Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The most "HBS day" ever

Hi all,

Back for another one of my totally random and too infrequent posts ... I wanted to write this Monday night but the crunch of papers, finals, and, well, sleep has kept me from writing until now. I finished my 4 (yes FOUR) classes on Monday with a huge smile on my face and feeling like I had the most "HBS day" ever! In each of the 4 classes we had a rocking visitor, and it's these sorts of connections (either through profs, or by being the case protagonist, or an alum, or whatever) that I feel are really unique to HBS.

1) Managing International Trade and Investment - this is a class about learning how to operate a firm in a global economy. Because of everything that is going on, our professor did an awesome job at revamping the last few days of the term to discuss the current crisis. On Monday we had Shumeet Banerji, the CEO of Booz & Co., come talk to and with us about how the crisis is affecting international trade!

2) Investment Management - this class is exactly what it sounds like - learning about how Hedge Funds, Mutual funds, Money Managers, Institutions, etc. invest. On Monday we were learning about Vanguard, the crazy awesome fund that has the lowest fees of anyone out there and almost $1 trillion under management. And who do we get to come to class? The CEO of Vanguard, Jack Brennan (he is stepping down after 12 years, but I'm not sure effective when). This guy is arguably the manager of the biggest fund in the world and he's so down to earth, excited to talk with us and hear our points of view.

3) Private Equity Finance - another class where you can probably guess what it is about. Basically we learn everything from beginning to end about PE deals - sourcing, structure, value addition, exit, etc. On Monday we were studying W.L. Ross & Co. and the decision of whether to sell his fund or not. For those of you who don't know, W.L. Ross is known as the guy that basically turned around the entire steel industry in the US. In class we don't have somebody from his firm, but Mr. W.L. Ross himself. Are you kidding me? Jaw dropping.

4) Authentic Leadership Development - this is a very unique, introspective class where you spend the term exploring who you really are, what experiences have defined you and how you can use your authentic self to be the best leader you can be. On Monday we were studying DaVita, one of the most impactful dialysis companies in the world. And who do we have in class? Of course the CEO Kent Thiry. Kent is quite a character, with so much energy and passion for what he does.

It was just so awe inspiring to have 4 classes with 4 business leaders taking the time out of their crazy schedules to come talk to us. It just continues to humble me and amaze me that I get to experience this, I honestly feel so fortunate everyday. I sometimes wonder if they did it all as a ploy to get people more appreciative before finals ;)

Other than that life is good! A few random points:
1) I can't believe I only have 1 semester left! Remember when we were all just applying? So sad!
2) For winter break I will be going to New Zealand with the outdoors club. It's going to be SO awesome! Sea kayaking, heli biking, bungee jumping (maybe), sea kayaking and camping on the beach ... yes, yes and yes
3) It is almost time for the Class of 2011 to be admitted. Seriously? Wow. My Co-Pres and I just wrote a letter to go into all the welcome packets and we get to address at Admit weekend, super fun but so sad that it is all so close!
4) There is an HBS special on CNBC on September 17th, which I'm stoked to watch. They taped our Orientation speech, which may make it, but I'm more stoked to see my section-mate Spence who they chose to be one of the students they shadowed.
5) Hope you all have a great and safe and happy holiday season! I know I'm ready for a break!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

First Year Trips, Best Internship Ever and Welcome to the new HBS RCs!

Hi again,

A new post only a week later, you're proud aren't you? Ok, so updates on Africa, my summer internship and welcomes for the class to come ...

Africa
One of the most amazing things about business school is the trips. They are put on by people from the regions we travel to and it's just so convenient. You pay your money and everything is taken care of - lodging, internal travel, safaris, food, etc. This was especially awesome in places of the world where I would have no idea what to do. I decided to go to Africa because it has been a lifetime dream of mine to make it over there. We went to Tanzania (including the island of Zanzibar) and Kenya. If you haven't been to Africa, you must go. Like now. Seeing the places we visited was like going back in time 200 years. We saw untouched landscapes and everywhere elephants were living with zebras, with warthogs, with lions, with flamingos, with gazelles, with baboons, with hippos, etc. Like a real life Lion King. Parents - don't take your kids to the zoo, take them to the real deal in Africa. We also got to see a true Masai tribe, which was awesome. It was great to see how preserved their culture and way of life is. We were supposed to spend 2 days in Nairobi learning about businesses and non-profits in Africa, but this was when the violence was at it's highest so most of us left early. I had the most amazing time, both because of the what I saw, and how well I got to know people who were on this trip with me!

