A New Beginning

August 17, 2007

It's that time again...a new school year, a new class of SOM students wandering around campus, and for me, a new beginning. In May I transitioned from being a Yale MBA student to being a Yale MBA alumnus, and I'm now in the process of transitioning from a Yale MBA alumnus to a Yale student again (this time in the Financial Economics Ph.D. program). Despite the title of my post, my transition from MBA student to Ph.D. student has been much more difficult than I had initially anticipated. As my classmates finally leave New Haven en route to their new jobs and new lives, I've begun to fully appreciate how amazing my two years at SOM really were. See, here's the thing: as an MBA student -- particularly at a school the size of Yale SOM -- you get to know everybody who is associated with the school, and you run into them about 100 times an hour. Now that almost all of my classmates have left town, the familiar and familial halls of SOM seem strangely distant despite the fact that they are just as crowded and noisy as they were a few short months ago. Believe me, this hits close to home. The halls I walk through today are the same halls that for two years reverberated with the laughter of my friends. They are the same halls that for two years nourished me with knowledge, confidence, and the occasional slice of pizza. They are the same halls that for two years embraced and emboldened the dreams of my 200 classmates who are individually seeking to live up to the school's mission. Yet the familiar sounds and faces are gone, replaced by a new set of sounds and faces whom I don't recognize. The people who I cracked jokes with after class are now starting new and exciting careers in New York, Seattle, Shanghai, and London. The group that studied until midnight and partied until dawn is now partying somewhere else, and I am not there to be a witness. In short, it's been a really tough goodbye. As much as I miss my classmates, though, I am also in the middle of a wonderful new beginning as I start the Ph.D. program here at Yale. The faculty and students are amazingly open and remarkably collaborative. The curriculum will transform the way that I think about the world and will inspire me to live up to my fullest potential. The friends that I will make over the next few semesters will still be my friends in 30 years. I will again lapse into a love/hate relationship with my bed, whereby we share a few moments of collective bliss only to be torn away from each other for days on end. I will again rediscover what it means to truly discover yourself. And I will again be delighted by the wealth of opportunities which present themselves at Yale, like an endless stream of front-row tickets to a day filled with lectures, seminars, concerts, dinners, recruiting events, theater, art, sports, friendship and fun. In other words, I will be reliving the enriching and fulfilling life that I had when I was an MBA student at Yale SOM. So maybe things haven't changed that much after all. The future of SOM has never looked brighter, and I am extremely excited about being a shareholder in the school's future. Very rarely in life does anyone get to be at the apex of change, but this is one of those moments, and I am happy to participate. And as for my classmates...I miss you all, and I hope you will keep in touch with me as you move up in the world. You know my number.

About the author

Stefan Lewellen