This about sums up my move-in experience (source: Reddit)
I know what you’re thinking: enough with the literary references. This post has absolutely nothing to do with the Jules Verne classic, but I felt it was an appropriate title. After all, my intention is to chronicle the highlights of my journey through the Cornell MBA program. As of August 8, 2015, I have already settled into my apartment in Collegetown and completed two courses (Math Camp and Leading Teams Practicum).
The Johnson MBA Southside Crew (minus Alex and Luna) L-R: Amy, Peter, me, Jessica, Amanda
Occasionally, I ask myself: on a scale from 1 to Charlie Sheen, how crazy has my week been? I have attended way too many networking and social events already and have knocked back a fair share of wine glasses #winning. But through the hectic orientation schedule and the endless schedule of events around Sage Hall, I have grown very close to several of my fellow classmates. Many of them will be featured later in this post.
A small gathering of great friends at CK’s place. Top (L-R): Me, Brian, CK, Alex Bottom (L-R): Ryan, Dami, Karen
This first part is my journey across Midwestern America into Ithaca, NY. There’s no better way to see America’s vast, stunning landscape and explore its rich history than driving through the heart of it. Here is a summary of my three-day journey through 10 states in the Midwestern strip of the United States.
Starting Point: Houston, TX (7/25/15)
The Last Supper. My going away dinner was at Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steak House. Maternity pants with extra stretch would have come in handy at this meal. Thank you to my closest friends Zaq and Michelle for an emotional sendoff that involved a comfortable amount of sentimentalism and uncomfortable period of food coma.
Day 1: Texas → Arkansas → Tennessee (with a stop in Memphis to pay homage to Elvis Presley at the Graceland Mansion)
Day 2: Nashville → Louisville → Cincinnati → Cleveland → Pennsylvania → Buffalo
Day 3: Niagara Falls → Ithaca
Finish Point: Ithaca, NY (7/28/15)
Ice cream can turn any frown upside down. L-R: Katie, CK, Amanda, Me, Dami, Alex
I arrived in Ithaca just in time to attend the Johnson Pre-MBA class, Introduction to Quantitative Analysis for Business, otherwise lovingly known as “Math Camp”. But more about that in a little bit. My first impression of Ithaca can be described in four words: cute, scenic college town. My second impression of Ithaca can be described in three words: too many hills. It didn’t take long for me to realize that every road seemed to run endlessly in an uphill direction. But all of the beautiful quirky renovated homes along the streets made the drive more bearable. I finally arrived at the Collegetown Terrace apartments in early afternoon, and my move-in experience can be described from this popular scene in the hit sitcom “Friends”.
Done with day 1 of orientation
My first experience as a Johnson MBA was the three-day intensive Math Camp course offered to students wanting to gain a stronger fundamental quantitative skills base. At first I was hesitant to sign up for the course; I was already rushing to make it to Ithaca and I typically like to explore my surroundings and environment before settling in. Then I realized I’m really not sure how many problems I truly have…because math is one of them. In the end, though, I was very glad that I chose to attend. The course was led by Professor Peter Regan who reviewed essential quantitative skills in Excel, finance, marketing and microeconomics. This was my first taste of a classroom experience at Johnson. Not only was the professor knowledgeable and passionate about teaching, he was extremely engaging and accessible at all hours of the day. However, what I got the most out of Math Camp wasn’t the academic skills; rather, the most memorable aspect of the class was my initial exposure to classmates and peers. At the end of the day, I was most grateful for my first group of friends at Johnson: the Southside crew. Shout out to Peter, Jessica, Amanda, and Alex for being the first group of people to share my first MBA experience with.
Spending a lovely afternoon at Ithaca Farmers Market eating exotic food with my friend Laura.
The first week of orientation flew by. Within the span of a week, I completed a course in leading teams, attended a myriad of career workshops, and became very acquainted with the comfortable couches in the Management Library. The past week was a test in time management and the ability to sit for long periods of time. However, despite the litany of pre-MBA events, I still found time to make my way over the famous Cornell Dairy Bar. I’ll let the photos do the talking for me. We all appear composed for the picture, but on the inside, we were feeling giddy! We all scream for ice cream.
Networking in action; a candid discussion about Marvel superheroes with friend and fellow classmate Matt.
All in all, the work/life balance has been pretty fantastic. We work hard, but we also play hard, and sometimes it’s hard to forget that while we’re in business school to become future leaders, we’re also here to make lifelong friends. Classmates have been hosting everything from soccer game viewings to backyard BBQ’s and house parties. As a new intense week of orientation looms on the horizon, I can rest easy knowing that no matter what difficulties I may experience adapting to business school life, I have an irreplaceable group of friends and classmates whom I can rely on. My biggest insecurities coming to business school were my young age and lack of pre-MBA experience. But none of that has mattered. The Cornell experience is synonymous with acceptance and inclusion. I’m lucky to be here.