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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 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] 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 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 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 22 May 2011, 11:22
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As someone who has been out of b-school for 10 years (yikes), what rhyme and others have said is spot on.

One thing to keep in mind about traditional vs. non-traditional: work visas.

One of the reasons why the "traditional" recruiters are well, traditional and suck up a big chunk of the class at all top b-schools is the immigration issue.

At US b-schools, around 33-50% of the class are internationals (i.e. those who aren't US citizens or green card holders). So if they want to stay in the US post-MBA, they need an employer to sponsor them for an H1 visa (assuming they aren't married to an American).

And the traditional MBA recruiters are usually most willing to sponsor internationals without batting an eye. They hire MBAs by the boatload, and whose HR departments are very very well versed in the ins and outs of the byzantine US immigration system which can even confuse a theoretical physicist with a PhD from MIT. (Aside: if you've ever had to bring as part of your medical check up and records your chest X-ray film to the consulate because they require you to do so, you'll start to wonder what the point of it is -- what is an immigration officer going to do with an X-ray of your chest?)

So with 33-50% of the class (and most wanting to stay in the US post-MBA at least for a few years), that's a huge chunk of the class who feel their efforts are best spent going after employers that are most willing to sponsor them (and even then, it's really limited to consulting, financial services, and technology firms. Consumer products companies don't like sponsoring internationals typically and it may be a matter of company policy for these firms; tech firms will sponsor MBAs but may be more gun shy than consulting firms, since tech firms want to allocate as much of their H1 visas to hiring technical folks; leadership development programs and general mgmt jobs also don't always want to sponsor internationals).

Once you go to the "non-traditional" route within the US, it becomes very hit and miss. A lot of non-profit foundations for example won't sponsor internationals. Non-traditional MBA industries like sports, entertainment, advertising, fashion, gaming, etc. aren't as familiar with MBAs in their workplace in the first place, and asking them to sponsor you for an H1 may only make it harder. Doesn't mean it's impossible to get sponsorship from firms in non-traditional industries - it's just a harder sell, and very hit-and-miss that will depend on the individual firm in question.

And when you're an international faced with a huge debt to pay off, it can be the most practical thing to suck it up, work for the evil McKinsey Death Star, (cue Star Wars music) for a few years so you can pay off at least a good chunk of that debt, gain some solid experience and branding on your resume before taking off. It's a lower stress way in an environment of risk averse MBAs while you're still in school to just take the M/B/B or whatever traditional job, rather than what can be perceived as the "needle in the haystack" that is non-traditional MBA industries especially for internationals.

Which leads to another point. Even for those without real work visa hurdles (i.e. EU nationals going back to Europe, Americans working in the US, Asians going back to Asia), at least from my experience and what I've heard from so many clients over the years -- most people in b-school aren't expecting their first post-MBA job to be their ideal job.

A lot of MBA students in school hear enough stories from recent grads who move on within 1-2 years. So in a way that is what they're anticipating and expecting to happen. Whether it's selling your soul to Bain or being a greedy banker at Morgan Stanley, most expect their first post-MBA job to be a transitional thing. It's a "I'll take this job and then go from there" as opposed to "I've arrived baby!".

After 5 years or so (and seeing what has happened with many of the MBAs of my generation who graduated 10 years ago), a lot more of us end up in what is called non-traditional MBA land anyhow. In fact, I would say most of us don't work at the big name MBA factories. Some are in consulting, but work in small boutiques (or have their own). Some are in finance, but work at very small funds or shops. Or they have their own business, or do something completely unrelated to what they ever expected. And it's all okay.

My main point is, don't feel compelled to HAVE to go the non-traditional route immediately after b-school. It's certainly a road worth pursuing if you have the opportunity to right away, but don't feel that just because you end up in a traditional job, you'll be "stuck" or "trapped" there forever. In fact, chances are you'll be out of there within 1-2 years, and most likely within 5 years.

In the end, most of you probably won't become fabulously wealthy, but you'll be somewhat comfortable and more importantly probably happier than you expect -- but that happiness probably won't be what you believe it to be now (and it won't be centered around your career either even if your career paradoxically will probably turn out just fine).

Disclaimer: I went the non-traditional route right after b-school working at a VC-backed animation studio. Looking back, I was extremely lucky to have stuck to my guns and gone the non-traditional route -- I purposely avoided the meat grinder MBA factories like consulting and finance and never had to resort to doing that at all, but I don't think everyone else needs to do the same thing I did either.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 22 May 2011, 09:13
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So to clarify... there is a spectrum of traditional and non-traditional. Way on the left, is all the stuff you basically associated with a typical post MBA job: consulting, banking, finance, etc. In the middle are jobs that differ on one or two dimensions: perhaps a bit of a niche job in consulting (rather than mass market strategy) or jobs in otherwise atypical locations (ghana) or positions that are otherwise uncommon but not unheard of. All the way on the right are jobs that are in atypical industries and atypical functions that you just wouldnt expect to see (e.g. university professor).

