3 down, 1 to go

Time flies. Cliche perhaps, but definitely appropriate after completing 3 semesters of graduate school and staring at the course load for the final march toward graduation. THis weekend while setting up  my Google calendar with my new class schedule, upcoming extracurricular activities and job hunting trips to New York, it becomes more apparent that as commencement gets nearer, I am counting down the rest of my time in DC.

With that in mind, I figured that it would be nice to develop a bucket list of sorts. A way to hold myself accountable for finishing the program and my tenure in DC with a plan. That way, when I relocate to NY in May, I’ll feel like I made the most of my time at Kogod.

I typically enjoy habit and ritual. Kogod@Lunch, Kogod@Night, internal and external networking events and happy hours are definitely on the agenda. I can’t imagine my last semester going well without them. Spring specific events like the Red Dress Event hosted by Kogod Women in Business and American University Founder’s Ball which is being co-sponsored by the Graduate Leadership Council are high on the priority list. Planning wise, the JDRF Volleyball Tournament and Kogod Graduate End of the Year Party are likely to take up the a great deal of my semester. With potential venues selected and menus decided, now the fun of planning the party begins.

Time to make the trek to the Mall

Aside from school, there are several other more traditional DC experiences that I need to cross off my list. Firstly, I need to step foot inside the Capitol. After living in DC for 5 years, passing it countless times, I have never once stepped foot inside the Capitol. Pathetic, I know. A close second is to maximize my time with my friends from DC. Those people  that have made the past 5 years so memorable and helped to ease the transition from student to working professional and back again.

Spring semester to-dos:

  • Red Dress Event
  • JDRF Volleyball Tournament
  • Tour the US Capitol
  • Founder’s Ball
  • Darden Softball Tournament
  • Georgetown Basketball Tournament
  • Find a job…
  • End of the Year Party
  • Graduate.
  • Move to New York
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Kogod (GBA) for the Cure- In support of the JDRF

On Saturday, October 15 at 5:45 am (or earlier), 4 Kogod students dragged themselves from bed and set off for Baltimore to participate in the annual Under Amour Running Festival. As one of these 4 students, I can say that it was no easy task.

Mostly because, like most racers, I could hardly sleep. 2 competing thoughts kept me awake that night. One being that I was terrified to attempt running a half marathon considering that I had little time to train. Though most of us had starting preparing for this race during the summer, our workouts had become more sparse and certainly less effective given the workload of the semester.

The other that occupied my mind, like a little kid waiting up for Santa, was the terrifying image of oversleeping and potentially missing the race. Given the impending 6am wake-up call from Michael Moran, the impossibility this did not deter me from checking the clock every hour.

Once we were in Baltimore, things seemed to get easier but only because we were all in it together. Michael and I watched as Julie and Meredith crossed the finish line after a nail-biting 5K. We proudly cheered as they strode unscathed past a surprisingly cheerful morning crowd. My nerves were not calmed seeing how well they did during their race and for the most part, I wished I had run the 5K.

Proud finishers

The half-marathon course was beautiful.  Michael (way more prepared than I was) and I ran the better part of the first 4 miles together. Taking in the fresh Baltimore air and the support of the crowd along the course. Throughout the race, I was really impressed with the culture of the city and continually awed by its majestic nature. Though I have lived in the DC area for nearly 5 years, I had never explored Baltimore (only 40 minutes away) nearly as much as I did that beautiful October morning. The weather, the cheering crowd, and the course could not have been more amazing.

After crossing the finish line 2 hours later, I was thrilled to have survived and even more happy to have discovered moleskin earlier that day. During the ride back to DC, we were all elated to have completed 2 great races and Baltimore and even discussed races for the spring.

By far the best part of this experience was raising nearly $2000 (thanks in part to our heroic captain) to support a great cause. As the 2012-2013 honorary charity of the Graduate Business Association, we are developing several programs to create buzz and raise funds to help eliminate juvenile diabetes. Despite tendinitis that lasted longer than expected and particularly bad knees for a 27 year old, I plan on continued participation in races and even more support for the JDRF.

