Monday, October 25, 2010

Life after LGO: 5 Months Later

It’s been 5 1/2 months since I finished my last class at MIT, 4 1/2 months since I graduated and over 3 months since I started my job. In some ways it feels a lot longer and in other ways it feels like just yesterday...

For those who don’t remember, my full time job after LGO is at Apple as a New Product Operations manager and my first 3 months have been far from boring. Since I like bullet points, here’s a brief summary of the highlights.

Contributed to the launch of a the new MacBook Air:
  • In case you live in a cave:
  • I specifically helped launch this little device:
Business Skills used:
  • Negotiations - RFQ and vendor procurement activities
  • Team & Relationship building - both with the internal Apple team and between the Apple/Supplier team
  • Communication - (effective) communication to upper levels of management
  • Project Management - prioritizing requirements, monitoring costs
Engineering Skills used:
  • EE stuff - USB drivers are way more complicated than I realized and now I know more about how they work than I ever cared to know
  • IE stuff - capacity analysis, supply/demand management, layout development, process optimization
Hourly work schedule:
  • Week 1: barely 40 hours
  • Weeks 2 - 5: ~55 hours
  • Weeks 6 - 13: avg 70 hours, peaking well over 80
  • Week 14: 40 hours
  • Week 15: <>

So, all in all, it’s been a really exciting time. Despite the crazy hours, I’ve enjoyed the work and I cannot even begin to tell you how cool it is to see something you’ve helped build being discussed and analyzed all over the web! (For good and bad).

What’s even better is I am finally catching up on lost sleep. :) And, the next few months will continue to be interesting because I get to move from the execute mode of product launch to a more strategic mode. Yup, that means lots of Keynote presentations and philosophizing!

While I miss the “carefree” days of grad school, it’s actually cool to reflect back on the work I’ve done and realize that I’m actually putting those 2 fancy degrees to use.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Graduating is kinda like finishing a really good book.

You know that feeling when you're reading a really good book and you finish it? You're excited to reach the end and see how the story comes together, but, you're also sad that there's nothing more to read? Well, I think that's the best way to describe how I feel about finishing LGO.

As of Friday, it's official, I'm a MIT alumni! Yippee!

Graduation festivities were pretty fun, but also super busy. My Mom came into town on Wednesday and left just this morning (Monday). It was nice to have her here to celebrate with me. And, in between the festivities, we even managed a day trip up to Maine (which was my last New England state to check off before I move).

The week was a big whirlwind of emotions. While I'm SO excited to be graduated and moving to San Francisco and joining Apple, I know I'm going to miss all of the great people here and I'm not quite ready to transition from student back to professional. I must admit, I kinda liked the "irresponsibility" I allowed myself just because of my student status. ;) Fortunately, though, work doesn't start immediately for me. My first day is not until July 19th, so I have just over 6 weeks to work on this oh-so-tough transition.

With this new phase of life, I don't know what will happen with this blog. It's intended for students applying to LGO to get an idea of what it's really like in the program, but I think some others might read it too. So, I guess I'm open to suggestions.

However, for now, this is another goodbye and, also, a Thank You for reading and following along during these crazy 2 years.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm on a Boat ... Well, a Sail Boat

First of all, lets get the business out of the way... if you don't know what I'm referencing in my title you must view this video. (Note: Lyrics are explicit). Then you must view this video, which is a spoof of the original that some of my MIT classmates put together and is called, I'm at Sloan. Both are pretty awesome, but I especially love the Sloan one.

Ok, now that that's done. I was, seriously, on a boat. For 8 days.

Every year the 2nd year Sloanies take one last trek to the British Virgin Islands and party it up while sailing through the area. The trip was absolutely incredible. I love the Caribbean. This was my fourth trip there and every time I enjoy it even more. Plus, this was my first extended sailing trip where you sleep on a boat and cook on a boat and actually sail the boat.

The boat I was on was one of two LGO boats. And, we had a great dynamic. Despite the actual surface area of the boat being pretty small, I never felt super confined. And, the trip itself was a great balance of partying with our Sloan classmates at bars on shore, as well as snorkeling in amazing coral and, of course, learning how to actually sail our Catamaran. Our skipper was a past LGO grad and he was just incredible. Honestly, I can't think of a thing to complain about. Oh wait, the bathrooms. Showering was tough, but, fortunately, there was a big sea just outside our door to jump into when necessary.

