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In retrospect....

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In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 11:32
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In retrospect...

I present for no other reason than I feel like it, the top 10 mistakes I wish I hadn't made, or things I learned or whatever I can come up with that happens to end up with 10 items ... in no particular order:

#1: Grades
----------
I may have graduated with a ridiculously high GPA, but in retrospect it had no bearing on anything (not least of which my job hunt due to the fact that we have GND anyway). Now two years out, it seems clear no one would care if I had a 3.9 GPA or a 2.9 GPA. And a 2.9 would have been a LOT easier to get. I do dream of one day teaching and perhaps that 3.9 will be more meaningful then, but for now, its about as interesting as paint drying.

#2: Hanging out more
--------------------
Perhaps relating to #1, I wish I had spent more time hanging out and less time worrying. Worrying about grades, jobs, interviews, cover letters, resumes, etc. That's of course easy to say on the other side of the moat, but it seems clear to me now that just about everyone gets something pretty decent coming out of an MBA program. To be fair, there is correlation between effort and outcome but seems to be a lot weaker than I had originally thought.
The next time someone says "lets go drink" and you are about to say no, just say yes. Whatever you were going to do isn't actually important.

#3: Don't get distracted
------------------------
It's so easy to get distracted by other job paths. Everyone thinks they know what the best jobs are. IM? Make $300K a year and work 40 hours a week! Banking? Become a millionaire? Consulting? Two years and you can be SVP at Google! Marketing? You'll never make money! Listen to enough of it and you can only come to the conclusion that every industry and every job sucks. Come in knowing what you want, pursue it and leave with it. I can't tell you how many people (myself included) got sucked into interviews we had no business going to.

#4: Rank only sorta matters
---------------------------
In my case it didn't factor: Chicago was the obvious choice for a number of personal reasons outside of its rank, but I've seen a lot of people pick school X or Y based on rank (and turn down full ride offers at other top schools), and I've come to the conclusion it really really means so little now. If the correlation between effort and job outcome is weak, the correlation between rank and job outcome seems even more pathetic. There's a limit to this of course - but by and large, its surprising (and perhaps a little sad even) how incredibly homogenous - if not outright identical - the programs at the top are. The guy sitting to your left? Harvard. The guy to your right? Sloan. The girl in the other interview room? Ross. Rank will buy you an interview, it won't buy you a job. And once you have the job, it wont buy you anything.

#5: Take good professors not good classes
------------------------------------------
Personal experience here but a good professor a good class makes. Simple.

#6: People suck, figure out who doesn't
--------------------------------------
Not everyone in grad school is smart. A lot of people are downright stupid. Others are lazy. Some are just tricky little pricks who try to pull fast ones by not doing any work. Figuring out who those people are and keeping them off your study group is a worthwhile endeavor. Similarly, make a name for yourself as someone who can "knock it out the park" and you'll have your pick of the litter. It's easier to kick butt with 4 other people who kick butt than with 4 deadweights.

#7: Spend more time earlier on figuring out what your goals are
-------------------------------------------------------------
Related to #3. You don't get much time (read: any) to figure out what you really want to get out of your MBA once you land. It's UHF's drink from the firehose skit all day long for 2 years. If something sounds interesting you have precious little time to decide if its something worth pursuing. This is true about jobs, career paths, student groups, classes, etc. Everything happens on lightning speed. I sometimes wonder if I dismissed a career path that would have been a good choice. I read a book called "More than Money" by mark Albion in my 2nd year and I should have read it my first. If you haven't read it, get it.

#8: Do what you like and the money will follow
---------------------------------------------
It's surprising how many of my friends pursued jobs that had bigger paychecks and ended up hating them with a vengeance. I was shocked at the number of people I knew trying to leave their jobs one year post MBA. Perhaps I shouldn't have been - a down economy certainly didn't help everyone land a dream gig, but it still surprised. And I'm not just talking about banking - really anything applies here.

Ok so thats 8. You make up the other two.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 11:43
Really helpful hindsight/advice. thanks!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 12:26
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?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 13:23
Thought you quit, rhyme ;)
Glad you haven't, though.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 14:13
Great post rhyme. Thanks! I'll be sure to check out that More than Money book soon!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 14:17
Great post!!

Question for you (or anyone else) about rankings:

You said they don't really matter in the end, however, I've been struggling with this question and wonder which way I should go:

Pepperdine MBA vs. UCLA MBA

I'm looking at the fully-employed programs at both schools. Under normal circumstances, it would be a no-brainer for me (UCLA!). However, I have the opportunity to complete my MBA at Pepperdine 18 months earlier and with $60,000 savings over UCLA FEMBA.

If I was younger, this decision would be much easier (UCLA!), however, I will be close to 39 years old (!!) when I enter either program. So I am unsure if a degree from UCLA would give me as much benefit over a Pepperdine degree (job-wise) as it would for a much younger candidate.

