Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Debate team tryout

Tonight I auditioned for the Yale SOM debate team, which is a four-member team that does two debates during the year: a highly anticipated round against a team from Harvard Business School, conducted the night before the Yale-Harvard football game (in November), and a less anticipated debate between first- and second-year SOM students.

For the tryout, we each formed teams and had to rather quickly come up with arguments on topics we didn't know ahead of time. The ones my team got were "Michael Vick should be banned from the NFL," for which we were pro, and "Spreadsheet Modeling should remain part of the first-year core curriculum," for which we were con. It was really fun to do, and I would love to do the real debate, although that topic will be on some sort of current events business matter, and that makes me a bit nervous. But preparing would probably be a benefit in and of itself. We'll see. They'll announce who made callbacks tomorrow morning; then those people do another round of tryouts tomorrow.

For those who might not know, I have a long history with public speaking. I did debate in high school, then coached a high school team while I was in college, then judged at high school tournaments when I was working in Corpus Christi, then was pretty involved in Toastmasters in Fort Worth and Dallas. So it's an activity I've always loved. I could go on and on and on forever about why, but basically I feel debate brought me out of my shell, taught me how to form arguments and think critically, helped me become a better writer, gave me tools to see contentious issues from both sides, and it was a butt-load of fun.

The debate team is part of the Public Speaking Club.

You can't have too many Frescas going at once

Which Fresca's the new Fresca?I'm frequently asked for the secret to how I'm able to maintain such a friendly, energetic, refreshed demeanor in the face of the spirit-crushing stress of graduate school. Fresca. That's what I tell them.

What you see on the table beside the couch is typical -- three Fresca cans of various fullness and various temperatures. Who knows their story. I probably cracked Fresca 1 open when I came home yesterday, worked on another later last night ... and I know I had one with breakfast this morning! It's my version of water, and it's why my skin has the vitamin-rich glow of grapefruit.

For people who've never tried Fresca -- or, heaven forbid, tried it and don't care for it, although I can't imagine such boorish people would be reading this blog -- I would encourage you to give it a try. It's the rare, perhaps only, diet soda that really does taste like a regular soda. In fact I drank it as a kid without knowing it was a diet soda; had I known it was diet, I probably wouldn't have tried it. There is no such thing as Diet Fresca, or Non-Diet Fresca ... there's just Fresca, naturally calorie-free and refreshing.

Oh, the refreshment! It goes well with every meal, and any occasion. Some mix it with vodka or other liquors, although I prefer to keep the taste untainted. It's like some sort of magical nectar. AND it comes in three wonderful flavors: original citrus (grapefruit), peach, and black cherry. I love them all, but am a loyal fan of the original.

Question: Have you ever seen a commercial for Fresca? I can't say I have. Not sure why, but I love that I can attribute my adoration of Fresca solely to the Fresca itself, and not some mind-bending ad campaign. But why wouldn't Fresca want to get the name out and compete with, say, Diet Dr Pepper, which claims to taste more like regular Dr Pepper? Fresca tastes more like Regular Fresca because it is, after all, the only Fresca there is. And Fresca is a Coca-Cola product ... not like they don't have the money for advertisement.

I just realized that perhaps I should shoot to be the brand manager for Fresca. After all, it seems the job doesn't involve much except getting Fresca into people's mouths and letting them make up their own minds. Speaking of that, read this Onion article.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Go team! Specifically, Yale.

Here are some photographs from my weekend. All were taken by me except the scooter rally, taken by Matt Sturdevant.

Yale vs. Cornell, Sept. 26, 2009 It's game time -- Yale vs. Cornell, at the Yale Bowl in New Haven. It seats about 65,000, although on this particular Saturday afternoon it seated far fewer.

Mike Gannon It was MBA candidate Mike Gannon's idea to attend the football game. He's brilliant.

Football, a sport in the United States. Go athletes!

This is $1 worth of hot dog at the Yale Bowl If someone offered to sell you this bite of hot dog for $1, would you buy it? Of course not! But we did. Small, wimpy hot dogs were $4 apiece.