The "menu" of jobs you are offered through your career services office seems large but is really woefully small in many ways: If you want to do something in marketing there's really basically two jobs functions: brand mgmt and research. In consulting its generally breaks out against IT, strategy or ops. In banking the big debate is always buy vs sell side. In corporate jobs, 90% of your options are in general mgmt or corporate finance. And then, every now and then is something a little unique: business development for a commercial real estate developer in dubai for instance, head of a foreign language school in Ecuador, etc. When I say 'non-traditional' I mean both these kinds of jobs (non traditional in location, function, industry etc) as well as non-traditional in the sense that they just aren't common post-MBA choices.

Put differently, in general, the top 5 job functions (consulting, banking, im, company finance and gm) employ 70% of the class at booth. The top 5 industries employ nearly 68% of hires. The top 20 companies will employ nearly 50% of the entire class, the top 10 employ nearly 30%. And of course, 80% of jobs are "school facilitated". If you stop and think about it - that basically means that just about EVERYONE gets a job from a pre-screened list of employers that changes infrequently.

In my case, my job is non-traditional in the sense that they aren't a typical Booth recruiter (they dont come to campus, dont post etc), its not so non-traditional in the sense that I'm in a big city, im in broad diversified financial services and my job could largely be categorized as 'general management'. From my year, I'm the ONLY booth grad at this company (well, actually now two as I referred someone). Thats not to say they dont have MBAs - there are plenty: I work with a guy from wharton executive program, two hbs'ers, etc ....so there's plenty of MBA talent but no really active recruiting.

In my prior job, I was one of something like 36 MBAs brought on that year and it was hard to not feel like they just tried to find a place for everyone and give us all fairly similar experiences. And thats exactly what we got. My current role is night and day by comparison. Instead of being one of 30 people moving in some kind of pre-defined rigid system, I'm in control of what I do and that's made all the difference. Without getting to specific... compared to before where I spent months on what I would consider academic exercises (valuing 'customer satisfaction' scores or running hundreds of what-if scenarios no matter how unlikely), I am now working on real multi million dollar investments that will bear real fruit.

My point is that if you looked around on campus and at job postings, this company would NEVER get on your radar. Or if it did, you'd dismiss it as some odd choice that no one wants (because, admittedly people tend to gravitate to the known quantities). MBAs are notoriously risk averse (hence why they get an MBA) and sometimes the path less taken truly is the better choice. I define nontraditional as just that: something most of your peers aren't doing.

My advice is simple: Look beyond "the usual suspects"
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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 18 May 2011, 07:29
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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?


In terms of finding non-traditional opportunities, I think it's mostly about identifying an industry or function and doing as much research as possible on it. Look for industry groups and see who the members are. Look for conferences and exhibitions and see what companies are attending / presenting. Sign up for 10 different LinkedIn or Doostang job search emails and do a quick internet review on each interesting-looking company. Do general LinkedIn searches. Lots of ways but it takes (easy) leg-work. Triangulate that with your school's alumni database and LinkedIn and start to reach out to people that work at your target companies.

In terms of evaluating them, that's a toughie. I think half of it is gut feel (I did not listen to my gut enough when doing on-campus recruiting). The other half is tough. Grill your interviewers (obviously with finesse and tact). Google the company extensively for bad reviews from employees and customers (keeping in mind that most internet reviewers are nutjobs). But mostly try to find about 5 people that you really, really trust to give you their perspective.

Also, as someone mentioned earlier, when you recruit on campus it can be up to a year or more sometimes before you actually join. That makes it hard to define your specific role (consulting is obviously even more ambiguous). When you join just shortly after recruiting, which is more common in non-traditional paths, you can work more to really clarify the types of things you will be doing, especially in the near-term. I joined my 2nd post-MBA company knowing exactly what I would be working on for the first 6 months and a pretty good idea for the first 12-18 months.

When I think of my 5-6 closest alumni friends, the 2 that are happiest with their jobs went the non-traditional, not on-campus route.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 06:43
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Michmax3 wrote:
Anyone have insights into the brand management career path? I'm a little afraid of exactly what you are mentioning, that I will get sucked in by one of the big companies and have little room to actually be creative or propose new ideas at my level, and instead be right back where I was, mostly handling the budgets and ad campaign management.

