Thursday, January 29, 2009


MC: Management Communication

This class is a requirement of Darden's core curriculum. Most people snicker at the thought of it and deem it worthless. Others may see the value, however, still consider it a waste of time. Today, I had a moment when I realized that the value is much more than how to write a letter, address an audience and send the right message. Today, I was given the opportunity to see a little deeper into a number of my classmates.

The last two days have been spent giving two-minute presentations in front of 30 classmates, on video. Yesterday's questions were "impromptu" - meaning we had written a number of questions on index cards, shuffled them, and then randomly dispersed them to the class. The genre was heavily waited towards the economy. Though interesting the first two times, the five or so afterward didn't draw my attention. Today however, we were asked to "prepare" the two minute speech on practically anything they wanted. Some people did so and some returned to the impromptu deck. Regardless, the class resulted in more anecdotes and deeper insights into how and why people are who they are as well as challenges and successes they have faced. I feel I know a little more about my new section mates because of this class and I need to say, Thank You MC!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Q3: Ready, Set, Go

Darden changes at the beginning of Q3. It is not simply new classes, new professors and a large reduction in corporate events. We also change sections. I now sit front row in Section V with my roommate as my mirror. One-quarter of my original section is still with me, but I now share airtime with members of sections A, B and C. We sit in a room that used to be dominated by Section E. Though I adore Section D, the new perspective is welcomed and it’s been fun to meet a few new faces.

Another change to Q3 is interviewing. Interviews are in full swing for a number of people. The bankers are almost done, the consultants hear about their second rounds shortly, while other functions wait for interview calls. For those of us who struck out in round one, we’re working on plan B and thus, I don’t anticipate this quarter being as easy as advertised. However, I do agree that I will have more free time in comparison with the entire first semester.

Speaking of free time, there are a number of “reading days” this quarter. Basically a reading day translates into a day off and the best part, the majority of them are Fridays, which means three-day weekends for the next 3 weeks. Yes, I understand that the point of these reading days is to provide a means for people who must travel to interviews to be able to do so without missing class, but given that I do not have plans to do that this weekend, I will instead catch up on some work and sleep. And of course, kick off the weekend by attending TNDC and perhaps tonight’s Cold Call.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Case Method: In Action

There's one aspect about Darden that very few schools replicate 24/7, it's the case method. The reason I enjoy the case method is because it encourages critical thinking and forces you as an individual to defend your assumptions in front of 60+ of your peers. This is what you will do in the business world every day. Sometimes you may be working with peers, other times it will be superiors, regardless, you need to learn to state and defend assumptions.

"Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and\or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."

Check out this YouTube of Darden's case method in action:

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I've been quiet all week, which is surprising given I have had a lot to write about. At times, I've thought of putting out a quick post, but didn't want to be presumptuous and write something I may later want to change.

Let's start with Monday. Monday kicked off interview season and I had 3 interviews. It was a busy day, but after a number of mocks, I had faith that I was going to make it the the second round. The worst part of Monday was the 3 hours between the last interview and when 2nd round calls commence. I got dinged by my first interview early, then dinged again by my number 1 choice, that I'll admit, I thought I nailed. Unfortunate! At six, I was ready to turn in for the night as reality hit and I knew I didn't get a second round with my 3rd interview. The roommate gave hugs and the bf came to lighten the mood. It took a while, but I eventually went to bed with a smile on my face and a new outlook, "fuck it."

Tuesday was less dramatic with only one interview. It went well though I won't know anything until Friday or Monday and it is a rather competitive group of interviewees. Crossing my fingers as I am very impressed by the bank and the people who work there.

