The Wonders of a Shopping Mall and other Ramblings

It's amazing the things you take for granted living in a suburb: driving your car wherever you want to go, parking said car in a free lot, and spending days at a full-fledged shopping mall. Today I spent five glorious hours doing the latter: shopping at the CambridgeSide Galleria Mall. Bells rang when I walked through the glass doors and saw three floors of nothing but clothing, shoes and accessories stores. It was truly a beautiful thing. Needless to say I now have an ample fall/winter wardrobe complete with close-toed shoes for both walking and going out, knee-high socks, wool and knit dresses, thin shirts for layering, a trenchcoat, cute hats and more (thank you financial aid!). I will likely still have to supplement as the weather gets colder, but for now I'm set!

Next week at HBS is a busy one. I've got the Club Fair on Tuesday (and I already want to join 8 clubs, which is a bad, bad thing considering how packed my schedule is now) and registration with Career Services (meaning I'll finally have access to the 65,000 person alumni database so the networking can begin)! Socially, I'm going out for dinner/drinks with my new learning team on Wednesday night and I'm putting together a Grey's Anatomy premiere viewing potluck/party with some of the ladies from my section for Thursday night. A fun week to look forward to, for sure!

And now I shall leave you with a few pictures from this week...enjoy!

My new learning team: Phil, Reji, Qiao, Me, Craig and Aneal

Some Section G'ers at Vinalia for the RC/EC Mixer: Monica, Vesso, Ashlyn and Me!

The Section G Ladies at our first Wine & Cheese Party

First sickness of the season and other events of the week

The inevitable finally happened about a week ago: I got my very first cold of the season. I knew it was coming since my sleep, eating and working patterns had all changed very drastically in a very short period of time, not to mention the fact that everyone around me started coming down with something, therefore it was only a matter of time before my decreased immune system picked up the bug.
Hence, for the last week I've been feeling pretty darn crappy. It started as a throat ache, swollen glands, swallowing knives illness, progressed into a stuffy nose, I-can't-breathe-at-all, burning eyes, low-grade fever illness and finally a phlegm in the chest, deep cough, complete and total laryngitis illness. And that last stage, folks, is where I'm presently at. Yesterday morning I woke up with one of those sexy phone operator raspy voices, which slowly faded throughout the day so that by the evening my vocal cords were completely and utterly worn out. But who says you can't be social without a voice?
Yesterday was the Women's Student Association's first event - one of Boston's famous duck tours for the RC women. The "duck" is a World War II-style amphibious vehicle that can both be driven on land and propelled in water. The tour takes you around many of the famous and/or interesting sites near downtown Boston including the Boston Public Library, the tallest building in the city, historical sites from the Freedom Trail, John Kerry's apartment, the Boston Public Gardens and more.

The best part is definitely the excursion around the Charles River, though! The water part of our tour took place close to sunset so the views were incredible. It's not often that your tour operator drives your truck into a river and takes you on a 15-minute boat cruise!

After the Duck Tour, I changed and got ready for the last event of HBS' Orientation Weeks: Casino Night. I have to say I was expecting more from the event considering it came with a semi-formal dress code, but really all it was was blackjack, roulette and poker tables with some cheese and crackers for snacks. They could have done a lot more with the event as far as decor and theming goes, but it was still fun.

My analytics learning team members at Casino Night: Me, David, Jesus, Jesus' wife Barbara and Sonia

Since I still had no voice, I walked around all night with a pad and pen in my hand writing notes to people when I wanted to join in on the conversation. A bit of a buzzkill if you ask me, and something I'm certain I'll be made fun of for a while, but hey it worked!

This afternoon I'm taking it easy, trying to relax while I do my cases so that my system can recover and give me my voice back (you don't know how hard it is to get things done without being able to talk!). This evening I'm supposed to join 5 of my section-mates for Mexican food, so I'm crossing my fingers that I can talk by then!

