Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Open House- Day 1

This past weekend was Columbia’s Open House for admitted students. It was 2 days (fri and sat) of jam-packed introductions, panels, classes, receptions and networking. It was all incredibly fun and simultaneously exhausting. A few people actually recognized me from this blog which is embarrassing enough but one of them was an admissions officer! (seems like I need to get better at this anonymity thing) Read on for the juicy details. Today I’ll post Friday’s events. Saturday’s post will come in a couple days. Bon appetito.

While Open House doesn’t begin until Friday morning, there were several (6 or 7) happy hours sponsored by various student clubs on Thursday night as well as a couple on Wednesday night I believe. I took the bus up to NY on Thursday and decided to grab dinner with an old friend instead at the restaurant, Rice (really like that place). I figured there’d be enough boozing in the coming days and wanted to be fresh. This is the first time that I turned down a CBS event but no biggie.

On Friday morning I had to wake up at 7:40 to catch an 8:04 train to Penn Station from my parents’ home on Long Island. I got to Columbia at almost 9 am, fashionably late for the first event.

8:30-9:15 am: Registration and Welcome Breakfast. All the admitted students (roughly 160-200) gathered in Uris Deli to mingle. I was late and by the time I got there, Linda (Dean of Admissions) was already on the podium giving a welcome speech. She talked about some of the interesting people in our class (including a Miss New York) but I didn’t hear all of it since she was already speaking as I walked in. I don't believe she gave any stats on our class profile. I didn’t get to eat or drink anything because after her speech, we immediately broke into 4 (or was it 5?) clusters and went to do icebreakers. I recognized one of the adcom that I became friendly with from the December Reception and she asked me where my other friend was. I was shocked that she could remember him by name since there are hundreds of us (and thousands more applicants). Impressive.

9:30-10:45 am: Cluster Welcomes- Introduction to Columbia’s Program on Social Intelligence. This was the introductions and icebreakers part. The 40 people in our group were assigned numbers and then we had to do 1-on-1 introductions. I paired up with a super cool chick formerly from Jersey but who is now a New Yorker. (note that most people here were from the area or at least the East Coast as not everyone, especially internationals, may have wanted to make the trip for the non-mandatory Open House... there's another Open House in April too) She had a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm and we hit it off pretty well. Five minutes later, the two of us had to meet another pair and we were instructed to describe our original partner as a color and as a food (and why). She determined that I was turquoise (ehhh) and bubble tea (spot on!!!) Afterwards, all 40 of us had to introduce our original partners to the entire cluster which made for some nice unintentional comedy. Everyone was a good sport and only a surprisingly tiny amount of people seemed nervous. I shocked myself when I received a round of applause for my mildly humorous food description of my partner. Good start.

11:00 am-12:30 pm: Class Visit. Our clusters then went to sit in on 1 of 3 different classes (not actual classes but ones prepared for this event). I got the least interesting topic of the 3 in my opinion, “Strategy and Competition in Pharma and Biotech”. Would’ve much preferred Bruce Greenwald’s talk about Wal-Mart’s strategy which apparently included a lot of commentary on the current economy.

12:45-2:15 pm: Lunches in Morningside Heights. Next, we broke up from our clusters and were randomly assigned lunch groups of 6. My group was assigned to Havana Central, a local Cuban restaurant/bar. The food was blah but it was nice that CBS picked up the tab. My table was also fortunate to be joined by a Hermes (student welcome society) rep as well as someone from the Financial Aid Office. I kept joking that she should hook us up with extra fin aid but she remained steadfast. I’d say we were done with lunch by 1:30 which is good because at 1:50, everyone started walking back to campus.

2:30-3:30 pm: Intro to the Academic Program. This talk was done in the SIPA building’s auditorium. SIPA is the School of International and Public Affairs (top-notch program) and their building is really sweet, much more modern than Uris. The Vice Dean Amir Ziv explained everything about the Core, electives, exemptions, and all that stuff. I already knew all of this from my obsessive research though. Vice Dean Ziv was a really good (and witty) speaker which is funny because I now realize that he was the same speaker with the heavy accent whom I couldn’t comprehend at the December reception! Oops.

3:45-4:30 pm: Nonprofit Board Leadership Program. We had a short break for soda and coffee and then went back into the auditorium to hear 4 students speak about the nonprofit board. I was surprised that they had everyone attend this because several classmates seemed bored.

