Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tutoring, Carlyle, & the Upper West Side

Today I tutored one of my co-workers who is taking the GMAT in October. He is actually more than a co-worker, I would definitely consider him a friend. He sought out my help a couple months ago when he learned of my b-school ambitions. The tricky thing is that he doesn't have a strong academic background. He is a good writer (though I don't know if that will translate to proficiency at Verbal) but he has a lot of problems with math fundamentals. As we know, the GMAT tests those fundamentals hardcore. Things like fractions, integers, decimals need a lot of freshening up. Anyway, I've helped him several times at work but today I actually went to his place. Almost three hours of work today and I'm happy to say he's definitely learning a lot. I can see the improvement and comprehension. Unfortunately he makes a lot of careless mistakes and needs to stop giving up those free points. He has one thing going for him tho. He is applying for extended time (up to 100% more time aka up to 8 hours!) because he has an eye impairment that keeps him from focusing and can induce dizziness. No word yet on whether his request will be approved.

I met one of his roommates and the guy is cool. He's a Dartmouth alum currently working at the Carlyle Group as an analyst in domestic real estate. Sounds like he has my ideal job! He is really into it and considering an MBA too (realllly early in his though process). He simply wants one but doesn't need one because he loves his job (as he should). I really advised him to hold off until he finds a real need for the degree. He seemed to agree.

It's funny cuz I didn't realize Carlyle had its headquarters in DC. Weird! Anyway, he definitely has the best job of anyone I know in the DC area. By far. I asked him if Carlyle would hire anyone for just one year (hehe like me) and he said he didn't think so. Duh.

Oh yeah, and before you guys think I'm a d-bag, I'm not charging my co-worker for the tutoring. I let him buy me Panera for lunch but that was it... it just doesn't feel right to take money from a friend for something that doesn't cost me anything but time. But it'd be cool if we could do the majority of the tutoring at work hehe.

Also, I've learned from a Columbia ambassador on the GMATclub forum that most CBS students opt to live on the Upper West Side (UWS). This disconcerts me. I already know that I won't get on-campus housing due to the space crunch and my current proximity to NY. But I really had my hopes on living around Morningside Heights so I could be as close and involved with the Columbia community as possible. I wanted to be able to walk to campus without hopping on the train. I had even talked myself into loving the indie, artsy, somewhat rustic feel of the neighborhood. But I guess I can see why students would favor the UWS. After all, it's still close (only a few subway stops away) and safer, nicer. Unfortunately, it seems like they usually stay around the upper 80's to upper 90's which is the blandest, yuckiest area of the UWS. It isn't as nice as the 70's aka it's lower-income. That's because of its proximity to Morningside Heights, but unlike Morningside Heights, it doesn't have that artsy culture. In fact, it's rather sterile. Like DC. Morningside Heights gets its feel becuz it's dominated by Columbia. The upper Upper West Side is just sucky.

If I was going to take the subway to class, then I would just as soon live in the West Village which is euro-cool. The train ride would be about 20 minutes as opposed to 10 minutes so might as well right? But I guess the difference would be more pronounced in the late hours that I would keep as a busy b-school stud... ent. It would all be mitigated if my apartment was close to the subway stop though (aka 1 block instead of 3 or 4). In the end though, I think it would be more important to live with a cool Columbia roommate regardless of location. It would be sweet to find a super cool Morningside Heights apartment super close to campus, maybe right off Broadway. In the absence of that, then I guess I might as well be in the 70's or lower 80's if I have to be in the UWS. No 90's please, pretty please!

And for those of you who think I'm getting ahead of myself by thinking of apartments (actually, I've searched for such apartments many many times online already), you would be correct. In fact, I've also completely plotted my two-year class schedule on a spreadsheet. I was going to post it but I can't find an "attachment" option or icon on blogger :( If anyone knows how to do this, let me know.


HappyBunny said...

