A Treasury of Waiting-For-the-MBA-Decision Strategies: What to expect when you are expecting
I am like all of you. I get nervous, distracted to the point of craziness while waiting for things. So my heart goes out to everyone who is waiting to hear from schools. And the waiting comes in stages: first, you think you can ignore it. Then it becomes the elephant in the room. And then it becomes the object of prayer/shamanic dances/worry and endlessly clicking the refresh button on your email and the chat boards. You also have a hard time making plans – “If I only knew where (or if!) I was going to business school, I would be able to figure out my vacation plans, business travel, whether to adopt a cat, what car to buy, what to have for lunch tomorrow”… you get the idea.
Been there, done that, and I guarantee I am no wiser. But, with an attempt to help inspire some ideas to get through the next few months/weeks/minutes, I have searched around for suggestions to keep you from going down the rabbit hole of the chat boards. Disclosure: even I go to the boards for information – sometimes even offering to jump in for my MBA applicant clients. There is great stuff there, especially verifying interview invitation dates, but it is a minefield, and I usually feel like I need a stiff drink after the experience.
Don’t Go Crazy
First, make a point of staying sane. I wrote a blog post on staying sane awhile ago, and also this one on not pulling your hair out. Some of the tips are still valid: clear your head, do something non-work related, get back into a decent exercise routine, learn accordion, take apart a motorcycle and put it back together again – anything that you think will keep you from going insane.
One of the admissions officers from Tuck wrote a great three-part series on waiting, with some great words of wisdom on getting outside of yourself. The blog post’s author, Dia (a wise, wise woman) writes, “By putting everything related to B-school applications out of your sight, and reconnecting with your interests and hobbies, you ensure that the entirety of your personal horizon is not Business School.” She also suggests helping others who might be struggling with the b-school process once you are done. An interesting idea. Personally, I would rather just put it all behind and get it off my brain for awhile.
My colleague in the admissions business, Anna Ivey, and co-board member of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, wrote a wonderful blog post on waiting for law school admission, but the rules for all professional schools are the same: don’t nag, and “don’t let the discussion boards turn you into a crazy person.” See a theme here?
Network in industries that appeal
I’ve been checking around the web for other links, but too many say you should “keep plugging away,” or get to know your schools better. I think that if you don’t know your schools by now, it is silly to start now. What I will suggest is that you keep networking with people in the industries you think you want to work in, because no matter what school you go to, or even if you go to school, learning about where you want to be down the road will help you. The other advantage of being in limbo is that you can hit up people in industries that might not be so obvious to your current career.
If I could do it all over again, I would call someone in the entertainment industry and say, “hey, I just applied to business school, and I don’t know where I am going, but one of my target industries is entertainment, and I’d like to get to know more about what you do every day.” It isn’t an offensive question, since you are not looking for a job, and if you act like you are a little undecided, that’s ok, you are in limbo.
So, ready to go out and do something different, or should I just post the link to the discussion boards right here?