Friday, July 29, 2011

Boston VS. Dallas

Everyone said that it would be quite the culture shock moving from Dallas to Boston. Here are a few of the differences...
Brashleigh in Boston

Brashleigh in Texas (at the Rodeo no less!)

Many of the differences between Dallas and Boston have been the differences in 'creature comforts'. These ended up being total non-issues. We moved from a house to a ~500 sq ft dorm apartment and love it! My classes and Brad's office are both right across the street. The longest part of our commutes is the elevator ride down 20 floors. Tough life, I know! :-)

House in Dallas

Dorm Life in Boston

Yes, our place is a bit smaller but the view more than makes up for it!

Another creature comfort that it turns out you don't actually need is three cars! Now we ride the "T" (Boston's subway system), use zipcar and get our groceries delivered (since there isn't a grocery store in walking distance). Sometimes we use our homeless cart to walk 3 miles to Target. Okay, we actually only did that once. :-)

Transportation in Dallas

Transportation in Boston

One of the biggest differences in Boston is that I no longer earn a salary; now I pay someone else to let me work! The transition back to school was much better than I expected. One of the best things about no longer working in consulting is that I don't have to travel all week for work. I love being home and getting to cook Brad dinner every night!

Brad has had a transition as well from working for Mustang Technology Group, a defense contractor, to working for Acorn Product Development, a mechanical engineering design consulting firm. Brad was blessed with TWO job offers within a week of us moving here. Everyone at MIT told us he wouldn't have trouble finding a job. We just had no idea how quickly the jobs would come. It was a huge blessing that he was able to start working just days after I started school!

Food was a large concern when moving here because we LOVE tex-mex. We rapidly replaced our weekly mexican meal with the North End's Italian food (including Mike's Pastry's cannoli!!). It is SOOO good!!! 

Delicious Mexican at Joe T. Garcias in Fort Worth- literally the best mexican food in Texas.

Italian food and cannolis in the North End- yummmm!!
Another food obsession that we have is Chick-fil-a. I was so sad during our last lunch at Chick-fil-a in Dallas the day before we moved. BUT it turns out they have a Chick-fil-a right next to one of Brad's clients (30 miles outside the city). In Dallas we dressed up every year as cows to get a day of free meals (we would go for breakfast, lunch AND dinner!). Brad was still able to dress-up for Cow Appreciation Day last month and he brought food back to campus for me. Yay for a little bit of the South up in North! 
Chickfila in Dallas

Chickfila in Boston

Churches in the South seem to be slightly different from the churches in the North in both quantity and size. Our church home in Dallas had 10,000 members and has started a $115 million dollar building campaign. Our church home in Boston has 300 members and has services in a building that is 100+ years old. Both are great bodies of believers whose goal is to glorify Christ!

First Baptist Church of Dallas

 Hope Fellowship

I'm a big runner and I have had a pretty big upgrade in running scenery. I typically ran the Katy Trail in Dallas with my amazing running partner Melanie. I realllllly miss her accountability to run in the morning and her entertaining life stories. Running over and around the Charles river has been pretty nice though!

Katy Trail in Dallas

Charles River running trail

Georgia Tech Alumni
We had a great community of Georgia Tech Alumni in Dallas. We loved being on the exec team and knew we would miss our North Texas club. However, it turns out several of my closest friends from Tech have moved up to Boston since graduation. I love hanging out with friends that I've had since  before freshman year!!
North Texas Georgia Tech Alumni Club

 GT Friends in Boston

We miss our friends in Dallas terribly but absolutely love the friends we've made so far in Boston. Starting school with a group of 50 intelligent, fun-loving, and super nice individuals (plus all their S.O.'s (significant others)!) has immensely helped the transition to Boston. I'm excited to see the relationships that develop over the next two years!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goodbye Dallas!

Brad graduated from Georgia Tech with his Masters in Mechanical Engineering in May so we decided to throw him a graduation party that also ended up functioning as a chance for us to say goodbye to our friends. We decided to throw this party the Saturday before moving (this was stupid/awesome). Our good friends Allison & Joey Dean drove up from Houston to spend the day with us and helped us throw the party. They were such life savers!
Before the party, we got to have one last glorious lunch at Chuy's (a delicious Tex-Mex restaurant in dangerous walking distance from our house). Maggie, Chris and Jacob Bryant were able to join us for lunch and hang out for the afternoon!

The party that night was a great success. It was so wonderful spending the last Saturday in Texas surrounded by friends. We are going to miss everyone so much over the next two years! We feel so blessed for the community that we had in Dallas. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Introduction / Why LGO

Hi! My name is Ashleigh Range and I'm a student at MIT in the Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program. I recently moved from Dallas, Texas where for four years I worked as a management consultant at Alvarez & Marsal (better known for their restructuring work at Lehman Bros). I enjoyed my time working at A&M (especially the people with whom I had the opportunity to work) but did not want to be a career consultant. I applied to LGO hoping to transition out of consulting and into an 'industry' job (as they call it in the consulting world). 

I remember first learning about LGO a year and a half ago and *literally* jumping for joy. I was so excited that such a perfect program existed. It combined both my engineering background and desire for an MBA with a focus on manufacturing and operations (where I wanted my career to head). The program's close relationship with partner companies gives students a fabulous network for recruiting when graduating, meaningful internship projects, and a significant fellowship ($$$). I originally thought I would want to look at Harvard/Stanford (sent my GMAT scores there), but after learning more and more about LGO, I realized this was the absolute perfect program for me. 

I told you- *literally* jumping for joy over LGO!

When applying last fall, my husband (Brad) and I really didn't think I had a chance based on the acceptance rates and the fact that it was MIT engineering, Sloan (the #3 b-school), and pretty much free. We decided to take the application process one step at time- 1) take the gmat, see if I get over a certain score, 2) visit LGO for Ambassador Day and see if we were still interested, 3) apply and see if I get an interview, 4) interview and see if I get accepted, 5) if I got accepted, pray like CRAZY for guidance. 

Miraculously all the hurdles were crossed but that surprisingly was only half the battle. Once I was accepted, deciding to come was a ridiculously hard decision. For the majority of accepted students, coming to LGO is a no-brainer. For the two most indecisive people in the world (brad&me), this was a very tough choice. Our life in Dallas was going SO very well. Brad and I were excelling at our jobs and had built up our reputations/equity at our awesome companies. We had just finished decorating our beautiful home that we had only lived in for two years. My parents were in the process of moving from Florida to Dallas. We had developed close relationships with our sunday school class at church, our co-workers, the GT area alumni, and neighbors. Essentially staying in Dallas would have been wonderful. 
My dad and I in front of Brad's and my 1928 tudor home in the M-streets

So 24 hours before the deposit was due we were still completely 50/50 about the decision! We had been praying 24/7 and seeking God's will throughout the whole process and ultimately we felt like He was calling us to go to Boston. I think everyone thought we were nuts. Why would we quit our two amazing jobs, leave our friends, all our personal belongings and move 1800 miles away? It took a ton of faith to put the deposit down and tell our employers, family, and friends that we were leaving. Now, after being in Boston for 8 weeks, I can already say that it was one of the best decisions of our lives. Brad and I could not be happier and God has provided in every way imaginable. Praise the Lord!

"Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them!" - Psalm 107:31

Monday, July 11, 2011

LGO Begins!

I'm going to have to play catch up on this whole blogging thing because it is 6 weeks into the program now and this is my first post. Lots of great things have happened in the first month(+) so I'm going to do my best to go back and give some of the highlights of all that has happened thus far...