Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The (never ending?) Job Search: Part 4!

As I returned from Ghana there were a few tasks I absolutely had to get done within the first, oh, week. Probably top priority was figuring out what I was going to do for a job.

While I was in Ghana I checked my email a couple time for notice from either CA or Braver but had not yet heard anything. This left me still in limbo when I returned. I was really kinda hoping at least one of them would have gotten back to me to make the decision easier for me upon return. But alas, life is not that way.

I did however get my official acceptance into Babson's MSA program.

As I'm going back and forth with my decision, still waiting to hear from CA, I use that as a major factor. IF I get the job at CA and take it that will mean I don't do the MSA. The deadline to for add/drop is a week after returning so I really do need to make the decision within the week.

So I start by sending a follow up email to CA, then I organize a phone call with someone at Braver. The phone call had been in the works before leaving, sort of us a way of buying time and also to get some of my questions answered that would be deciding factors.

What it came down to is this:

  • Everyone I interviewed with at smaller firms said people who leave end up going to non-accounting firms as their next step if they leave
  • Everyone I interviewed with at non-accounting firms had started at accounting firms then switched over
  • Everyone valued having a variety of experiences from the outset (in different industries, roles, etc.)
So then my two options would be
  • Go to Braver for the (highly valued) public accounting experience and get the MSA/CPA credentials quick
  • Go to CA for a rotation of accounting experiences and have the company pay for a Masters down the line
Now I know you (specifically MS) are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for me to just say it, so here it goes:

(Insert dramatic pause here)

(Insert drum roll here)

Let's be real, there's no better way to get a Masters and I would much rather stay in Boston with the majority of my friends than go to Long Island. So Braver it is!

Want to know more about Braver? 

Here's the link to their website: http://www.thebravergroup.com/
And here's just an article about the company's CEO who happens to be a Babson alum: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/print-edition/2013/02/22/bravers-ceo-sits-high-in-the-saddle.html?page=3

I'll start work there in about two weeks and as of right now am pretty excited!

So then I went to Ghana

I spent two weeks in Ghana this past January. Before going I had been told that the program is a "life changing" experience. Honesty first: no, my life has not been drastically changed because I went to Ghana. However, it was an absolutely amazing experience.

First thing's first, a map of Ghana:

We flew into the capitol, Accra. Then we made our way west along the Cape Coast to Takoradi and Sekondi.

We were there to teach entrepreneurship to high school students. We also managed to do some work with the local community. The people we met were very welcoming and excited to have us around. The schools we taught in were scattered through out the Cape Coast and Takoradi regions. I taught in two which both happened to be in Takoradi. We were hosted by Reverend Andoh and his church community.

There were around 50 of us travelling from Babson (the largest cohort yet). We spent the first few days acclimating to Ghanaian culture and doing some touristy sight seeing. After that we had a week of teaching followed by the rocket pitch competition.

First stop: Ashesi University

Located just outside Accra is a small university that Babson has a really good relationship with. There are fewer than 600 students, so it's even smaller than high school. (Check out their website here). We started with a campus tour that took us around the courtyard, through the library, and into a couple classrooms. We were accompanied by student tour guides and a group from Harvard as well.

After the tours we sat through a lecture about the history and economy of Ghana. It was interesting to see the things the Ghanaians made a point of compared to what we had learned in our lectures with Dean Hanno and Professors Deets and Schlesinger before hand.

Next up was lunch. I was silly and didn't take pictures of the food while I was in Ghana, but it was fairly simple. We had a lot of rice and chicken, and some local fruits & veggies.

Then we got to sit back for a cultural lesson in traditional dance and music.

This made for a fairly easy first day to acclimate ourselves to the weather and time change.

The courtyard at Ashesi.
Ashesi's library
The cafeteria. It is essentially a covered patio with a kitchen.
Learning traditional dance & music
Second Stop: Sekondi

The next day was a travel day. We made our way from Accra to what would be our home for the rest of the time we were in Ghana: Reverend Andoh's church.

It took us pretty much all day to get from Accra to Sekondi. I naturally stayed awake the entire time watching out the window. The scenery reminded me of a cross between Malaysia and South Africa. Overall it was poor, much like the townships of South Africa. Yet the communities seemed to be better kept than the townships, much like the rural areas around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Along the way we stopped for lunch at a beach resort. It was a good chance to stretch our legs and take in the ocean breeze. Each of our travel days we stopped for lunch. Vacationing at these resorts would make it very easy to forget how poor the region is.

