Classes actual responsibility begin tomorrow students express:“surprise” “discomfort” “confusion”

August 23, 2009

A whirlwind week of Orientation has come to a close and it defies exposition. A true immersion in the SOM culture and community, we’ve emerged on the other side with new friends, new knowledge, and new experiences—and perhaps shed some of the inhibitions, anxiety, and preconceptions that we brought to New Haven. Because it’s hard to capture the entire week in a blog post, and because my CareerLeader test said I need to brush up my quant skills, I’ll attempt to recap SOM Orientation “by the numbers.” Here goes:Consecutive nights out: 18, if you count my solo pizza and beer dinner at Modern on Wednesday August 5 before I knew anyone. Thankfully that was a one-time occurrence as this is a social group and we moved, herd-like, through the gamut of New Haven bars, from Bar to Playwright to Anchor to Liffey’s. Locals grabbed their children and dove out of our way; bar managers wrote thank-you notes for turning a slow Monday into a profit. Indeed after long days of info overload, the nights were great for getting to know our classmates in a relaxed and refined setting (cut to 15-person SOM circle on dance floor belting out early ‘90s hip-hop anthem). Percentage by which expectations were exceeded at two-hour SOM Honor Code workshop: 200. In our cohort groups led by faculty we discussed several real SOM scenarios of ethical or behavioral misconduct by students, debating the intent, the true issues, and the appropriate consequences. What could have been a dry and preachy two hours was bolstered by excellent conversation around scenarios that we could imagine finding ourselves at the center of. The session brought home the importance of upholding standards as a community and the fact that at the end of the day we are all responsible to one another. I was thrilled to witness thoughtful and insightful commentary by my classmates; if this is a precursor to class discussion, we are all going to learn a lot from one another. Percentage by which expectations were exceeded at three-hour “Global Diversity Interactive Theatre Workshop”: 300. Another threatening workshop title; another resounding success. A group called CSW Associates (no they are not paying me for this plug) put on a captivating session on diversity by acting out typical office scenarios like promotions, maternity leave, outside-of-office fraternizing, and international office transfers through the lens of diversity bias. Excellent actors, all, they then engaged the audience through direct questions and a roving moderator. Broken up into groups, we would pause to discuss our own views on issues of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality, and then report back to what felt like a drama in progress. Again, I was impressed at the candidness and thoughtful commentary of my class as we batted around subjects we will all face (and in many cases already have) in our careers. My best score at the Tuesday night bowling party: 103. Abysmal. Ratio of enlightenment-to-fear at day long Career Development events: 3-to-2. We have an organized, energetic, buttoned-up Career Development Office, with a new director and great staff. Much of last Wednesday was devoted to discussing recruiting and our careers—and had someone been monitoring my heart rate and stress levels throughout it probably would have read like a roller coaster schematic. Among the self-reflections I saw fit to scribble down: “Don’t choose a career based only on skills without factoring in your passions!” “To do: identify passions ASAP.” OK, I’m starting to sweat again. Minutes spent with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes on Thursday: 90! Orientation ended with a trip to New York where we broke into groups of about 20 and visited companies ranging from Acumen Fund to JP Morgan to Tiffany & Co. I chose Time Warner and had heard rumors that we might get to meet Jeff Bewkes, a Yale College alum who sits on the SOM advisory board. Well, he spent a full hour and a half sitting around a conference room table with us, speaking openly about his career and taking questions from the group. It was a great afternoon—here’s one of media’s most powerful leaders taking substantial time out of his day to chat about overseas content distribution, intellectual property rights on the internet, and the merger with AOL. Everyone in the group brought their A-game with questions and we all left incredibly energized by meeting such a business star. In b-school, CEOs are definitely the new celebrities. (“Jamie Dimon?!?!? Can I have your autograph??”) Street cart burritos consumed: 5? 6? I should start branching out. Trips on yellow school bus: 4 Locker number: 302 Grade in school above two items most reminiscent of: 7th Number of classmates sighted at the bookstore today purchasing Accounting textbook: 8. Right, did I mention orientation is over? Today found the Class of 2011 buying notebooks, reading textbooks, and muddling through our first case study. With assignments due in every class this week, the realization started to hit that the work is about to begin. But when we arrive on campus tomorrow, sit down in our seats, and put our nameplates out, we’ll look around and realize we now know most of the people sitting behind the names. Over the past 10 days we’ve shared a story, a laugh, a pint and started to break ground on relationships that will endure well beyond our two years at Yale. Maybe best friends or future partners have yet to be identified (correct me if I’m wrong), but we strongly suspect that too is only a matter of time. We can now start to speak first-hand about this thing called “business school” that two weeks ago was still an abstraction, and we like the possibilities appearing on the horizon. No doubt class this week will make us realize we don’t even know what we don’t yet know … but we now see we’ll be learning it together. And finally, hours remaining until Economics with Dean Oster: <10 Good luck to all tomorrow!

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Jason Hill