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    Highlights of Ithaca

    February 19th, 2015

    Originally Posted: 3/6/2014 7:48 AM  

    As my time in Ithaca winds down, I think it’s a great time to reflect on some of the things that I will miss about Ithaca. There are plenty of things to write down, so I’ll pick the top three things that (currently) come to mind.

    Hockey Games: I never watched hockey growing up; Wisconsin doesn’t have a pro-team and for some reason it just wasn’t that big of a deal where I lived. In fact, the first time I even cared about hockey was, oddly, during my summer in Chicago when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. But, I’ve come to really enjoy hockey games at Cornell. Maybe it’s the not-a-total-ripoff concession prices. Maybe it’s the outrageous student section cheering. Maybe it’s the allure that it’s one of the few Cornell sporting event students actually have to pay for. Whatever it is, it’s a lot of fun. And then there’s playing Harvard and dead fish on the ice.

    Accessibility: Whether by car or by bus, it is easy to get around in Ithaca. You pretty much have most of your everyday needs within a 15 minute ride – and that’s if you’re going to the other side of town. While larger cities also have lots to offer, I like the idea of being able to go to Home Depot or Walmart just as easy as a boutique furniture store or museum.

    Beer: There are lots of great options for beer. There are several truly craft breweries within a 15 minute drive of where I live. If I want an out-of-Ithaca import, there is the Finger Lakes Beverage Center which has one of the best beer-by-the-bottle selections I’ve seen, regardless of the size of the city. Then there are the cheap pitchers of cheap beer at the local non-college bars or the fact that the downtown gas station has the ability to fill up a growler.

    There are definitely more things that I enjoy about Ithaca, but those three have made the frigid temperatures a bit more bearable. Can’t wait to see if you agree. Also, here’s a picture of my new puppy and his Great Uncle (who is a friend’s dog), because who doesn’t love puppies. Or awesome dogs he can learn from.

    Jal muk get seum ni da; have a nice meal ; bon appetite!


    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    The Final Beginning

    February 5th, 2015

    Originally Posted: 1/19/2014 1:05 PM

    The semester ahead of me is a great unknown to me. Sure I know what classes I am taking (or at least hope to take if I get off the wait lists!), but a big unknown is what to do with all of the free time I will have. Seriously. As I reflect on the last 1.5 years of my life, creating free time was the hard part. Demands on my time were huge and from all aspects of my life.

    In the final semester, I won’t have a job search to worry about (I’ve signed with consulting firm Bain & Company – Chicago). I won’t have clubs to worry about since I’ve passed the torch onto a great group of first-year students for the various positions I’ve held. I won’t even be helping first-year students with career prep, which can take a large chunk of time. Furthermore, my course work is not too difficult as I’ll be taking a fairly low credit load. I won’t have quite the same free time as some of my classmates that are studying abroad and ending about the time our first quarter is done, but still, it’s a lot of free time.

    Thankfully, I’m not without ideas. My wife and I will be getting a dog and I’m super excited about it. I’m also TA-ing Intermediate Accounting, including teaching one day a week with undergrads. And who can forget about the bowling league which starts this week. I hear we have over 200 people signed up and there’s a wait list. That’s nearly half the school. Now that’s a strong community.

    I suppose that’s one of the things that makes going into this final semester kind of…emotional. I have some really good friends that I’ve made and it seems like no two of us are going to the same state, much less city. It’s an exaggeration, but is something that is both valuable to me and a little sad. It’s cool to know that I can travel the country, or even world, and have friends nearby. The sad (or perhaps exciting!) part is that I will have to travel to see them. With all the technology in the world, there’s nothing quite the same as meeting someone at the Chapter House, The Westy, or some other local bar.

    Interestingly, graduation typically has this “long time away yet right around the corner” feeling, but right now it only feels like the latter part of that phrase. Hotels have been sold out for months and dinner reservations for that weekend are secured. I’m already thinking about the fact that I’ll be moving and need to find a place to live. Holiday decorations are packed away knowing I’ll never see them up at the place that’s been my home for nearly four years. At a recent dinner the conversation was centered on what our Ithaca Bucket List entailed.

    Yes, this is a final beginning. But it is a beginning and I’m excited to make the most of it.

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    2nd Verse – Different From The First

    January 22nd, 2015

    Originally Posted: 12/4/2013 9:17 AM

    The 2nd year at Johnson is when you really make the experience your own. Besides some standard university requirements, you are free to customize your graduate experience. The main thing this means, at least relative to the Core, is that things are much less structured and coordinated. With each person doing something different, it cannot be as perfectly organized as the Core. This gives rise to a few key things to keep in mind.