Then it was back on the road to Sekondi. Apparently every year Dean Hanno brings a group to Ghana the church has been renovated. This is probably very necessary as it was full quite a bit in the short time we were there. The compound was set up with two larger rooms downstairs and four small rooms upstairs. There was long hallway across the entire width of the building upstairs. We lined the hallway with tables and chairs and that was where we ate most of our meals. If the group was any bigger we would not have fit all at once.

Just a lizard chilling on some coconuts. No big deal.
A local Ghanaian community. People just going about their daily business
Naturally there are vendors at the resorts. They reminded me of the
vendors in South Africa with their crafts.
Third Stop: Tourist Attractions

No matter how much you try to immerse yourself fully into a culture, some tourist attractions are a must. They help understand part of the culture. In our case we did a canopy walk in the jungle and went to Elmina slave castle.

The canopy walk was very much what it sounds like: we went up into the jungle (not like deep into the jungle but to a touristy part of the jungle). Then we hiked along to an area that had ropes ladders set up to walk across something like 100m above the forest floor. It was fun, not really all that much to say about it, though.

The other adventure of the day was Elmina slave castle. We had all learned about the slave trade in elementary school, but we learned about it from a Western perspective. This was the rest of the story.

Before future slaves made the voyage to wherever they were "needed" they were brought to Elmina or another port. They were put in what really felt like an old prison, except for the fact that there was a church in the middle. The architecture was a weird mix of dungeon and old European. The other difference between Elmina and a prison was the fact that the people kept there had not committed a crime. It was really chilling to think about the fact that this was their last connection to their homeland. They didn't all survive the time they were held at Elmina, either. Yet it was clear that the Europeans who lived there led comfortable lives.

View from one side of Elmina. The slaves were held in dungeons and then
forced out straight onto the ships through "the door of no return"
Another view of Elmina: the top overlooking the neighboring community.
Fourth Stop: Reverend Andoh's Church

Since the next day was Sunday and we were hosted by a church, we all got up and went to one of the services. I always find it interesting to see how other communities worship. I think it says a lot about the culture. This wasn't a flashy service, but people came out in their Sunday best and filled the church. The churches in Ghana certainly were a major part of the community.

That afternoon was spent preparing for our week of teaching. That was partially lesson planning, partially organizing materials. We also had a break to read to the community children (which I particularly enjoyed, of course). 

This was really our final day to get acclimated, if there was any more need for it. The rest of the time we would be in school mode.

Hilary with some of the children. They came around quite a lot throughout
the week. I think they rather enjoyed having some extra playmates.

As far as the teaching component of my time in Ghana went, I was fortunate.

I was able to teach every day, although the first day there was a moment it seemed we wouldn't teach. Our students were far too motivated to have us leave, though. Some of them had participated in the program during previous years.They even still had some materials that had been left behind. 

It was definitely a learning experience for me, though. I reaffirmed the fact that I do not want to be a teacher.

During the teaching week I would start each morning getting breakfast with the whole Ghana 2013 group. Then a small group would go by bus to Cape Coast while the rest of us finished getting ready and took taxis to our schools. Mine was about half an hour away. Some days Professor Deets and I would share the taxi with another group, others it was just us. Then it would be my job to teach the lesson of the day. The idea was that this was my only experience in Ghana so I needed to get the most out of it. One day we had a visit from Dean Hanno, who then took Professor Deets on an excursion when he left.

It was very much like a condensed FME, and very much like the Girl Scouts Camp CEO program I helped coordinate a few years back. The students came up with some creative ideas, some which could work and some which clearly would not work. Some students were better presenters than others which made their pitch overall work better.

But anyways. After that we would taxi back right around lunch time. After two days they needed someone to go to another school so my new friend Carly and I went. At this point it was Wednesday and so we had a really condensed teaching week with no planning. But it worked out fine. I only worked with that group for two days, then I missed the final day because I was still at my morning school.

My classroom: the library. We had electricity and snacks each day. We were
doing really well. 
Last day of school: class picture!

