Graduation Week: Thursday

Ok, so obviously it is not actually the Thursday of graduation week. And obviously I overestimated the amount of time that I would have to spend blogging during my actual graduation week. Nonetheless, I didn't want to move on from Harvard Bound without spending some time reflecting on THE big day, so here is my commencement festivities recap!

The morning began bright and early -- we had to meet our sections in full regalia at 6:30am. Naturally, I arrived on time only to find out that we weren't actually leaving the business school for our "procession" to Harvard Yard for about another hour, so we spent most of that time taking photos, which is always fun. Thankfully, we had really awesome weather -- overcast and cold! I know this sounds SO counterintuitive, but since all of the commencement activities were outdoors without cover, it was to our benefit to have cool weather.

After we finally started walking across the river, we wound up standing outside of Harvard Yard for another hour before they let us sit down. Truth be told, it wasn't the most well-organized, but I guess when you're trying to cater to 30,000 people there isn't much that can be done in the logistics realm. Nonetheless, the Harvard University ceremony was nice, although I still don't totally understand why they insist on a Latin address at the beginning (tradition, tradition) and nearly an hour introducing 15 honorary doctorates (I think they spent more time reading off the biographies of those folks than they did in conferring degrees to ALL of the Harvard University schools!). The best part? None other than MERYL STREEP was there! Unfortunately, no, she wasn't our keynote speaker -- there wasn't actually a keynote speaking at all -- she was there to receive an honorary doctorate for her involvement in the arts community. She didn't get to address the crowd or anything, which I think disappointed us all (what, no photo op?), so it makes me wonder if they really just gave her that doctorate so that they could say they honored a celebrity during graduation.

After the university exercises concluded, we rushed back to the business school for a quick luncheon before our afternoon ceremony on Baker Lawn (in front of the library). This ceremony had more significance because it was just for the business school and it was when we officially walked across the stage to receive our diplomas. To be honest, I don't even really remember walking across the stage because it happened so quickly, and I was mostly focusing on not tripping and simultaneously smiling for the photographer who I knew was there snapping my portrait. Once again, they managed to pronounce my first name incorrectly, but at this point, I'm so used to it that it didn't matter all that much. :)

The whole thing lasted two hours and that was it! One minute I was a student, the next an alumna clutching a beautiful Harvard University Master of Business Administration diploma.

I know I've said this countless times before, but I still cannot believe how fast my two years at HBS went. Looking back, I know I will always remember this experience fondly and will be proud to one day support the program financially. I wish the upcoming classes, and my classmates, all the best of luck moving forward. It's sad that we will no longer see one another everyday, and that our complaints about case work will soon transition to just complaints about work. All of this fighting for a job? Soon we'll be wishing we were back in the carefree bubble of a student. I know I already want to go back and do it all over again, but we have to keep moving forward, despite our nostalgic longings, and embrace the future. As for me, I still don't know exactly what that future holds, and I'm trying desperately to convince myself that this is EXCITING, not horrifying. I haven't succeeded at that last bit just yet.

To be honest, I think this might be the end of the journey for Harvard Bound. Believe it or not, this is my 99th entry, which balances out to just about one entry per week during my HBS adventure. Not bad, if I do say so myself, and in years to come I know I'll look back and be thankful that I chronicled my journey, despite the fact that my ramblings made it into skydecks more than once. Fear not! This does not mean I am disappearing from the blog-o-sphere for good (how could I when I love writing so much!). I have already begun a new blog, albeit this new one is purely for fun and is a stark contrast from what some might consider the stuffiness of a Harvard MBA blog. My new blog, which I invite you to visit if you so choose, focuses on a personal passion of mine: entertainment, beauty and style. The address is If you choose to take a peek, let me know that you came over from Harvard Bound.

Thanks again to all of you for sticking with me through the last two years and for providing endless support. See you soon!

Graduation Week: Monday

The festivities have officially begun! My family doesn't get into town until Wednesday, but in the meanwhile, everyone around me has started counting down the days. It's a bit hard to feel too excited right now because my future is so unknown, but I am definitely proud of my accomplishments and in making it to graduation (if you recall, I was very seriously concerned about failing out during my first semester). Naturally, it's a very nostalgic time, so I thought I would take a few moments this week to reflect on my HBS experiences and dig up some memories from each semester. I'm going to try to tackle a semester a day, although I may have to skip Thursday due to commencement/family. These will also likely serve as my last few entries to this blog. Since I started it with the sole purpose of chronicling my HBS adventures, it seems fitting to end it when my time at HBS is also coming to a close. Now, I certainly won't be deleting the blog altogether, so hopefully Harvard Bound can live on and provide inspiration to future HBS students. I'm also toying around with the idea of creating a new blog (likely something less personal since I don't want to publicly disclose exactly where I'm living and working), so I will let you all know once I've made up my mind about that. :)

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite memories from Term 1:

- Analytics: Two years later, I still remember my two-week stint in Analytics as my favorite two weeks of my HBS experience. There was something so magical about that time -- I still insist that it's because all of the "non-traditional" aka interesting students are there, so you've got a whole range of people who can converse about topics more broad than the financial markets or hotel rewards programs (no offense to the i-bankers and consultants out there...if nothing else, you made, and will continue to make, a heck of a lot more money than me!). The academic experience was intense, but everyone was so friendly, so we all bonded as we suffered through the late nights and first finance cases as a group. Even today, two of my closest friends -- Esha and Jun -- were my sectionmates in Analytics (and luckily, my sectionmates in Section G as well!). I will miss you both! Also a shout out to my Analytics learning team who will always have a special place in my heart!

- Bonding with my full-term Learning Team (#18!): We've somewhat lost touch this year since we're no longer meeting every morning, but boy oh boy did we manage to have some fun first semester. Whether we were laughing over our Subarctic Simulation results, Qiao and "Panda Porn," or Aneal and "Sleeper Cell," we always managed to add some fun into our 7am meetings. And even outside of the classroom we became good friends, meeting for dinner and drinks on several occasions. I learned SO very much from these people and hope that I was able to teach them a thing or two as well -- if nothing else, I hope I helped them learn tolerance when helping non-financiers build models. ;)

-My first "fall" and "winter": Seriously folks, people take seasons for granted! Growing up in Florida, it's always been year-round summer, and while some might think that's the ideal, I can tell you that it gets really old, really fast (or at least it does after 20 years of it!). Thus, my first fall and winter in Boston represented such beauty to me. Watching the leaves change and the first drops of snow hit the ground, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I remember one winter afternoon reaching out and touching the snow that covered the bushes when no one was looking so I could see what it felt like. Sadly, I never did get a chance to build a snowman or make a snow angel!

