Haven't been around much; I decided to take a 22-month vacation someplace sunny. Inspired by this experience, my new favorite topic is business school. Which reminds me: it's spring, the time when a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of Round II admission decisions.
If you applied to a top business school recently, either you've heard back from your schools or will hear back shortly. For those who didn't make it: don't sweat it. The adcoms just saved you roughly a quarter million dollars in cash or loans. Compared to a decent steady job, the NPV of b-school is frequently negative.
For those who did get into a top school: congratulations. Now, statistically speaking, you're probably a scion of a family of industrial magnates, or a banker's kid, or at the very least the product of a consultant and an anesthesiologist. If that's you, you can stop reading right now. This won't be helpful. Go practice your putts.
Okay. If you're still reading, you may or may not be thinking, "Oh shit. I'm not excessively privileged. So how do I fake it for business school?" And if you are, I'm here to tell you not to worry. This post's for you. Yes, you, Mr. 3.9 from a state school. And you, Ms. "My-dad-is-an-English-teacher". And especially you diversity admits who actually are underprivileged. Both of you.
You now have six months, give or take, to prepare to join your new tribe. Get ready for your crash course. This is not optional. Treat it like part of your application package and just do it.
Things to do the day you get your acceptance letter:
1: Forget your undergrad GPA, your GMAT, and in fact every number related to your past academic performance. You're in now. Under no circumstances will you ever speak these numbers again.
2: Likewise, forget your bonus number, salary, and any blue-chip names on your resume. Whipping out the name of the bank you used to work at no longer signals status, it signals douchebag.
3: Start underreporting. If something took you three hours, you say you spent an hour on it. Did you spend three months studying for the GMAT? Say four days. This is excellent practice for business school, where too much effort will make you stand out. And not in a good way.
4: Start coasting. If your family's not rich, I know you only got to this point through hard work and sacrifice. But the members of your new tribe don't want to hear about it. You can talk about your vacations, you can talk about your hangovers, but you will never talk about your all-nighters.
Phase I: March-April
5: Start working on your tolerance. If you're female, your goal is six drinks per night with no significant hangover. If male, you're looking at nine. If you don't drink: start immediately. If you're Mormon or Muslim, your god will understand; there is a special pass for business school. (I don't know this for a fact, but I've heard it from several individuals of each faith.)
6: Buy a bag of red plastic Solo cups. You know what to do with these. Your goal is one and done in 9 out of 10 trials.
7: Leave work. It's awkward enough already.
That's all for today. Tomorrow: the nine things to do in the months after leaving work. And if you're ethnically diverse, if you're a New Yorker, or if you went to Harvard undergrad, some special rules will apply.