Calling all bloggers!

The Kogod Graduate Insider is proud to present a new blogger competition!

We’re teaming up with the Center for Business Communications to offer all graduate students an opportunity to write for our blog. Submissions to this competition will appear as guest posts on the blog.

All entered posts should demonstrate the value of graduate education and increased benefit of active participation in the Kogod community. These sentiments should be convened in a well-written post which is captured in a genuine tone.  After all the entered posts have been published, the Center for Business Communication will select a winner to receive a $100 gift card.

More details:

  • Please take a look at past posts on the Insider to get an idea of how we present our ideas
  • All posts should contain a maximum of 500 words
  • Try to include photographs to be included in your guest post. If you don’t have any, please be aware that we may add some art to spice things up
  • Once you have submitted your post, use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to promote your work to your friends and family!
  • To enter please submit your post along with your name, program and expected date of graduation to jfishbac@gmail.com by Monday October 24. Entries will be posted on a rolling basis.
Good luck! And may the best post win!

“See you in August”

The end of the school year is a mixed bag. Though it’s exciting to have a break from classes, there is no real rest for the weary. Internships start shortly after finals end and, especially for those of us that are interning outside of DC, there are plenty of logistics that need to be finalized. The biggest surprise was how hard it would be to say goodbye to friends.

Guys at Fogo de Chao

After finals, we began a series of little celebrations to herald in summer vacation. A few of the guys from the program enjoyed a steak dinner in downtown DC before meeting up with others in Adams Morgan.

The exhale that accompanied endless meat was both welcome and slightly overwhelming. In the end, we were happy to discuss our completed finals, expected grades and summer plans.

One (unfortunately cloudy) day some of us got together for a small barbecue. Since the pool wasn’t really an option, we mostly sat around, ate and enjoyed the musical talents of our friend Kevin.

Sing us a song, Kev

Some of us sang along from memory, others cheated by looking up lyrics on our phones.

Many of my classmates will be in different parts of the country for their respective internships. The likelihood that we’ll see each other over the next few months is low. Eight months of group projects, study sessions and back-to-back classes can really turn strangers to close friends. It is thus no surprise that while we are all excited to work and learn over the summer, it was weird to be saying goodbye for a few months.

As for me, I am in New York, interning in midtown. The summer is off to a great start despite waking up earlier than I did during school. It’s exciting to be back in the work realm using the tools that I gained in my first year. But I already miss my friends in DC and look forward to being back in August…. even if New York is pretty awesome.

A weekend in South America

This past Saturday I attended the wedding of a close family friend in Bogotá, Colombia. The young parents on my Thursday night Avianca flight were shocked when I mentioned that I was traveling to South America for the weekend. The short trips that my sisters and I made to Colombia meant a great deal to our immigrant father and made for a once-in-a-lifetime weekend.

Bogotá is no small town.

This being only my second trip to my father’s hometown, my dad and uncle were intent showing us as much as possible. Thus my South American vacation was full of rushed car rides and little sleep. It was awesome.

Saturday morning we were up at 6 am to get ready to visit Monserrate. Next, we went to the Museum del Oro which featured some of the most interactive exhibits. The wedding on Saturday night was “espectacular” and the bride was a “princesa”. Sunday morning we were able to sleep in until 8 before attending a family reunion on a “finca” about an hour outside Bogotá. Three packed days but luckily hundreds of pictures to help remember them.

Family reunion on a farm

I took on a great deal of risk traveling when finals are only few days away and group projects are nearing culmination. It would have been impossible for me to make this rushed trip without the support of my classmates and professors at Kogod. Even though I am in the process of catching up now I am immensely grateful for the understanding that my teammates offered me before my trip and upon my return.

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend two amazing events in Colombia and I have my great friends at Kogod to thank for that.

Kogod in a NY minute

One of the great benefits to attending graduate school on the East Coast is the proximity of so many great cities. Last week the students at Kogod enjoyed a much needed Spring Break. While I was unable to travel to any exotic locations, like some of my classmates (I’m looking at you, Amanda), I did go to New York to visit friends and family.

