Posts Tagged ‘admit weekend’

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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Writing this in response to PaloAltoforaWhile‘s comment on my Admit Weekend Update:  >> Hey Sri Lankan – Would love to hear more about your overall impressions about other admits, students, style of the weekend. Are you more/less excited about Stanford next year? Did the weekend get you excited about certain classes, activities, opportunities?

PaloAltofoaWhile, thanks for asking this. Hopefully a better update of my impressions of the admit weekend, below.

Overall Impression

I think the best way to sum it up is to say that I felt like I was joining a big family. A really close-knit community held together by the GSB’s unique down to earth and friendly culture.

Admits / Students

Although admits had not spent a lot of time at the GSB prior to the weekend, they were either screened very carefully during the interview process (for the ingredients that do best in the GSB) or took on the GSB culture very quickly. Everyone was super friendly, outgoing and there to make friends with everyone else in the class. When Derrick went through the profiles of some of the admits in the class it was definitely very humbling, admits who’ve started multiple successful companies, those who couldn’t be at the weekend because they are playing pivotal roles in the auto bailouts, submarine officers, bodyboarders, international consultants, successful traders, hybrid vehicle engineers, etc.

The common factor among those I met was that noone was looking to talk about their credentials or their backgrounds, they were all very down to earth and friendly, and eager to be a part of the GSB family.

Students: I didn’t really get to meet a lot of students except for the Q&A sessions on housing, leadership, global initiatives etc. Among those  I met the easiest way to describe them is as really nice people. They were all very welcoming and I think great ambassadors of the Stanford GSB brand.

I think there was definitely an unusual mix of student and admit backgrounds, and probably fewer finance related backgrounds (than I expected).

Style of the Weekend

I think the weekend was organized around the theme that the fellow admits are the biggest selling point for the program. I think this worked very well although I was already sold. Every event, every meal was aimed at having each admit meet a new mix of people. There was no chance to stick with just a small group as you would meet a new group for the next hour, which was perfect.

I think the other theme was to convey the close knit community and family like feel at the GSB. This came through very well as well I think, from the hug that the first year student gave each admit and SO that she was hosting for dinner to the warm welcoming words and smiles from staff, students and alums and the words of support from the audience to student speakers at each event.

The Navy submarine officer (2nd year student) who spoke talked about his friendship with one of the three GSB students who died in an accident in Big Sur last year. He had just come from a swimming event that morning in honor of those students and was visibly in tears as he spoke about his feelings and the support he had received at the GSB when he lost his friend.

Lynn Utter the alumni speaker spoke of the GSB network as similar to the phone ads where theres an invisible group of people always behind you (referring to Verizon).

Excited about certain classes, activities, opportunities?

I think the most exciting for me were the global travel opportunities, the study trips and service learning trips. It was amazing to hear about the experiences of students and I think something that I had not thought about previously was organizing a trip myself. Since the weekend, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about organizing a trip to Sri Lanka for second year, assuming things quieten down in the next few months some more.

The opportunities to meet with entrepreneurs regularly, with VCs in the area etc were also definitely a big plus that was highlighted during my talks with students heading up student clubs.

More/less excited about Stanford next year?

Definitely much more excited than I was. I knew Stanford was the place that I wanted to be for the two years of my MBA before I left for the weekend, but I think the weekend really made me fall in love with the place, the culture and the people.

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I know I haven’t given the promised admit weekend update, although its been more than a week since I got back from a fun (and busy) weekend in Palo Alto.  The biggest reason for this was my move.  I decided to not use movers and move most of my stuff myself: bad idea. The whole thing took almost four days not counting the two days it took to recover from it all.

I’ve been kind of lazy with this update and I’ve copied and pasted a lot of information right from the admit weekend schedule.

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Welcome Reception
Schwab Residential Center, Palm Courtyard

After almost a full day of flying, I landed in SFO and realized that I should probably have followed the advice from the admissions office and brought some warm clothing along. It was cold, especially for me coming in from Miami.  My flight was delayed as well and after some driving around I decided that the Macy’s at the Stanford shopping center is the place to grab a coat from.  After walking all over I finally realized that the store was split into mens and womens building (pretty far from each other) and that I was looking in the womens!

