My first draft of this 4th chapter of my bio was twice as long as it is now. After much contemplation, I decided to hack out over half of it, as I felt the detail was just too much. Hopefully I did the right thing, now please enjoy!
Chapter 4: Closure, and a New Beginning!
Upon my return to the US I underwent a slight re-adjustment period. I felt like I had so much to tell everyone I hadn’t seen in eight months, yet, I was often disappointed because I continuously found myself ending stories with the much dreaded, “I guess you had to be there.” I was offered a warm welcome home, don’t get me wrong, it was just that I found difficulty relating to my friends and family right away. Eventually school found it’s way back into session and I began to get back into the swing of things, but even then I knew I was a changed person.
Senior Year and Graduation
Two notable incidents occurred during my senior year and include my being elected President of the Craig Scholars and, most importantly, meeting the woman who would later become my wife, Blanca. Graduation came in May of 2004 and I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 3.97 GPA (got one stinkin’ B…but I’m not bitter) and was awarded the Outstanding Graduate in the Department of Finance. I thought I had a job lined up after graduation, but when that fell through I scrambled to find something new and stumbled into a Loan Analyst position at a local Farm Credit office.
My First and Second Full-Time Jobs
Let me just say I knew next to nothing about agricultural lending, and after a few months of rotating around the various departments within the office, I settled into my position and got into a groove similar to that which I felt around the time I started investigating studying abroad opportunities in school. My job wasn’t complex, I didn’t feel like I was being challenged or given much responsibility, and after some contemplation I began considering making a change.
I used my contacts I had made during school to get some names at local commercial lending offices where I might be able to find a new position. I wanted to get in with a bigger bank with more resources where I would hopefully find better training opportunities while being exposed to different types of credits. I managed to land an interview at Citibank, and after being offered a position I left Farm Credit after ten months. I have been at Citi now for just over two years and will have just over three years of full time work experience as I start my MBA.
During my time at Citi I have had some wonderful experiences. Worth noting among them was my participation in Credit College, which was held mostly at the Citigroup Center in New York. During this intensive, seven-month Credit boot camp I got to spend four months living in lower Manhattan while working alongside some awesome people. Many of my co-workers/classmates had MBAs from top US programs, and I used this time to pick their brains to help me strategize for when I decided I was ready to pursue my MBA. A lot of these co-workers encouraged me to pursue my MBA as soon as possible, so I took this advice and began discussing this prospect with Blanca.
Blanca has been astoundingly supportive through all of this and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her. When I told her of my plans to apply to pursue my MBA for the Fall of 2007, she was behind me. Even when I began to fantasize about studying in Spain where I could learn Spanish and still attend a top MBA program, she believed in me. I graduated from Credit College in the middle of July of 2006 and Blanca and I were married July 29th, about two weeks after I returned from New York. We had a beautiful wedding and afterward took an amazing honeymoon cruise to Alaska. Upon our return to the real world I had a whole new mindset and all I could think about was fulfilling my vision from my semester abroad and pursuing my MBA in Spain.
The Ill-Advised Method of Getting Into a Top MBA Program
After researching all the top Spanish MBA programs, I ultimately decided ESADE would be the best fit for me. I liked the alumni I had met, the admissions reps, the teaching methodology, the language school, and just the prospect of spending 18-months in Barcelona…well, you get the picture. Once I had made this my target school, I decided to put all my eggs in one basket and only apply there. This isn’t necessarily the most advisable approach to prospective MBAs, but the way I saw it was that I didn’t want to go anywhere else, so why spend a lot of money on application fees if I didn’t have to?
In addition to my narrow application focus, another unadvisable practice I employed during the MBA application process was my sorry excuse for studying for the GMAT. I ordered the GMAC’s “Official Guide to the GMAT” and basically reviewed problems for about 45 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week for the four weeks leading up to the test. I had no strategy…well, I did, I just didn’t employ it, and when the big day came I about cried during my break after the math section of the test. I managed to pull myself together and somehow squeaked out a total score in the 80th percentile, which hardly gives me bragging rights, nevertheless I know I should thank my lucky stars that it didn’t turn out worse!
Shortly after I took the GMAT I scored an admissions interview in Los Angeles the day before ESADE officially began taking first round applications. This meant I was fortuitous to have the opportunity to hand my application package to the admissions representative personally. The interview was unique, as I was asked a number of questions I’d never been asked on an interview before, but I felt as though I fielded them all honestly and did pretty well. I found out for sure on October 23rd when I received my acceptance letter, and I was ecstatic!
Since gaining admission I’ve undergone a potpourri of emotional states including, but not limited to disbelief, shock, giddiness, pride, fear, and probably a dozen other states I’m not even aware of. A lot of emotion has been caught up in the seemingly never-ending process that has consumed Blanca and I with regard to her attempting to gain US citizenship, but I’ll get into this more in the next post as I discuss all the logistics behind getting my Visa and all that jazz. I will say my family and friends have all been extremely supportive, and thankfully my co-workers have been as well when they learned I will soon be leaving.
Little More About Me
All that said, I do believe I have covered a number of important events in my life that have led me to where I am presently – waiting in eager anticipation for the start of my MBA program! To add a little more context to my character beyond the classroom and work realm, here are a few little additional tidbits I might as well share about myself:
In my spare time, I enjoy reading, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and martial arts. When reading, I typically stick to business related books, so getting into that would likely bore most people. Traveling and spending time with family and friends, well, those are fairly self-explanatory, but I will add that I love cruises! Martial arts, well, I’ll start a new paragraph for that!
I have had the wonderful opportunity to have trained, off and on, in various martial arts since I was five years old. I have about eight years of experience in Shito-Ryu Karate, about a year in Kenpo Karate, a little over four years in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and most recently, about six months in Boxing. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is probably my favorite art I’ve trained in to-date, however after tearing my meniscus and having knee surgery a year ago, I haven’t had the courage to get back on the mat. So, I’ve been Boxing for the past six months or so, and have really taken a liking to that. Martial arts provides my stress relief in life. It’s one of the only things I do where I can remain focused on one thing and keep my mind off whatever else is going on elsewhere, and I love that! I’m hoping to find a place to train some art in Barcelona, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see…I do know Robin Gracie has a Jiu Jitsu gym somewhere around town, so maybe I’ll check that out.
That’s All Folks
So, there you have it, my biography in a rather verbose nutshell. Hopefully it was at least an enjoyable read and will provide context for my posts to come. I’m looking forward now to getting into the meat of this blog and hopefully some of the upcoming topics will prove to be a valuable resource for future international students. I guess that is all for now, and thus concludes my bio!
“From the moment I picked your book up until I put it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend to read it.” – Groucho Marx