From Crimson to Bulldog

By: Ada Wan
September 21, 2012

Well, since this is my first blog post of many to come over the next couple of years, I thought I should come clean right away: I have a confession to make.Upon arriving in New Haven this past August, I had harbored all sorts of doubts and second thoughts about Yale SOM—the kind that, I’ll admit, led my friends to joke that my trip back to Boston for Labor Day weekend was actually a one-way trip.

Go Directly to Yale
The reasons for these reservations were manifold. For one, four years at Harvard as an undergrad and five more subsequent years in Cambridge had resulted in no small degree of indoctrination against our favorite rival. For example, although I didn’t have the gall to bring it with me to New Haven, one of my pajama shirts from my Cambridge days sports a Monopoly-inspired pun on the classic Chance card, “Go Directly to Jail.” You can guess what the pun was. On another level, as a former psychology major who once had aspired to become the next Nicholas Kristof, I was terrified that I would stick out like a sore thumb in all sorts of ways, academically, socially and otherwise. In addition to having taken a whopping zero economics or business-related classes in college, I also don’t drink and enjoy wearing business suits about as much as I enjoy going to the dentist. In stark contrast to the business school stereotype, my idea of fun on a Friday night falls more along the lines of playing Taboo or organizing a “smoothies & scary movies” marathon with friends.

Fun in Financial Accounting?!
As I’ve gotten to know my classmates, professors and the school administration over the past few weeks, however, I’ve found that I have come to deeply appreciate the community here. While I’ve unequivocally determined that my future in financial accounting is about as auspicious as my future in the NBA, for example (note that I’m a five-foot Asian-American woman), I’ve also discovered no shortage of classmates and second-year students who are willing to demystify the tragic misnomer that is the world of debits and credits. Similarly, while I expected faculty who probably would be too busy to engage first-year’s taking core classes, as had sometimes been the case in college, I’ve been struck by both the quality of the teaching and the accessibility of professors who are genuinely invested in helping all 240+ of their students not only to learn but also to enjoy the learning along the way. Who knew that our spreadsheet modeling professor from Hong Kong would be making “The Office” jokes, for example, or that we would be resurrecting a Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry (in a relevant way, no less) for an 8:30 a.m. probability class? At one point, I even thanked my financial accounting professor for making accounting “fun” (which, I’ll admit, elicited no shortage of snickers and snorts from my friends).

"Best Quality Hearts"
And yes, you heard me right—“friends.” Despite my initial unease, I’ve actually come to find a community here. It’s not everyday that you’ll meet someone who is willing to walk over two miles just to make sure you get home safely or leave a party on Saturday night to un-jam your silverware drawer, for example. (As to why anyone would brilliantly store every single piece of silverware and cooking utensils that they own in just one drawer—that is a story that you will have to ask me in person.) Yes, my counterparts are smart and talented, but what’s even more important to me, they also make for genuine, kind and high-caliber friends with the “best-quality (hearts),” as Suyuan would say in “The Joy Luck Club.” Wow, did I just make a 1993 movie reference? I suppose I should stop before I further date myself. All this is to say, then, that the people at Yale SOM are, without a doubt, my favorite aspect of Yale SOM, and despite my initial reservations, I’m glad I came.

with my learning team during a morning of outdoor adventure for orientation (photo courtesy of learning teammate Anthony Clark, joint MEM/MBA Candidate, Class of 2014)

About the author

Ada Wan

Internship: Google