I made it through Week 0! I am officially 1/105 of my way through the GSB.
Week 0 is basically an orientation week, but the GSB has managed to include an entire course along with all the orientation stuff. Granted, the course is very easy and very short and only worth 1 credit (105 credits are required to graduate), but I’m still going to claim that I have now completed a class at the GSB and am 1/105 of my way to graduation!
The course is called Managing Groups and Teams and is very fuzzy. There’s a bit of reading on different aspects of teams and how to determine if a team is good or bad. The reading is almost interesting and very easy to get through. Then every day you spend 3.5 hours with your section running simulations and discussing stuff about teams. It’s not the most interesting class I’ve ever been in, but it does set the tone for all the team/group stuff that will happen over the coming two years and is a nice way to ease people into classroom participation.
Beyond that, the highlights of week 0 were getting to meet my section and some other smaller groups I’ve been placed in. First year MBAs are divided into 6 sections which are very creatively named sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. My section has 66 students and had a very solid first week of class. Whoever was in charge of dividing up the class so that every section has a similar mix of genders, ages, previous experience, undergrad institution, etc must have spent an unbelievable amount of time getting it right.
Each section is further divided into 4 (I think?) CAT groups. CAT stands for Critical Analytical Thinking and is one of the fall semester courses. Each CAT group has around 16 students and involves reading about something each week (professors get to pick what), writing something about the topic, and then discussing the topic. I’ll have to get back to you on the specifics after I’ve actually attended a class.
In addition, each section is divided into squads of 6 or 7 students who will do Leadership Labs together for the rest of the semester. Again, I’m not really sure what this is, so I’ll report back later.
It’s great to finally be able to begin getting to know the people I’ll be taking class with this semester (my section) as well as everyone else in my class. During Week 0 every time we weren’t in class or a session there were small groups gathered around the GSB talking about every topic you could imagine. There were also nightly group dinners where you could basically just hang out in one of the Schwab courtyards until you had a few people and then head out to dinner together. And of course, there were people in the Schwab East courtyard celebrating birthdays every night- when you have 400 people birthdays are an incredibly convenient excuse to have fun.
For those interested, when we weren’t in class or socializing, we spent week 0 in sessions such as: the Stanford Honor Code, financial aid, excel prep, math and stats overview, an intro to the Career Management Center, a couple of panels and Q&A sessions with students from the class of 2014, section lunches, a classroom values session, and a scavenger hunt. On top of that, many students were studying for placement exams that we had to take this week.
Hopefully next week isn’t as busy?!
Some other fun facts:
– there’s a member of the Class of 2014 who is 43
– there’s a member of the Class of 2015 who is 21
– the GSB has lockers and showers in the basement
– if you live in Schwab you can’t make noise in the courtyards after 11pm on weeknights and 1am on weekends
– a BUI (biking under the influence) is just as serious as a DUI
– most international students think that a keg stand is a stand that you place a keg on