Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting Ready for Business School

I am finally in Evanston, IL and getting ready for the exciting life of a B-School student at Kellogg. Some exciting(?) things happened during this time...

The Move

I hate moving. Period. Moving within the same city is hard enough. Moving cross country is torture. Especially when you have movers like I had. I researched and compared prices on self-moving options like Budget and U-Haul; moving pod services like and full-service movers. I found some pretty reasonable movers like Nationwide relocation (also known as and signed up with them. As per the contract, I gave them a certain estimated weight, and would finally pay according to the actual weight moved. My estimated weight needed to cover the actual weight, as the cost for overages would be very high.

My first mistake was not researching the company. BIG MISTAKE. Just google the name, and look at all the links from the second result onwards. You would know just why.

Nationwide relocation is a broker that works with local transport companies. In my case, the move was assigned to Express Movers LLC. They scheduled my move for the 29th, with 30th as backup date. Around the 26th, they called confirming the 29th as the date, and said that they would call later with the exact time.

i hadn't heard back from them by the 28th, so I called them. They said that something had come up, and they were going to pick me up on the 30th instead. This was the first sign of trouble. When exactly were they going to inform me that they were going to come a day later?

On 29th, after several calls to both Nationwide Relocation and Express Movers, I was given a time of 8 AM to 10 AM EST. In the evening of the 29th, the time changed to 'morning.' On 29th, it kept changing to late afternoon, early evening, 10 pm etc, until the movers showed up at 11:30 PM. 11:30 PM - who moves at that time? The person managing the office told me that the truck broke down, they needed to get a new team for me from Connecticut etc. etc. When the movers showed up, I asked them what had happened. They said calmly - oh we were just scheduled to do too many moves today!

Next comes the minor matter of the delivery. I did not expect to see my stuff for a week or so. I called in to check on the 3rd, to see when I would receive it. I was supposed to be given a 48 hour notice so that I could book the freight elevator and the loading dock that my apartment complex provides. I was told that they would get back to me with a time very soon. The lady did get back to me with a time - two hours from then!

I was out of town, so somehow arranged my wife to go to the apartment and receive the stuff. When I asked how much I owed, I was asked to pay according to the moving estimate. Why so, I asked? Had the stuff not been weighed, as promised, as as per DOT Rules? I was told that I would get the refund later, and while they had weighed the stuff, they did not know the weight. Confused?

My hands were tied. I paid them the estimated amount, but with a credit card. Once my stuff was delivered, I disputed the charge, until I get the final weight and amount owed. Several emails and calls to the moving companies has not resulted in any response so far. I continue to fight..

The only saving grace of the move? My stuff came in undamaged. I totally expected the expenses glasses gifted by dear friends and family for my wedding to be shattered. All came in one piece. Phew!

Settling Down

Moving is followed by another dreadful experience; unpacking. I have spent a lot of time on that, but now have started going out to see Chicago, meet my future classmates, and generally have fun. It is exciting getting to know people from all sorts of background coming to B School. A lot of my peers seem to be from the Bay Area. I heard that Kellogg has a very strong alumni presence there; I am glad, as I do plan to pursue a career in the technology industry and there aren't many locations more exciting than Silicon Valley for that!

Leaving my Job

Tomorrow also marks my last day at my job, at the same company that I joined right out of undergrad, and where I have worked for seven years. I would miss the people, the work environment, the travel, and especially the paycheck :) But the transition is exciting, and I look forward to filling this blog with more Kellogg experiences!

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