I was debating on whether I should blog about this topic, considering it was my idea and all. The thing about grad school is that it isn't something you should do willy-nilly. It takes time to weigh the options, set goals, etc. I spoke with dozens of people asking them what they did in grad school and why. I talked with professionals and students of all types to help me find out what things were important for me and my experience. I had a lot of family and friends that willingly offered up their advice. I especially sought the advice of my older siblings and brother-in-law who had all been accepted to some amazing grad programs. I had a tough decision to make.
Becki and I have always thought it would be beneficial for our children to experience new cultures, languages, and gain new world views to help them mold into more well-rounded individuals.
With all of that in mind I had to find a program that I would enjoy studying, as well as give me an opportunity to provide meaningful experiences for my family. After many discussions, prayers, and pros and cons lists I finally decided that wanted to study business at a great European university, but I wasn't sure what program I wanted to do. I finally narrowed it down to two programs. I wanted to do an MBA or a HRM.
I decided to apply to some of each. I got my transcripts ordered, I spoke with some professors about references. I even had my boss and the VP of human resources write referral letters for me. Things were moving along nicely.
A lot of schools offered great programs and it came down to the small things. I spoke with the HR manager at my work. I talked with my brother-in-law Mark about MBA programs. I kept asking more and more people hoping to find out what I should do. It really came down to the fact that I am not Mark, I am not my Dad or Jimmy Fallon. I am me, and I needed to make the choice.
I decided that I wanted a program where I could choose courses that were interesting to me. I wanted a program that would guide me into a specific career path. Although and MBA might provide me with a lot of career options, I didn't feel it was right for me. I knew I wanted to do the HRM program and I wanted to study in Europe. However, I thought it would be best to apply to a couple of HRM and MBA programs, and then I could make a decision after I was accepted.
My family and friends were exceptionally helpful through the entire application process. They would read my personal statement over and over and over...and over. Everyone willingly helped me to refine and redefine my position.
Yet, no one was more willing or more helpful than Becki. She would stay up late with me every night as I tried to meet my personal deadlines. She would read every silly, creative, ungrammatical sentence I wrote. She has been my motivation and steady foundation through this entire process.
I know that some of you may be thinking, "Well, why Scotland? Why not Spain, France, Germany, or England?" There are a few reasons for that. First, as much as I would love to move to any country in Europe, I didn't feel comfortable making Becki drag 3 kids around trying to communicate in a language she doesn't know. Then you might say, "What about England? They speak American." Okay, well they do speak English, this is true, but most of the more reputable business schools in England cost more and have a higher cost of living. A lot of the business schools didn't offer what I wanted to study either, so that was another reason. Scotland seemed to be a perfect mixture of what we were looking for. It was not too expensive, it was only one year long, it was extremely reputable, and it wouldn't make Becki too uncomfortable since she speaks English and could navigate around town.
Becki and I have been slightly bias toward the University of Edinburgh ever since we received that MBA booklet from them. I guess you could say it was love at first sight. I struggled with the thought of actually applying to UoE. It is a very difficult school to get into, but why not try? I am just as smart and capable as anyone. Why not me? Why not swing for the fence? So what if it is ranked 17th in the world along with Oxford, Havard and Yale? So what if it is the 3rd best business school in the UK? Who cares if I don't get in, at least I tried.
After I had applied to a few of the universities on my list, it was time to to send of my application to the University of Edinburgh. I was nervous. I had worked for months on my personal statement and made sure that it was just right. On November 14th, Becki and I pressed the submit button with a prayer in our hearts. Now we had to wait. (Probably until January, because we had heard that Edinburgh was notoriously slow in granting acceptance.)
NOT the end...