Monday, November 30, 2009

My Extended Family

People told me the full time MBA years will be the best of my life.
They are.
Some of my friends are anxious to get back out to the world, get in the game again and restart their lives. I remind them that never again in our lives, will we have so many friends all around us, all the time. Friends that rather than having to develop and maintain a career, develop and maintain relationships. It's just part of the syllabus of b-school. It's what we do.

This thanksgiving I celebrated with a group of my friends and some of our families. Though I missed thanksgiving with my family, I'm glad I had my extended family to celebrate with. This year I am thankful for the opportunity I have been given to experience these two years with a fantastic group of people.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Fakesgiving (noun) - is a Thanksgiving dinner on a day other than the fourth Thursday of November.

In recent years I've tended to have more than one Thanksgiving dinner during the week of Thanksgiving because my aunt prefers to do it on the weekend or because my parents are divorced and rather than having one Thanksgiving with the kids every other year, we just have two (on different days mind you). Last year we had a Darden Thanksgiving, where a large group of friends gathered at the beautiful apartment of one of our friends and on Thanksgiving day, my dad came to visit his two sons in the States, so we had another one in NYC and a third one at school. That's a lot of food.

This year, thankfully, we only had one Fakesgiving - th
e international Thanksgiving dinner that Darden sponsors every year. An event bringing together the international Darden community and embracing them with this wonderful custom of giving thanks (and eating delicious food).

Interestingly enough, the only speech this year was a short one by Marsh as opposed to last year's five or so speeches from international representatives.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brand Challenge - Take 2

Yesterday the first years conducted the annual Brand Challenge, where different brands are presented and laid out for the tastings, drinking and trying.
Somehow it seemed that it was better than the brand challenge we had last year. Perhaps it was because we weren't presenting this year and all we had to do is sip the Vodka's, taste the tomato sauces and sit in the Ford Fusions.
In any case, it was a lot of fun and the first years did an excellent job.

Wacky B-School Traditions

Business Week reviewed some wacky b-school traditions and for some reason they've picked Darden's section B bird tradition as our "wacky" tradition. Most b-schools (including Darden) practice most of the reviewed traditions anyway in some form or another (unless they are completely lame).
Granted, the bird tradition is one that no other school has, but it's nothing compared to section D's traditions. Also, a mustache competition is clearly best practiced in a southern school.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

The first year's curriculum was extremely rigorous filled with core classes you cannot skip that teach you all the basics you need to know about business. Marketing, operations, finance, strategy organizational behavior (psychology for a dime) and career management.

During the summer internship, I have found out that I was more than prepared for the job.
And then, there's second year. Why do we need the second year? Well, there are plenty of courses to expand your horizons from leadership and strategy courses through corporate finance, taxation and post merger integration (coming up in Q4!).

There are good school with a one year program so why do we have 2 years?
The real reason is that the programs were more expensive here in the States so in order to give the students their money's worth they got two years.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining.
If I could, I would make this a 3 year program, though I'm not sure my liver can take much more of this. These are the best years of my life.

My wife has a theory. She thinks we are left here to help the first years. We take on leadership roles and help them with school, the job hunt, cheering them up, being career coaches, peers, club leaders etc. Just as we were "raised" by our second years (I like to call them third years now) we are now doing the same to our first years. It feeds the continuation of the culture and reduces the load requirement for staff to do that and gives us the excuse we need to stay here another year, so why not?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


A few weeks ago, a little before Q1 was over the DSA (Darden Student Association) organized a diversity panel, where the community was to meet and discuss the topic. I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to such discussions, but as a president of two affinity clubs I was asked to attend.

The panel was composed of people from different races (yes, there were white people), and even women! Unfortunately not all major religions were represented and all panelists were heterosexual(as far as I know).

As usual in such discussions nobody wants to talk about the pink elephant in the room so we ended up talking about "diversity of opinions" and such.

The was one moment of honesty when a fellow student, who is also African American mentioned the phenomenon of people assuming that some non-white people got into business school, or a job or college because of their race. With that comes, of course the opposite side of people who feel they are not worthy and that the only reason they got in was due to their skin color.
This is the point where people start feeling uncomfortable. That's when the discussion finally got interesting, but unfortunately the discussion was diverted and the topic was not fully discussed.

