Anyway, that's high five there in the center, me on the right and random people on the left. I seem to have a knack for appearing prominently but unrecognizably in college photos - at Webb I was a blurry back in shorts walking across main deck, this time I'm a head of hair wearing a watch. My 15 minutes, as Tim put it.
Alternating good and bad career news - of the unofficial variety - today. A certain airframer formerly headquartered in Seattle appears to have made its offers but not dinged those who didn't make the cut. The flipside is that my morning call went quite well and confirmed my existing offer. Like so many situations in life, it is simply the not knowing that is frustrating.
Some years ago I am rumored to have exclaimed, on the last day of school, that "French is over." Tonight I am very much of the mindset that IPD is over. The tradeshow was an experience; marred somewhat by the dropping and breaking of the transfer tray component of our product but otherwise fine. It went fast - people shuffled along, not sure of what to make of anything but unwilling to accept our offers to help them step further into the frame of mind required to 'get' the one-armed kitchen product class.
Incredibly, IPD really didn't consume the whole day. In the afternoon I had a little free time to catch up on some other work - the first of a mountain in that category - and enjoy a birthday gift. Tomorrow is shaping up to be a busy day but I thoroughly anticipate that Friday may set some kind of record for academic semester laziness.
It's an absolutely beautiful November day outside. Inside there was (wait for it) IPD stuff, Supply Chain class, interview followup with BC, and work for this and that. We're winding up the IPD thing... we had our own IPD-only trade show last night, which means that I got to tinker with the other products. Our fit, finish, and cohesive appearance will really give us an advantage, but there are other products that probably do a better job of solving the multi-faceted problem of cooking with only one arm.
People are bound to wonder why I didn't post this link earlier and lobby for votes; know my team wonders. My reason is simply that I don't agree with making the exercise more about popularity than about efficacy. Should a product win because the developers are able to persuade more of their friends to log on and vote? I think not - this isn't a representation of the real-world, however much it incentivizes participation.
Thanksgiving break has been and gone. Now I'm returning to the pre-break grind, which stands exactly where it did when I left. There's IPD stuff, a looming pile of academic coursework that has been pushed aside, some personal things that need to get wrapped up (finding a job most notably), and then the ongoing business of life: laundry, food, etc, etc, etc.
It was a good break, though, with much resting and walking outside and wondering where the cat was or why he was eating plants. I had dessert for breakfast three days and that is a good vacation by any estimation. We spent a fractional day in Escanaba with the female half of our bridal party, a half-day at the Farm with family, a day at each of two homes, and two half days in the Vibe, in no particular order.
IPD still rocks the house. Today it was a mad firehouse rush to build (from virtual scratch) a website for high five - starting at 12:44 and finishing at 4:59. This is no way to conduct business, but for a team of three job-seeking grad students with (again, virtually) no designer it's what has to happen. Somewhere buried here there's a commentary about more stringent admissions, the greatest generation, and all-nighters verses staying up all night, but it's late already.
This morning another few minutes of Prof. Lim's scornful attendance preaching, this time in the form of some downright mean cold-calling. I can see why professors are not seeing inflation in their grades... nobody gets made a fool and then gives a 5 of 5.
Yesterday we had a bit of a day out and off; very little work sandwiched around a trip to our favorite people-watching hotspot in the northern Detroit suburbs. CheeburgerCheeburger on the way home wrapped a great day and a great weekend - perhaps a foreshadowing of how the "Experimental Weekends of Tomorrow", or EWOT, might seem.
It finally came and went. A huge crowd gathered at Caroline's for the game; there was food and drink and spirit but all the cheering couldn't give Michigan the boost it needed. Too many big plays given up by the defense and too many dropped balls by the offense did in the Maize and Blue... such is life. There was much talk of a rematch - I agree it would be a great game and site neutrality might help, but I'm not sure that I'm for it. Hopefully the Rose Bowl will select Michigan and we'll take our best shot in Pasadena. Plus, we've got a hockey team.
posted at 9:48 PM - comments
Friday, November 17, 2006
Even in the midst of an MBA 'Super Day' of recruitment activities, The Game was a big deal. It was on the cover of the USA Today that I rolled my bag over on my way to the proceedings this morning. It was on NPR on my drive to the airport. It was on the internet. It was on TV. It was everywhere, and then Bo Schembechler died. In death, though, we find that the game he helped make epic and the sport he helped make what it is today are bigger than him.
