Sunday, September 30, 2007

Great comment from an alum

A recent CBS alum just posted this comment to my blog. I think its excellent stuff and is very crisp in answering some of the questions others have posted related to careers and J-term vs regular term vs other schools.

I just came across your blog today and found it interesting and entertaining. By the way, I am a CBS Alum (05). Although I belonged to the September class, I also had many friends in the J-term class. After reading comments of some of the folks on this blog, let me also add my observations of Columbia MBA.

First, although known as an accelerated MBA, Columbia J-term MBA is a 2-year MBA in terms of its academic depth (almost 17 months just like any September MBA program). For career switchers, this particular aspect definitely helps as it allows you to take more classes, gives you more time for networking and also helps recruiters establish more trust in your academic abilities versus a 10-month or a 12-month program.

Second, unlike Cornell or Kellogg’s accelerated MBA program, the Columbia’s accelerated program is not separated from the September class. J-termers start late but then catch up with their September peers by taking classes in the summer and in coming September, everybody (both J-term and Sep class) merge together to take electives for next 9 months or so. Plus, if you can exempt some of your core classes, you can start taking elective classes with Sep class as early as Jan.

Third, it should be noted that when Columbia Business School releases logistics related to its latest class (GPA, age range, GMAT etc), those numbers pertain to the full class (J-term and Sep). What it means that Columbia admission folks literally keep the standard of its admissions’ criteria same for both Jan and Sep class to ensure that overall logistics of the incoming MBA class remain as high as possible. It means that both Sep and Jan terms are equally competitive from admittance standpoint (although a lot of folks speculate that J-term would be a bit more competitive this year as CBS is planning on reducing its J-term class by one cluster. Columbia ED could also little easer to get into because of the bond but you never know).

Fourth, recruiting wise, let me categorically state that for management consulting jobs, internship is not a requirement by any means. For instance, top management consulting firms recruit more students from INSEAD (over 70% are career switchers) than any other B-school and INSEAD does not have any internship. For industry related jobs, there is no need of internship either. For financial services related jobs, internship does play an important role especially for career switchers. But I do know many J-term folks who successfully transitioned to IB jobs as career switchers. Obviously, they had to do more le work.

Fifth, I don’t know why but somehow in my class of 06, I found Columbia’s J-term folks more interesting, diverse and much more international (I am an international myself). Most of them were aspiring entrepreneurs with very interesting backgrounds. Whereas, my September class was filled with more traditional students (engineers, IT, finance). However, J-term also attracts a lot of high achievers who want to switch their career but they do not want to wait till September.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Last post today, I promise

I was goofing around seeing where my blog shows up in Google search results (yeah I'm a geek) and stumbled upon the CBS GBA page. GBA is the Graduate Business Association and are the student leaders within the school. There are descriptions of what all of these folks do, and I think it will help you get an idea of what kind of stuff is going on at our school. I thought it was great because it really gives you an idea of how involved people can be and also what kind of leadership opportunities are out there for incoming students.

Interesting post on management and micromanagement

Marc Andressen's blog is usually full of gems, and I especially liked this post about management and micromanagement that was made by one of the guys who ran his latest company, Opsware (recently sold to HP for 1.5B).

(For those of you who don't know, Andressen was one of the founders of Netscape, back in the yesteryear of the 1990's.)

Check out the blog if you have a chance.

Lazy Friday

Another week at b-school come and gone and only 2+ weeks until my jaunt to Tokyo. Good news on the VC front -- it looks like I finally nailed down that internship! I spoke to the partner who I'd be assisting and it seemed to go really well. So now all that remains should be some paperwork and I'l be off to the races. Also just set up a lunch with one of our recent alums at a local VC firm - gotta start planting the job hunt seeds (the big push for me will be next semester).

As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, last night my Business, Technology, and Innovation class went to visit Carl Icahn at his office on the 40-something-th floor of the GM building. His offices were very well apportioned, and there were lots of pictures of predatory animals and people fighting wars. He talked to us for about 45 minutes, told us about his take on corporate America (summary: it's incredibly wasteful and most managers don't know what they're doing), and how he feels it is his moral duty to help clean it up. I enjoyed it alot and it's definitely made my personal highlights list for things that I've experienced since coming to CBS.

