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MIT Sloan Student Blog Archive

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April 24, 2008

Spring is here!

I’m proud to report a beautiful day of 75 degree weather…the flowers are blooming….birds are singing.  It’s a lovely time of year in Boston.  I am into the final weeks of my Sloan career with just three more weeks of classes, one final and then it’s off to Oklahoma for some wedding planning before returning for graduation in June.  However, my social calendar (as well as that of every Sloanie!) is bursting with plans for the Spring Gala (our Spring “MBA Prom”, if you will, held in a huge, gorgeous mansion in Newport, Rhode Island), the Sloan Olympics (my core team is going to dominate the core-team legged race again!), the Follies, and many more exciting events.  But first things, first!  I promised you my tales of Japan!

Japan Trek

The Japan Trek was incredible.  Hats off to the amazing team of Japanese organizers that pulled it all together.  Our ten days of travelling to, from and around Japan went so smoothly – I was so impressed. We started off our adventure in Kyoto where I visited stunning shrines and temples.  Later that evening, we attended the semi-finals of a sumo wrestling tournament.  It was fascinating to watch the matches, especially because of all of the ceremony involved with the presentation of the athletes.  There weren’t any huge upsets, so not very many spectators threw their mats into the ring, which was slightly disappointing, but I loved participating in the excitement of the tournament.

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Hiroshima and Toyota

The next two days consisted of day trips outside of Kyoto to Hiroshima and Toyota.  Hiroshima was extremely moving as we were able to hear the incredible, poignant story of a Hiroshima survivor.  It was so surprised at how the city has been rebuilt since the war ended.  It looks like any other thriving, affluent city complete with skyscrapers, developed parks and soaring apartment complexes.  I personally really enjoyed the trip to Toyota’s manufacturing facilities in Toyota City, Japan.  I have studied Toyota’s production system extensively during my time at Sloan and so I really appreciated the chance to see their production line in action.  Toyota is such a brilliant, innovative company and I honestly think I could have watched their welding robots for hours.

Toyota

Tania, Me, Alison, Sheila and Laura at Toyota

Hakone

After our stay in Kyoto we moved to a small town in the mountains famous for its natural hot springs called Hakone.  It was very peaceful and serene….except for the karaoke bar in our hotel.  By this time in the trip, I had already embraced the Japanese custom of karaoke as I love to sing.  After our trip to Hakone, my voice was completely gone for the next two weeks or so.  But being able to belt out Madonna songs at the top of my lungs in a Japanese hotel made it completely worth it.  The next day it was off to see the majestic Mt. Fuji and then arrive in Tokyo! 

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Tania, Liz and me eating dinner at our hotel in our traditional garb

Tokyo

Tokyo offered so much to see and do – I think I walked some 20 miles a day trying to see it all.  While we were in Tokyo, we went on more company visits and met with MIT Sloan alums in Japan.  I chose to go on the Sony and NTT DoCoMo tours which were incredible.  Both companies are so innovative and disciplined – I’m excited to see which products from them will hit the market next.  Other students visited 7-11, Shiseido, Konami, Sony Computer Entertainment and Shinsei Bank.  A highlight of Tokyo (especially for the native Bostonians) was our trip to the Tokyo Dome to watch the Boston Red Sox baseball team play the Oakland Athletics.  Although Boston lost, we had a great time cheering, getting on the Jumbo-tron, and leading the entire stadium in the “wave.”  My favorite area of Tokyo was Ueno Park which featured hundreds of cherry blossom trees in full bloom.  My friends and I went and picnicked under the trees for hours just watching the crowds of people and eating the yummy street vendor food.  Speaking of food….since I was in Japan….I did eat some sushi.  Being from the landlocked state of Oklahoma known for our consumption of steak, I can’t say that sushi was a part of my meal plan growing up.  So, I actually tried my first piece of sushi at the famous Tsukiji Fish Market.  We arrived at the fish market at 5:45 in the morning to see the auction of thousands of tuna, sea urchins and everything else that at one point inhabited the ocean.  We wondered around for thirty minutes or so and then ate our sushi breakfast.  I chose a piece of salmon….it tasted….good…..kind of like chewy soy sauce.  But I was told by everyone else that it was the best sushi they had ever eaten.  So, I’ll take their word for it.

