Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. In fact, I think I like it better than Christmas. It's a perfect combination of wonderful things. I have a ton of things to be thankful for and they all seem to come together on Thanksgiving. From my annual "night out" with my crew last night, to spending the day strapping on the ole' feedbag with my entire family both in Frankfort and in Naperville - I get to spend lots of time with the people that matter most to me.

The other part of Thanksgiving that I like is the traditions. From the family, to the food, to the weekend cutting down of the Christmas Tree - it's all fantastic fun. While all of those traditions were started without me and I'm simply a participant, there's one tradition that I've started that makes me enjoy Thanksgiving morning. While most Americans are tuning into Matt Lauer and Al Roker to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, at my place we're watching The Last Waltz - and watching it LOUD!

I'd tell you that you should be doing the same, but I've already done that in years past!
juice.jpgHow ‘bout the Illini, eh? Taking down then #1 OSU and having an improbable run to possibly 9 wins after back-to-back rebuilding years. I couldn’t be more proud to be an an alum of both the program and the university. The program appears to have turned a corner, and with all the talent that’s starting to pile up down the road on I-57, we should be a force in the Big Ten for many years. This doesn’t appear to be a fluke (like the 2001 Sugar Bowl was).

All that stands in the Illini’s way from a New Years Day Bowl Game and possible BCS bid are the Wildcats from Northwestern this Saturday. Should be a slam dunk win for the Illini, no? It should.

I’ll be going nuts, rooting for the boys from Champaign-Urbana, right?


Not so fast.

What? Am I questioning my allegiances? Sorta.

At age 29, with a day job that I love and a fiancé pursuing her PhD full-time, the time couldn’t be more right for me to head back to school and get an advanced degree. Earlier this fall, I applied to a few part-time MBA programs around town and was excited to be admitted to both at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management – my two top schools. After much deliberation, discussion, research, and a bit of hemming-and-hawing, I have finally settled on attending Kellogg. The decision wasn’t so much “against” the University of Chicago, as it was “for” Kellogg and Northwestern.

kellogg_logo_home2.gifThey’re both highly respected programs (and I’m honored to be admitted to both), but at the end of my evaluation, the program at Kellogg seems like a better fit both professionally and personally. I’ll be working towards a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship and the team-based environment and real world curriculum will allow me to maximize my time in the classroom. I’ve thought and thought and thought about this decision – it certainly is a big one – and with the help of Equation Boy/Man and Natalie’s dad, I think I made the proper one. Equation Boy/Man helped me more than I can ever have hoped for. I am very grateful for his assistance, advice, and dirty rushing.

There are plenty of other people who helped me through the process including Rick, Tom, Natalie, my Dad, and Patrick. I couldn’t have done all of this and made a decision without their help and for that, I’m extremely grateful.

It’s a 2-3 year commitment, but one that should set a strong foundation professionally for me in the years to come. Balancing work, travel, school, a new marriage, and social time will certainly be difficult, but it is a challenge I’m up for tackling. I have a few more significant changes planned personally, but I’ll save those for another post. Today, I’m celebrating my admission to a new school – and being a Wildcat! Orientation at Kellogg is coming up soon, so I’ll have to get my purple gear from the bookstore in the coming weeks and get registered for classes soon.

So…will I be wearing one of those silly “split” jerseys like Brady Quinn’s sister did last year on Saturday? Half orange, half purple?

No way. I know where my roots are…