Monday, April 26, 2010


“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” -Samuel Johnson

Well, in that case, I'm going to have a jolly good time studying at London Business School (LBS) the next two years.  Yep, it's true.  Come August, I'm packing up and moving to what's always been my favorite city to visit.  So much has happened in the past year, and I don't understand why or how the course of events have led to this juncture.  But, I have to tell myself that God is in control.

It all started last summer.  When asked, "what would you do if you could do anything?", my answer was and will always be "to teach."  Specifically, at the college level.  With my research done and Statement of Purpose in hand, I couldn't pull the trigger on Ph.D. applications. 

That setback allowed me to pursue another path however.  I was fortunate to be selected for the J. Wayne Stark Northeast trip when I was a junior at Texas A&M.  This was an eye-opening experience for me visiting to the top MBA and law programs in the nation.  And I knew that I would like to pursue a similar education one day.

Next came the GMAT, which was a royal pain. I specifically remember taking it, walking out excited about my score, and then absentmindedly bashing my car into a pole in the parking garage when reversing. Oops! Applying to business school is expensive, and this only added to that tab. Haha! I was OK, the car was fixed, and everything worked out.

Once the school visits, GMAT, applications, interviews, and anticipation were over, I had the problem of deciding where to go.  It's a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.  It's funny...the things you think about when applying to business school can morph on the other side.  I never thought I'd actually go to LBS when I submitted my application.  But, things change.  Reflecting back on my 26 years, I've marched to my own drummer and taken the road less traveled.  I have nothing but respect for all the schools I applied to, and I'm going to follow my heart to London.  I consider myself a citizen of this world, so it's fitting to have this opportunity to study in what's commonly regarded as the capital of the world.

This decision was made at the 11th hour, and I'm announcing it now.  It's exciting, humbling, and a little scary at the moment.  In three months, I will be homeless, friendless, penniless, and jobless.  While I love to travel, I've never lived outside of Texas.  And, moving to a new country to study adds much more complexity than had I stayed here in the States.  New visa standards, new cell phone, the nightmare of finding a flat in London, new student lending regulations, etc. are adding to my anxiety.  Think of all the hoops we make foreigners jump through in the US.  Now imagine being that person. 

I once read that it's only when we operate at the edge of our limits can we exceed them.  It's so true.  The immediate example that pops to mind is this crazy weightlifting regimen I started last summer to get stronger.  The first time I could only bench the bar four times.  Now, I can handle four sets of 15 (2x decline, 2x regular)!  That saying stuck with me, and I'm adopting it as my M.O.

I predict that LBS is going to be a transformational experience.  It makes me giddy.  LBS is truly international (91% of students come from outside the UK).  My classmate Kunil sent out a voluntary online survey to round II admits and published the results. 
  • In the 104 responses, we have 62 countries represented.  Unreal.
  • 25% female - that's going to make finding Prince Charming much easier :)
  • The average age (28) is two years older than me.  I was the youngest in my graduate program at Texas A&M, so this aspect won't be new to me.
And, I get to live in London.  As a gift from the school, I received a Lonely Planet guide to London.  Time to bring out the highlighters and start marking it up!


  1. Congrats on the decision Payal. The b-school application process was an arduous one...but it's over and the fun part begins.

    When will you move?

  2. Oh my goodness, you are my first commenter, Kyle! I'm new to blogging, I didn't even know you could do that...

    I'm moving in August. You?