Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm in a Philly mood

Philadelphia Above is my view of Philadelphia, a city in Pennsylvania whose residents will have to deal with me for the next three days. I'm here for a conference, which you'd know if you were a regular reader. See previous postings. I've never been here before ... I think. If I have, it was a long time ago. I'll ask my parents.

It's always nice to get away from New Haven -- nothing personal, New Haven -- but I am missing a couple things this weekend I would like to have attended, such as the spring formal and a CDO (Career Development Office) session on Friday about navigating one's summer internship. But I committed to this conference, and here I am.

It should come as no surprise that this was the quarter I was least cognizant of classes. Call it senioritis, and attribute it in part to the fact there were fewer assignments this quarter than the previous three. But while first quarter I was quite on top of all deadlines and details, this quarter I am much more day-to-day. Since I have a little time here in my room, I did just (finally) look up what's going on, and we really are almost finished. Just two more days of classes and a handful of assignments: A write-up for Managing Marketing Programs due Monday, a write-up for ILP (Integrated Leadership Perspective) due Tuesday, a final group project for Managing Marketing Programs due Friday 5/7, a take-home final for State & Society due Sunday 5/9, a final Innovator group project due Tuesday 5/11. Then I'm free as a bird until my internship starts June 1. Some birds aren't really that free, but I'll be.

Anyway, here is Daryl Hall, finding a classy way of saying he would care for some female company. I wish music were still classy ...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dude, there's my car!

Two identical cars No, you are not seeing double! Well, maybe you are, for all I know. But all I'm saying is that I went to the movies with Mike tonight, only to find my car's twin in the lot -- same exact make, model and color. I see a lot of my car on the road, which naturally is a testament to its endurance. It's a 1997 Nissan Sentra. Had it for more than 10 years, and it still runs just fine.

The movie we saw was How To Train Your Dragon, in 3D. It had a slow start, but I ended up really enjoying it, more than Mike even. It was also hard to ignore the gay themes -- the skinny, crafty, overly sensitive boy who's terrible at sports feels out of place in society and doesn't relate to his uber-masculine Viking father and secretly befriends a sweet dragon with a broken wing. But even beyond that it was great ... very exciting action. You know what I mean.

Just prior, two of my classmates and I gave our "Reporting Out" presentation in State & Society. We were put into groups of people from our International Experience trips (I went to Australia), and our assignment was to write a case and prepare a presentaiton about a company we visited on our trip that had an interesting interaction with state and/or society. We picked BHP Billiton, the mining company, which recently signed a joint venture with Rio Tinto, another mining company, to get themselves some high-quality Western Australian iron ore. But the European Union launched an antitrust investigation with no due date announced. Iron ore is used to make steel, which is in all kinds of things, like cars and buildings.

Before State & Society I went to a meeting for people interested in being admissions interviewers next year. Someone nominated me. They'll take 25% of the applicants/nominees, so it's pretty selective, but I hope I get it ... I think it would be great experience, and good practice for hiring my minions. But if I don't get it, it's not as if I'm under-booked next year.

I spent the evening working on a spreadsheet -- my first of the quarter, sadly! This quarter was much more qualitative than the others, which has meant more class discussion (great!) and fewer assignments (also great!) but also more ambiguity about performance. I might get all Distinctions (top 10%) or all Passes (botton 10%) ... who knows? I'll prolly/hopefully just grab me some Proficients (middle 80%). Who am I trying to impress anyway?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Love Agnes

Click to enlarge

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mid-'90s flashback

video

A gift from Shiri, the girl who ruined Christmas.

I'll take a Dr. No

A Dr. No After an enjoyable day in the park, I had an enjoyable evening of steak followed by a singular cocktail potent enough to do the trick -- a "Dr. No," at 116 Crown, a nice, well-decorated bar and restaurant (with a limited menu) that attracts a range of ages and types, from hip students to older gay couples to groups of confidently dressed young women in tiaras. The drink consists of "miller's gin, zubrówka bisongrass vodka, white lillet - served straight up." Pictured is the tail end of mine.

Downtown New Haven is a funny scene to me. Obviously there are many students, as well as some older professionals. And then you'll turn the corner and see the male cast of "The Jersey Shore" queueing up to enter a club in which everyone will be shot, accompanied often by amply if not authentically breasted women dressed in no more than 14 square centimeters of clothing between them.

