Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Hello all,

I most likely won't be posting anything until I actually make the big move on July 1st.  I'm wrapping up things at work, taking on a handful of freelance projects, packing, coordinating logistics of a trans-regional move, and to top it all off, I have a final in Calc, so needless to say I'm going to be swamped. 

I'll touch base in a couple of weeks.

Until then, here's a little snippet projecting my current mood: Happy Dance.

If Aunt Viv can do it, so can I.  Anything is possible.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

So Turns Out I'm Not Cut Out for Accounting

Surprise, surprise.

Last week Tepper sent out their COC Summer Action Items.  And I have to admit that I have a lot on my plate in the next couple of months in terms of narrowing the scope of where I will be casting my line during recruiting season.  And this scares me.  I'm not the most committed person.  Don't get me wrong, I can dedicate myself to a project with the best of them.  I'm tenacious, hard working, and relentless with a goal at hand.  I just LOATHE having limited options.  I'm always second-guessing myself, especially when it comes to my career trajectory; I feel like I really blew it in undergrad, and constantly fear that I'm going to position myself down the wrong course.  But then again, some times you just have to close your eyes and jump and hope for the best.

Anyways....I'm getting off topic.

I took the COC's CareerLeader test, and about 500 questions later I'm told that my temperament and goals best suit a career in the following fields:




LAW 96





Not surprising, Accounting scored a whopping 1.  LOL.

Now, right off the bat, I know I would HATE PR.  So I'm not sure how much credence to give this test.  But Advertising, Marketing, and Product Development are right up my creative alley.  Consulting has also been sitting on the back burner (though I'm a little trepidatious about the hours and travel).  I'm still confused how Law and Real Estate got thrown into the mix.  And I don't think I have the constitution to stomach Securities Trading.  That said, I'm also a little worried diving deeper into the metrics of each.  My creative score was off the charts for each one, but with all the other valuations I was significantly under par.  "No, I do not enjoy ordering people around or giving speeches to a room of angry investors."  Does anyone?  Apparently.  Which begs the question: How did I score 99s in the first 3?  Hopefully, my COC advisor will be able to clear up the confusion.

After digging around on Wetfeet.com for a while and reading (skimming) through the recommended profiles, I have loosely deduced the following:

These jobs I would find enjoyable, are in my wheelhouse, make decent money, and I could see myself doing for a long time:

Brand Manager

Creative Specialist - MBA not necessarily required
Advertising Account Manager

Marketing Consultant

Market Researcher

Management Consultant - MAYBE

Granted I already have a general direction of where I think I will be headed when BaseCamp starts, but  I'm also leaving myself totally open to other possibilities, of having my interest piqued, maybe, just maybe, by Supply Chain Management.

That was a joke.  I would hate SCM.  And the "2" I scored will attest to that.

After having completed the CareerLeader, I feel both confused and clearer about my goals, if that makes any sense.  I know I'm a hyper creative person, and that I will probably only thrive in a position that allows me to really showcase that large segment of my personality.  However, I have so many people telling me that Consulting is the fast track to success, that basically after 2-3 years you can do whatever you want, especially if picked up by one of the top 4 firms.  And I do love challenges, a variety of work experiences, and solving complex problems.  It's the downsides that really worry me, ie: no life.

I do have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised to hear that there is an actual position titled "Marketing Consultant."  Early on, I hunted, searched, and quizzed everyone I could to see if there was such a thing, and everyone said that in Consulting you get the projects you're given and that there's no picking and choosing.  Turns out that one can focus solely on Marketing projects, however it seems that this comes later on in one's career after demonstrated successes.

Next task.....  Filtering my resume through Tepper's template.  As a career switching Theater major, this should be fun.

*Mental note to self: sound less jaded in these posts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How Am I Supposed to Survive on $217 a Month?

I received a phone call at work today from Sallie Mae.  After a barrage of questions, and a substantially lengthy wait time, I was sadly informed that I was not approved for a loan.  So I guess I'm stuck with Federal Loans.  I figure it would have been a difference of less than half a percentage point, so I'm not totally heartbroken.  This cage fighter ain't throwin' in the towel just yet, honey!  However, this has really encouraged me to sit down and reassess my finances.

Now my partner, Adi, will attest that when it comes to budgeting and finances I really just fly by the seat of my pants.  I have never balanced a checkbook.  I have never set a monthly budget.  However, I've always stayed afloat, carry no credit balances (aside from prior student loans), and have EXCELLENT credit.  So now having to face this mountain of debt which is forecasted to come crashing down on top of me like some monolithic grand piano of incremental IOUs in 2 years, I'm a tad worried.  Ok, totally, unequivocally, sh*tting my pants.

