"Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome : The B-School Application
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# "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome

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So it's almost mid-February. R1 decision dates have come and gone. R2 decision dates are either here or soon approaching....

Many of you lucky intelligent, overachieving, (handsome/pretty?) GClubbers have a destination or two (or more) in the Class of 2013.

Some of you guys may have scholarship and fellowships. Pat yourselves on the back (I do it every 3 hrs on any given day).

But you guys have a SERIOUS problem:

1) It's only February and Fall is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO Far away.
2) Remember senioritis from highschool? Well, you haven't been quite productive since you submitted your applications, and now that you KNOW you will be gone in the near future, your productivity has dropped significantly.
3) If you hated your job before, now you are giddy with the prospect of sending a legendary, explosive goodbye email to all those b*st*rds (at work) who made your life living hell.

Well, guys.... I have less than 4 months of school left before I walk. MBA is my second graduate degree and probably the last one (unless my soon-to-be wife's post-MBA career take off and I choose to call it a career from my post-MBA job, and become a FT stay-at-home doggie walker......and go to law school and waste HER hard earned money because my experience at Yale Law School has been awesome and you can't find better drink-buddies than law school kids...).

While I am counting down the days until graduation, and wasting my time reading through the various threads in this forum, I realize that a lot of you guys are anxious to put your current career behind, and start your bschool journey ASAP.

Here are various Do's and Don't's that some of us have learned the hard way: (And other current/past students, and other members, please feel free to chime in)

1) Should you stop working to your best abilities at work? Should you burn the bridge and fire away that email to the entire company (explaining how much they suck?)
Probably not. Believe it or not, networking does not simply mean meeting new people once you enter bschool. It also means keeping your current relationships intact. No matter how much you might hate your boss, no one can't predict whether you may need his/her help in the future.

I've met a M7 student this past summer during after-work/internship networking event in NYC. He/she struck out during on campus recruiting at his/her school, and had to return to his/her old employer to do a paid summer internship. He/she kept in touch with various people from his/her ex-employer, that he/she was able to at least get a paid gig for the summer.

2) Should you quit your job early and either take a vacation or do something else before school?
If you have a trust fund, significant other (who will finance your early freedom), or rich parents, etc - ABSOLUTELY. It's a good idea to take a mental break now before starting school. You won't have time to relax once the school starts, so enjoy your life while you can. However, if you don't have such arrangement (rich parents, etc), stay as long as you can. Debt sucks. You don't want to know how much interest you end up accruing month after month while in school. Bschool life can get quite expensive. Thanks to generosity of YSOM, I won't have any debt upon graduation but my savings account took a hit during the last 1.5 years...

3) Should you get an early start by reading various textbooks, etc?
Probably not. I admire your desire to excel in academics but you are ALREADY well prepared for bschool at this point. Most of you will do very well in school. Rather, I would work on your communication skills. If you are not a good public speaker, I would practice NOW and get used to speaking in front of strangers, etc. This is important because without great communication skills (including the ability to sell yourself effectively), you will have a tough time in class and during recruiting.

I remember reading a BW article long time ago about a Haas MBA student who struck out during an interview with a top consulting firm because the interviewer thought he/she was "too introverted" and reserved. He/she wasn't able to speak well during the interview. However, due to professor's recommendation, the same firm ended up interviewing him/her again and he/she ended up with a FT offer.

I've said it before in the Yale thread. Work on your killer closing speech now. It comes in handy during recruiting. Interview is not about going in and answering their questions. Before you go it, KNOW exactly what YOU WANT THEM TO KNOW ABOUT YOU. Make a mental list of those items in your head. Before the interview is over, MAKE SURE EVERYTHING on your list was communicated to the other side. That makes a successful interview.

What about my current boy/girl friend? significant other?
There's no right or wrong answer to this one. Different people do things differently. I've seen people break up before bschool amicably. I've seen married people moving together. I've seen married people living in different states. Whatever option you end up choosing, if you put in the effort to make it work, it will work out in the end.

My soon to be wife and I were already engaged when we decided to get our MBA. She was little more ambitious and ended up doing her MBA in the west coast because she wanted to live where "they have better weather" ~

Me - I only did my MBA because: 1) did not want to move to west coast; 2) did not think I would get into the school that she was going to; 3) she's doing it so I guess I will get one as well

We spent last yr and a half on the opposite side of the country but made every effort to come together during the breaks, holidays, etc. We made it through and we will be getting married in June before both of us begin our post MBA careers.

4) Is MBA worth it? It's too expensive!
Well, nothing in life comes easy and we have to take a risk sometimes. But important thing is that we manage our exposure to that risk.

I think if you invest \$X amount for X MBA program (which, traditionally placed its graduates into great jobs, etc + great education that will pay dividends over your career), then you have a good reason to take that risk. But let's say you lost your job or you simply hate your current job. You are simply going to school Y because you just want to get out of your current situation and you expect to get a job out of it after 2 years. That's a risky decision.

