Exhaustion and Excitement: HBS Admit Weekend in Review

So much has happened over the last few days that I'll have to try extra hard to keep my thoughts in some sort of logical, cohesive order. Right now my mind is spinning, and although many of my anxieties about HBS have cooled, it's still overwhelming with all that must get done before I leave Florida in August!

Although I arrived in Boston Thursday night, the grand festivities began bright and early Friday morning with a 7 o'clock breakfast reception in Spangler Hall, a sort of Student Union if you will. One of the first things I noticed about the campus was the charm that all of the buildings possessed. Despite the campus being 100 years old, everything felt untouched -- the interiors still retained the decor of old, yet everything was clean, new and inviting. Spangler even had several working fireplaces, which to a Florida girl is quite exciting! Following the breakfast was a quick session of opening remarks, followed by a 90-minute class visit (I visited a first-year course called Strategy), a faculty panel session, lunch, a career development session and then a team building activity, which was supposed to involve a scavenger hunt around the campus. I'm not sure if it was the prospect of spending two hours searching for random paintings of boots (yes, this was one of the steps) or the indismissable allure of a cold beer after a long day, but my group collectively decided to blow off the scavenger hunt for another form of team building: a round at the pub. My group was fun: two Chicago consultants, an opera singer in arts management with the Met, a Brit, a former media analyst with NBC Universal and me. The diversity not only within our group, but within the admits as a whole, was perhaps the most extraordinary thing. We were all so different, but each of us truly had an interesting background and somehow a common bond that made impromptu chats about any subject feasible.

After our scavenger hunt, I headed back to the hotel for a much-needed break, which ended much too quickly, and before I knew it, my roommate at the Hyatt (Ami) and I were heading back to campus for what turned out to be a beautiful dinner hosted by current students who were strategically placed at each table to answer any of our questions. The evening concluded with a rousing party at Tommy Doyle's (an Irish pub) and/or Redline (a swanky martini bar) where I was extraordinarily happy to meet up with Lauren (one of my best friends from high school) for some bar time and tea time before calling it a night.

Saturday we began again with a continental breakfast, but it coincided with a resource fair where you could ask questions about the health care program, on- and off-campus housing, career coaching and several of the industry-specific initiatives that the school has launched. This followed with a financial aid presentation (where I think everyone's mouths dropped when they mentioned the $96,500 loan package that students take out over the two years), lunch and then a housing tour. During the housing tour, our guide took us to "one fancy, one crappy" dorm (those were his exact words) and both of the on-campus apartments. While the apartments were gorgeous (a few students commented that this was "grown-up living,") they all come unfurnished and I think it would be more hassle than it's worth to ship furniture that far, only to move it 9 months later. The dorms were actually much more modern that I anticipated -- while only slighter older at 150 years, the UF dorms were literally rodent haven, but here everything was clean, bright and welcoming. The "fancy" dorm was gorgeous -- it was gutted and refurbished a few years back and the rooms were big with full-size beds, lots of light and plenty of living space. The "crappy" dorm on the other hand was literally a box. If you've ever gone on a cruise, think of the size of your stateroom and cut it in half and you've got the size of a "standard" room at Chase Hall. Literally, you walk in, take two steps forward and are in a tiny square with a bed to your right and a desk to your left and no more than a foot in between each. At least it comes with a private bathroom!

After the housing tour, it was a quick round of closing remarks before I headed back to the hotel, picked up my bags and shared a cab ride over to the airport, where I waited 3.5 hours before my delayed flight decided to leave. Overall, the weekend was an amazing learning experience and a great way to get to know my classmates before the fall. I was actually surprised at how many people still hadn't made their decision -- most were choosing between Standard, Wharton and Harvard, which I guess is a tough choice. I did meet a few people that I can definitely see myself forming friendships with, including one who went to college with someone I went to high school with!

I was definitely really proud of myself for pushing my boundaries and being as friendly as I was throughout the weekend. Although not all of my conversations progressed past the standard three questions that we answered 100 times throughout the weekend ("Where are you from? What do you do? What do you want to do after graduation?"), I introduced myself to everyone who would shake my hand, and smiled at even those that whizzed past me in the hall. I definitely look forward to seeing these people again in August to begin this "transformational experience" that all the current students praise. T-minus 5 months and counting!

3 Responses to "Exhaustion and Excitement: HBS Admit Weekend in Review"

妃莉子 responded on March 3, 2008 at 12:35 AM #

Yay, I'm glad you had a great time! I feel so jealous of you...but I am proud of you =)

~Helene

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