Who is "Tad Holbie"?
Tad Holbie is a pseudonym I created
to protect my privacy and identity as I apply to business school (don't believe me?
Google it for yourself).
I am a young, American, first-time applicant to some of the elite business schools in the fall of 2002. My e-mail is
If I am accepted to one of the business schools I've applied to, I will be more revealing about my identity and personal details.
When did I start all this?
I started this Weblog a couple months after I got serious about applying to business school. The
first post was on August 28th, 2002. When do I have time to write this site? In between my
full-time job and writing essays, time is limited. But I am a fast typist and am quick to jot down
my thoughts during spare moments.
Why MBA Admissions Wire?
I started this website to record and share my experiences applying to business school (a long
and stressful process). As time has gone by and greater numbers of readers e-mailed me to
ask for advice, encourage me, and share their experiences, I have turned this site into a
resource for all MBA applicants, in effect creating an online community.
How do I do MBA Admissions Wire?
It's very easy, and (best of all) free. Just go to Blogger.com
and after a free registration you can have your own Weblog too! Even better, they offer free hosting on their
Disclaimer:I am not an admissions officer, nor am I affiliated with any of the schools, organizations, or sites listed on this page (i.e. I haven't even been accepted to any B-School--this is my first time applying!).
The events described on this web page are real events, though certain names, genders, locations, and dates (i.e. interview dates, submission dates, etc.) may be changed to protect my identity.
If you are applying to any of the schools listed on this page, please refer to their official web sites for the definitive deadline dates, application procedures, etc.
(i.e. It's not a smart move to rely on this page while applying). The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author.
I am also neither a lawyer nor an accountant. All information and events describing or related to financial aid, tuition, scholarships, loans, and other monetary matters is strictly meant to only describe "Tad Holbie's" situation, and should not be
considered instructions, financial advice, or in any way pertaining to the [reader's] financial situation. Consult your own accountant/lawyer when making important financial decisions.
Any questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org (and no, that isn't my real name).
I may or may not disclose if/when/with whom I have been invited to interviews. At present, I'm leaning towards discussing my interview
experiences a few days/weeks after they happen. Mark me "undecided".
If you choose to e-mail me, I promise not to publish your name, e-mail address, or contact information on my website without first getting your permission.
I may excerpt part or all of your e-mail on my site, but will take care to edit out any information that might identify the source.
If you don't want any or your e-mail posted on my site, just put "Please keep private" at the bottom of your e-mail.
Any questions, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Basically, anything you post can be reviewed by me. If I find a post to the message board or comment system
that is sufficiently rude, offensive, moronic, I'll feel free to a) delete it, and/or b) ban you from posting ever again.
In conclusion: You don't have free speech on my site, so don't be a jerk.
Welcome! First time visitors are encouraged to
Saturday, May 10, 2003
Posted 9:46 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200271183:
IN AT MICHIGAN! IN AT MICHIGAN! IN AT MICHIGAN!
Under pressure, a 'Sayonara Homerun' like the best of them! Many, many, many congrats!
Posted 3:22 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200267414:
Book Reports My copy of the Vault Career Guide to Investment Banking came yesterday, and I'll give it a read-through this weekend (it's a very small book) and report back on Monday. I'll compare it to The Fast Track, which is a bit more substantial (but also covers Management Consulting).
I'll judge them on the following criteria:
1) Explaining the different functions of Investment Banks?
2) Explaining the different roles within the banks (IB, sales, trading, etc.)
3) Describing day-to-day life in each role
4) Describing the qualities banks are looking for in each job area
5) Explaining the recruiting process for the banks
6) Describing the individual firms that make up Wall Street
Posted 12:34 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200267620:
The Fun of Work Just as I suspected, I've done more work over the past week than I did the preceding month. Since I committed to the Michigan MBA program, I've found it much easier to focus on my projects and the task at hand, and am finding my job a nice "rest" from the whole admissions stress.
Of course, I'm still often in awkward situations. Yesterday I showed my boss a small (very minor) project I completed for him, and he was really happy with the results. "This is really exciting!" he exclaimed, "Don't you think?" This put me on the spot because, honestly, I wouldn't call it "exciting" (at best it could rate an "interesting"). But I like my boss and didn't want to rain on his parade either, so I said something like, "Well...if it adds value to the company...it could be used in exciting ways..." Yeah, a pretty lame answer, but it beats laughing in his face, eh!
My work schedule is actually going to fit perfectly into my b-school schedule. That is, I'll have one final deadline at the end of June/early July, meaning I'll probably get one final trip to Boston (happy hour anyone?) That'll leave me most of July free to ramp-down and handoff my projects to others.
