Goodbye, Baylor

8 12 2012

When I walked out of the classroom of my last final, I know I’m done. The journey has been fun and enjoyable, but now it’s heading to an end.

It is going through so fast, faster than I realized, faster than I planned. When I thought I still have time to hang out with the ladies in the office, I was wrong; when I thought I still can study together with the crews, I was wrong; when I thought I can stop at “Station of Baylor” for a longer time, I was wrong. The next chapter is waving at me, on Dec 16th. At that time, I’ll have a comma after my name. Thinking back of the time that I first came to Baylor, it was the hot summer. Went through IMS program is probably the best choice I’ve ever made. Through that time, not only I learned the basics of business classes, but also I made friends for life time.

Although until this point, I haven’t found a job yet, I know how much I’ve grown during this journey. From last time went to National Black MBA career fair to this time, I had so many activities on my resume that the recruiters would ask me to expand on. I know how much my confidence level grew just by presenting over and over again. I know what can really motivate me for the next step. I know what my learning ability is. This program has done everything they can to prepare me for the real life experience and I’m ready for it.

Also to my dearest friends, I can’t say how much I thank them for daily help, but I can’t get to who I am today without them. At this moment, I’m ready to say bye to everyone in Waco. It’s not ever, it’s just temporarily I need to leave this bear nation, to overcome the challenge and utilize all the preparation they did for me. I’ll be back, with better achievement that can make Baylor proud of me!

They said it’s hard, and you should believe it

3 12 2012

This is what I want to say to myself about choosing one of the hardest finance classes offered in Baylor, and that is entrepreneur finance.

The parts that make it hard were not the regular “finance” areas. First, it required a lot of memorization. It’s almost ironic that this class is called finance but half of the exam comes from pure memorization of several books and articles. Without a good photo memorization skill, I had a hard time to remember all the topics. Second, it is hard to understand the wording of the questions in the exam. When a question has several ways of interpreting what the instructor is really trying to ask you, you know you will not do well if you don’t prepare yourself enough. Sadly with an 18 hours graduate school work and job hunting, I don’t have the luxury of figuring out how the instructor likes to ask questions. Same reason I can’t deal with last minute change in the schedule or solution to the questions that can possibly showed in the exam because of my crazy Monday schedule. As a student, I know I need to work hard to reach the goal and I absolutely have no reason to complain about a very smart and kind instructor, but if given another chance, this probably would be a class I chose at a different time of my MBA study to make sure that I have enough time to prepare myself better for this class. Upon this point, I got my average second exam back on the last day of class and was expecting a Saturday final that covers majority of the class contents, I can only say I hope I’ll get a C in this class and get out of here. Wish me luck….

Christmas on 5th, 2012

30 11 2012

Another year rolled around and it’s that time again: Baylor tradition, Christmas on 5th.  As a relatively young “bear”, I don’t know when did this tradition started, but it’s here since….. last year.

But you know what’s different this year? We know Mrs. Santa! And she belongs to the MBA program! When I found out on Facebook that Mary, our Assistant Director for Student Services is going to be Mrs. Santa, I insisted to go to see her and take a picture. Luckily me, I don’t have to wait in line for one hour. Rather I caught up with her in the business school and got a picture.

Another picture I was able to get is from Judge Starr. When we were walking around the SUB, he happened to be there and we asked for a picture. He’s so kind and took several with us. I have to say I really respect his efforts towards Baylor sports. He ran with the freshmen team every single home game and always showed up in doctoral dinner, international welcome dinner, Thanksgiving roundtable dinner, etc. I believe it’s his passion that makes him a good leader for Baylor.

For the time reason, we didn’t stay long to wait for the light to come on. But this is such a good way to celebrate Christmas early and relax a little bit from the pressure of finals. And now, the hell week is coming…

Last two core study sessions with the crews

29 11 2012

For the last two nights, the study crew got together for the last time, to study the two back to back core class exams. We sit in the room, with one “student teacher”, for the last time to learn the QBA terms and accounting problems.

During this journey, I’m pretty sure I got tired of the breakout room, lounge, the three core classrooms for so many times. Those nights that we needed to stay after 12 to study were not that fun back then, but now, they are all precious memories. I’ve seen people called food delivery, stayed overnight, slept on the chair/floor. The program is definitely keeping you busy, with school works, job hunting, case competition. And we are not robot or saints, who can work non-stop and generate no complaint at all. We were beaten down, but either other students or the faculty/staff would pick us up and motivate us to keep moving.

