Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Columbia visit

I signed up for the student host option. My only complaint there is that I wasn't given any details about my day until the Saturday before my Monday visit. I was packing and traveling all weekend and didn't have a chance to check my email until pretty late Sunday night. I was also disappointed that Columbia didn't make November info session dates available until late October, after I'd already booked tickets, and it looks like the Monday I visited was the only Monday without an info session. (They're only on Mondays and Thursdays for some annoying reason.) (Ironically, Monday they were doing a info session on the road in PNZ/PNA. Ha.) They get points for letting you attend as many classes as you like while you're there. Kellogg gets points for that too.

Attended three classes. The Role of the Private Sector in International Development, an elective, which had Jeff Sachs as a guest speaker. It was treat for me to get to hear him in person so I loved the class though it wasn't really that representative I guess. Class room was large and pleasant. Next up, a Derivatives class, elective. Much much better than Kellogg, fast paced, real equations. Way more interesting. Four women out of about 40-50 students. (What's with that? Oh well. All the better for me to stand out I guess.) Windowless room with a really low ceiling - very fluorescent. Third class (getting very hungry for lunch at this piont!) was Capital Markets. Typically taken by first year Finance folks or second years who are not Finance inclined. I guess its a prereq for a number of courses that non-Finance types might want to take. Again, large decent classroom. Professor was an entertaining Russian fellow. I thought students asked decent questions, definitely a few stupid questions that we could have moved beyond a little more quickly. I also sort of got the feeling that students didn't care a lot about this class. Wouldn't put too much on that, but there were folks wandering in an out of class and the discussion wandered a lot more than might be ideal.

After all of that I had coffee with my student host and asked her lots of questions. She was a nice person but had totally different career interests than me so it was only insightful in a very general sense, couldn't get into the specifics of being a Finance concentration or what being married with children might be like. Oh well.

Bottom line - students seemed bright enough, facilities and classes were much better than Kellogg. (Oh yeah, Chicago facilities are definitely the best.) I've heard complaints about Columbia's facilities but they didn't seem that bad to me. On a very minor point, students looked a little hipper and less business casual (a very bad look).

Since there was no info sesssion, I took the subway back to my Grandma's and went straight to bed. Taking classes from 9a-2p without food was exhausting! Tip - students eat during lunch time classes so don't skip lunch like I did, bring it on in.

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