Best Summer Internship Ever
This summer I'm working at one of the Big 3 Consulting firms and, honestly, having the time of my life. Coming from industry into consulting is a huge change both in scope of work and day-to-day life and I love it. My work now is much more fast-paced and (theoretically - given that it's a summer internship) more impactful, which I love. I also love the firm I joined, it's the perfect fit for me. I've said this a lot, but I think when you get down to it, the big 3 are actually very different from each other in terms of personality, work and travel. I love the people I work with and am glad to see a lot of them everyday of the week. My team has been great too and did a wonderful job in carving out a specific piece of work for me. I've been lucky to present to and work directly with our client and feel like I am getting a real experience of what a full-time job here would be like. Far and away, however, the best part of my summer is the class of MBA students that I am interning with. Each one of us is so different from one another and it's nice to learn about people from schools all over the country. I feel like I've found a company I could be really happy at and a group of people that I will be friends with for a long time to come. Seriously, I'm so grateful to have my life.

Welcome to the HBS MBA Class of 2010!
Hi new RCs! Welcome!! I think I said this a few posts ago, but I am so jealous of the position you are in. I wish I could be starting my HBS experience and still have 2 years to go of it! My Co-Pres and I will be at your kickoff speech so I'm excited to meet some of you that day. I thought I'd write out a few things I wish I had known before I started at HBS. They may be somewhat helpful, or not, but at least they are out there. Also, feel free to write me (agirlsmba@gmail.com) with any questions, concerns, etc. you have about starting, I love to help out! Ok, so things I wish I had known (this list will probably continue for a while):

1. Think about and know what you want out of school before coming - There are always too many things to do to fit into one day, and you'll have to know what you truly want out of your experience to make sure you pick the right thing. Whether it is being a Baker Scholar, seeing all the wonderful speakers you can, networking/getting to know your fellow classmates, leading a club or group at school or whatever, just think about it and remember it when making daily (sometimes hourly) tradeoffs.

2. Don't stress out too much about grades - One big difference between 1st term and 2nd term RCs is how much people stress about grades. You'll realize in December that 80% of your section gets 2s in each class, and a 2 is a 2 is a 2, it doesn't matter whether you are the top 2 or the bottom 2. My personal opinion is that business school has so much to offer that focusing too much on classes makes you miss out on so many other experiences you could be having.

3. Do focus hard on getting a job - One of the best things about HBS is that they don't let recruiters come on campus until November. Do take the first 2 months of school to focus on classes and cases and don't worry about the job thing. However, once recruiting starts, make sure you do focus and figure out what you want. Go to presentations, talk to recruiters and find out what jobs are really like. From what I saw, those who had a difficult job search were those who weren't focused enough and tried to recruit for everything. Figure out your industry and then build relationships, prepare your heart out for the interviews and give it your best.

4. Get to know your Section early and well - One of the biggest facts about HBS is that students' satisfaction with life at HBS is highly correlated with how much they like their section experience. From day one make an effort to get to know these people, not just their jobs or schools, but who they really are. If no one else does it, set up the first drinks night or a few early section lunches where each person talks about him/herself. Believe me, people will be grateful you did. and if you really want to impact your section experience, run for social chair. It's a ton of work, but you really define and bring together this group of people.

5. Set up a system with your Learning Team (LT) early and review it regularly - Your LT is a group of 5-6 people from different sections that you meet with early in the morning before classes each day to review cases. Early on, make sure you set expectations that everyone can agree to - writeups or not? If so, format and when should they be sent out? Time and place to meet and tolerance for lateness? Should the group be strictly business or social as well? What are norms for dealing with difficult situations that will inevitably arise? ... Once you set all these take time each month to do a debrief of how the team is working together and whether things need to be change. It sounds "touchy feely" and over the top but I think LT is actually more useful as an exercise in group dynamics than prep for cases. Maybe I be crazy, but I heart my LT.

6. Random things I can think of -
- Priscilla Ball will be a key bonding event for your section, and quite possibly the funniest thing you have ever seen. If your section can coordinate a choreographed dance and perform it that night, all the other sections will be jealous.
- You will spend more time at Tommy Doyle's, Daedelus, RedLine, The Hong Kong (yes, the kong) and the Cambridge IHOP than you even would want to as an undergrad
- Section Retreat is amazing, 2 days in a random place are super fun and super bonding. Make sure your section books a place before officers are elected in October ... otherwise you may miss out on the best houses
- Go to the SABA (South Asian Business Association) show in the fall ... it always sells out Burden Auditorium and this year people were lined up outside trying to get in any way they could, you will be amazed by the talent and energy of the performers
- Go to Sankofa (put on by the African American Student Union) ... again in Burden and such a great demonstration of talent and culture, you will be in awe of your fellow students
- Go to the HBS Show ... a satirical musical poking fun at the school. Again, did I mention people at HBS are crazy talented?
- The sushi at Spangler is great, just make sure you sprint out of class to get there before the line is miles long at lunch
- The yogurt/granola/pineapple parfaits are my favorite breakfast. Ever.
- If you eat dinner at The Grille the salmon with lemon flavoring can't be beat.
- Order a Section Fleece. It's like the Class Ring of HBS.
- Try to get into Boston every so often, school can be all-consuming but there is a great city beyond our campus
- Get ready to feel like you are in college again - beirut, flip cup and hanging out with people ALL the time
- and mostly, be fluid. You are in for the ride of your life, sometimes getting drunk at 1pm and then having a snowball fight the day before the Marketing final is worth it. And sometimes you may stay up until 4am finishing a business plan. Whatever it is, be ready to be up for anything.