    First, it means you take the classes that most interest you, both within and outside of Johnson. While other MBA programs may talk about people taking courses outside the school, at Johnson it is more common than not to have at least one class outside of the Johnson program; many people take several. This is easy to do because of the proximity to the other schools. There are several top-rated programs which are literally across the street from our building, Sage Hall. There is the Hotel School, Labor Relations, Engineering, Law, and a few more. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

    Second, things get very busy very quickly. As opposed to the constant marathon of the 1st year experience, the 2nd year is a series of sprints. Sometimes several sprints all at once. Because each person is in different classes, there is no way to coordinate such that 2 or 3 classes won’t have a paper or project due on the same day. While time management was critical to getting through the Core, crunch-time management is critical to getting through 2nd year.

    Lastly, as I alluded to in the prior paragraph, courses are much more project based. I would argue this is true even after the first semester of 1st year, but it is definitely reinforced 2nd year. Depending on your learning style this is either a blessing or a curse. Personally, I would like a bit more of a mix (disclaimer: it could just be the courses I’m taking). My semester is heavily dependent on papers and projects. In fact, I don’t have a single final. To 1st years currently going through the core this may sound fantastic, but I find that there are definite advantages. Finals ensure you know what the key points were from the course and “force” you to commit them to memory. Group projects are much more application based, but they may or may not reinforce the key concepts. You won’t even know if it was a swing and a miss until quite a bit after the course is over. There’s not time to go and re-learn it.

    In just over a week everything will be turned in. I will be 3/4 done with my degree. I will enjoy a nice long winter break. I will return for my final semester – and a course load that I’m pretty excited about.

    Good luck to all the 1st years who are in the process of submitting resumes for internships; good luck to all applicants who are in the process of starting their MBA journey!

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    Go Forth and Conquer

    January 8th, 2015

    Originally Posted: 11/3/2013 10:39 PM  

    When I started this year, one of my goals was to pay it forward. You can read all about my many escapades in my prior blog entries, but one of the roles I was really excited about was being the VP of Education for the Consulting Club. I had an amazing time at Accenture over the summer and am excited to be joining Bain & Company full-time after graduation. Both my summer and my new career were possible because when I was a first year, my 2nd years taught me so much.

    Today (Sunday) marked the last official meeting of the club for this year. We’ll still have some things running in the background, but in terms of actual meetings, it’s over. Wow. Those weeks flew by. It is a big deal in so many ways.

    First, it means that things are getting real for the class of 2015. We’ve been getting great feedback from firms on the overall performance of the class and, for that, we couldn’t be happier. And now, after all those weeks learning, the class of 2015 is on the home stretch. I bet even they don’t realize they’ll mostly be done interviewing within 3 months, but they will and I know they’ll be ready.

    Second, it means that I get my Sundays back :-). My co-VP and I run about 75%+ of the meetings since people are there to learn and we are there to teach. That means we were there every Sunday (and all the planning that went in before that) for the entire semester so far. It’ll be good to reclaim that time. There’s football to watch!

    Finally, it’s a big deal because it’s the beginning of the end for me. As involved as I have been this semester, elections are coming. 1st year students will be running for leadership positions and taking over roles and responsibilities of not just the consulting club, but other roles as well. As with any good institution, things at Johnson are built to be passed on. I’m excited to see the platforms of the next group. Excited to see where the club will go next. Excited to know that I’ll likely be back recruiting the product of their teaching next year. Still, it’s not without a bit of sadness that I turn over my role to the next class. It’s a lot of work, but it sure is rewarding.

    To the class of 2015 – you are going to do great. I know we’ll be doing lots of cases together before interviews start, but all of you should be proud of your accomplishments so far. Go forth and conquer.

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    Life of a Second Year

    December 18th, 2014

    Originally Posted: 9/17/2013 5:44 PM  

    Second year is a time of relaxing. You don’t have to go through the core. You’re taking all the classes that you want and can drop the ones you don’t want. Life is a party from Wednesday night on. Sure, there are some things to deal with from 1st year students, but that’s a minority of the time. Or at least that’s what I had in my head.

    The reality is much different but I am still having a fantastic time.

    I arrived back on campus August 25th and that evening was the first Consulting Club meeting where I co-run the education curriculum. The next two days were training for leading a 1st year core team (group of ~5 1st year students who do projects together). Then class resumed. That’s when the juggling act really started.

    Class has been really interesting. This is because the classes I’ve elected to take this semester don’t have finals, but projects. This is in stark contrast to the constant quiz/midterm/final process of first year. Interestingly, I almost want finals back. It’s pretty darn difficult to find time for group meetings in between everything else that is going on.

    So what classes am I taking? Cases in strategy, Pricing Strategy & Tactics, Women in Leadership, Oral & Written Communication, Johnson Leadership Fellows curriculum, and (of course) Introduction to Wines – the most failed class at Cornell. It’s a nice mix of topics and about as much as I can handle. Sadly, Introduction to Massage had to go. Really.

