Tuesday, April 29, 2008


For those of you who haven't had student loans, you have missed out on the wonders of the 'exit interview'.

Think of the stupidest multiple choice test that you've ever been given, and it doesn't even come close to the stuff that they ask you on this thing.

I get that the government and lenders want to make sure you have actually read the key repayment terms on the loan, but c'mon, do they really need to ask stuff like this (no lie - this is from the actual online exit interview)...

(6) Federal student loan money should be used for:
A) A down payment on a stereo system
B) A trip to California
C) A new wardrobe
D) Educational related expenses

Follies Vids

Click here to see the Follies videos from this past show. The best one IMHO is the Amir Ziv Chronicles...

Monday, April 28, 2008

dis-orientation starts soon

Dis-Orientation week starts on May 12. This is basically the equivalent of 'senior week' that you may have had as an undergrad (or dare I say, high schooler).

Here are the activities that are in store for the Class of 2008 during that time... (get your liver ready)

Bar Crawl
May 12, 2008
2:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Picnic in Central Park
May 13, 2008
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Museum Visit
May 13, 2008
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Wine Tasting
May 13, 2008
8:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Beer Pong Challenge and Juranimal
May 13 - 14, 2008
11:00 PM - 4:00 AM

3-on-3 Basketball Tournament
May 14, 2008
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Beer Garden
May 14, 2008
2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Theater Night - Fuerza Bruta
May 14, 2008
8:00 PM - 10:30 PM

Theater Night - Passing Strange
May 14, 2008
8:00 PM - 10:30 PM

Dave and Busters
May 14, 2008
9:00 PM - 11:59 PM

Mets Game
May 15, 2008
1:10 PM - 4:00 PM

Manhattan Dinner Cruise
May 15 - 16, 2008
9:00 PM - 12:30 AM

Great Adventure
May 16, 2008
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

End of the Road Party
May 16 - 17, 2008
9:00 PM - 4:00 AM

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mail it in, the dishes are done, the fat lady sang, that's all she wrote, etc

I just left the last class of my business school career. I think it was fitting that it was one of the best classes here at CBS, Economics of Strategic Behavior. Greenwald got some major applause and a bunch of people brought their copies of "Competition Demystified" up to the front to get his signature. Not sure if that makes the book worth more on eBay but it's certainly a nice touch :)

Now I'm here in the admissions office doing Hermes Office Hours (we're here to answer questions for students who happen to pop by the admissions office) and then I am off to join a bunch of J-termers at the Boat Basin for some drinks before Follies. The afterparty is downtown at a club that the events planning committee lined up for our exclusive use, and the Office of Student Life has provided buses to shuttle people from the show to the club and back all night. That is a nice touch - thanks OSL!

I have talked to a few people today and one thing that has come up multiple times is that people are feeling emotional. It hasn't hit me yet but it will probably sneak up on me at some point. Luckily we still have some time before graduation and between the Puerto Rico trip and Dis-orientation Week there is plenty of quality time to be had.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

guest bloggers coming soon

Just a heads up that I will be having two guest bloggers post within the next few weeks. The bloggers are both Cluster X '08 folks and have some great experiences to share.

one down, four still alive

Was down in the Washington DC area yesterday interviewing with an early stage VC firm. I think it went OK but you never know. Actually, I should know more by early next week on this one. One of the guys I interviewed with introduced me to the 99/1 rule (as opposed to 80/20) - his theory on venture is that 1% of the people generate 99% of the returns. And you know, he is probably right. It also puts a huge spotlight on why these jobs are so tough to get. These guys get a ton of resumes and need to find that 1% guy that is going to help them build a great firm (with great returns).

Also got a 'ding' from one of the west coast firms I had been speaking with. They just hired another guy and so they no longer have an immediate need. They said they may start looking again in a few months but this may have just been a nice way of letting me down easy. In any case, it was good to get the call so I know where I stand. Gotta keep on truckin...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

We won the SBCP competition!

Well, the votes are in and our team took 1st place in the Small Business Consulting Program's (SBCP) yearly competition! Myself and three other J-termers worked with a great company called McClure's Pickles and delivered a project that we (and the McKinsey folks who judged the competition) felt was very helpful for the client and alot of fun to boot. My team gets to split a cool $2500 in 1st place prize money, and the runners up will also get $1500 to split amongst their team. Not bad eh?

There were three finalists (including us) - the other two teams were representing a custom shirt company and a natural dogfood company. We all gave ~15 minute presentations and then fielded questions from the judges.

I was really flattered that our team won, especially since the other finalists were also very strong. It was also awesome to see how our team had really jelled over the year and came through in the clutch. As I have mentioned before, the SBCP program was one of my best experiences at CBS (even before winning 1st prize!)

After the competition and the judging, McKinsey took us down to Dos Caminos for a nice dinner and drinks. The event was a well attended and I know the folks who are hoping to work in consulting next year appreciated the personal time with the McKinsey folks, which included the judges, the CBS recruiting lead (a partner out of the NJ office), and a couple of recruiters.