In the end, I finally managed to find something reasonable and arrived almost an hour late at Schwab.

Everyone at the check-in desks was very friendly, finding a T-shirt for my wife. Love the T-shirts btw: they say “I got the Call” on the back.

I grabbed a drink and walked around meeting fellow admits, saying Hi to Derrick and meeting up with a group of Sri Lankans at Stanford who came there to welcome me.

7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Small Group Dinners
Restaurant close to El Camino
The first year student who was in charge of the small group dinner I was assigned to was very friendly and nice, welcoming each member of the group warmly and ushering us and all the SOs (Stanford speak for spouses – Significant Others) to dinner at the restaurant nearby.

Dinner was great and we heard about the diverse backgrounds of each person at the table, about the workload (which the first year said wasn’t too bad at all) and about what everyone wanted to do over the summer. My plan of sticking around home and visiting my sister were definitely the least interesting.

9:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Unofficial Gathering
Old Pro, Palo Alto
By the time we got out of dinner it was close to 1:30 East coast time and I was way too tired to go over to Old Pro. I heard from those who made it over there that the place really came alive around midnight or so.

Sunday, 26 April 2009.

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. Off-Campus Housing Tours

I had planned to do the off-campus housing tours but it turned out this was way too early on Sunday morning for me.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Welcome Brunch
Schwab Residential Center, Vidalakis Dining Hall
Dean Joss and Derrick Bolton gave excellent speeches.  Derrick touched on the backgrounds of various members of the class of 2011 without mentioning any by name. The diversity of experiences among the group was amazing and very humbling. At each event, groups were re-assigned so that you met 5 or 6 new people at each table.

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. MBA Curriculum Overview
GSB South Building, Bishop Auditorium
Professor Garth Saloner was supposed to do this but was not available, therefore it was done by David Kreps (A Econ professor at the GSB). Went over the flexibility, assigned advisors, grading etc.

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. SO Job Search Discussion
GSB South, Room S161
My wife attended and thought there was useful information
shared. At some point during the weekend she decided that Stanford is a community she likes and that she will be joining me (eventually :)).

2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Study Group Meeting
Jackson Library Study Rooms
Cases were distributed (I think four different cases) prior to the weekend. I was assigned to the Vocera case. There were rooms labeled with study group numbers. We had an interesting discussion with some members of the group very passionate about their views. The first few minutes we were not quite sure what we should do, so just ended up chatting with fellow admits.

2:20 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. SO Hike to “the Dish”
GSB South, Meet at the Birds Courtyard
My wife joined other SOs and students for a three mile / five kilometer hike to one of Stanford’s landmarks. My wife made several friends and really liked the experience.

3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Afternoon Refreshment Break
GSB South Building, Birds Courtyard

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Class Immersion Experience
GSB South Building
My study group was assigned to Vocera which Jim Lattin, Robert A. Magowan Professor of Marketing conducted. It was an excellent class with a lot of cold calling. Everyone was given name placards to place in front of them. I was glad to not be one of those cold called. The discussion concluded in a direction that was completely unexpected based on our thoughts from the study group.

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Housing Panel and Video
GSB South Building, Bishop Auditorium
Very funny video with GSB students based on MTV’s cribs going through each housing choice: Schwab, Escondido Village, Munger, and off-campus. Basically Schwab is the social place, although not anywhere near as nice or fancy as Munger. Escondido is just ok, but that’s where you have to live if you have a family. Munger came across as really really nice. Loved the dual refrigerators, that can be opened simultaneously! 🙂

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Housing Tour
Schwab, Escondido Village or Munger
I chose the Munger tour since I had a pretty clear idea of what
Schwab was like. There’s still a lot of construction going on at Munger but most of it is expected to be done in the Fall. The 4/4.5 layout at Munger is really nice. A lot of common area, decent sized rooms, etc. I think a lot of admits moved Munger up on there list after the tour.