On Thursday morning I'm heading to Philadelphia for a regional CCBO (the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce's Council on Chambers & Business Organizations) conference. I'm on the board of CABO, the Connecticut chapter of CCBO, and this is something four of us are doing. My main goal is to try not to start referring to the city as "Philly," because I find that, for whatever reason, maddening.

Anyway, I think these sessions will be especially useful for me because I just joined the board a couple months ago, and when you come into a mission-driven group late, some of the most basic questions are no longer being disussed, such as the topic of the first session at the conference: "Why are LGBT chambers relevant?" I hope the whole weekend offers some focus and perspective that can guide us going forward. Often, in these situations, the details end up taking over.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Time warp in the park

It was just so beautiful today, my friend Dave and I went for a rather long walk/hike through the woods of East Rock Park, something I've been doing more often recently and wish I'd done last fall. If I had my wits about me, that's where I'd go running each morning, but no such wits.

And we ran into this fine gentleman who, like many other fine ladies and gentleman, appeared to prefer retro attire and armament. He was happy to let me take his picture, so I suspect he's not a time-traveling spy.

Last night, my dear friend Mike threw what turned out to be a wonderfully executed party for Q+ members, allies and recently admitted students. And I helped! This was followed by what was supposedly the most fun party of the year at GPSCY, but after helping Mike tidy up I was too tired to go. That's been happening to me a lot lately -- conking out like a loser before 11. Maybe the issue is that I wake up at 6 a.m., or that I'm introverted and therefore find social situations draining. Or that I'm old and lame.

(Yawn) I need a nap.

Friday, April 23, 2010

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So after months and months and months of rejections, frustrations and anxiety, I today was offered my beloved internship at The Associated Press, and I accepted. Oddly, 10 minutes later I was offered another internship ... So it just goes to show how quickly luck can turn around.

I'll be in their New York office working with the Content Licensing team.

Anybody got a spare room in New York for the summer?

Passing gay torches

John Rooney, a second-year homosexual, socializes alongside Michael Gannon, a first-year homosexual. This weekend is "Bulldog Days," which is the new name for Welcome Weekend, a series of orientation-type events for admitted students. Some of those students have not yet decided to enroll at Yale, but most have.

I didn't go to Welcome Weekend last year because I was accepted into the school on April 8, and the event was maybe two weeks later, and I was 1,600 miles away and totally poor. About half the class goes to Welcome Weekend. To be honest, I rarely heard anyone during orientation mention Welcome Weekend except to say, perhaps, that that was where they met their roommate. In other words, it didn't seem to me that half my classmates had sealed some lifelong bonds during Welcome Weekend.

This year, I'm somewhat involved in the other side of Bulldog Days. As one of the two co-leaders of Q+ (the LGBT club at SOM), I'm helping man a table at the Club Fair, then immediately acting as something of a chaperone to a group of students during a scavenger hunt. When I was roped into this (almost literally, in fact), I thought the list of items would be restricted to the campus, which would be easy for me to help with since I give tours every week. Turns out the list also includes things downtown and elsewhere in the city. Hope I don't get everyone hopelessly lost because I am awful with directions.

Tonight there's a big party at GPSCY, the grad-school bar, for the classes of 2010, '11 and '12, which apparently is a really fun event because it's the only time the three groups are really together in a social setting, ever. Oh, I also have two job interviews this morning. Kind of buried the lead there.

Anyway, it's really hitting everyone, I think, that the school year is ending in a couple weeks. More reflection on that is bound to come, but for now, I gotta get ready for these interviews. I am very much looking forward to the day -- soon, I hope -- when I can post about the internship I've finally accepted. Right now I've got about five or six irons in the fire, some hotter than others, and a rather solid opinion about my feelings about those irons. I cannot elaborate just yet, of course.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Springtime in New Haven

One time when I was teaching at KinderCare (summer '98), I shared a fact about a flower with a 5-year-old who, being smarter than I, replied, "Oh! Do you know a lot about botany?"

The answer is no, I don't, but I still think springtime is pretty around New Haven. Fall and spring. Both great. The other two, pretty damn awful.

It's another busy week, but I'm realizing that's just the constant state of affairs and no longer worth mentioning. I will say that as generous as my loans have been, I am in a bit of a panic about making it to the end of the school year without whipping out the ol' credit card, especially when I seem to be increasingly going out to dinner and lunch as part of that busy-ness. People like to meet over a meal, you see.

