The GSB is a place where you can not always do everything. One has to prioritize.
Post Graduation Goals:
Entrepreneurship solving efficiency problems for small and medium businesses in India
Favorite GSB Memory So Far:
Introducing one of my best buddies for his TALK and roasting him in front of 200 classmates
It’s a beautiful sunny morning. I optimized my quarter for a late start to the day. I have three classes later but for now I need to head for my swimming class to learn how not to drown. I’ll bicycle to swimming class after having a cup of freshly made chai (Indian milk tea).
I remember trying to learn to swim in India. I would be one of 50 people in the pool at the same time. It wasn’t learning swimming anymore; it was more about not running into someone else. Here the pool is heated, twice as big, and there are only 10 students. I can even get academic credit.
Today the GSB hosted Indra Nooyi, President and CEO of Pepsi, and Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, in a View from The Top speaker series. They discussed topics ranging from the value of design to managing an organization in the face of change. It was a very insightful talk.
In Corporate Finance class, we discussed the MGM casino case. It's a finance class and I thought it would all be about numbers, but today our professor talked about his own casino days and the day when his friend won big but lost bigger.
Macroeconomics. Today we had a guest lecturer, Kevin Marsh, who used to be right-hand to former US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. He gave his frank views about how the economy works and how they handled the great recession of 2008.
Today’s Strategy Beyond Markets class was taught by the former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The case was on the Dubai Ports controversy, where there was huge public uproar over a Dubai company seeking rights over a few ports in the US shortly after September 2001. She talked about how various stakeholders act in different situations and the consequences of the actions by the various parties.
Hitting the gym! I like to work out with a classmate buddy. I met Fabian here too. He is an ex-tank commander from the Israeli Army and his workout routine made me feel embarrassed about my own. I plan to get in shape before the summer internship.
Super Round registration is now open. We can submit a list of our top priority courses and we will be assigned two of these based on a random lottery. There are some amazing courses here. If I don’t request them in Super Round I won't be able to take them. Start-up Market Alignment and Managing Growing Enterprises are two of them that I plan to Super Round.
Need to study for Macroeconomics exam tomorrow. I haven’t been up to speed and this exam for a change is closed-book. Exams here are often take-home and open-book. (Yes, you read that right).
Off to bed. I need to get up early to complete the remaining portion of the material for the exam. It's been a fruitful day.
It’s a beautiful day again as it almost always is. I made my morning chai and caught up on news and read the case on ‘Big Cola’ for Operations class. A fascinating read.
Operations class. Professor Jin Whang is such a bundle of energy. This class is one of my favorite classes of my first year at the GSB. We read interesting cases on how many successful companies create opportunities and competitive advantages out of obstacles. Ignorant “me” always thought it was just a duopoly and a war between two cola companies. Never did I know that there was a not so insignificant third competitor which has around 20% market share in the cola industry in many Latin American markets.
We had an one-hour AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on South Africa with Monde, a classmate. Here he shared
with us his take on his home country and answered our questions. His absolute clarity about everything that we asked just floored me. We discussed topics from colonialism to freedom, Gandhi to Mandela, business to culture. These informal chats remind you of how little one knows and how much more the world has to offer.
Catching up with my amazing classmate Kelsey Krenz. We chatted about life before the GSB, internship hunting, whether we have escaped the rat race or have just jumped into a new one, our future ambitions, finding our passion, etc. In the pic is Kelsey and me with Ankit photobombing.
It's a marathon Advertising and Monetization class again. My brain is doing double duty now – it's trying to absorb all it can in class and is also getting excited about the weekend. It's been a busy week. It's actually been a busy quarter. It's been a busy year too!
It's time again to make tough choices. The GSB is a place where you can not always do everything. One has to prioritize. Now the choice is between attending the weekly Friday evening socializing with friends or hitting the gym. Finally I decide to hit the gym.
It's our section reunion tonight. In the first quarter, all first-year MBA students are divided into 6 sections. Each MBA1 takes all the core first quarter classes with their section, but by now I haven't seen them in a long time. Yes, we are on the same campus and most of us live in the same dorms but it can still be difficult to catch up with people for weeks at a stretch. It was nice catching up with the people with whom I began my GSB journey.
Friday the 13th hasn't been bad at all. This year a couple of friends and I decided to co-found the GSB Business in India club. The GSB had approved the creation of the club and we were awaiting approval from the university. We received the approval today. Woohoo! Now I'm catching up with the team to decide the next steps.
Tired and off to sleep. Yes, that’s right. It’s Friday evening and I’m not heading to a party. I haven’t yet recovered from my trip to Hawaii last week.
It’s Saturday, a beautiful day and time to chat with my beautiful wife on Skype. She is back in India and will join me during my second year at the GSB. The busy weekday schedule makes it difficult to speak at length. I made chai and breakfast and now I'm ready to catch up on all the things we did over the week.
Business idea discussion and lunch with my future partner Yash Agrawal. It’s a brainstorming session to identify customer needs and what current solutions lack. I’m really excited by our ideas and hopefully we will be able to make something out of it. We also discussed how we should prepare for the upcoming Startup Garage application. Startup Garage is a two-quarter course on identifying the customer need, building a business model to solve the need, and possibly launching one’s own startup. In the pic, he doesn’t look too excited by my suggestions.
Met up with my Strategy Beyond Markets assignment team to discuss the upcoming assignment. We are composing a memo recommending actions for a company in Kenya which is facing a changing regulatory environment which renders the business model unviable.
Cricket time. For some, it’s a game played among commonwealth countries and looks similar to baseball. For others, it's life. I play with a bunch of classmates from India, Pakistan and Australia. Loads of fun.
While I'm tired after a 2-hour session of cricket, somehow I have energy left to work out. I enjoyed the work out and felt good about myself afterwards.
It’s Bollywood night with 30 desi MBA students under one roof dancing to groovy Bollywood music. We all had an amazing time.
Off to bed. My body cannot take anymore. What a week it has been! The GSB just keeps getting better.
Aryan Kenchin, Stanford Graduate Student
STORY AND PHOTO COURTESY OF STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS MBA A WEEK IN THE LIFE