When I was working for SAP in Israel, a representative from a large enterprise customer that you most likely now and use it's products came and talked to us about our products and how they are used in their company. At one point, he showed us a screen where he was asked to fill in his personal details like name, address etc. Then he filled out a field called "Race". We were all shocked. There were whispers going along and everybody was simply stunned that a company would ask you for your race. It just felt wrong to ask people about race. Considering race when hiring a person seemed like racism to us.

I believe in a merit based system and don't believe race is a good predictor for performance of a person. I've been in the united states for a year and had my share of conversations with friends from different backgrounds and races and I do understand the poor history of the united stats that this comes from. I know there are white people that can't afford to go to college. Some of them are in my class today. Some got scholarships, some funded their way by serving in the military.

We keep feeding the segregation and keeping it alive with affirmative action, but at some point if we want to move forward we would have to let it go. I would suggest that Darden leads this change and remove race from its applications. In fact, I thought I was an African American when I filled out the B-School applications because one side of my family if from the US and the other from Libya. Then I was told that north Africa counts as white. "You'll have a school full of white people" a friend told me. I think if our financial aid system worked according to financial need we would be giving everyone a fair chance at this. I even think this should be pushed down to colleges. Give financial aid based on economic status in college. After college we're all at the same plain with the same opportunities and what we do with our lives is up to us and not our skin color.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Warm Spring Evening

One warm spring evening as the school year was coming to an end the class of 2010 assembled in the fall sections to discuss job leads. It was an idea by some fellow students who thought we could help one another in what was an extremely tough year for recruiting.

I don't think any of us had any expectations from the meeting. I was a little skeptical myself and I had already accepted my offer at the time but I came to support my peers. It started off slow and then it got very emotional as people shared their frustration of trying to recruit for 9 months with no success.

For some, it came as a surprise discovering they are not alone. Other's, who had received their offers pretty early in the process, got a first glimpse of another side they were not aware of, or not aware of the seriousness of it. "What are you looking to do" was one student's question. - "Anything" was the answer that shook people up as they realized how desperate some people have become. It was not only an international problem or a career switcher problem. It was all around.

Something amazing happened in the minutes that followed. One after another, my classmates came forward with leads, connections, friends from college. That night a lot of emails were sent out and phone numbers were exchanged. It was heart warming.

I've had a chance to compare with friends in other schools this year. I am proud to say that Darden class of 2010 did extremely well on their internships.

A lot of prospective reach out to me and during our conversations they ask about Darden's strength. The first thing that comes to mind is the strong alumni network. As a Darden alumni once told me when I was debating between schools: "your chances of getting an alum to return your call and bend over backward are highest at Darden". They are. It originates from the pressure cooker we're all part of during our first year.

I then tell them a story about one warm spring evening.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mid Point Perspective

You were an ace at your company, promotions, money, fame and glory. Then you get into a top b-school, maybe even a few. You're about to embark in the journey of your life. You have so many o options for career paths. You may want to switch a career, or keep the one you had, you may even start your own company after school. Life is great, the world is your oyster.

Then an intense wave hits you and you try keeping your head above the water holding with one hand a 50 pound weight with "academics" printed on it and another with "recruiting" on the other hand, while your legs carry the ones with "socializing" on them.

Somehow along the year you may begin to lose the perception of what was it about you that was so special as you get beat down to a pulp made out of dried up silly putty. You'll get confused and may even lose sight of what it is that you really want to do as they tell you to expand your horizons and look at all the options. Then, just as you thought it will never happen, you get an offer for an internship, maybe even two and before you know it, the year's over.

You may think that you are not prepared, but you surprise even yourself when you see how well you are and how much you've learned this year. You feel good about yourself and even better if you came back with an offer.

Reporting from the mid point, these are just my two cents.
Discounted 9 months in order to adjust to a first year perspective, it comes out to around 1.3 cents.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Power of the Passionate Forgotten

Robert Scoble wrote about the power of the passionate in his blog (
Specifically he wrote “Amazon has launched a See a Kindle in Your City program that lets you find a Kindle user near you and arrange for the passionate to show the nonpassionate what it can do. If Kindle is going to sell 4.5 million units by the end of 2010, as Citi analyst Mark Mahaney predicts, Kindle's first fans will be the ones whose feedback makes subsequent versions better and persuades rail commuters, frequent fliers, and vacationers to be customers.”