In the "payback is sweet" department, for the next two weeks the colleague who made my Hong Kong trip so unpleasant (see this post--"an individual with a reputation for pissing off, irritating, disgusting everyone around him") is going to be visiting my office. Alas, the HR person here didn't follow my hotel recommendations (i.e. hourly flop house in the ghetto), but I'll have my fun, oh yes, I'll have my fun.
I'm in a good spot right now: engaged at work, nice schedule ahead of me, prepping for the move, networking with alums, networking within the industry, reading up on Wall Street, getting ready to sell my place, shopping for laptops. Business school is going to rock!
Posted 8:02 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200266197:
The Coming Weeks My application experience is almost complete (just waiting for feedback from some of the schools) and my MBA student experience is just beginning. I've started writing my series of "wrap-up" posts, in which I'll discuss:
1) My background -- To show where I was "coming from"
2) The essays -- I'll take a fresh look at what I wrote, using the school feedback as a guide.
3) Hindsight -- What I would do differently, if I could do it all over again
4) Tips for next year -- Helping out business school applicants next year
5) Career prep -- Books, articles, insights, etc.
In my current plan, my last day of work will be Thursday, July 31st (only 83 days away!), after which I'll be too busy to do any more of this blog. Thus, my goal is to wrap this site up into a nice, user-friendly package by the end of July.
Posted 3:29 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200263007:
A couple colleagues are in town from our Chicago office, and I had a nice conversation with one of them about his experiences attending Chicago GSB's part-time MBA program. I found out that he got the company to pay for his degree, and this is his first term in the program.
He chose the part-time program for many reasons: lifestyle (his second child is on the way), financial (the company will foot the bill), and career. On the last point, he's in IT and plans to stay that way, but believes (correctly) that the more financial knowledge he can pick up, the more effective he'll be at the office. He had no complaints about the program, other than about how hard it is to juggle a full-time job and family responsibilities and school work. He never gets to finish all the readings, he said, but despite all the struggle manages to make Bs (so far).
To be honest, while talking to him I had a flash of jealousy run through me. He keeps his (good) job, goes to a great school (in its glitzy downtown campus), and has the firm pay the tuition. Not bad. But in the end, as alluring as that is, I know it's not the right path for me. I'm not interested in building upon my current skillset with a finance education, but instead making the clean break into a finance career. To each their own.
PS - I was impressed that it will only take him two-and-a-half years to graduate. That's not bad at all, especially compared to other PT programs I've heard of. For example, a close colleague of mine did the NYU PT program and it took him (I think) four years. I guess it depends on the individual student, how much free time they're willing to give up.
Posted 12:47 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200262127:
The Glass Half Full View After several press articles about how bad the job market is for b-school graduates, it's about time someone went against the grain. A friendly reader pointed out an article in last Wednesday's San Francisco Chronicle, "Into the Real World". It's point is that the majority of today's MBA graduates, if they hustle a bit, are finding good jobs. Sure, a few years ago students could piss in recruiters' faces and still come away with multiple offers; from that perspective, any job market would suck. But most students at good schools who put in the legwork are finding good jobs.
"But there are signs that the hiring picture may not be as gloomy as students expected.
Graduates with a master's in business administration are the only group of workers corporate recruiters say will increase within the overall hiring mix this year, according to a March survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, a nonprofit organization...
"Despite a difficult job environment, the quality of the recruits that are coming out is quite outstanding," [Jeffrey Tucker, vice president and operations director for the United States at Booz Allen Hamilton] said. "There's more careful consideration on the part of the MBAs as to what is the best step in terms of building their career skills, versus a few years back, where some of the consideration was how to get rich quick."
Posted 2:16 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200256763:
Incidentally, PC Magazine's May issue has a guide to the latest crop of notebook computers. I don't want to turn my site into a technology blog, but since I'm probably not the only one looking into laptop PCs, I'll share any useful info I find.
For Michigan students, the school provides some suggestions for laptop purchases, and the school does have discounts on a lot of software (Microsoft Office XP for $43!?!)
Posted 1:54 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200255827:
CD and DVD Drives In preparation for the laptop purchase, I've started educating myself about current PC standards. The most confusing aspect of this are the plethora of formats for CD and DVD drives, which I summarize below. I relied on CNet and PCWorld for the backround info on this subject.
Drive Types * CD-ROM Drive - Can read regular CDs only; cannot write CDs.
* CD-R Drive - Can read and write ("burn") regular CDs. You can only burn a CD once (i.e. it's not rewritable).
* CD-RW Drive - Can read and write ("burn") regular CDs. It can also read, write, and rewrite to special CDs called (confusingly) CD-RWs (which cannot be read by non-CD-RW players/drives).
* DVD-R Drive - Can read and write to DVDs, but not rewrite to them (i.e. can only burn once).
