SSE has been an interesting contrast to Darden. Most of what we read at SSE is theoretical papers. Even our texts are based, at least partially, around theory. The most I can remember about theory at Darden over the last 1.5 years is finance. Should we use a risk-free rate of 10 years or 30 years? Most of the time, our professor would point to theory (though logically any valid argument would allow you to use either on a test), while many people going into finance would ask for practicality. Beyond that, I don't recall a lot of theory (however it is possible that it's embedded in our tech notes and I never noticed).
I don't want to say theory is bad, as it is obviously important for parts of practicality. Though I will say, it's extremely boring and I'd rather have the two page recap instead of the 20 page dissertation. One of my Booth friends mentioned that they do theory all the time. All I thought was, thank heaven I didn't apply there! I'm not sure if I could have handled it. Plus, I find that I actually enjoyed classes at Darden (yes, they get boring at times), but overall, I learned a lot. Here, I'm convinced I've learned something (at least that's what my latest exam says), however, the practical application of all this theory just seems silly to me.
What's even more annoying is in two out of my three group projects, our final paper is a form of theoretical dissertation. Thus, we need to find old theories to cite that will complement our new theory or findings. While I think it's important to cite what others think, I think it's even more important to learn to say what you think. It's true, not all thoughts are based on evidence, though it seems SSE would like them to be.
One thing I've accomplished - a talent at searching Google Scholar for articles.
Seven more days until I'm return to the US and Darden's case method. It's absolutely flown.