Archive for the ‘Stanford’ Category

I just got home after breakfast with an old friend at Tootsie’s (at the Stanford Barn).  It’s one of my favorite places on campus to just sit back, have some coffee and enjoy the wonderful weather in Palo Alto.  My friend, a second year at HBS was visiting to interview with firms in the area.  I hadn’t seen him in a long time so it was great to share stories about each other’s lives and about going to business school on the two different coasts.

It’s FOAM today, so maybe I’ll take my friend there later on and introduce him to some of the drinking games that are apparently happening today (maybe not a great idea, considering interviews tomorrow!).

Yesterday, I also sat through the S356 session for Energy / Cleantech opportunities.  There were a few students who seemed to have good ideas in the space and were looking for teammates.  I think I’ll be focusing my S356 project for on the technology/internet side but I was curious to see what this session would be like.

Over the weekend, we were at Tainted Love with a Sri Lankan friend who’s in the area.  A few busloads of GSB kids (something like 150 kids!) went up on Friday, but I wasn’t able to make the trip to see them until Saturday.  It was a lot of fun, Tainted Love is a good group.  For those who are not familiar with them, they are a popular 80’s cover band who sometimes perform at the Bimbo’s club in San Francisco.  Bimbo’s seemed like a really cool venue for a music event.

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Small Groups

I just got home from a small group dinner that a classmate organized.  The dinner was an opportunity for several of the class to share their key learning from summer internships.  From VC firms in foreign countries to small start-ups, student experiences were great to hear about.  Small group dinners like the one today are one of the key features of the GSB, bringing together students and providing a forum for bonding with each other and sharing information.


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It’s been way too long since I last posted on here. A lot has happened since February. I probably won’t remember a lot of what happened, but I’ll try to update readers of my blog about a couple of things that have been happening here.

First: you will probably not see me writing too much about two of the things that really interest me: the iPad and the Kindle.  This is because I was lucky enough to get a summer internship with Lab126, the company that makes the Kindle.  In order to avoid possible conflicts of interest, I will try not to talk about e-reading at least over the next few months.

The summer internship process went really smoothly (at least in hindsight). As a career changer, who had spent the last five years working in the Finance industry, to be working at the company that I really wanted to work for, in the role that I really wanted, felt like a dream come true.  It’s also I think a testament to the strength of the Stanford GSB.

Talking about Spring Break, I was on a GER (Global Experience Requirement) trip to Scandinavia (Sweden and Denmark).  It was a wonderful trip and opened my eyes to a region that I had known very little about before visiting.  We were lucky to be on a trip that included a trip leader who was very connected to the region. Because of this, the planning was immaculate, with the right amount of business meetings mixed with things like meeting the Crown Princess of Sweden or visiting the most exclusive clubs in Stockholm.  The most important part of the trip for me was getting to know a wonderful group of people.

At the end of the 2nd quarter there was a peak in terms of work, where both recruiting activities and class work and exams all increased about the same time. The best example was when I interviewed with Lab126, the day before finals at the GSB.  In my mind I think I was able to prioritize what mattered to me, but it was still a challenging time.

3rd Quarter, opens up a whole new world for 1st years because this is when the leadership transition happens for clubs and student groups.  Thankfully at about the same time class workloads get considerably less as well, allowing students to spend significant amounts of time taking meaningful leadership roles in student organizations.  For me, because of my interest in technology, this meant the Tech Club, and the IT Committee within the student association.  Organizing talks, lunches and other meetings with the tech club has I think taught me a lot in a matter of just weeks.  It’s not something that I thought I would really enjoy, but seeing the changes that we are able to make has really got me energized.

In terms of classes, I was sad to see the end of e-commerce, the wonderful class taught by Prof. Mendelson.  Thankfully, we were able to get him to agree to be our mentor for the tech club, which means we still get to talk to him and get his advice with tech club activities.

My dad visited me (all the way from Sri Lanka) over the last three weeks as well. He was amazed by the size of the Stanford campus and the beautiful walks by the dish area. It was great to take a couple of trips with him to hike in the Redwood Forest, down to Big Sur and then to Yosemite.  I realized there were a lot of things I could do in the Bay Area that I had ignored previously.

Lastly, it’s second round admit weekend again at the GSB. Unlike when I visited the campus last year, the weather is beautiful and I’m looking forward to meeting the new admits tomorrow.  I remember how I flew in from Miami last year without a coat and then had to run to buy one because it was a cold weekend.  It was a wonderful weekend though, and I hope the admits will feel the same way this year when the weekend is over.

If there are any specific questions you would like answers to about the GSB please post it on the Questions tab, and I will do my best to answer.

