Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Got most of my classes

Round 1 results are in, and I got most of my classes. 5 out of 6 bids, actually. Security Analysis was the one that I didn't get, and we were just notified that they may open up another small section of the course with a different prof. In the mean time, I have put in a bid for Advanced Corp Finance just in case the additional section doesn't come through.

Here are the classes I got:

Entrepreneurial Finance (taught by the Dean and another prof)

Pricing Strategies (w/Prof Wadhwa, known as one of the best profs at CBS)

Launching New Ventures (in this course you develop a biz plan)

Business, Innovation, and Technology (Michael Dell's brother teaches this one, but I am probably going to drop it for the finance courses I mentioned above)

Retailing: Financial, Marketing, and Strategic Integration (lots of great guest speakers)

So, I'm fairly happy with how things have turned out.

In other news, I managed to finish in the top 50% of the poker tourney, but that was where my luck ended. We had two tables going and I made it out of the first table into the final table, but I got a bad hand where I went all-in and that took me out. The guy whose pic I showed in one of my recent posts won the whole thing. Go figure :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Poker tourney tommorrow night

J-term poker tourney tommorrow ... the organizer sent the participants a montage of one of our J-term poker playing bretheren who is a fairly accomplished player. I just have to share one of the pics, it is priceless...

With a look like that I know that I'm probably crazy to enter the tourney, but I'm going to take my chances anyways.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

One more week of classes

Another semester almost comes to a close...we're almost 2nd years. Hasn't quite sunk in yet, but probably will soon. I'm trying to get caught up on a few assignments (I swear I wasn't procrastinating!) that I need to hand in this week while trying to juggle a few social 'obligations' (J-term's last Happy Hour, J-term poker tourney, and my 30th birthday). This is the 2nd time this semester that I've felt a bit overwhelmed. I am glad I am not doing traditional recruiting, else my head would probably explode. There have been a ton of events, and if you're not sure which major feeder industry you like (i.e. consulting or banking), you'll find yourself out at least a couple nights a week on top of your usual social life. I imagine something has got to give, that you prioritize, blah blah blah, but it must be challenging.

Last night we had no official happy hour since our fearless J-term leaders are (I think) using the monies to defer the cost of our last happy hour (on a boat in the East River), but we improvised and hit a spot in the West Village. We had some good Cluster X and Y representation and I think a few Z'ers were there, too.

My part-time job has been going well, too. We almost have the business plan completed and will start on the investor slide deck shortly. I'm also going to be responsible for creating our marketing plan. Still nothing super positive on the VC independent study front, but did speak to a couple more corp dev folks who were very helpful.

Gotta keep on chugging...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Recruiting just for J-termers

Here's some details on an event that JP Morgan is hosting exclusively for J-termers interested in banking and health care:


Hear an insider’s view of a recent investment banking transaction in the health care space. JP Morgan is offering this event especially for Columbia J-Termers. It promises to be an excellent learning opportunity for everyone interested in getting a better understanding of investment banking or the health care sector.

Case Study by Scott Moses, Vice President, Consumer Healthcare Group

Lunch will be served

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Master Classes

This post is in response to a blog comment I received from 'Tommy'. He asked me to explain the master classes that are offered at Columbia. Here is the description from the website:

Master Classes are hands-on, project-based electives designed to challenge students to creatively integrate concepts learned across the core curriculum and apply them to contemporary business problems. More than a passive study or report, Master Class projects require students to make managerial decisions or recommendations. Master Classes are integrally tied to external organizations that evaluate and consider students’ recommendations.

Each Master Class focuses on a specific industry context (e.g. media, real-estate, consulting) and draws significant input from the professional community via group projects, guest speakers, adjunct faculty and alumni participation. With substantial projects and practitioner involvement, Master Classes provide students with a unique exposure to the current realities of the business world.

One of the more popular master classes is the Strategy Consulting Skills class taught by Professor Wadhwa. The students are broken up into groups and each does real a strategy consulting project for a client, with the professor acting as a mentor and teaching them frameworks (Prof. Wadhwa used to be a consultant w/McKinsey). I have a clustermate who took the course and said it was quite good.

