Tuesday, September 16, 2008

“Brevity is the soul of wit.”

This famous Shakespearean line was delivered excellently by one of the Langone Program Directors on Day 1 of Langone’s Pre-Term Orientation. His pithy presentation allowed him to leave early in order to attend his son’s ball game. When I looked up the origins of the phrase on the never-failing Wikipedia, I found out that Shakespeare’s character, Lord Polonius, actually uttered the phrase while droning on endlessly and erroneously priding himself on being concise and witty. Admittedly, I have the same problem!

Wit is cool. One-liners are the best. Name one person who didn’t laugh during Dean Cooley’s Welcome Speech when he said of those who are bearing the fruits of their irresponsibility in the current financial crisis: “When the water drains out, you find out who was swimming naked!” Maybe it was just the shock value of the Dean saying naked – but hopefully we laughed because we truly appreciated the analogy. The Dean went on to discuss the awesome responsibility we have in being ethical in financial professions, the socially transformative power of business, and other topics that greatly inspired me. But at the end of his speech, I still could not forget that line. I wonder what that says about me? Am I the typical product of the sound byte generation, or just a lover of wit?

The Dean also scolded politicians who would rather talk about “Bridges to Nowhere” than face the true challenges of our time. But, after all, isn’t “Bridge to Nowhere” a great sound byte?

Someone else’s wit also awed me during my Core Group ice-breaking session on Day 1, when I gathered with members of my industry to discuss our outlook for the year. A team-member, as a true consultant only could, took the first few moments of our discussion time to construct this beauty, and I paraphrase:

If any of you other industry groups out there want to know your annual outlook, please hire us to analyze it, and we’ll tell you – all with killer PowerPoint slides and, of course, for large sums of money. If you do that, then the Consulting Industry’s outlook will definitely be good.

We all pretty much agreed that his remarks were right on the money. He was wittier than we were in that instance, and it was a great idea.

The situation completely changed, however, during Day 2 of Orientation, when our study groups (totaling five people each) were forced to merge with other groups advocating different Stern global branding ideas. With fifteen people in each group, and three fighting ideas per group, it was a lot more difficult for “clarity” and “wit” to emerge – and a lot easier for “chaos” and “argument” to ensue. In one of the enlarged groups, one previously smaller group successfully won over the two others with their brilliant idea. That did not happen in my group. We fought over our ideas to the bitter end and came to a forced resolution during the final moments of our discussion time. Then, amazingly, the presentation itself went flawlessly. I wouldn’t say we were witty, but our presenters discussed our ideas very coherently and thoroughly, and we won the challenge!

How did this happen? Hindsight is 20/20, and with Professor Irv Schenkler’s help, I realized some of the forces at play during our heated discussion. Among the fifteen of us, we embodied all of the behaviors and functions of a successful team. Yes, we did have people coming up with ideas. Yes, we did have people making decisions – shooting down ideas that they disagreed with, often with passionate rhetoric. We had mediators who tried to keep the team on track, and we had the “fierce urgency of time” from our “punctual deadline-oriented culture,” As Professor Schenkler pointed out, that forced us to actually come up with an end product in the last few minutes. Was our presentation the wittiest and liveliest? No, that honor went to the other team with the brilliant idea. But ours was well discussed and we covered all our bases. The judges said that our idea was “highly feasible” – they would not have said that if they heard what we came up with at the beginning of our discussion!

I learned a lot during Pre-Term. I learned that I am not as funny or as witty as most people on this campus! Wow, that guy in my Core Group really got me guffawing when he said that he only has to celebrate his wedding anniversary every four years because he got married on February 29th! My interesting fact about myself was that I read “The Alchemist” recently in my eagerness to follow my dreams in business school…cheesy, and decidedly unfunny. I may not get wittier unless I take “The Performing Manager” class later as an elective, but I’m sure my Leadership in Organizations class, among other classes that deal with team dynamics, will help me derive further insight into that still-elusive “something” that enables a business team to succeed.

