'To Dos' and 'I Dos'

Following the end of a busy year at MIT Sloan, a soon-to-be second-year MBA student finds time to get married

Where to start? First-years begin the Sloan Business School program with Orientation and end the program, nearly two years later, with its arch nemesis: Disorientation, a series of events hosted by the Sloan Student Senate. While the latter is seemingly still a long way off, I know how quickly the first year went so I expect nothing less from the next.

In between the proverbial beginning and end there's a lot of stuff to do: meet your core team, meet your cohort, meet second-years, meet your class, meet alums, meet recruiters, bid on classes, add classes, drop classes, go to classes, attend lunchtime presentations, stay awake at dinner presentations, wake up for breakfast presentations, résumé reviews, first-round interviews, first-round rejections, second-round interviews, send thank-you e-mails for interviews, sign off on student loans, manage a little bit of stress, and have a whole lot of fun.

All Buttoned Up

And I can't forget the biggest "to do" of all: sharing some "I dos." Come to think of it, I still can't believe she said "Yes." Twice, no less—during the initial proposal, en route down the first drop of the six-loop Great American Scream Machine roller coaster, and again on the altar on our big day in early June. While the official name change has begun, the chances are slim to nil that I'll call her by anything but her maiden name, Button. And so, Button and I returned from our honeymoon on a Sunday evening, landing in Philly just in time for me to drive to an apartment we've never been to before, unpack the bare essentials, grab a few hours of sleep, wake up in the morning with questionable MapQuest directions, and drive to the office for my first day on the job at Huff Asset Management, an institutional, high-yield manager in Morristown, N.J.

I'll argue that some of my most memorable times during my first year of B-school unfolded outside the classroom at social events. At Sloan, the usual suspects that offer great incentives to stay ahead of your schoolwork include Beacon Hill Pub on Wednesdays, C-functions on Thursdays (one equation you learn very quickly: the "C" stands for consumption = free beer), and pretty much anytime at 166 Auburn, alias the LevyDome. Of course, the touch of mischief that occurs in the classroom is equally amusing—try calling your buddy's phone, which is (and should be) on vibrate but nonetheless still grabs his attention while he's being cold-called by the professor. He's a sharp guy so I was sure he could handle the challenge and he cited it as "great interview preparation." We look out for each other.

Time for a Reality Check

There remains one regret that's technically not much of an actual regret but rather a request for more of an invaluable commodity: time. There's just not enough time to attend every presentation, join every club, play in every pick-up soccer or hockey or softball game, or simply grab coffee with every classmate.

Summer offers a certain reality check, not necessarily because we have to go back to work (although that didn't help) but because it reminds us that in just a short while our time together, in one city and on one campus, will be over. When I browse the customized Google (GOOG) Map a fellow classmate crafted, placemark icons span the globe, marking MIT Sloan's MBA Class of 2008 internship locations—from the Far East to Britain and Europe; the West Coast, East Coast, and everything in between in the U.S.; and a few in South America. I'd be willing to bet our full-time jobs will be as geographically diverse, if not more. I plan to stay in the Northeast, although I won't be so unyielding as to demand a particular city or state; job offers still seem too far and few between in the asset management industry. Reminiscing about last year's recruiting season, a handful of us were just a few rejections shy of telling the world we'd take just about anything.

Moving on to the Big Leagues

This past year seemed to squeeze so much into nine quick months, but I'd bet the farm that there will be more on our plates next year. We're running the school's clubs now, and instead of internships we're looking for full-time jobs. I'd speculate that first year is analogous to AAA baseball, and that we'll start next season in the majors!

Speaking of running the clubs, as co-president of Sloan's Investment Management Club I feel compelled to shamelessly plug our annual Investment Management Conference event, scheduled for Oct. 20, 2007 (we're in the process of updating our Web site). Legendary value investor Seth Klarman (20% annualized returns for 24 years with only one losing year) has been kind enough to accept our invite as one of two keynote speakers, with another to be announced. Stay tuned to the Web site and, if you're interested in the financial markets, feel free to join us on Oct. 20.

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