Friday, September 30, 2005

Humble Pie

Here are some things which have made me humble lately:

1. Spending a full day on campus wearing a suit jacket, button down shirt, boxer shorts, and heels. We halted several construction jobs on the way to school, and I made at least one guy trip in the hallway. Still, somehow I was the one embarassed.
2. Seeing the MGEC midterm solutions and realizing I'm not as smart as I think I am.
3. Ditto on sitting through the Accounting midterm review (Monday, pray for me).
4. Spending three hours at a singing audition. I'm trying out for a musical, which is a joke since I can't sing or dance. Somehow they saw fit to call me back. As if my normal singing wasn't bad enough, I still have this frog in my throat and sound like Fran Drescher. For three hours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Do You Believe in Magic?

I had my first Wharton midterm last night. It was in MGEC aka Managerial Economics aka "Magic". I pulled the rabbit out of the hat OK but was unable to put the woman I sawed in half back together. Bad jokes aside, I worked really hard to study for this midterm and think I did all right.

After, it was back to tricks as usual. I organized a 'celebrate we're done' happy hour in my first official act as social chair. Sidebar on social chair-- I pretty much ran for it because my friend wanted to be co-chair with me and I figured it'd be kind of fun. We went to our training meeting with all of the other cohort social chairs and were informed that this is actually the most demanding and most important of all the cohort positions. It makes sense, since a big part of b-school is building your network and reinforcing people's loyalty to their school so they are good alumni blah blah (yeah I'm putting myself to sleep here). So I am definitely feeling the pressure to perform well in a job which I can't put on my resume.

Anyhow, the whole point of this posting is we played quarters (again), during which you have to bounce a quarter off the table and try to get it into someone's beer. If it lands in his or her beer, he or she must chug said beer. What was not crystal clear to one of my cohortmates was that when chugging his beer, he should not drink the quarter.

Oh, up above is a photo from the Brazil party. I joined WHALASA, which stands for something related to Latin America. It turns out it costs $25 to join and you get $5 off your ticket to each of their parties (they throw a lot of parties) and free admissions to their Argentinian style BBQ's, so it pretty much pays for itself.

Monday, September 26, 2005

I Was a Little Unclear on the Themes

(one of my fave lines ever from Buffy)

I have no theme today, but was reminded by someone that some of you are killing time at work, so....

What's up with me? Well, I just got my first ever resume friendly position at school-- I'm co-director of the breakfast career chat at our upcoming Marketing Conference, which should be a great way to get exposure with the types of companies I might be interested in working for. And it should double my stress level to boot.

This week is exam/project hellweek, we have something due or an exam every day (including my first midterm tomorrow). Today was our first big marketing case turn in. You might think that marketing would be my easiest class. You'd be wrong (it'd be hambone). All of your turned in work for marketing is done with your learning team, which means six hour meetings over the weekend with lots of debate. And we run numbers, lots and lots of numbers. We endlessly finagle over things like lifetime value of the customer and incremental break even analysis. To run that many numbers and still be in a situation where there is no right answer is doubly frustrating. I will say that though I'm not sure how well my group did, I felt the ad we produced (I wrote and designed it) was the strongest in keeping with the positioning the professor recommended. So hopefully that helps.

On top of the work stuff, we had our social chair kickoff meeting tonight. We learned not only of the fun stuff we get to organize with our cohort, but that we have to promote schoolwide events. Long story short, remember that suit jacket on top underwear on the bottom party I mentioned? It's Saturday night. Guess how I get to promote it? That's right, by wearing said attire to school all day on Thursday. The 24 first year cohort social chairs will be navigating a sea of 1600 regular whartonites all day in our skivvies. Oh right, and there's the undergrads too. And there's the bus ride to school. It could be worse-- my co-social chair has to deliver a five minute persuasive speech on Thursday in her underwear.

I can't WAIT!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Captain Julie Hazelwood

Last week, my cohort was invited on a 'booze cruise' on the Delaware River by our 'big cohort', aka the second years of our cohort. All you can drink beer and the chance to see the beautiful Delaware River (ha!) proved a winning combination to get us all aboard this three hour cruise. I was even allowed to pilot the boat, beer in hand, for a bit (see above, that's the apparently-lacking-in-judgment captain peeking in between us).

It turns out our cohort from last year had quite a different reputation than our current incarnation. They made our equivalent of the Dean's List at a freakishly high rate, and spent most of the booze cruise above deck discussing classes. Above deck was delightful at first, and then we veered a little too close to the New Jersey side of the river and were treated to the smell that is New Jersey (a NJ native on board insisted there was a sewage treatment plant at that particular point) and we scurried below for drinking games.

