Planning the Transition

Planning the Transition

Backdated to 3/22/18

I did it! I was accepted to Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business!









This is a HUGE relief since my future of attending business school this fall is assured. I had my victory lap by telling all my friends and family, thanking my recommenders and visiting everyone who I have neglected over the past few months by celebrating (a little too hard) on St. Patty’s Day back in Des Moines. Okay, you’ve patted yourself on the back now it’s back to business.

The b-school application journey never really ends. As quickly as the joy of receiving the admission call comes, the realization of the logistics of transitioning to business school sinks in.

Below is my guide to transitioning

What I’ve done so far this week:

  1. I booked flights and hotels to Pittsburgh for the Tepper Welcome Weekend for admitted students
  2. Dropped the news to my parents that I would be soon quitting my job to hike the Appalachian Trail. It went about as well as I expected… their reaction was a mixture of shock and disapproval followed by a healthy dose of lecturing me on the finer points of work ethic and how they “never quit their jobs for 4 months to live like a hobo.”
  3. Told my boss today during my annual performance review that I was accepted and will be leaving my job in roughly a month. I let him know that I wanted to be as forthcoming as possible and give him a heads up. I really respect him and wanted to do right by leaving as much time as possible to find my replacement. See this helpful guide to writing a letter of resignation:


Dear Ross,

Please accept this letter of resignation as formal notification that I am leaving my position as Service Sales Tender Manager with Nordex-Acciona Windpower. My last day will be 4/20/18.

My decision to leave is in no way a reflection of my experience with this company; it is based entirely on my desire to continue my education through pursuing a Full-Time MBA. While I am excited for this new chapter, I will always remember my time at Nordex-Acciona Windpower with affection. In my three years at this company I have been fortunate enough to develop my knowledge and experience in the departments of Finance, Sales and Services, and I am confident that were it not for these opportunities for professional growth, I would not have gained admission to Carnegie Mellon University.

I want to express my personal gratitude to XXX for recruiting me and taking a chance on a recent college graduate and to XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX and XXX for their supervisory guidance and support. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of such an outstanding team and of the success our organization has achieved in overcoming industry consolidation, regulatory uncertainty and tremendous market pressures in order to grow our presence year over year. Moreover, I am proud that the work we have accomplished has had a positive impact on the world through generating clean, sustainable energy for years to come.

I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition. Before I leave, I will ensure that all my projects and duties are completed to the fullest extent possible and I will work with you and your transition plan to train my replacement.

I wish you and the company continued success, and I look forward to our continued relationship in the future.



What is still left to do:

Create my budget. I need to seriously evaluate what my expenses will be over the next 4 months without any income. The key is eliminating my big ticket items so I can minimize my burn rate. This will effectively determine when I can officially quit. It’s kind of like planning for a mini retirement (shout out to the 4 hour workweek by Tim Ferris). And for fun, run my final ROI calculation for taking on $150,000 in debt to return to school. That is a scary thought.

  • Sublease my apartment
  • Figure out my health insurance
  • Cover my car payments

Plan my Appalachian Trail hike. Lock in and purchase my gear list.

Financial Aid. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any scholarship award from Tepper. Although I expected as much since my hard stats as well below average. Now I need to search wide and far for external scholarships. In parallel I need to finalize my FAFSA (done) and secure student loans (I will need to shop around for the best rates, private vs federal).

Move out. Sell any unnecessary items and move my remaining personal belongings into storage at my parents’ house.

Finalize my school rankings and make decisions on which remaining schools I would attend. I hear back from Texas in 6 days on 3/29.

  • Texas – Will 100% attend if admitted
  • Cornell – Will need to seriously weigh against Carnegie Mellon. My gut tells me to choose Tepper over Cornell based on culture fit and location, but my rankings are suggesting that Cornell has the slight edge based on their strength of academics and career placement. If I receive some scholarship $ then things will really get interesting
  • North Carolina – To my astonishment I received the news that I have been waitlisted at UNC. Since I never received an interview invite, I had already wrote them off as a ding, but now that I was waitlisted they invited me to schedule an interview. I still haven’t scheduled an interview slot since I want to first determine if it is even worth my time. I certainly won’t receive scholarship $ off the waitlist, so where do they rank head to head with Tepper… well essentially equal. It is clear that Tepper wants me more than UNC, so based on my experience thus far I am tempted to just to say thanks but no thanks UNC. However, UNC has the highest waitlist acceptance rate of any Top 20 school at 46%, so it points to the fact that it can’t hurt to interview, other than taking a spot away from others who are more serious about attending. I will ponder this further.


So yeah, while I am beyond relieved that my hard work has paid off, by no means am I at the point of coasting through the doors to business school. There is still much to do. I think there need to be more blogs that discuss this transition stage of the MBA journey.



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