Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Congratulations, your application to Kauffman Fellows Program was successfully submitted.

Just submitted the application and received that lovely message. Now I have to wait a few months :) If I hear anything, I will let you all know.

Hope you're enjoying your Wednesday.

Burning the candle at both ends

Today I spent most of the day working on my Kauffman Fellowship application. It's due tommorrow. Two of the three recommendations are submitted, and my essay is almost ready to go (as ready as it can get given the deadline is tommorrow). I wish I had more time to spend on it (like my business school essays which I slaved over for months) but the way this semester is going (5 classes, 2 internships), I am just trying to make it to the finish line in one piece :)

Actually tonight I saw a blog written by a guy who applied for the fellowship last year. Unfortunately, he wasn't selected, but he provides alot of good information. He also blogs about his job as a product manager at Google, which is equally interesting. Anyways, I'd recommend you start here and then poke around his blog as you like.

The companies that we'll be visiting on the Technology Business Group Silicon Valley trip was just announced, and I have to say that the organizers appear to have done a GREAT job at lining up some kickass companies. Companies include:

VMware (nice)
Storm Ventures
DFJ Frontier
Technology Crossover Ventures
Intel Capital

As much as I am bummed that I am now not going on the Southeast Asia trip, I think this is a great networking opportunity that can't be missed. At least for someone like me :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rainy Day in Tokyo

It's raining today in Tokyo. That fact, plus the fact that the World Series is on is keeping me inside. I can even get the commentary in English. I think I might pop over to Ginza later for lunch since I haven't seen that area, but right now I am kind of goofing off with email, blogging, etc. Tonight we're going to hit some bars in Roppongi and then off to the airport tommorrow.

This morning I woke up early and did a call with the prof I'm TA'ing for. Myself and the other TA's are going to be grading final exams. Thankfully, there are three TA's and the prof, so we're able to split up the work of grading 200 exams :) I have a 12 hour plane flight ahead of me so that should be a good time to make headway.

As I write this, I am looking at the clock on my computer and see that it is 10PM Eastern. This means that Happy Hour is going on and there are a bunch of crazed MBA students running around Uris in Halloween costumes. Nice...

I'm flying back to the states on Saturday and have yet another friend turning 30 and having his party that night. Next week I am going to be spending alot of time getting my Kauffman Fellowship application in (it's due on Wednesday) and just getting caught up from the vacation. Thursday I'll probably be working at the VC firm and Friday I'll be with one of the startups I'm working with. This semester is flying and I'm so overworked, I'm not neccessarily upset about that. However, next semester I am going to be able to carry a really light load, so I'm paying now to be more relaxed later (if you don't count that I'll be conducting my job search at that time ;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Google interview

I was notified I got invited to interview w/Google for a product management position. This is one of only two companies that I've dropped resumes for via on campus recruiting, so I'm going to bat at least .500 :) My interview will be two back-to-back 45 minute interviews on campus, and then I guess if they like me I get to visit them onsite (I'm guessing in NY but who knows).

Went to the Tsujiki Fish Market this morning at about 6am and watched the end of the daily fish auction. I have never seen more fish (especially tuna) in my entire life. It was very hustle bustle at the market, lots of guys pulling carts and driving around little trucks. After walking around we went to Daiwa for some sushi. I have never had fresher sushi in my life - yummy.

Today I'm thinking I'll head over to the Tokyo dome and hit the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame. The Red Sox are playing Game 1 of the World Series right now but I feel like I should probably enjoy the city since I'm only here for a few more days.

2009 J-term class to remain as 3 clusters!

Hello from Japan. This just came in from Kabir Ahuja, J-term president:

Dear J - Term,

It is my pleasure to share with you the news that there will be 3 clusters for the 2009 J-Term class. Although originally one cluster was slated to be dropped due to congestion of physical and teaching facilities, the administration has decided to keep the J-Term the same size. This decision was made in partnership with the student government.

One of the main drivers behind the decision to keep 3 clusters was the experience we have had at Columbia Business School so far; our class size allowed us to network across a large base while still being a close-knit group. We were also able to hold significant recruiting and social events due in part to having critical mass in terms of number of people.

Feel free to share this news. An official announcement and article will be included in the next issue of the Bottom Line.

For all with interviews, best of luck!

Thank you,


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Makin' Moves

If I land in VC after school, kick me if I start to act like this guy...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Off to Japan tomorrow

My flight to Japan is tommorrow morning. I'm hoping this head cold / congestion clears up before I have to fly. The flight is non-stop, which is quite nice. I'm hoping the jet lag doesn't hit me too hard because I'd like to hit the town on Friday night! I plan on posting while over in Japan at least a couple of times, so stay tuned. Also, if you happen to be in Japan (Tokyo, specifically) and are interested in meeting up, let me know via a comment on this post. Cheers!

Special Guest in class today, interview updates

Fred Wilson was one of the guests in Adam Dell's Business Technology and Innovation class today. Fred is one of the two partners at a premiere NYC VC firm called Union Square Ventures and really well respected in the US venture community. He talked about his career in VC, how he ended up doing what he is doing, and touched on some industry trends. I also got to ask him a question about one of his portfolio companies, Etsy. Fred's firm is very small and I don't know if they'll add staff any time soon, but I am positive it would be an awesome place to start a career in venture capital.

Second, I wanted to give some anecdotal updates on interviewing invites for my fellow J-termers, specifically related to consulting jobs. I have spoken to more than one person who received an invite from McKinsey, and everyone I talked to (maybe 4 people who had not worked in consulting previously) who was looking for a consulting job got some interviews. Of course this by no means guarantees anything related to final job outcomes, but it's certainly an encouraging first step.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Relaxing in Maryland

My wife and I are down on the Maryland coast hanging out with her family this weekend. I'm procrastinating on the financial model I was going to work on and instead am watching my beloved Red Sox. We're losing to The Tribe 5-3 so it's definitely winnable, although you never like to be down against a team like them. Big Papi is at the plate now so maybe he'll do something...