- Exploring Boston: The Duck Tour was a hoot, Boston Common is a beautiful place for an afternoon stroll, the Freedom Trail gives this city such depth and Newbury Street is a not-to-be-missed destination for any (aspiring) fashionista. Although I definitely am leaving without experiencing all that Boston has to offer (I never did make it to the science museum, a Red Sox game or to Cape Cod), I feel that, especially first semester, I got a good dose of what this city has to offer. Other favorites: dinner and drinks at Top of the Hub at the Prudential Center, going to see Coldplay in concert at the TD Bank North Garden, visiting the Boston Aquarium with Tausha and Lauren, cruising around Boston Harbor during orientation week...

- Getting my Term 1 grades! An odd memory for a "favorite," but I just have to pay homage to this fateful day in December (or was it January?) when I saw that I had successfully made it through my first semester. That day was a clear turning point in my HBS career as it marked the moment I was able to let go of a TON of my stress and really enjoy the rest of my RC year.

All right, I'm all tapped of creative juices for now. More memories soon!


Seeing as I have been gone from the blogosphere for several weeks now, I thought it was high time that I write an entry explaining my absence. Firstly, exams, papers and group projects took up a ton of my time during the last two weeks of April. I am so happy that everything is done and turned in -- I believe that I'll get my final set of grades next week. While I already feel a sort of sadness/nostalgia knowing that I'll never again read an HBS case and sit down to discuss it in Aldrich, I feel proud to have completed two years of intense education here. In a lot of ways, I'm ready for a break. I will look forward to coming home from work at the end of the day and not having to worry about a case analysis due the following morning. :)

On the 30th of April, I went in for surgery. I don't want to go into too much detail, since it's pretty personal, but I can tell you that everything went well, despite recovering in the hospital for about a week. My mom has been up in Boston with me since the surgery, and I am so thankful for her assistance and support. Also, the HBS Community has really come out in full force to help my mom and I in any and every way that we need it. I am so impressed by how thoughtful and gracious everyone has been.

As of two days ago, I am re-settled on the HBS campus and getting ready for graduation, which is in about 3 weeks. Then on May 29th, I've got a flight scheduled to Florida and who knows how long I'll be there living in my mom's living room on an air mattress. Eek!

Since I'm still in recovery from my surgery, I won't be doing anything too exciting over the next couple weeks, other than catching up with friends, reading some good books and continuing what is seemingly a never-ending job search. I probably won't be around blogging much, unless something exciting unexpectedly happens, although I will get back online the week of graduation so I can document all of our commencement activities (things happen over several days here and I will be taking lots of pictures to share!).

Until then, thanks for your patience and support! Also, if you're interested, Harvard Bound secured 5th place in the Clear Admit Best of Blogging Awards, yippee!

Harvard Bound Nominated for Clear Admit's Best of Blogging Award

I'm so excited to announce that Harvard Bound has been nominated in the 2009-2010 Clear Admit Best of Blogging contest. Thanks so much to the Clear Admit team for all of their support over the last year in promoting Harvard Bound, and now for the nomination! Unfortunately, only nominated bloggers and Clear Admit staffers are eligible to vote in the awards, but I certainly welcome anyone who wants to help cheer me on via the Comments section! :)
You can check out all of the nominated blogs (20 current students and 20 applicants) by visiting this link:

The winners will be announced on May 4th -- the top blogger receives either an iPod Touch or an Amazon gift certificate, and runners up are offered WSJ/Financial Times subscriptions!

Wish me luck (and good luck to the other nominees)!

A Modern Day Fairy Tale (thanks to my dad!)

This is the fairy tale that we should have been reading as little girls!

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat, contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.

The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said: Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and setup housekeeping in your castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so.

That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on lightly sauteed frog legs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled and thought to herself:
I don't fucking think so!

Exploring Massachusetts: Salem and Plymouth

As my time in Boston slowly edges to a close, I really wanted to take some time to explore all of the historical and/or touristy sites that this state has to offer. Despite living here for nearly two years, there's a ton that I haven't seen, either because time hasn't allowed, or because access to a motor vehicle has been scarce. This past weekend, though, my college friend and sorority sister Melissa came to town and since she is brave enough to drive in this crazy state, we rented a car for three days and spent some time in two of Massachusetts' most famous areas: Salem and Plymouth.

Our trip to Salem consisted of a visit to the Salem Witch Museum (apparently Salem's most visited museum), where they gave a 30-minute panorama-type retelling of the 1692 Witch Trials. Something like 19 innocent people were killed due mostly to false testimony and scapegoating -- one poor man was pressed to death.

We also spent a lot of time walking around the cute town where there are lots of witch-related and even normal shops. Of course, we both bought cute Salem t-shirts (mine says "Stop in For a Spell," so cute) and took lots of fun pictures, including this one memorializing Elizabeth Montgomery, an actress best known for her role as Samantha in Bewitched:

We also visited the earliest burial grounds in the town, although none of the convicted witches were buried here. There was a Pilgrim in this graveyard and the wife of one of the "witches." There was also a Witch Memorial with benches laid out for each of the people that were killed -- each bench had a name engraved with their death date and the way they were murdered. Lots of people laid flowers on top of the stones.

Also while in Salem, we ate lunch on the Pickering Wharf harbor and took photos in front of the Witch House, which is the oldest standing structure in Salem. Apparently it was once the home of the Judge that convicted the witches, and eerily enough, both Melissa and I had orbs/ghosts floating in our photos of the house (look near the sign on the right side)!

Our trip to Plymouth was also fun. We got to tour a replica of the Mayflower, which is docked at Plymouth Harbor and is actually still seaworthy. Man, it was a small ship for 100 people! I think we saw a total of like 6 "beds" on the whole ship, so I can't even imagine where they put everyone unless they were a whole lot shorter and thinner than people are today!

We also went and saw the actual rock, which truth be told, was just a rock with a big 1620 carved into it. I was even more disappointed when I found out that the rock wasn't even claimed as the landing place of the Pilgrims until 120 years later in 1741! I wonder then how anyone KNEW that this particular rock was THE rock considering all of the pilgrims would have been long dead by then...Is one of our country's historic sites thus a scam??

We also went and visited Plimoth Plantation, which was a site I had been wanting to see since arriving in Boston in the fall of 2008. Basically, there are several parts: A crafts center where modern-day artisans build clothes and household items that would have been used in the 17th century, a replica 1627 English village with role-players who try to convey what life was like for the Pilgrims when they first arrived and an Indian village where modern-day Native Americans wear traditional clothing and just talk with people about their culture.

The plantation itself was really cool as there were lots of farm animals roaming about and we got to watch "Pilgrims" baking bread, engaging in metalworking, farming and tending to the animals. It was also interesting again to note how small all of the quarters were!