The Big Day

After a week of teaching each school was able to send a team of student representatives to the rocket pitch competition. Just as the program as a whole had grown to more Babson students than ever before, there were also far more schools & teams presenting than ever before. This meant that the presentations had to be split between two churches. Because of this there were also two rounds of presentations. The top teams from each church in the first round presented again in Rv. Andoh's church for the second round. Both of my teams started in the other church.

As both of my teams arrived I went back and forth between them to help them prepare for the presentation. I wanted, ultimately, to see the best work that they had done so far that week. While neither of my teams ultimately moved onto the second round I was impressed with how far they had come, especially the school that only had three days.

Then for the second round I was a judge. I sat along nine other judges listening to what were deemed the six best teams present that day, then scoring based on a few different categories such as creativity and feasibility. One of my bigger takeaways was to let the students dream big. Throughout the week I had certainly heard some ideas that simply weren't feasible, but focusing first on feasibility limits idea generation. While I questioned the feasibility of the team that took first place, their idea was certainly one of the more innovative ideas (they managed to make a light that was sensitive to the darkness and only turned on when there wasn't sufficient light outside).

One of my teams presenting bags made from yogurt wrappers.
Heading Home

The following day was our final day in Ghana. We were up early for church services, then made the journey back to Accra to catch our flight for London.

Once again we stopped at a beach resort along the Cape Coast for lunch on the way. It was a good chance to get one last moment of peace in Ghana.

Meanwhile, Dean Hanno was busy coordinating with someone who had accidentally taken the bags of one of the members of our group at the airport two weeks earlier (she was a trooper and managed to last the full two weeks without her checked bag). When we finally got to the airport she received her bag. It was kind of the happy ending to the trip...

except for the fact that our plane was still in London.

See, it was now nearly the end of January and, as it does in London, it was snowing and grounding flights. This meant that with just a few hours to go before we were supposed to take off our plane was not just in a different country, but an entirely different continent. We took to playing cards and games while waiting to hear what we were to do next and when we would make it home. Keep in mind that if our flight is canceled it's not easy to fit an entire airplane full of people onto the next flight, and it's not like there are frequent flights to London.

A few hours after arriving at the airport we are told to go through security (though from my memory we still weren't quite sure if that actually meant we would be leaving).

We get to the other side and still had to wait for a while (our plane still wasn't in Ghana). We waited, napped, and watched for our plane to land. It must have been nearly 2am when finally our plane landed and we were able to board.

Knowing Professor Deets would prefer not to sit in the middle of a row I switched seats with him (after taking Dramamine figuring I would just sleep the whole flight). Shortly after take off (I had gotten maybe an hour of sleep at this point) the guy on the inside (window seat in a row of three) got up so I let him out. He went back and forth for a while before it was determined that he wasn't experiencing air sickness, he was actually sick and running a fever.


But I stuck it out without complaining (and with a good amount of hand-sanitizer).

The leg from London was fairly uneventful. We were mostly fortunate enough to have enough time between our flight from Ghana and our flight to Boston that the delay really only shortened the layover. Professor Deets, however, was forced to miss his flight so we then all had to wait on word of if he was making it home that day. Then we just had to make it back to Babson and prepare (for a good number of us) for our 8am Advance Accounting class the next morning. We were kindly greeted by Dean Hanno first thing in the morning, too!

And thus ended my second adventure in Africa and first in Ghana.

Until next time :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

The (never ending?) Job Search: Part 3!

So Christmas happens as per usual, then I have to get ready for a yet another whirlwind in January. I have one week until New Years, during which time I have to decide what to do about these two job offers. Then on New Years Eve I'm set to head down to Connecticut to spend the evening with Parvati, followed by a drive into New York City on New Years Day, then an interview on Long Island on January 2nd. After that it's back to Boston for two days, Maine for two days, Boston for about 24 hours, then Ghana for two weeks. Total time set to spend in Massachusetts: maybe 72 hours?

December 31st, 2012:
I pack up mom's car for a four day adventure and head down to Connecticut. On the way I dropped Brian in Rhode Island to spend a few days with Michael. I get to Parvati's house that evening having neither accepted nor rejected either outstanding job offer. But at this point I've decided as much as I'm rejecting the second job offer and pushing back the decision for the first. After crafting a politely worded rejection email (and it feels really good to be the one rejecting!) it's time to celebrate. It's New Years Eve, Parv's graduation celebration, and I have a really good job offer on the line.