My mild panic is further enhanced by my still lack-of-job for the summer, although there are a few opportunities out there about which I feel pretty good, and second-years assure me repeatedly that I needn't worry; especially in the media & entertainment industry, a lot of internships are found in May.

That said, who can truly panic with weather like this? Just go sit under a tree and sip on a Sierra Mist, I say.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Visits to Sony and NBC Universal (Bravo)

Media is very powerful, as the video above illustrates.

I spent the day in New York, joining the Media & Entertainment Club for two company treks, to Sony and NBC Universal (and Bravo therein). The latter is at now-famous 30 Rock. I saw no famous people. But they were both pretty fascinating visits ... two more media industries facing challenges parallel to those I encountered in newspapers.

NBC seems to have some neat internship opportunities, except that all their internships are unpaid. This is apparently not too uncommon in media. I don't know how I would pull of such a thing if this opportunity presented itself. Incidentally, I was expecting to hear this week from an internship I really do want, but did not. Maybe next week? Could be they didn't reach a decision; could be they extended offers to non-mes and are waiting to find out whether those offers are accepted or declined.

Given how stressful, time-consuming and uncertain the internship process is, I have to wonder whether it couldn't be a little more systematic. Here's an oversimplified hypothetical: Yale SOM has 223 people in the class of 2011. (That part's real.) And say that a certain number of companies extend a total of, say, 250 or 300 or 500 internship spots for the summer. They can be in a variety of functions and industries, and all nice, solid programs that would be good for MBA candidates to have. Why couldn't there be a system like when we registered for electives or for our international experience trip, whereby we apply and maybe rank our favorites, and then the companies can use that information and extend offers, and the match-up process is, well, guaranteed to happen! Is that so nutty? Supposedly we all passed some sort of rather rigorous screening to even be in this program -- we're already here. Surely there are quite a few companies who would be glad to have an intern from SOM for the summer. As I say, that's oversimplified, but there's got to be some better way to deal with this than the way it goes now, which, despite help from the school's Career Development Office, is, at the end of the day, every man for himself.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hikey

John and Erika More advantage-taking of the weather: John and Erika -- future co-leaders of the Human Capital Club at SOM -- take a long stroll in East Rock Park.

Going to New York tomorrow. Yay!

Nut-nut-nut nothin' on you, baby

video

Today was just beautiful, and when that happens, one sits under a tree and listens to B.o.B.

I had a great morning. I met with a group I hadn't worked with before to discuss a presentation we're giving in ILP (Integrated Leadership Perspective, a class I have) next Tuesday. It was well-run, everyone was prepared, we had a specific agenda, we followed it, and we got out of there in the time allowed. Couldn't ask for more.

Now I'm spending the afternoon doing some non-academic work that's been building up, for two student clubs over which I'll be co-presiding, as well as a totally non-SOM related activity, being on the board of CABO (Connecticut Alliance for Business Opportunities ... man, I love acronyms). That's one of those obligations that's going to be totally what I make of it, and I'd like to make something of it, which means blocking off a few hours today to make my way through quite a stack of tasks.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Going to speed dating tonight

Speed Dating I'm not *really* going to speed dating tonight, but it's our last LDP (Leadership Development Program) session, and as one of the four volunteers who has organized the two-hour event, I do know that speed dating is on the agenda.

All year, we've had LDP roughly once a month or so, in the evening. It's a required class for credit among first-year students, and it's a time for us to think about leadership skills, talents, commitments, diversity and other soft introspective things we tend not to have much time to ponder in the midst of problem sets, case write-ups and internship applications. (No word on that front yet, by the way.)

Anyway, as is traditional for all the LDP groups, the last session is to be designed and executed by students, and I for whatever reason raised my hand to be one of them. We decided to focus on peer feedback. We designed a survey that allowed each of us to give personal feedback, positive and constructive, anonymously (or not anonymously, if desired). The premise is that this time at school should feel like a safe venue to experiment, learn and grow, and that it's better for someone to tell you how you come across now than to simply never know and move forward blindly. So, for example, if I think I come across as a serious intellectual, but people in fact perceive me as goofy and non-serious, it would help me to know that before I get back out into the real world wondering why no one takes me seriously.

So that was our intention, at least. Tonight we'll find out if our intention matches at all with what really happened.

