Friday, August 27, 2010


Due to network problems, this is a late publish, supposedly for Thursday. I guess Friday wanted the "F" back, and rightfully so as it's obviously a Friday now.
Happy weekend everyone!

Okay. So those last two letters aren't exactly the conventional "F" that fits in your weekend welcome banner. But with my life at Darden now, it fits aptly. I don't think I've ever looked forward to Thursdays as I do now--with arms wide open.

For the past week, I've started my new routine as an MBA student. It's one that I sort of expected I guess but the extremity of it still caught me offguard. It goes something like this:

6:40 Wake up, get ready for school and eat breakfast
7:40 Walk to school
8:00 First Class
9:30 First Coffee (A Darden tradition where students meet at PepsiCo forum for coffee or tea and chat informally)
10:00 Second Class
11:45 Third Class (I'm so hungry this time that I nibble some crackers in class)
13:10 Lunch (I usually pack some lunch and eat at the cafeteria or if I'm not too hungry, I rush home and make a decent meal)
14:00 Read/Study/Prepare for the next day's cases. We have three cases to discuss everyday, with usually two spreadsheets to prepare. Cases vary from being 2-page or 20-page long or even one thick annual report. The tricky part is studying the note discussions/lectures as well since you need this for case context.
I like studying in school, away from the temptations of my soft bed but oftentimes the school AC is too cold for me. So some days I study at home and (un-intentionally) catch some ZZZs.
19:00 I meet with my Learning Team in school. Learning teams are groups of 5-6 students from different sections and diverse backgrounds. Your LT is your support group. Each one has a specific strength (whether Finance, Marketing, Operations, or Accounting) to provide good insights for the team to better analyze the class cases.
21:00 We get lucky sometimes and end within an hour and a half or two. I have a bit of time to spare so I hit the running track, gym or the tennis court. I need to keep the blood circulating amidst the schoolwork frenzy. The other night, I was running in the treadmill while reading the thick reading for our Leading Organizations (LO) class. I realize how insane it is but time is always of the essence these days.
22:00 I go back to my apartment, eat (if I'm hungry), catch up with some emails, review the next day's cases, finish the lengthy LO readings, type out the LO homework and sometimes do the Career Management assessments.
00:00 I finally hit the sack utterly exhausted.

The next day, the sun rises and the cycle starts all over again...until Thursday. See, we get Fridays free. Darden has taken last year's student feedback and this year implemented a 'no-classes on Friday' curriculum. Fridays are reserved for recruitment events such as company briefings, recruitment socials, interviews, etc. Since recruitment season is a few weeks away for now, we are temporarily savoring the freedom.

Right now, I sense that all this sounds insanely impossible to keep up with and just damn tiring. But I also know that it's mostly because the routine is new and the transition from work life to student life is no easy feat. So, I'll give it more time and wait for myself to get the hang of things.

Meanwhile, let me enjoy this beautiful night called Thursday night. And just like any true Dardenite, I'll be heading off to TNDC. Thursday Night Drinking Club is a Darden tradition where Darden students go to a bar and celebrate the survival of one hellish week. It's really just a roomful of tired students drinking beer and talking about everything but the schoolwork and cases. But to us, it's that lucid interval where we catch a short glimpse of our lives before MBA.

Cheers Darden 2012!

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