Archive for the ‘School life’ Category

Not perfect, but trying…

This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a couple of weeks.  Nothing is perfect and Darden, not surprisingly, is no exception…  Over the past year and a half almost there’ve been a few things that have bothered me and that I wished were different.  That is to be expected and as a student you are deceiving yourself if you think otherwise about any school.  I can’t speak about those other schools, but Darden is very good at listening, collecting and attempting to correct problems and complaints.  There is of course that long FY survey everyone completes in the spring of their first year, and the detailed analysis that is completed over the summer with the results distributed to the whole school, but there is more.  There is action.  I have two examples which affected me personally and which have been remedied.  

First, as an aspiring entrepreneur who came to Darden knowing that I wanted to start a company right after graduation I was disappointed last year that there was no specific entrepreneurship track.  At times I felt like I was being guided into a more traditional banking or consulting direction and that was frustrating.  I think there must have been a few of us who felt that way last year and some of my classmates worked with the administration and the CDC to create a career track just for us.  Not only that, but it was actually implemented this year, so the wonderful entrepreneurs of the Darden 2010 could take advantage of it right away!  I hope that they found it helpful.  

Second issue really reared its head for me this year.  Darden is very lucky to have a parking garage right next to the school, however we do have to pay for passes to park there.  Last year I drove to class pretty much every day and so the $600+ fee didn’t bother me so much.  This year, however, I’ve been carpooling with my fiance.  In Q1 he was able to drop me off every morning and so I never drove to class, but in Q2 my schedule allows us to carpool only half the week, which means that I must drive some days.  I’m also not going to be in Charlottesville much after Q3, so when I went to the department of transportation I asked for a temporary pass to last me just until the end of this semester.  Much to my dismay I was informed that I must buy one for the full year, or what’s left of it.  That was almost $500!  You can imagine my delight when I received an email from our DSA President that Darden has decided to make changes to parking rules.  Not only can I now buy a temporary permit, I can actually buy a booklet of 10 1-time use permits which encourages carpooling! That’s in addition to changing the time when you can park in the garage for free from 5PM to 3:30PM.  This change was in response to some afternoon shift workers start at 4PM and who’ve had to pay full price just to park in the garage for a hour.  Amazing!  Not only am I saving money but I also feel like I’m being rewarded and encouraged to do my part for the environment.  

It’s nice to know that while not perfect, Darden is listening and evolving to meet my needs and concerns.  

Business Concept Competition Finals

Here are some pictures from the Darden UVa Business Concept Competition Finals.  Right now I really need a nap, but I will edit later with the actual results.  In the meantime check out LifeBlogDarden for some great coverage of the event.  

Life Sciences & Hi-Tech Teams

Life Sciences & Hi-Tech Teams

Consumer Goods & Services Teams

Consumer Goods & Services Teams

TeleMed Africa Team

TeleMed Africa Team

Philippe Sommer awarding Consumer Goods & Services Category winners

Philippe Sommer awarding Consumer Goods & Services Category winners

MJ, she's instrumental

MJ, she's instrumental

LifeBlogDarden author

LifeBlogDarden author

Late nights

The week from hell is over.  Let’s recap.  Stayed up until 4AM Sunday night working on combo of presentation on Bumrungrad International for Integration & Innovation in Services and business plan for Venture Capital classes.  On Monday we were the last of 5 groups presenting in Integration & Innovation in Services class.  Ran out of time a bit, although we did do two run-throughs prior to class, hopefully it won’t have a big impact on our grades.  Spent the rest of the day working on business plan for VC and presentation on Etsy for Networked Business Seminar class.  Up until 3AM that night.  

Decided to print our business plan in color on Tuesday morning, which meant that fiance had to take me by his office to print.  Yes, we carpool now.  Saving on gas and helping out with the environment.  Yay!  Very close call thanks to Charlottesville traffic - had to run to class since business plan was due right at 10AM. Tuesday was a crazy long day too. Was there from 10AM until about 9:10PM without leaving once.  By the way, Networked Business Seminar is the longest class ever!  Three hours.  My group had 1.5 hours to give our presentation aka lead class discussion.  Now even more impressed with what Darden professors do so well.  We tried to make sure we have lots of questions and other ways to stimulate and lead the case discussion.  At times, I swear I could hear crickets chirping, but overall I think we did a great job.  After that class got out at 7:30, I had half an hour to myself, followed by a meeting with my group to prep for the Dollar Tree negotiation.  This was for Entrepreneurial Thinking class.  At 8:30 we met with the other team and tried to negotiate a deal.  By the time we reached an agreement it was 9:10.  Unfortunately, my day didn’t end there.  After getting home it was time to put the finishing touches on the prototype for the Developing New Products and Services design fair.  We were building a website and thankfully I have some experience with that.  Bed time - 1AM.  Not bad.  Although, I officially drink coffee now.  

