Monday, December 26, 2011

What I've Learned at Johnson

Business school is an interesting time and I know that many of my peers at Johnson and at other schools would agree.  Looking back on last year's madness that was applying to business school I have a whole new outlook on the process itself.  There are many things that as an applicant I thought were important, but now that I'm in school I see how, not unimportant, but less important certain things are.  Conversely, I now understand why certain things are more important that applicants think.  With that being said I would like to just jot down some things that I learned DURING THE CORE in business school that probably capture the essence of business school.  And no - it's not necessarily the hard skills that one learns.

FINANCE - For me, Finance is no longer another language.  As per THIS post that I made before I can speak at a very high level about derivatives, synthetics, calls, puts, forwards, futures, time value of money, weighted average cost of capital and all that jazz.  Don't get me wrong, Finance was a tough course, especially since I didn't have ANY Finance background, but I can say that I did learn an immense amount in that class.  So now with that I feel comfortable asking deeper questions to my classmates who are more than happy to further my knowledge given that they're pursuing careers in Finance.

STRENGTH - I've also learned that I'm a WOO.  In the beginning of the semester we all took a Strengths Finder test.  This test gives the top 5 character traits of someone and then we were put into our Core groups based on our Strengths.  My top quality was a WOO - Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport.

This was an interesting Strength to have because it's not like other strengths that my classmates got like Analytical.  If you get the Analytical strength, you kind know how you fit into a situation or a group and you essentially know what your role is.  As a WOO, I must say that at first it was tough to figure out how I fit into my Core group that consisted of 3 engineers and a consultant.  The beauty of the Core though is that I had faith that I was put in the group for a reason, and that the reason would naturally come out.  I definitely learned that my strengths compliment the weaknesses of some of my classmates (which is why it's important to BE YOURSELF throughout the application process.)

WALMART - I learned that not everyone in the world has been to a Wal-Mart.  As per the post that I made right when I got to school, I took a classmate from Georgia (the country) to Wal-mart and he had never been before.  It's nice to experience Wal-Mart through the eyes of someone who had never been. Maybe we should have started with Target!

STRESS - I've learned that people deal with stress in a myriad of ways.  I'm the type of person who will convince myself that things are not stressful if everyone around me is stressing.  However, if the situation is one that only pertains to me, then I will stress about it a lot.  In a group I try to be the calming voice so that people just take a step back and realize what's really important.  That's a quality about myself that I think will definitely stick with me for the rest of my life.  Knowing how I react in certain situation is uber important and b-school is definitely a place where one finds out their true self.

DRINKING - I've learned that there is a lot of drinking that goes on in business school!  I feel like we are always celebrating something.  In the beginning of school we were celebrating BEING at school.  That stint lasted for about 3 weeks.  Then we started having corporate briefings on campus, so of course there were cocktails and finger foods served at those.  Then we had mid-terms, so we celebrated for finishing midterms.  Then we drank because we had all of these new friends whom we quasi-knew, so what better way to get to know them even better?  Then we drank because we finished finals.  Then for about 2 weeks after our Fall break, we didn't go out much.  Then after Mid-terms we drank to celebrate that!  Then it was Thanksgiving, so the day before that break we WENT IN!  That following weekend we had our Winter Formal which was a Masquerade party.  Then we had finals and of course after that last day of finals we had an incredible time!  It was an 80's party.  Enough said right?!?

HOLISTIC VIEW - In hindsight one of the things that the Core has afforded me is a holistic view of business.  In that regard this long winter break is a good thing because it's allowed me to reflect.  When I came into business school, I had only seen business problems from one angle.  Now that I'm in school and have been exposed to many subjects, I now see things from many angles.  Sure I have a lot to learn STILL but I have learned a lot.  It's interesting to me to see how everything comes together because it really does come together and a lot of it has to do with weighting other options that someone or some firm may have.  A true joy that I have now is going back and re-watching movies that are related to business because I now understand more deeply what they're talking about.  Not that I didn't before, because of course those movies are made for the masses, but when I re-watch something like Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room or Inside Job, there's just something more intriguing about the situations.

Out of all of the fun that I've been having in business school, one of the key takeaways that I think the Core had provided me is simply (or not simply) is learning how to deal with multiple personalities.  Sure, I took Stats/Marketing/Strategy/Finance/Accounting/and Economics, but my biggest learnings have come from being around incredibly smart people with different personalities and strengths.  As we all progress up the corporate ladder or start our own businesses the likelihood of us encountering more and more strong Type A personalities will increase.  Knowing how to deal with those types of personalities in different settings is what will make a good manager, trader, managing director, consulting or what have you.  The sooner one realizes this the easier his/her experience through the Core of ANY business school will be.  I whole heartedly believe that.  Don't get me wrong, the hard skill learning will occur.  Maybe not in the Core, but I'm sure at some point in business school.

I think that's all I have for now.  I'm hungry and am going to go eat some leftovers while watching the morning news!

P.S. - To all of those people who are stressing about January deadlines.  JUST BREATHE!  You will get through it.  Let me know if you'd like a 2nd eyeball on your essays.  I really have all the time in the world at the moment.  Just shoot me an email at richardbattlebaxter@gmail.com with a little bit about you.  I'll try to respond within 24 hours - THIS WEEK!

Bored on Winter Break

Yes, it's 5:19am the day AFTER Christmas and I'm awake just sitting on my moms couch watching Home Alone!  My biorhythms are jacked up and I sleep at the oddest times - which if you ask my GMAT tutor isn't that far off from my normal life anyway.  In any event, I was just going through my blog and looking at where I was at this time last year in the application process and I was just about to embark on another day of massive essay writing.  You can read about that blog post here:  Last Years Essay Writing.