It's hard at this point to say that any one night is more 'epic' in terms of debauchery than the one before. I will say that this evening was all about seeing how wasted we could get one particular guy, and how many ridiculous things we could make him do once he got there. I'm not going to share what led to this picture, but I will share that the guy in the striped shirt was just elected cohort historian, and is planning the following item in our first newsletter:

Lost and Found
Lost: (Name of shirtless guy)'s dignity- last seen somewhere on the Delaware River.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Vote for Pedro

I was just elected Cohort A social (co) chair. Three of us ran for two slots, and the third girl didn't turn up. But I am officially an office-holder at this school. Granted, it's an office I can't put on my resume.....

Please Come Visit

I had my first official visitors this weekend, and I'd like to take this moment to say how much I want everyone to come visit me. It's a great reality check to see people you've known for a while, and to listen to your stories in the context of how insane this entire experience is. Also, I've been pricing flights and it's not that expensive to get here. Somehow, Philadelphia is not so hot to trot. It's not getting cold until November, think about it, people!

Matt and Trish- I hope the run went well!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An Orgy by Next Weekend

Pete has spoken-- as I suspected there is at least some demand out there for the details outside the classroom.

Here's my take on the party scene thus far. We started off innocently enough, there were bar nights, BBQ's, happy hours, etc. Our cohort organized an activity or two, karaoke or a happy hour just for us. And for a full month, there was some late night dancing and some dubious walk-homes (The walk-home is equal parts necessity and easy way for a guy here to stake his claim. The vagrants in Center City are a bit more aggressive than the ones I'm used to in SF, so though we're rarely more than four blocks from home, it's not a good idea to walk home alone. So often the guys will offer to walk us home. Sometimes they invite themselves up using the "I need a bathroom excuse." Sometimes they then won't leave. Other times you're left with the awkward 'I'm standing in front of my apartment building talking to you for an hour and a half even thought it's three in the morning' situation in avoiding the invite up. It's a good time, and we women always swap war stories the next day.). But for the most part, conversations remained in the getting to know you/businessy sphere, and everyone was on their best behavior.

Then pre-term ended, and the second years came back. The very first weekend, we had the foam party and the white party. This gave us new insight into what our classmates were like when they let their guard down, and it was definitely a sight to behold. Then the week came, and it was back to little happy hours and nothing too crazy.

Then last Thursday, we had the Europa Club's "Back to School" party, with school uniforms as the suggested attire. Now I'm almost thirty years old, so the idea of me dressing up as a little schoolgirl seemed funny more than anything. But given the reactions of my fellow (male) students and the fact that they were handing out lollipops to the girls at the door, I'd say this was less a 'ha ha' event and more of a 'give the guys yet another chance to leer at the girls' event. And I realize that we are sliding down a pretty steep slope in terms of party themes. I ask you-- how long until they cut all pretense of theme parties and just start throwing girlfriend swaps or even orgies? Stop the insanity, please. We do actually have an event coming up (though I'm not sure in which semester) where you go bar-hopping as a class in business attire on top, and 'nothing but underwear' underneath.

I'm off to the gym!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Jesus Shaves

It's come to my attention that some readers of this fine blog think that my life is too focused on the trivial. Comments such as "Is this camp?" and "Are you EVER sober?" and "Have you been to class yet?" have been passed along, and I realize that I'm not giving my audience what they want. So instead of chronicling my impressions of last Thursday's "Naughty Schoolgirl" party, I'm going to write to you about where I stand academically.

I spent about eight hours of each day this weekend doing nothing but studying. This included a four hour learning team meeting about which the less said the better. I caught up on statistics and managed to do pretty well on my quiz this morning. I'm basically done with my magic problem set due Thursday, and I actually understand it. I caught up enough in accounting that I did the case correctly for today's class. And though my paralyzing fear keeps me from piping up in marketing, I could've done a great job if I had been cold called on today's case.

What I found funniest about immersing myself so thoroughly in academics was the bizarre overlap between magic (Managerial Economics, for you new readers) and marketing. Marketing this week was a case where you had to devise a marketing strategy for Gillette in Indonesia. To do this, you have to get down to the level of analyzing blade consumption by different types of users, and the profit you can make on each blade sold. In my magic homework, we had to devise a strategy to maximize profits selling razors and blades by bundling them together and sell to different consumers with varying reservation prices, under scenarios with different levels of pricing discrimination. So basically, I spent no fewer than six hours this weekend thinking about pricing razors. Ironically, I'm fresh out of new blades myself.