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The Sloanies cheering on their team

Back to Boston

After four days in Tokyo, it was time to hop back on the plane and come back to Boston.  I loved Japan and would highly recommend that everyone visit there.  The people I met in Japan were the most polite and hospitable people I have ever encountered.  The country is incredibly clean, safe and absolutely beautiful.  And there’s vending machines selling everything under the sun on every corner.  What’s not to love?     

March 20, 2008

It's already Spring Break?

T minus one day til Japan!  I thought I'd take a break from my frenzied packing to update you on my final Sloan semester.  Like every other semester, this one is flying by and I'm already on Spring Break.  Some highlights:

AdMIT Weekend

The 1st AdMIT Weekend has passed and it was awesome!  I'm admittedly a little biased since I helped to organize the event, but from the feedback we received from the prospective students who attended, I think they would agree with me.  We had an amazing group of 1st and 2nd years volunteer to do everything from hosting prospective students in their homes to working the registration table at 7 am to speaking on one of many panels.  And all of the volunteers would definitely agree with me on this...the Class of 2010 is incredible.  We had about 125 students and 40 Significant Others (SO's) attend the weekend and I had such a great time meeting them.  We had a couple of new additions to this year's AdMIT Weekend including an on-campus C-Function (cultural party put on by the Chinese Business Club) and the launch of the AdMIT Ambassadors Program (AdMIT students were paired up with 1st and 2nd Sloanies who share similar backgrounds and interests).  The Weekend exposed AdMITs to many sides of MIT Sloan through mock classes, faculty speakers, an activity fair, housing tours and much more.  For those students admitted in Round 2 or who were admitted in Round 1 but unable to attend the first AdMIT Weekend, we're having a 2nd Weekend on May 1-3.  The same experiences will be offered at this AdMIT Weekend, so I highly encourage anyone eligible to attend.  It's a great way to meet your future classmates, find a roommate or determine if Sloan is where you want to call home for the next two years.

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Maria, Yonca and I rocking our AdMIT Weekend volunteer red shirts.

Classes

This half of the semester I've had four classes: Finance 2, Financial Statement Analysis, Advanced Strategy and Macroeconomics.  I honestly have enjoyed all of them, particularly Adv. Strat.  In this class we formed teams of three and chose a company to analyze over the course of the semester.  My group decided to go with Apple which has turned out to be really interesting.  While I'm familiar with Apple products and marketing, it's been very insightful to break apart what is actually a very complex strategy and examine the company using various frameworks.  After break, I'll add Branding and Consumer Behavior to my course list which will make my life a little busier, but I think it'll be worth it.

Fun Adventures

On a purely fun, "girl-bonding" note, 13 Sloan women and I went to a cabin in New Hampshire for a weekend in February.  The cabin was on a beautiful frozen lake, and I must say - I have never seen so much snow.  There must have been at least four feet and it snowed another foot while we were there.  I did some first-time snow-shoeing and several of us worked diligently to make a sledding track but couldn't get one curve quite right - so we settled for making snow angels instead.  We set aside plenty of time for eating and movie watching with the occasional homework break.  A very fun weekend.

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Joanna leading the way snow shoeing around the cabin.

Well, back to packing!

January 02, 2008

A snowy semester

Another semester has come to a close. Finals were short for me this time -- only one exam during the last week of classes and then a final presentation about the Writer’s Guild Strike for my Power and Negotiation class and a paper on the “pursuit of wealth” seen in several of the short stories, novels and films covered in my Leadership, Ethics and Authority class. So I had plenty of time to play in the 27 inches of snow that landed in Boston this December.

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Several Sloan women and I enjoying a holiday brunch before we left for Winter Break

Sloan's got talent

After the last day of class, we had our annual MIT Sloan Talent Show. As part of the MIT Sloan Activities Board (SAB) I helped organize the event and also sang a song. We showcased a lot of student talent with many Sloanies performing songs they had composed, a Sloan STEP dance group, stand up comedians, and other amazing acts throughout the three hour show. One of my favorites was a Japanese rap performed by two of my core teammates. I have no idea what they were saying, but it was hilarious – a great performance.

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Me singing "Taylor the Latte Boy" at the Talent Show

I'm going to Japan!

These same two friends are part of the 18 person Sloan organizing team for the 2008 Japan Trek. I, along with 199 of my closest friends, will be going on the trek to Tokyo and other parts of Japan over our Spring Break. I am extremely excited about the trip as I have never been to Asia. Plus, I have the opportunity to travel with friends who know Japan and are planning every detail from which companies we visit (Sony, Toyota and Nintendo are top contenders) to the sightseeing locations and activities (I’ve been promised much karaoke and a possible sumo tournament). Sloanies love to organize and go on trips and treks all over the world. Some other Spring Break options were Ghana, Korea, India, Israel, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. So, you’ll definitely be hearing about my Japan adventures in late March.