Tepper forecasts an allowance of $14,612 per year towards living expenses.  My rent ALONE will come to $12,000 for the year, leaving me with a whopping $2,612 to live off for the year.  Additionally, funds won't even be available until well after BaseCamp and into the first week of classes.  I'm moving in July.  That means two-plus months of no income.  Now granted I have some savings--and a 401K I can liquidate as an absolute last resort--but this begs the question: What do students that have no alternate recourse do to fund their education?

So with my extravagant budget of $217.60 per month budget, I will be able to fund my glamorous lifestyle of the poor and paltry, Ramen and pillaged diner creamer.  Pure opulence.  Rich and famous, indeed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

To-Do List (Revisited)

This week I'm revisiting my to-do list.  So far I seem to be fairly on track.  But for some reason I still feel like this...

Next 2 weeks:
1. Finish up Calc class (Final 3/30) Take new Calc class because last one didn't count, because Inst. Numbskull forgot to mention that class was only P/F.
2. 5-hour Pre-Licensing Driver's Ed course 3/27
3. Schedule/Take Driving Test
4. Try and schedule a meet up with local candidates
5. Subscribe to WSJ, and make commitment to read front to back every day - working on this one.  I think reading the whole paper, front to back, may have been too ambitious.  I'm trying to read 3 stories a day.

Week 3-5:
5. Start looking into car insurance options/registration
6. Gear up for Welcome Weekend 4/12 check
7. Look into housing options (hopefully find a place during WW) check!
8. Go on much needed vacation to California CHECK!!!

Week 6-8:
9. Buy a new suit
10. Touch base with admins, current students, future classmates, etc.
11. Start working of through Essentials of Accounting workbook
12. Touch base with COC – revise resume

Week 9-11:
13. Complete insurance forms
14. Remind my boyfriend how much I love him, and how grateful I am that he's willing to take this adventure with me, and convince him that I'm not completely crazy  I'm trying to remember to tell Adi I love him.  A lot.  But he definitely thinks I've gone off the deep end.  This is HAAAARD on a relationship.

Week 11-14:
15. Apply for Grad Plus Loan after June 1st
16. Complete Math Assessment
17. Give 2 weeks resignation I gave 2 months instead.  LOL.
18. Follow up with admins, current students, future classmates, etc.
19. Pack
20. PANIC This is an ongoing given.
21. Goodbye NY party

Week 15-19:
22. MOVE!!!
23. Furnish/settle into new digs with Adi and Dexter
24. Purchase car insurance/registration
25. Schedule initial appointments with doctors/dentist/vet/etc.
26. Find a church
27. Exchange license for Pennsylvania state
28. Possibly take an Accounting class at community college (Adi’s advice)
29. Hang out with fellow Tepperites!
30. Explore Pittsburgh
31. Locate all Trader Joe’s in a 20 mile radius  Next door!  Holla!!!
32, Enroll at a gym/yoga facility
33. Make sure all necessary paperwork is submitted to Tepper (transcripts, deposit, FAFSA, etc.)
34. Start looking into clubs/partner's programs
35. Stock up on healthy snack foods, coffee, and other much needed “fuel”

Week 20:
Basecamp begins!!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013


Hello everyone,

Some of you may or may not know that I do graphic/website design freelance.  I just wrapped up a project, and wanted to share.  What originally should have only been a 3 months project (at most) grew into about 9 months.  This job really taught me some valuable biz skills, though: set requirements and deliverables CLEARLY from the get go; schedule timely regular check ins with the client; anticipate, anticipate, anticipate; save MULTIPLE periodic files in the case that earlier versions are required; and don't take requests for changes (and change-backs) personally, as we're all working towards the same common endpoint.

In the end, I'm extremely satisfied with the way the site turned out, and the soft skills I'm walking away with.

As always, referrals are always welcome!

And without further ado...


*And if anyone in the NYC area is looking for a quality home-stager/interior designer, feel free to reach out to Lisa.  She is extremely talented!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My Accepted.com Interview

Hey everyone,

I was just interviewed for Accepted.com, and thought I would share here.

Thanks for reading!!!

CMU Tepper MBA Interview with Josh (33-Year-Old; Theater Undergrad; No Experience in Finance/Accounting)

