Touched Before Take-off
[Location, JFK Airport, NYC en route to Philadelphia] – So I’m sitting on the runway awaiting take-off at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) almost exactly 6 hours ago.
I’m having a good day.
I’ve taken today (Thursday) and tomorrow off to attend Wharton’s Winter Welcome Weekend in Philadelphia. I’m also smiling about the fact that I’ll come back to a second consecutive 3-day work week before before following a similar routine to attend The U of Chicago Booth’s Winter Welcome Weekend as well.
The most recent thing I have to be thankful for, however, is that just two days prior I received an email from The MIT Sloan School of Management welcoming me into its MBA class of 2015. The email did not come with news of a scholarship like the phone calls I got from Wharton and Booth, but I am no less happy and excited. I didn’t apply to any safety schools, so there is nowhere that I’ve been blessed to gain admission into that I would refuse to attend without money attached.
Then it happened. I got “touched” just before my take-off to New York.
Never on Schedule, but Always On Time
MIT Sloan’s decision day was just two days ago. On that day, I distinctly remember putting my muted iPhone on a table while sitting in a meeting to make sure that I would hear it if it buzzed with a call from area code 617. It never did.
The flight crew actually called for all phones to be turned off about 2-3 minutes ago; and as usual, my rebellious self is out of order. I’m checking one last hotel reservation detail before shutting off my device; and I dare somebody to say something about it.
As I’m double-checking my connection info for my layover in New York, the phone rings with a call–from area code 617. “Oh”, I think to myself. I guess Sloan IS going to call everyone who got accepted, even if a day or two later; how nice….how official.
When I answer the phone, I’m expecting a nice little “Welcome to the MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2015” to come from the other end. I prepare myself to pretend to be super excited–which I 100% was two days ago when I first got the news; but that was two days ago, and the wine glass from that celebration has long since been empty. This will have to be a reenactment–something that a Los Angeleno should be able to pull off at least fairly well.
The admissions team works extremely hard at each school to choose a class from an amazingly qualified crop of applicants. I could just as easily have been rejected from Wharton, Booth and Sloan as I was accepted. The last thing I’d want to do is rob the adcom member of experiencing the joy of surprise when an applicant finds out that “they’ve made it” for the very first time; thus, I prepare to fake it.
A Familiar Voice and a Shock at the Buzzer
The voice that I hear at the other end of the phone is Jeff Carbone, the bright and congenial admissions officer that I had my loose, inconclusive interview with just two weeks ago [SIDEBAR: props to MIT Sloan for only making a brother wait 2 weeks before getting the final news one way or the other. #ENDSIDEBAR].
In so many words, he ends up letting me know that in addition to having been granted admission into MIT, I’ve also been chosen for a scholarship.
So naturally, I”m slightly beside myself at the moment given that all 3 of the schools that I’ve gotten into have offered me scholarships of some sort. I’m immediately taken back to a dark moment during my application process after Cheetarah1980 (BTW CONGRATS on getting your first internship offer from a HUGE, HUGE friggin dream company! You are a BEAST–ess) had just ripped yet ANOTHER set of my essay drafts to utter shreds. “You aren’t digging deep enough–nor are you being specific enough”, she said. “You don’t just want to eek out an offer of admission by the skin of your teeth. You want them to WANT you there”. That was some of the best damn admissions advice I ever received.
So thanks, Cheetarah! Oh, and there WILL be a single malt scotch in my future when I settle into my hotel room tonight–matter fact since you don’t drink, I’ll have one for the both of us!
MORAL OF THIS EPIC: If you’re over 30 and reading this, know without a doubt that many of the best business schools in the world will not only accept you, but want you there as long as you are bringing a strong and well-articulated perspective to the table to add to its next class; and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Let the Welcome Weekend festivities begin!
*boards plan to Philly!*
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