This coming semester there are some other master classes happening, including Entrepreneurship in Africa, which culminates with a trip to Africa over the winter break. Here's another one that sounded interesting related to macro investing.

Hope this helps!

Crank it to '11'

This is the second time one of my teachers has shown this clip from Spinal Tap in class (first time was in Corp Fin, second was today in Macro), so I figured I would share. We were discussing inflation in this case. Anyways, here goes...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Class schedule dilemna

I'm struggling with my class schedule/bidding for next semester.

If I really want to, I can arrange a schedule that will mean I only have class Monday, Tuesday, and maybe Wednesday morning. This would give me alot of time to work or study contiguously. On the other hand, it means that while I'm at school, I will be in class, and won't really have time to hit any of the events that happen during the week in the evenings (I'd have class on Monday and Tuesday night until about 9pm).

I need to figure this out soon since the first round of bidding ends tommorrow afternoon. I guess I'll sleep on it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Upcoming MBA Admissions Events

I just got this emailed to me from Penn through the alumni relations office. Looks like there are some MBA info sessions coming up in various cities. Might be worth checking out if you want to learn more about the top schools and talk to their admissions folks.

Here are the dates and cities:

Washington, DC - Monday, August 6

New York, NY - Tuesday, August 7

Boston, MA - Wednesday, August 8

Los Angeles, CA- Monday, August 13

San Francisco, CA - Tuesday, August 14

Chicago, IL- Wednesday, August 15

Atlanta, GA - Thursday, August 16

Click here for more information.

Venture Guy

My classmate Mark Davis just started a blog called http://getventure.typepad.com.

It's designed to educate entrepreneurs about the VC funding process and is written in plain english. Very useful if you are just getting started in learning about how VC's operate, what they look for, etc.

Check it out if you have some time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

J-term social calendar

The J-term social calender is pretty full these days. Thursday we are having the 'Past Present and Future' Happy Hour which I believe means that the class of 07, 08, and 09 are all invited. I'm guessing this will be more lowkey than a full-on September Happy Hour but busier than a summer one. On Friday a bunch of people from our cluster are going to watch the Yankees play the Devil Rays at Yankee Stadium. This event was arranged awhile back but at the time I wasn't interested in signing up. Now I am kind of regretting it since I didn't go to paintball and am feeling a bit left out :( I'm working anyways, so no big deal.

Meeting with a VC

This afternoon I met with a principal from a late-stage VC here in the city. This was a follow-up to a meeting I had last week (which was made through a connection on LinkedIn via a woman I used to work with prior to business school). I thought it went very well and I think I had a good rapport with the person I met with. He told me to keep in touch and that there may potentially be either an internship or a full-time opportunity in the coming year. So we will see.

Here are some of the questions I was asked, in case you are curious what sorts of questions might be asked of you in a VC interview...

- Why do you want to get into VC?
- What opportunities for investment do you see in the space you worked in prior to business school?
- How did you do academically in your undergrad program?
- Discuss your involvement in vendor selection at your previous jobs.
- Talk about leadership experience you've had.
- Tell me about what you perceive to be the functions of the job.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

No, they're not getting ready to storm Uris Hall...these were pics from the paintball outing on Saturday. I had friends in town so I wasn't able to attend, but it sounds like everyone had fun shooting each other with air-powered rifles. Hopefully we'll do it again next year.

In other news, I was pleased to secure a venue for my 30th birthday party, which is taking place in a couple of weeks. I'm having it at a lounge in the East Village that has a great soundsystem and plenty of space. Of course, me and my fellow J-term DJs will be providing the music :)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Career switchers (banking)

This looked interesting for those career switcher i-banking wannabes!

Lehman Brothers will host a dinner at its office (745 Seventh Avenue – 49th Street) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 for career switchers interested primarily/exclusively in investment banking. The dinner will be primarily hosted by two of CBS’s most successful graduates (both career switchers) during the 1990’s – John Miller ’93 (JP Morgan initial investment banking job after CBS) and Janine McGrath Shelffo ’95 (DLJ, valedictorian of her CBS class). Lehman Brothers prides itself on the number of career switchers it has hired in recent years into investment banking – the highest percentage of any leading Wall Street firm.

