Monday, November 8, 2010

Pedal to the metal ...

Last week was probably the toughest so far in the program. Two midterms, one homework submission, one team-project simulation and a lot of required reading for OPIM that started last session. It felt great to survive that and forge ahead ... albeit from the frying pain into a rapidly forming fire. We were supposed to have a final in the leadership class as well this session, but we managed to get that postponed so that things were more manageable.

Having said that, some of the experiences were just surreal. It is not everyday that one has the opportunity to look at a headline news item on the Fed and their actions to get us out of the financial mess and hear one's Professor explain in class "Ben must have done that because ...". For those that think that this sounds like PR for Wharton, let me add that other top programs would rightfully have similar claims to make as well. My experience is at Wharton, hence the description. In Abel's class we also had a simulation where we got to run economies as a fiscal team or a monetary team and wreck them through our badly chosen interest rates and taxes. There were a select few that won the tournament of course, through judicious and prudent policies. But it was fun to wreck an economy nevertheless, something one might never get a chance to do again ...

Speaking of other programs, we had a get-together of MBA students and alums from the Berkeley-Columbia, UCLA and Wharton programs on Friday night at the Meridien. Was interesting to chat with students and alums from other programs and compare notes. Many of us class 36ers were spent after two days of exams and homeworks, so we might have sounded a bit brain-dead to the rest of you ... accept our apologies for that :).

It was also great to meet with prospective applicants who attended our sessions. Looking at their backgrounds and accomplishments, I think class 37 is going to be an amazing class .. just as ours ;). Its getting time for you guys to narrow down your choices in terms of programs, as well as what to put on your resumes and essays. If you haven't scheduled your interview at Wharton already, you might want to get on the phone and get started soon. John and Barbara are amazing people to talk to, and let us assure you that they don't bite, so come soon! If class 36 is in session, I do hope to meet with all of you while you're in as well.

The other highlight of the weekend was Ziv's OPIM opening session. It is kind of surprising, spooky and brilliant all at the same time when your Professor walks into the room knowing all your names and employers and looks at you at appropriate parts of the lecture to point out to you how it relates to your job, or asks for your input based on your direct background. The material seems heavy on math but the treatment in class was more to stimulate intuition and teach the correct thought process for making business decisions, so it would be interesting to see how these two paths converge as the course progresses.

It was also great to see so many spouses, partners and children show up for this session. We also had Doug speaking to us about his plans for WEMBA West in the months to come and details about the announcement about the new campus. Given all the activities that we had, there were no speakers scheduled this time, which was great as it gave us time to catch our breath during the hectic sessions.

Post-session, it felt great to see that, which was started by a couple of WEMBA West alums, got acquired by Amazon for a good chunk of Benjamins. Of course, as Waterman told us this time, "correlation is not causation". But hey, it feels good to think that it might be. Given the interest level and experience that my class has in entrepreneurship, I wouldn't be surprised if 5-7 years down the line it was one of their names that I find on a similar news article. On that note, its time to post this and call it a night ...

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