There’s an interesting paradox in blogging: the more you have to write, the less time you have to write it in. I’ve been out-of-town on personal trips 7 of the last 8 weekends, and that’s amidst a continual flow of cases, finals, and other HBS activities. There’s a TON to talk about!
A disclaimer: I’ve been sketching out what I need to post about here and there are 29 (!) posts sitting in the queue, waiting to be fleshed out and published. That’s a bit overwhelming, and I thought it might be somewhat confusing if I continued posting “as is” without any explanation for why final exams are happening in July.
So, (to reveal the true timeline)…
Yesterday was the last class day of the RC year! I have conflicting feelings about the whole thing:
- Academically: We’ve studied and discussed hundreds of businesses over the last year, and it has been a fascinating journey. From start-up to multi-national, from retail to raw material, from citizen to criminal, from gov’t agency to NGO. When I stop to think about it, the sheer magnitude of businesses we’ve studied is astounding. Taken individually, 30-page cases seem short, but they add up quickly (one statistic from BGIE shows we read over 1000+ pages in that class alone).
- …but, I’m not sure how much of that has translated into generalizable lessons. Where are the hidden business secrets that are reserved for those who devote time to deep study? Should we be modeling about all those esoteric complex financial instruments like they do at Chicago? Or is the learning possibly more surreptitious at HBS? I think you have to hope that the 500+ cases have built a deeply embedded database in your mind… ready to be drawn to the surface by pattern recognition when you encounter a similar situation in the future. Realistic?
- Socially: I’ve been blown away by how close I feel to the 90 people in my section. I would never have expected to build the bonds we’ve built… part of it’s the way the case method works (like a big group discussion) and part of it’s from the social activities. I definitely feel like I could call any of these people up in the next 5-10 yrs and ask for a favor.
- …however, I’m not sure if I’ve built the type of relationships that last 10 yrs+. Part of it’s due to choice – I’ve definitely spent more time “outside the HBS bubble” spending time with my significant other than most. Most of it just has to do with interests… the majority of people here seem to go out and drink every night. While I wish I could enjoy that more, it’s just not my scene. Still, even though that crowd get all “the press”, I think there’s a huge portion of my section (and HBS) that are more like me.
- …the real tragedy is: every once in a while I’ll find someone who likes exploring the outdoors, enjoys museums, prefers dinner parties and politics, and might even humor a dorky game of Pictionary. My greatest regret from the year is that I didn’t seek these people out and spend more time with them.
All in all, though, it’s been a fantastic year and I definitely wouldn’t give it up for anything!