Overall, it was a lot of fun taking a trip back in time over the weekend and I feel like I got to see a lot of the state while we took the scenic routes (aka got lost) several times! And here's a fun fact: apparently there are a million Dunkin' Donuts in Boston. We saw 15 of them on the 30-minute route from HBS to Salem....crazy!
'Til next time!

Ready or Not, Graduation Here I Come!

I'm ready...

  • To no longer share a bathroom: Fighting for the toilet at 7:30am when you first wake up and really have to pee is not fun, nor is dealing with someone else's MESS!
  • To have a kitchen again: Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, your prepared foods sections have treated me well for the last two years, but I'm really to make somre real food of my own once more (or at least try not to poison myself).
  • To have a bi-weekly, regular paycheck! 'Nuff said.
  • To be living with my two chihuahuas again. Bella and Bailey, you are a source of endless, unconditional love and I miss you like crazy!
  • To come home in the evenings and be able to veg in front of the television/computer without having cases to read for the next morning. I'm tired of watching Dancing With the Stars, Grey's Anatomy and Glee on my 16" computer screen.

I'm not ready...

  • To say goodbye to all of my wonderful international friends who will be jetting back to their home countries half-way (or farther) around the world. I will miss you all, and I hope that someday I am rich enough to come visit you all. Jun, I will start saving NOW so that I can come to your wedding in Japan!
  • To leave behind the wonderful resources that exist at HBS: My amazing professors who are a hotbed of the most cutting-edge research and knowledge; my fantastic career coach Jana (and all of her colleagues at MBA Career & Professional Development) who always have a pep talk ready; the beautiful Baker Library with its endless tools to help you expand your mind; and of course my brilliant classmates, who have taught me that I am NOWHERE near as smart as I thought I was...and I'm all the better now because I learned so much from you.
  • To forfeit my student discount at movie theatres, museums, art galleries, etc. (Why, oh why, Harvard University do you so clearly mark the expiration date on these things? Ok, I know it's for safety reasons, but I do love me some discounts.)
  • To have to squeeze myself into formal business clothes every morning. Sweats and my Converse sneakers make for a wonderfully comfy day.
  • For all my memories to fade. I find that, much as we try to hold on to every little detail, our minds must move on and sacrifice memories of old moments to make room for the new. This, in part, is why I chose to write a blog. Thankfully, many of my favorite times at HBS have been chronicled here, where they will remain forever accessible.

Less than two months until graduation. I can't believe how fast two years has gone.

Spring Break Recap

I need a vacation from my vacation. In all truth, there was very little "spring" or "break" in my spring break. The Florida weather was rainy, cloudy and cold, and I packed my schedule so tightly that I exhausted myself (but for good reason!). Now I'm back in Boston and anxiously awaiting the weekend so I can do nothing, except maybe treat myself to a mani/pedi and my new favorite drink, the Starbucks Dark Cherry Mocha (YUM!). In the meanwhile, I have had many requests for a spring break recap, so here it is!

With a few potential job-related things in the works, it's hard for me to go into too much detail about my break just yet. What I can say is that I had a really fun time meeting with all sorts of people throughout Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in Orlando (my old stomping grounds!), hoping to get a better sense for the variety of roles that exist within the marketing organization and the company at large. In the process, I met with people in brands, Yellow Shoes (advertising), PR, sports, WDPRO (online), operations, CMR (Disney's version or CRM), DCL (cruise line) and more. I also had more than 5 networking phone calls over the week with folks at Madison Square Garden, HBO, MTVN/Nickelodeon and more. Phew! I'm tired just writing it all.

On the positive side, everyone I met with at Disney really seemed to love their job. Most have stayed for many years and consistently reference the plusses of a Florida lifestyle and the ability to come to work everyday and market "magic" and "pixie dust." I also get such a wonderful, homey feeling every time I walk into one of Disney's buildings. I just resonate with so many of these folks because we're all so passionate about the Disney product, the family-friendly imagery and the idea of fantasy and escapism. There are so few brands that pull this sort of emotion out of people of all ages that it's hard not to see this company as a marketing goldmine!

On the negative side, most of my meetings were met with a similar response: "We love your resume and you're a strong candidate, but...there are no jobs." My favorite response was probably: "Well, things are going to be much better a year from now." That's great, buddy, but I'm graduating THIS MAY, not next May, not this fall, or next spring, but NOW. And since a massive car payment, two chihuahuas and a storage unit full of crap officially become mine again on June 1st, 2010, I need an income and FAST. Dear Economy, please recover soon. Thanks, Gabby. I digress.

As I hinted, I did leave Florida with a couple of "seeds planted" so to speak, so some interesting opportunities could very well present themselves in the next couple of weeks. I'm trying really hard not to get my hopes up, but as all of you who follow my blog know, at the end of the day, I'm a total and complete Disneyphile and would be thrilled to go back and work for the Mouse. Now, this is not to say AT ALL that I am giving up on my New York/DC/Atlanta job search, as talk is cheap and I will not stop searching until I have an offer letter in my hand; more so, I'm just excited at the possibility of maybe being employed sooner than I expected. We shall see!

For now, it's back to the grind, finishing up the last few weeks of classes and getting moving on all of my papers and projects. Talk to you all soon!

Reflections from the 6th Annual HBS Retail & Luxury Goods Conference (Featuring Christian Siriano!!!!)

Thank you to Christina for sharing her papparazi-style photos!

Before I can write coherently, I need to get this out of my system: I met Christian Siriano!!!! Yes, the Project Runway winner himself has officially graced the HBS campus with all of his fierceness and I'm in love. Now, if I'm being totally honest, I did actually root for his competitor, Ramy, the whole season he was on PR, but totally admit that Christian (and his designs) deserved the win. And he is so fabulous in person! Ahhh, I'm starstruck! Hahaha...

Ok, now for real:
I was pleasantly surprised by this year's Luxury Goods conference and would actually rank it as my second favorite of the year (with Marketing & CPG first, but then again, I did help organize that one so I'm entirely biased). I actually stayed for the entire conference (shocking since I normally leave after lunch) and found both panels and both keynotes to be very interesting and insightful.

In summary, the first keynote was Terry Lundgren, the CEO of Macy's (and P-S, he looks like a movie star) who talked mostly about the growth in their department stores and their new model of customer-centric thinking. Some highlights:
  • There are currently 810 Macy's and 40 Bloomingdale's in the US, and last year, the company opened their first international store -- a Bloomie's in Dubai.
  • The company earned $23.5 billion in revenues last year, with 70% of transactions from women (no surprise there).
  • The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the third most watched television show in the US (next to the Superbowl and the Oscars).
  • In Feb. 2010, Macy's stock price was up 21.7% as compared to just 8.1% for Saks and 5.7% for Nordstrom.

