! With your information said, does it make sense to recruit for both consulting/banking and non-traditional career paths?

Ideally, I'd like to pursue non-traditional recruiting, but don't want to give up the security of having an offer on or near graduation. Given the different timelines between non-traditional and traditional recruiting, I doubt that it would be acceptable to accept a traditional offer by December/January, and then recruit for non-traditional opportunities. Moreover, I doubt that it'd be ethical to turn down an accepted traditional offer once a non-traditional offer is in your pocket. How do b-school students deal with these conflicting commitments and do they often spurn an accepted offer?


If you read my previous post (I know I can be a bit long winded, but if you have the patience haha...), you'll know your answer.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 12:14
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The basic point here around the different recruiting timelines is that you have to commit to one or the other: early traditional versus late non-traditional.

You can't do both (successfully) and not break the rules. Accepting an offer from on-campus and continuing to recruit is considered a big no-no.

Plenty of people will set their sights really high on traditional ("only McKinsey" or something like that) and if unsuccessful go the non-traditional route later in the school year.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 13:43
Rubashov1 wrote:
The basic point here around the different recruiting timelines is that you have to commit to one or the other: early traditional versus late non-traditional.

You can't do both (successfully) and not break the rules. Accepting an offer from on-campus and continuing to recruit is considered a big no-no.

Plenty of people will set their sights really high on traditional ("only McKinsey" or something like that) and if unsuccessful go the non-traditional route later in the school year.


Thanks guys for the responses. This is incredibly helpful to think about now before starting in the Fall. I guess the internship can help you determine if that is the right path for you, correct? I'm sensing that ideally you want to intern somewhere that you would want to work full-time because they are likely to make you an offer, but let's say I intern at P&G or wherever and absolutely hate the work and the large corporate atmosphere, I then have the opportunity to interview for less traditional companies for full-time work during my second year. Right? Or is the 2-3 month internship not really enough time to gage whether you want to pursue that career path?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 26 May 2011, 09:37
this might be annoying but anyone at the business school (either graduated or on-going) regretted paying 100K to 150K for an mba?

Even a tiny bit?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 26 May 2011, 11:30
So what happens when you get an offer say in Jan/Feb, you accept then come Sep and the firm tells you the position is no longer available? Just s*** out of luck?

Has anyone heard of this happening or have had this happen?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 26 May 2011, 11:36
lulumocha wrote:
So what happens when you get an offer say in Jan/Feb, you accept then come Sep and the firm tells you the position is no longer available? Just s*** out of luck?

Has anyone heard of this happening or have had this happen?


You report it to your career services department and if that company does that enough (without good reason), they'll probably be black-listed from recruiting on campus. Sure it's happened (like a few years ago with the financial crisis) and it would suck to scramble for a job but hopefully you have a strong career services group that can go to bat for you and get you in touch with companies that are hiring.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 26 May 2011, 13:15
lulumocha wrote:
So what happens when you get an offer say in Jan/Feb, you accept then come Sep and the firm tells you the position is no longer available? Just s*** out of luck?

Has anyone heard of this happening or have had this happen?


I think it happened a little bit to the classes that graduated in the worst of the recession.

I know of one guy who got hit that way by a big Swiss company (and he had interned there the year before). He just had to go back to normal job-hunting and joined a boutique consulting firm around December/January, 7-8 months after graduating.

More common was delayed start dates, typically around January I think.

While career services departments puff up about how wrong that is and that they'll punish the recruiter, I think it's all BS. Sure, maybe if it's some small company that rarely recruits on campus. But I think career services are total lackeys to the normal big firms that recruit on campus.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 26 May 2011, 14:08
I would add to the rhyme's list of professors: Eppley, McGill, Davis, Veronesi, and Pastor. Cochrane and Tobi are also very well regarded but they teach some REALLY tough classes. I spent some times 10+ hours on Veronesi's Risk Management class (his easiest one) and did so extremelly happy as I learned and in the process made friends.

I pretty much agree with this thread and will have to come back later this weekend to tell my own experience almost 1 year out of school (sorry working in banking :wink: )
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 29 May 2011, 19:16
All,

This seems a relevant thread to post queries on non-traditional career paths. I want to do Strategy Consulting in an internal consulting unit at a tech or telecom firm. (I've done Pre-Sales Telecom Consulting). I hear that such roles provide for a better understanding of an industry and the consultants get to have a say in implementing their recommendations too... This paves the way for progression to a more substantial role within the organization too... I've just scratched the surface to find out which firms recruit for such roles at the top schools, but I have come up with only a handful names: BT, Samsung, Siemens...

