Monday, August 31, 2009

Club Fair

Today is Darden's school-wide club fair. Last year, at this event I had a friend and SY tell me to join them all! As I forked over cash for tuition, health insurance, first year cases and various required texts, I couldn't bring myself to purchase memberships to all of Darden's clubs. I chose a select few and while those clubs were sufficient for my needs, in retrospect, I should have joined them all!

The benefit of most clubs is the resume book that gets sent to corporate recruiters. Talk about an easy way to be on everyone's radar at once. In addition, you can get your funds back from many clubs in the form of alcohol-sponsored networking events. Clubs like LASA and GLAD throw phenomenal annual parties. Building Goodness in April is a great way to get involved with the community and Darden Follies is a staple that gets better every year. Last year, Professor Clawson's head was shaved to look like Professor Snell.

The greatest aspect of clubs is that you don't have to be involved, if you don't want or have time. Check 'em out here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Step Towards the Weekend

Somehow I survived the hardest part of my week. On Monday, I managed to attend four classes, a SY reception with students and faculty, finish all my case readings for Tuesday, and field an entire soccer team. Woo hoo, go me! I had three more classes today and that ends my anxiety for a couple moments regarding massive amounts of reading. While the idea of how much I need to read is looming, I can turn my attention to more pressing items, like bills and perhaps my resume. Yeah, the resume, that thing that's been lingering over me head! And with the resume comes questions, thoughts and ideas. What do I want to do?! I have ideas, I've had ideas, I've discounted ideas and yet they all seem to return with vengeance. I look at the tired eyes of the bankers and sometimes thank the stars I didn't end up there, but there's a part of me that perks up when a fellow classmate and good friend mentions we should talk if I'm still interested in banking. Am I? I was so dedicated to the idea, the lifestyle, the perks, the downfalls and right now, after another 40 hour a week job, am I still ready to throw away a social life for stimulation and let's face it, money? Indeed I suppose the negative way I just wrote that sentence might warrant a no, yet I'm considering the idea.

Additionally, where do I want to live? I came to business school fully prepared for this crazy life where reflection was only in my dreams and I worked 24/7. I didn't think I'd consider anyone else except myself when making a choice about the next location of my job and here I am, having conversations with someone who means a lot to me on where "we" want to live! Since undergrad, I've focused immensely on location, location, location. Boulder was a great location nestled in the mountains with a winter climate that didn't strike fear into me like that of the Northeast. After college, I wanted nothing more than to return to my home outside of SF where it doesn't snow and though the sandy filled beaches are cold, they still exist a short drive away. Charlottesville was a cute town and I'll admit, I didn't give much thought to it, other than it sounded good and may have a similar college-feel to Boulder. While a college feel is nice when you're in school, it's not a necessity post-MBA. I have a tentative list of about 17 cities I'm considering and know it should be cut down to perhaps 7 target cities, which then leads to target companies. Or should I even contemplate picking target companies and then cities. What makes these questions tougher is a counterpart willing to work with me to find an area we both enjoy. Chicago sounds massively cold and miserable to me. My perception however cannot be backed up with much experience (especially recent experience) and I know many people who love Chicago. (Plus I love deep dish pizza, which makes it a more dangerous location than the South as I tiptoed around Southern food often during my time there.) Even as I complain about cold, I wonder if that's appropriate as I've tentatively agreed to spend 7 weeks in one of the coldest and darker parts of the world, Sweden. Then you have Minneapolis. I've never been, I don't know what to think and as much as I contemplate crossing it off the list, there are a number of companies with operations there that I may want to consider. All these thoughts flying around and I still have a mini list of personal items. Thank goodness for a light late week!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Disaster that is Me

Hello Monday morning and the first day of classes!