For the rest of the evening it's hanging out with Parv's other friends and family, eating good food, counting down to the New Year. There was a bit of relief at having cleared up some of the job search, but still there's a lot of stress coming in the next few days.

January 1st, 2013:
Happy New Year!

After spending New Year's Eve with Parv, it is time to make my way to NYC. I load up the car along with two of Parv's friends from home and we drive off to the city. On the way I hand my phone off to figure out what exactly my plans are for my time in the city. Normally I would stay with Sarah again, but she is unavailable (understandably as it is New Year's Day). So I arrange to stay with Feng (who is an absolute life save and the sweetest person ever). She lives right in the heart of the city so it is easy to navigate to and from.

I park right around the corner from her where there is free holiday parking. After saying goodbye to my two travel companions Feng and I have a chill night in. We have dinner with her mom and just relax. The next day is, after all, a big day. It is set to be my last job interview. Possibly ever.

January 2nd, 2013:
I get up early to get ready for the interview. It's at the Long Island location at 1pm so I figure if I give myself more than enough time to get out there (say four hours for a one hour drive) then if I run into any trouble along the way I will be all set.

Well, that was the best decision I made that day.

I get out to where I parked my car (and by my car I mean my mom's car) and it was no where in sight. At first I thought maybe I just remember wrong about where I parked it so I looked around a little more.


It had apparently been towed.


So now I'm freaking out in the middle of Manhattan in my suit with only a few hours until my interview. Great.

I call Feng—who, I should note again, is NOT a morning person—and she walks me through how to get to Long Island. She sends me down to Penn Station in a taxi so I get there as soon as possible. From there I purchase a ticket for the Long Island Rail Road. I have a while to wait until my train so I grab some breakfast then I have the daunting task of calling mom to tell her what's going on.

Mom was remarkably calm throughout this whole ordeal, granted there is nothing she could have done from Boston anyways.

The rest of the morning goes as smoothly as could be expected. I made it to my interview on time and went through the process just fine. I was strangely bubbly for it. This interview was a big deal. I was using it to decide what I really want to do for my first job out of college. My main focus was finding out where my interviewers were in their career tracks and how they had gotten there.

Then it was all a waiting game again. This time, however, I had to make a decision in my mind about what I was going to do under the different possible situations I would soon be in. At this point I'm waiting to hear a rejection or offer from CA and a deadline to accept or reject my Braver offer. Meanwhile, it is just under a week until I leave for Ghana

I figure there are 10 ways this could turn out:

  • I hear back from CA before Braver
    • I hear back from CA before I leave for Ghana
      • It's a rejection
    • I hear back from CA while I am in Ghana
      • It's a rejection
      • It's an offer
    • I hear back from CA when I return from Ghana
      • It's a rejection
      • It's an offer
  • I hear back from Braver before CA
    • I hear back from CA before I need to respond to Braver
      • It's a rejection
      • It's an offer
    • I have not heard back from CA

Yeah, I thought through this a lot. It was a big deal. I knew that if I heard back from CA before January 18th it would be a rejection because they needed to get through all of their interviews before extending offers. I would travelling from the 8th-21st though with limited communication.

The easiest thing would be a rejection before I go to Ghana so then I could just accept the Braver offer. But I had a feeling this wouldn't happen so I did my best to buy time. I was still unsure of which path I wanted to take and it had been a while since I had spoken to someone at Braver so I sent an email to the recruiter to put me in touch with another person at the firm. This would give me another perspective and show that I really am still interested.

But back to the timeline.

The interview was on a Wednesday. I got back to the city and reacquired my car. This time I made absolutely certain I parked it somewhere that it wouldn't get towed in the morning then went back to Feng's. Since it was already late I stayed the night again. We got dinner at this ramen restaurant that had a really long line. It was totally worth it, though! Then it was back to her apartment to sleep. My car would have to be moved by 7am so I had to get up early.

January 3rd, 2013:
Up and at 'em! I was heading back to Boston. The drive wasn't too bad; I took I-90 and it was easy. That afternoon I babysat the boys. It was relatively uneventful.

January 4th, 2013:
The least eventful day of the year.

I babysat.

