Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Black November's Ray of Light

I've been hearing all about "Black November." As an ignorant international student here at Darden, I thought it pertained to the weather change--the creeping winter evidenced by the sun setting at 5pm and the harsh, chilly air forcing you to stay indoors. And then, I heard about "Black Friday." Back home in the Philippines, this was a holy day for us Catholics, observing the death of Christ. Apparently, this is the biggest sale event of the year here in America. As an American friend says, "this goes to show what our two countries worship."

Finally, I learned what "Black November" meant in the Darden dictionary. Black November is that most dreaded time for first year MBA students. It's when recruitment efforts are intensified as resume drops become due and interview invitations are anxiously awaited, and this on top of an already very rigorous coursework. Obviously, the dreary winter doesn't help ease things ups. So yes, it can't get any blacker than that.

Today, I woke up to rain pounding on my window and an ominously dark sky. I wanted to curl up in bed, warm and dry under my comforter. But of course, there were cases to do and a Marketing simulation class activity to tackle.

About four hours into class, I saw an email notification pop in my screen. The subject noted the name of the company I had interviewed almost a month back at the NSHMBA MBA fair in Chicago. I had been anxiously waiting for word from this company since I knew some final results had already been out. Realizing it was an email, I figured it was a letter of rejection. I'm sure they'd at least give me a call if they were offering me the internship position, I thought. An hour later, I finally forced myself to come to terms with reality. And so, imagine my surprise to see a congratulatory email with an internship offer! I was beyond astonished! I read and re-read the letter at least thrice and triple-checked my name in each page. I just couldn't believe it. Whether it was the power of prayer, talent, or sheer luck, at that very moment, I was just relieved.

Thinking back now, I realize that relief isn't the first emotion I would have expected from myself after reading my very first offer letter. It should have been happiness or joy, right? But see, "relief" is defined as "the feeling that comes when something burdensome is removed." And that was exactly what happened to me. That fear of not having an internship, that fear of not finding a company who will sponsor international students, that fear of finding myself regretting leaving a perfectly great job to venture out and gamble in the MBA realm--these were all lifted somehow. This was my "relief"... my ray of light in the otherwise cold and dreary Black November.

Almost 12 hours after all the excitement, the dust has settled somewhat and I hate to say this but I'm faced with new fears. My letter had said, "Yumiko, we are looking forward to you joining our program. I am sure you will make an important contribution to the success of our company."

Slight panic begins to set. How much value can I add to this 10-12 week internship? Will I be able to apply all these fancy MBA tools that I learned in the actual workplace? Can I prove myself worthy of a full-time job offer? ...And many other crazy thoughts.

Perhaps I should leave these thoughts for another day and enjoy this brief moment of relief (or even joy). After all, it's not often that you wake up to a cold, ominous dark sky and and end up feeling that warmth of sunshine.

To my fellow First Years, here's to your own rays of light in this challenging but temporary Black November. This too shall pass.


  1. Congratulations Yumi! this is WAAAAY too early to get a job so you should be beyond thrilled :)

    And yes, dont read too much into the wordings of the offer letters (or any rejection letters you might get). i think the only purpose they serve is to tell you if you got the job or not. The rest, be it 'you will be a tremendous addition to the organization' or 'you were brilliant but we needed someone else' are just there to make it a letter instead of a one line communication :D

  2. Congrats Yumi! Relax, the hard part is done...you're playing with "house money" now. And way to make the rest of us First Years look lazy ;)

  3. Told you it was all going to work out just a couple days ago, didn't I? ;)

    Damn, I should have gone to NSHMBA...

  4. AHHHAAA!!!!! Congrats :)

    And if someone dares to say "You are lucky" -give them a kick in the back and remind them of all the smart work and effort you put in! :)

  5. Congratulations!!! Reading your blog is really fun and insightful to what life is to an iternational MBA students.