Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Class the Dollars Fell On 
Things are really starting to ramp-up around here.  I’m knee deep in career teams, 1st years are all over the place doing orientation activities, I got my hepatitis B vaccination, and I picked up my course packets for the first two weeks of class.

The way the start of term works the second year is that you get to trial classes for the first two weeks and then try to add/drop into what you want, if you aren’t already in it.  My fall schedule is pretty much set, but I have a few changes that I want to try and make to my spring schedule.  Anyway, one of course packets I requested is for a course called The Coming of Managerial Capitalism, and it had an interesting first case comparing the class of 1949 (widely considered THE class of HBS) and the class of 2005.  Here are some interesting tidbits:

Monday, August 29, 2005

How old are we? 
Sue Shellenbarger wrote a couple of articles in the WSJ Work and Family section regarding overinvolved parents in the college experience (the articles are from 7/28 & 8/25). Labeling them “Helicopter Parents,” she cites numerous examples which would be funny if they weren’t so sad, like parents who communicate directly with the school to arrange roommates, pick courses, buy books, etc. Of course, a certain amount of parental involvement at the undergraduate level is positive and expected, but parents also need to learn to let kids live their own lives.

Why is this at all relevant to a b-school blog? Well, because some parents still haven’t let go, even at this level. I read somewhere at one point that the surest way to get dinged from a school was if your parents called to ask questions about the admissions process. I think it was in an interview with an admissions director, and he ranked heavy parental involvement in the admission process as a greater sin than leaving the wrong school’s name in one of your essays. Apparently a few sneak through the net, though, as a friend of mine overheard a parent inquire of the administration if there was a sheet changing service available for his son. Come on people, we’re all supposed to be adults here…

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Review of Aspasia 
Aspasia Jie and I went there for dinner Saturday night.  It’s a small upscale eatery about a mile northwest of Harvard Square.  While moderately priced for an upscale establishment (entrees $20-30), the portions were huge and the food delicious.  We had a clam and calamari appetizer, then Jie had the duck and I had the lamb.  I’m serious about my meat, so I requested that the lamb be cooked “as little as is healthy,” and I wasn’t disappointed.  The duck was fantastic as well, so it was an all around good meal.  I would recommend Aspasia, and Jie and I are already trying to figure out when we can return and with whom to try out the Prix Fixe menu.

Good luck to everyone in the path of Hurricane Katrina.  We’ll definitely be watching the news and thinking about those caught in the region.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

2 Things I Like 
Yesterday at Costco Jie and I decided to go out on a limb and get some beef tenderloin steaks.  We’ve tried their regular steaks and pork chops, and I wasn’t really a huge fan of either.  Though inexpensive, the meat tended to be a little tougher than what we could get at our local grocery store, Shaw’s.  The beef tenderloin was only around $11/pound, which is about what a strip steak would go for at Shaw’s, so I thought it was worth trying out.  I’m glad I did, because those steaks may just make the Costco membership worth it all by themselves.  They had about the perfect taste and tenderness, even though I slightly over-seasoned and overcooked them.  I will definitely be buying more.

Watching football is really nice on our new HDTV with the HD/DVR service from Comcast.  Last night we watched the Patriots game and during commercials I paused it and watched the Steelers game as well.  In order to avoid getting hopelessly behind I just watched the actual plays in the Steelers game and fast-forwarded through everything else, but it was still nice to see substantially all of the action of both games.  I really can’t wait for football season to get here.

I read on FMG’s blog today that she’s been working on only 3 hours of sleep recently, which she thought would be good prep for getting back into school.  I honestly don’t know how anyone can do that.  If I don’t get at least 6 hours then I’m pretty much useless, and I can’t go more than 2-3 days in a row without at least 7 hours/night.  That’s one reason I’m really looking forward to this semester, no classes until 10am.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I’ve been hanging out around campus this week as I get some things taken care of.  This morning I was in Career Services for a meeting on Career Teams, and then I’ve also been in Spangler quite a bit since Jie works there now.  Throughout all this, I’ve seen a lot of 1st Year’s running around, going to analytics, and getting accustomed to life here at HBS.  

My advice to them, and to students starting b-school everywhere, is to relax.  A lot of people seem pretty uptight and tense about getting the most out of school, and that’s completely unnecessary.  There is plenty to stress about when starting a new program in a new place and there’s no reason to contribute to your own stress level by trying to do too much, too soon.  So get out there and enjoy the beautiful summer weather and relax and enjoy starting a new adventure.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

To Do 
It’s funny how the mind works.  Just a week ago I was wrapping up my last day of work for the summer and it seemed like ages since I’d been in Boston (only a month, in fact).  Now I’m back in Boston for a week and it seems like ages ago that I was working.

I’ve spent the week thus far working down my sizable to-do list.  I’ve managed to complete about 2/3rds of it, which is pretty good for me.  With my work habits, though, it will be December before I finish everything on there.