I’m an early adopter. I got the Kindle almost a year and a half ago. My wife and I have used it a lot and everywhere. We even have our cases and school books on it. We’ve done the Kindle – college experiment that Amazon and our school is doing already a year ago and declared it a success. Moreover, we’ve been marketing it like crazy and infecting other users everywhere. Airports, gym, coffee shops. Many a times my wife has told me of and old lady asking her what it was and giving a marketing speech about the features and paper-like convenient screen. We would joke that Amazon should pay us for this. Who knows… maybe they will after they hire us as product managers.

The release of the Kindle DX two months after the release of the Kindle 2 has cause much remorse over the purchase of the Kindle 2 for a lot of users, who have asked Amazon for an upgrade.
One customer said: “They have been basically stonewalling all my attempts for the last few days to find a way to exchange the Kindle 2,” she says. “This is not right. It’s not the way early adopters should be punished.” (

In a letter to iPhone custoemrs Steve Jobs wrote:
“…even though we are making the right decision to lower the price of iPhone, and even though the technology road is bumpy, we need to do a better job taking care of our early iPhone customers as we aggressively go after new ones with a lower price. Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these.”

Amazon has lowered the price of the Kindle from $399 (Kindle 1) to $299 (Kindle 2).

“Ultimately they are two different products though many people don’t really understand the difference” says another customer who has managed to use the company’s 30 day return policy and get his DX.

The DX and the Kindle 2 are different products, but how different is the Kindle 2 from the Kindle 1? Is it just a thinner package for the Kindle one, with a software upgrade that allows text to speech?

If Apple branded the reduced price iPhone as “iPhone 2“, maybe there would have been less angry letters from customers (iPhone 3g? 3gs?). Perhaps Amazon learned from Apple’s mistake and did just that?

As an early adopter, I understand that what you buy today will be cheaper tomorrow and I did not send Amazon any angry letters.

A few weeks ago, our Kindle stopped working. It’s actually working, but the screen has a frozen picture on it. I called Amazon asking for any repair service (since the warranty was only good for a year) and they offered their repair program: I return the device and get a refurbished for $180.

I was surprised considering you can get that on eBay for the same price.
I emailed them and mentioned that as an early adopter, although I did not ask for anything when they cut the price by $100, I am asking now, that they at least give me the Kindle 2 for the $180 I have to pay since there’s no repair service.

Unfortunately, their reply was not very helpful. They suggested I sell my (broken) Kindle and buy a new one.
Perhaps Amazon needs to learn another lesson from Apple…

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Summer

I've been given a nudge by a friend to get off my lazy behind and start writing again, so here I am. Thanks PH.

A Second Year tradition is for the whole class to rent some be
ach houses in the Outer Banks and hang out together before parting. A few of us first years decided to make it a first year tradition as well and spent a week in Nags Head once school was done with back in May. There were around 15 of us in a 10 bedroom, pool, two hot tubs, a game room, a theater room and a beach outside our back yard. We had so much fun in the house with each other that most of us stayed in for most of the week and didn't join the SY activities. It was the best week of the year.

After beach week, we flew to back to Israel to visit all the friends and family. We were running a hectic schedule of friends/family for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. It was a lot of fun and great to see everyone after almost a year of being gone, but a lot of work as well!

The next phase of my summer began slightly after coming back to the States: My Summer Internship. I am spending the summer in Bank of America's MBA Leadership Development Program in Charlotte, NC. I thought Virginia was the south. It's so not. When Tea means Sweetened Iced Tea and when you want hot tea, you must specify "hot", when "Thank you" is replaced by "Appreciate it" and "You're welcome" by "Ah huh", when you're greeted by "How y'all doin' today" and when you leave by "Y'all come back now" - you know you're in the south
. Don't get me wrong - I love it here. People are so nice and hospitable, strangers on the street say "hi" and people drive as if cutting people off is not one of the ten commandments and don't try to run over pedestrians and actually will give you the right of way even when you don't have it.