So that's that! I had an incredibly busy weekend - starting on Thursday.  First, I signed up for Tuck's Winter Retreat hosted by what I assume is TAABA - Tuck African Ancestry Business Association, but I could be mistaken.  In any event, one of my friends up at Tuck sent out an invitation to many of our peer schools for this 3rd Annual Retreat up in Vermont.  Of course then we all texted and emailed our friends from other schools to see if they'd be going.  The turnout from what I hear thus far should be great!  It's going to be a blast and I need to brush up on my Skiing skills.  Thankfully, one of my classmates has offered to teach my how to snowboard at the Ski resort not too far from Cornell, so I definitely need to take him up on his offer.

After signing up for the retreat, I trekked my butt into the city to hang out with my friend who goes to Stern.  When I got to his apartment I had to take a nap because like I said, my body is all out of whack.  But then after I napped (he was at the gym) we went to grab a bite to eat.  That was actually the first time in over a year that he and I had a chance to just sit and chat about business school.  I first met him last year at NYU Stern's Discover Stern weekend and then his brother is the one who stayed at my house in Ithaca a couple weeks ago the night before his interview.

After he and I had dinner, we headed up to Harlem to go to a bunch of our mutual friends who go to school with him at Stern.  I know many of them from Consortium and from MLT.  House parties are always fun and a conversation that I had that night is what is going to spark my "What I've Learned in Business School" post after I finish writing this one.  I have nothing else going on anyway - well at least not until January 2nd when I fly to San Francisco for our Silicon Valley Trek but I digress.  While at the party, one of my classmates from Johnson showed up too which was a lot of fun.

The following day I went to my other friend's Holiday Party down in Central Jersey.  It was very nice seeing everyone again and being able to have discussions with other people now that I know what they do.  What I mean by that is, now that I know what someone does when he says that he trades derivatives or that he's in retail banking.  Yeah, it's a great feeling and a whole new world has opened up to me!  But with that said, I'm going to close out this post and make another one right now about what I've learned in business school.

Sidenote - how come in Home Alone this 7yr old boy doesn't just think to go to a neighbors house and tell them what happened to him?  Why is he running around town setting up traps?  SMH

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Break (from B-School)

Here is a post from what I was doing exactly 365 days ago!  WRITING ESSAYS

... I have been home now for about a week on Winter Break!  It definitely feels good but I must say that I'm very bored! I've been doing a lot of sleeping and watching documentaries and reading Steve Jobs.  Aside from that I'm diligently working on recruiting things.  As much as I love being home and being able to relax and do things that I want to do, I have to admit that I do feel a void because I'm not at school.  I'm not sure if any of my classmates feel the same way or any of my friends at other schools.  It's interesting because at Johnson, as I've said before, I see my friends/classmates every day of the week and not just while we're in classes or in Sage, but even if I walk to the convenience store in College Town, I'm sure that I'll bump into someone.  That was the case for five months and then all of a sudden we're all torn apart and left to our own vices.  It's quite sad - however it's MUCH needed!

I know that I definitely needed to re-calibrate in more ways than one so this is a good time.  But it's still very much a weird time.  I would go hang out with my friends in NYC the whole time, but they have work!  I don't think about them having to work much when I'm at school because well quite frankly there are many other things going on.  I do call them every once in a while in the middle of the day to say "Hey What's Up?" only to get a response like "Um... I'm at work!"  I've just completely forgotten.  I think it's not only a function of being in business school, but it's compounded by being in a College Town in the middle of upstate New York where you don't see people going to work everyday unless you're walking by professors and/or administration.  It's very surreal.

Last Friday, I was in the city having drinks with my GMAT Tutor, on the East Side.  I also invited one of my best friends from school to join in the conversation since she was there recruiting.  It was fun to be able to introduce her to the person who really helped me get into business school and then have her thank him for getting me into business school!  :-)  Talk about humility huh?  It was nice to just talk to my tutor not about the GMAT and applications but different things now.  Sure I was still venting to some extent about new topics such as recruiting... classes... the whole 9 yards, but I was definitely more relaxed.

Then after about an hour and a half, one of his recent students joined us.  I met this applicant back in February when my tutor got all of his students together for a happy hour of sorts.  But then this applicant reached out to me recently to ask me about my experience at Johnson.  She was accepted!  It was great that I had my classmate there because then they could talk about I guess female related bschool things.  It's just natural to want to connect people to people who have similar backgrounds or interests.  At least it's a natural occurrence for me!

Then I had invited a prospective Johnson student to come hang with us too.  He had recently been up to visit Johnson a couple weeks prior and we were emailing back and forth regarding his essays (Hi M_____, cuz I know you're reading this right now!)  So for a short bit it was me, him, my gmat tutor, the newly admitted applicant, and my classmate.  It was a fun time and a couple of drinks later it was time to head down to the Meatpacking district for dinner.  So I said to the prospective student, "Do you have plans?  If not come to dinner!"  So he decided to come to dinner with me, my classmate and another classmate who is from the city."  We ate at Catch.  The food was surprisingly good and not overpriced given the location.  The drinks however were overpriced, but that's tolerable to an extent.

Post-Dinner, we went a couple blocks north to Park to meet another classmate of ours and meet up with a couple of my non-b-school friends.  I say that all to say that even though I'm on break and should be cherishing this time away from my classmates, somehow some of us still gravitate back to each other to just the same thing that we did back in Ithaca.  It's weird, but that's my reality for the next couple of years.  I welcome it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Year's Blog Quality

Last year on December 12th, I received a not so nice blog comment about the quality of my blog at this juncture last year.  Here is a link to what it was:  http://money9111.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post-quality-fail.html

Basically the person had been following my blog for a while and then when I was in the trenches with GMAT prep and Essays and following up with my recommenders, I didn't have time to put into blogging.  Well this person called it out and said that the quality of my blog had declined.  How ironic that a year later I've had more than 200,000 visitors.  More and more people tell me that this URL has been incredibly helpful to them, so I'm going to keep at it.