After Happy Hour last night I hit a diner with some fwllow J-termers and happened to be sitting near a guy who is going hard at the investment banking thing. He has no prior experience in finance and apparently he has been getting called/recruited directly by some banks. He feels like hiring has been robust and he is confident he will have a job. He did admit that he would have to work harder than September term folks, but he knew that going in, and seems like he is on the right track to land a good position.

The other big news is that today at 5pm is the deadline for McKinsey resume drop. I am sure lots of folks are working on their resumes right now :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blogging from Uris Hall

Sitting out here in Uris killing some time before I go meet one of my clustermates for lunch at a kosher joint!

Just met with Adam Dell and the rest of my project group for the Business, Technology, and Innovation class I'm taking. We're going to be creating a website to help entrepreneurs find and raise capital using an open source/community contribution model. Right now we're just in the planning stages but the goal is to have something out there by the end of the semester.

I have one more phone interview with the VC firm that I've been talking to, so I think that assuming that goes well, I should have the part-time gig.

Last night I hit a networking event downtown - the Web 2.0 Meetup. Sun Microsystems hosted the event at a nice pool hall in the city called Slate. And they also provided the food :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Dean Hubbard just sent out an email to the CBS community regarding the inconveniences we're likely to face tommorrow with the president of Iran's visit to the Morningside Campus.

I wasn't expecting anything more than an informational note, but was pleased to see the Dean shared his opinion with our community (bolding was added by me):

The University’s decision to invite Mr. Ahmadinejad to speak on campus and to engage in a dialogue with our students and faculty has polarized our community. Some would argue that a University should be a place of intellectual freedom and open debate, but others – including me – argue that Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is responsible for the death of American soldiers, denies the Holocaust, and calls for the destruction of Israel, has proven himself incapable of engaging in a true and honest academic discussion.

While neither I nor any member of the Business School community initiated the invitation to Mr. Ahmadinejad, I thank you in advance for your patience in dealing with the disruption that his visit will cause us.

Should be an interesting day tommorrow. I'm supposed to meet a prospective student on campus and I'm a bit worried they won't be able to get in.

We shall see.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Carl Icahn visit

This just in...

I just got this email from Adam Dell (yes, of the Texas Dells) who is teaching my Business, Technology, and Innovation course.

He alluded to this in the first class but we are now confirmed to be visiting Carl Icahn's offices on Thursday evening. And yes, we get to meet Carl.

Very cool stuff. This is why I go to school in NYC!

Checking in from Boston

I'm in Boston -- got here last night and am going back to NYC tommorrow. I had the in-person interviews at the VC firm I've been talking about and now there is just one more interview left. So, it's looking pretty good. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday should be kind of a nutty day at Columbia. The Iranian president is going to be giving a speech on campus and there are bound to be a ton of protests. In fact, the school just sent out an email saying this in not so many words...

On a more business school related topic, it looks like CBS has an open house coming up. I got this email from admissions a few days ago:

The Hermes Society and Columbia Business School's MBA Office of Admissions
cordially invite you to an on-campus event.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 6:30pm

Uris Hall, 117th street (between Broadway and Amsterdam)New York, NY 10027

Professors and students from the following academic areas of concentration will give you highlights of each program: Social Enterprise, Healthcare, and Finance.

To RSVP for this event, please visit our website at

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


If you have read my blog for a while you know I am a big fan of LinkedIn. Well, I just took a look at their blog and saw that they are indeed going to be creating an API for outside parties to access. I think this is great and will lead to a whole bunch of innovative and powerful applications being created for the platform.

Here's a link to the blog post.


I got a semi-personal email from the Google gang last night saying that they wanted to speak to me informally about product management roles. I'm going to set something up and see what they have to say. Google is definitely I company I have thought about, although I am concerned that a) they are too big for me to make a big impact and b) my friend who works there in product management seemed to be more of a project manager than doing product management. I'll let you know what they have to say.

By the way, if you happen to work in product management at Google, and you are willing to talk to me about your experience, please let me know!

Good questions and hopefully some answers

My last post was commented on quite insightfully by an anonymous blogger, and I think the answers to their questions are relevant in general, so I will answer then as a post. His questions are in italics:

You have done a fabulous job in updating your blog for J-terms. There is no other blog for J-term and therefore your efforts are highly appreciated.

Thanks, I appreciate the kudos. It's good to see people are getting some value out of it.

