Saturday, August 28, 2010

I love school!

I am a nerd but seriously, I love school. Not just the learning a lot of stuff in a short period of time aspect, but the community, the ideas, and the energy -- you know, the whole package.

Yesterday we had our first final and at dinner our Econ professor had some "healthy banter" with us about the exam. On my way out of school, I chatted with the Admissions Director about some potential applicants and making school visits (dare I say) fun! Last night a group of fellow nerds and I studied for our Accounting final today and while we were taking it seriously, we also chatted about careers, aspirations, and our entrepreneurial ventures. During my run this morning on the beautiful Embarcadero (take that Philly), I bumped into several students on their was to campus and it hit me -- I am having the academic experience of my dreams.

I don't know if it was the endorphins from running or a long overdue epiphany but I am completely, utterly grateful for this experience. For those who anyone who might think that being away from the mothership (read:Philly campus) makes any less of an experience, I challenge you to come and feel the energy we have in SF and tell me that it's not pretty darn amazing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The end of the beginning ...

In a few days, Term 1 will be history, and class 36 would have made 1/6th of its way towards graduation. As you can see from the silence on the blog, we're all busy preparing for our first finals in possibly several years, trying to remember how it felt like to take a three-hour exam, remembering how to make efficient cheat sheets, and listing out materials to take with us for open-book exams.

Just in case you forget, these exams are on top of your work and life commitments. After hearing about these from earlier WEMBA batches, it now gives us first-hand experience in juggling all of these commitments in this crucial week, dropping a few to pick them up later, cherry-picking a few that we refuse to let go of (like family commitments) and holding on to them for dear life while watching other less important ones drop off for now .. It makes for an interesting experiment in time management, to say the least.

For applicants to the WEMBA program, here's an update. Some of us met with the admissions folks over last session. They are really excited to start the receptions for the next year and are waiting to meet all of you at the receptions in the Bay area, as well as in a host of other cities that they will announce on the official Wharton blog. Meanwhile, feel free to write to any of us with questions you might have - just leave comments here and we can get in touch with you, or better still, come to a reception and meet us there!

Join me in wishing the WEMBA 36ers the very best in their finals - hope all the lost sleep will be worth it :). As with all beginnings, as we reach the end of the beginning, we come that much closer to the beginning of the end of this wonderful journey...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Entrepreneurship Club!

The enthusiasm of our class is unmatched! Just within the first term, we have already established: eclub (entrepreneurship club), finclub (finance club), En-a-CT (Energy and CleanTech club), real estate club, golf club, expert club... . Classmates joked that we need a "recap" club to summarize all the great activities organized by these clubs.

As an organizer of the eclub, I am going to write about eclub (of course!) But first of all, let me mention several differences between our clubs and the full time MBA clubs. First of all, our clubs are not across classes since class 35 and class 36 have different schedules: we show up in San Francisco during alternate weekends. Nevertheless, we are trying to find opportunities to learn from and collaborate with the class 35 eclub. The advantage is: we have a chance to define our club mission and strategy and deliver it for our class! Second, since we are not on campus 24x7, we need to be very selective in what we organize. There is very limited free time during class weekends and all the clubs want to schedule some activities. We learn to collaborate and deliver high quality activities (value, value, value!). Third, since we are all working in different companies/industries, we can tap into our existing networks very easily. Within a short time, we already have a pipeline of speakers filled up!

So far, eclub has organized two activities: a) club member meeting to establish club mission; b) entrepreneur panel with our classmates. Over half of our class is interested in setting up their own companies - the unique value Wharton EMBA West advertises to applicants is true! We focused our club mission to enable our classmates to run their startups. The first panel with entreprenuers was very successful: entreprenuers from our class discussed challenges they faced openly with us and answered all sorts of questions from us. One classmate commented "I started to know what I do not know."

Our upcoming events include: Panel with VCs (from our class and outside of our class), Busienss Plan Competition Prep, and Treks... I really feel that I am on track to accomplish the entreprenuership mission I wrote in my application essay!