Just as I offered advice and insight into my own trials and tribulations, I plan to do the same after I get out of the Core.  Thankfully this happens tomorrow AFTER my Statistics final.  Then I'll be headed home for winter break at some point this week.  Even though we have about a month off - I don't have a month off because on January 2nd, I'll be headed out to Silicon Valley for our High-Tech Club trek.  That's when recruiting really begins to kick up for me!  Then the following week I have to fly up to Seattle to go on our High-Tech club trek up there to visit a couple more companies.

There's a specific post that I want to make about all that I've learned this quarter which should be very insightful to those who are applying this year and also to my classmates to remind them all that's gone on thus far.  One can become incredibly short-sighted and forget all that's happened.  I'll probably tell some funny stories about my own experience too.  One in particular involves a Kimberly-Clark 10-K!  I'm dying laughing as I think about it.  So needless to say, if anyone thinks my blog quality has decreased as of late, it's because just like last year this time with Essays & GMAT, I'm very busy with finals and wrapping up this school semester so just bear with me!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2 Finals Down - 1 To Go!

I can't believe (although I'm relieved) that the only thing separating me from being done with the Core is 1 measly little Statistics final!  It's actually not measly at all and will be quite difficult even though it is an open book exam.  I just took my Strategy final today and my Finance final was on Friday.  That Finance final was crazy difficult.  I looked at the information and said to myself "um... what in the world is this?"  The cheat sheet that I had did help, but the understanding that one needed to have in order to get an A on that exam definitely superseded my capabilities!  I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that I did well enough!  I did everything I could do so we'll see.  The Strategy final today was very ambiguous and I know that the grading is alway tricky, so that one can go one of two ways!

Other than that, things are just wrapping up now.  I'm not sure exactly when I'll be going home for winter break.  It will definitely be at some point this week though!  Some of my friends from school will be in the city on Friday, so we're definitely planning on going out having a great time.  It'll probably be much of the same conversations just in a new location - unless our other friends come out too.  

We've all worked hard this semester and are starting to realize that it's coming to an end.  The thing that really facilitates the realization that the Core is done is the fact that prospective students are being admitted now!  I'm getting emails from people who I've helped with essays and just had conversations with saying "I GOT IN!!"  I know the mass influx of acceptances will happen in January during R3 decisions, but as a 1st year it's definitely a jarring experience to now have our conversations here at school and in clubs revolve around "the class of 2014."  Last year at this time, I was studying for the GMAT (STILL) and working on my essays so these newly admitted students are definitely in a much better position than I was in at this time last year.  They can enjoy their Holiday and not have to worry about essays and all that other jazz.

I'm going to make this blog post short because I have to do some more laundry, do some more company research, study for Stats exam and clean my apartment because I have a prospective student staying over my place tonight who will be interviewing tomorrow!  

If there's anyone out there who would like for me to review their essays, please send them to richardbattlebaxter@gmail.com.  Include a short paragraph about yourself and what you want to do as well as your resume.  You can send me essays for any school.

To the Johnson Class of 2014 - if you're reading this blog, know that your Class Facebook Page is here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/JohnsonClassOf2014/  It will come in handy when you're looking for your classmates and other admitted students.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Selfless 2nd Years - Thank You!

I just wrote another blog post on the Johnson blog as a tribute to the amazing 2nd years who have been helpful to me and other 1st years during the core!  Just click the hyperlink below:

Selfless 2nd Years - Thank You!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Insomniac's Post

Hi All!  I have to apologize for not writing more often but things have been crazy with Thanksgiving and Finals coming up this week!  I can't believe that the 1st half of my 1st year is practically over and done with.  The last day of classes for us is on Wednesday and then I have my Finance final on Saturday, Strategy Final on Sunday, and then my last final, Statistics, on Tuesday!

As I wrap up this portion of my first year there are a lot of things that I write about, but I should really be sleeping. I was up late working on a Finance Assignment, and couldn't force myself to go to sleep.  My GMAT Tutor would not be surprised that this has happened.  So basically right now I'm doing company research and I figured, I would upload some pictures from school.

This picture below was taken in 2010 after the NYU Stern Diversity Weekend, which I attended as a prospective - obviously.  The gorgeous woman in the middle is my friend who just graduated from Stern in 2011.  On the right is my friend who I also met that weekend and became good friends with.  He is now at Columbia.  

This picture below was taken this past October when we were all at an MBA Conference in Dallas!  My how things change!!!

This picture below is from the Winter Formal Masquerade party that we just had this past weekend at Johnson.

My friend and I did not plan to wear similar outfits this day.  We had a Citi Integrative Case competition and when most people were in suits, we were not!

Aw two of my besties are pictured below! 

This is a picture of a handful of us who attended the Cyberposium at Harvard Business School, the Saturday after our Boston Trek!  That was an incredible conference with a lot of heavy hitter speakers.  Keynote speech was the CEO of Sony - Don't get that everyday huh?

On our Boston Trek we visited Microsoft and here is a picture we took.  What you really need to see if the view outside the window we were staring at.  Absolutely incredible!