January 5th-7th, 2013:
Travelling again! This time it was of to Maine with Parv's friend—Parv wanted to join as well but couldn't—and little brother Brian. We stayed over two nights. On Sunday I went over to Hilary's house to work on teaching plans for Ghana. Then on Monday it was back down to Massachusetts so I could pack since we left for Ghana on Tuesday.

During this whole time I was trying to decide what I would do if I got the second offer. As we boarded the plane to Ghana I still had no idea. None. Nor had I heard back from either Braver or CA.

Anxious to know the answer? I'll reveal it in Part 4, I promise! Next post to put together is about Ghana, though :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The (never ending?) Job Search: Part 2!

If you haven't yet read part 1, I would advise you go do that now. Otherwise the story I'm about to relay won't make nearly as much sense, if any at all.

Read it?

Good, now I'll continue.

So I took a bus back from New York Saturday morning, December 8th (made me really appreciate the flight there! Yay Jet Blue!) and the next few days were essentially filled solely with studying for Auditing and Accounting. I didn't really check my email, just focused on studying. At that point I figured what's done is done and I'm in yet another waiting game anyways.

When I finally emerge from the library and all of my exams I begin the anxious waiting period. For the first time in months I had no interviews lined up. It was simply waiting, waiting, waiting. At this point I had gone through nearly 20 interviews (the CA interview was not the only one I had during the two weeks we had been back since Thanksgiving). While at the beginning I tried to gauge how well interviews had gone, I was pretty much over that. The whole process had become almost a game (probably not good to admit, but it's the truth).

It wasn't about finding a place I could do the job; if that's all it was I would have a job offer from probably everywhere I applied. Now, to be fair, I still took the job search seriously. It was still a stressful endeavor. But I was more lighthearted about it; I tried to have some fun with it.

On Thursday (the 13th) CA emails me back...as I read the email I start to get all giddy. Remember, this is probably the most interesting company I applied to for a rotation. I was really excited...because I had been moved up to the second round!

[insert sigh of relief here]

Once again they have a series of dates for me to choose from...all in January. Ok, I think. This is manageable. They start in the first week of January, so I can do the interview before I head off to Ghana. Then I just have to hope there's no important correspondence while I'm out of touch with the world and we'll be all set. Perfect!

Jokes, life is never that simple.

At this point we are into winter break. Ghana is just three weeks away. Sarina is having visa issues so she comes to my house until she can secure her visa. We spend the days hanging out, catching up on NCIS, cooking, the usual for us. And then:

11:57am, Monday December 17, 2012
I get an email from one of the companies I had interviewed with asking if I had any free time for a phone call over the next couple of days. 

12:00pm, Monday December 17, 2012
Of course! I reply, I have nothing but time. 

~12:30pm, Monday December 17, 2012
My phone rings.
It's the recruiter from Braver PC (http://thebravergroup.com/)
I begin to pace as Sarina watches nervously.
I hang up.

I got the job!

At this point I'm shaking and teary eyed, all excited and such. But I have to keep calm. I have emails to send and people to call. Everyone's been waiting for this moment for months now.

1:00pm, Monday December 17, 2012
I take a seat and a deep breath. Success!

I had emailed every company I could recall that I still had open interviews with, including CA, explaining my situation. So I was now, once again in a waiting game. I had to see what other offers would come in, what companies would decide to just make a cut, and if CA could move the interview process forward any.

~3:00pm, Monday December 17, 2012
My phone rings.
It's the recruiter from another company I had interviewed with.
At this point I'm right in the middle of something so I have them call me back in half an hour.

~3:30pm, Monday December 17, 2012
My phone rings again.
It's the recruiter again.
Offering me a job.

In three and a half hours I had gone from no job offers to two. Yay! Wonderful!

Except (of course there's an except!) they both want an answer by December 31st. 

My interview with CA is scheduled for January 7th. It would be incredibly gutsy of me at this point to reject both offers hoping that I would get the offer from CA before even going for the interview. It would be incredibly rude and senseless of me to back out of the CA interview considering how much I had fought for the first interview and how much I was impressed by the company. So what's a girl to do?

It's more of that waiting game. Throughout the coming days I hear back from everyone I emailed. For simplicity, let's just imagine we have three companies that we're dealing with.

CA responds. They can move the interview as early as January 2nd. That's something. But not quite what I was hoping. So now I need to make a decision. I can try bargaining on time with the other two, accept one of the other two, or reject both of the other two.

