Saturday, June 30, 2007

Small school, big school

Over the last week I have been thinking about what it is like to go to a small school. I know, CBS is not a small school by any stretch of the imagination. But, J-term really makes it feel that way, especially during the summer when the rest of the class is off doing summer internships.

When applying to schools, I didn't really take big/small into consideration. However, I think it's really important to think about.

At a really big school like CBS, it's nice to have a group of ~180 students who you feel a strong bond with by virtue of being in the same program.

Not to say that you don't bond with other folks, but I have to say that my best friends in the program happen to be J-termers. Maybe it is coincidence, but I doubt it.

So, for all of you applicants, make sure you're not just shooting for the big name -- look at the class size and really think hard about what kind of environment you'll enjoy.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summer recruiting in full swing

Summer recruiting is in full swing here at CBS and many of the larger firms are coming in to do informational interviews. For example, here's Goldman's docket of events coming up:

Women's MBA Event
Featuring keynote speaker Suzanne Donohoe, Managing Director, Investment Management Division
Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 6:30pm
Downtown Association, 60 Pine St, New York, NY 10005

Goldman Sachs Presentation for J-Term Students
Corporate Presentation and Interactive Interview Skills Workshop
Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 5:45pm
Room 208, Warren Hall, Columbia Business School

Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Europe Dinner
Targeted dinner for students interested in fulltime opportunities in Europe
Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 7:30pm

Group Investment Banking Informational Interviews for J-Term Students
Friday, July 20th, 2007
Goldman, Sachs & Co. 85 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004

Citibank was here within the last week to discuss their management rotation program, and Blackstone's M&A advisory group came about 2 weeks ago to talk about opportunities with their division.

Dun & Bradstreet is also coming in soon to discuss their management rotation program, courtesy of the Graduate Management Association at CBS.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Beer Game

Tonight we played the 'Beer Game' for our Operations Management class.

The Beer Game is a supply chain simulation where you split 4-8 students into 4 groups, each group representing a part of the beer distribution and retailing supply chain. The goal is to have the least inventory across your supply chain at the end of the game, while at the same time minimizing unfulfilled demand. Our team got creamed (it's never a good sign when the professor cackles wildly when he looks at your screen) but it was fun and we certainly learned what not to do.

The other reason it is called the Beer Game is because they bring us beer which we drink during the game. Not a bad deal!

Afterwards a bunch of folks in my cluster went to play poker, but I have a case to read for tomorrow so I decided to come home and work on that (and blog, apparently :)

This weekend should be fun. There are 5 J-termers who are having birthdays this weekend so they rented out a loft downtown and are throwing a big bash. And I was asked to DJ, which should be great. I haven't spun records in a while, so I might need to practice up before I get up there.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'm an interviewer

This week I had orientation for the Hermes ambassador program. What this means is that this coming year I will be conducting phone interviews of applicants to CBS on behalf of the admissions staff.

It was refreshing (and should be of comfort to folks who are interviewing) that the interview is not meant to stump you, scare you, make you uncomfortable, etc.

Be yourself, come prepared, and do your homework about the school, and you should do just fine.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ping Pong Tournaments and Karaoke!

After tonight's happy hour, the Korean J-termers have organized a trip to one of Koreatown's many karaoke clubs. I'll be in Atlantic City with another classmate so I'll be missing out on the chance to make a fool of myself in front of everyone (although you could argue I do that on the blackjack table as well). Wish me luck at the tables...

We also have a major ping pong tournament coming up. One of the J-term guys is organizing it and it is already generating quite a bit of smack talk, nationalistic sentiments, etc. All good stuff. I'm terrible at ping pong (just ask my wife who beat me in 20 straight games when we were on vacation in Jamaica) but I might have to stop by and see everyone work their mojo.

Equity Research

I had a good informational call this afternoon with an equity research analyst this afternoon. He covers the enterprise software sector for one of the well-known boutique banking/research shops. Equity research is an area I don't know much about (other than the few earnings calls I've heard and seeing analyst ratings on Yahoo Finance, etc) so it was nice to get an insiders view.

Some of the things that I learned and/or found interesting were:

- MBAs are not recruited as heavily for these roles at the mid-tier shops. These firms are tending to go younger and get analysts who are fresh out of undergrad. Bulge brackets are still going after MBAs.
- The jobs are generally very secure.
- The person I spoke to only spends 20% of their time running models. The rest of the time is spent talking to folks in the industry and research customers.
- The skills learned in an equity research role are transferrable to other buy side firms like hedge funds or mutual fund managers. You could also work in the CFO's office of a public company, or investor relations.
- The buy side firms run their trades through the company that they buy research from as 'soft' compensation. (I think this is because of the separation banks are forced to have between their IB and research divisions).

Speaking of career stuff, Blackstone's Mergers and Acquisitions advisory practice had a reception at school today. I didn't go, but it looked like there were some decent refreshments (beer) for the recruits :) I wanted to go for educational purposes but got stuck working on an operations case that's due today.

Good night!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Finals are done!

Just finished my marketing final. 3/8's of my b-school career complete! The exam was a bit tougher than I expected but I'm sure it went fine.

Sent out another flurry of LinkedIn requests for contact to VC and corporate VC folks and already got a favorable response from someone at Comcast Interactive Capital. Should be speaking with him this week.