Here is a picture of me in our library using the Bloomberg Terminal.  See... I did learn something in business school!  My friend from Greece taught me when he saw me sitting there one day trying to send an email to someone!  (Just kidding... but he did help me navigate)

So we have a bowling alley on campus.  Literally ON CAMPUS in the middle of the freshman undergraduate dorms.  This is a silly picture we took after a couple games!  One of my favorite pictures.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TRANSitioning (Owen Student Blogger)

Right now I'm sitting here in the basement of Sage hall watching CNN and messing around on Facebook before I have to go to my Finance study group -> Student Association Elections -> Silicon Valley Trek Info session.  The reason that I write this post today is because when I was at the Reaching Out Conference about a month ago, I was sitting at the lunch table with some folks from HBS, Columbia, Owen, Johnson (a classmate) and some other schools.  Also around the table were some Google reps.

I remember vividly a question that someone from HBS asked - "Does anyone have anyone who is Trans at their schools?"  99% of us said no and then there was one person Dani - who said that he was transitioning from Male to Female.  I don't think the topic was out of the ordinary for anyone at the table, but I know that at least for me it was not.  What's more brave is that Dani is going through the process mentally & soon to be physically while IN business school.  What surprised me though was the fact that Dani is blogging through the process as an Owen (B-school @ Vanderbilt) blogger!  Naturally, as a fellow blogger I found this to be incredible!

Dani sent an email to the Class of 2012 (and I believe 2013) at Owen to let them know the transition that would be made.  Can you imagine what that must have been like?  As I'm writing this, Dani has made three posts thus far and you can feel the emotion as you read.

Well... If anyone wants to follow Dani's blog you can find it here:  Queering the MBA

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finance = Another Language

No really... it is really all Greek to me!  This is a formula that sums up (funny because it is really a summation) of my Finance quiz that I took this morning at 7:45am!

From the post-mortem I can tell you what this means.  Last night before the quiz I thought I had it under control.  Today on the quiz I made dumb mistakes.  Good thing about making a lot of mistakes on my quizzes is that I'm not aware of the mistakes for the final!  T-33 days until the core is OVER!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

High-Tech Trek: Boston

I just wanted to tell you all about the week that I had last week!  We only had two days of classes but it was still one of the busiest weeks that I've had to date here at Johnson!  It's funny when you are a prospective and you hear "yeah we only have classes three days a week" and you immediately think "oh you must have a lot of free time then?"  Nope Nope... that's definitely NOT the case!  Because of the great timing of the Boston Trek, some of us decided to stay over another night and go to the Cyberposium being held at HBS on Saturday.  So my experience will contain information from that as well, but for all prospectives out there, just know that this was not part of the trek.

So here goes my week (I'll add pictures from the Boston Trek and Cyberposium when I aggregate them all from my classmates)

Monday - October 31st
7:50am - 8:20am - Strategy Quiz
8:40am - 9:55am - Statistics Class
10:10am - 11:25am - Finance Class
11:55am - 1:10pm - Strategy Class
2:00pm - 3:00pm - Met with a prospective student (blog reader) in the Atrium
4:00pm - 4:30pm - Met with some classmates who were participating in Battle of The Brands
6:00pm - 7:30pm - High-Tech Club Social at Statler Hotel
7:30pm - 9:00pm - Finance Review Session

Tuesday - November 1st

7:50am - 8:20am - Finance Quiz
8:40am - 9:55am - Statistics Class
10:10am - 11:25am - Finance Class
11:55am - 1:10pm - Strategy Class
3:15pm - 3:45pm - Meet with classmate to discuss Tech recruiting strategies
6:15pm - 7:45pm - Hewlett Packard Corporate Briefing

Wednesday - November 2nd - "Day Off"
10:30am - 11:00am - Career Discussion with the Career Management Center
11:00am - 12:00pm - Core Group Feedback Session
12:00pm - 12:30pm - Informational Call with a Coast Company
1:00pm - 3:00pm - Core group meeting to complete Statistics Assignment
6:00pm - 6:45pm - High-Tech Club Boston Trek prep meeting
7:30pm - 9:30pm - Student Council internal elections!  (I was voted to be Technology Chair)
10:30pm - 1:00am - Student Council celebration at Level B (Dance club in Ithaca)

Thursday - November 2nd - "Boston Trek" - Day 1
2:00am - 4:00am - Did laundry and packed for the High Tech Club Boston Trek
6:00am - 12:30pm - Drove to Boston with some classmates to visit the first company - EMC
12:30pm - 2:30pm - EMC company visit
3:15pm - 5:30pm - Red Hat company visit
7:30pm - 12:00am - Networking dinner with Johnson alums and classmates

Friday - November 3rd - "Boston Trek" - Day 2
9:30am - 10:30am - Microsoft company visit
11:00am - 12:00pm - Liberty Mutual company visit with Johnson alumni Panel
12:00pm - 2:00pm - Lunch
3:00pm - 5:30pm - HubSpot company visit

________________Official End of Boston Trek___________________

5:30pm - 6:30pm - Walk around aimlessly in Cambridge looking for our parking garage
7:00 pm - Check into new hotel
7:00pm - 7:30pm - Work on resume in hotel
7:30pm - 8:15pm - Prepare for dinner at Legal Seafood with a friend I met at the Reaching Out Conference who goes to HBS.
8:15pm - 8:30pm - hop in cab and go to Legal Seafoods
8:30pm - 8:45pm - Realized that we were at Legal Seafoods in Kendall Park? and not Copley Place
8:45pm - 9:00pm - took a cab from Legal Seafoods to the other one in Copley Place, but ended up at the one by the Prudential Center
9:00pm - 9:05pm - Walked to the correct Legal Seafoods
9:05pm - 11:00pm - Had dinner with my two classmates and my friend from HBS and his partner
11:00pm - 12:00am - Had some Wine at their apartment
12:00am - 2:00am - Found a bar "Lolita" in some neighborhood with my two classmates.

