The MBA Diary

The Yale experience II

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The classes were held at the Yale School of Management (Yale SOM) building, a spacious building made of glass, mostly endorsed by the Yale alumni that’s less than 10 minutes from where I was staying. It reminded me so much of one of BNM’s! The facilities in the SOM were impressive as everything was new. The halls (even stairs) were named after its benefactors, from Yale alumni to corporations — the biggest hall was a gift from the Class of 1908, while the grand staircase was a gift from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation 😆

So. There were 120 people enrolled in the program, from 28 different schools all over the world (I think). The seats have been pre-determined according to the teams we’ve been assigned to, giving us a chance to really mingle with other people instead of our own classmates. They also assigned Teaching Assistants (TAs) for us, current MBA students of Yale SOM.

In the hall, I received my own name tag, file with the details of the program and a tumbler (now lost because I left it at a store). Props to the Yale admin thing for keeping things smooth and organized.

So here’s roughly my experience at Yale 🙂

Accommodation

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Growing up and watching movies like Legally Blonde, I wondered how it’s like to live in a sorority house. The B&B that we booked turned out to be a super old but well-maintained fraternity house commercialized into a B&B! Well, not exactly sorority, but close enough.

We stayed at the biggest suite that could fit the 5 of us and it was a really decent experience.

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I ate a lot during breakfast and I’m so thankful for the experience, else I wouldn’t have discovered the taste of real bagels and cherry greek yogurt.

Campus and surroundings

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We were brought on a tour to explore Yale. We were divided into groups and while most people ended up with TAs, I was in the team of Yale SOM’s Deputy Dean! Considering her experience there, I got the chance to hear very interesting stories about each of the place that we visited.

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Yale SOM is probs the most modern building at Yale. Everything else looked centuries old. I’ve never really studied in old universities (my campuses at Monash and Hitotsubashi are located in modern buildings — I’ve never studied at the main campus) so, I was excited.

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We went to main halls, administrative buildings (looking like old posh American houses in the suburbs) the gorgeous library, the colleges and the huge bookstore.

I bought souvenirs for myself and my family — sweaters and tumblers. I may sound like I’m a fan of college souvenirs so much (I studied at Monash for more than 5 years and I only got myself a hoodie, almost 1 year at Hitotsubashi and I haven’t gotten myself anything), but because they’re all so nice! I’ve got a blue lanyard that’s perfect for BNM, while Reza specifically asked for a green lanyard in the color of Petronas 😆

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What’s not exciting is Yale is an open campus, as in it’s not gated and it’s surrounded, by Amanda’s words, a shady neighborhood. I thought New York was already shady, but Amanda thinks it’s very safe. So imagine how shady New Haven is then 😆 I suppose it’s true since the organizers advised us to never be alone. I later found out that people either get mugged or their cars or houses broken into on a weekly basis. On the night we arrived, someone even got shot near the main campus WTF. I was harassed more than once by different strangers at different places. Imagine when you venture further out of the main areas 😐

Makan experiences

As for food. It’s tough. I suppose it’s easier to find things you can eat in the city, but not out in the suburbs. Pizzas in Yale are legendary, they say and it’s part of the culture of New Haven. So we were fed pizza a couple of times. I swear I’ve never eaten pizza so frequently

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Apart from that, I really enjoy food from the food court, because they focus a lot on eating clean and healthy, there are a lot of good choices. I ate a huge portion of grilled salmon and salad.

Food outside were just meh. At this one campus stall I ordered tomyam with fishcake. It tasted like sweet chili sauce soup instead. I also went to supposed a highly rated Thai restaurant to compensate from the shit tom yam I had, but it turned out shittier.

So from my limited time there, I conclude that the only good thing there was the pizza.

Other activities

The TAs organized a couple of dinner parties, most I missed, except for the karaoke night. There was only one karaoke place in New Haven and the scene looked so different than Tokyo 😆 Went early and left early with Eunice. The karaoke only took off after I left, which was good because I got plenty of time to hog the mic. After that the crowd that came were just screaming 😆

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Oooh I also went for dinner with a bunch people from other schools.

Classes, faculty, field trips and project

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As for the classes (probs the most important thing here), man, I loved the subjects and discussions. Yale’s expertise is really on behavioral economics/financing/marketing — their faculty members do years of research on these things so they have the hard data and write books on it and know damn well what they were talking about.

I really liked how they did their lecture, presented their findings on slides and controlled discussions — it was like watching a TEDtalk with a Q&A session. Well, turns out some of them are TEDtalk speakers! Overall it was a program that was highly engaging and intellectually stimulating. I learned a lot.

So glad I chose this program.

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We also did field trips to New York, to Time Warner (where the CEO, Yale alumni entertained our questions, even on handling the piracy of Game of Thrones) and Credit Suisse. After that we got the chance to hang at the centuries-old and grand (gold vintage chandeliers and water taps) Yale Club that was located just beside the Grand Central Terminal, although a few others and I accidentally dozed off on our seats while the forum was happening because I was too tired.

At the end of it, we were divided in teams and  We were supposed to incorporate what we’ve learned for the week to a final presentation and present before the whole class.

This is stereotyping, but I find people from other parts of the world *cough* mat saleh *cough* tend to be very serious in doing presentations. In my team, we had 5 Asians (well, one guy is from a country called Eritrea, a country I thought he made up but apparently exists, but he’s almost Asian in nature so he’s Asian here), so when I suggested we do a skit they were a bit more open to the idea. We created a comedic storyline and included the things that we found most interesting during the past week and presented during the ceremony.

Students were asked to vote and there was a tie, so the organizers (faculty members, administrative staff and TAs) voted instead.

… and my team won!!!

Prize? A Yale journal and a steel pen in a blue and silver paperbag. Maybe there were more things but I’ve forgotten.

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So that’s it. My 1-week stint at Yale 🙂

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