How a guy from Europe is going through the process of researching business schools, preparing for the GMAT and making his way towards a top-ranked MBA program in the U.S....all the while trying to juggle love, a job and sports and still be happy. May the games begin.

Friday, May 19, 2006

No progress...

It's been a while. Unfortunately I must say I havent made any progress in my GMAT studies. Yes, please someone kick my ass and remotivate me. The good thing is that job-wise things HAVE been progressing and I will probably change jobs within the next 4 weeks, making more money and probably do something more interesting. That might be one of the reasons why I havent continued my studies, but I think it is also due to the separation of my girlfriend a few months back.

Strangely, I was very motivated when we were together and I kinda lost track when we weren't anymore. I also started to play Lacrosse which occupies quite a few of my evenings now, so time for studying has been scarce - you do wanna meet new girls, too, so...

Nevertheless, I have a feeling that I do need to get an MBA. For myself, as an individual, as well as for my career. So the goal is still there and it will be achieved. I just wonder if it will be by 07 or maybe rather 08... although I could get it done if I put my mind to it NOW.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

In Germany people get their presents of the night of the 24th.

See, I could teach you something here. I will be studying for the GMAT all throughout the holidays. No work until Jan 2nd. Yeehaaa.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Kellogg: Informal Info Session

The other day I went to an informal Kellogg info session that was hosted by purely alumni and
current students.

There were a total of 4 interested candidates. The small number was probably due to the limited advertising they did for this. I only heard about it because I met one of the current students who held the session through a girl I graduated with from high school. (Linked-In is good for something)

With a ratio of more than one Kellogg student per prospect we obviously had the chance to discuss a lot of stuff in detail. One of my concerns was due to a post I read on BusinessWeek. Someone had written that Kellogg had a few superstar professors whose classes are hard to get into, but the rest of the faculty is sometimes less than stellar. I addressed that and am now more convinced that Kellogg is for me. Especially because of the team spirit they are trying to foster.

One major point (that I was unaware of) that is in favor of any big school was mentioned by one of the presenters:

A relatively big school such as Kellogg can afford to have huge variety of classes and specializations. They said that the sheer multitude of courses is breathtaking and that you will find courses that you would have never expected. A small school, such as European IMD for example (90 students per year) can obviously not offer such a variety.

Certainly an aspect that is quite interesting. Not necessarily a distinguishing characteristic of Kellogg alone - there are other schools of similar size - but still something to consider when choosing between differently sized schools.

Other than that, what I heard made a good impression on me, and I will definitely have Kellogg as one of my preferred choices.

The new GMAT company

I was wondering lately, if the new company that is going to take over the GMAT set-up and test taking will screw up the test.

Could it be that they'll make it harder, just to prove how good they can handle it?

I am going to take the test end of Jan or beginning of Feb so I will definitely take it when the new keepers of the GMAT will have taken over the reign. Of course, I am looking for any excuse why I will have fucked up...

Over the Christmas holidays I will finally have some time to do some hardcore studying. Although I have been doing some Kaplan Math Review stuff for the last 6 weeks or so, I am not getting where I want to be at the pace that I should. But seriously guys, how are you supposed to juggle work, a social life AND studying in the evenings? When I get home around 7pm or so, it is sometimes really hard to force yourself to at least an hour of studying. What with all these instant messaging programs etc...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

New frontiers

As this is also sort of a diary, let me write down that thought.

I am currently in the process of changing jobs within the company. I have been working in MarCom media strategy so far and am about to transfer into product marketing. I have been interviewing twice with employees and the boss of the department and am pretty exited about the new opportunity. This is where I always wanted to go professionally.

Now there is just that thing that I have to tell my current boss. I did so today, and she was a lot less supporting than I would have thought.

Not everything is set in stone yet, and if things end fucked up with the new job then I really am in big trouble. Oh well...the weekend is coming, so I guess I can continue to worry next week, right?

I had to republish the last two posts to get my sidebar where it belongs. Thanks to Smitha for the great idea of deleting and

publishing the posts to get the formatting right again!

Get rich or die tryin...

As it looks to me, the gap between the haves and have-nots is bound to be widening. And as every other business magazine points out especially those who are internationally mobile will profit from the new world order.

Therefore, and despite me probably having to pay for the full amount of an MBA, I am very determined to get the degree and enable myself to be one of those who will reap the benefits of globalization. And that concept is not so easy to grasp for a German. You must know, we are all very risk-averse. The idea of having a $100k of debt after an MBA is not very promising to most Germans. Of course it isn't to anyone in the world, but for us risk-averse, over-insured krauts it is even more so. I am trying to free myself of such thinking.