That's it folks! Tomorrow maybe I'll write about excel models or Assets being equal to Liabilities plus Equity. Or perhaps, a booze cruise review.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

She's Actual Size

I just thought y'all might like to see my locker, small bottle of coke is there for scale.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

From Other Blogs

There's some good content I'd like to share with my fellow readers, all of it blog-related.

First of all, Sasha rightly pointed out that while I am hesitant to write about my own foam party experience, he's already written a highly entertaining account of one he attended in Mexico on his own lovely (and now sadly defunct) blog. FYI on the foam party, it just seems like a really bad idea until you get there, and then suddenly it seems like a really good idea, and then you almost drown and imagine your parents getting the phone call that their only daughter met her demise dancing in a room filled with five feet of soap suds.

Second, I cannot recommend the TV show Veronica Mars highly enough. And it turns out I'm not the only fan. Kevin Smith, creator of some good movies most notably Clerks, raves about it in his blog. Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, raves about it in his blog. The premise may sound silly since we're all adults here (teen girl, daughter of the former sheriff/now private detective, solves crimes at her school while trying to crack the case of who killed her best friend), but it is seriously the smartest funniest show I've seen on network TV since season 3 of Buffy. I just rewatched the Season 1 finale and am still shocked at how good it is. Try renting the DVD's of Season 1 when it comes out in October, or catch the season premiere on September 28th.

Finally, Deb and Elliott are doing their own Juliedelphia up in New York. These are two Stanford and SF friends who moved to New York the same month I moved here, and they are chronicling their adventures quite entertainingly. I feel like I end up writing a lot about how ridiculous b-school is and have not devoted enough time deriding the east coast. Deb and Elliott are picking up the slack.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I'd Never Join a Club That Would Have Me as a Member

It's club week, kids, and you know what that means-- the time which was already so precious is slipping away from me in teeny tiny increments. Here's the current list I'm considering, in no particular order:

Marketing Club - duh. I'm probably going to shoot for a big role in the upcoming marketing conference, which will set me up for doing a bigger piece next year. This is a great chance to work with the types of companies I might want to interview with in the coming months, and really explore what I want to do.

Entertainment and Media Club- they throw the awesome Oscar party. Oh yeah, and their career trek to New York includes a visit to ESPN. I'm not saying I think this is what I'm going to do, but it'd be like visiting a religious site.

Wine Club- I made some noise about not doing this, but who am I kidding.

Scotch Club- Overkill. However, the faculty advisor is my beloved stat professor (who loves me thanks to the birthday muffins I brought to his 9am class today for some of my fellow classmates), and it's only $10, the deal of the century. I don't think I like Scotch. Sidebar-- people usually list clubs on their resume, but listing both Scotch and Wine would probably be a bad call.

Follies- Wharton does a show called Follies, a student written and performed musical parody. Some of you may remember my involvement with Gaieties at Stanford, this is basically the same thing. I'm definitely going to try to do some writing for it. I think I'm also going to audition. It's a total longshot, and would probably be better for me to not get cast (they're only looking for 11 people, and I only got cast in Gaieties due to their 'energy, not talent' motto. My dancing and singing are not all that, and charm only carries you so far in a musical.) given the time requirements. But writing would be fun.

Culinary Club- It seems silly not to join this one.

Consulting Club- I've been thinking about Marketing Consulting as a possible career choice, this could be a nice way to explore that.

Entrepreneurship Club- I went to their bar night last night mainly because a friend dragged me and it was at the pub closest to my house. I realized that most of the truly interesting people I've met since I got here are in this club. And it only costs $10 and I'll hear about all the cool speakers they have coming.

Europa- Supposedly it's silly NOT to join at least one 'ethnic' club, and I'd feel just plain silly in most of the others. They have a lot of great parties, and do some cool trips as well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I Might Pass This One

Finally, a class that doesn't make my head spin. I am currently enrolled in a public speaking class, which is both the most miniscule of my core course requirements (it meets for half a semester and only one day a week) and the one I will definitely be doing the best in. On the first day of class, we had to get up and deliver a two minute impromptu speech introducing ourselves. Then we received criticism. I got a piece of criticism from the instructor, and one from one of my classmates. Here they are (as I recall them):

Instructor: You are remarkably expressive. You should be on the stage.

Classmate: I've been in Julie's cohort and had the opportunity to hear her speak several times, and she's always as polished and energetic as she was just then.

