Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The MBA Project: The Interview

Well, it all started out fine.  I woke up before the alarm went off and I had a surprisingly good night's sleep.  (What?  No night spend ruminating, tossing, and turning?  That's not the restless mind I've come to know and love!)  I think my strategy of not psyching myself out before this interview worked pretty well.  Maybe a little too well, because even though I knew it was supposed to rain and even though I knew I was taking the route that was guaranteed to run into some traffic snags, I was a bit laissez faire about it and I only allowed myself an hour to make what is normally a 45 minute drive.  The interview was scheduled for 9am and I left the apartment at 7:58.  For all the screeching I used to do at Florida drivers, at least they could handle themselves in the rain.  Southern Californians, not so much.  The freeway was a lot worse than I expected just in terms of traffic volume on top of the slow rain crawl, plus there has been some light construction.  It was a perfect storm of late-ness.

Thank God that I had the presence of mind to put the administrative assistant's number into my phone before I left.  I called her at 8:30 when I was sitting at a stand-still some 15 miles away from the school, and I thank God even more for nudging me to call ahead because I also found out that my interviewer had switched to a new person.  I was supposed to speak to the admissions director, but she was going to come in late that day, so they had me interviewing with the assistant director instead.  And, lo and behold, when the admin looked at her calendar, she said that it was okay if my interview started later because she didn't have any meetings scheduled right after mine.  *whew*

For some reason, knowing that I was going to speak with someone I had never met before put me more at ease.  Probably because I had no pre-conceived notions to stew over.

When it was all said and done, I was pulling into the parking garage at about 9:03, and by the time I caught the shuttle up the hill to the building where the MBA program office is, went to the restroom to freshen up/dry off, and walk into the office, it must've been 9:15.

I won't go into detail of the interview--again, trying to toe the line because I'm not sure how much information is appropriate to give--but I will say that it was about half an hour and not a grilling tribunal.  My interviewer was quite cordial and I felt that it went well.  I did teeter precariously on the edge of rambling a few times, but I feel that I adequately answered the questions and stayed consistent with the narrative I built for myself in my application essays, and embellished a bit on what I was unable to include in said essays due to word limits. (Such as talking about how much I liked the campus culture and the international component of their MBA program, etc.)

When it was my turn to ask questions, I inquired into the dual degree program they have with Tecnológico de Monterrey (Tec) in Mexico and WHU Otto Beisheim in Germany.  I kid you not, but I did not really even consider the dual degree track until several days ago.  I knew it existed, but it wasn't until last weekend-ish that I actually sat down and looked at them.  Turns out, you can do 30 credits at USD (so roughly one year, including summer & intersessions) and finish out at either one of those two schools, and you will earn a degree from both institutions.  It would take about the same time and money (in terms of tuition) as working and doing the evening MBA program.  Uhhh...wait--what?  Why is that just now sinking in?  So I asked her how that came about and whether or not there was a finite number of students who could participate in that program every year, and she gave me a history of its origins and said that there was no cap on the number of students who could do it.  The USD/TEC track is more popular simply because of the close proximity of San Diego to the Mexican/Latin American market, and apparently more students come from Germany to study at USD than the other way around.

So guess what--there's a chance that Maria might make the leap across the pond for school after all.  Obviously that comes with the same implications that I was worried about before--financing, leaving my job, dealing with a diabetic cat, etc.  However, I may be in a much better position to reconcile all of that by the time I would seriously pursue that option.

Anyway, I texted my two recommenders immediately after I left the program office to let them know that I had done it.  I was told that should I be accepted to the program, I would get an e-mail from the admissions director first, followed by a formal letter.  This would be sometime in the next week to week and a half.  So I figure by Memorial Day Weekend I'll know what's what...and then take it from there.  Until then, there's really and truly nothing left to do but wait.