The other nice thing related to the competition was a bunch of my clustermates emailing to congratulate me about our win. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise given how great my cluster is, but it was still nice.

OK, I'm going to stop now, since I'm getting mushy.... :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Last Happy Hour of my b-school career - tonight!

Tonight is the last happy hour of my (and many others) CBS career. A couple of my clustermates are providing the musical entertainment via their band, known only as "The Fear". It should be a lot of fun, and I brought my camera to school today to make sure this happy hour is immortalized. Or, it will just make good blackmail material for later on ;)

I will be taking it moderately easy as I do have an interview tomorrow afternoon, and then the finals for the Small Business Consulting Program (judged by McKinsey). I think we have a good shot at winning it and I'll let you know what happens.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


If you ever wanted to get in touch with your inner spy after b-school (and are of US descent), apparently the CIA recruits MBA students. And they are coming to CBS next week!

Central Intelligence Agency
National Clandestine Service

Be a part of a mission that's larger than all of us. You can make a world of difference.

Please join us for a candid and informal discussion with NCS Officers regarding available career opportunities.

Please bring your resume and be prepared for a potential interview the following day or at a later date.

National Clandestine Service careers offer fast-paced, varied work environments that will challenge you to find innovative solutions to complex problems, to travel internationally, and to use your business skills as well as existing or new language capabilities in ways that will make a positive difference to you, your family and your country. This is more than a job. It is a way of life for professionals who demand the highest personal satisfaction from their work.
For more information and to apply, please go to www.cia.gov

1st and 2nd year students are invited to attend.

The NCS is an intelligence service with positions available primarily overseas. However, the NCS requires training in Washington DC and nearby areas prior to working overseas.

US Citizens and Dual Citizens are eligible to attend.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Reader email - J-term compared to Fall Term, VC/entrepreneurship, and NYC

Here is a note (slightly abridged to maintain writer's anonymity) I recently received from a reader:

John -

I came across your blog (actually, I pretty much read the whole thing) and would love your perspective on the CBS experience. I'm interested in the January term myself...I'd like to run a couple startups and then eventually move into VC. I'd love to hear what you thought of J-term (were you an outsider and/or felt like you missed out?), why you chose J-term, what you think of CBS in general for startup/VC focused folks, and how you like NYC (I ain't never been, if you can believe that).

Lots of questions there, and I'm sure you have little time, but whatever you
can pop back I'd love to read. Thanks!

Happy to help. Let me take these one by one...

1) "were you an outsider and/or felt like you missed out?"

I get this question fairly frequently and it is sort of a shame because it implies to me that a) I have done a terrible job of explaining the integration of J-termers and fall termers in previous posts or b) the school is doing a poor job of communicating the level of integration of J-termers and fall termers.

In short, the integration is there. We are all Class of 2008 - J-term, fall term - doesn't matter. We join all the same clubs, get to go all of the same events, take the same classes, and in our second year we're sitting in elective courses right along side fall termers (and sometimes in 1st term as well if you exempted out of stuff).

I think the recent GBA election results also speak volumes of how involved (especially this year) that J-termers are in the school. I think 2 or 3 of the GBA exec board (including the incoming GBA president) folks elected by the entire 1st year class were J-termers. That is pretty strong representation. BTW, alot of that I think has to do with J-termers who peer advised J-term 2009 and got them fired up about contributing (thanks Kabir & Venk!)

The only thing I "missed out" on was a summer internship, but at this point in my job hunt I don't think it really mattered anyways. And, if you think you'll miss having a summer internship (if you're career-switching, for example), then I wouldn't do J-term.

2) "what (do) you think of CBS in general for startup/VC focused folks"

We have a good crew of entrepreneurially minded folks at CBS. There are some great entrepreneurship and VC courses, and the administration is supportive. I think it's an awesome environment although I have nothing to compare it to (i.e. I have not gone to another business school so it would be unfair to compare).

The one thing that is somewhat less appealing for VC-focused people like myself is that NYC is not a hotbed of VC activity like Silicon Valley. Boston also has a leg up on NYC from a VC perspective in my opinion. However, there are a bunch of great firms in NYC - you just need to identify them and try to start working with them as soon as you can.

One thing I think the school could improve on would be integration between the engineering school folks and the MBA folks. There are a couple of classes that facilitate this sort of interaction but it's not culturally embedded. However, that is not to say that students can't take initiative and organize activities cross-school. In fact, one of my classmates recently set up a mixer between the two schools which was very well attended.