The California adventure was good fun and likely deserves its own post. Though, let's be honest, I rarely return to write those when I say I will... here's the recap. Three days in SF were grand and I had a small soiree for myself that made me remember why I love and miss the Bay as much as I do. My mom, bf, and I drove to Vegas from NorCal, but took the scenic route because the GPS was set wrong... oh yes, an additional 2 hours in the car was fun. (I was more than peeved.) B's wedding was gorgeous. It was small, so I felt lucky to be there especially given how incredible she looked. After 3 nights in Vegas, we ditched mom and headed South to visit the bf's family. I took a tour of SoCal from stops in Palm Dessert and San Diego to a couple nights in San Clemente. This part of the trip was much more relaxing and included multiple trips to dealerships as the boy is looking to purchase a car. We spent one night in Morro Bay, which has the infamous Morro Rock, before finishing the coastal drive north. Part of me wishes we had returned to Cville on Wednesday instead of late Friday night because perhaps then, I wouldn't be such a disaster, though the drive was wonderful and something I hadn't experienced even after growing up in CA.

Darden's school-wide picnic was on Saturday afternoon and I attended after a couple errands, including the big case packet purchase. It was weird being back on grounds. The halls were familiar and yet multiple faces were missing. Missing faces were replaced with a sea of new ones and though I do want to meet the first years, I find I still have problems recalling names of my own classmates. Saturday's picnic went straight to Saturday night festivities - beer pong and flip cup in full effect. I woke Sunday, feeling overwhelmed by the fact that I had FOUR Monday classes for which to prepare. I managed to get all my reading accomplished, but I'm still struggling to figure out how tonight's reading will be done after about 7 hours of class and an end time of 7:30p. My desk is a disaster, practically still in boxes. I'm running around trying to get an entire soccer team registered by tomorrow and I can't help but look forward to this weekend, which is an entire four days away. Cheers!

All in all, it's good to be back! And as mom would say, life is good! :D

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Goodbye Atlanta... Hello...

Two days ago I wrapped up my internship in Atlanta. My team went to lunch at a swanky country club called East Lake. Though the menu was similar to a traditional country club anywhere else in the country, I must admit, I was impressed with my Asian Caesar Salad. YUMMY!! I ended up with more swag - another t-shirt to add to my growing collection from the company. I think I now have 5 new shirts from the last 12 weeks. I also got a new sweatshirt, a water bottle for my gym workouts and a sweet pen. My team and I exchange some small talk and then some pleasantries regarding the summer. I can't believe the 12 weeks flew as fast as they did. I left East Lake and headed due north towards Charlottesville arriving shortly before 11p. It felt good to be back in Cville as I never realized how much I missed it, especially Arch's Frozen Yogurt. Incredibly delicious and a Cville staple!!

I spent the weekend moving the boyfriend's stuff out of my townhouse and into his. I organized my closet just enough to repack for the next adventure. Last night, some second years caught up with drinks at CD's house. I still remember the first Camp Darden party at his place on Aug. 1, 2008, it was insane! I'm a little bummed that due to not having a free summer, most people are traveling up until the wire, myself included, so there is less gathering prior to school. I guess we'll have to make the most of our time together during second year.

Speaking of adventures, I'm off to CA tomorrow! When we planned this trip, it was supposed to be relaxing and reviving, instead, I think I'm going to need a vacation from my vacation, but isn't that always the case? I'll be in SF for 3 days and they're all filled. I've invited a small group of friends, about 30, over for a BBQ on Wednesday before I take off to Vegas on Thursday morning. It's a 9 hour drive from my house in CA and I need to be as prepared as possible for the ad-hoc bachelorette party on Thursday night. My good friend from college gets married on Saturday and Sunday we drive to SoCal to see the boyfriend's family. After three days there, we'll drive north again, stopping in Morro Bay for a night to ourselves before one last night in SF and a flight back to DC. It's going to be a whirlwind, but it's always good to see friends and family.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Timed Lights?

I live 2.5 miles from work. I don't take the freeway. Yet, it still takes me the better part of 20 or so minutes to get to my internship. There's one street that encompasses most my drive, Ponce de Leon Ave. This street does not have timed lights and so it never fails that every 2-3 stoplights, I hit red, even at 6am, which I found out on the way to the gym this morning. I've learned that if you speed, I can actually hit most the lights and get to work much faster. Lately though, I've seen police on the side streets of Ponce, typically already conducting a traffic stop, which leads me to be a bit more careful. It makes me wonder however, about the behavior not having timed lights cultivates. Yes, I expect not to make every light, but it'd be nice if I could go past more than one.