4:45-5:45 pm: Keynote Address. We stayed in the auditorium for a final speech by Paolo Scaroni, an alum and current CEO of Eni and a member of the CBS Board of Overseers. He is a realllly funny guy.

6:00-8:00 pm: Reception. Finally, we convened back in Low Memorial Library (site of the first event) to have some adult beverages and mingle some more. The famous Dean Hubbard made an appearance as well! The event was sponsored by Deutsche Bank and we received free DB backpacks. Not gonna lie, I was exhausted by this point. I found it hard to be “on” and continuously network for almost 12 hours straight but I met some more cool people. Good times. Also, I should note that I only had 1 drink because I didn't want my face to get flushed (which it does very easily). I have no problem doing this with my classmates but didn't want to make a tacky impression on the very first meeting :P

After we were kicked out around 8:30 pm, a bunch of admits (maybe 25?) went to The Pourhouse on Amsterdam. It was really crowded at first and I was really tuckered out. I had 2 drinks and then left around 10 pm with my buddy, a fellow admit from DC, who was crashing at my place in Long Island. I am such a good classmate :P

All in all, a really fun and exciting day. My favorite part was meeting all the new classmates and the introductions/icebreakers. I was really happy to see how enthusiastic most people were about CBS. It was obvious that the adcom did a great job of selecting people who actually wanted to attend CBS and weren’t just using it for a backup for another school. The students were also very impressive in their experience- I feel like the least impressive for sure. While a couple were very shy, the vast majority were outgoing and fun. Good stuff. About three admits shocked me by asking me if I was the blogger which is kinda embarrassing. They were all really cool though. I won’t embarrass them by giving them shout-outs hehe.

My buddy had to pick up his luggage from his hotel and we just missed the train back to Long Island so we didn’t get back until midnight. Had some KFC at Penn Station too. Exhausting but well worth it. Little did I know Saturday would be even moreso!

Monday, February 16, 2009

About TienyChesney

So I'm sure most people on Facebook have probably seen the "25 Random Things About Me" note that keeps popping up. If you haven't, the idea is basically that you enlighten your buddies with 25 random facts about yourself. I thought it might be fun to share some embarrassing info with you guys since MBA news is going slow here (disclosure: I changed 3 of them because they were too private) ... bon appetito:

1. Watching professional wrestling is a guilty pleasure of mine. I've been watching since I was 10 years old.

2. The only non-vegetarian exception that I allow myself is gelatin. My favorite foods are gelatinous (e.g. gummy bears) in texture.

3. I believe it’s economically rational to tip waiters/servers based on their level of service. I don’t hesitate to tip abnormally high or low amounts.

4. I’ve worn a pig necklace around my neck for about 50% of my life.

5. I believe my feet smell more than most people's. Plus I think I have an arthritic toe.

6. I won my 5th grade math bee.

7. I used to love punk music. Now I love country. Go Taylor!!

8. I over-analyze constantly.

9. I’ve tried really hard to overcome my shyness as a child.

10. It really bothers me when other basketball players label me as only a “shooter”.

11. If I could have one dog for a pet, I would have a Yorkie.

12. I’m really conceited about some things and really insecure about others.

13. As a small child, I believed my sister's explanation that lit up buildings on the city's skyline were actually stars that fell and got stuck on buildings.

14. I used to be a pothead.

15. I watch Food Network programming every day.

16. I think Charlotte from Sex and the City is perfect.

17. I don’t know how to swim though people have attempted to teach me on at least 3 separate occasions (including YMCA classes).

18. I despise driving and hope to never do so again in my life.

19. I’m terribly squeamish and faint of heart, to the point where I can only watch movies that fall into the romantic comedy category.

20. I love the adverb “terribly.”

21. I know all the lyrics to all the songs from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin.

22. The thought of a tattoo intrigues me. If I ever get one it will be of a basketball or some “mom” scrawling.

23. My right leg is almost a half inch longer than my left.

24. I firmly believe that Survivor is the most compelling program on TV. I LOVE Survivor!!!

25. I'll give you anything you ask for, as long as it's not something I don't want to give.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CBS Alumni Happy Hour

This past thursday was the CBS Alumni Club of DC Happy Hour. It was from 6:30-8:30 at a swanky bar/lounge at the bottom of the ritzy Hay Adams Hotel. It's located about a block and a half from the White House.

