Thursday, May 14, 2009

Experience, Advice and Social Networking

Yes, two blogs in one day. That's what happens when I've got lots on my mind and chose to eat my lunch from home rather than going out with all my co-workers.

Anyway, I've come to appreciate the value of social networking more than I ever thought possible over the last few weeks. I've also come to learn just how valuable our experience is, simply as experience and not as expertise.

Rather than launching into a long expository, I'll just give some examples.

  • The BusinessWeek website has a forum for MBA students. While in recent weeks, this site temporarily lost much of its usefulness, during the height of application season, it was very valuable to me. Not only did I meet people from all over the world, I also gleaned tons of useful information. It was good to hear other people's interview experiences and application tips.
  • Being involved on the BWForum has lead to several people writing to ask me advice on various topics. A while back, I got an email asking how the Canadian economy was really doing. (This was before the commodity drop, and I'm still very satisfied with the answer I gave.) Most recently, I got an email from someone who will be applying asking for advice. While I initially thought it funny that someone would ask ME advice, I realized that I do have knowledge having gone through the admissions process myself. As someone who is never shy about giving advice, I realized that I actually had to hold myself back from writing a novel.
  • Reading the blogs from the Darden Student Bloggers has been awesome. They've been through everything that I will go through in a few short months, and their insight into the process has been much appreciated. In fact, I can attribute my recent surge in blogging activity to their inspiration! Though I know that I will not be able to escape "Black November," I am starting to think hard about how to keep the main things in my life the main things next year. (Plus, who can forget that I learned about the U2 concert AND found someone to go with through one of those blogs...)
  • Twitter... When I first started on Twitter, I thought it was dumb. Then I came across a blog with a link to Darden students, future students and alum and just started following them. Thinking it would be nothing more than the people I was following wondering who the random girl was, instead they started following me and even sending me messages! I've learned a lot just from following their tweets. If I have questions about prepping for student life, I just post it to my profile, and I ALWAYS get a response... usually several.
  • Facebook - But of course. Though the value of Facebook has only been slightly marginal in terms of school so far, I am looking forward to being kept informed of the pre-school activities when I arrive in C'ville. I've made several "friends" so far and am getting to know my future classmates.

Anyway... Social networking is, in my opinion, one of the best features of the Internet. I could go on and on about people that I've met through these various forums, but there are just so many stories that they would get boring after a while. (That is, if they haven't already...)

And... having experience makes your information and insight valuable.

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