Oh, and one last awesome thing about the trip. We docked our boats on Saturday the 29th around noon and everyone was staying in a hotel Saturday night to fly home on Sunday. That weekend in Tortola was the BVI Music Festival and I was staying near by. After I checked into my hotel, I went to the pool bar to enjoy some drinks and food. I was chatting with this woman for a bit and then after the fact I put all this information together to realize that I just met a celebrity, Fantasia. She was performing for the festival and just happened to be staying at my hotel. I laugh at myself now because while we were talking I had no clue. It wasn't until after when I put together a number of details to realize who she was.

Anyway, that's all.

Check out my photos from the trip through the Picasa Photostream to the right. ;)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Finishing School and Starting the Celebration!

So, I don't want to claim that I'm done, because there could be some unforeseen circumstances that come up. But I'm like 99.999999% sure that I've successfully completed my 2 year journey here at MIT!! I cannot believe how quickly the time has flown by and it just seems a bit unreal to me that it's been 2 years since I quit my job and embarked on life as a full time student.

I actually had a final today - for Finance 2. I'm not sure if it was hard or not - I felt I did good enough for a B, which, really is more than I even need. It's so funny how my perspective on grades has changed so much not just from undergrad to now, but even from 2 years ago to now. In any case, it was pretty much a formality. But, it's done, and although it doesn't yet feel any different, I know it will soon.

Graduation won't be for almost 3 weeks. I think they want to be sure that we actually earn our degrees before we graduate. In the mean time there are lots of parties and get togethers going on so that we can enjoy the last few weeks with each other. And, boy are we celebrating. On Saturday, we had our class' End-of-the-Program party. It was our last "informal" event to celebrate our 2 years together. Sadly, there's a number of people who won't be at graduation, so the good-byes are definitely starting. We sufficiently partied it up and had an awesome time hanging out together.

It's all bitter sweet. I think I've said before that my favorite part of LGO is my classmates. While I'm definitely ready to have no more participation grades, no cases to read and definitely no more exams to take, I know that I am not ready to leave my awesome classmates.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Famous People Like to Come to MIT

This Wednesday, Bill Gates, came to MIT. He's kind of a big deal - being the past CEO of Microsoft and the #1 person on Forbes list of "The World's Richest People" from 1995 to 2007 and in 2009. I was lucky enough to "win" the student lottery to get a ticket and hear him talk in person. He's currently visiting schools right now to talk about his work as a Philanthropist. His talk focused on an interesting question: "How do we get the world’s brightest people focused on its biggest problems?"

This, of course, is a deep, intense and controversial question.

I have a lot I could say, but something I found concerning was that he kind of implies that brightness is defined by education. While I should agree with this since education has done a lot for me, I actually don't. Some times level of education is a personal choice, just because a person does not choose to get a PhD or go to a top tier college does not mean they are less intelligent than I am. And, just because a) I was lucky enough to have a family situation that allowed me to go to college and b) I was able to be successful in the relatively narrow education system we have and get into highly ranked schools does not mean I am any more capable than the next person. Anyway, my point is - there are people out there doing amazing things for this world without MBAs or fancy colleges on their diplomas. I would be interested to know if he plans to do similar talks to less "prestigious" crowds... maybe community colleges? Hospital administrations? High schools?

Also, world problems are so broad. His topics ranged from the quality of our teachers to death rates of children under 5 in certain areas of the world. How do you define what is most important? People of different age, ethnic background and social class would disagree violently on which issue deserves the most attention. So, who is right? I guess this is part of his point. There are A LOT of issues in our world. And, no matter, who you are, we should all try to do something to help the situation.

I must admit, overall I enjoyed the talk. I was impressed by his ability to speak intelligently on multiple topics; he bounced from nuclear energy to population growth just in the Q&A session and raised some important points. And, he's using his wealth to help. But, I am also a bit skeptical. I think, in the end, he's still a businessman and that must drive his motivations to some extent.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LGO 10s in the News!

A bunch of the LGO 10s went to a Wine event on Saturday night. Last year there were just 3 of us - this year there was around a dozen. It was a blast!

Besides the tasty wine, the best part of the event is the photo booth! And, what's even better... one of the photographers at captured a photo of us as we got situated. I am pretty sure this is the type of public relations that makes both MIT and LGO super happy... 2nd year students drinking lots of wine, wearing obnoxious costumes and holding slightly inappropriate signs. But, it's still pretty awesome. :)

Here's the LINK to and the picture:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It really is a miracle that a checked bag gets to its final destination.