 

Meet the Class of 2010

We have started planning for AdMIT Weekend in February. This is the first of two weekends (the second is in May) where admitted students come to MIT Sloan to experience the social and academic environments firsthand. We plan mock classes, faculty speakers, Boston and Cambridge housing tours, and plenty of other events and activities for adMITs to meet current Sloanies and get a taste of what life would be like as an MIT Sloan student. Last year I emceed the weekends and helped plan the Activity Fair and this year I’m one of three second year organizers so I’m really looking forward to the event.

 

Time to relax and pick out a cake

I’m now back in Oklahoma for Independent Activities Period (aka Winter Break) for the next five weeks. After going on vacation with my family to Maui I’ll be spending my time recruiting for a full-time job, planning the wedding (only 6 months until the big day!) and getting ready for my last semester at MIT Sloan.

October 23, 2007

Fall Fun

The semester is now well underway!  I have settled into my new place and am enjoying the life of a 2nd year MBA student.  The core team that I pilot has been awesome and I have really enjoyed getting to know them and watching them go through core (they took their first midterms last week!).  As part of their orientation we all went to a retreat center outside of Boston and did a Ropes course as well as lots of other activities including some ingenious raft building (they did get a little wet).  My classes are going really well – I have what I describe as the “Sloan Schedule” as I am taking some incredible courses that are taught by many professors who are the experts in their field including System Dynamics taught by Prof. John Sterman and Industrial Economics with Prof. Robert Pindyck.  Plus, every Wednesday I get to attend a class on leadership taught by the former CEO of GE, Jack Welch, which as you can imagine is an incredible experience. 

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The core team of 1st years that I pilot after completing the Ropes course.

C-Functions and More

But aside from classes, what have I been up to?  A lot. :)  I am currently TAing one of the core statistics courses at Sloan (Data, Models and Decisions aka DMD) which has been a whole new world of giving recitations, holding office hours, grading papers but most importantly meeting a lot of 1st year students.  Also, C-Functions have started again!  C-Functions (which stands for Consumption Functions) are held almost every Thursday night and are put on by different clubs around Sloan. They usually involve dancing, food and beverages, and cultural activities. So far this year we have had the Japan C-Function, the SWIM (Sloan Women in Management) C-Function and then two off-campus C-Functions where we meet at a local lounge to explore Boston a little.  The SWIM one was hilarious in that it was an 80’s theme with plenty of outrageous clothing to go along with it.  We had a great 80s cover band and pretty much danced the night away with classic moves such as the lawn mower and sprinkler.  As an officer of the Student Activities Board I help out with the C-Function schedule and logistics for the year.  I think one of the great aspects of these events is that they are entirely student run – students choreograph and perform the dances, order the food, choose the theme, budget the money and everything else in between.  Plus, they’re really a lot of fun.

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My roommate Bethany and I looking totally rad in our 80s outfits.

Seeing the Sights of New England            

Also this semester I have done a little bit of traveling around the Boston with several of my friends which has been great.  Over Labor Day weekend a bunch of us stayed in a house on Cape Cod.  The weather was gorgeous as we basked on the beach, ate lobster and explored the cute little towns.  Then over Columbus Day weekend I went apple picking in northern Massachusetts and went through a corn maze in New Hampshire.  Finally this past weekend one of my roommates, Kristen, and a friend of ours, Liz, drove up to Montreal.  First of all, let me just say that the trees were amazing – I now understand why people rave about the colorful leaves in the fall.  Montreal itself was great and we did plenty of sight-seeing around the Old City and up to the top of Mont Royal for its panoramic views.  And on our way home we made a very necessary stop at the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Vermont.  Yummy. 

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Me, Kristen and Liz on Mont Royal with Montreal behind us.

Sloan Innovation Period

Now this week is SIP week for all MBA students which stands for Sloan Innovation Period.  Basically all regular classes are canceled and students take various workshops about unique topics that interest them taught by faculty and guest speakers alike.  This week I’m taking five workshops including “Corporate Sectors in China and India” and “An Introduction to 3rd Party Conflict Resolution.” So I’m excited about my SIP classes and happy to be back at Sloan in my 2nd year.