    Outside of class I am doing this (blogging), the Johnson Leadership Fellow role, Career Work Group Leader (career prep for 1st years), Student Council Operations Chair, Consulting Club VP of Education, Admissions Ambassador (on campus tours), and a TA for Intermediate Accounting (next semester, thankfully).

    So why does all of this matter to you? My hope is that it shows you just how engaged 2nd year students are at Johnson. I did mention it in my prior post, but now that I’m living it I thought it important to validate that it is both possible and very fulfilling.

    So the excessive partying may have to wait, but I sure am enjoying my time. Also, please note that it is only the excessive partying that has to wait. Regular partying is alive and well as demonstrated by my classmate who performed his fire dance routine at a recent house party.

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    Time for a Triumphant Return

    December 4th, 2014

    Originally Posted: 8/6/2013 10:02 PM  

    So what goes through the mind of a newly minted Johnson 2nd year? Wow. Let me pause on that for a moment. A 2nd year. I held on to my 1st year designation as long as possible because the first year was such an amazing experience; I didn’t want to let it go. I always said “next year’s first year students” but no longer. They have started their orientation, started building new friendships, and officially joined the Johnson family. There is no denying it. I am a Johnson second year. I hope those 1st year students read my shopping list.

    Okay, so back to the question of what’s going through my mind. The short answer is I am thinking of all the ways I can help the first year students. I am preparing for my return to campus and all of the activities I have signed up for. Johnson Leadership Fellow, Career Workgroup Leader, Student council, Consulting Club, TA positions, and a bunch of other things.

    Why is this what I am so focused on? Well, during first year it is easy to think of these activities as “resume builders”, but that is a mistake. The entire first year community is counting on the 2nd year students in positions similar to the ones I listed. I need to be thinking of what I want to accomplish in the next few months before I transition responsibilities. I need to be thinking of what knowledge I want to share because time is such a precious resource. It is this sort of thought and preparation – largely invisible except for mistakes – that makes the first year so enjoyable despite its rigor.

    After I am done thinking about all of that, I think about the classes I want to take. The things I want to experience during this time which is unlike any other in my life. But that’s for after we get things rolling for the Class of 2015. 🙂

    Will the second year be less intense than first year? I would say the clear answer, from an academic perspective, is yes. But will I be any less busy? Not if I can help it.

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    Beginnings and Endings

    November 20th, 2014

    Originally Posted: 6/6/2013 12:36 PM  

    As with any exciting adventure, time goes by quickly when you’re having fun. Curiously, I found my first year at Johnson to go by extremely fast as well as very slowly. When you’re in the middle of it, you can’t believe there is so much left to do before the quarter or semester ends. But sometimes, even if for a brief moment while having a beer with friends, you realize that you’ve actually accomplished a lot. That time has gone quite quickly and the road ahead is relatively short.

    Year one ended about as you would expect. A flurry of projects to be completed, both individual and group, as well as finals to study for. It was a little reminiscent of first semester in that school became all consuming for a stretch. Social functions dropped off and preparation for next year’s club activities and events took a back seat. Actually, if I’m honest, it probably still wasn’t as much work as first semester was. But after the fresh air of winter break and a lighter load 2nd semester it sure seemed like it!

    After courses finished up I took time to visit family and take a vacation. It was a good time to recharge before my internship with Accenture (Strategy – Chicago), which I start in a few days. I already have my orientation schedule and it appears days will be packed with wonderful learning opportunities and fun events to get to know my intern class.

    That’s all for now, but here’s a secret for you: as amazing as the last 10 months have been, I fully expect the next 12 to be even better.

    Congrats to the incoming class on your successful admission to a fantastic school. To those looking for next year, good luck!

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    Bibimbap Backpack at Johnson

    November 6th, 2014

    Originally Posted: 4/17/2013 6:55 PM  

    Today Johnson was able to host a fantastic group of individuals that are part of the Bibimbap Backpack organization. This was a highly anticipated event by many members of the community, a sense that was only heightened by its prominent location in the atrium, the heart of the Johnson community. Fortunately, we had a beautiful and sunny day here in Ithaca to welcome them.


    One of the 6 organizers, Sang Mi Lee, spoke with me before the event and offered an introduction of what to expect. She did an amazing job of helping me understand what the Bibimbap Backpackers were out to do. Shortly after, the event opened with a presentation by Su In Lee, where she shared the background of the organization (as well as that she was up at 5AM making our dessert, Hotteock)!


    The organization is still young, just 3 years old, but has been to over 15 countries since starting in 2011. This year they are focusing on top MBA programs across the country and the vibrant area of Silicon Valley to help introduce “leaders of the future” to this wonderful dish.