The World Business Forum ended off well. On Day 2 I saw Herb Kelleher (Southwest Airlines), Michael Eisner, and Gary Kasparov speak. Herb was my favorite, with Kasparov a close second. I can see why people love working at Southwest - they have a great, charismatic leader, who seems like a regular person to boot. Definitely inspiring stuff. If you're at CBS next year, and you have a chance, you should volunteer for the event because you'll never get a group of such high caliber speakers in one place at one time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

1st Healthcare Management Case Competition

Just got a note regarding the 1st Columbia Healthcare Case Competition. It's a joint effort by the School of Public Health, CBS, and the Medical School (the constituents of the Columbia Alliance for Healthcare Management).

If you want to learn about the competition, rules, etc, you can click this link.

World Business Forum - Day 1

Today was the first day of the World Business Forum at Radio Music Hall. Myself and a bunch of other CBS students were selected to assist with registrations, speaker coordination, and other logisitical tasks. So far it has been OK - we have to get in incredibly early (by 630am) to help register new people, but besides that, as long as it is not a break period, we are free to see the various speakers.

Today I saw Alan Greenspan, Jack Welch, Craig Barrett (Intel Chairman), and the CEO from Archer Daniels Midland (sorry, the name escapes me). Jack Welch was my favorite - very direct, great sense of humor, and from Massachusetts to boot (complete with Boston accent).

Tommorrow should be more of the same although hopefully less registrants. I am co-hosting a pre-happy hour happy hour for the Betters Halves club (significant others club) up at school so I'll have to leave a bit early (and unfortunately miss Carl Icahn - although as I said in a previous post, I did meet him 2 weeks ago :)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

great alums

Had lunch w/an alum who is working in the VC industry yesterday. Had a great time and it turned out we had very similar backgrounds - same undergrad, same graduation year, both worked in IT consulting, yadda yadda. Hopefully we will be able to keep in touch - and who knows, maybe we will be doing deals together in a couple of years :)

Overall, I have been very happy with the level of interest and contact that the recent alums keep with the school. They are great about sending along job opportunities, and I have found them almost always willing to take a call or meeting. Regardless of where you end up going to school, I suggest you do the same. It makes your degree that much more valuable. In fact, I would argue that the vast majority of the value (for any MBA from any school) is in the alumni network and how much of that you are able to leverage.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and don't work too hard on those applications :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mid-semester party

What a zoo!

The mid-semester party was last night, and CBS came out in (not surprising) full force. It took me about 45 minutes to get a drink when I showed up, which was not fun, but on the other hand, I got to see alot of people from J-term and also some September term folks who are in my classes but who I haven't had the chance to hang out with.

Tonight I'm going to a non-CBS friend's party in Park Slope. He's turning 31. Which isn't that old any more, considering I just turned 30 :)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Housing in New York City

I recently received a question from a reader regarding the ease or difficulty of finding an apartment in NYC. Well, frankly, it's not easy, and is probably more difficult than any place else in the US.

Some recommendations as a current renter who has had to do the NYC apartment hunt a couple times now:

1) Have your affairs in order before you start looking. In other words, make sure you have enough money for your security deposit, and a couple months rent. I know it sounds like alot, but there are plenty of landlords who require this much money up front. You could easily expect to pay upwards of $2000/month for a rental 1-bedroom apartment, and certainly more in some neighborhoods. Columbia housing will likely be cheaper than options on the open market, but I know it's tough to get.

1a) Have copies of bank statements, etc ready so you can show the landlord (if they ask) that you have a decent financial position. If you don't they may ask for someone to act as a guarantor. This is why #2 can potentially be appealing, because you won't be dealing directly with a landlord or management company.

2) Think aboout hopping on someone else's lease who already lives in the city. You could try to find someone who has a roomate moving out and try to move in with them. Craigslist is a good source for this sort of thing, and there are probably others.

3) If you use a broker, try to get a recommendation from someone in the city. Also, expect to pay them 12-15% of your first year's rent.

4) If you don't use a broker, be prepared to make a decision on a place literally when you see it. Apartments that are listed direct-from-owner tend to go within a couple days of the listing. I have heard numerous stories over the years about apartments going same-day. You snooze you lose. This is another great time to bring a friend from NYC around with you (if you have one here already) who can help you evaluate if a place is decent or not.

The good news is, eventually everyone does find a place. So don't sweat it too much, but be prepared to hustle around, see lots of places, and spend some money. After all, it's not your money you're spending, it's loan money :)

J-term social stuff

This weekend there are a couple of good things going on. First, tonight is the mid-semester party. That means that there is no Happy Hour, but a huge party at an off-campus venue instead. Tonight's is downtown, which is nice, because I live downtown :) On Saturday night, two girls in Cluster Y are having their birthday party (downtown!) and I plan on hitting that as well.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

two tips

1) If you are sick of food at Uris Deli, there is a good hot/cold buffet at the Fu Foundation building (the engineering school, behind Uris). It's not a price break from what you'd find elsewhere near campus, but the food is decent, and you can always get a seat.

2) If you visit a school, take it easy and don't be pushy with the admissions staff, especially when asking to see specific members of their team. There was a guy in the admissions office the other day who was emphatic that he wanted to see Linda Meehan (dean of admissions) because he met her at an event, and continued to press even after he was told that she was really busy. As a bystander, it didn't look good, and I imagine that if the people in admissions remembered anything about that candidate, it was that he was obnoxious. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Cliche, yes, true, yes.