So when last night we were in the classroom studying, I suddenly just wanted the clock to stop there. If the time can freeze, I would like to stay with the people in that room. Two weeks from now, we’ll get our degree and leave Baylor, leave Waco, a place I used to call in the middle of nowhere. But at that moment, I just don’t want to leave. The crews I hang out with all the time are those I don’t even remember how we began to be friends. I see them every day, in every single core class, but never get tired of them. The hard times together brought us closer than ever. If there is coalition that Dr. Meyer is talking about in this program, this small group must be one. Now we finished our last core class final. For the next two weeks, we’ll be working on our elective classes. I just want to wish everyone good luck, for now and for later.

Thanksgiving night, many thanks, continued

23 11 2012

Continue from last night….

The next group is my fellow soon-to-be MBAs. In this 1.5 years journey, we had so many classes together. We support and encourage each other. It’s not a competitive environment in Baylor: students are more than willing to provide help when you need it. Somehow we figured out who is better at certain classes and a study group is formed. With one or two students being the tutor of that class, we helped each other grow better. Learning curve is much smoother than before. Sometimes we stayed in the breakout room for hours, to study or being ready to provide help. I know I’ll have a much harder journey without them, my fellows. Occasionally we got frustrated with the project or some members given the class load we all have, but at the end of the day, all the problems are solved. I’m pretty sure that I’ve made friends for life here in Baylor. Within 22 days, we’ll graduate, general MBA class of 2012. I don’t know how many of us will be able to stay in the same city for the next chapter, but there will always be a very soft spot in our heart for Baylor. Next May when the Healthcare crews graduate, I’m going to come back and see how much they’ve grown.

Last but now least is all the faculty and staffs in the business school. I’ve learned so much from the professors, not just business knowledge, but also how to be a good person, what is ethics, what is the right thing to do. For me, from zero business background to the confidence level today, I know I can’t do it without all the teaching and supporting. No matter what problem I met in study or life, each of you provided direct or indirect help, immediately. I guess this is the perfect reason that I chose Baylor – people are ready to help.

There are so many others I want to thank. All of you are what makes me today. This Thanksgiving is special to me, because of my Baylor crews.

Thanksgiving night, many thanks

22 11 2012

Today is Thanksgiving, a day that people remember to give thanks, to family, friends, the ones we know and the ones we don’t. Here I want to dedicate this blog to my Baylor people, those who walk with me for the past year and half.

First, I want to say thank you to the IMS crew. With limited business knowledge, we came together to learn the 101 classes. We spent so much time in the breakout room tried to figure out our first finance project, first accounting exam; we explored Waco and tried different restaurants; we watched movie, played bowling together. Those two months have settled the foundation of our friendship throughout this journey. If there are any special people, they must be my two favorite professors: Mr. Hulme, and Dr. Rose. QBA taught by Mr. Hulme sounded so easy and fun at that time, but I remember everything he taught. Dr. Rose led me into the door of finance and helped me find a topic I enjoyed studying.

Second, I want to thank all the people I work with in the Graduate School. From day one they all treat me as family member. Multiple times I was invited to their family parties for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday, etc. Being “adopted” by L is always a fun topic that she likes to tell whoever is visiting the office. Those hard times they gave me are my precious memories. Now every time I walked in, L would say: you’ll miss me. I smiled, but deeply in my heart, I know she’s right. I’ll miss the time we sit in the front desk and I had a hard time describing R’s office which located “next to the last office on the right”. Within two weeks, my duty there is going to end and I need to move on to the next stop of my life. But I’ll always appreciate the time we worked together.

To Be Continued….

Advisory Board Meeting

17 11 2012

Today I was invited to join the Business School Advisory Board Meeting together with two other fellow students to talk about the experience of Focus Firm.

I’ve seen the names that are on the Advisory Board for Business School for so many times on the first floor of Hankamer, still I feel excited about meeting them in person. When I arrived at the fifth floor, the previous meeting was still in progress. I sat down in a corner with Dr. Carini and listened to the strategic plan for Business School. Soon everyone moved to the dining room for luncheon. While sitting at a table with two gentlemen I’ve never met, we started a conversation, about my personal experience and my journey in Baylor. Then they told me about their time in Baylor and how much things changed from that time. Seeing the fellow bears and how successful they are with the education from Baylor, I felt so proud.

