Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Series Presentation

I'm too early to make a TILT entry, but I wanted to blog about what I did today. Well, one specific event I did.

I'm on the leadership board of the Organizational Leadership Club, as the VP of Internal Development. The events that I'm in charge of holding are the OLC Book Series. I hosted one such event tonight to (what I think was) great success.

The OLC Book Series, for background, is typically held once a semester and is about a particular book. The club purchases the book, gives them out to members and charges non-members a price for the book. The people who are interested are asked to read the book, and then we hold a discussion/presentation on the contents of the book some three, four weeks after we give out the book.

So the book I used today is called "Power: Why Some People Have It And Others Don't" by Jeffrey Pfeffer. I read it some time ago and found it incredibly fascinating - and disturbing. It certainly challenges one's perceptions on the world. When it came time to discuss events to hold for the semester, I championed using this book.

The books were issued just after Spring Break. Between then and now, I spent a fair amount of time re-reading it, making note of certain situations and things that would be fun to bring up in a discussion environment, and built a 45-minute presentation.

I had sent out an RSVP right when I was ready to issue the books. We had a limited number of books so I said First Come First Served. A few people who RSVP'd didn't end up picking up the books; conversely, a few people turned up just for the discussion (or the free food, but I don't blame them for that since I do the same thing). I must've done something good because at the end of the presentation, a number of people came up to me and asked if there were any copies left to purchase - and there were.

By that, and the fact that only one person spent the time looking at their computer, tells me it was successful (good manners has flown out the window and now people choose to spend their time on the computer instead of paying attention). It makes me look forward to the next one, which I will host in Mini 1 and should be relevant to both classes.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Alumni Reunion Weekend

Every year, CMU holds a Carnival that coincides with Alumni Reunion weekend. Carnival is primarily for the undergraduates. That's where you get the infamous Buggy Races. There's also a literal carnival in a parking lot and lots of entertainment. Also a lot of undergraduates drinking in the street.

This weekend I volunteered to help out with Tepper Alumni Weekend. Last year, Welcome Weekend fell on Carnival/Alumni weekend, so I was already a little familiar with what was going on. Actually, all I did was say Hi to peeps and give them gift bags as they registered. The classes that ended with 7 and 2 (e.g. 2002, 2007) were here for their factor of 5 reunion. David Tepper, our benefactor, was here for his 30 year reunion. A couple of big wigs were around as well as Tepper; the CEO of NextEra Energy and Francisco D'Souza, the head of Cognizant consulting.

As a thank you for our volunteer efforts, myself and the others who also volunteered were invited to attend the Alumni celebration dinner. Unfortunately, it was at the same time as the 80's Prom (an event sponsored by multiple clubs on campus). However, I decided to go to the alumni event with the hopes of doing some networking.

That really didn't happen. As it turned out, the vast majority of the people I tried to talk to were just interested in catching up with their former classmates. I also found myself in a very weird place, a place that I've been in a few times before and immensely disliked it. I was attending the dinner with a number of my classmates (all male) and three of them had wives. Somehow or another, I ended up spending my time with the wives. Not to say that they were not wonderful people, but their talk revolved around what they did when their husband was at school. Every once in a while I would interject with a story... but it was about school. I had no real way of relating to these women and their woes. As it was, unfortunately, I wore non-sensible shoes and couldn't really go join my classmates as it was a lot more comfortable on the couch where we were sitting and talking.
Looking around at the alumni, too, I noticed the vast majority were men, and a lot of women I talked to were partners of the alums. Granted, I know that back then it was a male degree.

It brought me back to the time in which I was the only white person at a Black History dinner that I attended once in my undergrad. I was this oddity who didn't exactly fit in, and therefore was easily ignored.

It didn't make me upset or annoyed, just intrigued in the ways of the human mind, and conscientious of how it may make me be perceived as. I'm about to jump into a predominantly male industry that has a customer base that in some cases, isn't very nice to females (and some of that customer base also work in the industry), so I have to know my battlefield.
I also vowed to go out and buy more comfortable shoes.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things I love Thursdays

- Being nominated for Best of Blogging 2012! If you think so, please vote for me here: http://blog.clearadmit.com/best-of-blogging-2012-voting-ballot/
- Meeting all the admitted students over the last weekend and getting a little nostalgic - I was there this time last year
- The beautiful, non-Pittsburgh weather
- Hopefully getting a good place to live in Irvine for my internship
- Seeing a friend become a dad for the first time :) He's a second year and his wife gave birth last week
- Bottling our most excellent Belgium brew
- Writing a case study about the Wii :)
- Realising I have TWO weeks to go!
- Not having final exams during final exam week

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome Weekend!

I think I have sufficiently recovered from Welcome Weekend to blog :)

Welcome Weekend is the annual "we're selling the school to you" event for admitted students. I went last year and had an AMAZING time so I was extremely eager to help out with the activities for this weekend.

