The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

The waiting is the hardest part

I've packed, my house is in order, the forklift (needed to get my bag, and its half-ton of books, down to the curb) has arrived. But my flight doesn't leave for more than four hours. So, do I kill time at O'Hare, or at home?

O'Hare, I think. That, at least, removes some of the uncertainty from the trip.

Next report from London.

Some good, some bad, some wet

First, on the 45th anniversary of President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act into law, Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Second, John Hughes died this afternoon. He was 59.

Third, Britain has had unusually squishy summer, which only matters because I'm spending the entire last half of August there. Oh, it also matters to anyone trying to fly out of the U.K.

Quick hits

Lots to do for the next, oh, 17 months, so I thought I'd get started. My first Duke box arrived today, containing 6 kg of books, course packets, handouts, and more books, all of which have to be read by August 15th. Fortunately I have a few extra hours each day to do all this (I use them to sleep right now, so they're kind of wasted).

Just a couple news stories of note today:

  • President Obama gave an hour-long press conference yesterday in which he spent 50 minutes discussing the single most important domestic-policy issue in the U.S. right now, health care. Since health care policy is complex, full of compromises, difficult to understand, and absolutely imperative to fix, the network talking heads spent all their time today discussing a stupid Cambridge, Mass., police officer who made an ill-advised arrest Monday. This, in turn, is why network talking heads are useless. I can't wait to see Jon Stewart's take.
  • Mark Buehrle, who plays for the other Chicago baseball team, threw a perfect game this afternoon, the 2nd club history and only the 16th time ever in the major leagues. (A perfect game is one in which none of the offensive players gets on base by any means.)
  • Finally, Gidget the Chihuahua, aka the Taco Bell dog, died yesterday at 15.

Back to work...

U.S. Business schools losing foreign students: Economist

As I'm less than three months from starting an MBA program designed to foster international relationships, I don't know what to make of this:

[F]oreign (or, more euphemistically, "international") students are thinking twice about handing over their hard-earned and recession-hit cash for an education at a prestigious Western hall of academe.

... Big private business schools in America, already hit by the much lower valuations of their endowment funds, seem likely to take the biggest hit. The American-based Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), a regular surveyor of MBA graduates and recruiters, presciently noted in its 2008 Global MBA Graduate Survey that "graduates who attended full-time MBA programmes outside their country of citizenship rated overall value lower compared with graduates who attended similar programmes in their home country".

... Three factors are likely to weigh heavily on international students’ willingness to travel abroad to study: financing their studies, fears about the jobs market and the availability or otherwise of good business schools in their home country.

I'm very interested to see the composition of my CCMBA class. So far, to judge by the 25 or so of us who have submitted biographies to the class portal, about 2/3 of us are from the U.S., 1/3 from the rest of the world.

The article mentions, as a tangent, that the U.K. Border Agency maintains a list of the top 50 MBA programs worldwide. Fuqua is on the list, which means Fuqua graduates can get a working visa from Britain under the Highly Skilled Workers scheme nearly automatically.

Like being hit on the head with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick

That's how Douglas Adams described the effect of a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. I feel like I've just drunk two, after a phone call I recevied an hour ago from North Carolina.

Long-time readers of this blog who know me personally have noticed I actually maintain a certain sense of reserve in my public writings. The actual word is "privacy," but so few people remember what that word means in the context of the Internet that I avoid using it. These long-suffering people (called "friends" and "family") have had to deal with me fretting about an application to the Fuqua School of Business Cross-Continent MBA for the last 15 months. I admire them; many of them even helped me with the application; and each of them who told me to "just $%@*&!! apply already" was completely justified in saying so.

To everyone's relief, I transmitted my application on January 31. Apparently I did something right, because Duke have admitted me into the December 2010 class.

This will have certain practical effects on my life, mainly having to do with paying for it, but also around this blog. First, for example, I'm going to slow down on the 30-Ballpark Geas as both time and money argue against going to another 16 baseball parks before September 2010. As I expect to live another 50 or 60 years, I have plenty of time to see them; I don't have to do it before turning 40. (And my cousin and I still have 13 Cubs games to go to this year.)

Also, the residencies required by the program will have me out of touch for 10 to 14 days at a time, which will be hardest on Parker. The longest he's ever been boarded is 8 days; the first residency, in London starting August 15th, will require 16 or 17 days of boarding, and I don't know how he's going to react. (Taking him overseas is not an option.) I suspect he'll be pretty resilient, but I also suspect he'll be pretty mad at me.

Anyway, those are surmountable problems. I have until the end of March to commit, but my gut says "go."