Thursday, September 23, 2010

One set of exams . . . and then another?

To summarize: Term I exams done (sweet). But the real test has been this week: Can I get a company to like me so much that I get an internship offer? It's very easy to forget at Darden that the main goal of this place is to help you find a career that fits well with who you are. Or as I like to put, I came to Darden to figure out what I want to be when i grow up (note: estimated date of growing up is somewhere in the 2020 to 2030 range right now). And that is where this Briefings Week comes into play. There are no classes, no cases, no Learning Team, just me, my peers and more than 30 companies. It's like Speed Dating except instead of likes & dislikes you are talking about "fit", "lifestyle" and "skill sets". It's kind of exciting to hear from people who are experts in their field and world class companies.

For example, in one day yesterday I went to presentations by Target, UPS, 3M and a couple of top consulting firms. And these weren't presentations by an HR rep and a few recent employees, these were senior level employees including, directors, partners, and vice presidents. It's amazing to me that these people would come all the way to Charlottesville because they are interested in hiring me. "Me" being any Darden student, trust me they are definitely not looking for me.

As cool as the presentations are, it’s important to remember they still are a test. These companies are looking to see that you not only have an interest, but also are willing to do detailed research and engage with them. That part is daunting and “pit diving” is definitely scarier than the first time I jumped off the diving board into my neighbor’s pool when I was a kid. “Pit Diving” by the way, essentially means talking to the recruiters/presenters have the briefing (I know, I need to do a blog dictionary, its coming soon). There are basically three ways it can go: good, bad, or the recruiter doesn’t even remember talking to you. For right now, I think I’m fine being that last one because I am still trying to figure what exactly I’m supposed to say and do.

So wish me luck as I leave to go dive into some murky waters. I’m pretty sure I did ok on my actual class exams, but I have no idea how I am doing on the most important one of all.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Am I growing up?

So this past Friday night I decided to stay in. Not because I had something to do Saturday morning, or was particularly tired from the week, but just because I wanted to. Which wouldn't be a big deal except that I did the same thing the previous week. I'm pretty sure you'd have to go back to the 1990's to find the last time I purposefully stayed in two Friday nights in a row. And again, it wasn't that I had anything pressing to do, I just wanted to get up early, get ahead on some work, do some laundry, and get a good workout in. That's not even the half of it though. Here are a few other things I've started doing in the past two weeks for the first time in my life:
  1. Eating a healthy breakfast every day - granola bar, fruit, and yogurt
  2. Waking up a little extra early to read the morning paper
  3. Actually doing homework
  4. Hosting a group of people and offering more than a bottle of Beam and a case of Natural Light. I invited my Learning Team over for cocktails on Friday afternoon, and you should have seen the spread I put out.
This all leads to one question: What is happening to me?

Even after only a few weeks, I think Charlottesville as changed me. B-school has changed me. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm liking it. It's like for the first time I can see what I really want for myself in the future and, more importantly, I have the tools to get me there. The craziest part of it is though, now I am more than willing to make the commitment to go after that. This new-found drive is something I have never felt before, and I'm sure that is a product of Darden and its community.

Darden is a completely different environment than I've ever been in. First, a lot of people in my class are married or engaged, and many of children. I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate a place where many of my peers have families of their own. Not only that, these people are obsessed with success but still interesting, friendly, and social. I don't think I've met many people that had both those characteristics before (in my previous experience, success-obsessed people are usually extremely boring). Whatever it is, my classmates are convincing me that I too can be driven and not have to completely change myself. And that's why I don't feel bad at all staying in on a Friday night for no good reason.

Now, before I get too wishy-washy trying to explain my feelings, that was just Friday. Thursday and Saturday nights were completely different stories. Thursday was the section social events where first-years party with there second-year section counterparts. In section E we used this as an excuse to have a keg race, first-years vs. second-years. All I can say after doing my first keg race in three years is this: I've still got it. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was a major factor in the first-year's victory. And I base that mostly on the headache I had Friday morning. Then on Saturday, I finally got to experience college football as a student at a big state school. And it was awesome. To break down: tailgate, food, beer, game (w/ flask, obviously), UVA crushing Richmond, more food, bar hopping on the Corner, then back to my place in Ivy Gardens. All with my classmates (mostly the single ones).

So, in other words, I have changed, but maybe not that much.