Thursday, February 16, 2012

Etiquette 101

It is no secret that I like to participate in online MBA forums.  GMAT Club is my favorite.  I think that these sites are great resources for finding information on everything from essays to interview questions.  I've even met some very cool people from the site with whom I am excited to potentially attend school.  But lately, GMAT Club has been getting on my last nerve.  Correction, some GMAT Club members have become as grating as nails on a chalk board.  After finding so much useful information from other posters I have done my best to pay it forward, answering questions about Kellogg's admissions process, giving advice on post-interview thank you notes, and sending words of encouragement to nervous posters.  However, in the last month or so my posts have taken a turn toward the bitchy.  Why? Has the pressure of R2 gotten to me, causing me to lash out at poor, unsuspecting posters?  Hmmm...not so much.  See the problem is not me, it's THEM.  Maybe I didn't see it in R1, but R2 has brought forth some of the least self-aware, most obnoxious personalities I've encountered online.

To anyone who is looking to apply to business school (either R3 or next year or the year after that, whenever), and you're going to be active on MBA forums, please do yourself and your fellow applicants a huge favor and don't be any version of this person:

1) Do NOT ask questions that you can easily find yourself. 
Look, I know this process is stressful and you really believe that your question about what day interview invites are sent seems like it would add value for everyone.  Newsflash: so does everyone else.  The question was already asked and answered one page back from your post and another page back from that and two more pages back from that.  Before you decide to ask your earth shattering question, take 2 minutes and go skim the last 2-3 pages in the thread.  You will likely find your answer and avoid annoying people like me who have already answered it ad nauseam.

Or even better you could simply READ THE COMMUNICATION ON THE SCHOOL'S WEBSITE OR THE CONFIRMATION EMAIL sent after you applied!  I'm just saying.

2) Know the schools you're applying to
For the love of everything holy, how in the hell do you apply to Kellogg and not know that almost all candidates are interviewed?  Do your research on the school's admissions process before writing asinine posts about your oh so meaningful interview invite from Kellogg.  You sound like an idiot*.

This also includes using common sense.  For schools with long interview invite windows (Wharton and Booth come to mind), don't ask nonsensical questions about whether invites will only be given the first 2 days and then it's "ding city" from there.  Why in the fcuk would any school have a month long window if invites were only going out for two days of it. Also, how in the hell do you not know that dings are only released on the mid decision day, not before? Once again the schools CLEARLY COMMUNICATE THIS INFORMATION!  And what would possess you to ask if there's hope for an invite after the mid decision day?  Do you not comprehend what the mid decision day even means?

3) Keep your crazy to yourself
It's one thing to commiserate.  It's another thing entirely to rain your shit show of paranoia onto a thread filled with dozens of other applicants and who knows how many lurkers.  Refrain from speculating that not getting an invite early means you must be a borderline candidate.  Do NOT speculate that the date and time you submitted your application must have something to do with when you get your invite (unless you're applying to CBS).  Do NOT try to estimate the percentage of interview invites that have gone out by a certain point (unless you're applying to HBS).  Do NOT assume that they are contacting people in alphabetical order.  Your assumptions are WRONG!  All of them.  More than that they are not helpful and only cause other people anxiety. If the adcom says that invites/acceptances are communicated randomly, please believe them.

4) You are NOT special
I know you're mother told you that you're unique and special, but when it comes to b-school applications you are not.  There is NOT a special notification deadline for YOU.  Schools tell you up front when you will hear from them about everything from interviews to admissions decisions to scholarship decisions.  Only annoying, self-involved people see this information and assume it means something different for them.  If a school says you will hear from them by March 21 then that's when you will hear.  Coming on to an MBA forum and expecting a different answer is a bit ridiculous.  If a school (like Kellogg) releases decisions prior to the decision day they also communicate this on their website.  A couple of weeks before the decision day means just that.  So if the decision day is March 26, don't ask if you'll know something by March 1.  You won't.

5) Don't be a brat
Waiting for interview invites sucks.  It sucks even more when you see people posting about their invites while your inbox stays empty.  It's one thing to be nervous.  We all are.  However, do not be a freaking Eeyore about it.  No one wants to console or cheer up your dreary ass just because you didn't get an invite in the "1st wave." You sound especially annoying when it's 3-4 weeks from the final invite day and you're already writing the eulogy for your candidacy.  Get the fcuk over yourself.  You're not upset about NOT getting invited (especially since you have yet to really NOT get invited).  Your ego is bruised because they didn't ask you first.  Are you studying at the feet of Ricky Bobby or something?  Getting the first invite is NOT that deep.  How about you quit checking your email religiously and let it ride for a while.  It's one thing to feel defeated when there's only a couple of days left to get an invite.  Pressure is definitely on at that point.  Until then you just sound like a petulant child who needs to grow the hell up.