I'm guessing many of my j-term compadres who want to get into banking (and there are quite a few) will want to attend this one.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Changes to Health Care program

If you are interested in the Health Care program at CBS, here is some information that was just sent out to us:

Last year, the Health Care and Pharmaceutical Management Program was created to provide Columbia MBA students with a “real world” understanding of the health care industry through innovative course offerings and learning/networking opportunities with industry leaders. In 2007-08, five health care electives will be offered, comprising an integrated “matrix” of functional disciplines (finance, marketing, strategy/management, operations) within multiple health care sectors (pharmaceuticals/ biotechnology, medical devices, providers and health care services), studied from the perspectives of industry executives and investors in this large and complex sector. Each course is geared toward providing students with a practical understanding of the key drivers and players in the health care sector, using industry practitioners as guest speakers to provide useful insight and perspective.

In the fall, Prof. Green will teach a full-term course on The Health Care Industry in the 21st Century which will provide an overview of the health care delivery system from the perspectives of payers/ insurers, providers/ hospitals, and producers/ suppliers. This course should be of interest to students planning a career in health care, as well as other students who can benefit from understanding the structure and unique features of this sector given its enormous impact on the global economy.

In the spring, there will be four half-term courses. In the A-Term, Prof. Cramer will teach Strategy and Competition in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, which was first offered this past spring. It provides a critical analysis of the key strategic, organizational, and competitive opportunities and challenges confronting the pharma/biotech sector. Also, in the A-Term, Prof. Lichtenberg will teach Economics of Health Care and Pharmaceuticals, which is a restructured course from prior years focused on pricing of drugs and hospital services, economics of biomedical research, and cost-benefit analyses employed by health care payers and consumers.

In the Spring B-Term, Prof. Cramer will teach Health Care Investment and Dealmaking. This course analyzes the health care industry from the perspectives of venture capital and private equity firms investing in life sciences, devices, and health services, and health care entrepreneurs, including strategies to grow businesses through partnering, licensing and acquisitions. Also in the B-Term, Prof. Wosinska will teach Health Care Marketing. This course focuses on the marketing, branding, pricing, and customer segmentation issues unique to the industry, with an emphasis on the marketing of pharmaceuticals and biologics.

Please see the attachment above for more detailed descriptions of the health care course electives for 2007-08. If you have any questions on the health care curriculum, please contact Prof. Cramer, Director of the Health Care and Pharmaceutical Management Program at cc2663@columbia.edu or 212.854.2327.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Networking updates

Today I got confirmations on calls with two corp dev guys - one is from Dell (introduction made through LinkedIn by a clustermate) and one is from Akamai (where I was once a customer). Both of these should be really good. Also have an in-person with a VC on Friday! This was set up through an introduction that one of my former co-workers made (again through LinkedIn). This is my first in-person VC informational, and I am really looking forward to it.

P.S. Is this an ad for LinkedIn or what? :)

Tech Meetup Tonight!

It's that time of the month again -- the NY Tech Meetup. It's a chance for local techie entrepreneurs to demo their products or services to the greater community, which includes other techies, VC's, and various and sundry other folks. This week there are some interesting presenters, including a guy from Amazon who is going to talk about S3 and EC2 and another guy who has created an information market for parking spots (sound familiar? :) It's happening down at Cooper Union at 7pm, so I better get moving...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Changes to the Real Estate program

This just in from the Real Estate Program at CBS:

Subject: Real Estate Courses for the 2007/8 Academic Year

To: Real Estate Concentrators and MBA students interested in real estate

From: Professor Chris Mayer, director of the MBA Real Estate Program

Next year will be an exciting year for the MBA Real Estate Program, but also a year of changes. While the course offerings will remain unchanged, we will change the timing of Real Estate Transactions, welcome two new faculty members, and also make some changes to the requirements for the Master Class in Real Estate Investment. In addition, I will be taking a sabbatical leave next academic year. These changes are detailed below:

1) The course schedule for real estate classes in 2007-2008 will be as follows:

