One course down…

September 20, 2008

So yesteday was the final for MORS 430, leadership in organizations, which is the first class for all Kellogg students.  Its required for all students to take it and its a full credit class crammed in 3 weeks.  So to say its fast paced is an understatement.  I would say there was 50 pages of reading a night and then some essay assignments.  Now I must admit it is tough keeping up not because its particularly hard but because it is tough being back in class for the first time in a long time.  Thankfully the professors who teach all the MORS sections are very highly regarded and make it interesting.  I dont know a single person who did not find the class interesting and everyone agreed they learned a lot.

The other big happening around campus, and I am sure this topic was popular at every b-school lately, was the collapse of Lehman Bros and the sale of Merrill Lynch.  Thankfully, IB careers are not very popular at Kellogg so we are much better positioned to weather the impending storm coming over the next few years.  These two companies are two of the largest employers for grads from top MBA programs.  This is definitely going to hurt recruiting for the next few years, much more so at finance heavy schools.  Lots of folks who were going to go into IB now will be looking at other careers such as MC, adding to the competition in those areas.  People here aren’t too worried about job prospects which is very different than what I have been hearing from friends at some other top 5 b-schools…it sounds like at a few other places people aren’t to excited about recruiting this year.

The night life has slowed down a little bit because of class work but for the hardcore party animals its still possible to go out as often as you want.  The married and involved peope seem to have had the largest drop in partying…this is probably because many of the significant others are starting their jobs or the job hunt has spead up a lot.  I think people have also begun to settle down a little, at least until clubs and career stuff gets going.


It’s not gonna be easy…

September 6, 2008

Well, KWEST was amazing like everyone said it would be.  Everything went smoothly on ours and it definitely was a great bonding experience.  The big reveal turned out to be a lot more surprising than I would have thought.  You expect people to be very impressive but after spending a week and goofing around, watching people get drunk and operating on 3 hours of sleep…its tough to picture them in any professional environment.   The hardest thing about KWEST is starting CIM only a few days after you get back.  A huge suggestion for picking a KWEST trip is to try to stay within a few time-zones of Chicago because at the start of CIM you can definitely pick out the people in the crowd that flew to the other side of the world.  The only bad thing I heard was a few cases of food poisoning on a couple trips…but out of 700+ people that’s pretty impressive.

So far CIM definitely has been a challenge, not the work since most is just fun stuff but because you pretty much are going 16+ hours a day at school for the first week.  Honestly, don’t plan on more than several hours of sleep most nights unless you skip the evening events out on the town with your section mates.  If you are married you wont see much of your spouse but trust me they can keep plenty busy with JV stuff and probably will be having far more fun than you will be. 

So far my wife has been having a blast, JVs volunteer to help with certain CIM events but also have lots of things on their own.  Having lived in Evanston for a month already, my wife has definitely found her fit and thus far has been loving my school experience.   After warnings from 2nd year JVs about not seeing us, many of the JVs have come to accept that and have gotten heavily involved with their own community.  Its amazing how much effort the school has put forth to ensure the JVs dont feel like they are left out…heck my personal opinion is that being a JV is a much better deal at this point.

MORs seems like it will be interesting but its scary to see all the work we are going to have to do for it in just two weeks.  We got an inch thick case pack and then more handouts the first day…along with some writing assignments.  If Kellogg is a soft school that is all fun and no work I am sure glad I didn’t go to Wharton or Chicago.  Personally I already feel overwhelmed and this is after only reading the syllabus.  I must say that even the 1st MORs class was far better than any class visit I had last year (I never got to visit a Kellogg class before applying)…but it sure blew a bunch of other top 10 school class visits out of the water.  The material is not challenging from an academic standpoint but the class is very well led, everyone was involved, and surprisingly fun.  However, it definitely seems like we will be doing plenty of work considering its only a two week long course. 

A huge point of advice for any international students for whom English is a 2nd language (this applies to every MBA program)…work on your verbal English skills and in all seriousness brush up on American culture.  I think the biggest hurdle for some of the internationals in class is going to be their English skills.  You need to be able to get your thoughts across clearly and precisely because you have to present them pretty quickly during a give and take discussion when going through a case.  Class participation counts towards grades so you are going to want to get involved and communicating your thoughts is going to be vital to your success.  Also, it really will make an impact with your ability to settle in with your classmates.  Also don’t fall into the trap of just hanging out with the other students from your part of the world, especially if you ever plan on working in the US.  The huge diversity at top b-schools is one of the biggest advantages they have.  I noticed this was definitely true at some schools I visited, and while this hasn’t been the case at Kellogg YET…there is always the possibility that will happen.