On Friday, the Operations Management club hosted a tour of the American Airlines Baggage Operations at Boston Logan airport. Since I'm mildly obsessed with transportation and logistics, I had to go, even though it meant that I had to motivate myself to do something productive on a Friday morning.

I was totally impressed with the 3 AA personnel that gave us the tour. They were extremely friendly, took time to answer all of our crazy questions, and even made sure we got to see the process of un/loading with an actual plane on the ground.

It was so neat to see an operation that I personally have to deal with (and am frustrated by) about 10-15 times a year depending on if I check a bag. We saw how the bag travels from the agent check-in area, along conveyor to the TSA screening machines, then to a sorting area. The sorting area kind of reminded me of Amazon because the conveyors have lasers that scan the bar code on your bag and then identify which chute to send the bag down. Then once the bag is down the chute, an AA employee loads it on a cart to go to the airplane. We also got to see the control center where they monitor the flights that are landing and taking off as well as schedule time at each of the gates. It was just really cool. My favorite part through was when we got to go right up to an airplane on the tarmac and watch them unloading.

The one thing that was funny was that as I observed everything I was constantly thinking about how they could improve their operations. The whole process is so manual and there's tons of opportunity to change things so that our bags get through the system more easily. It seems like they could really use some IEs to come in and do a Value Stream map or something. ;)

In any case, it was a great tour and I'm glad I got myself out of bed on a Friday morning to see it. And, so you can share in my enjoyment from the tour, here are some photos!

Sorting of the bags before they go on the airplane.
The AA tarmac area.
Big plane at the gate.
Unloading a plane that just landed.
Putting bags on the conveyor - the other side of the wall is the baggage claim area.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I guess we really did learn a lot about Leadership

Yesterday was the last day of H1, which means that some of the LGOs (me included) now have 2 solid weeks of no classes due to SIP and Spring Break.

An aside about the 2 weeks off... I don't say all because the 10s were the last LGO class that did not have a SIP (Sloan Innovation Period) requirement. So, this means that most of the 11s are around fulfilling their SIP requirements next week and some 10s are also still around because of engineering classes.

Back to the point of this post...
One of the required classes for the second year LGOs is 15.317, which is the last portion of our 2 year leadership class. It's an H1 class only and for us the class was from 8:30 - 11:30 am on Friday mornings. Kind of painful. But, the class was a really good opportunity to learn from our classmates. It was re-formatted from last year to include a lot more sharing of personal experiences from classmates and discussion about how to handle tough leadership situations. It really got you thinking about some of the tough situations we'll face after graduation.

The best part, though, was the last class (and, no, it wasn't because it was the last class). It was the best, because we (the LGO 2010 class) were in charge of the content for class. We opted to try to mimic reality TV show style and create many video/photo montages of major events over the past 2 years with personal confessions from people discussing their leadership lessons from those experiences. The final product was about 100 minutes of reflection and way better than we could have imagined!

I worked with Jeremy Pitts on the Spring 2009 semester and I specifically put together two videos. For your viewing entertainment, here's a link to the video from the Triathlon: Triathlon Video!
(Note, I am by no means an expert on making videos, so don't judge!)

In any case, the morning was a great way to reflect not only on the serious, but also on all of the great memories that we have as a class. A lot of us were starting to get sentimental realizing that the end of the semester is approaching and soon we'll be going our own ways. It's definitely bitter sweet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The New Edition: LGO 2012

Rumor has it that the Class of 2012 has started to find out that they've got in to LGO. Yay! It's hard for me to believe I was in your shoes 2 years ago. Time flies!

My one piece of advice (for now): Do everything you can to come to Admit Weekend in April! I couldn't make it because I was in a wedding, but I definitely wish I had after hearing all of the great stories. Admit Weekend is a great way to bond with people you'll be spending A LOT of time with over the next 2 years. Plus, the 10s and the 11s work hard to show you a great weekend.

Congrats to all!

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's my last semester of school so I guess I'll take some classes.

I won't lie. I have senioritis. FULL BLOWN. The problem is manyfold (is that even a word?): I have a job, I have a lot less classes to take than in previous semesters and I am wanting to enjoy as much time with my classmates as I can before we graduate. This means school work is pretty low on the priority list. Plus, it's been 8 blissful months of no cases, problem sets or participation requirements.

