Ready, set... SOM!

August 25, 2008

Every once in a while, no matter how far away something seems, it eventually shows up at your doorstep, rings the bell, and invites itself in for a drink and some leftovers. In an odd way, this has been my experience thus far in the first few weeks here at SOM. No matter how distant an idea business school has seemed, it has made a rapid transition through sudden inevitability into even more sudden reality. For myself, the act of applying to business school has spanned two and a half years: I started to study for the GMAT in March of 2006, took the test in August, applied to 5 schools in 2006/07, rode out a few waitlists (including SOM!) through July of 2007, made the difficult yet critical decision to try again, applied to 6 more schools (including SOM, again!) through the Fall and Winter of 2007/08, was accepted to SOM in April of this year, ended my job in the middle of July, and was in New Haven starting August 2nd. And yet, given all the time that passed, all the focus and energy that was expended in the effort to get here, it still managed to creep up on me. And, in all honesty, I couldn’t be happier about it. Orientation this year started with an amazing new 2 day experience: The Audubon Street Project. Teams of 6 people with disparate backgrounds spent two intense days working together on a business concept for a specific (and complicated) retail space in New Haven. Our group, which bonded pretty much right out of the gate even though we all came from backgrounds as diverse as corporate finance and non-profit management, worked closely for the next day and a half collecting field research from the surrounding neighborhood, brainstorming different ideas, evaluating other successful and failed business ventures, and eventually chose a specific idea that we could all focus on and flesh out. At the end of two days, while we were not the winning team, I felt that we had won a bigger prize: an amazing sense of our ability to work with all types of different people to generate an amazing product on a tremendously short timeline. This was an experience that I’m sure many people in my class will draw on over the next two years as they move through SOM and out into the world. I’ll go ahead and end this post with one more observation from the orientation experience; then it’s time to go back to the homework (and there’s plenty of it already!): my 192 classmates here at SOM represent, by far, the most exciting group of people I have had the opportunity to meet and work with at any point in my life. They come from a huge range of backgrounds, be it from different careers, different countries, or simply different walks of life. Yet for all of this variation, this group has shown an amazing desire to come together, learn about one another, and to collaborate both inside and outside of the classroom. And we’re only talking about day one.

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Neil Alger