Summer Travels

Whooops….I meant to stay a bit more on top of the blog. Somehow classes haven’t even started and I’m already too busy. Today will be pretty short and then I’ll do a bit more over the weekend when I have some more time.

So, jumping back in time about three weeks, at the end of August I headed down to Colombia (the country; the school is spelled with a “u”) with 250 future classmates and SOs. The breakdown was about 40 SOs and 210 MBA1s. More than half of the class.

The trip was both absurd and amazing. The general plan every day was wakeup, rush to breakfast right before it closed, hang out with a random group of half a dozen people (either walking around a city, hanging out on a beach, or making our way through buses/airports depending on the day), head to a big dinner with the whole group, and then clubbing/dancing for the better part of the night. I met about 50 people a day (and promptly forgot everything about half of them, and at least the names of another dozen). But by the end of the week it seemed like I had known some of my classmates for years instead of just days.

I know that was the worst description of an event ever written. I’m definitely not doing the trip justice (especially my new classmates who organized the entire thing so that 250 people from all over the globe managed to traipse around Colombia for a week with no major hiccups). Let me put it this way: it was completely worth it. I got to know a couple dozen classmates very well, and a couple dozen more sort-of-well. Now that I’m on campus I realize just how nice it is to already know some people and not be the new person in every single situation. It’s a huge head start on the social side of business school (which is especially valuable since b-school is about the network as much as it is about the academics).

At the end of the week in Colombia, I headed off on another trip. This was one of the smaller and much more official Pre-Mix trips organized by the school. For me, it was much better than the Colombia trip. The small group allowed me to get to know everyone pretty well and it meant that I kept talking to the same people, instead of having one conversation and then not seeing that person for the rest of the trip. The daily activities were a bit silly and it was really the hangout time at meals and at night that I enjoyed the most.

Okay, clearly the creative juices are not flowing today. Let me just sum up by saying that I am incredibly glad that I did the trips. If I could do it again I probably would try to substitute something else for the Colombia trip. I loved the experience, but I have learned that I prefer a less club/alcohol-based trip with fewer people. Since it’s too late for that, all I can say at this point is “work hard, play hard.”

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About backinthebay2015

Stanford GSB class of 2015
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7 Responses to Summer Travels

  1. Ankur says:

    Nice to see that many international students made it to the trip. If i was given an option, I would rather stay away. We have 2 whole years to meet people and connect with them. Travelling across the globe just to hang out with future class mates for a week is just not worth the money. But for the US students, I wouldn’t say the same. It was probably easier,cheaper, less hectic & probably more comfortable.

    • Hey Ankur, the expense and hassle of an international trip are certainly annoying, but at the same time it’s great to show up on campus and already know/recognize a bunch of people. As for pics, I’m not going to be posting things about classmates (including pictures) without their explicit permission, so there probably won’t be much in the way of photos happening on the blog. Sorry!
      : )

  2. Ankur says:

    PS: you should probably share pictures of the trips. I am sure it must be all over your “personal” facebook group with access only to classmates. This will give some more idea to GSB applicants on how the pre-mix groups/tours work.

  3. Andrea says:

    was the colombia trip organized by new admits? is that typical for every year?

    • Hi Andrea,

      This year is was organized by admits. The student who was in charge almost attended the GSB last year but decided to defer for a year. As a result of this she knew a lot about the trip and started talking to some of last year’s organizers and ended up running the whole thing. A handful of other students also helped plan. To the best of my knowledge they all volunteered to help pretty early in the process because it was something they were interested in. I’m not sure how the process has worked in previous years but it all seemed pretty informal; if you wanted to help plan you got to help plan and if you didn’t want to help plan then you didn’t have to. My guess is that this is pretty typical.

      : )

  4. Michael Sampson-Akpuru says:

    What was the typical cost for this trip?

    • Good question. The (annoying) answer is that it can vary a lot. Most of the trips could be broken down into (1) airfare and (2) the cost of the actual trip.

      Airfare will depend on where you are coming from. If you’re doing two (or more) trips, or if you’re doing a trip on your way from wherever you were over the summer to the GSB then it makes the airfare a little less then if you are doing a roundtrip airfare from wherever you live. Last summer there was a Euro Trip and Yacht Week, so people doing both only had one airfare. Similarly, Peru, Colombia, and Panama/Mexico trips were all back-to-back so if you did 2 or 3 of those the per-trip airfare was a lot less. To keep the cost down, check airfare before committing to trips, try to coordinate destinations so that you only pay for one long-haul ticket, and book early.

      Actual trip costs also varied a lot. The Pre-mixes had fixed costs that I think were about $1,500 – $2,500 depending on the trip. Colombia had a range of hotel options/travel options, so you could do it for under $1,000 or well over $2,500 depending on the level of comfort you were looking for. The Euro Trip was the cheapest and also had options to aim for less expensive lodging and meals. Yacht week and Peru were more or less fixed costs.

      Overall, I would guestimate airfare + $1,000 to $2,000 per trip.

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