But, despite my complaining, I do still have classes to take. And, despite all the moaning and groaning I've been doing, I think they should be pretty interesting. So, here's a short overview:

15.223 Global Markets: This is probably the class I am most excited about. It is focused on discussing different countries and their global/economic environments in order to help us learn how to be successful doing business in a global world. It's an H1 class, with a follow on H2 class that should be just as interesting. The topics of the first 2 classes included the cause of the US Subprime Crisis as well as discussion about the government's role in Singapore.

15.317 Leadership: This is one of two classes required during our final semester in LGO. It's only LGOs and is the continuation of the class we took during our first semester in the summer of 2008. It's focus is on giving us some final leadership tools to take us into our careers.

15.402 Finance Theory II: Despite the fact that this class will be hard work, I am excited about it. I am taking it with Asquith who comes highly recommended. He's no nonsense (in other words doesn't tolerate people making comments just to pretend they're smart) and he sufficiently scared us on day 1 about the difficulty of the material. But, I have no doubt I'll learn (and be working) a lot.

15.769 Operations Strategy: This is the 2nd required course for your second spring semester in LGO. This semester the course is being co-taught by Don and Charlie Fine. So far, I'll admit, I'm not sure how I feel about this class ... BUT, as dorky as it sounds, there are a few cases on the schedule that sound really interesting. Plus, I feel like there's a lot to learn that could help me with my work after graduation.

15.900 Strategic Management: Most Sloanies & LGOs take this during the first year - but I am just taking it now. I'd heard that many people really enjoyed it and felt it was important to get some strategy with my MBA. The class is all case based and focuses on teaching frameworks to help you evaluate strategic business decisions. Some of the focus so far has been on how companies create and capture value. The professor is new and pretty young, but so far, no real complaints (besides the work). ;)

*phew* And that's that. Here's to a quick (and painless) last semester!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Big News

Admittedly, many of you already know this since this big news is actually over a month old… but I guess part of me couldn’t believe it was true and even though signing the papers makes it official, posting it on my blog REALLY makes it official.

So, the news… I HAVE A JOB! Paperwork signed and sent to…. Apple! Woo Hoo!

There’s a lot I could say about the process and my decision. But, ultimately, what it came down to was not the money, the name appeal or even what company “won” in the comparison matrix I built during a 4-hour drive to Amsterdam…. I chose Apple because when I walked out of the interview after meeting many Apple employees and talking about the work I could be doing there, I realized I wanted to be there and was really excited about it. And, fortunately they wanted me too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

When I graduate from LGO, I will be a moving pro.

Getting accepted and coming to LGO means that you are going to learn how to move your belongings quickly and efficiently. Ok, well, they don’t TEACH you that, but it’s kind of a matter of survival.

It begins when you find out you’re accepted… school starts less than 3 months from that date, not 6 like most MBA programs. This is Move #1. For me, it involved finding a place to live without being able to participate in the usual LGO Admit weekend (since I was in a wedding), selling my beautiful convertible and all of my furniture, storing most of my personal possessions in one of those Door-to-Door pods and shipping my clothes and a few other things from Los Angeles to Boston. Then, I flew myself, my cat and 2 enormous suitcases to Boston where I had to buy new furniture (thanks, Ikea!) and get my life in order before starting school again after about 6 years.

Move #2 was a bit better because LGO helps a lot. Move #2 is for internship. Novartis did some of the tough work for me… finding a place to live in Germany. But, I still had to pack up everything and get it into a storage unit. Not. Fun. Plus, ship a few boxes of clothes overseas and pray that they actually made it there. (They did!)

Move #3 has been a month long event. It started with me packing and shipping 4 boxes from Germany to Drew’s home in Cambridge because I had nowhere else to ship them. Then I flew from Germany to Boston with 3 exploding suitcases, 2 which I left at a fellow LGO’s place while I spent the 2 ½ weeks couch surfing around California. Thursday was move IN day in Cambridge. The U-haul was rented, the lease was signed and the unpacking and furniture search is near complete. The place is fantastic and I have a great LGO classmate as my roommate, which is also fantastic.

I realized the other day that at one point during all of this I had my personal belongings spread across 5 locations:

- Germany
- Storage Unit in Cambridge
- My Aunt’s house in a suburb of Boston
- Storage Unit in Los Angeles
- My Mom’s place in Sacramento

(and if you want to get even pickier, there was those 4 boxes I sent to Drew’s place before him & I left Germany, so that’s a 6th… but who’s counting? ;))

Talk about diversified.

Anyway, after this move, there’s only one more left! And although, it’s another cross country move, I hope it’s the last one for awhile!