Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quarter: One asked - One given

This modified quote is so apt for the culmination of first quarter at Darden. In fact we are already into the first week of second quarter. We made it! The first quarter is supposedly very tough at Darden and I can give first hand confirmation that it was every bit as hard as they said it would be. But of course we came here knowing that very well. No quarter was asked, none given!
Let me give you some updates on the our progress

Classroom experience
We continued our daily grind of preparing cases, learning team meetings and the class discussions. I use the word grind to represent the effort we put each day and not necessarily the experience. My learning team has been very flexible making my overall experience even more enjoyable. The classes have been fun, discussions engaging. Quite often we have had people from the industry come to class and narrate their experience as they went through the real life case. They were either right in the middle of action or somewhat related to the problems we were discussing in the case. We got real-time feedback on our class discussion and how we went on tackling the problem as compared to what they did and how things panned out.

We have had some fun in the classroom too. We have played some games or ran simulations in the class to drive home a point. In the operations class we also happened to call up an 1-800 number related to the case to evaluate the queue wait times and service. Couple of days back we setup our Google ‘adwords’ account to measure advertising effectiveness as we were going through the case. It’s all very practical education.

We had added our own bit of fun by coming up with some creative class norms. Our section has a combination “2 truths and a lie” and a “physical challenge” as introduction for classroom visitors. The latter is basically a spoof but at the same time hilarious.

Career:
Many companies have been on grounds and lot of our time was dedicated to attending company briefings and events. We also spent a significant portion of our time networking with potential recruiters, especially true for our classmates looking at Investment banking career. In parallel we have taken career development modules that educated us on the art and science of resume writing, cover letters, networking etc. We have also covered other important topics such as Self awareness , understanding our your life themes, defining your career objectives and pitch, understanding recruiter needs, industries, functions, company research etc. All in all a packed schedule and lot of work.

Exams:
We had a day off to prepare for our exams which may seem an awfully short time but it’s not. Having gone through the course so rigorously there is not a lot to prepare. I was very skeptical when the second years mentioned that exam time would be the most relaxed time but later came to agree with that. I am sure that not everyone in the class agrees with me but I think there is a significant number who would. Ask my roommate with whom I spent hours playing on the x-box during exam time.

Social activities:
The school organizes more social activities that you can ever imagine attending. From International food festival, Screen on the green (movie screening), weekly cold call (happy hour on Darden lawns) and numerous other events and parties. They have a lot of events for the partners which I wouldn’t know a lot about, being single. At the end of the first quarter we had the much hyped ‘100 case party’ with the 80s dress theme that really was a blast. If you know anything about Darden you would know about TNDC – Thursday night drinking club. The primer mails we get for this are absolutely out this world hilarious but unfortunately I cannot share any of those here. Seeing the trend and for all I know we might have an unofficial every day drinking club. The Charlottesville scene is great with plenty of bars around the corner area which where all the undergrads hang out too :)

Well that’s a sweet way to wind up these posts. I can’t believe all the things that we have managed to get done in such a short span of time. I skipped through the real meat to give you an overview of some areas but hopefully I can dive into some specifics in my later posts. Feel free to leave a comment or drop me mail regarding what you want me to write about.

2 Comments:

simple man said...

Anand

Your blog is amazing

As an applicant and a student --you provide wonderful insight into the MBA journey

I was adamant on applying to schools in big cities only, but reading your blog about Darden makes me think otherwise..

Planning to attend one of the Open house session at Darden shortly

Cheers
NK

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