So basically, they're doing well and hoping to continue that streak by playing to the individuality of consumers (through the My Macy's initiative) at multiple price points.

From there, I attended the "E-Commerce: Creating Compelling Online Shopping Experiences" panel that featured Rachel Shechtman, the Founder of Cube Ventures, Maria Renz, the VP of, Darcy Penick, the Divisional Merchandising Managing at and Mark Weinberg, the SVP of Strategic Planning at The conversation focused mostly on the concept of "flash sales" (with Gilt and RueLaLa as examples) and how competitive shopping is transforming the design landscape. One fact that I found interesting was that even among men's products, women are still the primary purchaser. We also talked a lot about the difference between "low prices" and "great values" in the industry.

The second panel that I attended was called "Luxury for the Masses" and featured the one and only Christian Siriano, plus Luann Via, the President & CEO of Payless Shoes, Adrian Gill, the VP of International Footwear at Puma, Rob Deeming, the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Gilt Groupe and Daria Burke, the Manager of Consumer Insights and Customer Experience at Rent the Runway.

To be totally frank, I think I only fully listened when Christian was talking. I was too consumed by staring at him fuss with his hair, glasses or magenta blouse the rest of the time. My bad. But, alas, a few interesting tidbits about his new line at Payless!

  • It's currently selling in 400-500 of Payless' 4,000 stores (so only a 10% penetration, not sure why...) and a customer can purchase the entire collection of shoes and accessories for $400.
  • His inspiration to do the line was to reach a larger portion of his fan base who want a piece of his brand but can't afford his high-end couture designs.
  • Payless will soon be adding beauty products to their line (unrelated to Christian, but still interesting).

Finally, the day concluded with a very inspirational speech by the CEO of Gucci, Patrizio di Marco. Patrizio called the luxury goods industry "a world of selling dreams," and stated that when he first got into business, "I really couldn't stand all the math." Patrizio also recounted the story of his life and the intermingling of his career progression from moving to Japan at age 19, where he had to learn both Japanese and English, to rebuilding the Bottega Veneta brand in 2001 to now leading the largest and most recognized luxury brand in the world (Gucci). Apparently, the company amassed $900 million in profits last year (on $4.6 billion in revenues) and continue to debut seven new collections every year (a new collection approximately every 1.5 months).

Overall, I enjoyed myself, and although I'm not pursuing a career in the luxury goods/fashion industry, I appreciated the panelists' wisdom (and LOVED the goodie bag, which included four full-size perfumes, a Gucci coin purse, a Macy's gift card, a free subscription to Harper's Bazaar and more!).

Now it's time to prepare for tonight's EMC Oscar Party! See you later!

Mid-Semester Course Review

I've been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now, but am only now getting around to it, so my apologies for the delay! The past couple of weeks have been best characterized by the words "over scheduled" and "under slept." Thankfully, spring break is just a week away, so hopefully it will be a chance to get caught up on life/work/the job search.

Overall, I'm very ambivalent about my courses this semester. Part of this has to do with the fact that my mind is really just elsewhere -- focused on the job search, my papers/projects, my personal life, basically everywhere except the classroom. This is bad, really, because this is my last chance to learn and soak up the wisdom that oozes from the pores of Harvard Business School and yet, concentration seems to be alluding me. With that said, here are my course reviews for the spring semester thus far:

1) Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries: This course is by FAR my favorite this semester, but I admit that I am entirely biased, being an entertainment junkie and all. The cases? SO interesting (I'm talking Maria Sharapova, LeBron James, Marvel comics, Warner Bros Entertainment, The CW, etc.). The class discussions? SO enlightening! Almost all of the students in the class are REALLY passionate about the entertainment industry, so we're able to dive deeper than we would if people didn't know about/have experience with the inner workings. One of my favorite takeaways thus far: the difference between a "House of Brands" and a "Branded House." Example: Marvel Enterprises has always been a "House of Brands" -- you know Spiderman, The Fantastic Four and Iron Man, but (unless you're hardcore), probably wouldn't know that those were all Marvel properties (versus DC Comics). Thus, the company operates as a House of Brands. This differs from someone like Disney. You hear the name Disney and know that Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the like are all brands underneath that umbrella. Thus, Disney is a "Branded House" and you have expectations about the specific brands within Disney based on your perception of the company. Final mention about this class: the professor, Anita Elberse, is awesome. SO knowledgable, funny and passionate. Love her. Course Grade: A

2) Competing With Social Networks: Misiek Piskorski's class on Social Networks and the digital world is a very close second this semester, and is perhaps the class that I am LEARNING the most in (big points for that considering I thought I knew all there was to know about social media/utilities before taking this class and have squarely been proved wrong!). Truth be told, I've been excited about this class since RC year when I met with Professor Piskorski and several other students for a faculty research lunch where he presented his findings regarding Facebook. An interesting point? People spend 75% of their time on Facebook stalking other people's profiles or viewing their own profile. Also, where do men in relationships spend most of their time? Viewing profiles of women they DON'T know!

I digress. The course is really structured well. We spend time talking about the sociology behind the advent of social networks -- what offline failures are these sites/programs seeking to address? -- and classify things according to products aimed at helping people "meet" friends versus become closer with current friends. We also spend a lot of time analyzing the divide between time spent "writing" or producing on these sites versus "reading" as a bystander. We've done cases on Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, Meetup, Mixi, LinkedIn, Zynga and more. Course Grade: A

3) Digital Marketing Strategy (half course): Sadly, I've been fairly disappointed in this course. It's not for a lack of interesting cases (we've read about the JK Wedding Dance and United Breaks Guitars YouTube videos, as well as the interesting business models behind Communispace and Backchannel Media), rather I think it's a combination of taking this course in conjunction with Competing with Social Networks (a lot of the learnings are the same) and the fact that this is the first time the class was taught (meaning we're the guinea pigs set to help iron out the kinks for next year). The professors, John Deighton and Sunil Gupta, are incredibly nice and obviously brilliant. The idea to "team teach" the course was an interesting one in my view, but I personally feel that it fragmented an already short course. What I mean by this is that I think the case method works best when a class is able to develop a rhythm with a professor and get comfortable in their teaching style and expectations. This ability is already compressed with a half course, so when you further segment it with two professors alternating teaching, the students' capability to gel is nearly entirely compromised. I think this affects the learning environment and makes case discussions feel shallower. The other thing I dislike is the fact that we were assigned TWO group projects for one half course. Definitely a lot more work that I expected for a short course. Course Grade: C

4) Managing Innovation: This course is schizophrenic in my opinion. The first module was fantastic. We did some really interesting cases on product design and development issues at BMW, Bang & Olufsen and in the "magic" industry. We also had a really interesting session with NASA, discussing the problems involved with sending astronauts on long-term missions to Mars. And then something happened in the second module where I feel like I am in a completely different course. The cases are boring (Medtronic pacemakers, telecommunications software by Siemens), the discussions lack energy entirely and I don't feel like I'm learning anything new. Granted, we still have roughly 8 classes left, so there is definitely time for things to do another 180 in the last module, but at the moment, I'm feeling very dissatisfied. Course Grade: C-/D+

Since I'm doing a Field Study this semester on Jordan's Furniture (love them!), those are all my current courses. I do start another half course called Retailing on Thursday, so will have to let you know my feelings on that as we approach the end of the semester. I truly cannot believe how fast it is going! That's all for now guys, catch ya later!