    I have never had the experience of sampling bibimbap, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I can certainly say, if you have the chance you should check this event out. The dish takes care of “Five a day the color way” which encourages the consumption of 5 colors of vegetables every day: black (mushrooms), green (spinach/beans), white (sprouts), yellow (egg), and red (carrot).  Besides looking great, it has a fantastic taste as well. The rice base, combined with the crunch of fresh vegetables makes for a satisfying mouthful. Top that off with the sweet and spicy magic sauce gochu, mix it up, and you have yourself a delicious, healthy, quick, and easy meal!

    I can certainly see why Johnson was so excited about the event. We had a lot of fun and it, interestingly, really embodies the Johnson spirit by promoting “harmony, peace, friendship, coexistence, and cooperation; where each ingredient is unique but comes together to create a new flavor”.

    They can count on one thing: this future leader’s opinion is that I’d take seconds!

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    All The Small Things

    October 23rd, 2014

    Originally Posted: 4/12/2013 9:36 AM 

    No matter what program you enter, academics are a big part of it (obviously!). Time is limited because of how much is going on between recruiting, club events, social connections, and coursework. Make sure you have a system in place to help you deal with the work load. Here’s a few tips from my experience that might help you.

    There will be lots of paper flying around and keeping track of it can be tough. My recommendation is the Five Star Stay-Put Folder. The reason I love this folder is that it’s made of a durable material that stands the test of time. It has the typical 2 pockets, but also has these little fold-down elements for the top that help you separate the material, effectively giving you four pockets. Add onto this the thin plastic case for random notes and the 3-prong holder and you have a very versatile folder.

    Plastic Tabs
    When reading or going through lecture, creating flags that tell you about that section makes studying or doing homework go so much faster. For this task I have 3 levels of tabs. First are the large 3″ tabs. These are prefect to divide large sections such as Notes and Exercises. You could use actual divider pages, but the tabs let you move them around as needed whereas the divider pages you are constrained to their layout. Second are 1″ mid size tabs. These are great for topic headings, but be careful not to get the flimsy ones – go for Durable. Finally, use small flags for specific formulas you want to remember. Stay away from the paper ones! they get bet very easily, so stick with plastic.

    I love to highlight things by topic. Something like a critical point might get a blue highlighter while a key formula might get yellow. It’s an easy way to draw your eye to exactly the type of information you are looking for. Personally, I got the pocket sized 5-color Target highlighters. They don’t bleed, the colors are not overly dark. They’re small and easy to tuck away. Those are the reasons I love that set of highlighters.

    Writing Tool
    You will be taking lots of notes, doing problem sets, and – probably – making mistakes along the way. For this reason I take a pencil and eraser to all of my classes. Of course, I also have some pens along for the ride, but I tend not to use them most of the time. Interestingly, I found that when I’m writing that much, some pencils worked better than others (in terms of ease of use) and mechanical pencils were way better than standard pencils. I did a lot of research to find the best mechanical pencil for a reasonable price. It is with great confidence that I can recommend the Pentel Sharp Automatic Pencil (0.5mm). This pencil is fantastic because it has a solid grip, nice weight, and sharp point. The only drawback is it has a very small built in eraser, but that’s why I bring my own eraser. The eraser is always the first thing to go on any pencil anyway.

    So that’s my advice to incoming students: take the time to get your things organized at the beginning and it will make your life that much easier down the road. It really is the small stuff like the things I listed above that makes the whole process that much easier.

    Some of it may seem silly right now, but when you’re exhausted after a long week and taking an open note final you’ll wish you had listened to me.

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.

    Business and Bowling

    October 9th, 2014

    Originally Posted: 2/6/2013 6:26 PM

    One of the things that you hear a lot about when looking at schools is fit. What is the class dynamic like? Do you actually get to meet everyone in your class or is it just limited to a section? All of these are great questions and things one really needs to think about, both for an MBA but also for a full time offer.

    If you’ve done much research on Johnson, you know that it is a very close knit community. Students really do hang out with one another, both in and outside of the career path they are looking at. While there are many examples I can give, perhaps the biggest is the bowling league.

    The bowling alley is 16 lanes, 4 people per team, and two time slots every Friday. Some quick math tells you that that’s 128 people involved. Then, since there are always scheduling conflicts each 4 person team actually has about 6 people (mine has 8). So that’s about 192 people. Add to that people that come and are not even on a team, and you easily have over 200 people coming out to bowl every Friday during the Spring semester.

    That makes it roughly 1/3 of the student body is out together having a great time.

    Think about that! One out of every 3 people in the whole school come out together every week. That is something special. That is what we mean when we talk about the Johnson community.

    Side note: the average score is probably around or less than 100, so bowling skill is not required.

    Part of a series of my re-postings of my blog for the “Life @ Johnson” section of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University MBA program website.