When it moved to the section of Focus Firm experience, Dr. Carini asked us several questions. With no rehearsal at all, we all said our true experience about the projects, with Wal-Mart and Fossil. One of my fellow said that the reason he chose Baylor is that everyone here is so helpful. My reaction is AMEN! This is what makes Baylor a top school. I believe none of us exaggerate our experience at all. We love this school from the bottom of our hearts.

After our presentation, we also stayed for another presentation from the undergraduate group of “Business Fellow”. Baylor Business Fellows is a major leading to a BBA degree. It is designed for gifted, high-achieving students with very high career goals—goals that cannot easily be met through traditional degree programs in four years. Those students on the stage are the shining stars of tomorrow. And I’m sure they are also enjoying their time as a bear

Sic’em Bears!

It is recruiting season! Come and apply!

13 11 2012

Today I was in the SUB for the whole morning, helping out with the information desk from the Grad School. The office is getting busier because of the application season. It’s that time of the year! Submit your application today!

It sounds like I’m doing a marketing campaign for Baylor, but the truth is, I just want to share the great experience I had, not just in B School, but also in the work place. Every year we received tons of applications of different departments. Potential candidates called to check on their application status and what is still missing from their applications. The phone rings all the time and our admission coordinators are always on the phone. However, whenever we see a decision from the department saying accept, we are happy for the student. Each offer we sent out, we hope to get a yes from the student.

The process of application materials is not very fast due to the amount of applications we received. Unlike some other schools, Baylor processes every graduate program application through the graduate school instead of each department. All of the materials will be mailed to that one PO box. So it usually will take several days from receiving the mail to putting in the system and update the status. Then the department will start to review the applications and make their decision. Once the decision is made, grad school will receive a notice, same as when student accepts the offer. When application season comes, we usually have 4-5 GAs in the office all the time to help processing the mails and updating the system.

With the application deadline coming up soon, we received more and more mails. ACT NOW and join the bear country!

Risk management lesson from QBA

10 11 2012

The last round of core classes is composed with QBA and accounting. Besides the “megastats” we’ve been using for the past two cores, this time we start to use “@ risk”. The main idea of this software is to simulate the possibility of different scenario so in real business world, company can have a better idea of what’s the possible profit. Until now, some of the cases show high net income to begin with. But once the risk factor is added, with 1000 times simulation, the average profit is much lower than the beginning estimation. The software can estimate many kinds of possibilities: normal distribution, binomial distribution, log distribution, uniform distribution, etc. Even just given a column of random numbers, it supports to find the best fit.

It seems things are predictable with the help of @ risk. Insurance company can use it to estimate how much to charge their clients; financial advisors can use it to suggest the right amount of money withdraw from retirement account; venture capitalists can use it to decide whether to invest in a startup.

However, life is unpredictable. No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. We can’t calculate the possibility age of our own death. When anything goes down to an individual level, any possible result can happen. Without an unpredictable result in mind, we live in faith. From time to time, I need to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the time. This is how I feel now: with graduation in 30 days and new adventure ahead, I’m enjoying the time in Baylor, in Waco. If now you ask me how to manage the risk of financial investment, I can sit there and tell you all the theories I learned. But if you are interested in how to manage the risk of life, I’ll say: this is a subject I’ll spend my life time to figure out.

Bread maker, yogurt maker and homemade food

7 11 2012

Within less than 2 months, we are going to graduate and leave Waco. But it is at this moment, I got a bread maker and a yogurt maker. From now on, no bread or yogurt needs to be purchased from stores.

Chinese are so big on food. We spend hours in the kitchen to prepare for a lunch or dinner that takes less than 1 hour to eat, especially in my family. Because everything starts from scratch: fresh fish from the market, green pepper from the patio garden, never frozen beef. After I moved to here, due to the limited time and materials, my requirements of food went down. Most of the food is processed, with preservative and too much sugar added. I notice the difference of my body.

So, slowly I started to go back to a cooking weekend schedule: spend almost half a day to prepare for one dinner. The smell of the soup on the stove, the sweetness from the oven and the warm feeling of a home all make me extremely happy. Born in the north part of China, I like to eat things like “mantou” or “baozi” that requires dough. However, this is the area I’m terrible at: never successfully learned how to make dough. The closed thing I can get is most likely to be bagel. As a result, when thinking about what small appliance I’ll need in the kitchen, bread maker is the first thing came up on my mind: it will not be used to make bread very often, but to make dough.

Yogurt maker is the same reason. Though I love certain brand of yogurt, the preservative and sugar inside each jar always make me eat less often. With the new yogurt maker, I’m sure I’ll consume more dairy product! Yay for more calcium and stronger bones!