Thursday night I'm planning to head down to Atlantic City with a classmate or two and celebrate the end of finals. I haven't been to a casino in a while (we're going to the Borgata) so it should be fun. Blackjack tables, here I come...

Monday, June 18, 2007

A note from Dean Hubbard

This note was just sent out to the CBS community by Dean Hubbard. It's related to the buildout of the Manhattanville campus, which will be the b-school's new home within a few years.

Dear Colleagues:

I am very excited to report that Columbia University has entered the next - and crucial - phase of the planning process for its new Manhattanville campus: the formal public review and comment period under the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP. This milestone is an important one in the Manhattanville development timeline, one toward which the Business School and the University have been working assiduously for several months.

With the beginning of ULURP, the Manhattanville project has been set on a structured and transparent trajectory with a predictable schedule. The City of New York established ULURP as a means to standardize the procedure through which construction and other projects affecting the land use of the city are reviewed publicly. The ULURP process takes approximately seven months and consists of several progressive stages of review. More details on each of these stages and the approximate time allotted to each are included in the attached fact sheet. The successful completion of the process will result in the re-zoning of the area and will give the University authorization to proceed with building plans.

I cannot stress enough that Manhattanville will be nothing short of transformational to the School, and especially to the student experience. Current planning more than doubles our instructional space, which will allow us to separate academics from recruiting and student activities. We will also more than double the number of private study rooms and will add multiple student lounge areas for informal study, networking, and social interaction.

Manhattanville offers a number of additional advantages for the School: Most importantly, the new site gives us the opportunity to remove physical constraints and enable excellence; it allows for the future growth of the School; and it provides option value unmatched by any other proposal. And as we dramatically transform the School’s physical and student culture environment, we will empower faculty research through research centers and facilities for collaboration that will advance the School’s capacity to generate cutting-edge ideas. Bringing together our talented people and enhancing connections to the business resources around us are of course big plusses.

Over the coming months, I look forward to keeping you informed on our progress as we work toward our goal to design state-of-the-art facilities that match our status as a premier business education institution. As always, you can find additional information on the entire Manhattanville project at

With regards,

Glenn Hubbard

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Testing some new blogging software

I'm testing out the new blogging software from Red Sweater. It's called Mars Edit. It's got a 30-day free trial, so I'm going to give it a whirl. Bye for now.

Not much to report right now other than being in the midst of finals. Our Operations exam was corrected and returned in record time and thankfully I did very well. Actually, the whole class did well, which means it will be fairly easy to get an HP but very hard to get an H :) I am enjoying the class quite a bit and I think the concepts we're learning will be directly applicable to various problems we'll face in our collective careers.

Also took my macroeconomics exam, which was a different story. I don't think I bombed it but it was a fairly challenging exam which unfortunately I didn't have enough time to prep for as solidly as I would have liked. I really enjoy that course, though, and I think I'll end up doing just fine.

In career news, the banks and the consulting firms have started their summer reception schedules, and everyone is talking about the different firms and when they're visiting. Part of me feels left out of the process since I'm targeting industries and job functions that are outside of that. However, as easy as it would be to follow the crowd, I know that it's not what will make me happy in the long term.

Finally, we just had our mid-semester party. It was done really well, at a great little lounge with an awesome outdoor deck. There were great appetizers and an open bar-and of course plenty of J-termers. I had to turn in early due to my internship but I know a bunch of my classmates continued the party until the wee hours of the morning. Just another Thursday night at b-school, I guess!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I have my Operations midterm in about an hour, but I figured I'd post to share the news that I'm going to be interviewing for a part-time internship with a company called 2Recall tommorrow. They are a startup who offers a service that allows people to record their telephone conversations. They're writing a business plan and are going to start looking for funding, so they would like an MBA student to help them out. I'll let you know how it ends up working out.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This weekend I went up to the Shawgunks with 15 of my J-term compadres and spouses for some mountain-climbing. The Shawgunks (known as "The Gunks" to those climbers in the know) are a set of mountains in the Catskills, just outside of New Paltz (about a 100 minute drive from the city) and provide some of the best climbing in the US. I did 4 climbs during the day of varying difficulties, and rappelled down a big cliff as well! It was alot of fun and I must say, you get a real sense of accomplishment when you climb up to the top of a huge rock!

The other cool thing about this trip was that there were a bunch of people from other clusters who I didn't know very well and who I got to know better during our day of climbing. Definitely make sure that you take advantage of the various trips and outings (including ones that aren't planned under the auspices of school) while you are at school. It's a great way to meet people outside of your cluster in a unique setting (i.e. not a happy hour or a bar night :)

Oh yeah, I signed up for the Chazen trip to Southeast Asia. The trip is about 2 weeks long and hits Thailand, Singapore, and the Phillipines. It's happening over Christmas break and we'll be spending New Years in Bangkok I believe. I should be a Southeast Asia pro pretty soon -- I'm also going to Vietnam with my wife at the end of August!

I have an operations midterm tommorrow, so back to the books...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

This is a great post from Charlie O'Donnell, formerly of Union Square Ventures, who provides some tips for wanna-be VC's. Charlie used to work at Union Square Ventures as an Analyst and now works at one of their portfolio companies (Oddcast) as their lead product guy. Enjoy!