Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crazy little thing called FOAM

F.O.A.M. = Friends of Arjay Miller.

F.O.A.M. = Stanford GSB Tuesday night drinking club (with occasional dance-off).

F.O.A.M. = annual 12-hour trip to Vegas in 1970's garb.

F.O.A.M. = one of the quickest ways I know to spend $190 (cost of annual membership).

F.O.A.M. = the reason I am exhausted and hungover in my Wednesday morning Leadership Lab session (to be discussed in a later post).

...and on that note, to bed I go.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Campus is Crowded: "Week 1"

Today was the official first day of classes for the entire MBA program, so our once cozy community of first-year MBAs has now been invaded by our second-year counterparts. All of a sudden, it's not quite as easy to wander up to a group of students and start chatting with them because they might be--gasp--second years.

As I previously mention, last week ("Week 0") was entirely filled with an organization behavior module and an accounting module, plus a half a dozen info sessions/meetings. Now, we are getting down to business with the classes of the quarter:

Managerial Finance
Strategic Leadership and Leadership Labs
Organizational Behavior
Global Context of Management
Critical Analytical Thinking ("CAT")

All of our classes, except finance, are taken with the same section or sub-group from the section. Stanford divides finance into three levels--base, accelerated, and advanced--based on some kind of algorithm.

I don't know much about any of the classes, except CAT. CAT is a written and oral communication class that spans seven weeks of the quarter. Each week, we have to write a paper (different topics, different structures, different modes of argument) and then defend it in class. Paper is due Wednesday; discussion is Friday. That is what I will be working on for the next two days. See you on the flip side.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Sting

During week 0 (last week), we had an organizational behavior module on working in groups and teams. The syllabus clearly indicated that 90% of our grade would be based on class participation (about half of which would be determined by our peers), so naturally, many hands were raised during the duration of the class discussions. My hand was often one of those.

However, after a couple classes and a discussion of what constitutes a valuable comment/question, I began to curtail my participation. I tried to "move the conversation forward" with any comments I did offer. I offered no more than 1-2 comments/questions per class from Wednesday onward. However, in the back of my mind, I worried that my first two days of eager hand-raising had already been indelibly marked on my classmates' brains.

Now, we are being asked to rate each of 10 randomly-assigned classmates from 1 to 10 and if we desire, to provide a comment. I was clicking around in the website and discovered that you can view any feedback about you that has been submitted already; so far, I have received a 5 and a 2 and one of the raters offered his/her opinion that I was participating only because of the required participation component. Ouch.

I cannot tell you how deflated I feel right now. I know that need to develop a thicker skin if I'm going to get through this program (let alone progress in my career), but I am a person who cares deeply about what other people think of me and just those two numbers and that brief comment jotted down have been enough to pull me down today. I am enervated. How is it possible that I have been in classes for only one week?

Monday, September 14, 2009

GSB Class of 2011 Facts & FIgures

Straight from the mouth of Derrick Bolton during today's MBA program welcome session:

Class of 2011 class profile/admissions information--
Admit rate = 6.7% (lowest ever if memory serves)
Class size = 384 (biggest ever I think)
Average GPA = 3.68
Average GMAT = 727

That's all I could store in my capacity-constrained memory.

Otherwise, first day went smoothly--met some people in my section, took an interesting organizational behavior class and a boring accounting class. Now I've got to sign off to do some reading.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Week minus-1

Stanford calls the first week for MBA1s "week zero," so I have deemed the week before that week, "week minus-one." Week minus-one consists of moving to Palo Alto (check), settling in at your new dwelling (check minus), running all kinds of Stanford errands--e.g., getting an ID, buying textbooks, setting up your computer, picking up schedule and course readers, and getting a parking pass (check minus). Week minus-one also means socializing... at least I think it does.

There are many events that are organized by 2nd years and based on what I've been hearing in passing, there are many impromptu outings, lunches, dinners, and cocktail hours. I opted out of the organized events because this week has been hectic enough and I figured that the Stanford socializing would begin in earnest once school starts on Monday. But I wasn't expecting to be so left out of the more casual events. I blame my cluelessness on the fact that I do not live among other business school students; I live off campus.

Maybe now is a good time to explain the housing options for MBA1s at Stanford. Most everyone, it seems, live on campus. First choice across the board is Schwab, the first-year MBA dorm. If you're not among the 200 or so MBA1s to land a spot there (remember our total class is only ~360), you will likely live in Munger, the brand new grad student dorms that house students from all the Stanford graduate programs. I'm not really sure who, besides myself and any married students, lives off campus. I do not regret my decision to live off campus for numerous reasons (space, privacy, ability to live with my non-Stanford significant other, easy access to non-university resources like grocery stores, etc), but I don't think I realized how much additional effort I would need to make to connect with my class. Anyway, with classes starting tomorrow, I'm sure I won't feel quite so isolated.

Doing my finance homework now. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Short post

California drivers suck.