One of the things I’m trying to do this semester is to finally lose some weight.  Over the last 3-4 years I’ve fluctuated between 185-195 pounds when I should really be down around 165-175.  So, my goal is to get down to 170 between now and Thanksgiving, which means losing 20 pounds.  I think this is doable with some modest changes in lifestyle:

By the way, I wrote and posted this via MS Word, which is pretty convenient relative to logging into blogger.  Also, FireFox never played nicely with blogger, so I think this will work for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Baker Library Pics 
As promised, here are some pictures of Baker Library (click on the pic to go to the gallery). I started in front with a few pictures, then got the foyer areas, then the stairs up to the library, the main library, and then the stacks in the basement. Finally, the last picture is the back of the library, which all last year was a fenced in construction site. I like this new layout better.

Monday, August 22, 2005

That about sums up my feelings after touring the new Baker Library on the HBS campus. They spent two years basically demolishing and completely rebuilding Baker Library, and it just opened to the public a few weeks ago. My goodness, the building is gorgeous. I'll go over one day this week with my camera and get pictures, as I don't think I could do it justice in words.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

1900 miles to Boston 
Finished internship, everything went great. Leave for Boston in about 11 hours. Should be there in less than 55 hours.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Final Week 
I'm starting my last week down here in Houston. I'm in the office today working on some end-of-internship materials that I can never seem to get a good start on during the regular work day. I have four days left of work, and then I leave first thing Friday morning for the long drive back to Boston.

The route I've chosen this time is via Atlanta and North Carolina, and I think it'll be pretty cool. Everyone makes fun of me for driving a different route each time, but since it makes a neglible difference in driving time I can't see a reason why I wouldn't want to do it. My brother will be driving with me, so it should be a fun bonding experience.

We had a career teams conference call yesterday to get back in the mindsight of school. We are kicking the program off really early this year so it's vital that we can hit the ground running as soon as classes start. If there are any readers out there who are second years at HBS, please e-mail me if you want to participate. We're still looking for 10-15 leaders for a great program, so please help!

I also found out that HBS is implementing a new program called Learning Teams for the Class of 2007. They will be assigned a group to do a couple of different projects during the fall semester. I have very few details, but I do know that this team isn't supposed to supplant study groups, instead it is supposed to provide a way for us arrogant HBS Type A people to learn to work better with others.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Schedules are out! 
Course schedules came out yesterday! It's about time, too, they were really starting to stretch the term "early" August. I did really well, at least relative to the few people I've spoken with, so I'm pretty happy. Of course, I didn't really go for a lot of the high demand courses so I had good odds going in. Looking at how things shook out it looks like I should have done a few minor things differently to really get my ideal schedule, but all in all things went well. Here's my lineup, in the order I ranked them (but broken out by semester):

Managing Service Operations
Coordinating and Managing Supply Chains
International Financial Management
Dynamic Markets
Strategy and Technology

Entrepreneurial Management in a Turnaround Environment
Investment Management
Professional Services
Half Course in Behavioral Corporate Finance
Business Analysis and Valuation
Coming of Managerial Capitalism

I didn't get Corporate Strategy because it was full long before my #3 ranking, and a Half Course in Energy that I couldn't get because of a time conflict, and thus I got Coming of Mgrl Cpt instead. I'm going to go to both, I think, and then decide whether I want to try to shift my schedule around in order to get Energy instead, and also be a half-course lighter.

The best part is that my half course in Beh Fin is the only one before 10am, so I won't be in class until 10 for 3/4 of the year. Also, my Thu-Fri will always get out at 1pm, so I'll have long weekends. In fact, I'll be on weekend from 1pm Friday until 10am Monday all year. That's almost as good as freshman year of college when I skipped all my Friday classes and so I was on the weekend from Thursday afternoon until Monday afternoon every week.

So, the scheduling process was a bit of a headache and it could probably be made more user friendly, but it worked out so I'm cool with it. Any comments on my schedule? I wish I could have gotten a marketing class, but the only one I thought about taking is in the fall, and I really wanted the five classes I already have.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Winding Down 
My summer in Houston is starting to wind down. I've got two more weekends here and then I drive back up to Boston with my brother. I'm looking forward to starting my second year, but I'm also kind of sad to leave work so soon. I only have 10 days left in the office and I really feel like I have a lot left to learn and do before I leave. My quality of work has shot up just over the last few weeks and I've made some good friends.

Two funny things happened to Jie and I recently, and in both cases the companies seem to be doing the right things:

Cingular - Our LG LC1300 phones from Cingular have been giving us problems for ages. So, Jie finally got fed up and called in about it and after talking to the lady for a while she admitted they had a lot of complaints about the phones and offered to replace them. She made it sound like we would get new versions of the same phone. Well, the box arrived and not only was there not one for me (we have a family plan), but the phone that arrived was refurbished, and it still had a picture of a half-naked woman as the background and all the menus were in Spanish. Well, that wasn't what we wanted when we asked for new phones. Jie called back and expressed her indignation and this time they eventually offered to send us two brand new Motorola V180 phones. Much better, at least until I get mine and it's a refurbished model with no battery or power cord (Jie got a brand new one in a real box and everything). So, after calling Cingular again a new phone is supposed to be making it's way to me now. We'll see once I get it...

Chase - Someone apparently has my mastercard information because they charged $2900 in wildfire fighting products to it. Well, the jokes on them because I shortly thereafter (and unknowingly) maxed out the card and then Jie caught the charge. After a brief call with Chase the account has been closed (before I could download my statements to Quicken, damn they're quick!), and we'll get the necessary paperwork and new cards in 3-5 days.

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