I have a nice place in a complex with all the amenities I could need for the summer, but I do miss Darden and my friends there. Working again has made me appreciate even more this past year at Darden. I actually wish the program was three years instead of two.

The class of 2009 has left us to restart their lives and we are now left to carry the torch as rising second years, guiding the incoming class of 2011 in their new journey.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Amazon Kindle @ Darden

Amazon Chooses Darden as First Business School to Use the Kindle was today's article title in businessweek. 
"You might have heard word yesterday that a select number of universities had been selected to participate in Amazon’s new Kindle school initiative. What you probably didn’t know is that one of those universities is a top business school." reads the article.

The new Kindle will be used as of next fall (lucky class of 2011) in and outside of class. 
This is a great initiative in terms of sustainability not to mention convenience. As an avid technologist, I've already been using the V1 Kindle since it first came out. It's been very helpful this year when Darden gave us a choice of using online PDFs rather than acres of cut forests. It's great and convenient on the treadmill and would be even better with the text to speech feature. The only disadvantage so far was that the conversion of PDFs was not up for the challenge of graphics. Hopefully now, with the native PDF support, that would not be an obstacle anymore.

Hopefully, Amazon and Darden would take the extra step and provide it to current students as well as provide all of our cases in e-format so we could save more trees and make my room less of a mess.

If we calculate the printing expenses saved over 2 years and add the value of this CSR to sustainability, I'm pretty sure it's worthwhile to provide us all with Kindles.

Friday, May 1, 2009


It's the end of the year as we know it.
Amazing how quickly the year's gone by. 
Classes are over and I got 3 exams and one big @$$ paper to write and then it's over.

We got to take our elective's exams today already and they are waiting at home and hopefully are going to get done before the last moment.

There's a lot going on in Darden this weekend. 

The class of 2011 are here for Darden Days and there's plenty of community events planned for us all. It seems like the last Darden Days was just yesterday when I was here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Packing Heat

Former president of Mexico - Vicente Fox - spoke today in front of the Darden students as part of the leadership speaker series that brings key leaders to Darden.

A major point that president Fox kept stressing is the importance of free trade and partnership the two neighboring countries should have and that walls never work. He actually brought it in as a funny anecdote after telling us about the walls of the world that did not work.

I found it very interesting that when asked which three leaders he admires, he responded immediately: "I have four" and then moved on to name leaders that have used non violence methods to lead to a social change. Even if this was a premeditated answer, hearing the names of Ghandi and Martin Luther King moves something inside.

I was surprised that they let us all in the auditorium with our bags and without checking them. I told myself that this is Virginia and not Israel and that there's almost no chance that a student would suddenly take out a gun.

I'm not sure if he was a Darden student because his face was covered, but one person stood up suddenly with his mouth covered by a black piece of cloth, a shirt with some writing about it and a sign that friends later translated from Spanish that said: "no police in the state".

The president calmly said something to him in Spanish and the student calmly left.

The translation, I was later told was: "We can talk later, please sit down" and then "see you in Mexico".

Overall, it was an interesting experience and former president Fox is a very interesting person.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Raising Second Years

I've just finished bidding on all of my courses for second year.
Last year, I've read a Darden blogger's post that told the tails of bidding for SY courses and mentioned that it may sound weird that we have to pick all of our 2nd year courses now, at the end of first year, but in fact it makes a lot of sense and he also mentioned we can change the choices we've made afterwards.

Well, I'm here now, and it doesn't seem weird at all. In fact it makes perfect sense. By now, we should all know (more or less) what we want to do after we graduate, so we know what we'd like to get out of next year to best prepare us for the job and life after school.

Perhaps next year, someone else would be writing about a post he read a year back about choosing SY courses.

We use a bidding system to get our course picks. We receive a number of points and use them after devising strategies and predictions using game theory, psychology and dark magic to predict what our peers would do, and try to get our ideal schedule. I have less points because the school deems it fit to put me at a disadvantage because I've gone on a GBE (Global Business Experience) to Sweden this year and that counts as a course credit for next year.

I can't believe how fast the year's gone by. In two weeks, we'll all be raising second years. Our second year friends, mentors, spirit guides will all be gone to their new lives post MBA. It's a little sad. I think I'll miss those guys.