Saturday - November 4rd - Harvard Business School Cyberposium

9:00am - 10:00am - Eat Breakfast
10:00am - 11:00am - Find parking at HBS
11:15am -11:30am - Stand in the back of the eCommerce panel at the Cyberposium
11:30am - 11:40am - email another friend who goes to HBS to let him know that I saw him in the previous session.  We shared the same GMAT tutor and had met in the city at a happy hour earlier this year.
11:40am 11:45am - Turns out that friend that I emailed, sat right behind me for the next Keynote session so we caught up for 5 minutes.
11:45am - 12:35pm - Keynote speech by Katie Mitic - Director, Platform and Mobile at Facebook
12:45pm - 1:30pm - Lunch, which was fun because my GMAT Tutor brethren ate with my classmates and I.  On the way to walking to lunch I saw my OTHER friend from HBS.  She's a fellow MLT alum and was incredibly surprised to see me.  I didn't really tell any of my HBS friends that I would be at their campus.

Here is where I'd like to make a shout out to my new friend who goes to Tuck.  He recognized me from my blog and came up to me to speak.  I never really know what to say when people come up to me and tell me that they've read my blog, but it's always nice!  We talked a couple times throughout the day and hopefully our paths will cross again.  I'm sure they will.

1:30pm - 2:25pm - Future of Online Advertising Panel
2:40pm - 3:30pm - Mobile Advertising Panel
3:40pm - 4:30pm - CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Keynote Speech
4:30pm - 5:00pm - Networking reception.  I ran in to some another person I met at Destination Business School, who now goes to Wharton, which was held by Kaplan last year in NYC.  Here is the blog post I made last year about it - Destination Business School
6:00pm - 12:am - Drive back to Ithaca!

So needless to say - I had an incredibly busy week!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Johnson Student on CNBC

So there's a CNBC Portfolio challenge, that one can learn more about here:  

MBA students from Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Georgetown, Ohio State, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame & University of Texas Austin to compete for prizes and bragging rights in a nine-week, fantasy stock and currency trading competition

Yesterday, I was sitting in Sage Hall taking another nap downstairs by the TV and a crowd started forming around me.  I knew that CNBC was here at Sage filming something, but I didn't know that I would be in the middle of it.  As it turns out (Thankfully), the commotion was just my classmates - 1st and 2nd years, crowding around the TV to see one of the 2nd years being interviewed.  If you want to see the interview then simply click below:


I then saw Oscar outside when he was walking back and showed him the pictures that I took.  Don't ask me why I didn't simply take a video but I didn't think that fast.  I tried to get each of the quotes that were being posted about our school at the bottom of the TV screen.  

In any event, I need to go finish writing my speech!  I made Student Council and now tonight, I'm running for Technology Chair.  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 28, 2011

If You're Applying 2 B-School

Hey so I'm following this post up with one that I've wanted to write for a couple of weeks now.  Yes, I should be sleeping, but I can't at the moment because of the 3 hour nap that I took earlier today in Sage.  In any event, I just want to give some advice to all of the applicants out there.

I've been editing people's essays - some of whom have received Interview calls already!  Those people have no idea how much that made my day to hear that they had crossed that threshold!

There won't be any structure to this post and I'll probably ramble at points, but just try to follow.  Some of the things are repeats from posts at earlier times.  You can probably just SEARCH my blog for some other key takeaways.  Some of these things are mistakes that I made last year going through the process!

When you are writing essays - do not say "I like school ______ because it's a small close-knit community"  Many many many many people make this statement.  Plus it's a statement that can be found on most school's websites.  It's not original and puts you in a category of "Okay.. does this person know anything about us beyond this point?"  Sure it's a valid point to call out and show that you know what the school is about, but there are other ways to do it.

When reaching out to current students to inquire about the school refrain from saying "Tell me about your school."  This is an incredible broad statement and a tough one to answer.  It's ESPECIALLY tough to answer when we are all incredibly busy.  That's not to say that folks won't respond, but it's much easier if you say what you know and ask students to add color around things that you're interested in.  I'll be the first one to reply with "I'd like to hear what you know about Johnson and things that you're interested in.  That will help me to help you."  Please don't read this as "Oh... I'm too busy" because I do not mean it in that light.  I'll be the first one to respond with paragraphs and paragraphs of information if I have some direction.

When you finish speaking with someone on the phone, ask "Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?"  You want to do as much research on the school as possible and one person's experience may not be indicative of the whole student population.  I made it a point to speak to as many people as possible.

When you visit a school or talk to someone on the phone, know that you are being evaluated.  I can only speak for the culture here at a small school, but people DO talk, so be cognizant of that.

Hhmm there were other things that I wanted to say, but they've escaped me.  Thankfully I can just hop back on here when they come back to me.  I have to go write another blog post now for Johnson!

The offer still stands if anyone wants me to review his/her essays.  I do ask that you send them in a word doc and not a PDF.  Also, remember that I do not fix grammar.  I do help bring the story that you're trying to tell out in an essay in a manner that makes sense for the Ad Com.  Feel free to email me at richardbattlebaxter@gmail.com.  Also, in your email to me just give me some slight background about you and why you want to go to business school.  Nothing robust, just 2/3 sentences so I have SOME context!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Year Ago Today!

So I most definitely had to write a blog post today!  A year ago today is the first day that I stepped onto campus here at Johnson.  I came up for JMB (Johnson Means Business) which is the Diversity Weekend. I pointed this out in my blog post that I made last year at the beginning of this week, HERE.  Things have definitely come full circle as tomorrow I am hosting a JMB attendee!  I'll try to be a good host, but as all of my friends/classmates know (and yes, I'll keep saying it) things are incredibly hectic!  Now that we're in the 2nd half of the core, things are ridiculous now that recruiting has come into the mix - HEAVILY!