3) "how (do) you like NYC"

NYC is a great place to be. I have spent about 6 years of my adult life here and it is definitely one of the places I think everyone should try to live in at least for a bit. It's also a huge advantage for the school when in comes to bringing in business leaders to speak, advise, or teach. People love coming here, and often they need to come here because that's where they are doing business.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Adding to the J-Term family (literally)

Today was one of those days when I was feeling generally overwhelmed. They seem to happen fairly often these days :) Mostly due to the rigors of hunting for a job in the clubby, (and dare I say) opaque world of venture capital. However, I do have other, more important things on my mind.

Namely, Mrs. J-Term Johnny and I are expecting twin baby girls in August/September!

We are, as you might imagine, very excited and we can't wait to meet them. It is an exciting time and something that you can't really describe accurately until you've started to go through it. I can't imagine what it will be like the day they are born but I am pretty sure it will be the best day of my life.

Being an expectant father definitately adds a whole sense of urgency to the job hunt...and one I have to balance with the fact that I'm entering a very small industry with little turnover. Fortunately, I am starting to feel closer than ever to my goal, and am ready to take the opportunity when it finally presents itself. Keep pulling for me and thanks for listening (as always!)

Monday, April 07, 2008

J-term rollin' 30 deep to Puerto Rico

Looks like we have over 30 people confirmed for the J-term Puerto Rico trip...nice!

Speaking of partying, Spring Fling was this weekend, although I was wiped out so I decided to stay at home. I know a ton of people went and everyone I spoke to said it was a great time (since when was a CBS party _not_ a good time?) If you have any friends at CBS who are on Facebook, you can look at the 10 million pictures of the event that were posted in the last 2 days :)

Today I went into a large financial services firm to talk enterprise software. They had one guy from the VC group there as well as a couple of public side equity analysts. The VC group isn't hiring as of now, but I will keep in touch with them and maybe something will turn up!

Tonight the guys who teach our VC class are hosting a happy hour for the class in the West Village. I guess this is my chance to make up for skipping Spring Fling ;)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Columbia graduate student killed fleeing mugging attempt

I heard about this very sad event yesterday.

A Columbia grad student was killed fleeing from an attempted mugging. He ran into traffic and was hit by a car, ultimately passing away from his injuries.

Although I (and most of my classmates) do feel very safe at Columbia, the fact of the matter is that we are in an urban environment, and these things can (and do) happen.

This is a message that Lee Bollinger just sent out about the incident:

I am writing to share very sad news about one of our graduate students.

Last night a PhD student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences,
Minghui Yu, was struck by an automobile two blocks north of our main
campus at 122nd Street and Broadway while he was apparently fleeing an
attempted robbery on the sidewalk. The student was taken to
St. Luke's Hospital but passed away as a result of the severe injuries
he had sustained.

An NYPD investigation is underway and is being supported by the
University's Department of Public Safety which, last night following
university procedures, circulated an alert to student affairs deans at
all of our schools with information about possible suspects in the
attempted robbery.

As a community we mourn the loss of one of our members, and especially
of a young person with much to look forward to in a life of
promise. The University's counseling services are available to anyone
who feels he or she could benefit from expert support in response to
this deeply sad event. Please do not hesitate to visit Counseling and
Psychological Services on the 8th floor of Lerner Hall today from 1:00
- 5:00 p.m., or call at any time 212.854.2878 if you feel such
assistance would be helpful to you.

While incidents of crime have been significantly reduced in New York
over recent decades, and the area of Morningside Heights is within one
of the safest precincts in the city, it is nevertheless imperative
that we all take reasonable precautions appropriate to life in a large
metropolitan environment. Our Department of Public Safety has worked
closely with the NYPD in safeguarding members of our University
Community and offers a range of services -- including safety escorts,
evening shuttle buses and directed patrols -- that help ensure
students, faculty and staff can both be, and feel, secure while
living, studying and working here. We constantly review and seek to
improve public safety operations. If you would like more information
on these services, go to: www.columbia.edu/cu/publicsafety, or call

The family of the graduate student has been notified. We will begin
plans for a memorial event on campus. For today, I know we are united
as a community in mourning the tragic loss of a young life.

Lee C. Bollinger

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

laugh out loud funny post

This blog post has nothing to do with b-school, but was the first laugh-out-loud funny post I have read in a long time, so I thought I would share with you all. It is from an information security blog that I read. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Back in NYC

Got back to class today after my west coast swing. Good to be home, but I ain't gonna lie - Cali was pretty nice. :) Today i had an in person interview with Glocap and a phone interview with a VC firm. I think both of them went well. I've got 4 more informational interviews this week (I don't slow down, do I?), mostly via phone.

Glocap is probably a company you should get to know if you want a post-MBA financial services job that is off the beaten path of typical MBA recruiting stuff (like i-banking). They do alot of placements for PE/VC firms, hedge funds, etc. Other firms that focus on PE/VC placements include Pinnacle and Polachi.

BTW, I haven't been seeing many comments lately. I'm not sure if this means people are bored with hearing of my interminable job hunt or if they're just doing something more interesting than reading my blog :) Let me know if you're out there...