One of my fellow admit buddies backed out due to work and I started hesitating about whether I wanted to attend. I wondered if it'd be a bunch of old alumni with nothing in common and only a couple admits. Plus it was like ten degrees outside. I got there at 7 pm (fashionably late of course) and was pleasantly surprised. There seemed to be about 8 alums and 8 admits, a nice ratio. The organizer said there were about 12 DC area admits so we had a decent turn-out given that some people probably had work or whatever.

The other admits were decently cool. You could tell that some of them needed a little while to warm up but after a drink, everyone was getting along swimmingly. I always think it's odd when I'm one of the most social people in a group because I've always been painfully shy as a child, and even up through some of college. I've been really pushing myself in the last couple years though as I've come to realize the value of an outgoing, friendly disposition. The upside of networking is a good motivator (otherwise how the heck am I gonna get a job in this economy?) I wound up hitting it off with one other admit really well in particular and I now have a potential roommate for the 1st year. We seem like a good match in terms of cleanliness and location preference. The surprising thing is that she brought up the idea within 15 minutes of talking to me but to her credit, we talked like old friends.

Amazingly, myself and 2 others were the last ones to leave... at 11 pm! We overstayed by two and a half hours. Be jealous, Soni! Almost all the admits there will be at the Feb. 20-21 happy hour so I'm sure I'll see them again (if I can recognize them!) Maybe they won't recognize me either cuz I plan on getting a haircut this weekend. I haven't had one since September for my CBS interview haha!

Meanwhile, my Rosetta Stone studying is going nowhere. I haven't touched it in a month. Oi. Can I go on a tangent here and say how much I love Taylor Swift's music? I revisited her first single, "Tim McGraw", the other day and it's just beautiful. I can't believe that was 3 years ago. Also, my favorite tv show, Survivor, is debuting its new season this thursday- I know you're as excited as I am.

Final note: I need to go back to Sydney pronto.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


So I finally purchased my San Francisco tickets... I'll be going from the night of March 11th to noon on March 15th. I figure I'll spend a day and a half in Berkeley and then a little over 2 days in San Fran. I know that I won't be able to see everything but I'll try to cram everything in. I def want to check out Berkeley's campus, the Golden Gate Bridge, perhaps Alcatraz, Russian Hill, Chinatown, and the neighborhoods of Mission and Haight-Ashbury. Am I missing anything stupendous? It'll be good to finally take a trip since I've been admitted for almost 4 months now and have only sat on my ass.

If things work out well, I'll be going back to Sydney sometime in April for 11 days or so. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll even take a side trip to Melbourne. Keep your fingers crossed. In May, I figure I can use Memorial Day weekend to take a 3 day trip to Montreal or Toronto. In June, I'm going to London for 5 days. In July, I'm going to various parts of China for 3 weeks with the family... we have a place in Beijing but I'm going to convince them to go to Hong Kong since I've never been. The CBS Pre-MBA World Tour website is still in development but many of the destinations don't intrigue me that much... I'd be down for places like Japan, Russia, Turkey, UAE, and some of Latin America but some of the other stuff might be a bit too exotic for me. I am a novice traveler afterall. They've discontinued the Western Europe leg that went through London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, etcetra last year. Maybe I'll tag along for a Russia or Argentina leg though. At least this is my plan. A destination a month to keep me from hating my job hehe.

I wish I could just quit my job. I'd be bored doing nothing so I would try to get a cool pre-MBA internship (even for no pay) or at the worst, work retail at J.Crew or something. Unfortunately, the draw of the paycheck keeps me tied to my go-nowhere, hate-it-all consulting job. I've determined my resignation date to be July 1st... still 5 months away. Sigh.

I haven't thought about post-MBA careers much but I'm certainly leaning towards Trading. Even if the compensation potential doesn't match what it used to be, I still think it's a great fit for me (analytical, competitive, potential for high pay, relatively great hours, market driven, new york location).

Tomorrow evening is the CBS Alumni Club of Washington DC happy hour. It will be real cold, around 15 degrees, but I will be in attendance. I'll have all the dirt here too.