Harvard Bound Internet Mentions

I just wanted to take a few moments to shout out to those in the MBA blogosphere who are linking to and/or mentioning Harvard Bound on their sites. Thanks to:

-Clear Admit's Fridays From the Frontline for featuring a round-up of Harvard Bound's latest posts every Friday ( and for featuring us on their list of Harvard Blogs.

-The Online Graduate Programs Blog for featuring Harvard Bound as one of the "100 Best Blogs for MBA Students" (

-A Student from Columbia Business School who linked to HB:

-Life With Lindsay, who also linked to HB:

Thanks for the support!

Stay tuned for a mid-semester course review coming soon!

NYC in Pictures


Live from New York It's...Friday Night?

I'm typing from my very comfortable king-size bed at the Omni Berkshire hotel in New York where I am sufficiently exhausted after a very long day of networking on the HBS Entertainment & Media Club's New York Trek. I'm highly looking forward to getting an early night tonight and sleeping in tomorrow morning so that I can gear up for four more days in the city (and they will be just as jam-packed as today was!).

To recap:

This morning we started at The Food Network, which is in the Chelsea Market area of New York. The building was very nondescript from the outside, but the workspace was perhaps one of the cheeriest I've seen (and coming from a former Disney gal that says a lot!). The walls were all sorts of sunny yellow and orange shades and the lights were modern and warm (not fluorescent!). We started with a panel featuring Brooke Johnson (Food Network President), Amanda Melnick (Director of Marketing) and Kim Williamson (Director of Programming). From there we were given a tour of the testing kitchen and the set of a new show called "Cooking for Real." The visit was interesting, especially considering HBS had never visited the network before, but it was a bit disconcerting to hear the President say that they were only TWO MBA's in the entire company. Now, I know entertainment tends to be light on the business degrees, but only two in the whole company? I'm hoping perhaps she was thinking two hundred and just left off the "hundred," but that's probably wishful thinking! Before leaving we did get some cool "swag" including a Food Network cap and copies of their magazine's latest issues.

Second on the agenda was a trip to HBO where we had a panel featuring Henry McGee (President of HBO and HBS grad), Jamyn Edis (Emerging Technologies, also an HBS grad), Courteney Monroe (EVP Consumer Marketing and...a Wharton grad, but she's pretty cool so we'll forgive her for that) and Andrew Goldman (Cinemax VP). I really loved the "feel" of this company -- very "we know we're cool cats but we won't be cocky about it." Plus, everyone seems SO smart, innovative and willing to take risks in their roles -- three qualities that are really appealing in my job search! Excitedly, I'll be returning to HBO, not once, twice, or thrice, but FOUR times in the next four days to meet with three separate folks in marketing and a rep in HR. Wish me luck!

Around lunchtime we went to Time Warner where we were served cold pizza and some boring spiel about mergers, acquisitions and investing. Yeah, that's all I'm going to say about that visit (wait, I lied, I need to say one more thing: the building is beautiful!).

Fourth on the agenda was MTVN, which is also a place where I get really good vibes. Here we had a panel with six different HBS alums, including my WSA Mentor Anne who I totally admire because she not only has a JD AND an MBA, but she has the coolest job on the planet and she's an amazing person as well. Was also excited to meet a woman I had been referred to that works in the digital retail group for Nickelodeon and a guy who now does Ad Sales for MTVN but used to work at my old stomping grounds in Orlando!

The final destination for the afternoon was NBCU. We met with Lisa Shaw, the SVP of Digital Marketing for Bravo, a really nice guy named Tony Loney (love the rhyming name) from HR and another HBS grad from business development at iVillage. By this point, we were all pretty tired and you could tell by the fact that the rigor of our questions totally fell flat. Nonetheless, I saw Tausha on the way out and grabbed two cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, which is right next door, and that totally lifted my spirits.

And now that I'm back in my wonderful, comfy hotel room with feet that have finally calmed after a day full of walking in heels, I plan to get a good night's sleep. Will write more (and post photos) soon (I didn't bring the cord to NYC, but will upload a NYC photo gallery once I get back). Good night!

Reflections from the 2010 Dynamic Women in Business Conference

Last Saturday I attended the 19th annual Dynamic Women in Business Conference at HBS, which is hosted by the Women's Student Association on campus. I have to admit that last year, although I went to the keynote speech by the founder of Bare Escentuals, I was so bored at the first panel that I promptly left. This year, I had a bit of a different strategy (only go to what sounded truly interesting and spend time doing job search/school stuff in a separate space during the less interesting bits) and found that overall I had a much more enjoyable time.

Perhaps what surprised me most was how much I enjoyed the morning keynote speech by Ann Simonds, the President of the Baking Division at General Mills. Originally, the CEO of Product (RED) was supposed to speak, but she fell ill and had to cancel at the last minute. I was really disappointed and expected a completely boring speech about marketing Betty Crocker, but instead I found myself really engaged and inspired.

Ann's speech was mostly centered around the role that women play in business today and how we can work together to shape expectations for the future. Some interesting statistics that she pointed out:

  • 45% of people report not liking their job. Those that do like their job are 12% more productive (so it pays to do what you are passionate about).
  • Women still earn just 77 cents to every dollar that men earn, but companies that have women in their senior ranks deliver 34% more shareholder value than companies that are run solely by men (so why are they buying us so cheaply?).

What I appreciated most from Ann's speech was how she ended it. She said that she actually gets annoyed when people approach her and ask her how she "has it all," because she says that having it all is a flawed idea -- she certainly doesn't have it all and she doesn't believe that's what the goal should be. Rather she said the goal is to give and be a productive, useful person, whether that be through giving to yourself, family, co-workers or friends.

The afternoon keynote, Linda Easley, the CEO of Limited Stores, was less interesting (she talked entirely about the private ownership of the brand, which split off from Limited Brands a couple of years ago and wasn't nearly as inspirational), so I'm going to skip over her speech and go straight to the third panel session where I attended the Technology, Entertainment and Media panel.