That night a number of us convened at my apartment for what was deemed, "the banker support group" - more friends waiting to hear their fates. The two outliers in the group were the non-profit and the consultant, both of who have barely started interview season, as the rest of us see our season dwindle to nothing. My f-it moment from the night prior allowed me to be supportive and helpful though there's not a lot to say in that situation. There were those who also hit that same moment on Tuesday night as they saw their dreams of an iBank internship disappear. We heard it was a rough market, though I don't think anyone believed it. However, there were also those who were joyous on Tuesday night for their search is over and they now have a summer internship offer. (Shout out to those folks - Congrats) For the rest of us, it's search time - plan B is in effect.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Catching Up on the World

Interviews are 3 days away and besides prep, all I've done this week is read about the world. It's not that I haven't read about the world over the last semester or even year, but I need to be more prepared with my thoughts and opinions than ever before.

The resources that exist are incredible. The Wall Street Journal has some great articles on Madoff, December sales, the future of the economy, etc..., but what I'm enjoying the most is the email updates that get sent to my phone throughout the day for real-time updates on breaking news. In addition, BusinessWeek, which I think my mother ordered for me at some point this semester, has had me amazed. The latest article I read is about the shift of power from the cell phone carriers to the cell phone companies...all made possible my Apple.

I'm still brushing up on my technical knowledge and need to look over the behavioral questions once more, but with a number of mocks scheduled this weekend, I anticipate that I WILL be ready for Monday morning.

On another note, we have received Q2 grades and are slowly getting our tests back. Finance, GEM and Accounting were all very solid. I finished in the pool in regards to Marketing and Operations, however, I don't know if that's due to class contribution or exam grades. We'll see. Back to books.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Great Moments of 2008

As I was preparing for interviews, I came across a post noting the best parts of 2007... so I thought it was only right to continue the tradition. 26 thoughts for my 26 years of experience.

1. Admitted to Darden
2. RipTide Women's Soccer Team placing first in Division I
3. Rock Climbing with the girls at Mission Cliffs
4. 10 hours in Vegas for Jackie's 24th
5. Beating my date at bowling with a score of 162 after he threw a game (3 turkeys!)
6. Giants' Opening Day
7. Crowned Master of the Funk
8. Last Day of Work at Ensemble
9. Soccer Tourney in Vegas (nothing beats Ian at the soccer field in his clubbing clothes)
10. Running the Bolder Boulder w/ Brandi in CO
11. St. Thomas for Jenn's wedding
12. Boat Trip from St. Thomas to Jost Van Dyke and St. John
13. Out in Prague with my "brothers"
15. Going away drinks with soccer mates at the Rock
16. Surprise Birthday @ Slide
17. Having dinner at N9NE Steakhouse picked up for the entire bachelorette party
18. First Darden party at Dixon's house (the beginning of Camp Darden)
19. Darden Camping Trip
20. Section D
21. Surviving Q1
22. 100 Case Party
23. Tied for first place in Darden Cup: Soccer
24. Kym's Wedding in SF
25. LT7
26. NYE 2K9 in Vail

Crunch Time

Interviews are on the horizon and I'm trying my best not to stress out, though, I'm feeling the crunch. My first interview is this Monday and I am not even close to prepared. Tomorrow, I have a mock interview with a career development rep and I've barely practiced my 2-minute story. I wonder where the last 2 weeks of break went and kick myself for being so apathetic. I needed the break and though I know that, it's hard not to be frustrated. Of course, what's done is done.

Yesterday and today were spent sitting in a classroom for Training the Street, which essentially is a crash course on valuation. It's been helpful and I can only anticipate that it'll help me answer technical questions during interviews.

Bid points for interviews were also submitted today. The closed lists are small and thus each company allots a small number of interview slots for bidders. This is you choosing a company instead of a company choosing you. We'll know after 1p which interviews we "won" and what the schedule will be for this coming week. Deciding how many points to bid had me flustered last night. I was lucky enough to be invited to a few interviews I wanted, but there's a sense of realism that hit as I stared at the recruiting history of the companies for which I was bidding. There are not an infinite number of offers out there and I fear that I will need to look somewhere else for an internship.

On a more positive note, the trip to Colorado was incredible. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect NYE with a great group of people. And it seems after 3 years off the slopes, I can still hold my own.