Snapshot of a Fall 2 First Year

November 17, 2008

So, it's 3:00 a.m. and I have a toothache. Fortunately, I got to bed before 11 pm for the first time in weeks, so I feel comfortable spending some time waiting for the Advil to kick in and catching up on the SOM blog. All the bloggers, by the way, got an e-mail last week encouraging more blogging, so here I am. And I'm sure the others are not too far behind (Neil and Becca, I'm calling you out in the friendliest way possible.) Fall 2 is in full swing these days, and I think I was tricked by the second years. Last term, in the midst of Cobb-Douglas utility functions, direct cash flow statements, and interaction variable statistical regressions, my driver at times was this loose promise I'd heard that things got easier come November. This was a complete lie. Now instead of conceptual, skill-building problem sets each week off-set by softer value driven classes, the first years instead now occupy two worlds. Cases. And finance. And it never really ends. Don't get me wrong- as the weeks go by, the meaning of this curriculum becomes more and more apparent to me. Case write-ups, whether they are for Competitor, Customer, or Sourcing and Managing Funds, necessitate an understanding of business situations beyond the groundwork laid in one single class. I find myself utilizing my knowledge of synergies from the SMF Radio One case when crafting my response to Colgate Precision's marketing strategy for Customer. Or discussing Customer segmentation when working on my group's market analysis of JetBlue and Continental for Competitor. As Kurt Vonnegut once repetitively put it, "so it goes." On the financial side of things, my classmates and I are confronted daily by two slightly distinct yet equally important ways of approaching business decisions: those more formulaic asset management skills we are honing in Investor, and the more internally-directed future cash flow and economic profit lessons learned in Sourcing. I think it's safe to say that we are all doing our best to stay on top of these new analytical imperatives. And that's a nice way to say that we're all working really really hard. So that's the academic side of things these days, which as intense as it is in business school, is inevitably half the story. I have friends floating in and out of the city on a daily basis for informationals. I myself had the pleasure of being part of the 90 deep contingent of Yale students at the North American Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia this past weekend, an amazing experience- I've never had so much SOM pride before, and it was great that everywhere I turned in this massive conference I was sure to see a familiar face in my line of sight. I sat in on some amazing panels, including one called "Catastrophic Opportunities: Climate Change and Coastal Development." At the end of that one, I had the opportunity of speaking one-on-one with one of the principals on the Bring New Orleans Back Commission report released to the city after Hurricane Katrina in early 2006. And Morley, Cara, Stella, Michaela, and Ari- big ups; the Yale team won the Philadelphia Green Economy Case Competition. Awesome. In terms of my other commitments, I'm on the fundraising sub-committee for the Global Social Enterprise pro-bono consulting trip to Thailand next Spring Break. We've got the sign-ups for the schoolwide game of Assassins going pretty strong, and Grant and I are in the planning stages of a potential Singled Out Dance/Fundraiser sometime in December. For SOM Outreach, I found out last week that I will have the awesome privilege of working on a team with John Rooney, Michaela Daniel, and Chris Lewis for the rest of the year- we'll be helping a non-profit called Teach Our Children strategize in its efforts to increase awareness around improving the New Haven public school system. Student Government related, the Harvard-Yale game is this Saturday, and the planning for that was one of my principal responsibilities this fall. I've been on the phone consistently with the owner of Felipe's Taqueria, a locally-owned popular restaurant in Harvard Square, and am proud to report that the Yale SOM tailgate will include burritos galore. So in the midst of all of that, it is hard to imagine room to fit much else in, but I'm trying my best. I've got two different friends I've been trying to fit in for a catch-up dinner or drinks for weeks now; fortunately, everyone is in the same boat these days when it comes to time availability. At some point I need to change out my mountain bike tires for something called "hybrid tires," which will improve my biking efficiency by 20% (thank you, Dave Halliday.) I've started going jogging with KC Bennett in East Rock a few mornings a week, in preparation for our Kilimanjaro adventure in January with Saurabh, Julia, and Jia before the five of us head along to our International Experience in Egypt and Ghana. In my sparse meditative down time, I've taught myself three new guitar songs (word to the wise, from a novice to a novice- "High and Dry" by Radiohead is really not that hard to play.) I'm pretty sure I need a haircut, and I've been rocking the scruff consistently for months now. And I am really, really looking forward to taking my dog Helicopter out on a solo hike at Harper's Ferry next Friday after Thanksgiving when I'm back in Maryland. So, in a nutshell, we keep on keeping on. The SOM experience continues, and I am a glad participant. But I do need to get a few hours of sleep in before Professor Scott Marton's Competitor class at 8:15 a.m. Last Thursday I walked in 2 minutes late, and got cold called while walking to my seat as "friend in the red hat," and I'd prefer to get cold called sitting in my seat rather than standing on my feet, thank you very much. Best. g-mo

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Guillermo Olivos