The panel featured a really diverse group of women: Anna Collins, the General Manager of Entertainment and Devices Support, Customer Service and Support at Microsoft moderated, and the panelists included HBS alums Meredith Barnett (Editorial Director, The Inside Source), Patricia Burh (VP of Strategy, Programming and New Product Development, Time Warner Cable), Sara Clarke (SVP Corporate Strategy, Analysis and Communication, Showtime), Jessica Schell (SVP Digital Strategy and Business Development) and a lone non-HBS alum Tai Beauchamp (CEO, The Blueprint Group).

Here are some highlights from the conversation:

  • Jessica Schell commenting on how much value technology has destroyed with DVRs, piracy issues, the delivering of content without cable subscriptions and other disruptive technologies. Anna Collins then trying to defend technology (since she works at Microsoft).
  • Tai Beauchamp talking about finding a comfort level tooting your own horn, which women find more difficult than men (and which leads to women less often getting the promotions and raises that they desire/deserve).
  • Sara Clarke reiterating that it's okay not to know everything and to admit that. She was once assigned a project regarding HD technologies and had no idea what it was all about, but by networking and utilizing internal resources, she quickly became the expert and "go-to" woman in the company.

Overall, I thought the conference was well done -- and I enjoyed the lululemon goody bag (we got Unilever toiletries, 150 calorie warm delights desserts, a candle, a clutch from The Limited and more!). One day I hope that I'm successful enough to be invited back to campus as a speaker for this event!

Next up is this Thursday's Entertainment & Media Conference for which I spearheaded the marketing (along with my awesome partner, Minal!). Will blog about that one soon!

Sundance Film Festival 2010 Part 2

Wow, tomorrow will be a whole week since I was in Utah for the Festival. The past seven days went so fast! Before I forget, here's the rest of my review of Sundance 2010.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn so we could get to the box office by 7:30am. Even then there were people there (about 75 in front of us). Luckily, I was able to snag tickets to three additional films for the day.

1) The first program I went to was a shorts program and it was the worst 2 hours of my life. To be honest, it was so bad that I blacked out almost all memories of what I saw. Of what I can remember: a cartoon short about two stick figures, one of which spends 10 minutes pulling a bloody stitch out of the other stick figure's mouth; a short called "Renegades" that involved a bare-breasted stripper, Euro-techno music, shooting an old man's ear off his head and two gay men getting it down in the woods; a short called the Armoire about a little boy who dares his friend to stick a fork in an electrical socket and then covers up his death; and perhaps what was the only decent one, a story about an army mom shipping off to war. My grade: F-

2) My second screening of the day may have been my favorite of the festival. It was a documentary called "Bhutto" that chronicled the life and trials of the first female Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. I honestly knew nothing about Benazir before the film, but I always enjoy highlights of powerful women around the world, so my interest was piqued nonetheless. The story wound up being incredibly emotional and done in a way that it could work in a commercial setting. The only issue I took with the film was that it was hard to tell how objective of a stance it took -- the filmmaker had mentioned in a Q&A after the screening that he had the full cooperation of the Bhutto family, and while I'm sure you couldn't make a good film without their support, it makes me wonder if his work was thus influenced by the positioning that the family would be happy to see on the screen versus what the unbiased perspective would project. Again, there's no way of knowing, so I just plan on doing some research in my free time to get a better sense for the impact she had on the Pakistanis and what her legacy really stands for. Regardless, she was a courageous, strong woman and her persistence and devotion to her country seem quite admirable. My Grade: A

3) Number three was the most artsy of the films that I saw. "All My Friends Are Funeral Singers" was the story of a psychic woman who lives with a multitude of spirits in her home. The spirits have all sorts of zany personalities (a bride who hung herself with her "something blue," a band of four blind musicians who don't speak, just play instruments, a little girl who wears a Kentucky Derby-style hat and has a knack for picking winning horses at the betting track, etc.) and they provide much of the comic relief in the film. The interesting piece was that the film was created with an intense score -- the music tracked the emotion in the film and was thus loud and clangy and cacophonous during intense moments and melodic and harmonic during more calm moments. The filmmaker commented that this was a deliberate choice so that the film could be shown in a real theater and scored "live" with actual musicians, which would make for an interesting experience. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the film has enough widespread appeal to seek a commercial run, but nonetheless, I definitely enjoyed the story and its underlying message of learning to love and let go. My Grade: B

4) My fourth and final film of Sundance was hysterical. "Bran Nue Dae" was an Australian musical starring Geoffrey Rush that highlighted life as an Aborigine. The main character, a teenage boy named Willie, is sent off by his mother to become a priest, but Willie can't stop pining over his sweetheart Rosie whom he must leave behind. One night, Willie decides to escape and he meets a crazy cast of characters as he attempts to hitchhike his way home to Broome and back into Rosie's heart. As the only comedy that I saw, this film was a nice way to end the I was singing the main song, "There is nothing I would rather be, than to be an Aborigine" the whole night long, lol. My Grade: A-

So there you have it folks! After my last screening (after which I took this last glorious picture of the beautiful Utah mountains), I grabbed some Mexican food for dinner, watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians in front of the fireplace at the condos and got an early night. The following day, I just explored Main Street one more time, bought a Sundance tote bag (I needed some sort of souvenir) and headed back to the airport for a long flight into Boston (by the time we got back it was 1am!). Despite the heavy traveling and the ridiculous amount of money that I spent for four days, I am SO happy that I went. The vibe and energy of the festival is so fulfilling for a film lover like me. I would DEFINITELY go back in the future!

In other news, I'm going to be posting some really interesting blogs over the next few days. Yesterday I attended a marketing workshop with brand guru Douglas Atkins and think you all might be interested to hear what he had to say. Then I plan to do a review of tomorrow's Women's Student Association Conference and then later in the week, a round-up of my early-term course reviews. Stay tuned!

Sundance Film Festival 2010 Part 1

I have to admit, being at HBS has afforded me some really cool experiences that I probably wouldn't have had the chance to be a part of otherwise. Going to this year's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, was one of these experiences and arguably one of my favorites!

Thanks to a partnership between the Entertainment & Media Club and the Art Society, nearly 40 of us trekked across the country together for a long weekend of film screenings, fluffy snow and lots of good food!

For me, the weekend began Thursday afternoon with a mid-afternoon flight out to Salt Lake City. The EC group stayed at the Snow Flower Condominiums, which are less than a mile from the main drag, Park Avenue. I was in a condo that sleeps 14 (one of the biggest the place offers), yet it felt surprisingly cozy with the old-fashioned slanted ceilings and warm living room fireplace. After getting an early-ish night (by the time we got in and got to the condo it was nearly 1am), I got up super early (7am) to head out to the Sundance box office. Since most of the films I wanted to see were sold out during my original registration window, I had to vie for a limited number of "day-of" tickets that they open up each morning of the festival. The box office opens at 8 daily, and by the time I got there, a line of at least 150 people had formed. Thankfully though, I was able to secure tickets to two additional films for Friday.