7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Alumni Dinner
Schwab Residential Center, Vidalakis Dining Hall
Lynn Utter, President and COO of Knoll North America gave an inspirational and moving speech
. There were two other student speakers who were exceptional.

9:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Social Gathering with the GSB Family
Blue Chalk, Palo Alto, 650.326.1020
There were shuttles to take us over the the Blue Chalk ready after dinner
. A lot of socializing and meeting people with a lot of current students as well.

Monday, 27 April 2009

8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Financial Aid for International Students
GSB South Building, S161
I didn’t attend as I qualify for aid as a US resident but there were many worried faces after this. I heard the rates on the no-cosigner loan options were really high.

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Breakfast at the Birds
GSB South Building, Birds Courtyard
Grabbed some quick breakfast
and coffe and ran into the next event at Bishop auditorium.

9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Managing Your Career
GSB South Building, Bishop Auditorium
The Career Management Center (CMC) Director Andy Chan gave an introduction to the internship and job hunt and the resources available at the school. The personal attention that the CMC seems to give each student was a highlight. There were several students available to answer questions and discuss how they found their internship / job options.

10:50 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Global Experience Requirement Student Panel
GSB South Building, Bishop Auditorium
Several current students discussed Global Study Trips, GMIX internships, STEP, SAIL and Service Learning Trips. Everyone had great things to say about the requirement and seemed to have had wonderful experiences. Dancing in Brazil, private jets in India, etc..

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Barbeque, Across the Street and Club Expo
GSB, Plaza Courtyard
Many of the GSB clubs had desks and provided information about their activities. I think because of GSB’s Exclusive Academic Period (EAP), a lot of the real recruiting for clubs doesn’t happen until a few weeks into the term. This was just an informal gathering.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Leadership Development
GSB South Building, Bishop Auditorium
Student led discussion about several of the leadership development resources available. There seemed to be a lot of focus on leadership fellows.

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Campus Tour

I missed the last couple of events of the day (below) as I had a flight to catch and ran off early.

3:10 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Final Remarks
GSB South Building, Bishop Auditorium

3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Class of 2011 Celebration
GSB South Building, Front Steps

Overall it was an excellent weekend that really highlighted the diversity of the class and the friendliness and close knit community offered by the GSB.

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The Admit weekend homework assignment has just arrived.  The reading is for the Class Immersion Experience which will be an “interactive class” in Marketing taught by Prof.  Jim Lattin. The class immersion is basically an enhanced  class visit. There are no regular classes that prospective students can sit in on during admit weekend.

Reading involves a case titled Vocera Communications (32 page document).

There’s also a 35 page optional reading assignment related to the case from The Complete Guide to Accelerating Sales  Force Performance (the first chapter).

Prof. Lattin has taught the introductory marketing class for first-years for the last 20 years. This should be very interesting I think.

There are also study groups assigned! We find these assignments on the first day of the admit weekend. Cold calls are promised as well!

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Admit Weekend is two weeks away!

I’m excited, and a little nervous. The classmate profiles on the Facebook group looked so impressive. Nuclear Submarine Officer, wow!

I booked flights, hotels and car rentals (don’t want a repeat of my last visit to the GSB where I got lost taking the bus and wondered around San Jose dragging my bag around at 2:30AM) for me and my wife. She’ll only be coming for the Sunday events (admit weekend is Sunday and Monday). I was confused why this was the case until I noticed that HBS admit weekend is during the earlier part of the same weekend, I guess they are trying to give cross admits a chance to visit both schools.

For hotels, everyone should use Priceline! I have booked sub $45 rooms in Boston, Palo Alto, Philadelphia multiple times with no issues at all. It’s amazing. I had a friend who was interviewing at Wharton who went into a hotel right by the school and they quoted him $180 for the night. He called me and I did a priceline search, got the exact same hotel for $80 for a same day check-in.

Seems like most of the unofficial Saturday events are focused on mingling, dinner etc with Monday getting more formal. I think my wife would have enjoyed some of the SO events on Monday that she will be missing. But she needs to be back in class in Miami on Monday.

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