Having originally hailed from Staten Island, it was nice to be able to travel back north. I was very fortunate to have a colleague from Kogod join me. My friend Kristen decided last minute to come to New York for a fun filled 36 hours. Kristen, who grew up in Ohio, had only been to New York once and I was intent on showing her as much as we could fit in.

No rest for the weary

KO and LL in Times Square

Once we arrived in Manhattan, we pretty much didn’t stop moving until it was time for Kristen to leave. Lunch in midtown was an easy choice. Pizza was the only food group on Kristen’s mind. And with only a day and half in the Big Apple, we had to make sure we covered all our bases… pizza, bagels, coffee. After lunch with my college roommate, Nick, who was also gracious enough to be our host, we hurried downtown to do some shopping. Shopping in weekday Soho was rushed but luckily bountiful.

With about an hour to get back, get ready and get to a Times Square pub for networking, Kristen and I booked it to the subway to travel back up the East Side. The Networking for Professionals event at O’Brien’s was definitely worth the rush. We had the opportunity to speak with several experts in their given industries. Kristen (interested in finance) and I (interested in marketing) were the perfect tag-team. Our time at the event flew by but we both walked out with a better idea of the New York market and some great contacts.

With no time to spare, we rushed to Hell’s Kitchen to grab dinner with Nick. After dinner, we hopped in a cab to go back over toward where we were staying. Our classmate Kate and her mom were staying one block south of us while they had their own NY shopping adventure. We joined them for post theater drinks. They had just seen The Addams Family (very jealous). Meeting someone’s parents is always a great way to get to know more about them. It was really fun to hang out with Kate and her mom for a while with Kristen in a new city. Unfortunately, we didn’t think to take a picture at the time.

Beat the bus

When we woke up on Wednesday, I was really disappointed that we only had a few hours in New York. So we were in a rush again. We traveled uptown to grab some bagels and visit museums. I was in heaven with all the Kandinsky’s that were being exhibited at the Guggenheim. We spent about 2 hours walking down the spiral gallery. As a huge fan of the Met, I had never been to the Guggenheim and was really happy to have a new experience in New York with my good friend.

Then it was back downtown for last minute shopping. And what do you know? We bumped into two other classmates of ours! Big city, but small world. Kevin and Julie Jones just happen to be in Soho at the same time as Kristen and me.

Look who it is

After a rushed 5 minute conversation, we were running again. This time Kristen needed to make her bus.

The city that never sleeps

While many of my colleagues at Kogod plan to stay in Washington, D.C., my career search has mostly focused on the New York City metropolitan area. It’s hard to believe that I will be coming back to New York after almost 9 years away. But $40 round trip bus tickets are a small price to pay to stay in touch with close friends. Even though I am excited by the opportunities that exist in New York, I look forward to sharing New York with my new friends when they inevitably come to visit, hopefully often. It’ll give me an excuse to break out my running shoes….

Work of art or labor of love?

Graduate students spend a significant amount of time looking at lecture slides. We stare at slides during class, at home when studying for exams and  maybe even sometimes in the occasional school-focused dream. At this point, I know you’re all thinking,  “Where do lectures slides come from?”

Dedicated professors create PowerPoint presentations as a backdrop to their lectures. The slides, as well as the lectures themselves, instruct their students on the key take-aways.  Often times, a professor’s personality comes right through the projector. At Kogod, we have several examples of  this personification  but the one really rises to the top: Professor H. Kent Baker.

A future value grows more quickly with increased compounding

Baker leaves no stone unturned when developing his course slides. There’s animation, a consistent theme and, above all, straight forward dissemination of knowledge. And just when you think you’re about to fall asleep during a lecture about the time value of money, fanfare begins to play softly in the background and Professor Baker has once again gained waning your attention.

Some attentive students might call his slides a work of art, others a labor of love but the important thing is that there really is something for everyone (that is trying the learn the keys to successful financial management).

So, Professor Baker and fellow slide artists,  rest assured that the first- year MBAs at Kogod appreciate your hard work.  (And of course, class participation points never hurt anyone)