Our professors have been working us really hard here the past few weeks. It kind of feels like Q1 again with all the presentations, deliveries, team projects, late nights and a high ratio of Pizza to healthy meals. They say that in a tough economy, the marketing department gets the first cuts. Well, in my time shortage case, the Gym, sadly,  got cut. I will have to find time for that somehow since immediately after our last exam, we're heading to Beach Week!

This weekend is full of events here at Darden. It's the reunion of a few classes of past. Friday evening is the Darden Follies!
And Saturday is the annual Foxfield Races!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Building Goodness in April

Building Goodness in April, or BGIA as it is known here is something that attracted my interest since before I came to Darden, when I was deciding between schools and was reading about it on the Dean's blog. It is an amazing thing when contractors, students and local shops all partner together with the Building Goodness Foundation and volunteer to renovate around 10 homes of low income and/or disabled families in the Charlottesville/Albemarle community. It is a genuine gesture of giving, and it is extremely rewarding.

A lot of planning is required in order to accomplish so much in just one day and it is student led.
It starts with the inspection of homes finding the best candidates for projects. It is followed by a fundraiser where we all auction all sorts of stuff from golf lessons and 5 course meals through hotel rooms or a cabin in Vermont to pole dancing lessons or a self affirming evening with two students accompanied by a keg.

This year we collected $45,000. Local businesses donate goods, cash and services as well.
We targeted 10 homes and built 2 playgrounds.
Each house is assigned 3 house captains (yours truely was one) that oversee the planning of the work to be done on the house, the interaction with the residents, coordination of the professional workers, purchasing and collecting the materials, driving 16-24 ft. trucks and organizing volunteers.

On build day, 165 Darden students and 100 contractors charge the houses and do their thing.

It's a reall challenge, but we've had some amazing accomplishments on build day. We have given back to the community that is hosting us for these two years and there is nothing that can compare to the feeling we got seeing the expression of our home's residents come back to their new home.

I have had the opportunity to work with great people this build day - the contractors and my classmates who did the most amazing job and accomplished incredible things.

TV news coverage:

Last year GMAC visited us during Build Day:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

U2 Brutus

I love college towns. I wanted to do my MBA in a college town and Charlottesville is possibly the finest of them. Ranked as the best place to live in the US in 2004, C-Ville has a population fourty something thousand people or 120,000 with the surrounding Albemarle county. C-Ville offers historical sites attractions such as Monticello and some of the university buildings that are declared as world heritage sites, Shenandoah National Park,  the Downtown Mall as well as 3 movie theaters, a crazy ratio of restaurants per capita and lots of places to go out to.

Above all that, C'Ville has some festivals and a lot of artists and bands, that come to perform here. This time it's U2. 

Tomorrow, students would be able to buy tickets before it opens up to the general public. There are two issues:
1. these tickets would run out fast and 
2. we have class when the e-box office opens
3. each student can buy only 4 tickets

Therefore, a special forces squad composed of brave volunteers who will not be in class at the time and to whom I will be forever thankful, will buy the tickets.

I've never been to a U2 concert before, and I'm really excited about it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Darden Cares 5K

Satruday morning. Woke up, got out of bed. Dressed up business attire... and running shoes.
Yes. Today was the Darden Cares 5K run for the UVa Children's hospital.
Everybody wins. The hospital gets our donations, we burn some calories and get an excuse not to go to the gym for a few days, we all have some fun and last, but not least, we get more points for the Darden cup.

My section (Section D!) won first place in both male and female categories (leftmost and rightmost in the photo below that would be remembered in generations to come).
There was a best dressed competition as well as the craziest dressed competition starring wonder woMAN and a runner (from my section) wearing a speedo, a bow tie and cuffs.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Staying Current

As we try to stay up-float while our leaders stabilize the global economy, a huge magnifier glass is pointed at Top B-Schools as can be seen in this NY times piece or this CNN one. The current crisis has been going on for some time and that has given us the time to take a breath and examine what we did wrong. Failed leadership is a theme that keeps coming up. Who can we blame for this? The business schools, of course as can be read from a FoxNews article pointing out the schools that wrecked the economy.