Though your future goals do not constitute moving into IB or consulting, majority of future J-term aspirants do want to make this transition. For career switchers, regular September term definitely makes more sense but many applicants, however, still end up applying to the J-term as it fits well in their schedule plus there is no other top class MBA program that starts in January baring INSEAD J-Intake which is more beneficial if some one wants to work in Europe or Asia.

Keeping this in mind, would you be kind enough to comment on J-term students’ experience with consulting/IB or even industry recruiting?

You are correct. Many of my classmates do want to switch careers. The jury is still out on my class with regards to jobs since the interviewing for the banks and consulting firms is starting in the next few weeks. I will be certain to report any big successess (or failures) that I hear from my classmates. I assume that the net success rate of career switching J-termers will be lower than career switching September termers because the September termers have had summer internships which often lead to full time jobs with the same firm. But, this is conjecture on my part. I don't have any empirical data. This might be a question to ask on the BusinessWeek boards (I know some CBS admissions folks hang out there).

I also think the degree of career switch is important. A J-termer from IB to private equity is probably not as big a stretch as the J-term theatre production manager-turned-MBA who wants to get into IB. I think the latter case is much more of a possibility if our imaginary theatre production manager was a September termer, because he could get an internship in that area and build some relevant experience.

I know some guys in J-term who are going for general management programs within industry, and I will also let you know how their recruiting goes.

Do recruiting firms exhibit any sort of bias towards J-term students?

Hopefully my last response addresses this. Another data point is that there were many top firms who came to do presentations this summer at school (and off campus) specifically for J-term. Bain came, I think Deloitte had something, Citibank, and others. This leads me to believe that they want to tap the talent in J-term.

My understanding is that starting September, the J-term students take classes together with regular 2nd year September class? Is that correct? Are J-term allow to recruit with September class?

You are correct although I will add that you can have classes with September termers as early as your 1st semester if you place out of any core courses and get into electives. For example, I had a Direct Marketing elective 1st semester because I placed out of CEO. In that Direct Marketing class I was the only J-termer out of 6 or 7 total students.

We participate in the same recruiting process as everyone else 2nd year. We all compete for the same spots. Think of it this way -- regardless of being September term or January term, we are ALL Class of 2008. Everyone has the same rights and privledges when it comes to recruiting.

As a J-term, did you ever had “almost there” type feeling in terms of band equity and social hangout.

I'm a little unclear about this question but I think you're asking if we have the same social oportunities as September term? Absolutely. I tend to hang out with more J-termers (sometimes I think of us as one giant cluster) but J-termers also hang out with September termers, too.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

PE/VC breakfast series

The VC/PE club hosts various breakfasts and networking events with local firms. This one looked interesting, especially since it covers the limited partner side of the VC world. Here's an abridged version of the email I just received...

PEVC Breakfast Series TIAA CREF, Alternative Investments

Hosted by Mr. John Goodreds, Director, Alternative Investments

Thursday, September 20, 2007 from 8:10 AM to 9:30 AM

Please note that due to the intimate setting of the event students are required to be punctual and have taken the time to prepare questions and familiarize themselves with the firm, speaker, and industry by reviewing the its website as well as performing data base search.

Sign-Up Instructions:
Due to space constraints, we can only accommodate 12 attendees and will be using a lottery system. Typically each student will only be able to attend one event within this series.

Please respond to this e-mail by 3 PM on Monday September 17th to enter the lottery.

Those elected will receive e-mail notification on Tuesday. Unfortunately, if you do not receive an e-mail confirmation it means that you were not selected.

All MBA and EMBA students without academic obligations are eligible to attend.

TIAA-CREF has $340bn of assets under management, and the Alternative Investment Group has commitments of close to $5bn. The Group invests between $20-200m per private equity or venture capital fund, with an average of $65m. The Alternative Investment Group makes between 20 and 25 fund commitments a year and also about ten to 15 co-investments.

Update: I was since selected to attend this event.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Are we a friendly bunch or what?

I hosted a couple of prospective students last night at Happy Hour, including simple man, who has been reading my blog for a while now. I think they had a good time and I know that they met alot of CBSers. I shouldn't be surprised by this but I am still amazed (in a good way) at how damn social and friendly the people at this school are! Of course, the atmosphere at Happy Hour is festive, so I guess that helps...