I've had brief interactions with one of the bigger ones just in applying for a pre internship and I can say that I was not at all impressed by how they conduct business so far, in fact it is turning me off to the company in general. I definitely got the feeling that they are used to treating people like crap because they can.


I dont have a lot to add to your question but I thought I'd share one anecdote: I recall a story told by one of our professors that went something like this: Guy gets hired to be a assistant brand manager at a large CPG, and is placed in charge of some toothpaste. But not the entire toothpaste product. Just the travel sized one. And not the whole tube, just the lettering. But not the logo, and not the font, but the coloring and text underneath. In a typical MBA fashion, guy comes in and suggests that the right strategy is to complete an LBO of their next biggest competitor, sell off the pieces and own the market.....

Brand marketing is one of those things that seems really rewarding when you reach a certain point in the career - true P&L ownership, etc. In the short term it sounds a bit less exciting (to me personally). The pay is also weaker than most careers (early on anyway), but the work life balance is considered very good. The roles tend to appeal to those interested in general management because they generally offer the opportunity to work on everything from sourcing/procurement, marketing, legal, finance, pricing, etc. It's a multidisciplinary job.
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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 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 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 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, 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 18 May 2011, 08:39
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Anyone have insights into the brand management career path? I'm a little afraid of exactly what you are mentioning, that I will get sucked in by one of the big companies and have little room to actually be creative or propose new ideas at my level, and instead be right back where I was, mostly handling the budgets and ad campaign management.

I've had brief interactions with one of the bigger ones just in applying for a pre internship and I can say that I was not at all impressed by how they conduct business so far, in fact it is turning me off to the company in general. I definitely got the feeling that they are used to treating people like crap because they can.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 12:10
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mEEchigan04 wrote:
Rubashov1 wrote:

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.


I imagine its obvious but they are drinking the koolaid and going to be dissapointed. That simply isn't true. I saw a bunch of Bain consultants spend MONTHS trying to put a $ value on the "Brand" of my prior company. I mean, literally MONTHS on that one piece of work. Strategic? Maybe .... I dont know. Meaningful? Not really. So at the end of this project they present a hundred page deck that effectively concludes that company X has $100M in more "brand equity" than company Y. This wasn't rocket science: start with each firms valuation, adjust for as many things as you can - size, geography, etc... and whatever you can't explain is "brand". They fancied it up with some complicated math and made up metrics, if the industry standard was to use X they would use X+A+2B+3C and then spend 30 pages backing up why that might yield a slightly better figure than just using X. A MCK team I ran into not long ago was working on a valuation model for spare parts. Seriously. Important? Yes, it was used in negotiations in the sale of certain assets, but strategic stuff thats really impactful? No.
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Re: In retrospect.... [#permalink] New post 20 May 2011, 05:26
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Michmax3 wrote:
rhyme wrote:
I dont have a lot to add to your question but I thought I'd share one anecdote: I recall a story told by one of our professors that went something like this: Guy gets hired to be a assistant brand manager at a large CPG, and is placed in charge of some toothpaste. But not the entire toothpaste product. Just the travel sized one. And not the whole tube, just the lettering. But not the logo, and not the font, but the coloring and text underneath. In a typical MBA fashion, guy comes in and suggests that the right strategy is to complete an LBO of their next biggest competitor, sell off the pieces and own the market.....

Brand marketing is one of those things that seems really rewarding when you reach a certain point in the career - true P&L ownership, etc. In the short term it sounds a bit less exciting (to me personally). The pay is also weaker than most careers (early on anyway), but the work life balance is considered very good. The roles tend to appeal to those interested in general management because they generally offer the opportunity to work on everything from sourcing/procurement, marketing, legal, finance, pricing, etc. It's a multidisciplinary job.


ouch lol, that definitely makes me consider working for a non-traditional company where I might be able to take on a little more responsibility. I am really interested in more of the product development side, but I am guessing this might be hard to get into without any engineering background. I saw this fascinating segment on CNBC the other night about Supermarkets and the steps Pure (Henkel I believe) took to research, design and market some innovative packaging that's going to revolutionize the detergent industry and get it into the stores. That kind of thing really interests me but it's hard to know what steps the people working on this project took to get there. I imagine a product/brand manager has some input on this, but the level of which probably varies from company to company, with the smaller ones offering more of a chance to be involved at the concept level. Guess I have some research to do, but not sure how to connect with people currently in the industry right now. Is it too late to start looking at these things once school has started if you at least have a general idea of what you want to do?


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.
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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] 23 May 2011, 09:01
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