Thursday, March 3, 2011

Facing the Rhinoceros

In 1515, the celebrated German printmaker Albrecht Dürer created a woodcut to document one of the most sensationally talked about news stories of the year: the arrival of an Indian rhinoceros in Lisbon. The animal had been shipped to the King of Portugal as a strategic gift in celebration of Portugal's colonial presence in the Indian subcontinent. This was the event that was on everybody's lips, and word quickly made its way across Europe to Dürer in Nuremburg that there was now a rhinoceros in Europe, for the first time in at least 1000 years. However, Dürer was not able to travel to Lisbon to see the animal itself, so instead he created his print based on written descriptions and the sketches of fellow artists. Like a game of telephone, by the time the descriptions arrived in Nuremburg, the rhinoceros' features had been greatly distorted, and Dürer depicts it with a strange combination of reptilian characteristics and a set of armored plates across its back.
Much like Dürer depicting the rhinoceros, The first time I tried to do this post, I failed miserably. I had a whole long six-paragraph post all written ready to submit about about how curating a good art exhibition is like successfully applying to business school, and that the same components of preparation, relationship management, follow-through and sheer luck apply to both scenarios.

However, the more I typed, the more I realized that although I know quite a bit about curating a good exhibit, I know next to nothing about successfully applying to business school. Sure, I could write about what I think probably, maybe, theoretically makes a successful applicant, but who am I to say? And who on earth would want to read a blog post where someone who has no idea writes about a subject matter that she is ignorant about?

So, I'm putting the post on hold. Maybe I'll come back to it in June or July of 2012, when hopefully I'll be getting ready to move to some new town and start my first year of an MBA program. Maybe my hunches will be true, and I'll be able to say, "Aha! I knew all along!" But, more likely, I'll realize that my preliminary impressions on applying to business school were no more than a sixteenth-century rhinoceros print: all lizard scales and metal armor. One day I will have faced the beast in person and will be able to give a first-hand account. Until then, I'll just have to muddle my way through.

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