I was in NY this past weekend for the Chinese New Year and it was a smashing success on all fronts but one. I'll start with the sadness. On saturday, I met up with my friend from DC who is also a prospective CBS applicant. I gave her a tour of Columbia's campus (even studied the Columbia wikipedia page for factoids!) but she was less than impressed. I think many factors contributed to this. First of all, it was fricking cold, at least in the teens Fahrenheit. Secondly, we couldn't get inside several attractions such as the majority of the Lerner Center, Butler Library, or Watson Library. Third, there wasn't much going on campus since it was a saturday. There were some CBS students around but not many. They all had robust lives I'm sure and after all, it was the weekend. Fourth, CBS' main building, Uris Hall, is objectively not very impressive... after all, it was built in 1985 or something. She decided not to apply. Oh well, I could tell she was never that motivated anyway so I guess more CBS for me :) Also, she's not a super fan of NYC... while I consider it the only place to live (obvi), she doesn't know if she could spend more than several days there. So there ya go.
A great thing came from her visit though. She was staying with a friend and I met this friend's boyfriend who just so happened to be a CBS recruiter from a bulge bracket bank for Sales & Trading! What a coinky dink. I tried to ask him questions about how recruiting was going and stuff like that but he wasn't really interested in talking about it. The expression on his face was fairly bored. Then his face lit up when the topic changed to the pros and cons of Duane Reade versus Walgreen's versus CVS versus Rite Aid! Crazy. It sucks because I feel like I missed a golden opportunity but there was nothing I could've done differently. I wasn't being obsequious or overtly exploitative in any way. He just wasn't that cool (or displaying cool behaviors I guess). Maybe he gets b-school kids asking him about that stuff all the time or whatever the case may be, but he wasn't interested in talking more. My alternative hypothesis (I was a psychology major in undergrad) is that he was kinda put off because I asked him if he chose to do equities trading or not after he mentioned he traded equities. He might've thought I was looking down on equities (which I wasn't) since equities have a reputation of being boring/old/not-as-profitable in the trading world... so maybe he was just feeling defensive and insecure. Oh well, still better to have met him than not met him I guess.
Later that night I met up with an old friend from high school which was great. He's a litigation lawyer living in Brooklyn and he lives a great life. He lives in a cool up and coming neighborhood, Clinton Hill, (from what I could gather) and he had a sweetheart girlfriend and some cool friends too. He had a job he loved and made good money. You could tell he was happy. Funny enough, his girlfriend is the head of marketing for an industry media company (can't say which) which I may potentially be able to call upon for future job leads. Niiice. One note here: I don't go around assessing whether new acquaintances/friends can be valuable in my network or not... it's just coincidence that I met those two people and obviously being the analytical guy that I am, I noticed their outstanding characteristics :)
On sunday I met an ex-coworker who now does Risk Management for a large bank. It was good to see her again and we caught up on everything for 2 hours. We got bubble tea in the East Village. She, like many that I've met, has no idea what kind of job she wants post-MBA. Funny how many of us there are, isn't it?
Lastly, I received invitations to 2 happy hours in the DC area. One is from the CBS Alumni Club of DC and the other is from a CBS student who organized DC happy hours last year and continued this year even though she is now a student and no longer around (how nice of her!) ... unfortunately, they both scheduled the exact date and time at different venues! I informed them so hopefully they'll do a joint one or one will alter their time. It would be sweet to attend both so I can get as much CBS in me as possible.
I got a separate happy hour invite for the Thursday before CBS' Open House in late Feb too. It was for the Milstein Center for Real Estate happy hour and I received it because I indicated real estate as my original interest. I don't want to go but I'm wondering if anyone received a happy hour invite from a different campus group/theme? Maybe the Lang Center for Entrepreneurship or perhaps a Sales & Trading one? That would be awesome and I'd totally go to one of those instead.
If there are any finance/market gurus reading my blog, maybe they'd also like to chime in on this: What do you think are the chances that the Prime Rate (aka Fed Funds Target Rate plus 3) reaches 6.5% (aka Fed Funds Target Rate=3.5%) by the year 2015? I imagine it'll definitely happen but wanted some other opinions. I'm asking because of a potential loan scenario I'm entertaining (no, it's not a student loan).
I'm starting to cringe at the realization that my tuition and living expenses are going to be a tougher burden than I originally anticipated. I'm thinking of cancelling the Morocco trip (still going to San Fran though) and quitting at the end of June. Then I'd take a week or two trip during June with the CBS Pre-MBA World Tour (maybe Russia?) and travel all of July (China, Australia, London). Much less than my original hope of traveling for 2-3 months. I should try to get a better picture of my travel plans this week.