Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A recap of a year at HBS

Oops, sorry. I really meant to update this blog months ago. Somehow, life got in the way. I'm now preparing for my second year (known as EC year) at HBS. A few followers have recently contacted me asking about my b-school experience, so over the next few days/ weeks, I'll be posting various updates, musings, or learnings.

Random musing #1. The section experience is awesome. 
During your first year, all of your classes are taken with the same group of 90 peers. You sit in the same assigned seat everyday, and the professors rotate (yes, it's kind of like elementary school). One of my concerns in choosing HBS was its massive size. Would I feel lost in the crowd? How could I form meaningful relationships when there are 900 people per year? The section experience takes care of these issues, and the program begins to feel much smaller. Its a unique mix of the resources of a large program, combined with the intimacy of a smaller program.

#2 The case method works
Before HBS, I took Financial Accounting and Microecon courses at a local university. Not coming from a traditional business background, I wanted to have some insight into these basic principles. Within a few months of finishing those courses, I remembered very little (virtually none) of the details. At HBS, I took courses in a variety of fields. While I don't remember every nuance, I frequently find myself referencing cases. If I say "Apple and Einhorn," "cranberries," "Tesla," or "Martha Stewart," I bet that 90% of my peers would know what I'm talking about. Cases provide a real-life story to put key learnings in context.

#3 Second years are unicorns
Second year students are on completely different schedules than first years, meaning there is very limited interaction. And when I did see them, they always seemed significantly less stressed and with more free time. Especially at the beginning of my first year, they were like unicorns, a bit rare and mythical. I interacted with them a bit through clubs and social activities, but for the most part, first year students tend to stay within their sections. I'm curious to see what life will be like for me this coming year.

I'll post other thoughts in additional posts later. In the meantime, feel free to leave any comments below if you'd like me to discuss a particular area.

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