Monday, April 25, 2011

Problems are a thing of the past

Today I turned my final problem set, perhaps for the rest of my life. It was for my Investment Management course. The questions were about fixed income and forward markets. I wish I could call it my best work, but with just five more days of class, it's a little hard to give such matters my all. I am far more interested in looking at New York City apartments online!

Another last-of-its-kind event today was my final admissions interview. As I've mentioned previously, this was my favorite of my many school activities. Coincidentally, on my way to the interview, I ran into a prospective student I interviewed a couple months ago who was admitted (in part, no doubt, because of my glowing recommendation) and was on campus visiting, trying to make his final decision about where to go. He has to choose by Friday, from an array of very prestigious programs. But this person's real struggle was one of culture; he loves Yale SOM's culture, but just isn't sure about whether it's the best fit for his particular career goals, given the course offerings (or lack thereof, in his particular niche field of interest).

I naturally can't answer that for him, but I do think a cooperative, friendly culture helps students take risks, connect with one another and gain confidence, and if you're not in a comfortable environment, you won't be successful. To that end, I'd always lean toward the best fit, assuming you're deciding among schools in the same tier. For some people that is Harvard. For others, it's most certainly not. When I attended a Harvard information session back in 2008, I was uncomfortable. I felt like a goofy two-headed alien, in fact. That was a signal to me that I shouldn't apply. I'm probably not the right person for that program, and that's probably not the right program for me. When I visted Yale SOM, I felt much more comfortable, and it made me even more excited and eager to attend.

There will be lots of other "lasts" over the next few days and weeks -- last class, last presentation, last exam, last paper. My mind hasn't really absorbed it at all. I get sniffly just thinking about it. Better get back to work and continue ignoring the inevitable.

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