Saturday, October 17, 2009

Building Social Capital at Kellogg

I've been struggling to get a blog post out the past week. Although plenty of blog-worthy things have been going down, I just haven't been able to write anything that I thought was strong enough to warrant my clicking on "Publish Post." I'm gearing up for my first all-nighter tonight, so I figured I'd give it another shot.

The Leadership in Organization class that everyone takes during orientation ended about 4 weeks ago, but I wasn't completely done with it until yesterday. Our final group assignment was to select and interview a set of executives on Social Capital, e.g. networking, use the course concepts to analyze their strategies for networking, and then write a 10+ page paper on our findings.

Each of my teammates interviewed one or two executives, and then we selected two to serve as the basis of our analysis. After a very long week of writing, revising, reviewing, and repeating (the 4 Rs...sort of) my team submitted our paper a full 5 hours ahead of the deadline. Overall, I didn't think that the paper did much to enhance my understanding of the material, but the interviews were fantastic and well worth the hassle of writing the paper. I was able to speak candidly with two senior executives in the consulting industry, and I picked up some interesting information on networking at their level.

The paper also allowed me to formalize some of my random thoughts on networking while at Kellogg, and it provided some validation for the strategy that I've settled on during my time here. I've basically decided to focus on building my relationships via shared experiences with my classmates in activities that I'm interested in, such as case competitions, clubs, and group assignments. This is in line with our paper's theme and core recommendation, which was that there is no single "best" networking strategy for everyone, so students should focus on developing a strategy that compliments their strengths and personality.

At first, I thought that I would be seriously damaging my overall experience at Kellogg by forgoing the bar scene (namely the Keg), which is a major component to socializing up here. I was afraid that I might miss out on the opportunity to develop the strong friendships that all of the alums had mentioned as a highlight of their experience. Fortunately, I have learned that you really can make the experience into whatever you want while still having fun and meeting lots of great people. All of my classmates are fantastic, and I've really enjoyed working with all of my teams so far. My Leadership team is even talking about making custom MORS t-shirts (that's how we roll).

Just today, I spent 12 hours working with my team (see below) on the Booth IPO Case Challenge. Our team had 5 1st-year students with almost no prior finance experience; needless to say, we spent a lot of time on the Google looking up how to do valuations (and watching YouTube videos...some relevant...some not so much). Ultimately, we decided not to submit an entry after struggling to come up with a valuation that we could justify. Although we weren't able to put something together, we all learned quite a bit about valuing an IPO, and I'm glad that I signed up for it.




Dang. I still feel like this is a pretty weak post. Oh well, at least I'm not getting graded on this. Midterms start this week, so I should have something to say about that soon enough.

1 comment:

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