Thursday, May 14, 2009

Things I Learned This Year - Part I

First Year is over. I start my internship in T-4 days, and this summer is going to be quite unlike the year that's just gone by. I'm actually looking forward to going back into the corporate world, but my little cocoon at Darden has been a wonderful place to spend the last 9+ months.

So what have I learned? I spent the long drive from Virginia back to New York thinking about it, and here's what I would tell an incoming FY:

- Do the spreadsheets. It can be really tempting to sit in learning team and create a spreadsheet together, or have an LT-mate walk you through theirs. But, trust me, it won't sink in until you hash through the mechanics yourself - especially for those who weren't Excel monkeys prior to Darden, and even for those of you who were.

- Some professors teach directly from the tech notes. Read them. Sooner is always better than later.

- Get to know your sectionmates ASAP; first semester section camraderie is unlike anything I've ever experienced, and it really set the tone for the year.

- The case method can be infuriating. I may expound more on this later. But it can also be immensely rewarding. So give it a chance, even when you feel like you want to pull your hair out - which will be often.

- Don't skip First Coffee. I did this early on in the year, and learned quickly that First Coffee is one of the brightest spots in the day. You'll get to see all your friends, meet more, have casual chats with professors, and definitely have a few laughs. The coffee's not that good, but you'll get over it.

- Dean Carraway is by far one of the most awesome administrators at Darden. Get to know him. Between my own interactions with him and stories that I've heard from others, there is no denying this. He's also extremely easy to talk to, and you'll often find him at First Coffee chatting with students.

- Get to know the Second Years. There is no good reason for you to keep to yourselves, and most of them are very cool people. We were talking about this at the blogger dinner last week - even amongst the bloggers, we didn't spend enough time with each other, and there are certainly some regrets. We, as the SY class, pledge to make it different as well.

But most importantly, your friends will make it or break it for you. There is no case, no simulation, no project that I value more right now than some of my experiences with my fellow Dardenites. Maybe come the summer, you'll find me being grateful for having learnt regression. But I still feel extremely blessed to have them in my life, and some of the stories I could tell would blow you away. But I'll save those for another post.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


After a pretty neat discussion at Dean Bruner's house about Twitter, I've decided to give it another shot.

I joined Twitter almost two years ago when it first started to gain momentum. It's been pretty interesting to see how the technology has evolved since then, and how much it's been adopted by folks - especially now that you can update from your cellphone, or nearly anywhere. Am fascinated by the short-form communication style.

You'll see my tweets over in the sidebar, where I've just added the widget; otherwise, feel free to follow me in any way you choose - I'm PanicSania.

If you're interested in the twitterings of other Darden folks, check out Dean Bruner, Christof, and Bill.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Every new beginning...

..comes from some other beginning's end.

I just finished my last class of my first year at Darden. Literally, just now.

Honestly, I'm not sure what to feel. I don't think it's sunk in yet, but right now the overwhelming feeling is bittersweet. It's been a long ride, and I am certainly ready to move on to the next step.

But at the same time, I've been enriched in ways I didn't see coming, challenged by things I never expected to face, and I've come out of it better, stronger, and happy to have done it.

More thoughts later; just wanted to capture the moment as it unfolds.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's True!

Ok, so I too thought Sukanya was insane when she posted about Thomas Jefferson wandering the halls... but it's true!

Picture us wandering around Saunders Hall after classes, avoiding work:

Sukanya: Look, it's him!
Me: Who?
Sukanya: No really... look.
Me: No it's n.. oh dear. Maybe it is.

And then we run around giggling to get a closer look. He's balding in real life.

Yup, just another day at Darden.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Goodness Gracious April

Life is good. The weather has been beautiful, there's a ton to look forward to!

This past weekend, Darden students teamed up with the Building Goodness organization to help fix up houses in the Charlottesville community. It was an incredible effort, coordinated by an amazing group of our classmates and attended by many, many more.

We spent the morning working together to paint, scrape, sweep, dig, hammer, and everything in between. It was both physically and mentally taxing - I left thinking a lot about our responsibility as future leaders to our society. How do we give back to our own families, our communities, and the world?

Oren and Sukanya have gone over the details of the day in a lot more detail, but I'll leave you with one last photo - recognize two of your favorite Darden student bloggers?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Who Me?

A small shout out to my fellow bloggers:

Paige, Sukanya, Jackie, Angela, Mandy and yours truly were listed on the top 100 bloggers list by the blog. Lots of interesting stuff on there - including a few Darden professors. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Fork Stuck In The Road

I consider Q3 to be my "lost quarter" -- kind of like Japan's lost decade of the '90s. When it came and when it went, I have no idea. I pretty much watched it go by. An out-of-body experience, if you will.

But now, on the cusp of Q4, with the weather getting warmer and being on spring break - I see a new dawn coming. Three-quarters of our first year has passed by, and what had become status quo to us will soon be changing. We've effectively finished up the first year core curriculum of Accounting, Finance, Operations, Marketing, Decision Analysis, Global Economic Markets, and Strategy. There are only two core classes we'll be sharing with our sections (Leading Organizations and Ethics), and the rest is all electives. That means a more flexible schedule and the opportunity to pursue subjects that we're interested in (and avoid the ones we're not - goodbye accounting! It was nice to have met you.)

And yet, I have to admit I'm a little nervous. FY so far has been a cocoon of sorts - keeping us secure in a fixed schedule and familiar faces. They're releasing us into the wild now, and I'm sure the dynamics are going to change. No doubt that there'll be more time to socialize and make more friends, but we're now in charge of our academic destiny. That's disconcerting.

But I'm also looking forward to it, for sure. I can't wait to explore Marketing in more depth; it is my passion, after all. But we also have an array of really exciting electives awaiting us in the second year. And have I mentioned no more accounting? (woohoo!)

Looking forward to see how it all shapes up..