1) The first film I saw was called "Skateland," (it screened in a 1,250 seat theater called the Eccles Theater) and it starred Ashley Greene from the Twilight movies (and no other "names"). The film was a throwback to growing up in the 80s and had a very loose, wandering plot about a teenager dealing with the consequences of maturing and moving on from his home town in light of his childhood hangout and current workplace, a roller skating rink called Skateland, closing to make way for a more popular establishment. In the midst of discovering himself and where he wants to go in life, Richie (the main character) must deal with love, loss, betrayal and fear from friends, family and foes. Overall, I really enjoyed the film -- the 80s music was INCREDIBLE, the funny moments made you laugh out loud and the intense moments really poured out from the screen. My only criticism is that the screenplay could have been tightened up a bit to better define some of the secondary characters and the back story. My grade: B+

2) My next film was ALL the way across the festival site at a much smaller theater called The Egyptian. The theater was actually really neat in its decor and had King Tut masks on the walls and a big temple-like shroud over the screen -- even the lobby was themed! The film that I saw here was a documentary about Holocaust propaganda called "A Film Unfinished." The premise was that as Jews suffered from overcrowding, malnourishment and struggle during their lives in the Warsaw ghetto, the Nazis staged scenes of luxury and enjoyment to create war propaganda that would convince the outside world that they were doing no harm. Apparently more than 60 minutes of film was shot, but the footage was never actually edited into a full-fledged film as the Nazis had intended. Rather, as the title suggests, the film was left unfinished and hidden in the massive German Film Archive to be forgotten. Since that time, portions of the film had been used in other documentaries about the Holocaust, but the full 60 minutes had never been shown together. This idea was the filmmaker's inspiration. She added emotional and dramatic affect to the already haunting footage by bringing in actual Holocaust survivors to watch the reels while their emotions were recorded.

Obviously, it's hard to say that you "like" a film about such a horrific time, but I can say that I thought the film provoked great emotion in me (and the rest of the theater if the number of hands I saw wiping away tears speaks for itself). The one thing that I did NOT like about the film was that it, too, seemed unfinished in a sense. I thought that the filmmaker could have pushed a little bit farther in using the footage to make a clear statement. Instead, it just felt as though it were an exhibition. Perhaps that was her purpose, to allow us to make all of the decisions on our own. My grade: B

3) The third and final film I saw on Friday was "Sympathy for Delicious," a film directed by Mark Ruffalo (that is him speaking into the microphone in the above photo, I swear!). I chose this film knowing nothing about it except that it starred an all-star cast including Orlando Bloom, Laura Linney, Juliette Lewis and Ruffalo himself. Plus, I heard a rumor that Ruffalo would be at the screening to do a Q&A and I just HAD to see at least one celebrity during my trip! ;)

Unfortunately, the hype didn't live up to my expectations and I have to say that this was my least favorite film of the day, and one of my least favorite from the festival as a whole. I actually really liked the plot -- the story was about a crippled homeless DJ who discovers that he has the power to spontaneously heal the ill (like you see those evangelists do on those crazy TV shows where people fall all over the place and claim to be cured). At first people don't believe him, but then as he begins to cure other homeless folks, the press takes note, as does a grunge rock band quite conveniently looking for a new DJ. DJ Delicious, as he's thus called, joins the band and together they create an enterprise where Delicious "heals" people at concerts, causing ticket sales to explode. I don't want to spoil the film in case anyone happens to see it, but let's just say from there things don't go exactly as planned.

My problem with the film was that it was just TOO rough around the edges for me. I understand that sometimes expletives are the perfect word to express particularly extreme emotion, but come on, the "F" word must have been used more than 1,000 times in 2 hours. Literally, it felt like every other word was f***. Not only that, but the film had strong drug use, sexual innuendo, dark, dirty characters and not a single ray of happy sunshine. I felt down and dreary after watching the film -- like I needed a bath and a soundsoother with beach noises. My grade: D+/C-

After Sympathy for Delicious ended around 10:30, I headed back to the condo, hung out with friends for a bit and then hit the sack, since I was planning to get up on Saturday even earlier (at 6am!) to try to beat the inevitable box office rush (since most of the great films were screening that day). Since this entry is already really long and I want to give the four films I saw on Saturday the time they deserve, I'm going to finish up my review of Sundance later today or tomorrow. Adios for now!

Forecast for my weekend in Park City, Utah

Courtesy of

Highs in the upper 20s? Yikes, that's a good 10 degrees colder than it is here in Boston. Long underwear, it's time for you to come out of hibernation.

The Beginning of the End, Cases Purging and a Cowardly Commentor

So here I am, blogging on my very last first day of classes ever (or at least for the foreseeable future!). It is SO hard to believe that my HBS experience is almost over. It feels like just yesterday I was on my second Disney cruise with my mom reading my acceptance e-mail and now there's just five months and 11 weeks of class in between me and graduation. Weird. The good news is that I have an AMAZING last semester of courses that I can't wait to really dig into. I think I might have mentioned them before, but for good measure here they are again (drumroll, please):

  • 1) Managing Innovation
  • 2) Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries (basically the course that made me want to come to HBS)
  • 3) Half Course in Digital Marketing Strategy
  • 4) Half Course in Retailing
  • 5) Competing With Social Networks (another class I've been looking forward to taking since I started here)
  • 6) Field Study on Jordan's Furniture / Norwalk Furniture

Basically, I have class daily from 10am to 1pm, which may very well be the easiest school schedule I've had to date. I temper this statement with the realization that much of my free time will likely be devoted to what will most definitely be a challenging job search (and the rest of it I plan to fill with lots of fun activities like the upcoming Entertainment & Media Club conference, my trip to Sundance Film Festival this weekend [can't wait!] and maybe even a spot on the spring break IXP to Costa Rica [to make up for missing Peru]). I'll be sure to keep you updated as we go along!

In other news, when I got back to Boston this past weekend and started organizing myself for the semester, I started to move all of my case binders from last fall to their final resting place under my bed (where they would join the rest of my cases from RC year) and I almost gave myself a heart attack. I never realized how much space 15, 6" binders can really take up under one's bed. Immediately, I felt the need to purge because the clutter (despite it being under my bed where no one ever sees it) was driving me crazy (not to mention the fact that I never once referred to one of my Finance cases last semester).