Good luck to other Langone students and you full-timers as well. It’s going to be an exciting next couple of years.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I passed the Quant Skills Assessment with a 91 out of 100. I only needed an 80 to pass. This actually wasn't that easy for me...a bunch of people said that it was really easy, but I had to rely on cramming a bit to remember stuff about natural logs and exponents (I know, sad). I still am not super at using the Chain Rule in Calculus...I'm slow, but at least I can do it. I hope business school math isn't too hard!

Monday, August 4, 2008


They finally let me in, confirmed my registration for classes! All i had to do was re-fax them the two forms that I probably mistakenly faxed to the wrong number earlier.

I am almost done with my studying for the Quantitative Skills Assessment. The only thing I have left to study now is Single-Variable Calculus. I'm not too excited about my Accounting class, but I am *very* excited about my Leadership in Organizations class. A lot of times, I find myself thinking that I would be a very effective leader, and other times I am just a regular good team player. Oftentimes, I am frustrated that I cannot demonstrate more leadership skills on the job because it is so hierarchical and I basically do what I'm told. I guess this class will help me in that area, and if I ever get the chance to actually be a manager, to at least have a framework to work from - to work towards excellence.

Monday, July 21, 2008


They apparently never received my deposit, but I sent it in way before the deadline! I called last week to verify that they received it, but they couldn't even do that because apparently there was a backlog of entering things into the system. The guy said they "probably received" my deposit. Great. This is not a good sign. Maybe I am biased against East Coast schools. The West Coast, despite being more laidback, seems to have its shit together compared to the messed up East Coast.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quant Schmant

I am now one half done with my Quant Skills Basic Assessment studyinig. All I have left now are Logarithms, Exponents, and basic Calculus. I might be overkilling by studying so much prior to taking the test, but then hopefully that's balanced out by the fact that I'll only have to take the test once instead of twice or even three times! And, God forbid...I fail it three times and actually have to take the remedial tutoring package...

I figured I'd call this blog "Blue/LanGoneCrazy" because my school color from undergrad is Blue, and Lan is Blue in Chinese. Gone Crazy is self-explanatory...I'm inflicting full-time work + part-time school + relationship on myself.

I'm listening to Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away". Damn, that woman sure is inspirational! I hope to have the success she has in her little pinky in a couple of years. I can definitely see why they call it an "Anthem" song that everyone can just jam to in their cars. I jammed to it when I heard it on the radio the other day, and after downloading it I've played it like 30 times!

"Well if you don't have the answer, Why you still standing here? Hey, hey hey!! JUST WALK AWAY"

It's fun to sing but I guess it's easier belted out than done. When you're in a relationship there's a lot of icky muck, but there's also a bunch of feelings tying you down and preventing you from otherwise leaving. I've invested 2 years of time and effort and feelings into this relationship, and I'm not going to let it just go down the tubes. When I move back to NYC, we're going to go to counseling and try to make things work before calling it quits.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Got in!

I got into Langone Fall '08 and will be attending the Saturday program in Washington Square.

My Stats:

Ethnicity: Asian-American
Gender: Female
Age: 25
Interests: Global Business and potentially Marketing and/or Entrepreneurship
GMAT: 720/800, 45/60 Verbal, 44/60 Quant, 6.0/6.0 Analytical Writing Assessment
Undergrad GPA: 3.22/4.00
Undergrad Majors: Political Science and Economics

I'm so excited. It'll be great to be back in the City. I just looked up some fun activities, and it looks like the NY Water Taxi has a 90 minute cruise/tour of the New York Waterfalls exhibit that will be on display until mid-October.

Business School is scary to me because I am extremely good at all things verbal, but I am somewhat lacking on the quants skills. I got a 6.0 on the GMAT's Analytical Writing Assessment, but only scored a 76th percentile on the Math section. I have studied approximately 1/3rd of the Quant Skills Assessment, and I will dilligently study the other 2/3rds until I take the thing and pass it the first time around!