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.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog! I'm looking into the J term myself and your blog is very informative. Have you heard if the J term class size will be shrinking for those applying for Jan 2009? Also, is GBA the same as the class committee? And how does the process of being elected to the GBA work?


Anonymous said...

I am a J-termer myself (a current one just stared in jan 08 and will be graduating in 09). CBS is doing a horrible job in marketing J-term and Sep-term. It is the exact same program. The only difference is that 500 folks start in sep and 200 start in Jan. Same recruiting options, same classes, same electives, same clubs.....I do not want to talk more about it because there is really no difference whatsoever. And this year J-termers have taken over all major leadership positions esp GBA president position. That one is a huge one.Anyway, i think an alumni had a post on this topic last year on this blog...a very nice...may be john, you can post it again.

Iday said...

John, just thought i would extend my good wishes on the BoB nomination and a great year of blogging. Hope you are enjoying your Bschool days. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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