I email Braver for an extension, and get an explanation of how they do offers on a rolling basis as they find candidates they like until they have filled all of their spots. He agrees to extend my deadline until they are ready to make an offer that would fill their final spot. Seeing as they can't predict if people will accept or how quickly people will accept, they can't really guarantee how long I have. But I figure I can at least get through the CA interview no problem. Then maybe I'll have decided I really like the idea of a rotation more than Audit/Tax that I'd do at Braver or the other company, or I really won't like it?

At this point it's December 21st. Quite the whirlwind of a month! And I still have to decide what to do about the other company. I decide to take a few days to mull everything over. I focus on Christmas, and figuring out how I'm going to get to my interview in New York (this time on Long Island).

And so I leave you yet another cliff hanger...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The (never ending?) Job Search: Part 1!

My fall semester was pretty much occupied by job applications, interviews, writing cover letters, reviewing my resume, and pretty much everything else that could go into a job search...on top of classes & trying to spend as much time with Parvati as possible before she graduated.

It was quite the process. Much more intense & overwhelming than I thought it would be. I expected to have accepted an offer by the end of October. After that I would get into Babson's MSA and life would be smooth sailing for the rest of the year.

Totally didn't happen that way.

I went through the process of applying to all the major accounting firms, as well as some mid size firms and rotational programs, but the main focus was on the big companies.

Silly me. 

While I got an interview almost everywhere I applied, and many second round interviews as well, there was apparently something missing. So I kept applying and interviewing. By the end of the semester I was starting to feel very overwhelmed as I did not yet have a job offer unlike almost every single other one of my accounting friends.

And I got wait listed for the MSA on a technicality due to having not officially completing the requirements since I had been abroad. This was an unexpected wrench. I had sat down with the professors in charge and walked through how to get everything done in time & in the right way. Yet I had apparently managed to miss the point where I can't officially get accepted until I have some of the requirements out of the way. But more on that in another post.

Some interviews were easy to get. There was one company I didn't even remember to apply to but career services (go Babson being really super helpful and on their game!) got me in anyways.

Others were more difficult. For one company I was sent options of times to interview, but was apparently slow on the draw and chose the more popular slot after it was already full. It took some negotiating but I managed to get an interview...that's actually a somewhat entertaining story.

So it was the Monday after Thanksgiving and I got an email from this really awesome company called CA Technologies (http://www.ca.com/). They had two first round interview times: that Friday in Framingham, or the next Friday in Manhattan. Naturally, you would think, I would choose the one in Framingham seeing as it's right down the street from Babson.


See, the interviews were four hour blocks which included an information session followed by a round of one-on-one interviews and a meet & greet. As a busy Babson student I couldn't work my schedule out for a four hour block on four days notice so I called and asked if there would be a problem with going for the Manhattan one. I was told that should be fine, so that's what I went with.

While waiting for the confirmation I (very excitedly) went to Feng to tell her I had another interview lined up (at this point you would think all my friends would be tired of hearing that, seeing as I'd had around 15 so far, but she was still really excited for me. My friends are simply awesome people). Instantly she went to work, without me even asking, on figuring out the best way for me to get to New York. A bus or train wouldn't work because if they were delayed I wouldn't have much turn around time to figure things out. So instead we opted for me to fly from Boston to New York. After a little hesitation from me, we bought a one way ticket to NYC on Jet Blue (LOVE Jet Blue now). We figured I could get back however I wanted after.

Then I got an email back from CA saying the slots were all full for that Friday, but the Framingham location still had plenty of space. Well, I'm sure if I absolutely had to I could have figured something out, but it would have been really inconvenient. I already had my travel arrangements secured so I emailed them back. After a few days of emailing back and forth, talking to close friends & family and career services we were at a stand still.

Friday passes, then the weekend and I'm sitting with a plane ticket that seems almost useless at this point. At very least, I figure, I'll take the time to visit Sarah Bhuiya and Ifreen while I'm in the city. So I get in touch with them and we agree to meet up. I knew then that if nothing else I would get to see some of my favorite people who I never get to see any more, at least not nearly enough.