Matt + Susan My bestie Matt was in town for the weekend. Here he is with his lady friend, my roommate, Susan.

A scooter rally at Nica's We enjoyed breakfast at Nica's, as did people participating in a scooter rally.

Susan and John, roommates forever, or for a while. I'm barely in this blog, so here's an example of what I look like in the morning before a shower, having a breakfast sandwich at the corner store. I'm on the right.

Susan and Matt in the rain. On Sunday, it rained. Here's Susan and Matt.

Friday, September 25, 2009

First final

The DMV in inactionIn mere moments, my fellow first-years and I will have access to our Spreadsheet Modeling final exam, which must be completed within 24 hours. A previous e-mail about it suggests it will not be long, though. But I'm hanging around to get a look at it before I scoot off to the DMV, where I need to spend the next several hours becoming a Connecticut resident.

John, why, you might wonder, must you go to the DMV today? What a boring question, with a boring answer. To park in my 'hood, one needs a sticker in one's car. I have The Sticker, but it expires Sept. 30. I got a renewal form in the mail, but it specified that I could renew only if I were now a Connecticut resident, and otherwise I needed to go back downtown and stand in lots and lots of lines. It also happens that one is supposed to get a Connecticut license within 30 days of moving here. It also happens that my Texas plates expire at the end of October. So the stars are all lined up, and I can put it off no longer.

Why is the DMV such a disaster? Or, really, why is the DMV a real place? In these modern times, with our Nintendo and MTV and polio vaccines, we should be able to go online and check a box to do this. Instead I have to take 1,600 documents to some building miles away and stand in lines for hours. Hours, I might add, during which I could be working on my exam, enhancing my knowledge and ability to be a better leader for business and society (Yale SOM's mission). So, world, you'll have a slightly less capable leader, because of the GD DMV.

Meanwhile, my buddy Matt, who is my roommate's boyfriend, is in town for the weekend. Fun'll be in store.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm two degrees from The Girls Next Door

Today I attended a talk by the former president of media at Playboy, Bob Meyers. It was sponsoed by what's called the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance, one of Yale SOM's "centers of excellence" whose moniker I had memorized for the tours I help lead. Anyway, the point is that because the Millstein Center put it on, the topic was indeed corporate governance, so we learned about the very bizarre and interesting struggle within Playboy between the 70% stakeholder (Heff), his now-former CEO daughter (Christie), and the board. On one hand, there are some who want to see the brand pursue new opportunities and expand and modernize. And then there's Hugh Hefner, who seems to soak up as many perks as possible while maintaining full control of the magazine as his vanity project. Not a recipe for success.

I also learned that Playboy really isn't that huge of a company. To illustrate that point, Meyers used the room we were in as an example, saying if the room represents GE, then one little section of the room is NBC, and therefore a can of Diet Coke is MSNBC ... and MSNBC is still bigger than Playboy. Guess that makes sense. Playboy is certainly big in reputation, but it's not like I've ever heard of somebody actually reading a Playboy, or watching the Playboy Channel. Everybody stole one when they were 11, and that's about it.

Bugs Bunny and Elmer FuddYou might think the presentation was boob-free, but that wasn't true. A cocky schmo came in late, walked directly in front of Mr. Meyers at the podium, and then during the Q&A asked accusatorily, "Do you think porn contributes anything positive to society?" Not a bad question, but a totally inappropriate question for a prominent person we've invited to campus. I don't know who the guy was; he's definitely not an SOM first-year.

In other news, I had my first meeting with my CDO (Career Development Office) "relationship manager" today, which as far as I can tell is a fancy way of saying "particularly good guidance counselor," and she had lots of helpful advice. She suggested (and is not the first to do so) that I should look into brand management and/or market research, since they are fields that might combine my journalism-related skills with my love of statistics and math. I also met today with my former probability professor to talk about the same sorts of things -- careers that involve probability and statistics. One is market research. I think that could be a real possibility ...