Everybody wants to see that b-schools make sure this situation would never happen again. A story I've heard from a professor at Darden tells of a company that came to visit Darden while they were considering their recruitment options. Once they saw the UVa honor code we have in every classroom, their mind was made up. Incidently, this was shortly after the corporate scandals in the begining of the century, although Darden's emphasis on ethics was established long before that.

I will be taking my first ethics class this week, so I'll be able to share a more personal view within a few weeks.

But Darden is definitely keeping up to date with updates to the program. I started a new course today: "Marketing Inteligence". The professor shared with us the updates to the curriculum, some of which, include some legal studies so that when we come up with creative ideas later in our jobs, we won't get "too creative".

It doesn't end there; We have had a number of "green" draft cases this year examining the current crisis from various perspectives. We have been asked to put ourselves in the various situations and decide what we would do instead of Bernanke or this company CEO or that new graduate consulting to one company or another.

We've also had speakers and panels talking about the current crisis and we've learned a lot from the wisdom of others.

Is this enough? Can the schools do more?
The NYTimes piece mentioned earlier mentions a study that claims that 56% of MBA students cheat. What can a B-School really do to change the values of a 28 year old that believes it is ok for her to cheat?

B-Schools provide a 1-2 year training program, equiping us with a kit of tools and experiences to help us make good judgements at jobs. The rest is on us.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin

The Darden learning experience is about learning real and relevant business cases through a class discussion, but it's also about taking the integrative business approach, constantly reminding one to look at the bigger picture.

And it really works.

I'm not sure if the professors have gotten better or if we did, but the discussions are just better.
Maybe it's the fact that people are now more concerned about finding a summer internship or perhaps people figured out that grades don't matter; at least not as much as they thought they did. There are almost no people, who are talking just for the sake of talking, thinking that it would increase their participation grade. And this makes for a focused, flowing class discussion.

I've had a few classes lately that had great discussions and the professor allowed the discussion to go in the wrong direction, but we've figured it out and corrected ourselves as happens a lot in the case method. Although it was an interesting discussion, we were seventy minutes into it and yet, no conclusion. I was starting to question what if at all have we learned during the class. We were summing up what information we've managed to discover using tools we've learned in this class and in the previous quarters and we've narrowed it all down to three courses of action the company can take. But which one will they take? 

In a real business situation you'll need to come up with a recommendation. And you'll need to present it in a manner your audience will understand, justify it and defend it just like we do in class every day.

In order to make this decision we had to tap in to material and experiences we've learned in a Strategy class. Then we knew what the company would have chosen to do. But we did not agree. Some people thought the company should take one direction and others thought it should take another. However all agreed about the company's goal. We combined what we've learned in parallel and previous courses without even noticing we did it, took a step back and fell into the CEO's seat (thank god he wasn't sitting there at the time) and then we understood. It all came together. In Hebrew we have a saying: "The token has dropped" - an expression from the 80's that refers to the public telephones we used to have that required special tokens to operate. When the call would go through, the token would drop.

In the end of the day, what matters is that when you come to a business situtation and when you'll have to make a decision, you'll have all the tools you've learned, you'll have all the different companies' experience from the different cases and you'll remember the discussions you've had, the wrong turns you took. 

Most importantly, you'll be able to take the CEO perspective and understand and integrate all the different divisions of the business and until you actually become a CEO, you'll be able to explain and defend your decision.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A day in a life

I recently have talked to prospectives who have not visited Darden. In my opinion, telling about it will never match up to a visit here, but I do realize that it doesn't always work out.
So if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video would be worth thirty thousand words. If you have not yet watched Bill Gray's (- a second year at Darden) Day at Darden, I encourage you to do so.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The best professors in the world - Sing it with me

Yesterday I found out that there are still a few gems in C'Ville I haven't had the pleasure of drinking in as the Dardenite TNDC crowd crammed up the Bel-Rio - Bar, live music and more important: food after 22:00! Having Fridays as reading days this Q makes TNDC much more attractive when examining the go no-go decision tree. The jewel in the crown last night was the faculty band (featuring students as well). 

