Week 2 in Review

I find it fascinating that although I've been in Boston less than a month, I already feel equipped to tell people how to get around Cambridge, where to eat in Harvard Square and how to get to some of Boston's coolest weekend sites. Who knew someone could become accustomed so quickly?

As I'm sure you can imagine, the Analytics program has ended and we're all gearing up to start regular classes on Tuesday (although they ease us in and we don't have a full 3 case day until Friday). Overall, I'm so incredibly happy that I came to Analytics because I feel completely comfortable with the campus, have some great friends and feel way more prepared to tackle classes and the case method. It was most definitely a tough two weeks (and by no means do I think I'm now an expert in finance, accounting or statistics), but I feel like I'm ahead of the game diving into the RC curriculum.
Socially, it's also been a really great experience. I've eaten so many dinners out and have had way too much wine for my own good (and for my budget!). Last weekend a group of us went to a bowling alley/billiard's hall and stayed out playing until 1:30 a.m. I have to say it was the best night I've had in Boston yet. And there's still so much to see! A few days ago a group of us walked the Freedom Trail (see picture above -- and saw such historic sites as the Old State House, Paul Revere's gravesite and the location of the Boston Massacre) and we're already formulating plans to go whale watching, do a duck tour (a land and water tour of the city) and go to Plimouth Plantation and Cape Cod. I can already tell it's going to be a busy, busy semester.

This weekend I scooted over to New York City to escape the "HBS Bubble" for a while and visit with my many friends who live there. I saw Legally Blonde: The Musical with my friend Tausha on Friday night and on Saturday we visited The Met and Central Park (I fell in love with the magnificence of the art at The Met...seriously, this could be one of my favorite places ever). We also met up with a group for cupcakes at Buttercup Bakery and had some delicious food at Max Brenner (known for their delectable dessert concoctions). Despite some major delays in the buses I took in and out of the city, I had a fabulous time and was so glad I had the chance to catch up with friends that I don't get to see very often.

Tomorrow (Labor Day) is an errands and laundry day (boring but so necessary since everything goes into high gear tomorrow night). Oh! And I'm officially moved into my beautiful, fabulous, spacious, amazing permanent dorm room in McCulloch Hall (can you tell I'm happy here?), but pictures of that are still to come because it's taking longer to settle in and decorate than I thought it would.

Also, just a note: I'm going to try to squeeze in some more short posts this week so I can go into more detail about the fun events I'm attending and the awesome people I'm meeting. When I can only post every couple of weeks I wind up leaving out so much of the detail that I will want to remember looking back on this experience two years from now. See you later!


Time. It's something that seems to come in short supply these days. Time to blog, time to read, time to sleep, time to relax...they've all been reduced since beginning this adventure that we call Analytics. And I doubt things will improve once the RC (i.e. required curriculum, aka regular term) begins in a couple of weeks. If anything, adding club meetings, company presentations, sessions with career advisors and 3 additional classes will only further complicate the situation and force me to manage my time even better. On the bright side, despite losing myself in the so-called "HBS Bubble," I must admit that I'm really enjoying it here. The saying goes that if you're going to devote so much time to one particular thing that you better enjoy it, and the people you are doing it with. Suffice it to say I find myself enjoying both, despite my increased daily coffee intake and phone calls to my family reduced to five minute intervals in which I'm either walking to or from class, a study session, learning team meeting, etc.

So while I have some time (I have a group meeting from 3-9 p.m., which gives me exactly 20 minutes to write and publish this post before I'm accounted for, for the rest of the evening), I wanted to catch up on my blog writing (let me count this toward the one hour of personal time that we're encouraged to take each day). I previously promised some photos of my room and of the campus, and I remembered to take my camera with me yesterday so I snapped several shots to share:

View of my room from the door facing the window.

The bathroom is directly to the right and closet directly to the left (the width is so small that both doors cannot be open at the same time).

View of the slanted ceilings that I was so *lucky* to receive as a member of the fourth floor gang :)

View of my desk from on top of my bed (I'm not kidding, there was no other angle at which I could stand and get the entire desk in the shot)

This was perhaps the most interesting shot to get as I am crouched under the slanted ceilings attempting to get a shot facing the door (to give you a sense of the width of the entrance way). I hit my head several times, all in the name of interesting blogging.

