Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adios Term 1!

Ah.. I miss this. I miss sitting down in my room and using my laptop for anything else but spreadsheets and Crystal ball models. I've been MIA from the blogging scene lately since I devoted the past two weeks for final exam preparations which comprised of re-doing cases and spreadsheets from scratch, creating review notes and attending our section reviews. More time spent in school and burning the midnight oil, less time exercising, eating and sleeping.. and yet, the exams were still a (forecasting) surprise for me. Another one of Darden's bootcamp treats I guess.

After 5 short weeks, Term 1 has officially ended. In another 4-5 weeks, our 2nd set of final exams will have me stressfully juggling between acadmemics and recruitment demands.

Silver linings:
(1) I'm learning new perspectives, new approaches, new tools and new models that I think I can actually use when I go back to the workforce. Our Decision Analysis (DA) class taught us regression and statistical models that were very similar to the Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) that my company used to pay an arm and a leg for before. The MMM was always an uncomprehensible black box to me, needing an uber analyst's IQ to execute. But learning the tools and methods taught in class, I think I just might take a crack at being a not-so-uber analyst.
(2) I'm getting my money's worth. Some people say that an MBA is mostly networking and party time. Not at Darden. Definitely not. I wish they'd let us squeeze in more time for networking and parties. Hint: A 50-50 split is not bad at all.

So with Term 1 over and Term 2 already tapping us in the shoulder, we are moving on to a bit of Recruitment preparations--company briefings and networking events. Both are very new to me but will be surprising and exciting I'm sure.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Random Friday Thoughts

So I'm sitting here in my room on a Friday before movie night.. There's a football game going on now which was supposed to be my first American football experience but I was smart enough to log it in my Saturday schedule. Hopefully there's another one soon. There's a lot going on in my head right now. I can't really structure my thoughts clearly hence the apt title "Random Friday Thoughts."

Another Darden week went by leaving me breathless (once again). It's only been three weeks but with the unbelievably fast pace that we're going, it feels like it's been months too many! Classes this week have definitely been harder. Last week, we were learning about price-volume-profit scenarios in our Decision Analysis class. It was pretty simple for me since these things are exactly what I was doing in my job. Then suddenly we move forward to learning how to simulate scenarios using the Crystal Ball program. We're combining concepts of analyzing uncertainty, probability distributions, NPV simulations into spreadsheet modelling, Crystal ball and tornado sensitivities! We've tackled real-life cases about Oracle softwares, Overhaul engine services, Natural-resource explorations, and Cogeneration plants! I made a clear mental note to myself never to get into these crazily complex businesses. I was re-introduced to long-ago math concepts of normal/uniform/triangular/gamma distributions. All in four very short days. Talk about intense. Seriously. It felt like going from first gear to fifth gear. It's a miracle the engine is still purring.

On the bright side, I'm still enjoying the learning experience very much. It's amazing and amusing how the case method actually plays out well even in quantitative classes. There are some times though that I'm sitting there confused and frustrated that I want a time-out and in dire need of a shift to lecture mode. But I'm keeping my faith in the process. Let's see how long I can keep up. Two years less three weeks is a pretty long time!