The idea of entering the business world in the media industry is looking less and less appealing. I think journalism tasks will always be in demand, but I'm not convinced that the large companies that have traditionally run the show will continue to do so with the same degree of influence. In fact it looks like they already aren't, as Mr. Meyers of Playboy confirmed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reject the null hypothesis, because it's too controlling

Here's a quick look at my non-class commitments this week, to give you an idea of what an MBA's non-academic but school-affiliated life is like in his fifth week of school:

Monday: Went to a Marketing Club meeting from 4-5, where second-years gave an overview of different marketing careers and what they're like.

Tuesday: In addition to my three classes, I'm meeting with some of my team members to discuss an upcoming econ problem set, due Friday. Then I have a group tea with the dean from 4:15-5:15, which I'm hoping might wind down a little earlier because Tom Brokaw is giving a talk on the future of journalism, starting at 5. I will sprint from one to the other, even though I probably should just back out of the tea.

Wednesday: I have my first career advising appointment with my "relationship manager" in the Career Development Office. I'm going to talk to her about internship and career ideas. Also Wednesday is a lecture from Bob Meyers, former president of Playboy Enterprises, entitled "Corporate Governance Seen from the Playboy Mansion." I mean, who could miss such a thing?

Thursday: It's my day to give tours to prospective students during lunch. Then in the evening is a boutique consulting networking night, but I'm not convinced I will attend.

Friday: There's an afternoon Myers-Briggs workshop, although I have to go to the DMV that morning to become a Connecticut resident, so I'll only attend this time-permitting.

In addition to these outside-of-class activities, it's a rather massive week for assignments: a Statistics problem set (done), two Accounting homeworks (50% done), an Econ case preparation and a problem set (gulp), a 3-5 page paper for Careers (done), a take-home final exam for Spreadsheet Modeling (haven't yet received) and ... could that be all? Eh, that's not so bad.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

To-do list: 1. Make to-do list

Garfield Minus GarfieldI encourage jpmatsom readers, both of them, to visit garfieldminusgarfield.net.

Since I'm making a to-do list anyway, I figured I might as well share it, because some people may care about a typical Sunday in the life of an SOM student, or this student at least.

1. Make a healthy breakfast. Done. I do this every day because when I do not do it, my mind turns to do-do, even more so than when I do do it.

2. Get my resume in shape. Check. I have my first appointment in the Career Development Office (CDO) this week. When you make an appointment online, they request that you send your resume. One of the challenges of having been a journalist is that it's hard to quantify my brilliant accomplishments; it's not like I can say I brought in new clients, or had a direct impact on revenue, or contributed to human life on this planet in some meaningful way. But thanks to the Internet and the way it enables the measuring of audience, I can at least note the swells in viewership on sites I worked on.

3. Submit Spreadsheet Modeling homework. I'm finished with it, but I'd like to call up a classmate or two and just run through what I did to make sure I'm not completely on Mars.

4. Find out if there's still vomit in the elevator. If not, I will consider hauling my clothes down to the basement and doing laundry. If the vomit remains, I'll procrastinate that chore until somebody does something. (Initiative schminitiative.)

5. Catch up on economics. The homework's not due till Friday, but in the last couple classes I've been a wee bit lost, so this is a good day to block aside four hours and read/re-read some material so that when I do begin the problem set, I might have some idea of what's happening.

6. Play the piano. This is a nice 30-minute break from business school stuff; I do it most days when I come home for lunch. It's relaxing without being mind-numbing. And it contributes to my immense popularity* in my building.

7. Continue my Reflected Best Self paper. For our Careers class, we're doing a project called Reflected Best Self. For it, I was to solicit feedback from friends and former colleagues to get their opinions about times I was at my best. My contributors include my first boss, my oldest friend, my mom, my old high school debate coach and a couple co-workers. Now that I've read the feedback, I am supposed to identify trends that run through the comments and see if I can use them to create a profile of a well-suited work environment for me. So far I've concluded that people seem to think I am creative and social, which runs counter to my dream of doing mathematical analysis in isolation. Whoops.

Me likey cookie.8. Eat a cookie. My roommate threw a party Friday night, and thus we have cookies. I can't let them go to waste.