 

Team at the design fair

Team at the design fair

Wednesday wasn’t too bad, except for the fact that I have 8AMs late week.  Was groggy but managed to make it through Valuation and Entrepreneurial Thinking without falling asleep.  I think.  Design fair went well, my group didn’t win overall, but we got “best presentation” award.  Plus, afterward one of the judges gave us excellent feedback.  The other teams also did an amazing job (I would tell you what the projects were but I don’t want to give away any trade secrets).  I’m sure our professor was very relieved that everyone pulled it together.  I was home by 5PM and 30 minutes into my three hour nap by 6PM.  It was glorious.  I woke up for a couple of hours to prep my valuation case and went back to sleep.

 

Thursday was a breeze compared to the beginning of the week.  It was the last day of classes for all late week courses.  We even had pizza in Developing New Products & Services class.  I then enjoyed a very nice long nap prior to watching the debate.  Thankfully Friday was a reading day.

Time flies when you’re having fun

Seriously.  Q1 is pretty much over, in fact by Tuesday next week I’ll be done with the deliverables for two of my six classes.  Not too bad.  What is bad, is that until then I have hardly a free minute to myself.  The hardest part about SY to me is managing all the group projects.  Last year we all had the same classes and thus the professors knew more or less how much work and time we had to dedicate to their subjects.  That is a little bit harder to accomplish this year.  Class load varies greatly, not to mention the amount of work each class requires.  Take that into account and try coordinate meetings with 3-4 of my classmates working on 4 different projects and phew!  See, that’s even hard to explain.  

The quarter flew by though.  And I have a feeling that the rest of this year will too.  Especially with all the traveling I’m planning on doing - Spain over winter break, Argentina or France for GBE, then destination wedding and finally honeymoon in Russia.  Woohoo!

Moving on to more mundane things - I am still looking for a recommendation for shoe cobbler / repair in Charlottesville.  Anyone?  I’ve searched online and while a few places come up, none of them have reviews.  I guess I might have to chance it.

SY, it’s different…

I’m entering week 2 of SY and already I have noticed a ton of differences between this year and last.  And no, I can’t say that I have any more time than I did last year, but then again I am taking a  heavy load.  I think last week I just completely mismanaged my time.  Between 6 classes and a bunch of meetings, I hardly had time to prepare my cases and ended up staying up way too late all week.  Nobody to blame but myself, of course.  Anyway, moving on to some actual differences.

1. I actually like all of my classes so far.  I guess that’s what happens when you get to pick them out yourself.

2. Group projects.  Group projects.  Group projects.  In four of my six classes the major part of the final grade will depend on a large group project.  For Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital we will write a business plan.  For Developing New Products and Services we will actually come up with a new idea and come up with a prototype.  It will definitely be a time committment but I am excited.  Especially about the Developing New Products class.

3. Guest speakers.  I have already had 3 guest speakers between two of my classes.  Entrepreneurship and VC class had John Taylor, the VP of Research, from the National Venture Capital Association come and speak to us during the first session.  John May the founder and managing partner of New Vantage Group was at the second class during which we actually did a case about the New Vantage Group.  And in the Developing New Products and Services class we saw Mark Wilson the founder and president of Curvware, Inc.  I’m not sure if his product will revolutionize the way we eat, but I definitely think it has great potential for people with certain health problems and disabilities.

4. The biggest difference is probably that I already know what to expect.  I know some of the professors, I know how to do cases, I know how cold calling works.  And now with classes that I actually like, I know what I want to get out of them.

Sticker Shock

I wonder if it’s true that the older you get the faster time goes by. It sure feels like it sometimes. Certainly, my week at the beach was not nearly long enough. It was very relaxing however, and it was nice to spend time with my family.  Unfortunately, realization that school is about to start came quickly as I started receiving emails from my professors with assignments for the first week of classes.  I also spent a couple of hours on Wednesday morning trying to rearrange my schedule a bit and pick up some classes.  I wasn’t able to get everything I wanted and my Q3 seems a little heavy but I’ll keep trying.  I am excited about picking up a GBE to India over spring break though.  Woohoo!

This morning I got up bright and early, okay okay, it was around 9 and headed to the Darden Exchange book store to pick up my books and texts for Q1.  Wow!  I’ve totally forgotten how expensive books are!  I walked out $450 lighter but weighed down by two very heavy bags.  I do have to say that I really like the bound booklets for SY cases vs. the loose leaf packets from FY.  Aside from the course books I also have two text books which I’m going to order online used, since the bookstore is all out of used copies.  I think I’ll save almost $100 by going through AbeBooks.  And that’s including expedited shipping.

Before I head off to do some reading for tomorrow, here’s a run-down of my classes for this quarter:

Early Week:

  • Venture Capital
  • Integration & Innovation in Services - The New Economy
  • Networked Business Seminar

Late Week:

  • Valuation in Financial Markets
  • Entrepreneurial Thinking
  • Developing New Products & Services

Career Options

FY is in full swing for the class of 2010.  I just came back from sitting on a panel during the Entrepreneurship Forum.  I know it’s just the beginning of the year and everyone hasn’t gotten sucked into attending recruiting events just yet, but I’m excited to say that it feels like there’s a good number of entrepreneurs in that class.  I hope they continue exploring it as a serious career option.  I know that I am very happy to be where I am today and I look forward to talking to first years about their ideas and business plans.

