Categories, Cases, and Caseus!

October 21, 2011

Hello world! My name is Dwight Tran '13. You can read all about me on my profile - however, my identity can be summed up in three defining categories by my peers:

Google (a.k.a. Ex-googler, Xoogler)

  1. Polo (the kind with horses)

  2. Parrots (not Parents)

So how do these play together? Well, yes, I used to work at Google and therefore am the quintessential San Francisco Bay area guy (who is slowly realizing that New Haven DOES get pretty cold). Secondly, I play polo with the Yale Polo team out at a ranch in Bethany, CT about 20 minutes away from campus. There was a great article talking about the Yale Polo program in the Yale Herald last month. Finally, there are rumors circulating at SOM that I live with my "parents" - however, the truth is that I actually moved to New Haven with my parrots (an african grey and a lesser-sulphur-crested cockatoo), which is definitely not quite the same!

80% of my conversations in passing (e.g. Hall of Mirrors, between classes) have gravitated around these three subjects. However, SOM is about learning beyond just the superficial categories that a person may fall into and really understanding who your peers really are as individuals. In the past two weeks, we have all endured Fall-1 term finals and "Managing Groups and Teams" (a course designed to help you understand your leadership style and your interactions with others). On top of that, I layered two case competitions - one for the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Conference, and another for the Innovation Challenge focused on the GE WattStation. Perhaps I overcommitted? Fortunately, it's Friday afternoon and I have survived all that had to be done! These two case competitions have really helped me move beyond the three defining categories of identity - both for myself and my teammates. There is something to be said about working through the night with your teammates and then jumping in a cab at 3AM to fly across the country. You cannot hide those grumpy moments or those dorky ecstatic ones - everything is laid bare in those states of delirium. That edge of reality feeling is what brought me closer with my respective case competition teams. These are the moments of SOM that I value - learning about an individual person, what brought him/her to decide to come to Yale, as well as what we each foresee for the future. The familial acceptance of both the highs and the lows of a person is available if you seek it out. Finally, for me, family gravitates around food. Having arrived from San Francisco, I had high hopes for New Haven's dining scene, and it has not disappointed. One of my favorite restaurants is Caseus, in the East Rock neighborhood. It's another spot where I really have bonded with several classmates over a brioche cheeseburger topped with bleu cheese, bacon, and a fried duck egg (yes, Californians don't necessarily eat strictly salads). It's a nice escape for a longer lunch away from the efficient food trucks - I highly recommend it as a de-stressing tool. Just beware the potential post-lunch food coma. I am looking forward to the coming week when we start Fall-2 and I get to learn even more about my SOM peers! Until then, "stay hungry, stay foolish!"

About the author

Dwight Tran