Why can't all of my classes be this? I do have work for it though-- I have to deliver a two minute speech as the CEO of Volkswagen trying to assure shareholders they'll weather through a sex scandal. I plan on using a German accent.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

White Power

The first full weekend of school has wound down, with the Foam party and the White party both taking place. The less said about the Foam party, the better. Let's just say bad idea, bad idea, bad idea.

I did however love the White Party. Not quite as hardcore as P Diddy's version (Is it just Diddy now? Who can keep track?) in the Hamptons, not everyone dressed all in white. But I did, and I wore a white feather boa which my mother has urged me to get rid of during every move/closet purge in which she participated since my college graduation, the event for which it was originally purchased. She was right, but deep down I knew I'd wear it again someday. And sure enough, it just seemed sinful to own a white feather boa and NOT wear it to the White Party.

That boa made the night. It was worn by at least ten different people, most of them people you would not expect to be in feather boas. There are feathers littered all over the apartment where we gathered for pre-party cocktails (I was over there studying today). And most importantly, me wearing the boa somehow emboldened people I hadn't met yet to come up and start talking to me for no reason, and not the typical b-school conversations. These are more like 'drunk guy' conversations, with really bad/borderline creepy pick up lines. No, "So, where were you living before school?" Instead, "You must be a Brazilian girl, I can tell by the way you shake it on the dance floor." Another actually detailed an entire outfit I wore three days ago to another event, though I had never met him before. Good thing I hid mace in my boa.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Convocation Buzzkill

We had convocation the night before classes began. It featured various deans and professors telling us how wonderful our experience was going to be and the importance of our studies and zzzz.... sorry, I dozed off there for a bit.

The highlight, besides seeing everyone dressed up in suits(!), was the penultimate speaker of the night, the alumni speaker. In his speech, he told us that on the first day at some academic programs, they tell you, "Look to your left, look to your right, look at yourself-- one of the three of you will not be here at graduation." He rebutted that at business school, and at Wharton in particular, the saying had to be modified to, "Look to your left, look to your right, and also shake the hands of and get the business cards of anyone seated behind or in front of you, because these are going to be your best friends and your network for the rest of your lives." I thought that was a nice way to start things off.

However, the vice-dean couldn't let that slide exactly. Our final speaker for convocation, he stood up to deliver the closing remarks and said, "Just as an FYI, about eight people from every class flunk out."


Tonight, we wear suits. Three nights later, some of these women will be dancing in a room filled with foam.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I am a Plumber

I just returned from my first day of classes. For those of you who think the past month has been nothing but a drinkfest, you'll understand that now the real work begins.

I had three classes today, here's my quick rundown:

Statistics- I and my friend Shirin are in love with our stat professor Big Ed. He is sweet. He is funny. He is self-effacing. He says things like, "Pause..... new topic" in a singsongy yet not at all annoying way to transition between concepts. He is the faculty sponsor of the Scotch club. He used to live in Austin so is willing to discuss topics such as queso and Mexican martinis. He performs stand up comedy. He has been our stat professor since pre-term (many of our classmates met him for the first time today) and we went out of our way to go to class early to chat with him. And I think that it may have paid off because today when we arrived and got our 'random' seating assignments, she and I were seated together (the only two women seated together in our male-heavy class) and front and center. Statistically, I find it hard to believe this is random chance.

Accounting- As promised, accounting is beginning with an exact review of what we did during pre-term. Only this time, we are moving much more quickly. This is a new prof for us, he seems good. However, allegations that he used to be a staffer at Saturday Night Live (a pre-term rumor) seem less credible now that I've heard his first day of class biography.

Marketing- Ah, marketing, the class in which everyone expects me to help them and in which I may be the most lost. I was able to help a classmate out last night; she didn't know what B2B or B2C meant (business to business and business to consumer, the two great churches of marketing). I can only say leave it to the marketing book to leave in industry-specific jargon which confuses the laypeople. I also found it amusing that the marketing textbook seems to exclusively use 'it's' where 'its' would do-- perhaps I can start a deal of trading typo tips for extra credit points in classes (my $160 econ textbook-- written by our econ profs and in its sixth edition-- talks about how companies like Staples compete not just with Office Depot, but with stationary (sic) stores. Now call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure they don't mean stores which aren't moving.). The prof is highly entertaining, but spent much of class explaining that marketing is both an art and a science, there are seldom right answers, and that this, more than anything, is our lone vocational training class at Wharton. And then he told us this was the equivalent teaching us to be plumbers.