Behind the Scenes:
Welcome Weekend is organized by one of the Admissions staff and she has a student-led committee of about 7 students. An email went out about this early January for students to volunteer to be a part of this committee; I contemplated it, but since I was juggling pro-bono consulting, internship search, tough classes, and club leadership, I felt it would probably be prudent for me to sit this one out.
So this committee met, I believe, once every two weeks and were responsible for the events of the weekend, getting the invites out, organizing the guides, and so forth. A couple of weeks before Welcome Weekend, all the current students received emails asking if we wanted to volunteer for some of the events. Of course I signed up. There was a small ulterior motive for doing so however, and I'll explain this in a bit.

Welcome Weekend Itself
Started Friday afternoon. I don't know what happened, but I was invited, as a reward for volunteering for the weekend, to attend the highlight of the Weekend - the dinner at Heinz Field! Unfortunately, this year's food wasn't as great as last year, but I did meet a number of the incoming class.

Saturday morning had me up early to help out with Breakfast. A quick trip home to pick up Chris, and then we manned the BrewMeister's Club Blitz table - we were handing out pilsner glasses as free swag. A fair amount of people were interested in the club too, which was encouraging. Then, some breakout sessions for the admits, followed by B**Rs, deliciously sponsored by Five Guys Burgers.

The hope is that some of the admits will now know some second years as well (it's scary to think myself as one of those!)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

International Festival

I feel rather guilty for not writing a blog post about this momentous event in the Tepper calendar.

International Festival was last Friday. It's been on the radar at school for quite some time. Volunteers to help coordinate the festival were requested right as school started in Mini 3, and plenty of information sessions were abound with how to set up a stall and showcase your chosen country.

I'm going to put this out there straight away: I didn't participate as much as I would have wanted to. At the time, the march 30 date was also the date for the "Day in the Bay" interview session - where a collection of 6 or so schools get together to host interviews from Bay area employers. EA was one of those companies, and I thought I had a good chance of getting an interview with them. Additionally, there were other companies that I also applied to. As such, I did not commit to the Festival.

I found out two weeks prior to the Festival that EA had cancelled their interviews. A number of other companies had also done so earlier, so this meant that I no longer needed to go to San Francisco that day. Good thing I hadn't bought my ticket.

So, the Festival itself. The first part, in the early afternoon, was the Performance Showcase. I unfortunately didn't attend (due to a doctor's appointment for my allergies that flared up for the season! I love the Spring here, but sheesh, pollen).  There were dances primarily, although two of the Mexican fellows sang a duet and an Indian woman also performed a solo song.

After the performances came the Food! It was essentially B**Rs, but a number of countries (and places that wanted to be considered a country *coughTexascough*) had set up booths around the B**Rs area.

Countries represented:

- Sweden: Swedish chef, meatballs, and ligonberry pancakes
- Germany: Sausages and potato pancakes that ran out way too quickly
- Russia
- France: bagels? I don't know, I didn't actually get any of the food from these two tables
- United States of America: Crab dip. The fellow manning the table was from Maryland
- Texas: Yes, I know, not a country. Beef jerky and pecan brittle
- Mexico: Beef, Chicken, or bean Fajitas
- Indonesia: I don't remember what it was, but it was extremely delicious. One of the fellows at the booth was an alum (don't think he came in from Indonesia however)
- Japan: Sushi
- China: Again, don't remember the food spread, since it was amazingly difficult to stop people from getting in front of the camera. They also had a table opposite where people's names were being written in Chinese
- South Korea: Again, no clue on the food. Bigger difficulty getting a clear shot
- Thailand: Thai Iced Tea, spring rolls, and a delicious green chicken curry
- Pakistan: At this point, my plate was really full, so I was focusing on the photos.
- India: mm.. samosas. I could balance that on my plate.
- Egypt: I got into serious trouble at this table. Moussaka is amazingly delicious, and one of the table fellows knew how much I loved it - and insisted on giving me a giant hunk of it!
- Turkey: Juggling camera and two plates of food made it impossible to have turkish food. Unfortunately, no turkish delight
- Israel: .. I had to squish a piece of baklava in the food somewhere.
- Switzerland: (Thankfully), all the food had run out by the time I got to the Swiss.

Obviously, not all the countries that our classmates are from are represented. Canada, for sure, was missing, as was... duh.. Australia.

Instead, I hammed it up a little, and ended up apologising to everyone who saw me for wearing my Ugg boots out in public. (I was doing it to be ironic; Australians don't wear Uggs out in public (unless going to the store or something); it was the Americans who picked up and ran with that trend.)


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Internship stats

I feel as if I need to document my internship journey in its entirety. I know, I know, it's been the main topic of this blog for the last three months, but this is going to be it.

I first started to apply to internships in December. A.T. Kearney was the first one on the 19th, followed very quickly by the other consulting firms that perform on-campus recruiting. I also submitted a ModCloth internship application to interview in San Francisco when I would be there for the Bay Area trek.