The speed dating thing, incidentally, is just a fun activity about first impressions vs. current impressions. I'm looking forward to it. There'll be some trivia, too. And best of all, pizza and beer.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Starting an HR Club

When I give tours to prospective students, there is a part where we talk about clubs, and one of the things we say is that since SOM is a relatively small school and since we're such a tight-knit community, it's easy to start a new club. I always believed that, of course. I did not imagine I would ever be starting one, though.

Last week, I was mentioning to someone that I thought it was a shame that SOM doesn't have an HR club. Lord knows we have lots of clubs, including one for just about any business function you can imagine: sales & trading, private equity, healthcare, marketing, education, finance, operations, entrepreneurship, energy, technology, retail, media and entertainment, consulting, arts & culture, biotechnology ... seriously, these are all actual clubs. But not HR.

Regardless of the possibly debatable merits of using an MBA to pursue a career in HR, it was clear anecdotally that some people in our class (maybe me) might be interested in at least learning about what opportunities are out there in this field. But there really hasn't been an obvious sign to this path -- in fact there isn't even a career advisor dedicated to this function. And I haven't seen much of any postings on our job board that are strictly HR.

Anyway, a classmate, Max, overheard me say this and contacted me shortly after by e-mail to say he thought there, too, should be an HR club, and if I'd be willing, he'd like to help me establish one. I did a little asking around and found out that my friend Erika would be interested in not only starting such a club, but co-presiding over it.

So we sent out a spam asking the class who would be interested in being in such a club. I was surprised that 21 people replied with a "yes" ... that's 10% of our class! I was expecting maybe four responses.

Looks like we're moving forward. We had brunch today to go over the forms necessary to apply to start a club, which really aren't that cumbersome. They just want basics, like the club's name, mission, some proposed events and their corresponding budgets, and a couple other things. If this all works out, I suppose I will be co-presiding over two clubs next year. Overcommitted?  Mmmmmmaybe.

In other news, I would like to ask my more religious readers to please pray that I get an internship offer next week. Thanks.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Law students have creative outlets

This is the program for a series of student-written, -performed and -directed shorts at the Yale Law School Last night I saw a series of nine 10-minute plays that were written by law students, as well as performed and directed by them. It was inside Davenport College, which is one of the undergrad residential colleges. I'd never been to one before; it was pretty cool. And so was the show.

Considering that this was not a drama school production, it was really impressive -- witty writing and mostly wonderful acting. More interesting than that superficial, unspecific review is simply the fact that law students have the time to put on such a show. They needn't, but do! Hard to imagine a solely creative equivalent coming out of SOM. Good for them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A year ago today I got into Yale

One year ago today, I found out I got into the Yale School of Management, but you probably know that because there's a big-fonted title above these words that says so. Unfortunately, I don't have my actual reaction to the good news on tape, but it was more or less the same as the lady's reaction in the video above.

I'll never forget it. I was a volunteer for a hospice service and was visiting my patient, Pete, who had Parkinson's disease. He was a character ... sometimes sweet, and sometimes the conveyer of highly inappropriate observations or suggestions, like that I should try to have sex with the black nurses. Anyway, I left for the day and was driving back to work when I got a call from Bruce, the director of admissions at SOM, and he said I got in! Well he said I sorta got in. My admission was actually conditional, contingent on successful completion of economics and statistics over the summer, which I did do, of course. But I was nevertheless ecstatic.

Little did I know what hell was in store.

KIDDING! KIDDING! Sheesh. No, seriously, I stand behind my decision completely. I mean, it's not a cakewalk -- grad school is an odd, artificial, sometimes stressful situation. It's not all well-dressed smart people drinking cider before a squash match on a gorgeous fall afternoon, like I thought. It's also early alarms and three cups of coffee while cranking out a problem set as freezing rain taps on the window in the dark. It's both those things.

And that's OK. The real proof of whether this was a good decision will come about in about 5 or 10 years, when I've launched into my new career. But even if my career flops and I hate what I end up doing, I wouldn't say that in and of itself means going back to school was a bad decision. I was dissatisfied with how things were and made a huge change; the alternative would be to be unhappy and do nothing about it, and I think that would have been a bigger mistake than anything else. So, yeah, a year later, I'm still ecstatic I got in.

Does teleportation come with that internship?

