Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Thought First Year Was Over!

When I decided to limit myself to four classes this quarter, I thought that recruiting would essentially amount to another class.

This has not been the case.

The last few weeks (and the foreseeable future) have been filled with resume drops, cover letter writing, and practice interviews.

Classes? Right... yes, I do attend those. And prep for them somewhere between all the recruiting.

Anyway, hopefully all this preparation will be well worth it when I land my dream job before Christmas. That is the light at the end of this long tunnel. And, at least I enjoy doing case interviews... guess it could be worse!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


It had been over eight months since I'd been home. But this weekend, I drove two hours to Dulles airport, and two long plane rides later, I found myself at the Edmonton International Airport, sans luggage.

Things have changed since I left. Although I only got to hold one of them, there have been at least three new babies born among friends. A whole bunch of my friends have up and left the city. And my parents' new house is completely framed and well on its way to being completed. I thought it would be weird to be back... but I guess when you've lived in a city for 18 years (and driven in it for 14), you naturally remember how the roads work together and manage to get easily from place to place. (Edmonton also has a handy numbered-street system which makes it quite easy to navigate!)

I've changed. I don't know that I can say entirely HOW I've changed, but at the very least, my sister pointed out that I now say "about" like an American. (You know, with three syllables instead of two!) As people asked whether I was planning on coming home after finishing, I replied that I was looking at cities like Atlanta, Chicago and New York,* places I never really would have dreamed of living before. There's a certain sense of accomplishment that I've gained from conquering my first year at Darden and working at a tremendously successful start-up that seems to trump all my previous accomplishments. In many ways, heading back to Edmonton felt like heading back to a much smaller world... an ironic comparison because Edmonton is a city of a million, and Charlottesville-Albemarle county has only around 100,000.

Over the last few weeks, I've realized that as we move forward and move on in life, we never have the option of going back. If I were to move back to Edmonton now, it would never be the same as it was because I am not the same as I was. Our experiences in life are entirely dependent on our own outlooks and the perspectives and make-up of the people we are with. It's impossible to live in the past... something that we could be sad about if we weren't committed to building an exciting future.

Before leaving for Charlottesville last year, I got quite nostalgic, feeling that the things I was leaving behind would never quite be the same. As it turns out, I was right.

*Not an exhaustive list of possibilities.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Cold Call

Though I could make an entire blog post related to Darden terms, since someone posted a comment asking what a "cold call" is, I figured I would quickly answer it, urban-dictionary style...


1) The opening question of the case discussion, directed at a non-volunteering student. Can also be used in the middle of class.

Professor Landel cold called me during my 8 a.m. OPS class and I was still hung over from TNDC.*

Today I got cold called in strategy because Professor Fairchild knew I was a chef and also took cooking classes in Paris.

2) An almost-weekly gathering of the Darden community, named for the afore-mentioned class cold call.

You have to show up at the Cold Call at least ten minutes early, otherwise they will run out of food.

Alternative Uses:

Cold Call Chronicle: The Darden student newspaper (which also happens to be run by one of my best friends here!)

Did you see what they wrote about you in the Cold Call Chronicle?

Cold Call Chorus: an a capella group

The Cold Call Chorus performed for the Class of 2009 graduation.

*TNDC = Thursday Night Drinking Club

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Second Year

When you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off, forgetting to eat dinner and staying up to all hours of the night in hopes of dodging cold calls, second year seems like a distant Mecca. No one who researches Darden really worries about second year; all the focus is on whether or not you can handle first year.

Being the over-prepper, psyched-for-Darden, type that I was, I knew exactly what to expect for first year. I knew November would be black; I knew I'd have to bust out the 80s gear for the 100 Case Party; I knew about Cold Calls.

Somehow I managed to work my way through the maze of first year and now find myself solidly on the ground in second year, and I'm not really sure WHAT I expected, but it wasn't this.

Yes, I have more time. No, I do not have enough time.

It would be a stretch to say that I miss the comfort of the rigid first year schedule. After a time, I made peace knowing I wasn't going to accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish, and did the best I could. Now, I am back to thinking I'm super woman and can be a master case interviewer, savvy networker and charismatic club president while maintaining a straight "DP"* average.

Anyway, I could do all those things and be burned out by the end of the month. Instead, I'm learning to delegate club responsibilities to my more-than-capable VPs, spacing out the case interview prep, and staying on top of the course work. I am still only human, with 168 hours in the week, and life's too short to obsess over all these things. The biggest lesson I learned in first year was that you can do more with less, and taking breaks and maintaining relationships are the best thing you can do for your career.

*"DP" is the Darden code word for "A" and stands for "distinguished performance". Apparently "A" is a designation which produces too much competition and self-loathing, thus they changed it to "DP" so we would have to translate it for everyone and perhaps in the translation would lose the self-loathing? I never really understood why they changed it. Especially since we still have to submit our 4.0 scale GPAs to certain recruiters.