Sorebrek's Musings and Ramblings

In search of the holy grail of an MBA (class of 2008 hopeful), this space will hopefully chronicle the search and my other quixotic pursuits.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Organization Leadership is a Noble Pursuit a.k.a Stanford Slogan

Back from the Stanford GSB song and dance in San Fran. Happy to report that I was impressed and enthused to take Stanford seriously although it is currently at the bottom of my list owing to the stretch factor. Onward to the review:

  • The event was at the GAP offices on Folsom, right by the Embarcadero. Apparently GAP is teeming with GSB alumni. In fact couple of the alumni panelists were from GAP and if memory serves, three out of the five alumni panelists were from retail.
  • Well-appointed room with much-needed cookies and drinks. So that was good - Stanford punked Kellogg on that front. The room however was only slightly more than 75% full, not any different from any of the other school receptions I have attended. So here is my wisdom on attending events that hitherto appear to be filled to capacity on the website: just walk in.
  • The format was: general presentation (by adcomm), alumni panel discussion, admission presentation by adcomm and more panel discussion with the adcomm moderating.
  • I liked the fact that the adcomm (a very articulate GSB grad herself) right at the start mentioned that in fairness to other potential applicants who may not be able to attend these sessions, none of the material presented or discussed would be other than what is publicly available in the brochure or the website. The reason I liked this upfront statement was that it pains me to see the verbal contortions that other adcomms go through to basically achieve the same purpose. With that one statement, the whole event from that point on seemed honest and professional to me.
  • Nothing new as far as what Stanford is looking for and hoping to inculcate: leadership with social responsibility.
  • The panelists were closer in personality to Kellogg alumni than to the Harvard ones. Very down to earth in a Californian way and frequently throwing sideway glances at the adcomm for signs of disapproval at any of the statements they were making. It was a nice touch to have one of the current second-year students on the panel. I guess it also had to do with the school being in the vicinity. Some of them were downright funny and engaging; no oratorical fireworks here but a bunch of articulate and well-adjusted people.
  • The one common thread that all the panelists seem to echo was access to world-class thought leaders, be it Warren Buffett or the prof who slipped out after class to drop in on Mr. Rumsfeld to advise him on the vaccination strategy to protect the country against bio-terrorism attacks.
  • I wish there was someone from the tech sector on the panel. I know that several GSB grads are top-dogs at tech companies all over the Silicon Valley. I could see that a good chunk of the audience were techies schlepping laptops from work, donning company t-shirts.
  • I didn't stay back to chat with the alumni; had to get some food in my hot, bothered, lunch-deprived stomach. Besides, since the average alumni experience was lesser than a year or two, I wasn't quite sure I had a lot of career questions they could answer. So I dodged fire-engines and abusive cabbies to head to Shalimar - great cheap eats, a curry house with seedy yet lively Tenderloin ambience.

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