Exhibiting any of the above behavior is likely to earn you an online smack down.  So the next time you get called out for asking what you think is a benign, innocuous question or making what you see as a well thought out observation don't say you weren't warned.

*The exception to this rule is receiving an interview waiver.  If Kellogg invites you to interview after initially sending a waiver, then that means something good.


ls413 said...

Essay Snark would definitely enjoy this post!

Anonymous said...

i love this post.... ESPECIALLY the don't be a brat comments.


Jack said...

Don't forget the ones who say things like, "Man, I only got into Harvard, but my 1st choice was Stanford."

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I think your attitude changed when you got into K. Rather than dump on everyone else who doesn't navigate the admissions process as perfectly as you, perhaps a bit more grace and kindness would reflect better on you.

Anonymous said...

Agree w/the 2nd Anonymous. Get over yourself. I'd hope that in person(vs online) you're not as bitter/entitled as you come across.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a casual reader/applicant and definitely love that people blog about the harrowing process so those of us going through the same things can follow along. However I think it's probably in your best interest to remember that your real identity and your online presence are closely linked (all of the popular MBA bloggers seem to be recognized by admissions officers in interviews or meet-and-greets, not to mention fellow applicants/students). Needless to say, all the stuff you post should be stuff you would say to or in front of adcoms. Therefore I'm quite sure I was not the only one shocked by the language you used in your Jan. 23 post, and then again in this one. This is an amusing blog and I otherwise really like it...but honestly for the sake of your apps you might want to reconsider some of these posts.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with the above. Anyone else find the subject of this post ironic?

Anonymous said...

Wait, are we all trying to get into business school or pansy/fairy school? The last few comments sounded like they came from a bunch of people that still trade care bear cards and watch barney and friends for fun! I mean seriously the comments are more entertaining than the actual blog entry! lol.

Well, I've known cheet for almost a decade now and I can say that the one thing that has never changed about her is that she is real to the core. I personally think she has lightened up a bit SINCE getting her K admit. She has actually been more willing to help other people by way of reviewing essays, giving advice, and yes, even sometimes smacking the hell out of a neurotic applicant or two that either doesn't know how to follow directions (myself included), or is too damn paranoid to even be aware of the directions in the first place. I think the anonymous folks on here are being extremely sensitive right now. Go home, go get a hug, and then come back when you stop crying about how mean she sounds, or how kind she should be. The fact of the matter is what she is saying on this blog is what A LOT of us are thinking... What A LOT of admissions people are thinking and what A LOT of current b school students are thinking. The stuff these people do is annoying, and I'm glad she's pointing it out!


Anonymous said...

to each her own, obviously, and honesty is great and all...but how do you know that one of your admissions officers won't also be as "overly sensitive" if half the people reading your blog think you were out of line? really just trying to be helpful to cheet, as I would never consider it in my best interest to have posts like that attached to the real me.

Anonymous said...

She's getting back what she's given (unsolicited all around). And yes, maybe she should reconsider posts like this considering you can find photos of herself on this blog, and her real name attached to her posts on others' blogs. Maybe she's not trying to be anonymous, but if she is, using the same username on EVERY SINGLE message board doesn't exactly speak to the sort of intelligence of an individual that I want to call a future peer.

Anonymous said...

stop whining people! Schools probably feel the same way about you neurotic worriers. Everyone freaks out and panics but no need to call the school 10 times, flood the board with messages, and put your craziness on everyone else.

Roger said...

Agree with most posters here. I saw how you behaved like a brat on the GC Chat on the day of Booth R2 decisions, so please don't have this holier than thou attitude. If you don't like someone's question on GC - you know what? Stay away and let other's handle it. Its not like all the questions you've ever asked on GC have never been asked before. Some of us may be working 80hrs a week, others might have a sick child. So please excuse our insensitivity in asking a question you knew the answer of, before your 16th birthday.

Here's your other offensive post:

Cheetarah1980 said...

Hmmm...interesting. How exactly did I behave like a brat on Booth's admissions day? I never knew that wishing people luck and congratulating others on their acceptances was bratty behavior. If it is then I shall continue to be a brat.

Roger said...

^By going over the top with your Team Girls crap.

And no, it wasn't how you're describing.