Now every time you read an entry, you can picture me typing away at my little pink laptop in my storage closet of a dorm room - or at least you can until August 27th when I move to my permanent room (which is twice as large, yippee!).

I have some additional pictures and stories to share, but it's time for me to head out to my group meeting, so hopefully I wil have a few minutes later this week to update some more. Tomorrow is a 3-case day (which means tonight we have to work a case for our accounting, finance and quantitative methods courses) and we are expected to spend 2 hours on each (which takes us to 9 p.m.), after which we meet with our learning teams for 2 hours to discuss what we've found and prepare for class discussion the following day. I know this whole process may seem really confusing, so if you're interested in something I mention and want to know more, feel free to post your query in the comments section and I'll address it in my next post.

I Survived My First Day as a Harvard MBA (rhyme unintended)

It's 11 p.m. and I just got back from my learning team meeting where we discussed our first two cases (one in accounting, one in QM aka statistics). Although I want to try to get to sleep shortly (since the excitement continues tomorrow with our first actual classes), I wanted to get a quick update in since so many things have happened in the last couple of days.

Most importantly, I've been so pleasently surprised so far at the friendliness of the students. It doesn't seem like anyone has come in with a clique or large group of friends so each individual seems really eager to get to know one another. And, as I expected, everyone has an interesting story to tell. Adding to my growing list of extraordinary people: a girl who majored in nueroscience for undergrad and now wants to pursue marketing, a female airforce pilot, people from Lebanon, India, Spain, Germany, Latvia and Russia -- and many more, the list could go on forever. And to think there are only 200 of the 900 students in our class here right now!

I'm also already seeing the advantages to the Analytics program, both socially and academically. I definitely think I will feel more comfortable with the case method by the time the real school year starts, and I'll have enough friends and familiar faces to eliminate the awkwardness that always haunts the first few days of class. Plus, I should have the lay of the land here in Boston by then, although I already seem to have a good handle on the T system (now I just have to tackle getting used to all the walking, which is currently exhausting me by the end of the day).

On the social front, I joined about 19 other students two nights ago for dinner in Harvard Square followed by a get together at a local restaurant/bar called Daedalus. I think the next few nights will be devoted mostly to studying and sleeping, but this Saturday they are setting up small group dinners and there is an Analytics social Friday after classes end. Sunday night they have an Analytics BBQ on the Spangler Lawn (aka the student union), which also should be a good way to meet anyone I haven't yet introduced myself to.

I still have yet to take pictures of the campus and/or this storage closet that I currently call home, but I promise to do so soon so you can all get a better idea of where I am. More in the coming days!

I'm here!

Well, everyone, I have safely arrived in Boston and have checked into my temporary room in Chase Hall -- a process that was surprisingly less stressful than I imagined (thank goodness!). The room is small, and by small I mean it is not much larger than the average walk-in closet. I'll take some pictures and post them later since right now I'm actually getting ready to fly the coop and visit Northeastern University with Aynsley, who kindly helped me move in this morning. Later tonight there is a group dinner and drinks get together at a bar called Daedalus -- hopefully a good way to meet some people before we jump into the Analytics program on Wednesday. Hopefully I can find some time to brush up on my finance before then! More later...

Counting down the days

It's only a few days until I leave for Boston and my emotions are running wild. I honestly don't think I've ever been this terrified in my life, and although I know that's silly, I can't seem to move my thoughts away from my fear about this experience. It's so ironic seeing that at this time last year I was only dreaming about being lucky enough to join the Class of 2010 and now that I'm here my feelings are begging me to stay where things are comfortable and routine (which I know is neither what I will do, nor what is best for my future). Just today on the bulletin boards a fellow student posted a link to a book written by a recent HBS graduate about his experience with the MBA program. I'm trying to convince myself this author was just jaded, seeing as every student I've talked to has had a positive experience for the most part, but his harsh critiques got to me nonetheless. He talks of a "frat boy" attitude with "stress-fueled partying," extremely cocky and competitive classmates, and hopelessly challenging quantitative lessons -- all things I want to avoid. I just keep praying that this won't be a repeat of UF: an uncomfortable, lonely environment where I felt different and unwanted. Since dwelling on this is obviously not making things any better, I'm going to get back to packing and trying to focus on the positive things in hopes that when I arrive in Boston on Sunday, everything will turn out to be the opposite of my fears.