I'll just give you guys some quick updates about my life now at school.  Today was a day of FEEDBACK.  I participated in a study group held by one of the 2nd years here.  I always enjoy focus groups as I like to give my opinion on things.  I think there will be a follow-up meeting at some point in the near future.  The focus group went from 10am - 11:15.

Then I had 15 minutes to myself before I had to hop on a call with one of my target companies!  It was just an informational phone call and I had actually reached out to someone in my network who works at said company.  He and I spoke for about 45 minutes and I'm glad that I was able to have a candid conversation with him about the company and trends within the business.  I now plan to take those learnings and input them into my recruiting binder.  This binder if full of pertinent information and tidbits that I pick up here and there that I then put into the binder so that I can weave stories/examples/information into any conversations I have with companies.

After that phone call, I had to run to a Core Team meeting.  This meeting was also about feedback but in a different way.  We were with our 2nd year core team leader who was facilitating the conversation and we had to give live feedback to one another, without interruption.  It was going well until 3 of the 5 of us had to bolt out of there at 1pm to go to a Nov-Aspire Mock Interview.

Nov-Aspire mock interviews are incredibly useful if you're prepared for them.  Basically, you sit with a professional and do a mock interview.  The caveat is that you have 3 other classmates in the room taking notes on your performance.  You're also being recorded!  I haven't watched mine yet, but when I find time to do so, I will!  That was another 2 hours of my day.

Then after that, I went downstairs in Sage hall and took a nap on the couch for ::sigh:: 3 hours!  It was funny because sometimes I would wake up and my classmates would be behind me just going about their business!  We've all been in a situation where we've needed to just catch up on sleep.  I knew that if I went home, I would have had to be back at the business school later to attend the finance review session and a study session with some friends, so I just decided to stay in Sage!

Hhmm let's see.. what else?  Oh.. there are elections going on now!  I'm running to be a part of student council!  I actually think the results will be in tomorrow!  ::crosses fingers::  I really hope that I can be a voice for my classmates!  I'll let everyone know how it goes.  After tomorrow, I'll share parts of my platform with you all!

Okay this post is long enough... I have to go over my cheat sheet for the Finance quiz tomorrow at 7:30am!  I'm actually going to write a blog post for my Johnson blog and then send out some emails!

It was funny, today I saw the Director of Admissions and she's like, "How are you doing?"  I said that I was doing well...but stressed and busy! To which she smiled and said "It's supposed to be"  I followed that statement up with, "...BUT, that's what I wanted right?"  She laughed...

okay now I really have to go!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reaching Out MBA Conference REVISITED!

Why Hello Hello...  for those of you who have been following me for over a year now, do you remember last year when I went to the Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Conference in Los Angeles?  If not, here's the post of my ROMBA Pre-Arrival Post.  I definitely had one of the best times of my life at that conference last year which I even told the organizing committee at the end of the conference.  While many of my friends are at National Black MBA conference in Dallas right now, I decided to forgo that conference because we have finals this weekend.  I just took my Economics final on Friday and today I studied about 11 hours with some folks on Accounting.  Thankfully our accounting final is open book, but we all know that open book exams can be THAT much harder.

In any event, I bring up ROMBA, because next week I'll be attending ROMBA in Dallas with 14 classmates as an MBA student!  Last year I went as a Pre-MBA student and was able to make some incredible contacts and friends!   Some of the other Pre-MBA friends that I met there are now at other schools - Anderson & Tuck to name a few.  It'll be nice to reunite with them next week, although I've seen my friend from Tuck a couple other times this summer.

I'm thrilled to attend the conference again, but what's more is that I'm excited to see my classmates enjoy the conference for the first time, because I know how much it helped me last year.  Of course I'll be on the prowl to make some connections for recruiting purposes!  We all need to get a job right?  Speaking of which, I have my work cut out for me over these next couple of days.  There are a handful of companies that will be at the conference and I want to impress them.  I know how beneficial making contacts at this conference will be, so I have to have my game face on!

On the flipside of that, I can't wait to be reunited with all of my other friends at random b-schools.  I know they're going to read this blog, so to those of you at Tuck, Columbia, NYU, Darden, Chicago, Yale, Tepper, Goizueta, and let's not forget Michigan (Go Blue!), I cannot wait to see you guys!  I know I'm ready for the line dancing festivities.

I must be going to sleep now because I have an Accounting final tomorrow (today) at 1pm.  Need my beauty rest.  Until next time.

Monday, October 3, 2011

MBA Blogger Interview

So Accepted.com, an Admissions Consulting company, interviewed me last week and I wanted to share the link with you guys.  I would just copy and paste the content from their website but that would probably defeat the whole purpose of promoting their company.  This is not the admissions consulting company that I used, but I'm always willing to put information out there in hopes of helping others navigate the grueling admissions process!

If you'd like to read the interview just go here:  MBA Blogger Interview: Richard's Journey!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Real" Business School Admissions Essays

I was just forwarded this email and find it absolutely hilarious.   Here are the "Real" Business School Admissions Essays.

Harvard: Of which Fortune 1000 company are you going to become the CEO and why would you pick that company?

Wharton: Of which Fortune 1000 company are you going to become the CFO and why would you pick that company?

MIT: Draw an ASCII picture of your favorite Lord of the Rings character and describe three lessons that today's business leaders can learn from Lord Of The Rings.

Stanford: Why? (100,000 words recommended)

Chicago Booth: Provide a detailed statistical analysis of why Chicago-Booth is #1 in BWeek and never higher than #3 in USNews. Do the math in your head.

