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!