9. Do the Accounting reading and homework. It's not due till Tuesday, but I'm feeling frisky!

10. Start the Statistics homework. We have problem sets in Statistics due every Wednesday evening. It doesn't look very hard, which is to say it doesn't look different from what I did over the summer, except that we're supposed to use data analysis software that I ain't understand.

That's probably an ambitious Sunday. Fortunately, because Spreadsheet Modeling is over, I have but one class on Mondays, from 8:15-9:35. So when I end up only doing 60% of what's on this list, I can have some spillover room.

*I may not be particularly popular in my building, but at least I don't vomit in the elevator much.

Friday, September 18, 2009

So that's what a clambake is

The Place
The Place
John and Mike
The Place
The Place
The Place

There's a place in Guilford, Connecticut, where happiness happens. It's called the Place, and it's a real clambake. You bring your own booze, and whatever else you might want, and sit on some stumps with your business-school classmates*. Then you order things like shrimp, clams, bluefish and corn, and these items get thrown onto a grill. Then it comes out piping hot, you eat it up, and you are incredibly happy. And even though it's still technically summer, you can see your breath.

Before that, you go to an LGBT reception, and afterward, you go to the graduate school bar, where you're starting to realize and appreciate just how many people you've met. That's one super awesome thing about GPSCY (that bar, pronounced gypsy); in normal working life, you go out to a bar with your friends, and you sit at a table with those friends, and talk to those friends, and leave with those friends. That's fun, but it's also kind of nifty to be able to go to a place like GPSCY on a Thusrday night and know you're going to encounter a sea of friendly familiar faces, and that you'll have plenty to talk about with the people attached to these faces, since you all do the same things all day. I'd say that, overall, despite the occasional worry or confusion or frustration, life here has been awfully wonderful.
*Small world, but one of the fellow SOM-ers with whom I clambaked, it turns out, lived about a mile from me in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas. Ain't that something?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Annie Le thoughts

A few people have asked what it's like on campus in light of the Annie Le homicide. Well, not great, although SOM (the School of Management, where I go) and the School of Medicine (SOM2?) are on opposite ends of the campus. So everything I've learned I've learned from my roommate, who says it's distracting and chaotic over there. But it's looking more and more like this wasn't a random crime, and of course that's a relief ... although the question still remains: How, with all the security, could someone be killed inside a Yale building without any cameras or security catching it?

But as for me and the people I see on a daily basis, I wouldn't say there's been all that much visible impact. A couple women have told me they aren't comfortable working in the building late at night, and to that I say they should never have been comfortable doing that. Go home!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Six things I've learned

I'm paying tens of thousands of dollars for an education but am so generous I will share one free fact I've picked up from each of my classes.

1. Problem Framing: A load-bearing assumption is one whose failure would require a company to make significant changes. For example, a newspaper makes several load-bearing assumptions, such as that people can read.

2. Economics: The supply curve in the short run for a particular factory looks like a stair that goes up, right, up. That's because up to the price at which it should produce anything, it will produce nothing; once it reaches that price, it will produce at full capacity; and once it hits that capacity, it can't produce anymore, no matter how much the price goes up.

3. Accounting: The difference between a gain and a revenue is that a gain doesn't come from core operations. So if a baker sells a cake, he earns revenue, and if he sells one of his trucks, he makes a gain.

4. Probability/Statistics: For any normally distributed random variable, 68% of values fall within one standard deviation of the mean.

5. Spreadsheet Modeling: Calculating the expected value of perfect information is relevant not because information is ever perfect but because that value is an upper bound for what one should be willing to spend on any information.

6. Careers: On a resume and in job interviews, one should have a compelling story about one's career that contains the elements of any good story: a protagonist, a catalyst compelling the protagonist to take action, trials and tribulations, a turning point and a resolution.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Latest on Annie Le

My roommate, who has been more of a news consumer than her roommate, says the New Haven Register is doing the finest job of covering the Annie Le story:

NEW HAVEN -- A body believed to be that of missing Yale graduate student Annie Le was found Sunday hidden inside a wall at 10 Amistad St., the building where she was last seen alive.

It was supposed to be the day she would marry her college sweetheart and celebrate at a reception in a tony section of Long Island. ...

Read more here.

