Friday, November 12, 2004

Too much of a coincidence... 

You know you've gotta give it to the faculty here at SOM. I've often heard fellow MBA students talk about how the profs for their different classes really don't know what the students are learning in the rest of the classes. While this may not seem relevant and a necessary thing to do for the most part, it can help when you are taking core classes and certain topics seem to overlap.

So case in point this week has been Regression." Aah, the very sound of it is so unappetising. So today (Thursday) we had classes from 2;40 - 5:30pm -- pretty shitty timing for a Thursday evening. What's more, every Thursday we have Happy Hours just down the corridor, starting at 4pm. So there's this brave lot of jolly folks sitting in a classroom going through the motions of Statistics, followed by a healthy dose of Finance.

Today was one of those Thursdays -- started of with our lovely Indian prof. talking about Regression and really trying to get us excited about it -- I've gotta give him an "A" for effort, or to use some SOM lingo "Proficient." He tried to challenge our intellect by uttering more "beta not" and "beta ones" in a sentence than the parts of speech -- then he kicked it up a notch and talked about "R squared" and finally if that wasn't enough for us eager beavers, he launched into the virtues of "Adjusted R squared." -- wow!! talk about feeling really really dumb at the end of it all (next week I get to prove this when I attempt the HW on regression!).

Soon after the Indian prof. we had our smooth-talking Brit Finance Prof saunter into class (break between classes - 10 minutes with the previous prof having gone over by 5 mins) -- no sweat! So the dude starts of by wondering aloud if we have actually studied Regression!! (sneaky little fellow I must say!) -- how much pain do these profs really want us to endure -- in fact right before class started I had ambled up to him and suggested that we be allowed to get a "few cans" of beer into class just so that we could get into the whole school spirit as well!! He smiled at me and that was it.... oh well...

So in Finance, the prof mixed up CAPM theory with Regression and once again a healthy flow of Betas flowed through our veins (he actually spared us by mixing it up a bit with some alpha!!). At the end of it all though, he ended class with a few anecdotes that made the class seem like really fun (Again....what a sneaky little fellow!!)....

And that was the end of my work week....

All too often I get emails asking me to describe a day as an MBA student....well the above is an account of one critical aspect of it -- nothing sexy or path-breaking about it...some plain old grunt work....the inherent essence of a lot of MBA programs..

I'm back to New York tomorrow for another round of song and dance with a few I-Banking firms. I ventured into the world of mock interviews this week -- quite an eye opener -- realized that I could bullshit as well as I could earlier -- just need to focus more on the content now!! -- they actuallly ask follow-up questions in interviews now -- how very unfair!!!

Off to catch some zzzzzzzzzzzzs......:)

Friday, November 05, 2004

Happenings over the last 3 weeks.... 

Mid Terms : They came, they saw, and they conquered! Exams started on a Monday and ended on Friday with one exam per day. Second years got the entire week off!! Can't wait till next year!

Here's how I fared -- of course no grades at SOM means I don't feel obliged to reveal my performance! ;)

Stats: Suprisingly my worst exam. I guess getting an A+ in undergrad didn't really help here!
Finance: This went pretty well and was probably one of my best exams
Econ: Man, this is one of those classes where I really do want to understand what's going on but the exam would not suggest any sort of comprehension from my end!
Accounting: The biggest suprise of all as the exam was actually difficult
Strategic Env. of Mgmt -- This was a blow-off class -- people were drinking and partying the night before!

Some quick observations about exams as an MBA student:
More informational interviews please....: New York has become my second home. In the last 7 weeks, there's only been one week when I haven't made it out to NYC on a Friday. I'm trying to get an internship in IB over the summer. Now, for those not familiar with this field you really need to build relationships with various members of the recruiting team by attending all the corporate presentations, workshops hosted by companies, office hours, and setting up informational interviews in New York....
It's a hell of a lot of work and I'm a little concerned that I am limiting myself to about 10-12 firms (maybe that's a sufficient no. and I'm just getting paranoid)
The good thing though is that I could open up my own Kwik-i-Mart of pens, folders, and random colorful brochures!

New Classes:
SOM has a 2-session system. What this means is that in the first semester we actually end up taking 9-10 subjects over the semester. The mid-terms marked the end of 3 subjects and so we have new subjects now. The second session is moving significantly faster than the first one with a lot of material to cover in a short period of time.

Changing Attitude of Classmates: I think the mid-terms "devirginized" all of us. It's interesting to see how since the mid-terms I find a set of students who just don't prepare for class anymore. Then there is another set of students who performed very well and so some of them do tend to be a little arrogant (or maybe I am just insecure about my performance!). And then there is another group (like me) that is trying to extract 26 hours out of a 24 hour work day, basking in the illusion that we can study very hard, attend all the corporate presentations stuff, and be active members of student groups, and go out and party, and have a personal life with our significant others........sure......just like Bush has an IQ of 160....

Finally, it's been a lot of fun interacting with potential applicants who have been visiting SOM. My Econ prof has a very cool rule about this -- whenever he finds guests in his class, he asks them to stand up and introduce themselves and then the entire class gives the guests a warm round of applause!! How cool is that!

Anyhow, in keeping with my 2 month tradition, I am going to now prepare for a trip to NYC tomorrow. Tomorrow I visit Citigroup with 50 other classmates. Hopefully they'll have good food and the panel discussions will be short!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

...And while the students are taking exams 

The profs are keeping busy through meaningful dialogue....

Meet some of our senior esteemed faculty at SOM...


So so wierd...

Monday, October 18, 2004


In 1 hour I'll be sitting in a classroom with a few hundred fellow comrades wondering why the hell I'm paying $120K to subject myself to the sheer mental brutality of mid-terms....4.5 years is the gap between the last mid-term and this one....so one mid-term a day for the next 5 days.

The great thing though is that the unlike undergrad years, the admin actually sympathizes with us during exam time and has been sending encouraging emails, asking us to hang in there!! Funny! Also, they have coffee and breakfast for us every morning should we choose to indulge! To top it off, once we get done with stuff on Friday at 12 pm, the school has booked a bar for us right after the exam, to go and get sloshed! -- of course food and drinks are sponsored by our lovely SOM! It feels good to FINALLY see where a portion of that $120 K is going!

Happy birthday madrishi....welcome to the "old boys" club!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Is SOM too academic? 

Last evening as I sat around with my study group discussing the ins and outs of our Finance HW, we started talking about the general atmoshpere in school around mid-terms. For the last week or so I had been feeling that people in this school take studies too seriously....meaning the average classmate is so worried about mid-terms that the standard response I had been hearing was "oh, I'll get involved in more stuff after mid-terms..." But the truth is that as soon as mid-terms get over we begin session 2 and things will get pretty hectic again..

The bottomline is that business school does not offer a breather too often. So in such an environment understanding what you want out of the experience and consequently prioritizing and selecting your activities on a daily basis takes on even more importance.

Anyhow, getting back to my study group, other members of my study group shared my views on this matter. It's just so wierd...here we are, a school that has no freaking grades, and yet the average student is so immersed in it and worried about getting a distinction...you wonder how that really matters considering recruiters are not even allowed to see our transcripts...People could argue that performance in class reflects your understanding of the material and stuf....uhm, that still not good enough a reason in my eyes.

Business school is about mixing up studies with socializing, extracurriculars...it's a journey of self-exploration for many people... we have a vast sea of resources at our disposal and the objective over here from day 1 is to learn learn learn....and keep yourself as the centerpiece of that learning...

Unfortunately, looking at many of my classmates I wonder if they are just floating along or if they really even have a compass and rudder to steer their boats...

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