Any thoughts?
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 14:47
Fantastic post!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 15:11
As always, insightful and to a t!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 15:15
this is really cool. thanks!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 06 May 2011, 23:01
Thanks for the post!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 07 May 2011, 06:58
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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.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 07 May 2011, 07:39
Expert's post
Thanks for posting - Really really good stuff!!!!


P.S. you have just gone over the 1,000 kudos milestone!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 07 May 2011, 07:47
bb wrote:
Thanks for posting - Really really good stuff!!!!


P.S. you have just gone over the 1,000 kudos milestone!


I second that with mine...

very good post.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 07 May 2011, 10:47
bb wrote:
P.S. you have just gone over the 1,000 kudos milestone!


That'll be why he came back.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 08 May 2011, 08:58
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3underscore wrote:
bb wrote:
P.S. you have just gone over the 1,000 kudos milestone!


That'll be why he came back.


You got me!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 08 May 2011, 18:33
As a post-MBA completely agree with everything Rhyme said.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 12 May 2011, 05:45
I agree with pretty much everything this guy, wrote, ive learned pretty much the exact same things from my experience at a top undergrad business program. I would however say that I think that getting good grades has meant that I have learned a lot which in turn has meant that I got a lot out of the education, and a lot of employers do look at grades. At least McKinsey's recruiters complemented me on my grades and told me to get back to them closer to graduation. I think grades shows that you have learned a lot, and that you have a good capacity to work which I think means something to employers. But the further you get away from school, the less grades means. What counts is always your latest merits. Then again, I heard one CEO who talked about how bad grade she had in school and she said she preferred to hire people with similiar grades often because they were a lot like her. Maybe the message should be to get good grades if that is what you want for yourself, but not to get good grades just to impress employers? And I totally agree with the last one, if you do what you love money will follow. Because you will reach your highest potential only if you enjoy what you are doing for work.

So I guess if you love marketing, you will probably end making more money there than in i-banking because your passion and enthusiasm will make you a great marketer, whereas you will only become a mediocre i-banker without the same.

And I agree that I was both surprised and dissapointed by how many stupid and lazy people there were in a top-business program: HOW THE HELL DID THEY GET IN?!
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 12 May 2011, 06:20
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Thanks rhyme! Great post, and very helpful!

Happytrojan wrote:
I agree with pretty much everything this guy, wrote, ive learned pretty much the exact same things from my experience at a top undergrad business program. I would however say that I think that getting good grades has meant that I have learned a lot which in turn has meant that I got a lot out of the education, and a lot of employers do look at grades. At least McKinsey's recruiters complemented me on my grades and told me to get back to them closer to graduation. I think grades shows that you have learned a lot, and that you have a good capacity to work which I think means something to employers. But the further you get away from school, the less grades means...


I think grades much more if you're undergrad, and especially if you're going into consulting. I know Deloitte wants at least a 3.5, not too sure about other companies.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 12 May 2011, 06:27
Vapor wrote:
Thanks rhyme! Great post, and very helpful!

Happytrojan wrote:
I agree with pretty much everything this guy, wrote, ive learned pretty much the exact same things from my experience at a top undergrad business program. I would however say that I think that getting good grades has meant that I have learned a lot which in turn has meant that I got a lot out of the education, and a lot of employers do look at grades. At least McKinsey's recruiters complemented me on my grades and told me to get back to them closer to graduation. I think grades shows that you have learned a lot, and that you have a good capacity to work which I think means something to employers. But the further you get away from school, the less grades means...


I think grades much more if you're undergrad, and especially if you're going into consulting. I know Deloitte wants at least a 3.5, not too sure about other companies.


Heard most I-banks require at least 3.5 too: I think you are right in other words.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 12 May 2011, 07:15
rhyme wrote:
In retrospect...

I present for no other reason than I feel like it, the top 10 mistakes I wish I hadn't made, or things I learned or whatever I can come up with that happens to end up with 10 items ... in no particular order:

#1: Grades
----------


#2: Hanging out more
--------------------

#3: Don't get distracted
------------------------


#4: Rank only sorta matters
---------------------------

#7: Spend more time earlier on figuring out what your goals are
-------------------------------------------------------------



Nice post. I will be going after good grades for myself because I wouldn't like to have 2.9GPA or the equivalent. So, it's a personal thing. This is by far the most I have ever paid for education so I want to learn something.

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. If not, you find yourself surrounded by acquaintances and no real friends. That goes back to your point of distraction and knowing why you are in business school, I think some people are inherently followers and just follow the herd. "where's everyone hanging?" "where's everyone trying to work?"

Rank may not matter but reputation does. Because it determines which companies recruit where and how much. Please make no mistake.
Re: In retrospect....   [#permalink] 12 May 2011, 07:15
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