There are streets in San Francisco that are known for traversing the city. They have timed lights all the way and you can cut minutes off of a commute. South to North, Franklin is a perfect example. Once you hit one green, if you drive the speed limit, odds are you can venture from the freeway to the Bay quickly with no red lights. I'm not sure what the drawbacks of timed lights are, but if they're going your direction, they help immensely with a commute. Other sets of timed lights in SF – Fell/Oak, Gough is the counterpart to Franklin (they like their one-ways in SF), and Pine/Bush. I'm sure there are more, but that's what I remember off the top of my head.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Two Days!!

I don't feel the end as much as I thought I would. I'm excited, yet incredibly busy. My boss' boss, who is the Global IT finance director, has me working on a project with him regarding IT spend. He also did not realize that I'm out of here at the end of the week, so it's been non-stop meeting after meeting to get this project completed or at least as done as possible. Many of my intern-mates are transitioning responsibilities while I'm simply trying to complete all of mine. The plan is to have my computer picked up at 9:30a on Friday. Likely a silly idea as that'll leave me 2 hours to do nothing, but that was the time proposed, so I obliged.

In addition, last night I said farewell to my summer soccer team. It was fun playing while in town and I'm a bit bummed to miss the coming games after such an awesome match. We've lost every game with the exception of one tie to have my final match be a WIN! Not only that, but we found a formation that flowed and actually had us putting balls in the back of the net, including the game winning goal by yours truly in the last 60 seconds of regulation. After the last year of constantly losing teams, I forgot what it was like to win a game. While I appreciate good competition and try not to get down when good competition leads to a loss, I find merriment in winning.

I have one suitcase packed and another one to go. I want to wash my sheets before I leave and need to make sure the car is packed Friday before work. I keep making mental notes about the odds and ends that I need to ensure return to Charlottesville – toaster oven, water purifier, olive oil container – but I’m convinced something will be left behind. That summer project on which I was working for a local retailer is about to be cut off. I never got as far as I desired, but the owner was not willing to help herself as much as I anticipated. She very much wanted me to do the work and I'm sitting here contemplating if I should even go help tonight. Since I'm not one to "drop" projects or people, I will probably try to help her for an hour.

Two more days and it’s one more crazy “vacation” before second year and the Darden case method are in full effect.

Monday, August 03, 2009

5 days until Freedom

There's something rather strange about being an intern. I feel like 3 months is about the time on a job that you start actually understanding the way a company, a department and your job works. And here, exactly 11 weeks later, I'm getting ready to break free, again. While the paycheck has been nice and the experience has been good, I'm ready to return to Virginia, though not without another trip under my belt (off to SF next Monday!!).

Friday, my intern class took a tour of the collaboration lab. It reminded me of James Bond meets sustainability. Quite an interesting experience. We even got to try some new product. One of the products sounded horribly weird and yet tasted fantastically good. Afterwards, we had lunch in a nice private conference room and the CFO essentially joined us for dessert. There were some interesting questions raised. I asked him about relieving stress and work-life balance. He said he trained his body not to be stressed, much like you train your body to fall asleep on an airplane. I understood the analogy, yet, I'm not sure I'm convinced. As for work-life balance, that wasn't a problem for him either. He believes in everything he has done, he has had a choice and so if he was reviewing a 10K instead of attending his son's baseball game, he was exactly where he wanted to be. It sounds like, long ago, his dream was to be successful in the work place and so he marks that a priority, a very interesting perspective.

One of my Darden classmates, who is also interning here, asked about him not having an MBA and what he thought about the degree given that many of us are returning for our second year. Again, we received a response I was surprised to hear. He mentioned that if we found an MBA necessary, that it would open doors, but once in the door, it doesn't really matter. I almost got the feeling that he thought the value of the degree is not what we believe it to be, and while I understand the argument that once you're in, you must perform. I do think, especially in this organization where more people are CPAs than MBAs that MBAs help round out thought. Plus, MBAs tend to be financial analysts versus straight accountants. Quite thought-provoking.

We rounded out Friday with final presentations. It feels good to have that out of the way and I'm not quite sure what to make of my last week. I'm tying up loose ends and will leave work on Friday after lunch. Part of the reason is that my badge dies at 11a and the other is that I plan to drive due north, back to C'ville. Ooo-wee, I’m excited.