Personally, my calendar is already filling up with meeting requests and club fairs and all that good stuff that comes along with Darden.  Soon I’ll be checking my calendar reminders to tell me exactly where I need to be at any given time.  Until then though I’m off to the beach for a week.  See y’all in a few!

BoBs in good company

I seriously thought that this quarter I would have a lot more time. How wrong! Although the class and homework load does seem to be a little bit lighter, or at least much better distributed, I’m inundated by group projects, club meetings, various applications, summer work plans, etc.. Granted, I do enjoy all of my classes so much more this quarter. I suppose it’s because I actually picked 3 of them. Speaking of picking classes… We are supposed to put in our bids for all of next year and wow, it is much tougher than I thought.

The whole first year class received three files - a word document with instructions and two excel files, one with quarter schedules and one with a list of all classes offered. In addition, you can download a pdf with historical bid point information (min, max, avg, and std deviation) for each course offered this year. The sheer volume of all this information caused me to keep putting off choosing classes for a good week. Finally my boyfriend took mercy on me and shared the spreadsheet he used to pick his classes last year. And although I had to spend a good hour populating the spreadsheet with the most recent bid history and current course offerings, it was a great help. Now I just have to get myself to log on and submit my bids.

My incubator application is in and I’m a bit nervous. I think I have a great idea and I put in a lot of time into researching and writing the executive summary but there are quite a few people applying and not that many spots available. Please keep your fingers crossed for me! Though, I think that regardless of whether I am admitted or not, I will be here in Charlottesville working on getting it off the ground.

By the way, I just found out that I and four other Darden bloggers have been nominated for the BoB by Clear Admit. In addition, a future Dardenite was nominated in the applicant bloggers category. Congrats on the nominations everyone! BTW, check out the new pictures of all the Darden bloggers.

AK47s and Mental Accounting

Week one of Q4 is done and so far I’m loving it. No classes before 10, which means that I have that extra time in the morning to either sleep in or get some work done. Even with a 10AM start, I’m still done by 1:10 early week, which makes me feel like I have all the time in the world. I was actually just talking about that with some of my classmates yesterday at the gym. With recruiting being over for most people and more flexible schedules, everyone is starting to feel a lot more relaxed. All of a sudden people are finding time to get their cases done, go to the gym, cook dinners, and still be in bed by 10PM. Amazing!

First impressions of my current classes:

LO & Ethics - interesting material, but I find it hard to participate in class so far. Either I don’t have much to say or someone right before me makes the same point I had. Will have to work on that.

Marketing Intelligence - so far so good. Started off the quarter with a topic that called out to the Russian in me - the branding options for the Kalashnikov name. Followed that up with mental accounting in class #2. While some people found the technical note a bit dry, I though it was very interesting. Mental account is definitely something I do often. For example, when I buy something on sale I tend to say that I saved $200 rather than that I spent $100. Of course I know the difference but it feels much better to think that I actually saved money.

Data Analysis and Optimization - really enjoying this class so far. We started with data optimization. Using solver a lot.

Strategic Communication - qualitative class, seems to be very brand focused so far.

Things to do:

  • File loan applications for next year
  • Decide which idea is the most viable and apply to the incubator
  • Start writing a business plan… or at least get the executive summary done
  • Register to vote (new citizen!)
  • Figure out what to get my parents for their upcoming anniversary
  • Plan trip to Russia
  • Get back in the gym!

Almost half way done…

Wow, spring break was not nearly long enough! It doesn’t help of course that I was sick the majority of the week but I guess at least I got to sleep a lot. Classes start tomorrow, though not until 10AM for me thankfully, with LO and Marketing Intelligence. I’m pretty excited to only have two classes early week, and not have any 8AMs at all this quarter.

To kick the quarter off early and set the tone for all of next year, the newly elected officers of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club had a hearty discussion over a welcome-back dinner tonight. There are many good ideas and projects in the air, let’s hope that everyone remains this enthusiastic during our year of reign. And in spirit of that enthusiasm, we have two more meetings scheduled this week. The weekly Wednesday evening meeting and the meeting on Thursday with the Philippe Sommer, Director of Entrepreneurship to discuss the vision of the new leadership team. Meetings seem to be the theme of the week. Darden bloggers are also meeting on Thursday. Plus, I’m hoping to set up a meeting this week with a potential faculty adviser for the Retail and Luxury Goods Club.

Other things to do besides meetings:

  • File loan applications for next year
  • Decide which idea is the most viable and apply to the incubator
  • Start writing a business plan… or at least get the executive summary done
  • Register to vote (new citizen!)
  • Figure out what to get my parents for their upcoming anniversary
  • Plan trip to Russia
  • Get back in the gym!
Categories
  • Mohop shoes August 24, 2008
    This is a really neat concept of using one wood and rubber shoe base and an innovative patent-pending straping system to “create” a virtually unlimited number of sandals.  In fact, the mohop website states that their shoe has been dubbed the “infinity sandal.”  Aside from potentially saving the custumer money by eliminating the need to [...]