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It's All There at Entry

"It's all there at entry." Those were the parting words from Andrea Levere, SOM'83 and President of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), during the Class of 2012 orientation back in August 2010. Over the ensuing weeks, there was some casual debate and joking over exactly what Ms. Levere had meant by this somewhat cryptic advice. {C}{C}Was she referring to the exciting opportunities that awaited us at SOM? To our job prospects? To the possibility--as more than one orientation speaker had referenced, to awkward laughs--of meeting one's future spouse at SOM? A year and a half later, I had the chance to ask Ms. Levere during a phone conversation exactly what she had meant. She explained that in her career and life experience, early signals during correspondence with someone could often serve as a reliable indicator of future interactions. If someone was flaky enough to ignore your email or miss a scheduled meeting, chances are they would prove just as flaky in the future. Approaching our last semester at SOM, I wonder how this advice applies to my own life. We all try to put our best face forward to alumni and potential employers because we know how much first impressions count. A superficial interpretation of this philosophy might encourage one to make snap judgments without giving people the benefit of the doubt or acknowledging potential flaws in human perception. However, I believe Ms. Levere's comment has deeper implications about the nature of human decision-making. I chose Yale SOM over other top tier business schools not only because of the great resources here, but also because the community just felt right. In our Employee class with Professor Jim Baron, we learned about the importance of mutual signaling between employers and job candidates to make sure the organization is a good cultural "fit". Too often, we are blinded by what looks good on paper and ignore what our gut instinct is telling us about the people and the culture. SOM is the real deal: a diverse and supportive community of amazing people, whose interests and business ventures range from economic development in Sierra Leone to internet start-ups. Whether you're a prospective student trying to decide which business school to attend, or a Class of 2012 MBA candidate deliberating over which job offer to take, think about whom you want to spend the next few years of your life with. Visit. Pay attention to what is going on around you. It's all there at entry.