Being a massive, hulking, intimidating man, I am not the least bit afraid for my safety. I hope they catch the culprit and learn he had a connection to the victim.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pennsylvania adventure

It sure is a small world. This weekend, I went to Pennsylvania with my friend Mike. We first visited some of his family, including his 7-week old niece, then headed to Easton to attend his friend Ken's 30th birthday party -- a surprise party. Quite swanky. Shoulda taken pictures, as always.

I'd never met Ken before. Oddly, we knew some of the same people, including someone I went to high school with named Emily. Perhaps odder is that I could relate to Ken's surprise-party elation because I was lucky enough to have had a surprise birthday party thrown for me once, by Emily.

A super weekend in all. Mike's great, and his friends and family are also great. And perhaps even greater was that there really wasn't much to do in the way of homework this weekend ... unless I'm totally forgetting about some massive assignment I should have been working on, which is kind of the little spider that's always dangling into my mental circumference.

Got a 98 on my probability exam. Yahoo! Bombed the first econ problem set. Not yahoo. Don't tell my brother and sister-in-law.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's raining, so here's a poem, an update, and a quiz

A cold, rainy summer day in New HavenThe paradisical atmosphere I've come to adore about New Haven has taken the day off. The rain and chill have inspired me to write the following poem:
Woe are we /
who want /
to sit /
beneath a tree.
There are a couple more lines, but I'm a very private person.

Last night's probability/statistics exam was so easy that I only spent half the allotted two hours in a total panic. There were three questions, the first of which had something like eight parts. When I got to the third or fourth part, I got a little confused, and as I tried to find solutions to no avail, and time ticked by, I began to wonder if I would be hauled off by Yale's Stupid People Police, with no tuition refund given. So I put that question aside and moved on to the second and third questions, both of which were pretty straightforward and uncomplicated. With regained confidence, I returned to the first question and, in the end, think I arrived at a reasonable set of answers. The important thing is that it's over, and I'll never be under any pressure to perform academically again, except constantly for two more years.

On the missing-student front, you may have read that a medical grad student here went missing this week. She was supposed to be married Sunday, and she was last seen outside the Yale School of Medicine. That's where Susan, my roommate, goes to school every day of her life. The missing person's name is Annie Le.

Yale SOMMeanwhile, I took a picture in a classroom, for the sake of those who care. This was during a meeting about some of the clubs students can join. Observe. At the bottom of the photo, near the left, you see a black doohickey. It's actually a microphone; so if you're a student and want to say something, you push a little button, and your personal mic comes on. What I've noticed, though, is that the professor has to continuously remind students to use it, because most of us don't necessarily want our silly questions or half-baked answers to boom thunderously throughout the room.

As an upcoming tour guide -- my first tour will be Thursday -- I am to become familiar with a packet of materials about the school. I have learned, or been reminded of, many facts that I will now share, but because I am wild and fun, I will turn it into a true/false quiz. Answers at the end.

1. True or False: Yale Univeresity was founded in 1701 and is the third-oldest university in the United States, but the School of Management was founded in 1976, making it the youngest graduate or professional school at Yale.

2. True or False: New Haven is the first planned city in the United States and is credited as the birthplace of the hamburger, the lollipop and the Erector set.

3. True or False: Yale SOM is the first school to have a loan-forgiveness program for graduates who go into nonprofit work, and it remains among the most generous of any school.

4. True or False: John Metz hates cheese and crackers.

5. True or False: Noted SOM graduates include Indra Nooyi, the president and CEO of PepsiCo, Sandy Urie, president and CEO of Cambridge Associates LLC, and Austin Ligon, first president and CEO of CarMax Inc.

Click here for answers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Will I nail today's exam, or will it nail me?

Now that almost three long weeks have passed since school began, it's clearly time for an exam.

My Probability & Statistics class is divided into two parts, and the former, probability, is drawing to a close. Hence this evening we will have a midterm. Although in our four classes we've had several assignments, this is everybody's first test. I'm glad it's in my favorite subject.

