Wharts and All: Blogging the Full-Time MBA Program at the Wharton School

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hangovers End, Dings Linger [Edit 1]

I love Bridgette Lumpkins today (but only for today) for she has posted a wonderful rant to the Wharton Diaries site. The best part:

Oh, the Ding. Ding Ding Ding. Ding Dong.

When you get dinged, you can ask for feedback. They can say no. But many banks will provide it. I am asking for feedback. They'll probably be like: "You suck". I think that's the feedback I'm going to get: "We regret that we were unable to extend you an offer because you totally suck. But thank you for your interest in our firm, and we wish you the best in your future endeavors." Signed, The Person Who Holds the Key to Your Future.

A ding does last forever. Rejection shapes a psyche (and a sometimes, a psychosis). I still remember being picked last for kickball in third grade. How many machinations I machinated as a result of that ding in an effort to avoid being picked last ever! How many snacks from my lunchbox I gave up, asses I kissed, laughs I faked, pushups I did!

Let's dissect the ding. There are two components. The first being the ego hit that Bridgette describes so well. I can't top that. Well, I can, but it'd require dredging up some painful memories.

The second component of a ding is the distaste that one develops for the entity that dealt the dastardly ding. Let's spend a moment on this second component.

Sour Grapes

One thing that always puzzled me about acquaintances that went to Yale undergrad: they tend to diss Harvard more than Harvard disses them. It appears to be the cultural norm for Yalies. It's something that some of my coworkers still do whenever we go out to a bar for drinks after work. I've heard the conversation a handful of times, "Yeah, well [idiot manager] went to Harvard, what did you expect?" A degree from Harvard explains lots of things, according to these comrades, including (but not limited to) inability to keep a woman, workplace flatulence, obesity, extreme willingness to kiss ass, bad breath, and (my favorite) ungroomed armpits on females.

Something tells me that they do this not just because the two schools are long, fast rivals but also because (in general) Harvard tends to reject more applicants than Yale (though in 2004 Yale rejected 90.1% percent of applicants while Harvard rejected 89.7% of applicants). Yalies, in a sense, define themselves not just through their affiliation to Yale (which appears to be fanatical at times), but also (secretly) through their rejection from Harvard.

Hey, wait a minute, Yale sounds a lot like Wharton! But do Wharton students sound a lot like Yale students when discussing their rivalry with the snooty, generalist bastards up north? (See how easily I slip into disparaging remarks about HBS? It comes natural after a ding, trust me.) I really don't know how much of this I'll find at Wharton.

I think I'd feel dirty giving voice to my distaste for HBS. I was raised by the Brothers Grimm who taught me that the fox who disliked the grapes he could never taste was not a very admirable fellow at all and (this blog excluded) I want to take this blank-slate opportunity to fashion myself as the admirable sort of guy that would make Dale Carnegie proud. Sour grapes just won't do!

Ain't it funny how we remember our successes least and our failures best? There may be something to the idea that the happiest people on earth are those who aspire to nothing.

New b-school motto: I'm ambitious, therefore I'm unhappy.

Edit 1: Replaced a missing parenthesis.


Blogger OnlineMusing said...

I know couple of guys at Wharton. I never heard them talk bad about HBS. In fact, I have heard one of them talk highly of HBS.

2/07/2005 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Berkeley students bad mouth Stanford all the time. But I have never heard a Stanford student say anything bad about Berkeley. In fact, the only time Stanford students even seem to be aware of Berkeley's existence is when the Big Game rolls around. I went to Berkeley, but I never applied to Stanford, so I feel no resentment. But I am one in a million. Unfortunately.

2/07/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger bskewl said...

I think there are many of these rivalries where one of the rivals is traditionally the stronger of the two. In all of these situations, I think that the underdog tends to be the yappier of the two, and tends to have the most to prove.

2/07/2005 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bskwel - I have enjoyed nearly every minute I've spent on Wharton's campus. The people are great, the facilities are nice, and pub is fun....until a few drinks go down and people start talking about HBS. I have visited Wharton twice (the WWW this week will be my third), and I can't help but notice this trend. In my visits to HBS, I've never heard them badmouth another school in this manner. Perhaps I've just been unlucky, or perhaps it's because the W students have known I am an applicant, but it is part of the reason I am starting to lean towards HBS (after wanting to go to Wharton for a long time).

Thanks for the blog - I read it almost every day.

2/08/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger bskewl said...

See, now that's some good, honest feedback from the anonymous coward. Thanks!

I also noticed this when I attended a recent pub and noted that I had received a waitlist at HBS. Students were quick to jump on that opening.

As a soon-to-be first-year at Wharton, I'd like to see less focus on the folks up north and more focus on Wharton itself.

2/08/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous coward? Sheesh - I just don't have a blog account. My name is Andrew Leonard and I'll be in Philly this weekend. I still like your blog, even if I just got insulted in it...

2/09/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew: I'm sorry - no intent to offend you. You've got to take me less seriously. I'm an anon coward myself. I called you one because it's just a common Internet culture thing to call anon commenters "anonymous cowards."


- bskewl

2/11/2005 05:31:00 AM  
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