5) Finally - Manage your future expectations now
What can MBA do for you? Different people have different expectations. Usually, it's really optimistic. But no matter where you end up matriculating, in the end, it's all up to you.

If you are a bad driver, and you buy a Mercedes, it's not going to make you a better driver. You will simply be a bad driver driving a really nice car.

If you expect that your degree from school X will suddenly change your life completely, you will be making a similar mistake. A top bschool MBA will definitely open you doors. But to make the best out of your opportunity, you have to evolve. You have to make an effort. I don't mean that you should simply: 1) excel in classes and get great grades, 2) attend all the workshops and seminars, 3) go to all the networking events, etc

You should do all that and make small efforts such as: 1) If you are bad with names, make an effort to change that. If you meet someone new, the old "you" would say, "I will learn his/her name eventually." Change that and say, "I don't care what I have to do today. Even if it means I have to spend next 20 minutes and tell her all my embarrassing flaws, I am going to know that person and learn his/her name today."

If you were never in to sports, take this opportunity (over next 2 years) and find new friends who are into sports - learn why they are into sports, and attend sporting events with them and REALLY make an effort to see if there are any sporting events that you may end up liking.

If you have never went to a broadway show, take this opportunity and change that. Make an effort. Who knows what you really like anyway? I learn new things every day and as a result, I evolve for worse or for better. But what I know is that I am not the same person that I was 2 years ago.

Try to make small efforts like that over the next 2 years. You will be pleasantly surprised...

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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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11 Feb 2011, 09:20
Good advice, Nink!
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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11 Feb 2011, 09:47
Nink, Thanks for the heads up...
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11 Feb 2011, 09:50
This is great, thanks! And congratulations to you and your fiancee!!
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11 Feb 2011, 11:10
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Michmax3 wrote:
This is great, thanks! And congratulations to you and your fiancee!!

Thanks!
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12 Feb 2011, 09:28
Nink, great advice and hope you and your fiancee's wedding in June is better than awesome!
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2011, 11:01
Good read, some very handy information there for MBA aspirants. Thanks!
Both you and your fiancee are graduating from awesome schools. Best of luck with post-MBA and post-marriage life
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12 Feb 2011, 12:06
Kudos! Wonderful post Nink.

If I may add...
- Toastmasters is awesome for improving your speech and comfort of speaking in front of strangers, most likely there's a local chapter near most gmatclubbers.
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2011, 12:18
Wonderful post Nink! Good luck to you and your soon to be wife. Enjoy the last few months at Yale.

Your story is inspiring especially when my husband and I have been contemplating our decision to go to different schools if same school is not an option.
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2011, 18:10
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I would add to the job section to keep copies of projects you did or calculate results on any initiatives (like sales numbers from a campaign you did etc) before leaving the company if you haven't already done so in the application process. I plan to keep a journal of my work activities over the next few months while the position is still fresh in my mind and I have access to specifics. Figure it will help when interviewing later on to recall details. Actually it's something I plan to do for all jobs going forward, it's easy to forget small accomplishments years later, but it may be something relevant to the job you end up pursuing
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2011, 18:43
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nink made some excellent points.

One thing I would add is about the social life in b-school.

As you may or may not know, "networking" is just another formal way of saying "making friends". Some are going to end up being close friends (even to the point where you may even be brothers from different mothers), some just merely friendly acquaintances.

However, what you want to just be aware of is how the social dynamic evolves over the course of 2 years.

I can't speak for every person who went to b-school, but at least in my own experience as well as others (both friends and past clients), is this:

In the first few months of school, it will feel like HIGH SCHOOL. Yes. High school. Not even college. After these few months (the first thanksgiving is usually the turning point), people do mellow out a bit, and there's far less posturing.

Everyone is insecure when they come into a new environment. Some students may know a handful of folks beforehand (i.e. went to the same college, worked in the same firm), but even then, few if any are really friends.

So just about everyone comes in with no real friends in the school.

And for some reason, it makes the group as a whole regress back to high school. We all get insecure, and we all want to be liked, and we all feel a bit nervous about "what if I don't make any friends?" or "I really want to establish my reputation" blah blah blah. Some may even inadvertently project their desire to be "that popular gal/guy" or the "man on campus" -- something they never really were in college or high school. Or trying to live up to some image of what a popular person should be, or trying to relive college days they never had.

Just know that EVERYONE, all your classmates, are feeling the same way you do in the first few months, no matter how much "posturing" some folks may do to overcompensate.

You'll probably even see some folks who try a bit too hard to be "that guy who everyone likes" or the "party central dude" or whatever. Or the guy who talks up a great game (whether they do it in a subtle or overt way) about their sexual conquests, name dropping as a way to show that they know important people, trying too hard to project that they're more outgoing than they really are, or even trying a bit tooooo hard to come across as more relaxed and chill than they really are.