Meanwhile, tragedy is unfolding, in that tonight will be the second consecutive Thursday I am unable to view Project Runway (because the exam is in the evening). That raises the question: Are these painful, nearly unimaginable, sacrifices really worth it?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm going to be a tour guide

Last week I "auditioned" to be a campus tour guide for groups of prospective SOM students. I put that in quotes because the audition didn't entail giving a tour or anything; instead, we each introduced ourselves and shared two fun facts, then, if we were serious about doing this, submitted a few essays. I found out today that I was chosen to be one of, I think, 16-18 or so tour guides. I'm really looking forward to doing this; I think it'll be great fun. And I remember when I visited, much of the impression I took away about SOM came from my tour guide (who also has lunch with the group afterward).

Those who know me well enough to know I have the worst sense of direction ever might wonder why I would want to do this, considering I will inevitably cause the disappearance of several small groups of innocent, motivated people. One reason is that I thought it would be a good way to learn my way around. Soon, I hope to be so familiar with SOM that I can dazzle family and friends with a bounty of fascinating facts. Another reason is that since I'm leaning toward not doing Toastmasters for the time being, I wanted some regular way to keep up with my public speaking.

The training is Thursday, and then there's no time to waste -- tours start next week. Yikes!

Thank God: My chem lab partner is within driving distance

My best friend from high school, Shiri, and her husband and son just moved a couple days ago from Brooklyn to this beautiful house in a town called Scarsdale (photo not by me ... I'm having a hard time remembering to bring my camera when it actually matters).

The move is fantastic for them, and for yours truly. Now, instead of having to spend two hours on the Metro North and then taking various subways and trekking lots-o-blocks, I can just hop on I-95 south, and I'm there in just a little over an hour. Such was the case on Labor Day, when I drove out to Scarsdale for delicious grilled meats and good times.

I've said a version of this before, but it's so wonderful, and still a little strange, to be within a quick drive of people I used to see maybe once a year, like Shiri and my brother. My feelings can best be expressed in this fashion:

I worked pretty hard this weekend, although I ended up not exactly employing my original studying strategy of revisiting every single class. Instead I focused assignments for the upcoming week so that I could get ahead. We'll see if that was the right strategy. Even though I think I did plenty of work, I do have a slight Monday morning nervousness that I'm in for four consecutive days of madness that perhaps could have been prevented. But I did what I did.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weather update

Every day here is so beautiful I cannot stand it.

Northeastern food and drink

I think it's important to discuss that outsiders who come to the Northeast and order a hot dog might be surprised. But pleasantly so, I think.

A recent, wonderful trip to Glenwood Drive-In brought much happiness to me, and my dinner companions, Susan and Dave. I devoured two freakin' huge hot dogs, perfect as any hot dog could be, made all the better thanks to a fantastically fresh array of available toppings.

But hot dogs around here aren't served on the buns to which you might be used. They're wacky, rounded pieces of chewy, thick grilled toast -- sort of like Texas toast, but designed to cradle a hot dog. How I love them.

Glenwood is adjacent to an ice cream place called Kelly's Kone Konnection, the second place (after Ashley's) where I've been impressed by the quality of the homemade ice cream. At least they say it was homemade.

But not everything is as good as it is in, say, Texas. Example: Margaritas. No contest there.

Back to homework.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My favorite tree, for you and me (and ants)

A tree at the top of a hill at Yale SOM.A creepy emo kid in an Oscar-winning movie once said, "There's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, and my heart is just going to cave in." I, on the other hand, just want to sit under a tree, and that is precisely what I have become accustomed to doing. Everybody should plant a tree. Cuz I love me some sittin' under 'em.

And that is my attitude after another action-packed week. Much transpired. I found out I'm going to Australia and met my trip group (all great folks, it seems). I had a very nice dinner with some of Susan's friends, lazing on a porch enjoying grilled chicken and quinoa and wine. I "auditioned" to give tours to prospective students (they didn't call it an audition, but they did say our responses to their questions would determine whether we get selected). Yale SOM had a club fair, and I joined four: Public Speaking, Marketing, Media & Entertainment, and the cumbersomely monikered Q+ Gay/Straight Alliance. Oh, and there was work.