"Wow, you have a great memory" would think I if I was reading this on another blog. The fact of the matter is I actually have a spreadsheet set up with a listing of all the companies that I applied to, for what position, at when I submitted, when I would hear back (if it was an on-campus job), interview invites, and finally the results in a colour-coded scheme of Red if rejected and Green if accepted.

Contained in this spreadsheet were tabs that had the job listing copy + pasted, for later reference. Kinda helpful with interviews later.

This spreadsheet has made a very handy reference as to what is a typical job search for an MBA.

No of applications: 27
No of interviews: 10 (includes three second rounds and one third round)
No of offers: 2 (and one ambiguously defined "waitlist")

I think I'm in the center of the bell curve here. I know classmates that did upwards of 15 interviews before getting an offer, and some that got an offer for the first company they interviewed at. This success appears to be random. One of the smartest fellows in the class - he's on a full Dean's scholarship - hasn't received an offer yet. Another one who has a 780 GMAT didn't get moved onto the second round for his dream job at Amazon. There's a woman who came into the program right out of undergrad and is working for Deutsche Bank. One classmate received an internship offer before she event started school! I believe she received it through the Consortium (if you're Hispanic or Black, you should check it out).

Well, either which way, I'm now a part of the 61% with offers :)

I'm not going to list all the places that I applied to, but I will note this one experience with ModCloth that changed my entire job searching outlook. I received an invitation to interview at the last minute with them. As such, I had the last slot of the day. So I turn up and engage in a good conversation with the HR rep. About halfway through, he admits that he invited me because he was curious why I was applying for the internship - my background, he explained, didn't seem suited for the role or the company. But after talking with me, he could see that I was very passionate, intelligent, and would be pretty awesome.

I walked away with his words ringing in my ears, and I took it to heart. With my resume, I looked like I did finance in oil and gas; but, meeting people in person or chatting to them overcame that initial observation. Thus, the significant importance of networking kicked in and I tried really hard to put myself in a position where I would be judged on other factors outside of my resume. I also reworked my resume over and over to de-emphasise the finance piece.

As such, networking made an indelible impression. I'll probably write about this area a bit more indepth later.

Things I love Thursdays

- Getting two internship offers
- Accepting an internship offer
- Talking with an admitted student from Australia about how awesome Tepper is
- Eating Thai food at Out&Allied all body meeting
- Being in the North East and able to drive to DC for a weekend (like I did last week)
- Enjoying the variety of food at International Festival last week
- Getting a high mark for my trouble class homework

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Internship News

I have some excellent news to report. Today I officially accepted an internship with Blizzard Entertainment in their Strategic Initiatives group. Unfortunately, I had to turn down another offer, a situation people say is good to be in - but I really hate doing it.

I will be the first Tepper student to work at Blizzard. I think I will also be the first intern in that group. How did I get it? other students asked me. I'd like to say it was magic, but it seemed like luck.

I applied on their website. On the deadline, actually.

Then, out of the blue right before I left for GDC, I received an email asking if I was available for an interview the next week. That next week was Spring Break, so I said "sure". While at GDC, however, I stopped by the Blizzard booth and chatted at length with one of the recruiters there; actually, it turned out she was the one coordinating the entire internship program. (I scored a shirt while I was there too, but I gave it to my boyfriend)

A week or so later, I get asked to perform a four-hour case study - I believe it was to be used as a tie-breaker. I did the case study, and later emailed the production assistant what the next step would be. She replies asking when I'm available for a phone call. That phone call, two days later, was my offer :) At the time, I was also interviewing with another gaming company that I met at GDC, so I put off accepting until I had received an official offer from them (I received a pseudo offer; I got told that they like me, there's just some formalities that they needed to go through). I got that offer last night.

 This was a really difficult decision because I really loved both companies, but I think I will have a more meaningful experience at Blizzard and thus accepted their offer today.

Now I just have to figure out housing and transportation...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pittsburgh in Spring

Over the last couple of weeks, Pittsburgh transformed into a uniform grey and brown into an area bursting with color! Coming from Texas & Australia, I have never truly experienced spring in a four-season climate. As a result, I am equally fascinated by the daffodils, tulips, and flowering trees as I was with the snow not four months earlier!

Words can't describe the beauty, so here are some photos, taken with my phone.

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This was actually taken on a backdrop of a very dark wall.

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A white-blossom tree that was on the tail-end of its bloom and therefore the leaves were coming out

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Tulips at an apartment complex!

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A close-up of the white flowers. Some people have told me they're cherry blossoms.

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White flowering trees lining North Craig street. This street is right by CMU and has a number of restaurants and coffee shops.

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White flowering trees lining North Craig street.

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Tulips by a white flowering tree that's near the end of its bloom. This is a house on Morewood, which is right by CMU

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Beautiful pink blossom tree right outside the CMU Hunt Library

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Closeup of the pretty pink blossoms

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Closer closeup of the pretty pink blossoms