* DVD+R Drive - Can read and write to DVDs, but not rewrite to them (i.e. can only burn once). Slightly faster than DVD-R.
* DVD-RW Drive - Can read, write, and rewrite DVDs.
* DVD+RW Drive - Can read, write, and rewrite DVDs. Significantly (?) faster than DVD-RW.
* DVD-RAM - Uses some special type of DVDs that might not be readable by other drives, but can be twice as large (i.e. 9.4GB over 4.7GB).
Drive Speeds These drives speeds are given in three numbers, like "24x/10x/40x". The first number is write speed, the second rewrite speed, and the third read speed, all as compared to the earliest model CD-ROM drives.
Conclusion For me, I'd like CD or DVD drive mainly for backups of data and image files. In that regard, a CD-RW drive would seem to fit my needs. If I wanted to get a DVD drive, I'd go for a DVD+RW (fast and rewritable) on the condition that the DVD player I own can read those disks (yeah, it sucks, but you have to check with the manufacturer). At this point, I'm not convinced that I need the extra storage capacity of DVDs, since I don't use multimedia files that much.
Posted 9:45 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200251524:
Giving Notice Now that the b-school path is certain, I've started giving thought about when to tell my employers about my plans. My goal is to work until the end of July, then have August to move, get accustomed to Ann Arbor, and (hopefully) take a relaxing vacation. I have good relationships with my managers, and want to treat them fairly as well.
Originally I was thinking of giving notice in June, but several friends have advised me to give, at most, four weeks notice, for several reasons. First, no matter when I tell them, they're going to resent me for going behind their back (for many months) on b-school applications--it's just human nature. Though giving six weeks notice instead of four weeks might be a nice gesture, it probably would result in just two more weeks of being resented. Second, despite my managers general happiness with my performance, there is a chance I could be let go on the spot (I've already started cleaning out personal items from my desk, in this case). Seeing a co-worker kicked out of the building (for headcount reasons!) in less than thirty minutes made me painfully aware of this situation. Finally, I'll want to have as much time here to network within the company as possible.
So my current thinking is to give four weeks notice in early July, and to be as professional as possible about handing over my work and responsibilities. It's going to be a first for me, turning in a resignation letter (or at least, the first time I meant it, rather than using it as a bargaining move).
Posted 8:30 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200250368:
B-School: "B" for Baby? I just realized that an inordinate number of business school bloggers have either just had a child or are in the process of it. Modz - taking care of a newborn; Adam - baby on the way (Jenny's blogging the pregnancy experience, for those interested in that); Michael - baby on the way. Obviously, these are too few bloggers to be a representative sample, but still it's an interesting coincidence. Naturally, congrats to the proud parents, and parents-to-be!
Posted 4:31 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200251579:
Technology Question I thought I'd tap into the collective computer knowledge of my readership.
Here's the problem: I have a 5-year old, Windows 98, IBM desktop PC, on which there are a couple hundred digital pictures I've taken. I want to get all those pictures written onto a CD or DVD.
Now, I'll be buying a new, Windows XP laptop for b-school, and thought it would be the opportune time to take care of the problem. My question is how to use the new laptop to get at the old images. Here are the options I've come up with:
Option 1: Connecting the Laptop to the Desktop If I buy a laptop with a built-in CD or DVD writer, then all I need to do is move the images from one machine to the other. How hard is this? Can I simply get a USB cable, plug it into both machines, and away I go? Or do I need some sort of special networking software to get the two Windows operating systems to talk? If moving files from one machine to the other is easy, this is the best option.
Option 2: Portable Hard Drive as an Intermediary If connecting the two machines is tricky, I could buy a portable hard drive and use it as the intermediary (i.e. transfer the images from the desktop onto it, then from it to the laptop). The bonus is that I'd have an extra HD for back-ups, but this seems like a clunky solution to an easy problem.
Option 3: External CD/DVD Writer Instead of getting a laptop with the CD or DVD writer in it, I could buy an external writer drive. I could then connect the writer drive to either the desktop or the laptop, depending on where I need it. The downside is that it's more stuff to carry around in my laptop case. Also, I'm worried about the Windows 98 compatibility of the writer device.
To me, option #1 seems the cleanest, but I'm not really current with Windows compatibility, machine-to-machine file sharing, etc.
Posted 2:09 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200250820:
The latest issue of The Economist magazine includes a survey on global finance. Interesting reading for future MBA students, the focus is more on the market/international finance angle than on the strength of various firms. (Note: I'm not sure if all of the content is available on their website).
Posted 1:02 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200250160:
The Meaning of Colors After reading Thibault's ruminations (translated by Babelfish) on the color purple (Kellogg's school color), I did a little research (i.e. googled) on the meaning of colors. The guide at Color Wheel Pro was the most informative, giving a lot of info on each hue.