Time to set up my newly arrived repaired Tivo!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Confessions of a Benny

I really do feel like I'm in a completely different world, one with its own customs and languages. I'm speaking not just of b-school, but of the east coast in general. For instance, did you know that I am a Benny? A Benny is someone who visits the Jersey shore and is not a local (I guess this would be the opposite of a townie specific to that location). Benny stands for "Bayonne Elizabeth Newark New York", which represent the main points of origin for Benny visitors to the shore. One could argue that being from Philadelphia, we were more accurately "Pennies", but there you are.

We lucked into an unbelievably phat beach house for the weekend. The 70 foot deck was a dream, the hot tub was seldom unoccupied, and the grill was a key component of our overall well-being. The nearby beach (a five block walk) was quite beautiful, even nicer than the one I visited last weekend. There were 10-12 of us staying in the house at any given time, and about 20 more came up for a BBQ we hosted yesterday.

Here are some of my favorite moments:

  • The Jello shot sampler (rank order of flavor preference: 1. Raspberry 2. Blue Mixed Berry 3. Strawberry Kiwi 8. Lime -- which was too disgusting to be ranked above 8th)
  • Being surrounded on the beach by people reading b-school books. The reality of classes is really starting to hit home. I read three chapters of statistics on the sand.
  • Helping to invent the game, "Warm Cup of Tequila".
  • Fun but Weird(tm) Dancing
  • Winning the beach football game
  • Watching a midwestern boy learn how to bodysurf, and then freak out when he realized there were hundreds of jelly fish swimming around us.
  • Spending four hours driving around Long Beach Island to finally realize that there is no supermaket there.
  • Two eggs over easy with extra crispy bacon at "Mr. Breakfast".
  • The WaWa (deserving still of its own post, there's just nothing this store can't do) in Ship Bottom, Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
  • Our new favorite catchphrase, given to us by a visiting outsider. He felt that he wasn't seeing the level of debauchery he expected from a group of 12 mixed-sex single twenty somethings spending a weekend sharing a house. He told his friend that instead of using the 'wah wah' Debbie Downer trombone sound effect, he was going to sing 'whar-ton' to that tune. It's become our new favorite thing to do. And to be fair, he was unaware of the game of "Warm Cup of Tequila" we had going on in the hot tub when he made this judgment.
  • Our neighbors calling the cops on us the first night, and then after we sent over the charm brigade to smooth things over on day 2, they brought us over a case of beer on the second night. No, I was not part of the charm brigade.
  • Pulling in to refuel my rental car in New Jersey and coming to the realization that there is no Self Serve in Jersey.

By the way, I just spent ten minutes trying to find a sound file on the web with the Debbie Downer trombone and failed. What's up, internet?

Below- I am concerned about getting my deposit back given the overcrowding in the hot tub-- AND Julie burned the ribs again..

Thursday, September 01, 2005

No One Puts Juliedelphia in the Corner

I just got back from two days in the Catskills. Johnny Castle did not teach me any dance moves, unfortunately. I did get to bond more with my cohort (the sixty people with whom I will take every class this year) and finally learn the identities of my learning team mates (the five people with whom I will do every group project this year, a subset of my cohort, natch).

My learning team seems to be a good group. We are specifically picked for diversity (two women, three men, two international, three US citizens, three engineering backgrounds, one accountant) so I think I have a lot to learn from them. They try to accelerate the process of figuring out how to work together by forcing us to run around and do a variety of activities as a team, generally competing against the rest of our cohort for points. Here's a list of activities, guess which one my team won outright:

  • Design a catapult and see who can hit the most targets with water balloons
  • Reassemble a mini-helicopter based on quick looks at a completed model
  • Ropes course activities
  • Canoe races
  • Brain teasers
  • Write,choreograph, and perform a song about your team and Wharton
  • Pick supplies you would rescue from a burning plane if you were stranded after a crash
  • Develop a business plan for a business which could serve Wharton students and present it to the cohort.

They described the song activity and told us to go off and start working on them. I had the song written by the time my team got to its meeting place. That gave us extra time to learn the words and work on the choreography-- I'm not saying 'jazz hands' got us the victory, but the guy from India definitely nailed them. And the other hit was (for rhyming purposes) referring to me as the team 'spaz' (the middle lyrics went, "No bankers here/Three engineers/An auditor and a spaz..."). That's definitely sticking with me so far, such a great way to make your reputation.

We also came in second on brainteasers, and would've come in first if we had utilized our listening skills to draw out our quieter teammates more (we shot down a correct answer that would've carried us to the top).

I also schooled my classmates in trivia, but that was not with my learning team but during the twenty five minutes of unregimented 'free time' they gave us.

I'm off to the Jersey shore for the weekend starting tomorrow morning, Happy Labor Day, readers!