NYU: How badly do you need a vacation from your ibanking job, and what makes you think you will be able to get back into ibanking upon graduation?

Yale SOM: Which nonprofit organization do you plan to run, and what about running a nonprofit makes you feel important?

Columbia: In your opinion, what is the best way to sabotage the Whartonian CFO of your company and become CFO?

UC Berkeley Haas: What makes a hippie like you think you can succeed in business? Use the words 'sustainable' and 'green' at least twice in your response.

Cornell Johnson: Describe how awesome being an Ivy Leaguer would make you feel.

UVA Darden: How badly do you want your ass to be kicked by our professors on a scale of 9 to 10?

Notre Dame: Describe how awesome Irish Football is, and list ten ways we can make our MBA program as well-known as our NFL training program.

London Business School: Answer NYU's essay and use the find/replace function to replace all 'NYU' with 'LBS', 'New York' with 'London' and 'program' with 'programme'.

Wash U Olin: How early are you willing to wake up to serve coffee to our medical students?

UNC Kenan-Flagler: See Notre Dame but replace Irish Football with Tar Heel basketball, and NFL with NBA.

U of Phx (pick 2 of 4): When your boss finds out you have enrolled here, how loudly will he/she laugh? Have you ever wasted a lot of money on something useless before? Would you be willing to appear on a billboard or would you rather keep your enrollment a secret? What is 5+8?

Tuck: Do you remember summer camp? How amazing was that!?!? Don't you wish you could go to camp for 21 months? Attach a letter you wrote to your parents in fifth grade summer camp explaining how awesome it was.

UMich Ross: What was the craziest thing you did while tailgating during undergrad, and are you prepared to tailgate like a pro again? In your essay, try to include the words moonshine, goat, and anus.

Kellogg: Explain why you think good quantitative skills are not required in business and discuss the importance of teamwork in situations in which no one is skilled enough to do the job by himself.

UCLA Anderson: Have you seen that show "The Hills?" Isn't it amazing? Discuss your strategies for getting into clubs to party with the cast of "The Hills" so you can feel important.

Duke Fuqua: What are your short-term and long-term career goals? Begin your essay with the sentence, "My career goal is to provide investment and business advice to the much more successful graduates of the Duke Law and Medical Schools."

Carnegie Mellon Tepper: Draw an ASCII picture of your favorite MIT student and list three things that business leaders can learn from MIT.

INSEAD: List the number of languages in which you are fluent, and explain how knowing a bunch of languages and studying in one of the world's slowest economies for ten months will make you an effective business leader.

CEIBS: Would you rather be upper middle class in the US, or rich in China? Pleeeeeeeease say rich in China!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


So there is a youtube video that has been making it's way around Cornell and abroad.  This was shown to us at one of our events and I'd like to share it with those interested!  I can only imagine how much MORE this video will mean to me after I've graduated!

I hope you enjoy it.  Here is the full url if you want to go to youtube. - http://bit.ly/o03vA5

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Classmates' Blogs!

Hello Hello Again.  I just wanted to introduce you guys to my other classmates and fellow bloggers!  They're some amazing folks and are just starting out their Johnson blogs, so I wanted to support them and introduce them to you!

Just click on their names and you'll be taken to their blogs!  I've also added some information about them - haha they don't know that I'm doing this!

Andrew D. Sickinger, MBA '13
- so Andrew is a great genuine-hearted guy!  He's the first person I had drinks with here at Cornell the day I moved in.  We hung out a lot those first couple of days.  Our bonding moment came when he needed help moving his couch into his apartment.  It wouldn't fit through the door so we decided to CUT THE COUCH IN HALF... then we went to the department store to buy the necessary items to put it back together!  If you don't believe me... look.

Amardeep Virk, MBA '13
- Amar (Amardeep) is full of energy!  I first met him in NYC when I organized a meet up at The Ainsworth.  He was "In Town" from New Zealand and going on a North American continent trip before school started.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures with him just yet!

Richard Battle-Baxter, MBA '13
- you didn't think that I would leave myself out of the blog promotion did you?

Lindsay Elizabeth Petrovic, MBA '13
- Oh Lindsay!  What can I say about her?  She's full of life and is always smiling!  Her and I bonded during a High Ropes course for one of our leadership classes.  We were, oh I dunno, 30 feet up in the air, facing one another each one a tight rope.  We had to hold hands and begin to walk "out" from one tree, towards two other trees.  But since we were on different tightropes, we kept getting further and further apart.  The hardest part was the beginning because you're so close to the person that you can't really balance yourself.  I will admit that I was quite "scared" lmao.  But she kept me calm, and then as we went out further it got easier.  Here's a picture of us when we got down!

Lynnette DueƱas, MBA '13
- Ah Lynnette.  She's my road dog!  We've been friends since before business school, so there are many many many pictures of us out there.  I've even spoken to you guys about her before.  You can even follow her on Twitter because she tweets for Johnson. Twitter - Lynnette Duenas
Here's a picture of her and I and some other of our classmates at a Wine Vineyard

Monday, September 26, 2011

Never Been Busier!

Business school is a circus act... to say the least!  I remember when I was going through the process and I spoke to a T'10 (Tuckie who graduated in 2010)  - sidenote - Shout out to all my friends who are at Tuck!   Anyway... So I've kept in touch with this Tuckie and I remember she told me that once you get into business school things only accelerate.  When she told me this, I hadn't even been accepted to Johnson at Cornell yet, so I didn't quite understand what she was talking about.

