Friday, December 29, 2006

A Year in the Life

I'm having a moment right now. Last december, almost to the day, I was sitting in this very same cafe in Waltham! And, everything seems oddly similar - I'm a full-time student, excited about school, excited more about going back to start another quarter, can't seem to find the time(or is it motivation?) to blog, don't know what I'll be doing come summer ... and yet, a year has whizzed by so fast. Wow. Time's a flyin'. It's time to sit down and take stock of the year past. So, here's my great, not-so-great and oddly-enough list.

Great
* The top of this list has to be the friends I have made at the GSB. There was a time during my first quarter when I was doubting if I had made the right choice to go to b-school, because the people seemed so, I don't know. But, over the year, I have gotten to know very many really cool and interesting people who are unique in their own way. And, I don't have to be someone I'm not around them.

* Some of my classes. I decided to roll the dice and take Prof. Meadow's Commercializing Innovation during my first quarter with no background in any of the 5 pre-reqs for the course. Looking back, it is probably the single greatest class I have ever taken. It was a ton-load of work, but I couldn't have asked for a better all-round introduction to every facet of business education. As an added bonus, I also had great team-mates and probably the only class that really fulfilled the promise of one 'learning' from the people in their group.

I have also come to realize that it's not so much the course matter as it is the professors who teach them that matters. For me, the holy grail is to understand how to think about a problem, not necessarily if I got the right answer for that particular case. And, there are some professors that enable this more than others. Since the GSB allows, within very loose bounds, the ability to choose classes right from day one, I've chosen mostly very good professors, but still some stand out as especially awesome. I should blog separately about the other classes I've enjoyed mucho.

* DSAC. I am a student GA on the Admissions Committe this year, and read applications and interviewed applicants this past quarter. I was asked during my interview for the position why I wanted to do this, and, though sappy, I said that it was the single best way I could contribute to the school. I really think it is, and every time I read an application, I am reminded of the responsibility it entails. A few posts on my thoughts for applicants should be forthcoming.

* ChiBus. My time as the editor-at-large (go figure :) of the GSB newspaper has been kick-ass. I've enjoyed working with the entire team, writing for the publication (having prospective students come up to me and tell me they loved my articles :), and it's been a great way to get at the 'pulse' (and gossip!!) around the school.

* The I-house. Well, I've written much about my time there, but it is quite possibly the best thing going on the U of C campus.

Not-so-Great
* The top of this list has to be the friends I had before I moved to the GSB. I am so bummed that I've been so caught up in the madness of the experience here that I have neglected to keep in touch with many awesome people. It's definitely on my new year resolution list (then again, those lists have a way of, well, remaining lists. damn.) The whole MBA thing is fine, but not at the cost of losing touch with everything that came before. Need to work on that one.

* Recruiting. I hate it. Every statistic shows that most MBA's stick around maybe for a couple of years on average at their first post-MBA job. It seems like an awful lot of purported 'fit-finding' on the part of companies that, I quite frankly, find a little overwhelming. But, it is what it is, I guess.

* I wish I had seen and experienced more of Chicago. I guess it's a case of 'well, it's going to be there, what's the hurry', but time's a running out now. It's quite sad that I haven't gotten around to seeing more of the awesome theater, museums, live music, parks etc that this really great city has to offer. I really like Chicago, it's the kind of city that I feel grows on you, and I hope to more fully experience it before I leave.

* Last, but most definitely not the least, Me. I had hoped that I would change some things about me, especially when it comes to time management and commitments, during my time here. That hasn't happened and I am entirely to blame. I must sincerely apologize to those who have encountered frustrations on my account. I am truly sorry.

Oddly Enough
* The herd mentality. It is pretty huge at b-school. I saw that in my classmates when we got here, and I can see that in the first-years now. I guess I won't really understand it.

* Recruiting. OK, I need to take one more dig. I was recently talking with friends about the offers people got, and there were more than a few What?'s. I never really thought about it, but a lot of people turn into someone else when they put on a suit and walk into an interview room or recruiting event. It is actually a skill, adapting to the situation and people you are talking with. But, once you spend a year at school, you get to know who they are when they are in jeans. And, I wonder what the companies are looking for - the person in the suit? I guess they have no real way to find out otherwise. Anyways.

* 41 and counting. One of the questions I get most often from prospectives is about the lack of cohorts and its impact on creating a community. I, for one, have found this system to have a lot of benefits. After my first quarter, I decided that I was not going to repeat people in my study groups - for good or worse. And, it's generally turned out to be a cool thing. I have worked with 41 different people so far. And, I have learned a lot. There are many I'd love to work with anytime, and a few I'd never hire. I can't think of another opportunity I'll have to get such a cross section of teamwork experiences.

* Chibus. Oddly enough, working at the newspaper has also made the GSB more personal. One of the great perks of the post is that the newspaper has its own office in the basement. It is small, window-less, and messy - in stark contrast to the immaculately clean, almost corporate, Hyde Park Center. Having an own little 'space' in the building has made it much less of walking in and out of a building every day. I've hung out there, worked, have my stuff lying around - and even caught a few naps. Oh, and did newspaper stuff :-)

* Why MBA? The oddest thing of all is that, almost a two years since I submitted my application, I find myself truer to the things I wrote down in my essays! I think the GSB is really an environment, in large part, where things are questioned, and the status quo not easily digested - I could say, post haste, that the mascot essay I wrote was not without basis. And, I hadn't talked much about my long-and-short term goals, well, because in part I didn't really know, and in part, I wanted the experience to inform my path. I think I might actually be headed towards an entrepreneurial type of situation, which is what, well, I wrote about. I guess the point I'm trying to convince myself of is that the GSB was the right place for me. Of course, it was the only place that would accept me, so ... :-)

* Oh, recruiting, one last time. So, I interviewed with some consulting firms, and the recruiter from the Mickey D's of that world called to inform me of the bad news after my second round interviews. Her opening words: "All of us felt that you will be a successful entrepreneur and make millions some day." For once, I'd like to believe a consultant's recommendation :-)

Anyways, that's all I've got. Hope everyone had a fab holiday season and here's wishing a grander 2007. Now, i have to go and get ready for a 1000-mile drive from Boston to Chicago. Sounds like I'm just moving there for school, yeah. Like I said, some things don't seem to have changed.

Bye Bye 2006. You've been good.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Le Voyageur said...

Word.

29 December, 2006 18:28  
Anonymous sorebrek said...

The best way to know the person in a suit is to get her to take it off. I want to see that in your "Great" section next year, same time.

29 December, 2006 20:48  
Blogger shmoo said...

Good summation. About the 41 and counting- what I often tell prospectives who ask is that even though we don't have cohorts, we do change study groups for each course (which most schools do not). So you end up forming a group with 1-2 people you know pretty well, but 2-4 you don't. Just last quarter I worked with 7 (seven!) people I barely knew, if at all, before the quarter, and only three I knew pretty well. And this is without a "no repeats" rule.

Hope to see you back here for new year's or, if not, in the new year. One issue to go!

29 December, 2006 23:08  
Blogger Forrest Gump said...

that was a pretty good post, albeit after a long time i guess. wishing you a good 07 as well!

07 January, 2007 11:05  

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