Which leads to my point -- make sure you visit your prospective schools in the classroom and also in a social setting. I think the latter is where you get a feel for the diversity of experiences that are at the school, and also where you get the most candid views of the students.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rugby gets rolling

It's rugby time again. The first practice is on Friday and from what I have heard, there is alot of interest from the 1st years. Tonight was the first guys/girls team social at Brother Jimmy's. I did not attend but I am sure it was (or is ... they're probably still there :) fun. This semester Wharton is holding a tournament, and we are also going to play a game against our alumni. I think I have mentioned this in previous posts, but rugby is definitely a great club to join (probably at any b-school). Even if you have never played, it's pretty easy to learn, fun, and you'll definitely have a good time (on or off the field).

Couple good things going on

(in no particular order)

1) It would appear I have lined up a part-time internship to help a venture firm do some deal sourcing. It's not a 100% done deal, but it is looking _VERY_ positive. This would be huge.

2) My fall break and schedule (I only have class Mon-Wed) is going to allow me to take a nice 10-day trip to Japan over fall break! My friend moved out there (he works for Goldman in IT) and lives in Tokyo. Even better, I was able to get the trip on American for only 50,000 FF miles! Now if I can only get a deal like that for the Chazen trip I'm taking to SE Asia at the end of the year, I'll be all set.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Launching New Ventures

We had our first Launching New Ventures class today. It is taught by a serial entrepreneur named Cliff Schorer and another entrepreneur named Brendan Burns. Cliff is the entrepreneur-in-residence at the school and Brendan was CBS '93 (I think) and now working on turning around a startup that was on the verge of failing. Both of them seem very accomplished and I can already tell they are going to be a tremendous resource to anyone who is starting a business while they are at Columbia (and after).

The class was a mix of introductions ("Hello my name is X and my business idea is Y"), lecture (business plan overview, course format, etc), videos (we saw interviews with the founders of Apple, Microsoft, and Fedex), and presentation of business ideas. The course TA is already operating an apparel company and ran us through part of his investor presentation, and another one of my classmates shared the pitch for his computer data backup service.

There were a bunch of interesting ideas, and many people in the room who were in various stages of the venturing process. There were also some students who were running multiple businesses, or who had started other businesses in the past. I'm looking forward to helping everyone in the class develop their ideas. I'll keep you all posted on this course as I am pretty confident it will be one of my faves this year.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


It was a weird day. Our dog went to the vet for his yearly exam and vaccinations. Vet said he was fine, but when he got home, he started throwing up and whatnot. My wife rushed him back to the vet -- he's OK, but it turned out he had a VERY bad reaction to one (or the other) vaccine. Fortunately we live one block away so we were able to get him right back in there, but it was very scary. Now he is on meds and is his usual peppy self (although he's itchy with hives) so I think we're out of the woods. Phew.

Next week class really kicks off in earnest. Monday I'll have the same classes I had this past Wednesday, but will also have Launching New Ventures. I am going to use the class to complete the business plan for a software company that I am advising.

In other news, the PE/VC club list received an email from one of our alums who has just started a venture capital firm. He is looking for current students to help him source deals and I threw my name into the ring. Wish me luck on that.

Next Friday we are having a big cluster outing, organized by our 2nd year cluster chairs. We're starting at a classmate's co-op (which he was so kindly to volunteer) for cocktails, then hitting an all-you-can-eat sushi place in Koreatown, followed by Karaoke. I missed the first Karaoke outing, which I heard was pretty awesome -- I'm expecting the same out of this one!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Back in the saddle

I'm baaaaack...

I hope everyone in the blogosphere is doing well. The first week of school has come and gone, and there is alot to report.

My trip to Vietnam was great. My wife and I had a great time and we really enjoyed the country and especially the people. It's a great trip to make, especially if you are on a budget. Getting there is the most expensive part, everything else is _very_ affordable.

Tuesday was our first day of school. We didn't have classes, but instead had 'reorientation'. This consisted of some presentations, lunch, a reception (with the best food I've had at CBS since J-term orientation!), and finally a big party at the old CBS standby Evelyn Lounge.

Wednesday we started classes, although I only had two. Actually, that's part of the beauty of my schedule. I am done with classes by 2pm on Wednesday. Then, I can use the latter part of the week for working at my internship, or traveling.

Thursday night was the first Happy Hour, followed by the South Asian Business Association club party (at some club on Columbus).

The career craziness hasn't begun just yet but I think it all gets kicked off next week. I won't be busy with recruiting personally since I'm not going the i-banking/consulting route but I will do a couple of informationals and a couple of interviews during the semester.

Thanks for reading and I will be posting more frequently now that we're back in session.