When we came back from IAP, I could see the sense of relief on all the first-year faces. Everyone rejuvenated, ready to face the brand-new world of choice, of personal decisions, of electives. Surely, those late night hours and the demands of the core would be gone. I just did not have the heart to tell them that all those demands continue, but it is self-inflicted! However, today, with the $50K deadline looming and H1 projects nearing completion, we are all facing the truth of what it is to be a Sloanie: We just can’t sit still. There is too much to try, too much to learn, and a glut of opportunity.
Speaking of too much to try — in a week I will be off to Korea. I am overjoyed. I just spent five weeks traveling, during January, throughout Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia) with one other second-year. We were fortunate to meet up with a G-Lab team in Vietnam and another student that (through complete luck) we literally passed as we were walking down the middle of the street in Hoi An, Vietnam. Now I get to meet with top leaders in the public and private sectors in Korea. There are about 30 of us going, most of whom are from the same first-year ocean (a.k.a. 60-person cohort). We so enjoyed our first semester together that we are teaming up for 10 more days. For the past couple of weeks the Korea class has met to learn about the history, the culture, and the economic and social climate as a way to inform our trek (and it happens to have been taught by some the most knowledgeable instructors in the world).
However, SIP and spring break seem very far away. My classes are heating up and will probably not relent until then. I am working with the World Bank and social entrepreneurs by providing pro-bono consulting services for two international development projects for my Entrepreneurship Without Borders class. I have just finished a presentation for my Global Classroom course, where my team from MIT and China presented our thoughts on how, through product differentiation, consumer product companies can help alleviate poverty. I need to work through some Corporate Finance cases, as well as make some real progress on my outside-of-school research projects and volunteer curricula development.
On top of that, I am just now beginning to look at life outside of MIT Sloan: time for a job, time to pay back some loans. I have begun to describe what I am looking for in the world of blended organizations (part for-profit, part non-for-profit) and now I need to find the fit. I suppose I should feel more stressed, more anxious, but I just don’t (at least not yet). My summer internship experience was so positive — I ended up with multiple offers — that I feel confident that if I wait for the dream opportunity I will feel much more satisfied. We shall see...
MIT Sloan is abuzz — first-years are celebrating finishing the Core and second-years are getting ready to travel the world during IAP. I have just turned in my final paper of the semester. One more meeting before I am on the plane headed across the world. I can't wait!
The end of semester at MIT Sloan is a whirlwind. Not only are you finishing up projects, presenting your results, and cramming for finals, but you are also in a perpetual mode of celebration. In the past few weeks, I attended the Latin C-Function (amazing dancing), the talent show (everything from opera singers and poetry to stand-up comics) and my favorite, the Sloan Auctions.
This year there were three different types of auctions. We kicked off with the faculty auction with auction block items, including a business plan review and dinner with Ken Morse. Immediately following the faculty auctions, the second-years held a class auction and the first-years held their ocean auctions. My fellow second-years auctioned everything from home-cooked Korean meals to flights to Martha's Vineyard and options in a start-up. We raised $18,000 for Doctors without Borders, Toys for Tots, and the MIT Sloan Non-Profit Internship Fund (MITSNIF).
I was particularly excited about the contribution to MITSNIF. MITSNIF gives MBA students an opportunity to explore non-profit careers without financial distress. MITSNIF funds students interning over the summer at local, national, and international non-profit organizations through both a matching program and a newly installed Fellowship program. I am proud and thankful that the MIT Sloan community is so supportive of the program.
And now it is time for IAP. My friends will be off in Panama, China, Turkey, Brazil, the Philippines; you name the country and I'll bet an MIT Sloan student will be there in January. Others will take part in IAP courses. Some will take classes to meet academic requirements such as the Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans or Distributed Leadership Workshop. The best classes may be those that are just for fun, like the highly oversubscribed In Vino Veritas (aka the classic wine appreciation class).
I am off to Southeast Asia where I'll be traveling for the entire IAP period. It's times like these - when I have the opportunity to travel the world and explore my role as a global citizen -that I'm able to appreciate how lucky I am and take advantage of one of the many opportunities afforded by MIT Sloan.
It's almost Thanksgiving!?! I can't believe how quickly this semester has gone!
In a blink of an eye I can think back to the first week of school. Having just returned from intern summer, I had a mini-reunion with my core team. Over wine and burgers at one of my teammate's houses, we talked for hours, catching up on everything from our travels and day-to-day life, to emerging trends in media, corporate finance, and the operations world. I also shared the story of my incredible summer internship in D.C. at Ashoka. Led by Bill Drayton, Ashoka finds, invests in, and connects the world's leading social entrepreneurs. I was fortunate to spend 10 weeks of complete immersion in the field of social entrepreneurship, learning from some of the most influential citizen sector leaders.
I returned to my second year at MIT Sloan with a sense of urgency, soaking in everything I could from the MBA program while I still had the chance. And so, this semester, I have been very busy.
I am leading the MIT Sloan Net Impact chapter; I am a first-year pilot; I'm taking a range of courses: Sustainability from TPP (the Technology and Policy Program), Developmental Entrepreneurship out of the Media Lab (you must see this place), Spanish I (with MBAs and undergrads), and several pure MIT Sloan classes, including System Dynamics taught by none other than John Sterman, Econometrics (think Freakonomics) and Consumer Behavior (where my final project was developing a new brand of cosmetics).
Last weekend I headed out to California for the National Net Impact Conference. Eighteen students from MIT Sloan, including myself, with generous support from the MBA Program office, traveled to Stanford to learn about a multi-sector approach to social impact work. The conference offered tracks ranging from corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investing, to social entrepreneurship and community development. It was an extraordinary chance to learn more about my classmates, connect with like-minded students across the country, and engage with industry professionals to gain a better understanding about long-term opportunities in the field.
This weekend I'm off to Chicago for the Reaching Out 2005 MBA Conference. Like I said, I'm soaking it all in.