I'm at BDL, pre-blogging in anticipation of future internet connectivity. I'm waiting to start the same arduous trip home that marked the end of MAP; south to Dulles then north and west to DTW... no way to travel, really. After a tough week of academics and candidacy I'm glad to be headed home. I doubt that tomorrow will be relaxing, but hopefully Sunday can provide some rest.
Today's activities seem to mark the end - I think - of the full-time MBA recruiting process for me. With an offer in hand a few more strong possibilities in play, and not much else on the horizon, it seems that the die is cast. I'm happy with the outcome of this effort; in hindsight I feel somewhat frustrated at the diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive on- and off-campus recruiting processes. In August or September an MBA2 is forced to make a fundamental choice: whether to pursue an opportunity with one of the parade of companies who recruit actively on campus or looking outside this list to one's own network and finding a position in the company or companies of your choosing. Option 1 sees results by Christmas - usually - while Option 2 extends into spring and summer. Thus, if you recruit on-campus your options come and go long before you ever know if you have off-campus options to weigh. Choosing off-campus and falling short could leave the MBA jobless; choosing on-campus means perhaps foregoing some of the most intriguing options available.
A record low week, blog-wise. It's not my fault and here's why:
1. IPD - Integrated Product Development consumed somthing on the order of 22-24 hours of the last Wednesday-to-Wednesday week. Saturday morning was just an omen of things to come on Tuesday, when I was in the shop from 11am to 10pm with only a two and a half hour break for another meeting (and dinner at Jimmy's with Jenelle).
2. Class - Even though all I have is World Economy and Supply Chain Management, classes are a non-negligible contribution to my e-delinquency. Wednesday morning started early with about 50-70 pages of World Economy reading, followed by the course itself. Interestingly, Prof. Lim spent some 15 minutes 'haranguing' us regarding attendance; this sounded more like scolding to a person who has, recently relative to Prof. Lim, been a child. It was also interesting that this lecture about being professional came just moments before a lecture about comparative advantage. One would think that a leading professor might stick to their comparative advantage of producing intellectually-stimulating lectures about world trade and leave parenting or mentoring to someone with a comparative advantage in that area, but I digress.
3. Recruiting - I'm in the midst of a hellish recruiting trip. I left for the airport after IPD (see #1 above) design review on Wednesday, stopped at Jenelle's for dinner, and then boarded a plane for IND. From there, south by rental car to Columbus and a certain diesel engine manufacturer. I got in around 12:15am, then was up at 6:30am for a full morning of interviews, which went well. At 11 I skated out, jumped in the car and retraced steps to DTW, where I sprinted across A and C terminals to catch a flight to BDL, where I rented another car and drove to Farmington CT, home of a certain aerospace company in a certain multinational. Tonight was a meet-and-greet with employees, tomorrow a full slate of interviews and discussions about benefits and the region. Then home for...
3. The Game - Jenelle says I get quite animated about the forthcoming game, which is true. I'm thrilled to be a student at one of the schools (the one where schooling is top priority, I might add) the year this particular The Game is happening. And, since coverage is everywhere, I'm pretty in tune with The Game-related thoughts, concerns, repercussions, and rivalry-demonstrating stories.
Football mania has reclaimed Ann Arbor. Everybody is buzzing about the game, tickets to the game, how awesome the game is going to be, where they are watching the game, what Michigan has to do to win the game, what the results of the game will be, and other game-related topics too numerous to mention.
I'm working on IPD. And Supply Chain. And getting a job. Another second round interview opportunity presented itself today, but some accommodations need to be made before I can even commit to attending. Companies that reschedule their second round flybacks on two days' notice need to be aware that students will have conflicts with other interviews in other cities and states. In my case, I think it can work. I'm sure other students are feeling burned.
At home with Jenelle and Ollie this evening it was Supply Chain homework, IPD rendering and PhotoShopping, hot bacon dressing and spinach with spaghetti in squash. Days in the woodshop make me want to come home and have a meal and kick back even more.
Lazy Sunday. Lazy Saturday too, really, with an afternoon filled by Michigan football on TV on Michigan hockey on the ice at Yost. Both won handily, leaving nerves and voice largely intact. Football secured a January bowl, exciting me to no end but allowing some room for options: Rose Bowl or National Championship. Jenelle's work schedule favors National Championship Game, so I'm supporting that endeavour as well.
posted at 6:39 PM - comments
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I still cannot predict the behavior of students. Yesterday's inaugural TMI Speaker Series event sounded, to me at least, like the kind of thing that might draw about 17 people. I counted 120 with standing-room-only along the aisles. Whooops! It was a good talk, about Toyota, but I really just didn't see it filling like that.