Meanwhile, I'm arranging a going away celebration for Parvati. The whole ordeal is somewhat of a disorganized surprise. She knew we would do something for her; she had essentially told me I had to as her best friend (I was planning on it anyways, but still). For pretty much everyone Satuday worked best. So I let her go along thinking that's what we would do. But for me, I had no idea what state I would be in on Saturday, and I knew I had a LOT of studying to do for my exams which were on Monday and Tuesday (great scheduling :P). So I arranged for it to be on Thursday. The problem was, Feng and I had to leave for the airport at about 7am the next morning & Feng is NOT a morning person. So really Thursday wasn't all that convenient for me either. But I made it work. I got a few people together, including some throw backs to freshman year, and I'd say Operation Surprise Parvati was a success. Then we were quick to shoo everyone off to midnight breakfast (my careful planning got people out of the suite early so I could get some sleep).
"Babson" waffles at Midnight Breakfast!
But that's not the point. I finally get an email back from the recruiter. Seeing as I was going to be in the city anyways they would work out how to fit me in.

Now the pressure was on. I had fought hard to secure the interview so I had to be at my absolute best so they would not regret coordinating with me. Going off of very little sleep (early flight + arranging a celebration for the night before = not the best idea for anyone who wants sleep) Feng and I made it off to the airport. I boarded my flight and was in the city within an hour.

Another side note, as soon as I really have a disposable income I'm flying EVERYWHERE. Planes freak me out a bit, sure, but the ease of a domestic flight and saving so much time is totally worth it.

I swear this same bird was at Logan when I took off for Korea!
Left too early to eat at Babson...so I got breakfast at Au Bon Pain before
heading through security.
The moment the stewardess brought out Dunkins I was in LOVE with Jet Blue!
I get to the city with hours to spare so I scope out the location of the office, then just kinda walk around a bit. I got myself some lunch, wandered through the city & some stores, then made my way for the interview.

First thing's first: find the building. Then, off to explore!
The wonderful thing about NYC in December: all of the
Christmas decorations!
I had never been in any of the NYC churches, so with time
to spare I figured I'd check one out. STUNNING organ!

Casual carrying a Christmas tree through the city?

#NOMS! Found the Hershey's Store! I went in later on but didn't take any pics

...and the Disney store. Always a kid at heart <3
So where to next? To see the Ball from Times Square, of course!

A wall of Hopes & Dreams, how sweet!
And to top the Times Square Ball? THE DISNEY STORE! 
"When you wish upon a starrrr!"
Found the princess castle!
"They say if you dream a thing more than once it's sure to come true"
Christmas in the Disney Store ^.^
SO excited about The Hobbit!

And in an attempt to top the Disney Store: TOYS R US!
Boxes of Nerds as big as my head!!!

Statue of Liberty made completely out of Legos...Awesome!

and the Hulk made completely out of Legos!
Throw back toys!
Nerves abound (again, PRESSURE) I walked in, hung up my coat, and mixed with the other candidates. I could go into detail of what the company does, what the position is, etc. or you could just look at their website (link above) because that is mostly besides the point.

After the information session we were all sent into the main reception area to mix with a few young workers at CA. We got the chance to talk to them, ask them questions, etc. I made sure to get some face time with each of them and ask at least one good question. I don't tend to be overly inquisitive, but I made it work in this case. Then I was called in for my one-on-one. For this I lucked out. The woman interviewing me reminded me of an older version of myself. We got along great.

I left feeling really good. If nothing else, I had put my best foot forward. The ball was once again in their court; I was once again in a waiting game. I had to make it through finals & prepare for Ghana. That's a lot to do, and I only had a few short weeks to do it.

This was also a night of closure. Like I mentioned early, I had plans to meet up with Sarah and Ifreen. The two of them never really knew each other, but seeing as they're both good friends of mine I figured it'd be okay to mix the two of them. We went to this neat little place that I totally might be able to find again...might.

The menu!

Salted Caramel Milk Shake: Delicious!
I had the chance to talk to Ifreen about her experience at PwC. What it came down to: she told me I wouldn't be happy there, or any of the major companies. They just aren't my style. At least not now. I needed to hear this. It was true, which I suppose I had known for a while, but I needed to hear this from her. Had I known how much I needed to hear this from her maybe the whole semester would have gone much more smoothly. Oh well.

So that's how I concluded the semester. And seeing as this post is already really long, I'll leave you wondering what happens next until maybe tomorrow?