NOW, being on the other side of things, I DEFINITELY understand what she was referring too.  I couldn't really understand what she meant.  I thought to myself "Oh... so you have classes for a couple hours a day.  Then you maybe meet with your core team.  And then you go home and do some work, and repeat the next day."  Then as I learned more about Johnson, I found out that we only have classes three times a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday), so then I really thought that it wouldn't be as hectic.  BOY WAS I WRONG!

I am more busy now than I ever was during the application process.  How can one be so busy you ask?  Well think about it this way...  I have three classes, three times a week.  So in the morning I have Economics at 8:40, Marketing at 10:10 and then Accounting at 11:55.  In each class we do a chapter a day.  So unlike in High School or College where you may have taken a couple days, or even a couple weeks to do a chapter, I have to read at least 2 chapters and a case for each class each day.  Now sure, you learn how long each one takes, and how you learn the best.  Some of my classmates don't necessarily read the chapters, because listening to a lecture is how they learn best.  I admit, I get that way for some classes as well.

Oh and our quizzes are in the morning before class.  So tomorrow I have an Accounting quiz at 7:50am.  By tomorrow, I mean in 5 hours and 30 minutes!  Then we have an Econ quiz on Thursday at the same time... then we have an Economics paper due Friday.

But work aside...  then throw in Core team meetings.  These aren't just 2 hour meetings once a week.  Last week we had an S.C. Johnson Case Competition, so my team and I met for about a total of 20 hours.  I have a Core team meeting tomorrow to go over an Accounting paper that is due next week.  We'll probably have to meet at some other point in time this weekend too.

Oh yeah, let's not forget about recruiting.  This is a HUGE time consumer.  Between briefings, coffee chats, breakfast chats and the like.  I've been to a couple briefings thus far and they definitely take up at least 2.5 hours of the day.  Sometimes there will be more than 1 briefing in a day, so imagine how that pans out!  There is some preparation that needs to be done before the briefings as well as afterwards when you have to send thank-you notes.  Also there are usually receptions that follow the briefings.  Just another thing to put on the list of things to do.  Because of the nature of my target industry (High-Tech) I haven't been to nearly as many briefings as some of my Finance/Banking classmates.  Many of them just keep their suits in Sage because they attend so many briefings.

We also can't forget about club meetings and events.  This hasn't really picked up JUST YET, but it's about too very very soon.  The 1st half of the core is almost over for us here at Johnson.  Two more weeks and we'll be starting a whole new set of classes.  I've tried to keep my schedule pretty open regarding clubs because I was warned not to get involved in too many things initially.  I would also like to hold some positions in the clubs that I'm already a part of so I'm being cognizant of that.  The professional clubs such as Marketing Association, Consulting Club... etc...  usually have a standing meeting on Sundays.  So yes, even Sundays are busy days.  We usually spend most of our time in Sage anyway, so what's one more day right?

As I wrap this up for now, I realize that there is a lot more that I've left out, but an important one is socializing!  Cannot forget about that element.  But that will be for another blog post.  I need to force myself to go to sleep right now because my Accounting quiz is creeping up on me.  It is now in 5 hours and 20 minutes!  I do feel prepared because I had a 5 hour study group earlier today!  We'll see how THIS goes!


P.S.  - I've been taken up on my offer to review people's essays (regardless of the school) and my offer still stands.  Just email me at richardbattlebaxter@gmail.com.  If you do send me your essays please make them Word files, so I can add my comments.  Just a note - I don't fix grammar, but I will do my best to give a different perspective and pull out the story that you're trying to tell.

Richard Battle-Baxter
Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
Cornell University


Friday, September 23, 2011

First Johnson Blog Post

Here is a link to my first non-introductory student blog post!  I probably should have updated this blog here sooner, since I posted this earlier this week, but things just got too hectic.

If you want to visit the blog then you can just CLICK HERE, if not... then you're definitely missing out on a key part of the Johnson experience!  ;-)

I'm actually very glad that they've changed my picture.  The other one made me look like I had a one way ticket on the Hot Mess Express!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Officially a Johnson Student Blogger!

I AM OFFICIALLY A JOHNSON STUDENT BLOGGER!  I applied for this back in July and found out in August that I would be a blogger.

Click this hyperlink to go to my school blog - Richard Battle-Baxter - Johnson Blogger

I didn't want to say anything until I made my first post.  It's interesting how things come full circle.  Just last year around this time I made this blog post about Yearning To Be In Business School, and NOW... I AM in business school.  It's not surreal anymore, but I'm grateful I was able to "pull it off" so to speak.  I haven't quite figured out how to move forward with my blog - but it will still be around.  This is definitely NOT goodbye!  I hope you all follow me at my new location!  


Hey Readers!  So yeah I know.. I've been MIA!  That's okay though because I've been studying for midterms!  I also had a marketing quiz earlier this week, which went well.  Tomorrow is my Economics Midterm!  Then on Saturday I have my Accounting Midterm.  Then my classmates and I are "CELEBRATING" for getting through this week. 

I'm just going to post a couple of videos and pictures on this blog because I have to get to another blog post tonight that's very important.  I'll be able to make the announcement that I've been waiting to make.  

But in any event, take a look at me studying for this Econ midterm (BELOW), with two of my friends!  Yes you can see an empty box from DP Dough - Calzones, in the background.  This was around.... 10pm and we were there until around 12:30.  

We were definitely NOT the only ones still there.  All of the breakout rooms on the 2nd floor were occupied.  That turned out to be a good thing because whenever we needed help with a question, we would just post on Facebook - "Hey... anyone in Sage know how to do problem X?  I'm in room 2__"  and then within a couple minutes, someone would pop their head in to assist!  That's why that problem is up on the board in the back lol.

When we got bored... this is what we would do!

That's just a day in the life!   
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