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I haven’t kept my promise of updating this blog more regularly and it’s been almost three weeks since I last posted.  What an amazing three weeks it has been. Mid-terms have come and gone, and the exclusive academic period is now just a memory. I’ve signed up for more clubs and groups than I can keep track of which I’m now realizing was not a great idea. Recruiting is upon us as well. Three-on-one resume reviews with peers looking through your resume, with a career center professional, were interesting. I was told that I need to structure my resume in a functional way so that as a career changer, my skills stand out rather than the various roles I have played at firms in other industries.

We’ve trekked to Cisco and seen their telepresence demo (quite interesting but more evolutionary than revolutionary I think). A group of students went to Sonoma over the weekend on two party buses that involved large amounts of drinking. Small group dinners (a recent student innovation where the school pays groups of people to have dinner together as long as the dinner is publicly advertised) have been really good for getting to know members of the class. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had an amazing range of dinners from regular american fare to elaborate Singaporean food.

I was at the C4C (Challenge for Charity) formal and the Halloween party (that my wife joined me for as well). Both events were a lot of fun although the C4C event was my favorite because of the nice location it was held in, the less cramped space and the great music.

Today a couple of my friends came over to play Pro Evo (or winning eleven for those in Asia) on the Playstation 3. We have a formal competition organized by the high tech club in a few weeks which is exciting, although, I’m not a particularly good player. Playing on the giant screens in classrooms will undoubtably be fun.

This may be really early to feel this way but I’ve been increasingly thinking how wonderful the GSB environment and the life around it is. This optimism may have something to do with the fact that we’ve submitted our last CAT paper and the only thing left to write now is a group paper for global (where we will analyze the hypothetical entry of a US company into a foreign country of our choosing).

I love my leadership squad mates and my CAT group and I dread the day when all this comes to an end. The CAT and leadership squad is already pretty much done, which is sad.

We had some interesting (good) news on the curriculum front this week as well. The GSB decided to allow us a lot of flexibility over the next two quarters in terms of taking some electives instead of taking predetermined courses in subjects like HR. I managed to get through the data and decisions test too so I have another opening for a potential elective on my schedule. I plan to use as many of these slots as possible taking classes “across the street” in the engineering department.

This week will be a busy one with global papers and presentations due and recruiter day on Wednesday. But I look forward to flying back to Miami on Friday to spend some time with my wife.

Singaporean Dinner 003

Random GSB 013

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This has been a busy week for us with three different mid term assignments due and three mid-term exams early next week. Another issue that took a considerable chunk of our time was the reviews that we had to write for our leadership squad members assessing positives and deltas in their performance in leadership labs in significant detail.

I’m looking forward to Wednesday when exams end and the EAP (exclusive academic period) ends as well. This means that starting Wednesday we are free to sign up for clubs and societies at the GSB and be active in them. Recruiting officially opens to us then as well. I’ve heard things get a couple of notches more busy after Wednesday but as of right now, I’m not sure if that’s even possible.

Friday is the GSB Halloween Party as well, which should be interesting.

I’ve been using zipcar heavily over the last two weeks. It’s amazingly convenient for someone who doesn’t have a car, although there are limitations like the inability to get hold of a car on short notice (especially at dinner time).  My Sri Lankan friend Ranidu pointed me to a Indian Grocery store called Patel Brothers about 30 minutes from the GSB that carries a significant amount of Sri Lankan frozen food and groceries, a huge improvement over the situation when I was in Miami.

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CIMG0720We had a very good first session today (the first day of “condi week”), taught by Prof. Condoleezza Rice. She managed the class discussions expertly and as the class was very focused as well, the comments were spot on. I’m looking forward to Thursday when we have her next.

It was funny to see secret service scoping out the class room right before class. The entire class was dressed in as much red, blue and white as we could get our hands on, as a humorous reminder of “patriotism.”

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CAT Paper!

I just got back from an interesting morning in leadership labs.  For the first time we were put in a truly confrontational situation with some very interesting learning experiences.  Unfortunately can’t share any more details about it than that.

Last night was spent largely at the home of our leadership fellow who cooked for us and hosted us at his home. We spent a lot of time talking about the amount of bike theft that seems to be happening all around campus, while the police seem to not care at all.  There was talk of organizing a group to lie outside waiting… It was a fun night.

Conclusion: I really like my leadership squad and love my leadership fellow!

Now back to reality as I have to work on a CAT (Critical Analytical Thinking) paper that is due in 7 hours. I haven’t written a word yet, which is NOT good. I want to fast forward to 9pm and have it all done.  Well, I’d like to throw all the reading for tomorrow in the same bucket and have that done too!

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