Class Professor(s) Credits Time Co-requisites

B8314 Real Estate Finance Neng Wang 3 TBA B6302
B8314 Real Estate Finance Neng Wang 3 TBA B6302
B8399 Real Estate Capital Markets Dan Adkinson / 3 W 9-12:15 B8314, B6302
Michael Giliberto

B8314 Real Estate Finance Tomasz Piskorski 3 TBA B6302
B8314 Real Estate Finance Tomasz Piskorski 3 TBA B6302
B8158 Real Estate Transactions Lynne Sagalyn 3 Tu 2:15-5:30 B8314
B9317 Master Class in RE Invstmt Jeff Barclay / 6 M,W 4-7:15 B8314, B8399
Camille Douglas

2) We will be joined by two new full-time faculty members, plus a new adjunct faculty member.

Assistant Professor Tomasz Piskorski joins us from NYU where he recently earned his PhD. Professor Piskorski specializes in Real Estate Finance and has written on Optimal Mortgage Design and the link between lending and housing markets.

Visiting Professor Lynne Sagalyn will be at Columbia Business School for the entire academic year, while she is on leave from the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Sagalyn was previously the Director of the MBA Real Estate Program at Columbia Business School and has authored two books on real estate and numerous real estate cases. She will be writing cases and teaching Real Estate Transactions during her visit at Columbia.

Adjunct Professor Michael Giliberto will be co-teaching Real Estate Capital Markets. Dr. Giliberto is Managing Director and Director of Real Estate Strategy at JPMorgan Asset Management, where he has worked since 1996. Previously he worked at Lehman Brothers, Solomon Brothers, and was a Professor at Southern Methodist University.

3) The Master Class in Real Estate Investment debuted in Spring ’07 to rave reviews and has quickly become the signature course for the MBA Real Estate Program. The Master Class is a mix of cases, guest speakers, and a semester-long group business project. Last year's projects included such diverse business plans as student housing in Manhattanville, a Latin American Land Fund, a development plan for a new casino hotel in Reno, NV, and a draft privatization of Boston Properties, a large REIT.

In order to facilitate the full development of the projects, the Master Class in Real Estate Investment will require students to apply in writing and receive advanced approval in order to register for the class. Prior to registering, students must form a group of 2-4 members (no more than 4 members will be allowed under any circumstances) and develop a preliminary version of their project. Projects must also have an industry sponsor. The Milstein Center will help provide support in creating a project and finding an industry sponsor if a group needs the help. The project summary with a list of group members must be submitted and approved by faculty prior to registration. Under no circumstances will students be allowed to register after the class has started.

4) Finally, I will be taking a sabbatical leave for the 2007-2008 academic year to pursue independent research, which means I will not be teaching or holding regular office hours. After more than a decade of teaching and serving in numerous academic roles, this will be my first sabbatical. The MBA Real Estate Program will be well-served with a very distinguished line-up of teaching faculty. In addition, Executive-in-Residence Leanne Lachman will be available to provide career advice and Visiting Professor Sagalyn, my predecessor, will be on campus and holding regular office hours during the entire academic year. I will maintain my position as Director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate to ensure continuity with our outside constituencies and that there is no break in programs. We have a very strong staff in the Milstein Center who will continue to work closely with the Real Estate Association on programming throughout the year.

I hope that everyone is enjoying a very nice and relaxing summer.

Professor Chris Mayer

course bidding, Google

The time is upon us CBS'ers to bid for next semester's courses. Since it is Fall term, there is an enormous selection of course (good), but much more competition to get into the popular ones (bad). As you may know, CBS has a system by which you bid on courses against your fellow classmates. Some of the more popular ones like Entrepreneurial Finance (taught by Dean Hubbard) or Top Management Process (taught by Professor Biggadike) tend to go for a large number of points. In fact, I've heard from the 2nd years who just left that it is quite possible that you will end up spending all of your bid points on maybe 2-3 courses that you really want to take. Of course, if you're not shooting for any of the 'popular' courses, you won't have this problem. But who doesn't want to take a course with the Dean, you know? :)

On an unrelated note, I saw that Google today announced they were going to acquire a company called Postini. Postini offers an email spam filtering service. This fits into Google's whole application strategy pretty nicely, so it will be interesting to see how and where the technology gets integrated. Speaking of Google, I would love to speak to someone in their corporate development group. They are doing a large number of transactions and it would be cool to hear about their methodology, how they staff their corpdev organization, etc. Unfortunately I have had trouble tracking down anyone in my network who knows folks in that group. If any of you have any thoughts (or contacts), please let me know!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007


I received some sad news this morning when I found out that my friend's son who was born 3 months premature passed away yesterday.

