Some of you may already know this if you read all of the Darden Blogs, but yesterday I officially took over as club president from Caroline Kalinoski, whose blog you can find here and she's doing a great photo journal as she winds down her time in Charlottesville. In addition to being a great club president, Caroline has been one of the second years who has been great and a huge help to me during my first year. In addition to your official Second Year Coach, I think everyone ends up with a few others who are unofficial jungle guide/spirit animal/whatever as you try and make it through year one, and I know I really appreciated it. We'll miss her and I hope I'm able to hold down the fort to the level she did, though she is admittedly more organized than I am. I do have some big things planned for next year and hope you'll continue to read even if you do make the best decision of your life (come to Darden. That's the best decision just so we're clear).
If I could do it all over again, I might reconsider some of the things I signed up for, but applying for Darden Bloggers was definitely one of the best decisions I made this year. If you're an incoming student and interested in joining next year, feel free to shoot me an email.
Term 4 is the end of the core curriculum here and things get a little funky. Spring break immediately follows term 4 exams, then StratSim which is an all encompassing (you guessed it) strategy simulation where you compete in teams for a week. That was awesome and more on that to come. After THAT is the official, official end of core curriculum and you take a one week intensive, followed by three Term 5 electives. I, and about half the first year class, was in the Gettysburg Leadership Ride for my intensive. It is a program where you read ahead of time (everyone definitely does) and then have classes with Civil War expert and UVA professor Gary Gallagher before going to visit the Gettysburg battlefield for two days to learn about leadership during the battle and how those principles apply to leadership in business.
To be honest this was definitely something where you only got out what you put in, but as someone who really enjoys American history, I had a great time and strongly recommend it. I figured photos would be better than me describing 48 hours in Pennsylvania so I tried to take a lot. Check it out.
Before traveling to Gettysburg we had (4) 90 minute sessions with Gary Gallagher, who is pretty much the man when it comes to the Civil War ( http://history.virginia.edu/user/23 ). His classes are really hard to get into for undergrads, so having him for our own class was really cool. This was from the 3 hour wrap session Monday.
Look how cold these fools are. We were in two groups and while my group had to deal with rain on the second day (group B's first day of rain... yikes), the first day was incredibly cold. This definitely took away from the experience for some people, but I'm proud to say I was ready. It's all about layers baby.
My favorite author and the man who is simultaneously responsible for part of my belief that I was ready for business school, as well as getting me through entire days of GEM (Economics) and Finance class, MIchael Lewis has a new book coming out. The topic is high speed traders "flash boys" who use algorithms and super fast connections to make small amounts of money anticipating trades people make right before they happen. He recently appeared on 60 minutes and the accompanying article is really great. Check it out.
On a side note, I HIGHLY recommend reading Liar's Poker and The Big Short before coming to school. As someone who spent years creating presentations to try and explain how CDO's and Mezzanine Debt worked I can say they are about as readable a take on the bond market and financial crisis you will ever read.
Lastly, the Google Image results for Michael Lewis are hilarious (below). Guess that's what happens when you have the most generic name this side of John Smith.
If anyone was ever curious about the strategy for implementing statistical analysis in the management of a baseball team and wanted a comprehensive short (well, nerd short) article.... click the link below. It covers the two key subjects of player evaluation, player valuation and the overlap of the two in strategy.
A little birdie (Hi Caroline) told me that Round 2 admit calls are going out today and I just wanted to say congratulations to everyone getting one. I remember checking GMATClub all day when they started going out and running to the freight elevator bay of my old office to take the call. There've been tough times for sure, but it's been a great year and getting in was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It doesn't really seem possible that it was over a year ago that I got that call.
So congrats from Charlottesville, where we are having one of our weekly snowstorms that immediately follows a stretch of 65 degree days. Please email me if you have any questions at all about Darden and I will be as helpful and honest as possible.
If I've learned one thing from the first 3 months of this blog it is that people would rather look at pictures than read my writing and so I thought I would re-purpose this bad boy. Of course 2013 would get in one last annoying social media trend right? Besides being the year the 49ers returned to their rightful spot in the Super Bowl, (we wont talk about what happened after) 2013 was the year that I left the great friends and city that had been my home since I graduated college in 2007 and moved back to Virginia, this time with a Californian along for the ride. I've been able to meet great new people, travel more than I expected and obviously see some great music and eat lots of awesome things. Also, I totally forgot we met the "Rent Is Too Damn High!" guy.
Happy New Year!
So you've gotten into business school. Congratulations again Round 1 people! I was a Round 1 person myself, mostly because I wanted the best chance possible and had everything locked and loaded to apply. Also my girlfriend might've murdered me if we had to wait another two months to find out where we were living. Don't worry Rounds 2 & 3 people there's plenty of spots left, and I'm sure everything will be fine....OR WILL IT?! Just kidding it will. Really.
ANYWAY. Now that you've gotten in to Darden and a few of your safeties (coughcoughinsertotherschoolhere) you're probably looking for anything that will make life easier in your exciting new existence as a business school student. Three quick bits of advice, practice Excel if you don't use it regularly (as in buy a book with exercises, don't just type things into cells for 30 minutes a day), read up on accounting if you've never taken it and if you know you want to go into consulting, read Case in Point before you get to school. I'll expand on preparatory summer reading for you overachievers another day but before you do any of that, you should join and download If This Then That, AKA IFTTT. Click through to hear why!
In my past life I created infographics among other things for trial attorneys and will forever have a nerd-space in my heart for data visualization.... and of course baseball. If you were wondering how much your team is committed to spending next year or say 2017 check out the link below.
Note: Sorry Seattle & Los Angeles fans
Phil Roth Payroll Visualizer via Deadspin