Grad School

15 04 2012

I realized I haven’t written much in regards to grad school decisions, so I figured I’d give an update.

Out of the 5 programs & schools that I applied to, I was accepted to 3. I was pretty pleased with the options to which I was accepted:
Carnegie Mellon – MBA, Technology Leadership track: Accepted
Carnegie Mellon – Master of Information Systems Management: Accepted
University of Rochestser – MBA: Accepted
Boston University – MBA/MS of Information Systems: Rejected
UC, Berkeley – MBA: Rejected

I’m still a little disappointed about being rejected by Berkeley, but oh well. Not everyone can be THAT smart 🙂
It’s been interesting to see the Lord’s hand in this process of the past almost-4 months. I started out really wanting to go to Boston University, because of their program. When I visited, I liked the classes that I sat in on a lot, but I had some hesitations with the program (and I had an inkling that I wasn’t going to be accepted, since I hadn’t been asked to do an interview yet). While I was visiting there, I was informed that I had received a FULL fellowship scholarship to the University of Rochester. Way to be totally shocked! Some of you saw my pictures from the trip I took to visit all of the schools. I was able to get a good feel of the schools while I was there, and was able to compete for scholarship money at University of Rochester, and I was one of the few people chosen to receive this scholarship. Very humbling to say the least. Our God does crazy things. This was early February and I heard a few days later that I wasn’t accepted to BU. I figured, okay, I guess I’m going to University of Rochester then! I mean, hey, free money, right?!

Unfortunately the way these schools give acceptance has been frustrating, timing-wise. I applied within two weeks to all of these programs. I heard back from U of R in 2 weeks, BU in 4 weeks, CMU in 8 weeks, and Berkeley in 12 weeks. A little hard to make decisions when you haven’t heard back from the rest of your schools! I accepted the offer from U of R in early February and paid the deposit, yet was still waiting to hear from the other schools before feeling settled that I was for sure going there. I was pretty decided that I was going to be at U of R. I figured that the opportunity for a free MBA was pretty amazing and would almost be silly to turn down. The staff were wonderful that I met there, and I really had a good time with the students who were at the scholarship weekend (although, I did know that they were the top of the class).

Little did I know that I would actually get in to Carnegie Mellon and things might change. When I visited the campus, I really liked it. I was only in Pittsburgh for a day, but really enjoyed my stay (possibly due to the amazing couchsurfing hosts that I had!) and the city. The campus was beautiful to me, and it seemed like a good place — not too big, but big enough; lots of smart people, but lots of arts and music as well. I value being balanced, so it seemed like a great university.
This was the exciting announcement that I received. (You really should watch it; it’s the best acceptance letter I’ve received! So cool!)
I was at work when I saw it about ready to leave for the weekend, and I was just so excited I went running all over the office telling everyone and having them watch the letter.
One: I didn’t think I was going to get in (It’s crazy hard to get in!).
Two: I was planning on going to U of R already.

The fact that I was really excited told me something about myself (I’m not that easily excited, especially not that much where I’m running around the office bouncing up and down). It told me that I needed to reconsider my option to go to University of Rochester.

The reason that I applied to CMU is because I wanted to go to a top MBA school, where they had the top IT program. CMU proved to be that school. I’ve had a difficult time deciding because I feel like if someone is going to give you a free ride to a grad school program (essentially $120K), you should take it. And I really try to stay away from any debt that I can (except for my mortgage), so it’s been a hard choice.

Where I need your prayers:
I know the direction that I’m leaning. I should hear back from Carnegie Mellon this week about scholarship. I requested that they reconsider the scholarship they gave me; I informed them that I have another outstanding offer, but would like to come to their school. I’m waiting to see if they will provide more money; they said they would look at it again.
My dad told me that he was praying the past few weeks for a partial/half-scholarship. He then said he realized that God does big things and he started praying for a full scholarship. While I’m not that hopeful that it will be a full scholarship, God does continue to surprise me with an over abundance of things that I don’t deserve.

This week, would you please pray for the scholarship team to want to give me a large amount of money? I feel pretty called to CMU, but this is a difficult decision. If no more money is offered, would you pray for clarity and direction as to where the Lord would have me? Whatever school I go to, it’s going to be a huge “trusting God” time for me to grow. I’m excited, but scared. I think we use the term “anticipant” at Rock Harbor: anticipating and expectant.

Reasons for CMU:
— A Technology Leadership concentration/specialty
— Pittsburgh is a large, diverse city. There’s an inner city, lots of college/grad students, lots of non-white people, good public transportation, many city events, and quite a bit of gluten-free food (Yay!).
— A top 15 MBA school (#2 for MBA Information Systems programs; A top 20 university in the world, #1 for MS in IT programs)
— Very well known for their tech programs
— More motivated/smarter students
— Not as cold

Reasons for University of Rochester:
— Small, tight-knit community
— Already know some people there
— Great career center and placement
— Experience real winter (okay, being sarcastic here — I could die!!)

As for the CMU Masters of Information Systems program, as much as I would LOVE to take those classes and do the program, I think the degree will be less applicable in 10 years, because of how quickly technology changes. I think an MBA has more value still, and if I attend CMU’s MBA program, I can still take a few classes in the IS program.

Through all of this, I’ve chosen a verse to keep myself focused and encouraged:
Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Please pray this week! Also, leave me comments on what you think!




2 responses

16 04 2012
Pat Rogers

How much warmer is Pittsburgh?
Praying for you!
How awesome is it that you get to make this decision!!!

17 04 2012
Robin Zooki

I was thinking the same thing as Pat. Cold is cold so not much difference there. They are both cold places/ just for a whil
e though

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