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Friday, May 15, 2009

Ludwig Prandtl is Confused

Sorry for my continued failure to post things... I've just been dealing with this whole going to Germany thing (and my stitches came out on one side of my mouth tonight, so my damnable gums are killing me) in terms of booking flights and everything else. Part of the everything else is figuring out just what is going on over on the other side of the Atlantic, because it turns out my rejection letter for the Prandtl internship was possibly sent by mistake and I actually did get the official summer fellowship.

Of course, these failures of communication do happen even to the best of organizations. While talking to my girlfriend's dad about this kerfuffle, he told me a story about a friend of his from years ago (I have no idea what her name was, so I'll call her Sally) whose company decided she was worth grooming for upper management. Thus, Sally's company sent her off to Harvard or MIT to get an MBA (I actually forget which of the two schools they sent her to since both were mentioned in this conversation... anyway, both are impressive, prestigious, and damn expensive, so it really doesn't matter which it was). While she was at school, however, a bump in the market led to corporate cutbacks and Sally's whole department got laid off. Of course, the powers that be had no intention of laying Sally off, because she really wasn't part of the department anymore (she was, after all, coming back as a businesswoman rather than a lowly engineer). She was still listed as part of the department, though, while they waited for her successful completion of the MBA program, so whatever HR person got charged with executing the lay-offs went ahead and sent her the standard good-bye package. As ill luck would have it, Sally received her couriered and highly official looking dismissal package on the eve of the weekend, meaning an entire 72 hours went by before she was able to contact anyone to actually find out what the hell was going on. I imagine that must have been a pretty horrible weekend, because not only did it make her wonder if she had a job to go back to, it also called into question whether or not anyone was planning on continuing to foot the presumably hefty scholastic bill Sally was wracking up at her expensively impressive business school. Of course, things turned out fine in the end when Sally was finally able to contact her company's head office and find out she wasn't being laid off.

While I doubt the same set of corporate machinations played into my own situation of both acceptance and rejection, there certainly are a number of perfectly plausible possibilities more suited to an academic setting. Thus I am not lacking in resigned understanding, but I still would really like to know just what is going on. Anyway, I'm fairly confident things will turn out well in the end, but for now I am going to retire the topic until everything is actually sorted out. I will let everyone know what is happening once things are actually finalized.