Archive for September, 2007

the MBA bubble.

September 24th, 2007 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Sometimes I look around at my classmates and I have these moments of clarity — we live in a bubble. We are looking at the outside world, enclosed in a bubble of grades, tests, cases, group projects, stress, panic, and, of course, fun. It’s not all hard work all the time. There are a lot of good times, too.

Last Saturday a group of first-year MBAs went downtown to Dupont Circle. It was good to get away from my leadership paper, my never-ending group project meetings, the cases I’m supposed to have read and analyzed…oh yeah, and the exams. But of course, I got home at 4 a.m. and then got right back up at 10 a.m. so I could get to Van Munching Hall and meet up with my Data, Models & Decisions class. (Side note: this class title is unendingly inconsistent. Sometimes students call it stat, sometimes we call it data, other times it’s DMD…and of course, there’s “Lele”).

I should probably explain that; Dr. Lele teaches the class (no one can pronounce his first name). Dr. Shreevardhan Lele. I can just see him saying, “Call me Shreevardhan.”


post-exam panic.

September 23rd, 2007 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Post-exam panic — not mine — but among my classmates ran high last week. We had our first-ever MBA exams in economics and in accounting. As Professor Sampson said, this is a graduate program, and your tests should be “challenging.” It was difficult. I don’t even want to begin to think about how I did. I prefer to take a test, black out the part of my memory that stores the exam, and receive the test at some unspecified date in the future. (I’m usually surprised at my answers, i.e. “Did I take this test? Is this my handwriting?”).

The accounting test was not nearly as conceptual as I thought it would be. I had reviewed practice problems time and time again, thinking that it might make my life easier…it didn’t. I probably could have saved myself a good deal of time and energy by just reading the textbook. I don’t think I was cut out to be a CPA.

 Last night, I went downtown to Dupont Circle with a bunch of classmates. It’s great to have classmates that are interested in social activities outside the classroom. Now if only I could get a group together to go camping (if we ever have free time)!


week three.

September 17th, 2007 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

It’s week three and I’m already up to my ears in work.

 I guess I didn’t get to write about this yet, but my class of 130-ish is separated ino two tracks, Track 1 and Track 2. It’s basically your cohort for the semester. We’re taking five core classes at the moment – the semester is divided into quarters for us, and two of those classes will switch out next semester. (What’s the lineup? Financial accounting, managerial economics, financial management, data, models, and decisions, and leadership and human capital).

We’re in class Monday through Thursday, with Office of Career Management and MBA Programs Office events on Fridays. In case you were wondering, Monday/Wednesday classes run from 12:30 to 4:20 p.m., and Tuesday classes ate from 2 to 5 p.m., and Thursday is our long day. We have class from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., then 2 to 5 p.m.

Many of my classmates were dismayed to find that we were divided into two cohorts. It was as if someone had cut off their lifelines. We still see the other cohort a great deal. I’m a Track 2-er. Someone in our class put together a Google group for everyone, though, called Track 3. We even had a Track 2 vs. Track 1 kickball game awhile ago. Two guys bet that their track would win the game. What was the bet? The loser got to go to class in a grass skirt and coconut bra.

Two tests this week. We’ll see how it goes.


“welcome to Smith” week.

September 12th, 2007 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

It’s September 12 and school began on August 24. I’ll begin this blog with a “quick and dirty” rundown of the weeks before class, so stay tuned for more details.

Orientation. The word brings me back to my freshman year at The University of Texas at Austin. I was seventeen and frightened out of my mind. So what’s the difference between then and now?

The difference is, the average age of students in my class is 28.5 years. The difference is, orientation wasn’t about keeping an eye on your belongings in the undergraduate library. The difference is, there were something like nine sessions for some 10,000 freshmen at UT-Austin, and one session for some 130 full-time MBA students at Smith. The difference is, no one wears sweatpants/pajama pants/jeans to Full-time MBA Orientation (it’s business casual or formal). And to me, it’s not “full-time MBA orientation,” not like “freshman orientation,” it’s “Full-time MBA Orientation,” with the caps.

I think I’ll forever call full-time MBA orientation “Welcome to Smith Week.” I should’ve counted the number of times my class was welcomed. From the MBA Programs Office staff, to the Office of Career Management career coaches (that’s right, every student gets one), to the Office of External Relations, I heard the words “Welcome to Smith!” more times than I can count on my fingers and toes. (And yes, I do have ten of each).

There was a lot of fun involved, from a “meet and greet” event for spouses and significant others, a Washington Nationals game, and a community service day. But you probably want to know the serious stuff. You can probably guess we spent a lot of time discussing program specifics: what our core curriculum looks like, how much school really costs, when it’s all said and done, what professors we’ll have, and so on. Then we spent a lot of time discussing the all-important career management: what we want to do, where we want to work, how to find the job that we want, when to get an internship, how to make an elevator pitch…anybody nervous yet?

“Welcome to Smith!”