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First Week of EC Year

September 4th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

One week ago today, I was settling into my plane seat for the start of a 12-hr trip return trip from an international vacation.  I’ve only been in Boston seven days now, but it seems like a lifetime!  Reflecting back over the week, it doesn’t seem like there was all that much to do… after all, classes didn’t start until Wednesday.  Even so, I feel like this has been one of the most exhausting weeks of the year.
Here’s a preview of what’s been on my mind lately.  I’ll probably hit each of these in more detailed posts over the next few weeks.
1) Moving.  I hit a better slot in the HRES lottery this year (#5 instead of #11) and took the opportunity to “upgrade” to the on-campus apartments.  For the next year, I’ll be living in One Western Ave… not a penthouse suite by any means, but a lot more spacious than my tiny dorm room.  I’m excited about the chance to try something new, but it’s ridiculously expensive and time consuming to move into a new apartment, furnish it, and try to fit all of my old stuff (that was sitting in a storage unit) into this new, small space.
2) Classes.  My class schedule for this semester is so-so.  I sat in on “Real Property” (a real estate course) on Thursday and Friday… absolutely fascinating course that I really, really wanted to take.  Unfortunately, the add/drop process didn’t work out for me, and I wasn’t able to make it in… pretty disappointed, particularly since I think I could’ve added it fairly easily if I had put more time into thinking through the schedule during sign-up last semester.  The rest of my classes are all popular standbys… they’ll be interesting enough, but can’t say I’m thrilled about any of them.
3) Comments.  I was fortunate enough to receive “First Year Honors” this semester (top 10-15%)… and I’m actually on-track for a potential “Baker Scholar” designation (top 5%).  While I’m excited about it (ego affirming – particularly since I’m one of the few without an Ivy League undergrad), I’m feeling a lot more pressure this semester.  Last year seemed pretty easy – I spent 30min-1hr per case and felt like I could contribute without extensive study.  This year… well, it’s been three days and I haven’t commented yet!  The courses are more specialized, and I’m struggling to keep up… not even close to being in a position where I’m a step ahead to make the “1” comments.
4) People.  In between moving in, reading cases, rearranging my class schedule, and spending time with the girlfriend – I’ve almost completely neglected this critical piece of returning to school.  It’s really a shame… I want to reconnect with everyone beyond the simple 5 minute “how was your summer?” back-and-forth in the halls, but it has dropped off the bottom of my priority list lately.  On top of that, the benefit (?) of switching classes every hour to sit with a new group of people is that it really emphasizes how HUGE this graduate program is.  My weekly interactions have expanded from 89 other people to 445 people (89 x 5 classes)!  There’s some overlap, but it’s still a huge shift.  It helps me appreciate the first year more… the stable section experience makes HBS feel so much more comfortable and manageable.
5) Clubs.  I’m co-President of a club this year and have ZERO desire to do anything with it.  Not sure why I agreed to this… the return per hour invested is just so low on the list that I’m going to have to work hard to keep this top-of-mind (and avoid overloading the other President).
6) Job.  One undercurrent is the whole job situation.  I had a great summer and received a full-time offer, but I’m not 100% sure it’s the direction I want to head with my career.  I have to decide how I’m going to handle this… the recruiting season for ECs is just around the corner, and my offer expires in a couple months.  Is it worth going through the whole networking / application / interviewing hassle again?  Such a time-sink…  I’ve been tossing around the idea of trying something in finance, but is that even realistic?  Or has my summer in consulting locked-me-in to that career path?
… and with that, the first week draws to a close.

One week ago today, I was settling into my plane seat for the start of a 12-hr trip return trip from an international vacation.  I’ve only been in Boston seven days now, but it seems like a lifetime!  Reflecting back over the week, it doesn’t seem like there was all that much to do… after all, classes didn’t start until Wednesday.  Even so, I feel like this has been one of the most exhausting weeks of the year.

Here’s a preview of what’s been on my mind lately.  I’ll probably hit each of these in more detailed posts over the next few weeks.

  1. Apartments.  I hit a better slot in the HRES lottery this year (#5 instead of #11) and took the opportunity to “upgrade” to the on-campus apartments.  For the next year, I’ll be living in One Western Ave… not a penthouse suite by any means, but a lot more spacious than my tiny dorm room.  I’m excited about the chance to try something new, but it’s ridiculously expensive and time consuming to move into a new apartment, furnish it, and try to fit all of my old stuff (that was sitting in a storage unit) into this new, small space.
  2. Classes. My class schedule for this semester is so-so.  I sat in on “Real Property” (a real estate course) on Thursday and Friday… absolutely fascinating course that I really, really wanted to take.  Unfortunately, the add/drop process didn’t work out for me, and I wasn’t able to make it in… pretty disappointed, particularly since I think I could’ve added it fairly easily if I had put more time into thinking through the schedule during sign-up last semester.  The rest of my classes are all popular standbys… they’ll be interesting enough, but can’t say I’m thrilled about any of them.
  3. Comments. I was fortunate enough to receive “First Year Honors” this semester (top 10-15%)… and I’m actually on-track for a potential “Baker Scholar” designation (top 5%).  While I’m excited about it (ego affirming – particularly since I’m one of the few without an Ivy League undergrad), I’m feeling a lot more pressure this semester.  Last year seemed pretty easy – I spent 30min-1hr per case and felt like I could contribute without extensive study.  This year… well, it’s been three days and I haven’t commented yet!  The courses are more specialized, and I’m struggling to keep up… not even close to being in a position where I’m a step ahead to make the “1” comments.
  4. People.  In between moving in, reading cases, rearranging my class schedule, and spending time with the girlfriend – I’ve almost completely neglected this critical piece of returning to school.  It’s really a shame… I want to reconnect with everyone beyond the simple 5 minute “how was your summer?” back-and-forth in the halls, but it has dropped off the bottom of my priority list lately.  On top of that, the benefit (?) of switching classes every hour to sit with a new group of people is that it really emphasizes how HUGE this graduate program is.  My weekly interactions have expanded from 89 other people to 445 people (89 x 5 classes)!  There’s some overlap, but it’s still a huge shift.  It helps me appreciate the first year more… the stable section experience makes HBS feel so much more comfortable and manageable.
  5. Clubs. I’m co-President of a club this year and have ZERO desire to do anything with it.  Not sure why I agreed to this… the return per hour invested is just so low on the list that I’m going to have to work hard to keep this top-of-mind (and avoid overloading the other President).
  6. Jobs. One undercurrent is the whole job situation.  I had a great summer and received a full-time offer, but I’m not 100% sure it’s the direction I want to head with my career.  I have to decide how I’m going to handle this… the recruiting season for ECs is just around the corner, and my offer expires in a couple months.  Is it worth going through the whole networking / application / interviewing hassle again?  Such a time-sink…  I’ve been tossing around the idea of trying something in finance, but is that even realistic?  Or has my summer in consulting locked-me-in to that career path?

… and with that, the first week draws to a close.

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