Archive for May, 2009

Almost done with my first year…how’d it go?

I had thought this blog was dead, but I got a question from Bill, and I think it would be valuable to add some sort of update.

Bill’s Question:

“I know you’ve basically retired this blog about a year ago, but I was wondering if you’d share some of your observations of your first year at Kellogg, the forthcoming summer internship, etc. I’m curious to hear about how closely your experiences are tracking with the expectations you may have had while you were preparing and writing this blog.”

Well, I’m just going to jot down some bullets, since that’s what I do. Organizing my thoughts into a cohesive entry would be too much work and not my style!

  • The Fall quarter was miserable and overwhelming for me. I hadn’t been in school for almost eight years. Sitting through a lecture without distraction was torturous. Also, I was learning material that was completely foreign to me and competing with classmates who were more familiar with the material/concepts. It took some time to accept being average or below average (which is bound to happen when you’re in a top-tier school, but still…it takes getting used to)…and it also took time to understand that grades don’t really matter. Years of academic success are hard to shake.
  • My classmates are brilliant yet down-to-earth. Sometimes it baffles me that these seemingly ordinary people are so accomplished. It is hard not to feel small around such stars…but I have to remind myself that the administration also saw something in me, too. What it is, I have yet to figure out.
  • Winter quarter was slightly better on the academic front, but the added stress of interviewing for internships compounded with my first ever winter (learned the hard way my car could read negative temps)…made for a miserable few months. I am accustomed to acing all my interviews. Hell, I give good interview. People love me! However, when competing against your classmates who are equally charismatic, employers use the nitty gritty to weed you out. Even though I felt I was well prepared (over-prepared, even), I got GRILLED in many of my interviews and often left feeling defeated. I had a gazillion interviews, landed 3 offers, and will be working in NJ this summer. In this economy, I feel lucky to have an internship since some of my classmates are still scrambling to find something.
  • Spring quarter is much better. I’m taking classes I’m interested in (e.g. Marketing) and not taking things I don’t understand or care about (e.g. Microeconomics and Finance). I have more time to socialize, play softball, train for a triathlon, explore Chicago, and travel.
  • What they say about strained relationships in bschool has been eerily accurate. I broke up with my bf of 9 years prior to leaving for Evanston. No regrets. I am dating someone new…no, not a classmate (though I am by far the exception). Among my peers, there has been a fairly high relationship mortality rate: broken engagements, divorce, long distance relationships not working out…even breakups among couples who moved to Evanston together. Of course, there have also been new couplings, engagements, babies, and healthy couples flourishing. Life continues to happen and change.
  • Business school is a lot more work than I thought it would be, but in the end, I do see it paying off. The alumni network is super helpful whenever they can be. The speakers we are able to draw are amazing.
  • I’ve had some great professors, some ok professors, and some TRULY AWFUL professors who have no business teaching anything. I had high expectations for the teaching caliber at a top 3 bschool, but I guess it was unrealistic. Some great researchers are awful teachers, but that’s part of the job. Just pay attention to the evaluations and get advice from the 2nd years so you don’t end up with someone who can’t teach (though sometimes it is inevitable for the core curriculum).
  • My 6-week trek through Europe was amazing. My KWEST trip and spring break (both in the Caribbean) were relaxing. I’m traveling as much as I can while I have the time, even though I don’t have the money.
  • There are a gazillion social events every night of the week and you’re always going to miss out on something. Kellogg has a strange affinity for costume parties, which I loathe. But there’s a plethora of other events that I show up at…something for everyone…even misanthropes such as myself.
  • Would I do it again? Certainly. What would I do differently? Maybe I wouldn’t take classes so seriously the first quarter…other than that, I am now having a blast. You just gotta survive the first two quarters and the rest is supposedly cake. If spring quarter is a taste of it…2nd year will be awesome!

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