August 24, 2007

Back to Boston!

August 24, 2007

Well, the summer is almost over as I prepare to move back to Boston tomorrow.  My summer internship with Anheuser-Busch ended and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work for them over the past months.  Our group worked on a consumer marketing campaign called “Here’s to Beer” and I was involved in numerous projects from developing widgets, to website creative and filming two segments of an education tutorial called “The Beer Connoisseur” starring the Food Network’s Dave Lieberman.  One of the best parts was just being able to chat with Budweiser brand managers, new product developers and so many extremely innovative people.

I am very excited about heading back to Sloan, especially because I am going to be a pilot during the Class of 2009 orientation.  Pilots are 2nd years that help facilitate the orientation week for the new students.  Each pilot has one or two core teams (groups of 6-7 people) that he or she guides through orientation and then serves as a mentor to these teams for the remainder of the year.  So, I’m looking forward to meeting the incoming first years and then also getting to see all of my friends and hear about their summer adventures.

This year I’m living off-campus in Central Square with two others Sloanies, Kristen and Bethany.  We’re renting an adorable apartment in a really fun and vibrant neighborhood.  Last year I lived on-campus in Tang which was great, but Central is right off of the Red Line of the subway which takes me one stop over to Sloan.  Well, time to start packing….

June 22, 2007

Sloan Follies

This last year at MIT Sloan was absolutely amazing. I got to try so many new things and had the best time exploring. One of the highlights for me was the Sloan Follies on the last day of spring classes. Hilarious. I organized the Follies along with two other Sloanies, Yonca Heyse and Fei Ye, and we were involved with everything from auditioning acts to ordering bobble heads. The Follies is a dinner and show where all of the writers, actors, and musicians are Sloanies. Some students made video parodies of business school life, others performed live skits (including a reenactment of a dance scene from Little Miss Sunshine ... wow), and several bands performed. Our theme for the show this year was “Late Night with MIT Sloan,” featuring our very own hosts Sim and Antonio, who interviewed numerous audience members (including Dean Schmalensee of course) and even gave their own Top 10 List. A memorable night for sure.

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The Rolling Sloans performing at the Sloan Follies

Market Lab and the Innovation Challenge
When I came to MIT Sloan I really wanted to get involved in projects with companies outside of school and was very surprised by the number of ways I was able to do that. One opportunity that I highly recommend is Market Lab. Through this initiative of the MIT Sloan Marketing Club I was able to work on two different projects: one for Staples and the other for Dunkin’ Donuts. I loved these because we were offered real company projects and spoke weekly with contacts at their respective headquarters. At the end of the semester we presented our recommendations to the company and my Dunkin’ Donuts team even got a tasty tour of their concept store. Case competitions are another great way to gain experience in various companies and industries. Last fall I competed in the Innovation Challenge with three other Sloanies. This was definitely a highlight as we brainstormed new ideas for Hilton Hotels, M&M Mars and Chrysler. We submitted our first ideas to the competition and my team was incredibly excited to make it into the top ten and then the final three teams. All in all, it was a great way to try new things outside of the classroom.

Innovation Challenge team
My Innovation Challenge team at UVA Darden for the finals — Me, Susan Rogol, Viara Nedeva and Kristen Oldenburger

 

Oceans and Core Team
One last aspect of my first year that I'd like to touch on is my ocean, or cohort. Every first-year student is assigned to one of six oceans (mine is the Baltic ... yes, I know it's technically a sea ... ) and those oceans are broken down into core teams of six or seven people. The first semester I had all of my classes with my ocean and then did my projects with my core team. It's comforting to have that smaller community of people, especially when everything is brand new and you're adjusting to being back in school. My ocean is supportive and enthusiastic and we continue to do activities together even after the first semester. Towards the end of classes we had the first annual MIT Sloan Olympics and I served as the Ocean Captain. The chance to see my classmates participate in events like the Bat Spin Relay, Core-team Legged Race, and the Tug-Of-War was priceless. I'm definitely looking forward to that again next year.

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The water balloon toss competition at the MIT Sloan Olympics

Summer Internship
I've recently moved to St. Louis, Mo. and begun my internship with Anheuser-Busch. I'm working as part of their Global Industry Development division and focusing on a consumer marketing campaign called “Here's to Beer.” Over the summer I hope to learn more about how large corporations implement new marketing strategies — and what better place to do it then the home of the Budweiser frogs?