As does Brian an American friend of mine like to say: "You gotta spend money to make money." I am very sure that he is absolutely right. In fact, he is the best proof of this concept (which obviously makes it easier for him to say that). But, despite MBA graduates being more sought after than ever before - there could be an economic downturn; Asia could finally give Europe and the US the deathblow, with unemployment continously rising in the Western countries etc etc.

Who knows? What if you're sitting on 100k of debt THEN? What if? Should one even think like that? Probably not, right? I would be glad to hear other opinions on this. Those of you who don't or didn't have consulting companies paying the bulk of your MBA cost: How did you decide that you will take up those loans? I guess you gotta do what you have to do. Maybe I will even end up getting a scholarship that can finance some of the tuition cost. Now that would help. So much for today. See you around.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The real cost of an MBA...before you spend a single buck...

...comes when you the tell your girl that you're considering an MBA. And that you mean it. Really. Because, in my age, I am 26 right now and so is she, girls become very sensititive to all issues related to the future. And, as going to the U.S. for an MBA implies that she will not be there with me (she will not be allowed to stay for a long period of time, she cannot work there), this means that the likelihood of our relationship to break up is increasing.

Well, and if we are all honest to ourselves this really is what is bound to happen, no? I mean, even if you can afford to take a flight every few months: There are probably going to be so many things that will be different in each others lives. You will lose touch and chances of meeting someone else will increase. And even if she visits: During the semester it is going to be insane, so no time for someone else I guess.

So here we are. I had this coming for the last few weeks, but yesterday morning she just stood in the door with my stuff in her hands. I had had a night out with two former classmates from college and had a bitch of an hang over. I barely knew what to say when she started packing her stuff.

The thing is, and that is what pisses me off the most:

  1. I don't even know IF I end up doing the MBA. If my GMAT sucks there go my chances of getting a place in a presitigious program. And I won't settle for second best.
  2. Even IF I have a chance to get into a program, that won't start until well into 2007. Why break up now?
I can tell you why. Because women want security. They want their whole damn lives played out for them right there and then. Kids, house, security, security and oh security. Well, maybe that just is not me and maybe this is for the better. Right now, I do not even manage to cry. Maybe I haven't understood the whole impact of this decision.

BTW, in case anyone is interested: We were dating for more than 2 years. So, it kinda does hurt. And yes, she was great.

Well...we will see what happens. I sort of knew I might have to pay this price, just didn't think that I would have to already now. Good night.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

IESE Business School

So yesterday I attended this info session held by IESE Business School of Barcelona. The venue chosen was the ArabellaSheraton and a rather small, but sufficient room in the basement. The introduction to the school was held by the associate director of admissions. A very nice to look at lady with US origins and therefore perfect English.

The presentation was without flaws, the slides made a professional and polished impression. What surprised me was the rather small number of people who are going into Marketing afterwards. Only 8%. IESE is somewhat of a "subsidiary" of the Harvard Business School, and also solely relies on teaching through the case-study method. As I question the absolute superiority of this method (most US schools use standard lecture-based teaching at least to a certain extent) that was a slight negative point to me.

A case-study was meant to be held by one of IESEs professors, however he was stuck at the Munich airport due to snowfall and a soccer match that made traffic a bitch at just that time. Therefore the Alumni q&a was moved in before that.

Strangely, all the alumni present had been working in Consulting after graduating from IESE. Also, two of the four alumni present had been working for Bain before and after their MBA, obviously making the financing of the MBA a lot easier.

The alumni were very positive about their experience at IESE and one of them, who I talked to for about 15min, provided some more valuable insight. That did in fact bolster my impression that most of the top European schools are mainly Finance and Consulting (=General Management) driven.

So far, I have almost exclusively considered US schools, such as Kellogg, Fuqua, Haas, Tuck and Ross. I am not so sure if I should add IESE to that list.

With costs of 59000€ for the 19 months of school and cost of living in Barcelona comparable to that of many other capital cities, there is no real benefit in terms of savings there. Interestingly though, they do have an exchange program, so in your second year you can attend one of the top schools in the US (for example) for one semester. This may be interesting to some.

The professor didnt show up when it was 8pm, so I decided to leave then, as most other participants had already, leaving maybe 4 or 5 people for the case study. I didnt feel like participating that much that late, so I decided to call it a day. Too bad about the hot admissions girl, though. She definitely was caliente.

Monday, November 21, 2005

One year...

...until its application time. Depending on my GMAT results in January, I will be applying with a few top-notch schools around this time next year. This blog shall keep me some company in the meantime.