Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I wanted to spend this post talking about the amazing opportunities that get sent our way at CBS, specifically around entrepreneurship. Yes, Columbia is a great place if you are a finance quant jock who is looking to make millions on Wall Street, but its also an awesome place for those who want to start their own business, and I think that aspect of the school doesn't get enough press.

Here are a few of the amazing entreprenuership opportunities that crossed my CBS inbox in the last few weeks...

1) inSITE: inSITE is a program that pairs CBS and NYU biz and law students interested in VC and entrepreneurship with NYC area entrepreneurs. The students help the entrepreneurs hone their business plans, VC pitches, etc and the students get a ton of practical experience and contacts. I'm applying to get involved (they only take 12 students per year) and would be thrilled if it all works out.

2) 1-800-FLOWERS: Apparently they are looking to enter some new markets and are looking for an entrepreneurial MBA to come in and help them evaluate the markets and then lead the charge to build a new business. Sounded interesting, although I'm off the market for at least another 16 months ;)

3) Startup Law workshop: In a couple of weeks, CEO (Columbia Entrepreneur's Organization) is bringing in a professor to talk about legal issues that commonly face startups. This will be great (and free) advice for those of us in the community who want to start our own businesses.

What's even cooler (scarier?) is that these opportunities have come up in a 3 week timeframe -- I can't begin to imagine what other cool stuff is going to come down the pipe during my stay at CBS. I'll keep you all posted!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Somehow I managed to get sick over the last couple days -- again. Very annoying but I'd rather it happen now then in April during finals. Nothing beats the night sweats....

Anyways, that was probably TMI but onto the relevant topic....school....

We just had our Club Fair day and club registrations started as well. There is something for everybody (just like NYC) - The French Club, The Italian Club, The Management Consulting Club, The Wine Club, The Rugby Club...

Ahh yes, the Rugby club. Definitely not one that if you knew me (or my body-mass-index) you'd think I would join :) Wouldn't be something I would have done in the past but I figure I'm only in business school once, so what the hell! This also means I get to go on the 'training' trip to Trinidad and Tobago on Spring Break. Not a bad way to kick things off...

Our first midterm is on Tuesday (Statistics) so this weekend will be focused on that as well as our first Corp Fin case which is due on Monday. Also planning to host a dinner for my study group on Saturday, and oh yeah, CBS Happy Hour on Thursday and Cluster X gathering on Friday night.

Catch you on the flip side....

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

1st official day of classes is complete and I learned a couple of things.

One -- I have a ton of work due next week :)

Two -- and more importantly -- all of my professors are excellent. Even in the drier subjects (Statistics and Accounting come to mind). If the Core curriculum is this good, I'm pretty confident the electives will be amazing.

I'm also starting to have that realization regarding choices and time management that everyone talks about but that you don't quite understand until you get to school. For example, do I work on my Accounting assignment that is due Monday this evening, or do some optional Stat practice problems? Do I take that exemption exam or skip it to attend a review session for a core course? Do I go see a visiting CEO speak on campus or do I get home early and spend some time with my wife? You get the point!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The rest of CBS comes back next week from winter break. I thought things seemed busy at Uris Hall but I guess when we add another 800 students into the mix it will get downright crowded. We have a 4-day weekend of sorts due to MLK day and the following day being CBS holidays. I'm going back home with my wife for a couple days which will be nice.

Just got assigned our 1st case for Strategy Formulation (half semester). It's about Ben and Jerry's! Also have our first accounting assignment due in about a week (along with stat). Let me just say there is plenty for me to do outside of blogging :)

Our Cluster also selected our t-shirt design. Apparently, cluster t-shirts are a big deal and always worn by 1st year's to Happy Hour. I guess it all just adds to the bonding!

Actually, that reminds me, I need to explain the whole cluster concept...

For those who don't know, 1st years are split into groups of ~70 students that are called Clusters. Each cluster takes all the core courses together, spends alot of time during orientation together, etc. Plus, your study group is made up of 5-6 people from your cluster. Bottom line, you get to know the cluster pretty well. I guess this is a similar concept to most schools although they call it different things. Regardless, it really helps you get to know a bunch of people really quickly, which is a good thing. The j-term is split into Clusters X, Y, and Z. And yes, X is the best :)

Time to start studying for my Econ exemption exam. Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well, I am banged up, tired, and overwhelmed, but having a great time at CBS so far! :)

Orientation has been very intense with plenty of workshops and classes starting to kick in. We have read a couple of cases so far, but they have been qualitative so far -- I guess we don't know enough stat, finance, and accounting to be useful! Also, there has been a big (much bigger than I thought going in) focus on soft skills. This has been done through lectures, cases, and even improv comedy (seriously). Today we had our first Stat class and tommorrow we start Accounting.

Socially, the place is great. Everyone has been super-friendly, and fun. Unfortunately, I had a little too much fun after orientation bowling night (Friday) and the late nights over the last week finally caught up with me. Thus, I am fighting a bit of a cold. :)

I'm looking forward to the clubs getting rolling next week as well as the return of the rest of the school from Spring Break. That also means the 1st Happy Hour of the semester, which I am sure will be pretty raucous (if last Saturday night's escapades apres-bowling were any indication)...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


What a busy and crazy evening. We started our official 'orientation' at 5 pm this evening on campus with a cocktail reception for all the admitted students (complete with jazz band). After the reception we moved to a dinner in the same building (Low Library) where we sat in groups of 8 students at different tables. Dean Hubbard, the vice dean (name is escaping me), the president of the Graduate Business Association, and Linda Meehan (admissions director) all gave speeches.

Some interesting highlights and stats out of Linda's speech:

- 182 (don't hold me to the units digit :) new J-term students
- 51% international makeup, with Brazilians leading the pack
- 68% students are single
- In the class we have someone who has rode in rodeos, a Jordanian entrepreneur, someone who was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a former Director of Operations at FOXSports.com (shameless plug!)
- Penn was one of the top feeder schools for our class. Other Ivies were well represented as well.

After the dinner, I met my wife up at the Significant Others reception. She said it was quite good and she met alot of great people. Food wasn't bad, either :) After that she came to the 'afterparty' which was at a bar/lounge in the 70's on the West side. Tons of Columbia people, both new and old. The peer advisor team (look out for the blue polo shirts!) were in full effect and very friendly.

I also saw a couple of Penn folks during the night. One is a new student who dates a guy I went to high school with (could the world get any smaller?) and the other one was a fellow CS major who graduate the same year as me.

Called it a fairly early night and went home at 10:30pm or so. 8am start time tommorrow!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Orientation starts tommorrow night! Hard to believe that its finally here, and to be honest, it hasn't really even hit me yet. I worked right up until the end of December and work stayed very busy, so there wasn't much time to ruminate.

In any case, I am spending the next day or so trying to get my affairs in order before diving in head first. I need to finish off my essay for IBS (no jokes please) and get my computer squared away.

I use a Mac, incidentally, which according to what I have heard is not a problem, but you have to still have a way to run Windows since there is some software (Solver is one package) that only runs on Windows. I'm using some beta software from my old company, VMware, that will let me do this. It's a product called Fusion and I have linked it here in case you would like to check it out. You should be able to download it for free in the near term. In all fairness to the competition there is also some software called Parallels which serves the same purpose and that I've heard also allows you to run Windows pretty efficiently on your Intel-based Mac.

By the way, I noticed some of you have posted comments. Keep them coming, it is good to know the blog is helping people learn more about the b-school experience and CBS J-term in particular.