I'll have to consult you when I need to look for a place in NYC. I'm not so familiar with the bad and good neighborhood. Need also taking into consideration of where J works. I was too plotting my class schedule on a spreadsheet LoL I was hoping to exempt statistics and financial accounting. :P

TienyChesney said...


Definitely! I really love talking NY real estate. I love it and I'd be happy to give you all my thoughts, biased as they might be.

Also, I plan on taking a Continuing Education course (or maybe i'll just self-study from a textbook?) in Financial Accounting or Corporate Finance later this year or early next year. My reasoning was that I wanted to test out of one of the requirements and take an elective instead. But I hear the exemption tests are realllly difficult. Maybe it'd be better to just take the course again- you'd probably learn some additional insights and you'd have fun with your Cluster since you'd be less stressed from the material. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

I was very interested to hear you opinions on the UWS. I've only been to NYC twice (both were 1 week trips) so i have a vague feel for the city, I know most of the major neighborhoods and I've been to the UWS but I don't have any kind of detailed info on good v bad, fun v boring, young and trendy v old and stodgy. So, your input on the upper UWS as you put it (80s and 90s) was very interesting.

But I was also thinking, wouldn't an advantage of living the high 80s/90s be that you are closer to your classmates? I think CBS students are pretty concentrated there so you should have a decent amount of classmates within walking distance. I probably wouldn't want to live in morningside just cuz it seems like hardly any of the cbs students are there. If they were, I'd be interested. I liked the feel of the neighborhood, a bit quiet, collegish, it seemed very apart from the rest of manhattan.

Samantha said...

I was walking home last night and saw all these kids with name tags at a bar near Columbia. Of course they turned out to be b-school kids. It's weird to see them starting!

I know what you mean about the W. 90s -- although a whole foods is going in there it does has that huge housing project and lacks a bit of the charm of just north and south of there. I love morningside heights too, but you might appreciate a short subway ride to have a change of scenery.

TienyChesney said...

Hey Anon,
You bring up an excellent point... the main draw of MH is that its so close to campus and I want to be really involved and close to school and associated activities/events. However, if most CBS students are in the UWS, then I would want to be around them too. So by itself, I like MH more than the UWS (80s and 90s that is, I wouldn't mind living in the 70s). However, depending on how many CBSers are around, I guess I'd have to do the 80s/90s. I guess the other thing is that I don't plan on only being friends with CBS students. I know they will become my primary network but I can totally see myself becoming friends with students from the other schools so I want to be near campus.

I will reply to you on your blog. So happy to see you pop in!

solaris said...

OMG - I've totally picked out a 3 BR apartment on Riverside myself and am thinking about how I'll convince two classmates at CBS to room with me.

Of course, my CBS application is still 10 days away from being completed.

Happy to see I'm not the only one completely enamored with CBS however.

Samantha said...

you've got to stop commenting so I can focus on my essays! Just kidding. But yeah, I do live on the UWS. I much prefer it to the UES because it has more energy and a normal neighborhood vibe. Plus riverside park is better than the east river.

And I was overreacting to a bad day with that just a paycheck comment. I like my job, I do. The people are just weird in a hard to describe way.

TienyChesney said...

How have you picked out a 3BR when you won't be matriculating until August 2009? Are you going to live in it during the meantime as well? Or do you have some deal that will allow you to reserve it when it becomes available around Aug'09? Yes, you may be more obsessed than me :) I'm going to wait for an acceptance before making concrete plans hehe. If there's one thing I love, it's looking at floorplans of Manhattan apartments.

Sammy Whammy,
Okay, no more comments for you :P Never been a huge Riverside Park person. But BTW, I think Madison Square Park is realllly under-rated. It's so cute and perfect yet nobody ever mentions it.

solaris said...

oh no, I don't actually have the apartment. it's all a figment of my bridge & tunnel imagination at this stage.

I just keep imagining about how i'm going to get in at CBS (ha!) and then how I'll move into this 3BR (I look at floorplans myself) and hang out on the UWS.

that was just wishful thinking. i didn't think i was coming across as being serious.