Here's me on the train to New York today:

John to New York
And here's me on the way back to New Haven:

John to New Haven
I went to New York for an interview, which took maybe an hour or so. Then I had lunch. This was hardly a full day, but by the time I got back, I was pretty wiped out. My point is this: Any ideas I've had about commuting to New York from New Haven this summer are silly delusions, I think. I would, if offered an opportunity in the Big Apple, simply have to find a place there.

The interview went well, I think. I should know within a week, and if the answer is yes, all will be revealed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I do everything and nothing

Ice cream makes its way into Matt.Today, productivity reigned.

Meetings to prepare for Q+ club leadership.

Haircut. Dry cleaning acquired.

Paper completed. Class attended.

This evening: Time wasted. "Lost" to be viewed.

Roommate eats ice cream.

More meetings planned. More goals about planning meetings met.

Highly anticipated job interview Thursday morning in New York City. Prayers said, despite atheism.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter

Henry and llama I had a nice Easter weekend. Did you? I visited my brother, sister-in-law and nephews in a suburb of New York. My brother recently had half his thyroid removed as a cancer treatment, so he couldn't talk above a whisper. That was funny. And although I naturally didn't get as much work done as I would have liked, I'd certainly call the trip worth it. It never ceases to impress me how smart my nephews are, and how they remember me even though I hadn't been there in a couple months.

On Sunday we went to the Bronx Zoo; it was a beautiful day, and a great venue for pictures. It's not a bad zoo, although I prefer the St. Louis Zoo, which doesn't nickel-and-dime you like the Bronx Zoo, which charges you to do anything.

Now it's back to the grind with an especially busy week; gotta crank out a paper tonight and another tomorrow, in addition to the usual stacks of readings. I'm transitioning into co-presidency for Q+, and that process begins this week with training and meeting with the other co-president to talk ideas. I'm also one of four people planning my Australia group's final LDP session, which is April 13. There are several social things on the ol' calendar I probably should skip but won't. All great stuff, and it should be a beautiful week.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How DO you multiply?

My quick and dirty explanation of how to multiply I really enjoy tutoring students at LearnToBe.org, although I always get a little nervous as I begin a new session that I'm not going to know the answer, or that I'll know the answer but not be able to explain it in a way that's meaningful to a ____-grader. Today a third-grader asked me the very open-ended and deep question: How do I multiply?

First I tried to figure out what she was really asking. She's home-schooled and said she'd soon have a test where she would need to multiply numbers from 1 to 100 together, but she didn't seem to have even the basic 1-to-12 times tables down. If I remember correctly, when I was in 3rd grade we always had a timed multiplication test when we came in from recess, and I think the numbers didn't get any bigger than 12. Anyway, I wasn't really sure where to begin, so I started with a general explanation of what multiplication is, then showed two ways I could think of to multiply if you had a lot of time on your hands -- write out the numbers and add them, or draw a picture with dots. But I said she really needed to ask her home-schooler for some flashcards, because only after she gets comfortable with 1-through-9 will she be able to do tricky two-digit numbers like 48 x 73.

But, really, I don't remember how I learned multiplication. So many building blocks ...

Multo Authentico Chineseo

My doggie bag from Formosa I had a productive, errand-filled day yesterday followed by a very social evening, and yet I took no pictures and have managed to reduce the affair to the carry-out box above. It's from Formosa, an authentic Chinese restaurant where about 20 members of my Australia group ordered food that could have easily fed 50. It was a good time, and I'm still full.

After that, a second-year gay and I crashed a mixer between the law and medical schools. I enjoy those things but do them so rarely that I tend to feel a little sidelined because everybody, especially the law students, knows each other so well. Seems like half the law school is gay; the business school, not so much.

Speaking of that, I will next-year be budget officer and co-president of Q+ Gay/Straight Alliance, SOM's club for the gay and gay-friendly. I'm going to try to do a good job but am already looking to other involvements I might need to cut out of my life next year. Fortunately our schedule is entirely electives, and it appears that elective classes tend to be a bit lighter than the core classes, so I may have time for more outside commitments. But I'm definitely piling it on.

Remember LDP? That's the roughly once-a-month evening class about leadership and values that first-years are required to take. I'm in a small group that volunteered to plan the last meeting; I think we're leaning toward a roast-and-toast. Anyway we're getting together today to talk about that, and then I've got online tutoring of K-8 students for a couple hours in the afternoon. And then I'll be headed to my brother's for the Easter weekend. Should be beautiful weather, and it doesn't look like I have an especially scary amount of work.