Last night Jenelle and I went down to Yost for a varsity tilt between Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha. It was a well played game that saw Michigan executing a rare come-from-behind win on the strength of a Kevin Porter hat trick. Hat tricks in pro hockey (I've seen two) are way better than hat tricks in college hockey (again, two) because at the pro level the fans have enough income to actually throw hats. Last night, after Porter's third, about seven hats went on the ice. Students don't want to throw their hat; you can just hear the conflict in the student section... "hat trick, baby!" then "no way, dude, that's a fitted one!" or "dude I'm pumped too but that's like eighteen bucks." Last night's second intermission rider on the Zamboni-brand ice resurfacing machine, Ethan Harding, also set an unbelievably high standard for kid entertainment. From the first moment until the last, he pumped up the crowd during his whole ride. Then, Mr. Johnson taught the crowd to be quiet during the Blues Brothers horn solos. Yost has, without question, the best crowd in sports.
I got bad news yesterday about a certain marine industry job that I felt like I'd really parked in the interview. This is a tough pill to swallow, but I guess one has to realize that timing can work for the job hunter (see: TMI numbers way up, Ross #1, etc) or against the job hunter, as in 'industry down cycle' or 'energy prices drive recreational boating market recession.' My e-ding included an invitation to keep in touch and consider BC in the future.
posted at 9:12 AM - comments
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Suits and backpacks. This is the life of an MBA2 during fall semester. How do we celebrate a good interview? By going to class. There's a certain pre-ordained mechanical nature to this process, which makes it easy to grow very apathetic towards the whole thing. The Boeing team was on campus today and last night and, over dinner at Grizzly Peak, it came up that they'd interviewed Doug the day before. So, in the evening, I called Doug to catch up and he had a level-headed attitude that I appreciated hearing from another MBA. It's amazing how similar our experiences are shaping up to be; I feel like the top-tier b-schools are pretty much the same, with a few auxiliary details creating all the differentiation.
With a fresh reminder that I should be thankful for all the opportunities and excited about what is possible, I trotted into a Boeing interview myself this morning. I think it went well, I was fired up about the opportunities there, and now it's time to wait and see.
Let me frame today's Election Results Show with this anecdotal evidence of how far to the left Ann Arbor really is:
On my way home from school today, walking past the daycare center, two little (preschool aged at most) girls standing at the fence were talking to people outside the fence. It turns out the were talking politics, which I discovered only because I heard one girl say to the other in the most snide voice a four year old can have "I bet he voted for DeVos."
I didn't make that story up, not even a little. So you can probably imagine the blue state euphoria sweeping campus today. All that glitters is not gold, however, as the University now faces a serious retooling in the face of Proposal 2's defeat. Students can sense a change in the works and this new direction has soured the mood of what might have otherwise been a jubilant day on campus.
It also occurred to me this morning that we vote on strange and obscure bits of government. Why a dove hunting season made the ballot but our (and by "our" I mean "our President's") weak dollar foreign trade policies are untouchable by the electorate. The semi-annual post-voting fog of voter disillusionment has hit me hard. Barring running and voting for myself, I'm not sure when I'd ever have the chance to change the course of human events. It's easy to understand lobbying when you consider the absolute minutia that the public controls. Obviously the nation can't be bothered to vote on everything or given the line-item veto to cut the expansion of agriculture inspections in Iowa, but if you need/want things accomplished where the heck else can you go?
I am sitting in the library and Counting Crow's "Sullivan Street" came up on shuffle - seemed like a good time to blog. Due to clouds cover it really feels like those mid-December afternoons at Webb when it got dark before dinner and the library went from bright and sunny to just a library depressingly early in the day.
Nationally the intellectual focus today is on the election, but locally it is on OMS620 case write-up and IPD design. Tim and I achieved something of a design convergence this morning; I continue to marvel at the nuances of the design process. On Day 1 at Webb, Dean Compton drew the design spiral. It had regular intervals and a steady rate of convergence - my experience, no offense to the Dean, is that there is nothing regular or steady about design, it simply has to click. When it does, you can make a cost model, purchase materials, schedule production, develop a website, and be done with a course in record time. I hope.
