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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Of courses, cases, clubs and career

Q4 feels like a mad dash to finish first year. I feel like I've been playing catch up for weeks now. So much for this quarter being the end of the super intense and busy Darden core curriculum!

There's been a ton of group projects and team simulations. Some planned, some sudden. Some enjoyable, some just a burden. It also screws up the calender because you are constantly juggling to meet commitments and reach a compromise as far as schedules are concerned. The courses this quarter have been a mixed bag. Which brings me to the point that even if everybody says a course if helpful and really interesting, you can take it and have a totally different opinion about it. But it could also be the fact that for the first time, in this quarter, I have been slacking off a little. Call it the Learning Team effect. Actually, the lack of it. For the last 3 quarters, by virtue of having the best learning team in Darden (in whatever way you define "best" as), I was always trying to get my cases done and be prepared. With nobody to push me now, I have found time to procrastinate. I have gone into classes with half prepared spreadsheets and unread cases. Which make me ask this question. Am I doing it because the course doesn't excite me or is it the other way round.

The highlight in terms of academics has been the Global Financial Markets course. It's as current and relevant as B-School gets. You have the Federal Open Market Committee meeting during the day and at night the professor emails you the 1 page summary of the meeting so that we can discuss and debate what Bernanke thinks of the fed funds rate. Super cool. We have discussed almost all major economic issues. Greece, European bond markets, currency trends for Korea, Russia, Brazil, the Asian financial crisis, yield curves, price parity. Let me tell you that I am very average in that class. But I love it nevertheless. It's a lot of 'value add' for me. Really. I mean it.

The job hunt mystery continues to be exactly that. A mystery. From optimism to getting excited about functions and companies I didn't know earlier to frustration to anger to I-deserve-this-more-than-that-guy to I-don't-care-anymore to plain curiosity as to where I will finally end up - the whole experience has panned a gamut of emotions. It always helps to talk to people though. And there's a fantastic lot here. Who keep you grounded and give you a real sense of things. It's easy to crib about life being unfair when you have 99% of the things going for you. While applying for B Schools, I remember being perplexed by people at top schools talking of things that were not going for them and were worried. I had told myself I would never be that guy. At times in this quarter, I have come close to being that guy. But time and again, there have been friends - new and old - to remind me of that. And as a second year told me a few days ago I'm just waiting for the CEOs to realize in the first week of May that they need a few more interns!

On a different note, the last few weeks have given me a glimpse of what life in the second year might look like. All that I talked about earlier plus running a couple of clubs. Planning farewells and speaker events, ordering food and taking care of the logistics, getting all the information from the second years' as they prepare to leave and realizing there is so much that could be done. It's exhilarating and overwhelming in some sense. Also, the passion and energy of the guys who ran the clubs before us is infections to say the least. 

They say that the second year is what you make out of it. It's what you want your B School experience to look like. You have the power to design it. With a couple of weeks to go before phase one of this journey comes to an end, I find myself at this crossroads where I have some sense of the next phase but no clue about the bridge in between. But for what it's worth, I'm looking forward to it when it happens.

3 comments:

cathatfished said...

ironic - i had my last day of classes at school today! :) good luck for the summer and for the next year..

Ashwani said...

Very cool man. very well written and informative for me too.

zubin said...

Awesome!