Josh Howatt
“I was the odd shaped piece, the creative piece.”
Here’s a talk with Josh Howatt who was recently accepted an offer to join the CMU Tepper class of 2015. Josh blogs at Taking on Tepper. Thank you Josh for sharing your story with us…and congrats on your acceptance!
This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuringinterviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Accepted: First, can you tell us a bit about yourself: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What other degrees do you hold?
Josh: Well…I was born and raised in Orange County, California. I attended the University of California – Irvine, and originally entered with the intention of graduating Pre-Med. However, after a few semesters, I realized that my heart really wasn’t in the medical field. So I went were my heart called, which at that time was Theater and Music (I had been playing piano since I was 4 years old). After graduation, I moved to New York City in pursuit of a myriad of creative enterprises: I created a freelance graphic design business, became a published writer, and the typical New York casualty of singer-songwriter. After 5 or so years of admittedly floundering, I decided it was time to do something with my career and began to consider going back to school and getting my MBA. At first I assumed this was a lost cause, being that I was such an untraditional candidate; but as it turns out, many of the skills I had gleaned throughout my college years and beyond were surprisingly applicable to a corporate environment.
Accepted: How many b-schools did you apply to? Did you apply to safety schools as well?
Josh: Let’s see…I applied to 6 schools in total, which to me seemed like a nice safe number, but from what I’ve learned is on the higher side. I applied to 2 safety schools: Boston University and Boston College. Both, I felt, had strong programs and promising post-graduate placement in CPG Marketing.
Accepted: Why did you decide on Tepper? What made you the perfect fit for that program?
Josh: I finally decided on Tepper after visiting the campus in November. It was definitely a difficult decision, as I had received very enticing scholarships from both BU and BC, and I could see myself living in Boston. However, when it came down to it, I had to ask myself: which school had the greatest ROI; had the tools I lacked; had a strong reputation in Marketing (my concentration), as well as Finance, Technology, and Accounting; had a challenging environment; and – most importantly – had an overall feel of community. Since my first touch point with Tepper – corresponding with a 2nd year student via email since April – I have felt nothing but love from this community. Every single person I interact with seems to be completely dedicated to helping each other. I think this stems from Tepper being such a small school. Everybody knows everybody, and the faculty and students truly want to see you become the best you can be. And so I felt I fit in perfectly there, BECAUSE I was that missing piece. I was the odd shaped piece, the creative piece. People were so enthusiastic when they found out my background: “You were an actor? You know Photoshop? We could have totally used you on our last Branding case study.” And so I feel that I bring a totally untapped resource to the student body, and can’t wait to see what alternative skillset I can bring to the table.
Accepted: What are you most looking forward to in starting b-school in the fall? What are you least looking forward to?
Josh: Funny enough, I’m looking forward to the quant-heavy classes. I know this is my weakest area and the place where I will really need to work the hardest if I want to go into recruiting season with confidence. I feel fairly secure in my soft skills, and want to develop into a well-rounded full package.
I’m actually least looking forward to the Business Acting classes. And I know you’re saying, “Hey, wait a second…” But as a Theater major, I know the pressure is going to be on to, well, perform, and after being out of the “acting scene” for almost 8 years, I’m certain to be somewhat rusty. Not that we’ll be tackling Chekhov or anything, but…I joke.
Accepted: I see that a lot of your work history is at the W Hotel in Times Square. Do you plan on staying in the hotel industry? Or do you have other plans for once you receive your MBA?
Josh: I unequivocally do not plan to return to the hotel industry after graduation. After working in hotels for as long as I have, I realize that it’s really not where my heart is. While it is an interesting field, I would much rather be working within a realm that touches most consumers on a day to day basis (whether that manifest in CPG or Tech) in Brand Development, Strategy, and Advertising. I feel that this is a field where I can influence not only consumer behavior, but also how we market to (and in some ways alter the perceptions of) certain marginalized groups, eg: women, LGBT, etc. Although, I have been toying around with the idea of Consulting, as well. I’m just not sure if (being 33) I have the stamina to hack the hours and travel schedule that Consulting requires. Still, knowing myself, I’m sure that my trajectory will undoubtedly shift at some point during my time at Tepper.
Accepted: What was the most challenging step for you in the MBA admissions process? How did you approach it and overcome it?
Josh: First would have to be: the quant portion of the GMAT. And at a close second: struggling to rebrand myself as someone who is able to survive and thrive in not only business school, but beyond. So far I have yet to meet another Theater undergrad when engaging other MBA candidates; however, Tepper assures me that they are out there. In fact, they included a student profile in their most recent pamphlet, highlighting the testimonial of one such student.
Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your experience? Has the process revealed anything new about yourself?
Josh: Ultimately, I decided to blog about my experience in applying and attending an MBA program, because I know that when I first start looking into the possibility of going back to school I became extremely discouraged. I thought for sure there is no way any school is going to accept a 33-year-old, Theater undergrad, with absolutely zero experience in Finance and Accounting. Turns out that not only was I wrong, but I was accepted into one of the top 20 programs in the Nation. That changed my entire perception of what it means to be an MBA candidate and to be part of a student body that prizes diversity and sees utility in all backgrounds. So maybe somewhere down the line, a painter, an archeologist, a swim coach – whoever – will read about my struggles, and say, “Hey, if this guy can do it, so can I.”
For one-on-one guidance on the Tepper application, please see our MBA Application Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for Tepper, see CMU Tepper 2013 MBA Application Questions and Tips.
Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your MBA/EMBA journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at mbabloggers@accepted.com.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Calculus Sucks

That is all.