Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Well, this is it. It happened. I have now officially graduated from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon, with a Masters of Business Administration and a specialization in Technology Leadership.

I'll call adieu to the blog when I take the last step - getting a job. But for now, allow me to talk about the graduation ceremony.

A couple of months ago, it was announced that our commencement speaker was Ratan Tata - except, that he wasn't going to be with us for the ceremony but Friday, the day before, with a Q&A session. He couldn't fit us in to his schedule. A couple of classmates were very upset with this - that we didn't really have a commencement speaker. I personally couldn't care. This would've been a person that would've provided the same spiel about having our lives ahead of us yada yada but didn't have any personal connection. Therefore, I was actually glad our Dean Dammon was speaking.

Now, Tepper has their graduation ceremony the day before the main CMU ceremony. We can attend both if we decide, but the diplomas get handed out on the Saturday. Turns out the commencement speaker for the main ceremony was going to be the out-going president of CMU ... and the guy whom 128 Days is based on.

Ultimately, the Tepper ceremony was pretty painless. I dislike ceremony anyway, but the whole thing took less than 2 hours, thankfully.

They hand out awards at the ceremony too - only the recipients are unaware they're receiving an award, unlike the awards granted after the first year. They were, if I remember correctly, Community Service, Outstanding TA, Highest Student Honors (for the top grades) and Best All Around Student. Some students wore a gold cord to signify that they were in the top 10%; others were noted for their distinguished service to the Tepper School (the majority of these were either prominent club leaders or GBA representatives). And.. that was pretty much it. Very short and sweet. I had to pick up a certificate stating that I completed the Tech Leadership Track.

Now, just the waiting game regarding jobs...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lucky # 100

How apt that my 100th post is possibly my last. Nah.

Anyhoos, for the cool news: I got nominated for Clear Admit's Best of Blogging awards. If you think that I've been helpful or interesting in any way, please mosey on over and vote for me.

I've been off the radar for the last two weeks for two major reasons. 1 - Final exams. These occurred over last weekend, and was really the only time in which I didn't do any "company research" (i.e. playing video games). I do have the results back from three of my 5 classes - A's all around, which makes me happy.

Second reason was a plethora of interviews. I was flown out for an onsite interview directly after my finals, and any travel to the West Coast is a good 48-hour trip. On top of that, I was doing my final exam grading as a TA, so it was a busy time.

I still have one final project left to go, but it's not a Tepper class (it's Game Design), and that's due on Monday.

One of my group members for this class asked me yesterday what Tepper courses I should recommend he take. This was not an unfamiliar question - I had been asked this about three times already by other students in this program. I had spent some time thinking on the answer for this also. How does one boil down the experience into the essence of a couple of classes?

The first answer was easy - entrepreneurship classes. These classes show businesses on the small scale, AND how to sell yourself. While I know some people scoff at the idea of going to school to learn small business, it's pretty valuable in terms of how, holistically, everything fits together. Small businesses and startups don't have the luxury of specialized functions like larger corporations do; therefore, a class on finance or marketing doesn't provide the most bang for the buck like entrepreneurship classes do.

The second class I recommended was the introductory OB class, I believe we call it "Managing Teams and People" or something like that. The simple fact for this recommendation: no matter what someone does, they're always going to be working in an organization. Work takes up more of our time than any other activity. Especially for graduate-level students, there is also going to be a heavy chance that one will be in charge of people. So, what is the best way to get them to do what you want them to do? People management is almost always overlooked in terms of competencies and education - there's this feeling that it's a natural thing because we interact with people all our lives. But, the thing is, interacting with people is easy; managing and motivating people is something that needs to be learned. And since the U.S is moving to a intellectual capital-based marketplace, it's no longer about the product but about the people creating the product.

Coming into my MBA, I've had alumni all tell me that their biggest regret was not taking all the OB courses. With the interview I just had, there was a huge emphasis on getting along with people - there was no mention at all on my technical skills and capabilities. (the presumption was that I am a graduate of CMU, therefore that in itself tells people how smart I am). I've always seen the value in this area. I know that some people think the MBA is pretty worthless; frankly, some of them are. But I feel the value is in the education I received about working with people, both in the classroom and out.