Ok wow, longest post ever ... if you are still reading now, you are less ADD than I am! Hopefully another post soon :)

Always,

AGirlsMBA

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Slowest ... poster .... ever ... but I'm "back"!

Hi all,

Wow, it's been a long time. I always say it, but it's true, school and now my internship have taken over my life. But, reading the MBA blogs out there for the first time in a few months has gotten me back on track ... there are SO many things to talk about regarding the last 12 months (quite easily the best year of my life) so I'm assuming the next few posts will just be random-ness about school and work ... enjoy!

2nd Term!

So as I've said many, many times before, I really do believe HBS is the best place on Earth. The 2nd semester flew by, probably even faster than the first. I tried to take a moment each day just to smile and be thankful for all the people I was surrounded by and all that I was getting to do, because I truly am quite fortunate to be able to live the life I do. Classes as a whole were interesting and quite different from first term. We took Finance 2; Business, Government and the International Economy; Strategy (BGIE); The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM); Negotiation and Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA), all of which were interested and quite integrative across various business concepts. We had a variety of professors, but by far our favorite was for TEM. He was entertaining, caring, intelligent and challenged us everyday to think about the core aspects of startup ventures. Can't ask for much more. Another cool thing was that our LCA professor used to be the Finance Minister of a prominent country up through 2007 - who ever thought little old me would be learning from a big wig like him?

Section!
Man, how can I sum up the Section experience? After starting off strong we continued momentum through the end of the year, and when I think of next year and not having every class with this family (2nd year at HBS is all electives with a mix of people) I get a little nervous and super sad. I believe that having so many jokes and friendships in the class truly made us learn better and be more open about our experiences. For the last day I made a video including memories and compliments from and for all the students in the section and after we showed it, many people (including boys!) were crying. That was one of the moments I knew we had created something extraordinary. This summer we kicked off an "email a day" (as many sections do) to keep in touch ... basically everyday 1-2 people write the section updating everyone on what they have been doing all summer ... it's been a wonderful way to keep in touch ... and to continue to poke fun at each other.

School Co-President!

By far, the most humbling thing to happen to me this term was to be elected Co-President of the HBS Student Body with one of my fellow classmates. I made the decision to run at the last minute (not shocking to those who followed my bschool application process) and literally submitted my name an hour before the deadline. We ran against 3 other teams and after posters, visits to different sections, a debate and lots of emails we were lucky to win! Months later, I still can't believe it's true, and in a weird way I feel like it validates my admissions to HBS (I guess they really DO want me here, ha). My coolest moment all year came off this win. My Co-Pres and I found out on a Thursday night that we had won. I had been at a play with my Section, so we went to a pub and a club after to celebrate. The next day, Friday, we had class (ha we aren't like slacker bschools and actually have class 5 days a week! kidding...). The first class was BGIE and about halfway through I raised my hand to make a comment. As soon as I started talking the entire class started cheering and stood up and yelled and screamed for me. The moment literally brought me to tears, as having the support and pride of 89 of the smartest, most successful, amazing people was more than I have ever felt. I truly believe that only at HBS are sections this close. Anyway, the job has been super busy but super fun so far. It's so awesome to get an inside view of how HBS really runs and to be able to represent our fellow students to the higher-ups. Hopefully, we'll make everyone proud!

Ok, that's a lot for now, there's lots more to write about ... and it will come soon enough. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my fellow blogging friends :)

Always,

AGirlsMBA

To Come:
Africa and Costa Rica!
Interning at the best company EVER!
Admits/Next Year

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Welcome to the Round 1 HBS Admits!

Congratulations to the new admits for the Class of 2010! You are in for one amazing ride ... enjoy this day, as it's one you will truly never forget.

I can't believe there's a whole new crop of people already! I feel like I just started here and I never want it to end.

If any admits need advice or have questions feel free to send my way. Congrats again!