See how the descriptions of the colors match up to the schools (the school lists are by no means complete; I just used what came to mind):
Blue - Michigan (dark blue), Duke, UNC (light blue), Columbia (light blue?) "Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven...
Blue is a masculine color; according to studies, it is highly accepted among males. Dark blue is associated with depth, expertise, and stability; it is a preferred color for corporate America...
Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness.
Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness."
Red - HBS, Chicago (maroon?), Sloan, Cornell "Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love...
Light red represents joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, and love.
Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine qualities and passiveness.
Dark red is associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath.
Brown suggests stability and denotes masculine qualities.
Reddish-brown is associated with harvest and fall."
Purple - Kellogg, NYU, CMU (?) "Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic...
Light purple evokes romantic and nostalgic feelings.
Dark purple evokes gloom and sad feelings. It can cause frustration."
Green - Tuck, Michigan State, others? "Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money...
Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy.
Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.
Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection..."
Yellow - Berkeley (not sure about this, but their website's pretty yellow) "Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.
Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy...
Dull (dingy) yellow represents caution, decay, sickness, and jealousy.
Light yellow is associated with intellect, freshness, and joy."
I don't know of any schools with orange ("enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity"), white ("light, goodness, innocence, purity"), or black ("power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery") as the official colors.
Actually, blue has long been a favorite color of mine; my VW is a dark blue color almost identical to Michigan's (I haven't yet painted a big yellow M on the hood).
Posted 9:27 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200249006:
There's an article in the Wall Street Journal today, "M.B.A.s of '03 Face an Array of Closed Doors". The name pretty much gives away the topic. The point of the story is that people graduating from MBA programs in the near future shouldn't expect automatic jobs and increased salaries. Anyone who has followed current events (or even the B-Week forum) will mutter, "Duh" when hearing this "news".
I know that there is a large segment of the applicant community that is stressed about this, at least more stressed than me. Of course, if I can't land a good job after my MBA, I'll be angry, sad, worried, etc. But, call me an egotistical, megalomaniacal optimist, I'm just not that worried about that happening.
Why? First, two years is a long time. It would be pretty miserable to stress for two years, especially when nobody knows what the economy will be like then. Second, I'm generally a confident, optimistic kind of guy. Third, I didn't apply to b-school for a quick hike in salary; from the beginning I've expected that coming out of school my [base salary] would be pretty much what I make now. From past experience, I've learned that once I get my foot in the door somewhere I can climb the ladder pretty quickly (Wall Street will be no different). Fourth, this was the right year, in my life, to go to school (regardless of what the economy is). Everyone should know when the right time is for themselves. Finally, business school should be as enjoyable as possible, for it'll be the last two year break from work that I plan to take for a long, long time (retirement does not appeal to me at all).
To wrap up: Plan for your summer internship? Yes. Network in your future industry? Yes. Keep up with current events? Yes. Get worked up about current MBA hiring? Naaah.
Posted 2:33 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200245344:
Yes, I Am Heading to Michigan For those of you waiting on "pins and needles", the decision is in: I will be entering the University of Michigan Business School class of 2005 this August.
In the end, the way overhyped "x-factor" gathered like a spring thunderstorm, rattled the cabinets a bit, then dissipated abruptly, ending up not playing much of a role in the decision. With all the obstacles out of the way (if not resolved satisfactorily), the decision was easy--and I can't wait to kick off my MBA career in a few months.
In the meantime, I've thrown together a quick list of things to get busy on:
1) Real estate - I'm hoping to have it listed by the end of the month
2) Networking - I'm starting by putting together a list of all the people I know who work on Wall Street, and will kick off networking from there (this will pick up a lot more in June)...
3) Apartment hunting - I'll be heading up to Ann Arbor for a three day weekend to look places over, at some point in the next few weeks. Lake Village, Harbor House, Woodbury Villas are at the top of my list, but I'm definitely open to all options
4) Career counseling - I'll definitely take advantage of the counseling sessions the UMBS career office offers
5) Alumni clubbing - The alumni club here is very active, and I'll try to make as many events as possible (especially the networking-focused ones)
6) Laptop computer - The fun (?) of buying a new computer, to replace my five year old clunker
7) Application feedback - I still want to learn as much as possible from the application experience, so I'll be doing feedback sessions with every and any school willing to offer them.
8) Education - Trying to learn as much as possible about the securities, roles, markets, etc. of the career paths I'm interested in (through every resource I can get my hands on--people, books, and [misc.]).
In little over three months I'll be off to Ann Arbor. Pretty cool, and I can't wait for the adventure to begin.