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Fridays From the Frontline: Divergent Paths

forkThe following is a guest post from Naija MBA Gal that was originally published on her blog. Naija MBA Gal is a consultant specializing in risk assurance at one of the big consulting firms, and she is planning to attend the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago in Fall 2015. You can follow Naija MBA Gal’s application journey on her blog

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
 Robert Frost

So which is the road less travelled? I don’t know but I’ll tell you the two roads.

On the first hand is what you already know, Booth. I’ve paid my admission deposits and gotten almost completely prepared mentally. The financial preparation is well underway too with a late fellowship from Booth and several external funding options being explored. I’d like to beg add here, that anyone that knows any fellowships available to international/female students please please please let me know. All funding is appreciated, like they say in my place s*** money na money (‘na’ means ‘is’).

Additionally, I have drafted what I hope is my high-level budget for my MBA and was able to squeeze out over 3,000 for trips (not including the random walk), Now to get the rent sorted out so that I can scrape even more into my ‘savings’. I still intend to live by myself – in a studio it costs more but I think my sanity will be worth it. I really need my alone time but also need to live in the midst of a majority of my classmates. *sigh*, I’ll post the budget in another post and possibly have one dedicated to the whole rental process.

Also I have started my visa processing, well, almost. I have decided on the type of visa I want but I have to wait for the financial aid office to finalize the loan thing (memo to self: send a mail to financial aid office today).

I have also reached out to my undergraduate institution to send my transcript to Booth, just have to follow-up to ensure it gets done.

So you see, plans are well and truly underway 🙂 . Which brings me to road number 2.

Its our annual performance review period (this is the first and major reason I’m still working, I want this promotion badly. It’ll be the perfect topping on the cake for me) and while discussing my rather outstanding performance this year (I think getting admitted had something to do with this), my director asked me if I was still planning to get my MBA this year and being a very honest fellow, I told him I was. We then proceeded to talk about the schools I applied to, the admission process and why I chose to drop off Sloan’s waitlist.

After all of this talk, he had a proposition: defer my MBA for a year and get a fast-track career, including the opportunity to come back at a more senior level and the possibility of making partner with the firm. Sounded like everything I wanted to hear TWO years ago!

I promised to think about it but in all honesty, I already knew Booth did not offer deferrals which I told him subsequently after a ‘sufficient’ period of time. And he made a small amendment to the proposition – get an exec MBA beginning two years from now, approved time-off to go to classes as required without any impact on my career or pay-cut. So I get the next seven days to think about this and get back to him.

OK, So I know I really want my MBA but I also really want a great career. Someone (from another firm) recently told me “you’re good at what you do and when you’re good, you’re good”, this was in response to me saying I did not want to get back into consulting when I was being offered a position after my MBA. Now, I’m forced to think more thoroughly about whether I want to get back into consulting or not because if there is any chance that I would get back in the sector then throwing away a position that people seek for after their MBA makes no sense at all. I plan to use the next seven days to think about this.

So the choice really at this point is: Do I plan to go back to consulting or not? That is the divergent road before me right now.

The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.Elizabeth Gilbert