Thus, I spent about 3 hours on Sunday evening sifting through every single class binder and consolidating. If I couldn't remember ever having done a particular case? Recycled! If I had negative memories of a particularly difficult cold call? Recycled! If I just plain hated the subject (i.e. Finance)? Recycled! I did keep any cases that I remembered enjoying and nearly every "Course Note" that had teaching materials in it that could be of use in the future. I also kept my ENTIRE Consumer Marketing binder and notebook because, well, Youngme Moon is a marketing goddess and her class will forever remain at the top of my HBS experience. In the end, it felt so good to throw out the old, make room for the new and have a little extra storage space. :)

Now, before I depart for the moment, I have one more item to address. If you are a regular blog reader, you may have noticed that my "Comments" section has recently changed to a Moderated format that no longer accepts comments from Anonymous readers. Although when I started this blog, the intention was to allow anyone to post, even if they felt uncomfortable signing their name, I've recently had to deal with one particularly virulent reader who feels the need to make personal attacks on me featuring multiple expletives and slanderous insults...all while hiding behind the veil of the "Anonymous" feature. Personally, I think that anyone who takes time out of their day to repeatedly post insulting, negative comments on the blog of someone that don't know is only proving that they have no life of their own; however, I also don't want these horrible remarks hanging around the pages of my blog. So for now, comments will remain moderated and you'll have to log in to your gmail or blogger account in order to post. I apologize to those readers that will be inconvenienced by this!

Anywho, that's all for now. Have a great week everyone!

2010 Entertainment & Media Club Conference: IMAGINE!

If you live in the Boston area (or are looking for a place to visit in the next few weeks), register for the 2010 Entertainment & Media Club conference at HBS! The conference is being held on campus on Feb. 12 and features keynote speaker Michael Ovitz (he founded Creative Artists Agency, which represents all the top talent in Hollywood, and he was a former President at The Walt Disney Company). There's also four panels on TV, film, New Media and music -- something for everyone! Registration links can be found on the conference blog: -- early registration ticket discounts last through 1/29/10.

Term 3 Grades and Quick Winter Break Overview

Yesterday our Term 3 grades (aka EC year Fall Semester) were released and let's just say I was shaking in my boots...again. You would have thought that with nary a finance course in my schedule I'd finally relax about grades, but this time I was more worried that I had gotten my hopes up for GOOD grades and would find myself disappointed. You see, as I've explained before, HBS courses are graded on a forced curve and students receive a 1, 2 or 3, denoting their status within that curve. Only the top 20% of the class can receive a one and the bottom 10% of the class MUST receive a three (with the middle 70% of the class receiving a two). In my RC year, I received 2s in every class except finance, and although it felt good at the time to be average among some of the smartest people I've ever met, I have to admit that I've secretly been pining for at least one 1. This pining got even stronger this year when I was taking classes that I actually liked and felt like I could relate to. I mean, what better confirmation of your skills/career path is there than to excel in one of your favorite courses? Ok, tangent over.

So there I was, 2pm on the dot, logging onto MyHBS and holding my breath. I clicked into the Grades Web site and BANG! The first thing I see is a beautiful, shiny (well not so much) number ONE next to not one but TWO classes. Holy hell, I got TWO ONES!!!! Ahhhhhh!

In the end, I got a one in the two classes for which I wrote final papers versus taking a dreaded HBS exam (at which I admittedly suck) -- Competing Through Business Models (wrote a paper on the competition between Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando theme parks) and Authentic Leadership Development (a fluffier course where your final paper was basically a creative writing assignment...hello journalism degree!). I got a 2 in Consumer Marketing (figured as much) and happily got a 2 in Managing Service Operations (I didn't participate as much in this class so was worried I might get a 3). Most surprisingly though, I was given a 3 in Manging Human Capital which shocked me beyond belief. I spoke nearly 20 times in that class (and thought I made good comments, otherwise why would he have continued to call on me?) and thought the exam was pretty easy. Apparently I screwed something up there, but am not sure what, so I plan to meet with the professor when I get back to school so I can understand where I went wrong. Overall though, I'm SO happy. Can I repeat this in my last semester? We'll see!

And before I leave you all, I really do need to blog about my winter break considering it's 5.5 weeks long (although unfortunately most of those weeks have been spent doing absolutely nothing).

When I left Boston, I first headed to Pennsylvania to see family for a few days and while there I met my estranged father whom I hadn't seen in 20 years. I also toured Amish country with my cousins, went to a WaWa for the first time (yum, their coffee really WAS good!) and played LOTS of Scrabble (and lost every time!). I flew home to Florida on the 17th (barely escaping a ridiculous ice/snow storm) and my mom and I left for our third Disney cruise on the morning of the 19th.

I know, you're probably wondering why my mom and I continue to go on Disney cruises when neither of us have young children, but seriously, I can promise you that Disney does everything better than other cruise lines. The cabins are spacious and well decorated, the dining is spectacular, the ship is pristine and because it's a family atmosphere, you're not walking around in a cloud of smoke or watching drunk people fall all over the place for a week. It's refreshing!

This cruise was particularly special because it was a Christmas cruise so the ship was all decorated for the holidays and we had two special holiday meals on board. We also received some "gifts" from Santa, like a 2010 calendar, a box of delicious chocolates, LOTS of Christmas cookies and a limited edition lithograph signed by the artist (Don "Ducky" Williams is one of the best Disney character illustrators ever!).

One of the best parts of the cruise was dining with another mother and daughter around the same ages from Kentucky. We wound up having so much in common! I think we had the most fun at the character breakfast on Christmas Eve. We all dressed in red to be festive and the waiters had some fun making Disney "hats" for us with napkins. Do you like our "Mickey Ears" in this photo? Yes, those are meal covers on our heads connected with napkins!

Truth be told, we were sort of ready to debark at the end of the week (my mom started feeling ill about halfway through the cruise and wound up being admitted to the hospital for 3 days once we returned...crazy, I know, and also the reason I am not on the Peru IXP right now), but we're already talking about trying to save up for the Alaskan cruise in the summer of 2011. A long way off, but two gals can dream, right?

That's all for now guys! I'll try to blog again before returning to Boston (that is if anything exciting happens). If not, I'll see you back in the freezing northeast!

Harvard Bound receives "Best MBA Student Blog" Award from MBA Programs Online!

Hey everyone!

I'm so sorry that it has been so long since I've last blogged. A lot has happened in my personal life in the last few weeks, plus I was on a week long Disney cruise with my mom for Christmas (I'll blog about that in the next few days). In the meanwhile though, I wanted to let you all know that Harvard Bound was chosen for an award (our first award, yay!). A big thank you to for recognizing this blog as one of the Best MBA Student Blogs! Check out our blog profile at [] and grab a peek at our award below. :)