Posted by: lazilox | July 28, 2009

How To Get Into Grad School In Two Weeks:

The Newsday classifieds seem to only have job openings in fork-lift operation. I wish I was kidding. Also, I wanted to add that I am sick to death of being scammed on craigslist. No, not the real craigslist, the border-line-legal sexual favors in exchange for goods and services craigslist (economists eat your heart out). The three latest replies I received from said job listings have gotten me the following responses, something along the lines of:

1. “Thank you for your interest in our company! We require all applicants to take a simple IQ test, which you may find here: LINK TO FACEBOOK-ESQUE CELL PHONE ADVERTISEMENT.”
2. A job that would require you to pay money to be trained and earn money solely on commissions. Read: Pyramid Scheme.
3. Thank you for your interest, but we are looking for someone with previous experience operating fork-lifts.

So I feel more comfortable about my decision to apply to graduate school. My original thought was that I didn’t stand a chance, as it was both late in the season (admissions office’s resume skeet shooting season), and my Cornell GPA didn’t get me honors, and I figured business schools required more than 0 years of relevant work experience. Low and behold, there exists the Masters of Science option, which is aimed towards recent undergrads. Realizing I was on my own fiscally, as my parents just forked over 200 grand to add to Dave Skorton’s swimming pool of money and opening my wallet causes flies to buzz out, I selected schools nearby that were cheaper and weren’t exactly what you’d call “reach schools”, as my guidance counselor in high school once so elegantly referred to Cornell. They were cheap, and hopefully, I could avoid rejection.

What really goes on underneath day hall.

What really goes on underneath day hall.

The title of this post is slightly misleading. It only takes 3 days to apply to business school, but the latter week and a half is waiting for the admissions office to sober up from sifting through parental bank statements, throwing darts at a map blindfolded, throwing stacks of resume up stairs, or whatever it is they do to decide how undergraduates get in to actually get around to finding your application amidst their junk folder. So I offer this, as a handy-guide for all my fellow idle ivys, on how to make it look like you’re doing something productive with your life while you wait for firms to realize either the help they hired was too stupid, or that three to six new people will not satisfy their need for expansion.

Application Season at the Admissions Office

Application Season at the Admissions Office

Day One: After filling out all the ‘who-are-you, do-you-really-exist, what’s-your-SSN-oh-that’s-right-Cornell-lost-it-well-when-you-get-it-back-let-us-know’ forms, shooting two emails over to a couple of the only professors that actually know who you are asking them to elaborate on how great you are, writing your statement-of-purpose (just tweak that cover letter from application season), you sign up for the GMAT. And pay $60. I mean, seriously, how much motivation would you need as an admissions officer to sift through all 2-3 applications sitting on your desk for graduate school? $60 worth sounds right.

Day Two: Study for GMAT. This can be rather difficult, especially if it is nice outside. The GMAT is just the SAT+, no I take that back, it doesn’t even deserve the plus. I couldn’t notice a difference in verbal sections, aside from the fact that all of the reading passages were usually business oriented, but the random African history stuff was still there. The math section is hardly math. As a math major, every skill I learned in college math was rendered useless. You could make the argument that my brain had gotten used to finding patterns and thinking abstractly just from sheer practice, but there was not one trick I learned that helped on the GMAT. I would have done better on the math section in high school, when trigonometry and remembering area/volume equations without a cheat sheet were skills I used often.

Day Three: Hang on, let me elaborate on this because I find myself getting angry even as I write about it. One of the questions had me summing all of the prime numbers between 100 and 200. This doesn’t test anything, aside from maybe ‘do you know what a prime is?’ or ‘can you add?’. There is no formula to find primes. If you find one, you get a million dollars. Thus, the only way to successfully answer that question, is to know all of the primes, use really weird methods I learned in number theory, like 4n+1 Pythagorean Prime nonsense which skips primes and eventually breaks down, or to tediously figure them out. On other questions, when using the tricks learned from a higher math education, I realized that there was no right answer and that the real answer required old fashioned plug-and-chug methodology. If you live in the tri-state area, take the GMAT in the city and go get drunk at the Cornell club afterward ‘cause it’s across the street. Then just wait for the phone calls.

One of the schools I got into threw money at me, but upon visiting the premises and noticing that the entire business school had half a dozen computers, and encompasses half a floor of a building, decided to turn that down. Good news is class is 2 days a week, and now I can continue to not get dressed until after 5pm and get drunk all day without feeling like my future is crashing down around me. I will most likely be attending Hofstra in the fall for an MS in Quantitative Finance, a program that claims to be prestigious by Hofstra’s standards, and has a total of 12 students. At least professors will know my name. Oh wait, that makes it really hard to not show up or to sleep in class doesn’t it? I’ll have to be a real, functioning person, but I have ‘till September.


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