Finally done with the Core! Thinking back on the last semester, I can see that I’ve developed quite a bit. First of all, I’ve gotten used to academia again. I can sift through books and documents quickly, skim read and focus on what needs to be focused. Lots of my colleagues told me that getting back into an academic routine would take time; during the first few weeks of the Core, I was up till 3a.m. reading. Now I’ve gotten used to taking a nice nap after coming home from a long day’s work before doing my homework; I still get to sleep before 1:30a.m. even after watching the Daily Show and playing the Wii with my housemates.
Secondly, I’ve got rid of my bad banker habits. Unfortunately, banking made me bitter, to a certain extent I felt like a person’s success was based on their paycheck. My friends at Sloan have brought me down to Earth. Never have I been so humbled by the sheer brainpower that is around me at campus, and that entrepreneurial drive that surrounds the Tri-Sloan buildings. I am also really enjoying catching up on my sleep now, no more 110 hour weeks for me.
Expanding on the last topic, I am happy with my decision to come to Sloan. I keep on thinking that if an MBA is a network-enhancing period (to put it bluntly, we’re kinda buying our friends with the degree), we might as well choose a network where we can truly be friends and not just superficially. My metric when choosing business school was to be sure that if I met a new student every single day of B-school, that I could meet my entire class.
So far I’ve got to know my classmates from the Baltic Ocean (my cohort; yes, I do know that it’s the Baltic Sea, but I didn’t choose the name) very well. The difference between the 1st and 2nd semesters is that no longer do you have the same core team, but since you have freedom to choose whatever class you want to, your classmates are totally different and for each class you’ll have different team compositions. That makes scheduling team meetings that much more difficult. But, it’s a good model of the real world, where you’re on multiple projects at the same time with different people.
So, we had a huge break from December 14th – February 6th, it’s one of the best things at MIT, called the IAP – Independent Activities Period. It is the one month period between early January and early February where students at Sloan can do essentially whatever they want. The wannabe consultants and bankers spend this time prepping for interviews and practicing case studies with one another, and the majority of their interviews are during this period. What did I do? I took a beginner’s class to Snowboarding at MIT for three weeks. I really enjoyed it, but kinda felt bruised up after every 3 hour session (twice a week). In the 2nd year, many students use the IAP period for their G-Lab course, where they travel to an exotic place somewhere in the world to help out a start-up entity. I'm looking forward to this next year.
Many students went to Silicon Valley early January for the Silicon Valley Tech Trek where we spent 4 days meeting important people at hi-tech companies, talking to VCs and networking with alum in the region. It was great to be in California, during the winter, a big change from Boston weather. It was interesting to see the politics between the organizers in charge of the Silicon Valley Tech Trek and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) program; again, a model of a real-life situation.
Now for some responsibility. I’ve been affiliated with the MIT Sloan newspaper since arriving at B-school. I’ve always been a lover of school newspapers and have been Editor in the publications since high school. Now, Ellen Correia and I are co-Editors-in-Chief of the MIT Sloan Fifteen newspaper (http://mitsloanfifteen.com). It’s not a student-club, but an independent company that provides outside of MIT Sloan and has its own funding. Take a look at the web-site and grab a copy when visiting Sloan.