Saturday, February 02, 2008

To Thine Own Self be True

I have officially received my second and sort of third ding.

I was reluctant to post last night about my true feelings, but I'm so glad that I did because I really feel better after the comments and emails I've gotten. (Though, honestly, I'm definitely not beyond feeling pretty crappy.) After all, the mission of this blog is to give a very realistic idea of what this whole process is about and leaving out the shitty, depressing parts wouldn't be very realistic!

From the beginning, you are warned that recruiting in IM is tough and that recruiting in general is tough but it's hard to know what that means. You are also told that if you have sell-side experience and a CFA that it should not be so tough. And it's hard to know what that means. You hear of a student getting an internship offer from the most competitive firm around who wasn't even closed listed, but got an interview through the same day resume drop (aka he managed to squeak in an interview at the last minute.) And you think maybe that could be you. You hear about the fact that the top IM firms take a handful of interns from the best programs in the country and then make something like 2 offers at the end of the summer, leaving the "rejects" who could easily have gotten an internship with a "lesser firm" that would have likely led to a full-time offer unemployed in the fall. And you hope that's not you. You assume that if you get a stock pitch down and prepare for your interviews diligently and get on lots of closed lists you will end up happily employed. And that may not be true. The fact of the matter is that there are more amazing applicants than on campus positions.

I keep thinking back to Taleb's Black Swans - we seek out and listen to the success stories but get only flitting glimpses of the stories of 'failure' which, upon further examination, are awfully hard to distinguish from the "successes" other than some random piece of good luck that diverted one individual towards a happy conclusion and another toward a less satisfying conclusion. I have been thinking about all the prospective MBAs out there who are anxiously waiting to know where they might be attending next fall. In the past months, I have often wondered what exactly separates the admits from the dings. How different are my classmates from the ones who didn't make it? How more worthy am I of the GSB brand than someone who didn't get the welcome call? And this morning, as we waited in line at the local bakery, I glanced at the front page of the Times, seeing the picture of two Iraqis consumed by grief over the death of their father in the latest market bombing in Bagdad. By luck I live in a country who bombs others rather than a country that is bombed. From the inconsequential travails of the MBA job search to the consequential threat of death during a morning shopping trip, it is so easy to forget how easily we all could have been on the losing end.

Taking a step back, I remember that last fall I wasn't even sure that I wanted to do IM this summer. I remember that I have serious qualms about doing equity research at all - the sheer monotony and meaningless of it. I remember that most of the firms that close listed me were firms I applied to at the last minute because I was worried if I was too picky I would end up miserably unemployed. My dings are coming from firms that I'm not actually so sure I wanted to work for when I first applied. But one gets so focused on wanting to be wanted it's hard to remember what you want yourself!

I don't know that I want to work for a hedge fund.
I don't want to work in Boston, or Texas. Maybe not even New York.
I don't want to think, upon the heels of rejection, 'but I've sacrificed everything for this!'

I want an employer who wouldn't flinch if I were to say 'I have a 7 month old and want him to have a sister/brother.'
I want to spend more time with my husband and baby.
I want to get regular sleep and exercise.
I want to learn from my classes.
I want to enjoy my MBA.

Thank you for listening and good luck to all ;) I'm going to spend some long overdue time with my family!

1 comment:

Mary Hicks said...

I just stayed up to read your entire blog and my predominant thought is this:


I cannot fathom how you did, and continue to do, all that you have done, without having had a complete meltdown.

You sold your house. You moved halfway across the country.
You had a baby. You're enrolled in a challenging top MBA program. You're a dedicated mother raising a infant, and you're a devoted wife. And on top of that, you're a blogger!!

Every time you chastise yourself for 'whining' in your blog, I have to smile. Girl, you have EVERY right to bitch and whine...what you're doing is really tough.

I cannot give you enough kudos for doing what you're doing. You are one STRONG woman and your husband is lucky to have a powerhouse like you.

Congratulations on your new baby, and much success in all your endeavors.

Mary Hicks
Pittsburgh, Pa.