My first week of classes is over! My pre-term, with CIM and a course on Leadership in Organizations ended with a final examination of the course, and of course, lots of parties.
We recently had the 'CIM Ball,' a prom style party to celebrate the dn of CIM. It was hosted at the Navy Pier Ballroom in Chicago. It was very well put together, with great music, lots of drinks and food, and plenty of place to sit, stand or dance.
There is no doubt Kellogg throws some awesome parties. It is reputed to be a party school, and it is. Not in the sense that people do not take academics seriously, but in the sense that parties and socializing and drinking are such a big part of the culture. Many of my peers have actually complained about it; why should this socializing be limited to only drinking and going out, which are often not very conducive to conversations. I agree; I participate in the Thursday morning 8 AM coffee sessions which one of my classmates started, and hope to have a lot of small dinners where I can build stronger friendships with my peers.
Another amazing thing about Kellogg is the Honor Code. People trust each other. I assume that my peers will not cheat. For example, we might have a closed book, 3 hour time limit final exam that the professor will give us to take home and do at our convenience in a 3 hour period. The exam would account for 40% of the grade in the class, yet there would be no monitoring for the students. This related directly to one of the most importance principles of Leadership we learned - voice and choice inspire people.
One of the things that our Dean mentioned at the start of CIM was to lead with your weakness. Do things at Kellogg that you would typically not do, and use the safety net the school provides to step outside of your comfort zone. I did that the first week, by standing for election for a representative of my section to the Kellogg Students Association. The process of campaigning, asking my peers for ideas, generating thoughts myself and asking people to vote for me was awesome. Ultimately I did not win. An awesome peer of mine did. But the experience was great. And i made several friendships - both by meeting new people and strengthening ties with people I already new, by finding common areas of interest. I am very glad I did it.
The courses I am taking this semester are Accounting For Decision Making, Marketing Management, Business Strategy and Analytical Methods for Operations. The classes are all over the map; from being very quantitative to being very entertaining. I do feel that international students sometime have a disadvantage. I do not include myself in this category, as i have lived in the US for over seven years. I mostly refer to people who just came to the US for the first time, and for whom English is not the first language. Some cases are confusing; for example in the first Strategy class, we did a mini-case on Baseball, a sport most of the world is not familiar with. Often, I have found some of my international friends struggling with some jokes cracked in class. For example, we were studying a case where a manufacturer of nylon cords was trying to diversify, and was launching an initiative to manufacture pet leashes. It was his pet project; get it?