Boston Harbor Boat Cruise, Sleep Deprivation, Snapple and Benihana

First things first: Last night the first year students went on a boat cruise around Boston Harbor, which was beautiful and lots of fun. The sunsets were gorgeous (see evidence below!) and the cool night air was so refreshing.

Unfortunately, balancing social activites, school work and other daily tasks is becoming more and more of a challenge, and we've just begun! Already my throat is scratchy and I feel a cold coming on, which leads me to my second topic: sleep deprivation. Seriously guys, I got way spoiled in the six months before I moved here and never really slept less than 8.5 hours. Now, a good night is 7 and a normal night is 6.5. You won't think a difference of an hour or two would make such a mark on my day -- thankfully I don't feel it as much with my morning coffee -- but I think my body is sending me signals that it's getting worn down. My allergies have been acting up in a big way, and now I'm getting that swollen glands, phlegmy throat, overall icky feeling that always precedes the first cold of the season. Just what I need!
Before I dive into my cases for tomorrow, let me just say that I have new appreciation for Snapple and Benihana. These are just two of the companies that we've studied in our first few days of class. It's amazing the things you can learn about a company from 80 minutes of class discussion, but I now have a firm grasp on Hibachi operations and branding of juice/tea -- so much so that I grabbed a bottle of Snapple Diet Raspberry Ice Tea after our marketing class to show my loyalty (and I want to plan a trip to the closest Benihana). Tomorrow we're studying contact lenses for chickens, which somehow doesn't sound nearly as compelling.
...and I'm off, more soon!

My Dorm Room

I don't have time to post much, but here are the long awaited pictures of my dorm room! It is still an on-going project (i.e. still pictures to hang, things to organize, etc.), but you can get a feel for how it looks now. :)

HBS Documentary on CNBC this winter!

For nine of the ten HBS RC sections, today's schedule was the same: meeting your sectionmates, having your first case discussion and learning about your professors for the semester. But Section G (my section) had another little surprise: CNBC is doing a documentary on Harvard Business School and has chosen my section to film! Even more exciting is that they are featuring two pre-selected students and following their journeys...and I sit next to them both, which means chances are good that a sliver of me will make it into the documentary! Having come from a journalism background, this is especially thrilling -- plus I always love watching those documentaries and investigative stories, so I can't wait to see how they position the school. The anchors and producers that talked to my section said the documentary is scheduled to air this December, but that a firm date has not yet been set. When they do pick a date, I'll be sure to pass it on so you can look for my profile in one of the classroom shots and get an outsider's view of my adventures over the first semester!

New Learning Teams, Sections and more!

Today was the official start of the MBA program, and in many ways it felt like a reunion with old friends. Even though our break between Analytics and now was only 5 days, I think there was a lot of excitement about reuniting for the RC, especially with more than 600 new students roaming around the campus looking confused. We also got our section assignments for the full term this evening: I'm in Section G (for Gabby!) and some of my closest friends from Analytics are in the same section, which is awesome (they say you build the deepest bonds with those in your section since you spend so much time together). I'm also seated in what they call the skydeck -- it's basically the top row of the stadium-style seating in the classroom, but it comes with a special honor. It's an HBS tradition to do weekly "Skydeck Awards" presented by the students that sit in this row. Essentially it's a humorous roast of the other students in the section -- poking fun at comments made, or my favorite, giving out the "Statue of Liberty" award to the student whose hand was in the air for the entire week of sessions.

Finally, today I met my learning team, and while I do desperately miss my Analytics group, I think a good dynamic will build with this new group as well. In addition to myself, there's another Floridian who worked in real estate, a Chinese woman who worked in Investment Banking, someone from the army who was recently deployed in Iraq, a consultant from London and a man who did Private Equity. I'm definitely excited to get to know them all better over the next few months.

And with that I'm off -- I finally got some shelving installed in my room today so I've got a ton of cleaning and organizing to do before bed. I should have pics of my dorm in the next few days so stay tuned!