I can't imagine what this is like not having kids, but I can only believe it is absolutely horrible.

Take some time today to give thanks for your health, and the health of your loved ones.

I know I don't do it enough myself.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Back in Beantown

I'm back home in Boston for a couple of days. I'm going to hit the Red Sox game with my Dad tomorrow and then hang out with my Mom and little brother on Thursday before heading back into the city. Perhaps I'll catch some fireworks as well! Or maybe a flyball - I think our seats are on the short porch in right field at Fenway, and their opponent, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, are pretty awful.

This past Saturday night I DJed at the 5-way birthday party held by some of my J-term compadres at a loft on Canal Street. It was a great party and the organizing birthday boys also made it into a fundraiser to support some of our classmates who are planning to run the NY Marathon this fall. I hadn't DJ'd for a live audience in over a year, so I was worried about there being some cobwebs, but my set went over really well and I heard alot of good feedback. I'm hoping to get out on the turntables alot more this coming year.

Next week the company I'm interning for is going out to informally talk with investors, and I will be coming along to listen and learn. I'm very excited for this since it will give me a chance to meet VCs in person and hopefully start establishing relationships. My plan is to try to get some sort of VC-related independent study for the fall, so I need to get cracking in the next month to make that happen.

On the way up from NYC to Boston tonight I also caught up with my friend who is starting a software company. I'm giving them advice on their business plan, fundraising, etc, and helping them prep for an analyst call next week. (By analyst I mean IT industry analyst, not VC analyst). There is also some talk of me going out to an industry conference with them in September to help them market and sell the product, which would be fun.

Also, I wanted to share a posting from PsyBlog that talks about why career planning is time wasted. I thought this was a great article, and hopefully makes you feel better if you're stressed out about which post-MBA career path to take. As my wife always says, "It will all work out." So just listen to my wife and you'll be fine. It has worked pretty well for me :)

Monday, July 02, 2007

World Business Forum

The student body here at CBS was recently contacted to solicit volunteers to assist with the World Business Forum, which is coming to NYC in October. Sounds like a killer lineup of execs and visionaries, and I'm glad the organizers thought we would be a good group to tap into. I put my hat into the ring with the hopes I'll get to be a speaker's aide for one of these folks, but we'll see what happens. Probably won't know for a while. Anyways, here is an excerpt of the email that was sent to us:

The World Business Forum is back at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on October 10 & 11, 2007.

During this two-day program, you’ll hear the insights of those who truly know how to lead on the topics that impact business, from the local to global stage. You will also have the opportunity to connect with top executives and to share your ideas and challenges.

Big Names & Big Ideas:

Alan Greenspan – The Global Economy

Jack Welch – Management & Strategy

Al Gore – Global Affairs

Carl Icahn – Unlocking Shareholder Value

Michael Eisner – Creativity & Growth

Herb Kelleher – Building a People-focused Culture

Garry Kasparov – Strategic Thinking

Patricia A. Woertz – Leading Organizational Transformation

Craig Barrett – Technology & the Economy

Chris Anderson – The Future of Sales & Marketing

Jack Ma – China & the Internet

Frederick Smith – Innovation & Access

Scott McNealy – Technology

Dennis Nally – Corporate Accountability

Please visit the event website for more information - www.wbfny.com.

HSM – organizer of the World Business Forum – would like to invite Columbia students to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We have several volunteer positions like: being the Speaker Aide for one of our keynote speakers (15 positions available), managing audience Q&A microphones inside the theater (4 positions available), being the Introducer liaison (1 position available), working at the registration desk (10 positions available).