What I learned: I should consider, in the future, doing assignments in order of importance, not chronology.

Although we all had several assignments this week, the one that got the most buzz was the first of three economics problem sets. (Wonder if the dean being our professor had any influence ...) All week, I moved forward diligently with assignments, in order, treating each equally, even if it was just a reading for a "soft" class like Careers. As each day passed, more and more people were discussiHomeworkng the hellish, confusing econ homework. But there never seemed to be time for me to start. Lo and behold it became Thursday evening, and I still hadn't started.

I began with problem #2, since I hadn't heard anyone complaining about it. No sweat. Then I made a pot of coffee and braced myself for the dreaded problem #1. Some sweat ... but a healthy kind of sweat.

But here's my feeling about econ problem sets in an MBA program: Why do we have them? That's not rhetorical. We have them because students learn subjects by being challenged and doing work. Hence, challenging work is assigned. It's not as if they're trying to humiliate us, upset us or kick us out. There aren't even grades here, for Pete's sake. (Pete is kinda the class dolt.) So with that in mind, I just gotta ask, "Why flip your lid about a homework assignment that counts for 10% of a "grade" that isn't even a grade?" And I just gotta suggest, "Think about the questions, try your best to come up with something, type it up and move on. Your high-paying job will still be waiting for your regardless of whether you mastered the economic impacts of boycotts after your first five econ lectures."

Anyway, it's Labor Day weekend, and I've got a few fun plans in the works but am mostly going to try to study. With all the assignments piling up, one thing that gets left behind is studying. You're always working on problems, but never really getting a chance to look back at notes, memorize terms, revisit some readings. So that's my plan this weekend ... starting tomorrow, at least.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hilarious fun fact!

I just read this in my accounting book and couldn't wait to share it with y'all ...

"The direct material, direct labor and manufacturing overhead costs incurred to produce products for sale are product costs, which represent assets transformed from one form to another, as the manufacturing process converts these assets into finished goods. The cost of completed products remains on the balance sheet as Finished Goods assets until the firm sells the products; upon sale, the cost of the assets becomes a cost of goods sold expense."

ROFL! Really, all of Financial Accounting: An Introduction to Concepts, Methods, and Uses by Stickney, Weil, Schipper and Francis is a freakin' hoot.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm going to Australia!

Last week we ranked our preferences for the March 2010 international experience, which is required of all first-year SOM students. I just learned I got my No. 1 choice: Australia! I'm so excited!!

The cool chick

Stuffs One signal I'm getting old is that strings of words come out of my mouth such as: "On Monday I had lunch with a college friend I hadn't seen in over 10 years."

Stephanie (aka Stuffs) and I lived in the same dorm freshman year at Duke and were BFF, then got an apartment together sophomore year, which, in the predictable tradition of naive teenagers who do such things, was a debacle. But we got back in touch a few years ago, and yesterday she was in Connecticut for work and swung by New Haven to take me out to lunch. She looked fantastic; she has two daughters and is married to the same man she was dating back in college. And she's still just about the funniest person alive.

One of the particularly great things about getting together is that she recently earned an MBA at MIT, and that gave us new things in common. She's doing a Leadership Development Program with Stop & Shop (a superior grocery store, from what I've seen around here). An LDP entails rotating through different departments and positions with the intention of going into some kind of management track. She says she loves it.

ApartmentIn other news, I realized I never really posted an "after" photo of my apartment, so enclosed is one here. Susan and I were concerned about space before we moved in, but it looks like we came out just fine, even with using only one of the two "horse stalls" in the basement. I'd thank God for the hall closet, but I think it was probably the architect who is responsible.

I recently learned that several second-year students had summer internships at news and media companies. One student seems to have done precisely what I think I want to do: she interned at Newsweek (whose CEO is an SOM grad) and helped develop their digital/print strategies, and helped conduct an operational review of the editorial production process. Another student did strategic planning and consulting for the Associated Press; other internship destinations included Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, the Educational Broadcasting Corp. and the Corp. for Public Broadcasting. Point being: It's a great comfort to me to see that people in the second-year class are indeed doing the kind of work I've said I wanted to do if indeed such work existed.