Jenelle and I made Indian food last night. We aren't good at it and used a cheater starter sauce/paste from World Market, but I sure like the outcome. We both remarked that we should do more with potatoes and curry. Somehow Indian cuisine fills you without feeling full and leaves you feeling oddly post-sauna refreshed. How is that possible? What other food can you eat a bowl of, love the taste, and confidently say "no thanks, I'm perfect right now"?
Election day is tomorrow - it is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Ironically chosen to get people to the polls after harvest duties and with plenty of time to travel to the polling place without missing church, this is the day when (a few) Americans go to the polls to decide policy and which bickering lawmakers will be up for defeat in four to six years.
Michigan faces a full ballot proposal slate, ranging from a dove hunting season to mandating education funding. In between is one of the most devisive initiatives I can remember: Proposal 2. This little number is a tough one for me - the proposal seeks to ban affirmative action in the state. As a member of a diverse university community and a general believer that everyone should have equal opportunity I am very much on board. However, there's a big part of me that recalls those days in the spring of 1998 when I wasn't sure if this very same University would admit me because I was a middle class white male with above-average grades. I'm faced here with the change to retroactively cast a vote for myself or look forward and cast a vote for the community I joined six years later. I'm increasingly torn - the U is so strongly against this initiative and I support the fundamentals, but it is undeniably difficult to vote against the 17 year old mirror of me who is going to get a "Thank you for your application..." letter from Michigan. Weighing what the community should be against my personal feelings of reverse-discrimination is a battle that goes way beyond sidewalk chalkings and editorials in the Daily.
Douple-dipping college sports is how we roll. On the heels of October's two-Big11Ten-football-games-in-one-day feature, today we tried one-Big11Ten-football-game-and-one-CCHA-hockey-game for a change of pace. First up: football. Michigan (narrowly) escaped lowly Ball State to mark a sweep of its home schedule. There was an F-14 flyover, a great TV-themes halftime show with Patrick Stewart leading the band in the Star Trek theme, and the Big House marked its 200th consecutive game with over 100,000 in attendance. Next: hockey. Three hours after an interception sealed the deal for Michigan, the varsity ice hockey team took the ice at Yost against Michigan State. TJ Hensick scored 17 seconds into the game and the rout was on for Michigan - the first time since I was an MEng and Robin was in town that UM has beaten MSU in hockey.
There was also a start to the weekend; Friday was a whirlwind of interviews and HFH stuff. Thursday night was a great dinner with Cummins at The Earle... really good food and wine and a chance to learn about the company and feel good about the prospects both of going there and being there.
Another very snowy day in Ann Arbor signals the true start of winter. Fields were tinted white by the afternoon, but I spent the day mostly indoors in class and prepping for two interviews tomorrow and the pre-interview festivities this evening. The first company is having an info session and the other a meet-and-greet, and you essentially have to go lest you have less comfort than your peers during the interviews tomorrow.
There are so many opportunities to interview and get into companies during the heavy recruiting months that I think MBAs get a little lost in the paranoia of NOT getting a job and try too hard; it would be better if we had three super important interviews with something of a guarantee versus eight or ten or fifteen interviews like some of my peers - at that point you are spread too thin to compete effectively.
I'm also keenly aware of timing. Everything, career wise, is crammed into a very few uber-critical weeks in early November. It is so important that I almost looked up the HTML code for an umlaut. Seriously, in the next two to three weeks I expect to get at least one offer, go on between one and four flyback second-round interviews, and, ultimately, pick that uber-important first job. Finding a job is a full time job, but life soldiers on: IPD is a sure time-sink, with OMS620 Supply Chain figuring in prominently as well. Club, social, and athletic events still happen and you don't want to miss those, but so far I've sold way more hockey tickets than I've been to games.
Two big internet things happened today: 1. The interwebs reached 100 million unique websites. There were 18,000 in 1995, which means that you are reading something like the first percent of the internet. I consider this alternately a source of pride and of amazement. 2. I had my first real web design class tonight. Two key members of Ann Arbor web design firm Enlighten were in IPD sharing tips, tricks, things to keep in mind, and a knowledge baseline with the group. As a web designer but not a design designer, seeing the merge of these forces is powerful and intriguing. They offered ways of balancing utility and style which I thought were very interesting and very engaging. I'm talking depth, urban art, crisp colors and relieved borders. It was cool. It was inspiring.