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Last week, my 235 classmates descended onto New Haven for Orientation, the beginning of our journey at SOM. We came from Anchorage and New York City, London and Istanbul, Quito and Nanjing. We were engineers, press secretaries, consultants, publishers, bankers, and more, but we all abandoned gainful employment in order to gain something greater. SOM’s Student and Academic Services (SAS) assembled a terrific program of mixers (incl. a beachside clambake, bowling night, and bar run), helpful information sessions (incl. security, health services, IT, etc.), and practice runs (a case exercise and a team project). Classmates took the liberty of augmenting the program with several other, unofficial social events -- I’ll leave the details to your imagination. Orientation was capped by a day-trip to NYC. SAS had reserved three full train cars to take us from New Haven to the heart of Manhattan. There we started with a three-course lunch at the Yale Club before breaking out into smaller groups for organization visits. Classmates went to McKinsey, Blackstone, Deloitte, and Teach for America, among many other destinations. I went to Time Warner, where we had a two-hour discussion featuring CEO Jeff Bewkes and a panel of execs from the company’s major business units. It was incredible to get their frank views on media industry trends, on Time Warner’s strategies and challenges, and on how to approach career exploration and development generally.

The class regrouped for hors d’oeuvres and drinks on the floor of the NYSE. Dean Oster was among those working the room, tossing out our first names and asking us about our experiences so far. Towards the end of the evening she made her way to the podium for a closing toast. She shared with us that of all the adjectives we used to describe our classmates, an emphatic “fun” was the most prominent. With a few more words and the pounding of the gavel, Orientation ended. But the fun must go on! Photo credit: Justin Schoolmaster '12