Based on the experiences of those who were interested in Consulting during recruitment at b school, can anybody think of more names? Also, I hear the work-life balance in such roles is better compared to MC firms and that extensive travel is not required.

Cheers!!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 18:15
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Very interesting post. My experiences are similar – a brand name school will get you an interview but nothing more.

However, I always imagined the MBA situation would be different, i.e. rank would matter. Let me step back and explain my situation and perspective, before I make my argument :)

After spending a year in M&A as an Analyst, I switched careers to MC. I am employed by a young European multiservice MC firm based in NYC that is making efforts to establish itself in the US market and compete with top strategy and op consultancies. In true European fashion, my employer does not require an MBA degree for advancement past the Senior Consultant level. I am very happy with life at my company: very flat team structure, lots of responsibility / client interaction / freedom, great colleagues. Life is good and I might even make Senior Consultant (MBA entry point) in a year or so.

That being said, I am still considering applying for an MBA (and I want to stay in MC post-MBA). My reasons are the following:

1- Add quality and quantity to my network (contacts are a shockingly important thing in a young MC organization trying to expand its client base and pipeline; very likely the case in many other MC firms too)

2- Improve credibility and saleability as a consultant

3- Gain the prestige of a Top10 school so I can speed up the wife-finding process. Kidding.

I won’t be a career changer so a school’s job placement statistics (i.e. rank, implicitly) won’t matter too much to me. However, I still feel rank will make a significant difference. Considering 1 and 2 above, wouldn’t rank clearly matter? Any of the Top20-25 schools can land you an interview with an MC firm outside of M/B/B. However, I see credibility and power of network as the two factors that have the most spectacular impact on one’s career. And they are both a function of rank.

I’d appreciate everyone’s perspective.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2013, 02:32
Your words have a Yoda - like quality.

This is why I like GC so much. Its very little about GMAT, but an approach to life.
Same is said about religion......
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2013, 10:38
eskimoroll wrote:
lulumocha wrote:
So what happens when you get an offer say in Jan/Feb, you accept then come Sep and the firm tells you the position is no longer available? Just s*** out of luck?

Has anyone heard of this happening or have had this happen?


You report it to your career services department and if that company does that enough (without good reason), they'll probably be black-listed from recruiting on campus. Sure it's happened (like a few years ago with the financial crisis) and it would suck to scramble for a job but hopefully you have a strong career services group that can go to bat for you and get you in touch with companies that are hiring.


Career Services will tell you they blacklist. This is intended to help alleviate your concerns. The truth of course, is they almost NEVER blacklist.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 10:40
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Bumping an old thread because I want the perspective of some graduates. I'm going to pay for Kellogg almost completely in debt. My plan had been to do consulting 1-2 years after to pay it off, and then settle into a high paying job with less hours/travel. I'm on the slightly younger side, and will be just turning 29 when I graduate business school. This thread seems pretty anti-consulting, but I figure a one or two year investment in a job I don't love in order to pay off debt and get my resume gold-stamped seems like a good strategy to me. Then I'll be 31 and can start a family (I have a long-term girlfriend who will be willing to put up with all of this). I grew up poor in a shitty neighborhood, and I want to be able to send my future kids to private school and all that. Wondering everyone's perspective on this strategy?

Also I'm starting to consider Deloitte over MBB, since it seems to be a less stressful environment (I don't want to ruin my health in the two years), is this a worthwhile choice for my strategy, or should I just got for the best.

Thanks everyone!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 22:43
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mgh234 wrote:
Bumping an old thread because I want the perspective of some graduates. I'm going to pay for Kellogg almost completely in debt. My plan had been to do consulting 1-2 years after to pay it off, and then settle into a high paying job with less hours/travel. I'm on the slightly younger side, and will be just turning 29 when I graduate business school. This thread seems pretty anti-consulting, but I figure a one or two year investment in a job I don't love in order to pay off debt and get my resume gold-stamped seems like a good strategy to me. Then I'll be 31 and can start a family (I have a long-term girlfriend who will be willing to put up with all of this). I grew up poor in a shitty neighborhood, and I want to be able to send my future kids to private school and all that. Wondering everyone's perspective on this strategy?

Also I'm starting to consider Deloitte over MBB, since it seems to be a less stressful environment (I don't want to ruin my health in the two years), is this a worthwhile choice for my strategy, or should I just got for the best.

Thanks everyone!


