Wednesday, February 28, 2007

One down, two to go!

Monday's accounting midterm went OK -- I was able to finish the entire exam but only had about 20 seconds to spare before time was up. I tend to make careless mistakes so I'm always happy about having some extra time to check my answers at the end. I'm looking forward to seeing how I did (and the curve :)

Tommorrow at 9am sharp we have our Strategy final. It is open book/note but we don't get to see the case until 1 hour before class. I think I may have a shot at an 'H' in the class if I do well on the exam, so wish me luck!

On Friday we our Statistics final. I have been working sample problems over the past couple of days and feel pretty good, but I still need to do the sample exams. After my Strategy final tommorrow, I will be sequestering myself to the library for some serious cramming.

After Friday morning, I've got to run a bunch of errands in preparation of my trip to Trinidad and Tobago with the Rugby Club. Should be a very fun trip -- I'll tell you all about it when I get back!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I wanted to take a moment to relay some interesting tidbits from the recent breakfast Dean Hubbard hosted at Uris:

- School logo is being redesigned (had to put the least interesting thing first!)
- J-term is being reduced to 2 clusters (from 3) until the new Manhattanville campus is completed. (I believe this reduction will begin next year.)
- A renewed focus on use of CBS-branded cases in the classroom.

Other than that, not much new other than studying for midterms and finals. I did take a study break on Thursday night and went to Happy Hour. The BBSA (Black Business Student Association) hosted their annual charity auction (supports the general scholarship fund) which let us CBS'ers bid on an electic array of items - professors' neckties, vacations to various parts of the world, sports tickets, and even lunch with Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards! I put in for some baseball tickets, the lunch with Gilbert was too rich for my blood at $2000!

The other great thing about the auction was that I heard J-term contributed the most items, and my cluster came STRONG with all sorts of items and prizes big and small. Go J-term!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Good evening fellow bloggers and lurkers. A couple of things to report...

Last week we received our Strategy Formulation midterm back and got the highest grade possible! This was great news and also validation for the amount of work we put in on this one. Rather than an in-class exam, the midterm involved us reading a case about a company (Husky - a company in the injection molding space) and then working with our study group to produce a set of industry analyses and strategic recommendations.

Although Strategy sometimes gets a bad rap as 'fluffy' (i.e. no math :), at Columbia they do wrap in some quant stuff. For example, we recently had to develop estimated NPV calculations and a payoff matrix that allowed us to analyze options for two industry players (in this case, Newscorp and British Satellite Broadcasting). In our midterm, we had to analyze the cost structure of a customer and determine how that cost structure affected the price Husky was able to charge those customers for injection molding machines.

I also received my client assignment for the Small Business Consulting Program. I'll be working with McClure's Pickles, a small regional gourmet pickler. Definitely an interesting client, and should let me apply some of this stuff I'm learning in class. :)

Other than that, we're in exam season. Accounting midterm is on Monday, Strategy final on Thursday, and then Stat on Friday. Starting to feel overwhelmed but everyone else is in the same boat, so I probably shouldn't complain!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I spent Friday at the MBA Media and Entertainment Conference which was held on Columbia's campus and sponsored by CBS, Stern, Sloan, Wharton, and Duke. Although I had to miss my Friday Statistics class (my LAST Statistics class to be held on a Friday - woohoo!) it was definitely worth it. There were multiple speeches as well as three different panel times in which you could select from a variety of panels.

I really enjoyed Peter Cuneo's keynote to lead off the day. He is a turnaround artist who brought Marvel Comics back from the verge of extinction and has now reestablished them as the preeminent player in the space. He gave some great advice and excellent perspectives on where he sees Marvel going in the future, as well as challenges that he sees going forward.

The other speech I really enjoyed was from Kevin Ryan. He founded Doubleclick and is now involved in numerous startup companies. He is probably the best example of a New York City tech entrepreneur which was pretty exciting for me as I am looking to start my own business after school.

Also sat in on the panels for 'Net Neutrality', VC/PE in M&E, and Web 2.0. The first two panels were quite good, especially the VC/PE panel. It gave an inside look at what these firms look for when they invest in media/technology plays.

Overall, a really strong conference and one that I will be attending again next year!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Just got back from the basketball court. Intermural hoops have begun and my cluster just faced off against Cluster Z. Ultimately they prevailed but we did have a pretty good time turning the ball over repeatedly :)

Today we had the Small Business Consulting Program mixer. This was a chance for us to meet the companies that we might want to work with. Some of the ones that seemed cool were a spicy pickle manufacturer, a non-profit website devoted to bringing travel experiences to primary and secondary school students, an eco-friendly pet toy company, and a children's party throwing company (run by a guy I went to undergrad with). I have no idea how the pairing process works, but I am pretty confident I will be able to find a company that I'd enjoy helping.

On Tuesday we presented the results of our analysis of a case related to a company called Husky. This was part of our Strategy Formulation midterm grade. The presentation went well and it turned out that our key recommendation was actually followed by Husky. So that was pretty cool...

Spent about 4 hours last night working on Corporate Finance homework. It is the class I am learning the most in, and also the class I am working the hardest in. I never thought I would say this, but I actually really like it. But don't get me wrong -- this doesn't mean I want to go into investment banking :) Not that there's anything wrong with that.

This Saturday night my clustermate's wife is having a little birthday outing at a champagne bar, which should be fun, and then Sunday there is a 'Significant Others Club' dinner which I'll be going to with my wife. And then after dinner, more basketball! Cluster Y, beware...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Well, I just found out I didn't make the cut for InSITE. I knew it would be competitive so it takes some of the sting out of it. However, not to fear, there is an excellent alternative...

Columbia Business School has a program called the SBCP Small Business Consulting Program. Basically, you work with a team of students and a local business on a consulting project and also get some mentoring along the way from more senior club members as well as folks from McKinsey.

I'm not interested in going into consulting at this point but regardless, the experience should be a great way for me to apply some of what I'm learning out in the real world, before graduation.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Got some good news today. The InSITE folks want to bring me in for an interview tommorrow. If all goes well I could be an InSITE Fellow -- very exciting stuff.

Also gave rugby a try for the first time. We had our first practice which consisted of some drills, and then we played touch rugby (gotta start out light, right? :) I had a great time although I must admit I have little clue what I'm supposed to be doing on the field.

Also got my Statistics midterm back yesterday. I didn't do very well but mostly that was the virtue of me rushing and making stupid mistakes. It is something that has always bit me on tests and apparently it is still hanging around even after an 8 year academic hiatus! I know most MBAs will tell you that grades "don't matter" (well, unless you want to do banking or consulting), but it would have been nice to have scored better.

Our Strategy Formulation midterm case is due on Tuesday as well. It's about an injection molding company called Husky and we're (each study group) supposed to make recommendations about how the company should get through a bad patch. We're going to be presenting in class and some managers from Husky will actually be there as well to provide their real-life perspective. Pretty cool stuff.

Other than that, I'm going over one of my clustermate's apartment to watch the big game. Looking forward to relaxing over a beer and football. Enjoy your weekend!