Check out the link to see my strategy professor can do more than talk. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Congratulations to our first round admitted students. It was a tough year and you have made it. All the time and investment have finally paid off. You will soon be proud members of the class of 2011.
So, celebrate - you deserve it.

Here's a very helpful tip I got last year: Decide were you are going to live and apply for an appartment early. Remember - early bird gets the worm (or a jetblade sometimes but that's really rare).

For those of you who didn't get in - it's not over! There's always next year. Think what you are missing in your resume and how can you get that in during this year and show improvement for next year's application. Most important: do not despair. 

If you were waitlisted - the game's still on. Last year schools I was considering were still giving offers a few weeks before school started. People always drop their application and decide to go to another school or give up b-school or defer. 

 Here are some suggestions I gave a prospective student who got on the waitlist:

  1. Get another (exceptional) recommendation and send it to your account manager.
  2. Start thinking about what you've done since you applied and find an accomplishment. Make an essay out of it and send it.
  3. Look for something in your past that had not come up in the essays and write another "optional essay"
  4. If you haven't been here - schedule a visit - this would show interest and dedication as well as help you make a better case about why you are interested in Darden and why you are fit for Darden.
* I am not an official representative of the school and these recommendations are only my personal opinion and you should use your own judgement before using them. They are not to be used if you are pregnant or in a high risk group and are not to be taken more than two every four hours.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Knee Deep

We have received the news of a possible day off last night due to extreme weather conditions with mixed feelings (Joy for the day off and fear that the university may claim Friday as a school day).  Warnings of procedures in case of heavy snow and ice were sent all around. We were excited about the possibility to finally see snow in Charlottesville, with the ice around the Jefferson fountain almost gone.


The white snow wanabee we saw this morning was really disappointing on so many levels. I admit, the road was a bit slippery to the point that I had actually considered holding the hand rail going down the stairs. I didn’t dare get my hands out of my pockets, since my gloves were in my backpack and was too lazy to take them out.


It was a school day alright. The Charlottesville community, however, decided that actions must be taken to protect itself from this white stuff (again, calling it snow would be like calling the UVa lawn a big sand dune). When I got to school, I was looking for chalk marking on the stairs due to the yellow tape surrounding the front stairs of Saunders hall, but they must have been washed off by the rain.


We couldn’t deposit our loan check (we’re rich again) since our bank decided to close early “because of the weather”. Lives were saved today as learning teams cancelled their meetings and avoided the slippery roads. Oh and I almost forgot about Interviews being cancelled.


So much excitement! With global warming, I just hope we’ll be prepared that well for the hot summer days.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Interview Season

It’s interview season at Darden. Some of my Darden friends already got offers yesterday from banks. Some even got several offers.

Some are invited to second rounds. Some were not. Some are still waiting for their interviews.

At the same time, others don’t even have interviews yet. There are a lot of success stories and a lot of stressful ones. We are happy for the ones who begin their semester knowing the summer is secure and potentially even the full time, and we sympathize with the ones who are less fortunate.

These are rough times and the tension is high and it is now that one can really see the supportive atmosphere here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The day the earth stood still

And then one day it all stopped. There were no more cases, no more briefings, no more classes.

There were no more commitments. Or were there?

It’s weird, not having 20 things you have to do in every moment and I felts I was missing a purpose. I started going to the gym again, which is great. When you’re done with a day of classes, completely starved and you have to go to a briefing or a club meeting and there’s free pizza there, well… you eat pizza. I’m a fan of the papa like anyone else, but after two quarters, it begins to show. So burning 700 calories a day was a blessed addition to my life. I finally got to use my TV and my media center got the attention it was acing for. I found myself browsing eBay bidding for used PS3s (if you’re gonna buy a blue ray player, might as well add a few bucks and get a console as well, right?).

I visited my brother in NYC for a few days and got to watch the city turning white, eat in different restaurants every day (including the one he’s a chef of – Macondo – highly recommended) and went to see a good DJ in Cielo.


It took me about a week to understand that this break isn’t really a vacation. In fact it’s a fake break. I then switched to the cover letter writing, interview preparing and networking mode. I found myself working until 3am, going to sleep red eyed.


Nonetheless, it still was an easier time and I’m trying not to get to used to it and mellow up before classes start next week.


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