Your plan sounds great. The only problem with your plan is that probably every other MBA graduate has something along those lines.... working 1 year in any job is not going to get you far. You should expect that it will take you some time and money to recover from bschool poverty (i.e. you will have to renew your wardrobe as you will probably be 20 lb fatter and you will need new stuff anyway; you will need new furniture, new luggage, deposits, and personal treats). Most do not realize these expenses you will have to incur after starting a new job.

Many graduates (over 50%) do change their job within the first year, but that's usually not because the second job is so amazing, rather because they settled for one as their first one (not what they wanted or less pay than they wanted or a company that did not fancy). It will take some time to settle into a rhythm. After that happens, you will be promised a promotion within a year, so you wont' leave. It will take 2 to get the promotion of course. Then why leave if you just promoted. Next thing you know it's been 4 years; you have a 1-year old, and your mind really changes when that happens (you become very safe, defensive, and very focused on your family; that is reflected in many of your choices). Transformation after my first child was pretty substantial and gave me a huge kick in the ass.

I think you will be fine with any job in terms of ability to pay your debt back. By no means you will be rolling in cash but you will be able to meet your financial obligations and live a modest life as most of us do. You will hear it over and over in the FinAid presentations that MBA students have one of the lowest default rates (better than Law or Med school if my stats still hold). Also, think about all the other poor slobs - they are taking the same loans and applying for the same jobs after graduation. I have to say that the key to savings/wealth or whatever you want to call is keeping your expectations and standard of living as low as possible (i.e. not buying that BMW you always wanted, and not moving into a penthouse). It is amazing how fast money goes out and $150K seems to last a lot less than I remember half that amount lasting me. You can poor as a consultant making $180K or rich as a mid-level manager making $100K. Making money is only part of the equation and spending is usually what it all comes down to.
I don't want to depress you here, but a bit more to the point of spending. I have been lucky enough to work with some high end consultants (Individuals making $250 per hour, and that puts them at $400-500K per year). They drive average cars, live in average houses, and have to control their spending. I had a heart-to-heart conversation with one of them and he was baffled that even while making that much money he still have to watch spending pretty carefully. It is spending that kills you and here I think you will have an edge having come out from a humble background with low expectations (though you will have a struggle with the proving the world the opposite and risk wasting money on things like private school for the sake of private school - I have a whole rant on that below). Try to live like Warren Buffet or Charlie Ergen. (Here is an example of MBA applicant making $150k per year with only $30k saved anybody-else-doing-a-top-10-almost-completely-with-debt-169433.html#p1350402 )

What happens after graduation and in 2 years is that your plans CHANGE.
- You get kids because your wife is 29 and she wants to have the first one before she turns 30 (many reason to do that... though to me it was presented as an ultimatum rather than cost/benefit analysis).
- You may change your preferences and habits; you won't be able to pull all-nighters as easily any more and red-eyes will get old (though it took me till about 34 to reach that point in my life).
- I think your plan is fine and consulting is as good of a job as any; sometimes it comes down to who can offer you the best paycheck or any job above 100K. This is where your previous experience plays in quite a bit. Business school is business school but what else are you bringing in to the table. You will have 10 of your other classmates apply for the best jobs (same ones), what makes you stand out? Perhaps they are all hungry 29-year olds but with existing consulting experience.
- Sometimes choices are made for you

I am sure this is the last thing you want to hear and you just brought it up as an example, but it is a pain point for me as we are in the middle of many school decisions. I salute you for planning your life out and you can achieve the goal of private school though for many it is not worth it. Many areas in the country have great schools and you don't have to spend $25K or $30K per year for your 2 angels. That's basically a race-car every 2 years. Instead with a bit of strategy and careful planning you can put your kids into the best programs in your town but this is way too premature for you. The only reason I am bringing it up is that people become rich by not pissing away their money; I feel private school is an extreme expense that could often be avoided unless you love living in Memphis or Atlanta which both I hear have horrendous public school systems.

This is probably more than what you signed up for. At the end, whichever job/path you take or it chooses you, it is fairly safe to assume you will succeed. Many have before you and you did an amazing job with your apps, so you are worth something ;-) You don't need to stress or worry about the future. You can relax now and look forward to a new environment, smart people (some stupid ones too), and a chapter in your life like no other. At the same time, if you can have a plan - a list of goals , priorities, and milestones you will be more successful than 50% of your classmates (more than 80% if you actually write them down).

P.S. You can't do worse than I did. That should always warm you up on those cold Chicago nights when you stay up till 3 am freaking out about an internship.
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Re: In retrospect....   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2014, 22:43
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