Getting Ready for Columbia Business School, Running, et cetera

Friday, April 14, 2006

Columbia Open House - Day 1

Marina has already written about her experiences at Open House, but I wanted to throw in my two cents.

I got in to town on Wednesday night with three other guys from the DC admits crew. After I dropped off my stuff, I went down to Social, where some NYC admits had set up a happy hour. I was there for about six hours, leaving at 2am, when there was one admit still there, talking with some Irish women. Before then, I had managed to talk myself hoarse, because the other admitted students were so great to hang out with.

The next morning brought breakfast with a welcome coffee, some breadstuffs, and a plastic bag that contained a nametag, a folder with our itinerary and some maps, as well as a t-shirt. I was pleased to finally get some free stuff. The dean then gave a speech about why I should go to Columbia. If I hadn’t sent in my ED deposit four months ago, this might have been valuable. Luckily I was able to sit on a window ledge through this; I felt bad for all the folks who had to stand.

Next up we divided into the clusters listed on our nametags-which won’t be our clusters in August-and did some icebreaker activities. I really enjoyed this, probably because a) I’m a dork, and b) I may still have been drunk from the previous night.

After that was lunch, with a different group of people, then back with my cluster for a class on negotiation. This class was great! I had to negotiate with another DC admit, and I was scared, because his job is basically to negotiate all day long. We acted out our roles for 20 minutes, and then the whole class did a post-mortem that helped me think about what to do next time I have to try to get what I want. Great class, even though I’m not good at negotiating.

The next class was Bruce Greenwald attacking Thomas Friedman’s thesis from “The World is Flat”. I’m not sure that I agreed with Professor Greenwald, but I appreciated being in an academic environment where people argue for things that I haven’t considered. Seriously, in business school, who says that globalization is neither beneficial for companies nor inevitable?

Then there was a reception (more free stuff!), a happy hour, and the LABA party. I had to take a nap through the first half of the reception, but this allowed me to make it out until 2 again.

The happy hour really seemed like a pick-up bar, so I asked a current student whether people actually hook-up, given that you then have to see one another for the next two years, all the time. Surprisingly, the answer was definitely yes. Lots of people hook up, and relationships (even marriages) that come into business school often don't make it much longer. I thought that this would be more… mature? Perhaps conservative is the word that I'm looking for? Of course, I hung out with party people, so I may have gotten a skewed view of things.

The LABA party is supposed to be one of the best events of the year, and I certainly enjoyed it. I danced and drank and talked and drank... Again, the Columbia admitted students are wonderful! They're smart, fun, have interesting stories and responses to things that I say, etc. I am overjoyed with my class.


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