But just know that it's all posturing. And you may even do it from time to time at a dinner party, drinking event, etc. Everyone is a bit insecure, and because it's been a while since you were "new" to a school (i.e. freshman year in college), for many of you, this will be the first time in a long time where you've been in an environment with a bunch of people roughly your age (because at work, you were likely one of a handful of youngins in a sea of old folks). As such, it's easy to even inadvertently assume that there's going to be a social pecking order (just like high school) and it's important to establish your social standing right away.

While there likely will be a lot of posturing (i.e. "look at me! I'm such a party hard dude!" or "I'm going to be that guy who has 500 of his closest friends from b-school over for a house party!") in an effort to outdo others in their extroversion, that will go away. People calm down. Most of us will eventually realize that no one in school really cares about that anyway, even if the initial insecurity of not knowing anyone may make one do some foolish things to get others to like them.

So long as you're normal and well adjusted, you WILL make friends. You WILL have a great time, without having to try sooooo hard to "network". So long as you're helpful to people without being overbearing, and you go to some social events (don't feel you need to go to EVERY one), you will do just fine. You may not make friends in the first few months, but a lot of people will be in the same boat, wondering where they should go on the weekends, who to socialize with, etc. Find a way to overcome that insecurity and just be yourself -- and you will find your place within the school with friends you love hanging out with.

Eventually, the people you really like will be your friends, and the people you don't like you won't have to really deal with them outside of academics.

And finally, don't take yourself too seriously. If you have a sense of humor about yourself, you'll likely get less stressed out in school, and you'll be able to also laugh at some of the absurdities and neurosis of some of your fellow classmates...
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2011, 18:55
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Just to add - you don't want to burn any bridges at your job.
1) This world is very small - I have known people who go rejected because of a bad reference from previous co-workers who happened to work in the new company
2) You may have to go back and ask for a job/internship - economy may do something funny again or you may find a VP position opening in your company
3) You may need a reference - if you had a really good relationship it can go a long way
4) It is best to have friends rather than enemies in any situation. "So long suckers" provides satisfaction only for a few seconds/minutes but a long lasting relationship can be a lot more rewarding

I have numerous examples about all 4 points above (some learned the hard way)

If anything, now is the time to show your leadership skills/potential and get perhaps a bit more risky in terms of decision making and responsibility. A good friend of mine was on a verge of being removed from one of the projects he was working on, so he stopped caring and was no longer concerned about staying and started making decisions instead of involving his boss every time, using his own judgement. Funny enough, he got promoted instead of being kicked off because he apparently demonstrated significant initiative, leadership, and motivated others to execute faster. He's been with that company for almost 20 years now.
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2011, 21:24
Nink, I am not at the stage that you mention, but I do think that this is a wonderful post (as always).
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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14 Feb 2011, 09:39
Great points !!

Nink- Wish you good luck...when r u throwing party...
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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14 Feb 2011, 10:50
bb wrote:
If anything, now is the time to show your leadership skills/potential and get perhaps a bit more risky in terms of decision making and responsibility. A good friend of mine was on a verge of being removed from one of the projects he was working on, so he stopped caring and was no longer concerned about staying and started making decisions instead of involving his boss every time, using his own judgement.

I'm at this point pretty much. Even though I haven't officially announced it, I'm going to be working at my job for another 2.5 months before I leave for school. I stopped cc'ing my boss on all the work I do; I made a lot more industry contacts at a recent conference I went to; I've basically been taking more initiative since I have less to lose now. It's an odd feeling but I'm enjoying it

Getting married in late May and taking a long honeymoon is going to be a great start to my MBA experience!
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14 Feb 2011, 16:51
Great post nink!
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14 Feb 2011, 21:38
Nink, Congratulations on the Engagement and upcoming wedding!!!
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15 Feb 2011, 06:54
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Thanks everyone!
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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15 Feb 2011, 11:55
AlexMBAApply wrote:
nink made some excellent points.
In the first few months of school, it will feel like HIGH SCHOOL. Yes. High school. Not even college. After these few months (the first thanksgiving is usually the turning point), people do mellow out a bit, and there's far less posturing.

Everyone is insecure when they come into a new environment. Some students may know a handful of folks beforehand (i.e. went to the same college, worked in the same firm), but even then, few if any are really friends.

Hahahha, this is SO true, and not just for MBA programs. When I attended Columbia for my MPA, I encountered the exact same scenario.
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Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome [#permalink]

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17 Feb 2011, 11:09
I'd agree with all of Nink's points...
However, would also like to let folks know that there are some schools (HBS, for sure -- but not sure who else) that discourage quitting.
In fact, when they found out, they told me to get another job while I wait for the September term to start.
Re: "Admitted! I Can't Wait till I Can Quit My Job" Syndrome   [#permalink] 17 Feb 2011, 11:09

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