Posted On:3/21/2005 4:01pm
Style: The Jits & Muay Thai
ANOTHER LOSER BULLSHIDOWNED!!!! :qleft7:
Posted On:3/22/2005 3:24am
Did anyone download the first page of Clark's "Student Diaries" entry? It needs to accompany the upcoming article for sure. Also, does the University of Iowa have a student paper? If so, the Stephen Clark affair would make a great expose feature for a student reporter (be sure to send them a downloaded image of Clark's Diaries entry).
Posted On:3/22/2005 6:27am
No more Steven Clark.
Posted On:3/22/2005 9:21am
Here ya go. I made sure I copied the page when I emailed the school.
Title: Instructor and Competitor, Mixed Martial Arts
Student Organization Leadership: President, Graduate Marketing Association (GMA)
1) Translating a Passion for Martial Arts to Business School
2) Moving to Small, Yet Cosmopolitan Iowa City
3) "Brush Up on Your Excel" and Other Important B-School Tips
4) Looking Toward the Next Semester
Translating a Passion for Martial Arts to Business School
Hello! I am honored to have this opportunity to maintain an online journal so that I can share my experiences with prospective students. It was just a few short months ago that I was sitting in front of my computer, surfing the Internet for information that would help me decide which MBA programs to apply to, or at least which ones to contact for additional information. Therefore, I will try my best to chronicle my experiences in a manner that I think you will find helpful during your B-School search.
I might as well start by telling you a little about myself. I was born and raised in the Appalachian mountains of Eastern Kentucky. I stayed in Kentucky for my undergraduate education at Transylvania University. I then attended Vanderbilt University School of Law, but did not complete the program because I realized that law school was not for me.
After giving up on law school, I decided to give myself some time to pursue my passion: martial arts. I have been involved in martial arts since I was 9 years old (that's 20 years for those of you who need to refresh your math for the GMAT, hehehe). In fact, I am one of only two non-Brazilian Gracie Jiujitsu black belts in the United States.
I started putting my skills to use by teaching martial arts, providing security services, and serving as a bodyguard. I eventually decided to go "all out," to really test my skills, so I started competing in jiujitsu and mixed martial arts tournaments. I am proud to say that I remain undefeated to this day. Unfortunately, some health problems forced me to stop competing. Thankfully, I had my teaching to feed my martial arts "craving." I also started working on other entrepreneurial outgrowths from my martial arts base. For instance, I started selling my fight team T-shirts ("Team FullBlown").
This lifestyle kept me satisfied for a while, but I quickly realized that my health problems were going to prevent me from developing my martial arts-related ventures to a level where I could feel financially secure over the long-term. Hence, I started doing a lot of soul searching to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
I realized that I really enjoyed the business and managerial aspects associated with my career endeavors and decided to dive into business literature to see whether I should pursue a career in that arena. I devoured anything business-related that I could get my hands on: OB, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Strategy, Economics, etc. No function or industry was off-limits.
I quickly realized that I had a passion for Finance and Economics (Strategy) and focused my individual studies in these areas. I read works by Benjamin Graham, Peter Lynch, N. Gregory Mankiw, Burton Malkiel, Michael Lewis, Michael Porter, Avinash K. Dixit, etc. I saw Finance as the intersection between Accounting and Economics, and Strategy as a guiding force flowing throughout the entire business world.
I was relieved to have discovered my calling, but worried because I knew that MBA programs emphasized the quality and quantity of each applicant's work experience. Obviously, mine was nontraditional. Nonetheless, I took the GMAT to see if I could be a competitive applicant in that regard.
Thankfully, I have always done well on standardized tests, and the GMAT was no exception. It was worth the time, effort, and money required to apply for admission. That being said, one of the first things you will learn in finance is the importance of reducing risk. One way to do this is to "hedge." I applied the hedging concept to my B-School application process by applying to a large number of schools.
Admissions officers either loved me or hated me. By that I mean that they either thought that I had no compelling reason to attend business school, or they admired my unique combination of attributes. Acceptance or rejection was almost entirely independent of "ranking." For instance, I was rejected by some "non-ranked schools," while I was accepted by one of the more prestigious Ivy League institutions.
Okay, I've rambled long enough. Let me explain to you how this Southern gentleman ended up in the great state of Iowa!
Almost all top B-schools provide students with the required skills and educational background needed to succeed in business. However, I refused to settle for just any MBA education because I wanted to have the best experience possible. Accordingly, I spent hours researching and analyzing the schools that admitted me to find the right one FOR ME! I can't emphasize that enough. You should find the school that is the best fit for you—the one that will provide you with the best educational experience and return on investment, given your own personal preferences.
Once I received all my decisions, I filtered out the schools that had accepted me but did not have all the following characteristics: 1) a small program; 2) a cooperative environment; 3) myriad leadership opportunities available to students; 4) a strong finance department (for the record, our finance department is ranked 7th in the world by "The Financial Times"); 5) students recruited by leading financial services firms; 6) a supportive alumni network; and 7) great return on investment (ROI). I was left with three potential programs: Georgia Tech (DuPree), Washington University (Olin), and The University of Iowa (Tippie).
I chose Iowa for several reasons: 1) Tippie offers an unbelievably great ROI, especially for out-of-state students who are awarded a GA and a Fellowship; 2) the people here are first-class all the way—everyone from the professors to the career services directors to the admission officers go out of their way to make you feel valued by the school; 3) the cost of living in Iowa City is less than half of what it is in Atlanta and St. Louis; 4) our Finance department is more highly renowned than the departments at DuPree and Olin; 5) Tippie is going places. Don't get me wrong, our school is very well respected already. However, there is a commitment to excellence here that I did not sense at the other schools; 6) the Tippie College of Business building is unbelievably nice. Trust me, you'll spend a lot of time in the business school wherever you pursue your MBA, so do not underestimate the importance of high quality and attractive facilities; and 7) the Iowa student body was much more diverse than WashU and GaTech's.
Having chosen Iowa I was a little concerned that the Midwestern lifestyle might not be for me. I could not have been more wrong. I did not think it was possible, but the wonderful people in Iowa are even more hospitable than the great residents of the Bluegrass state. If you are from the Southeast, do not immediately rule out Tippie, or other Midwestern schools, for that matter.
Well, I've rambled on long enough. Plus, Accounting homework is calling my name. Please check back often for my future submissions. In my next entry, I will discuss my move to Iowa and the Orientation experience (IMPACT Week).
In the meantime, please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about the Tippie program, or the MBA lifestyle, in general. Now get back to studying for the GMAT!
Moving to Small, Yet Cosmopolitan Iowa City
As promised, in this entry I will discuss my move to Iowa and the Orientation experience (IMPACT Week).
The move to Iowa:
I arrived in Iowa City two days before IMPACT (Involvement, Motivation, Professionalism, Achievement, Challenge, and Teamwork) began. I did not need a lot of time to get used to Iowa life because I was from a small town, and I had visited Davenport (about an hour East of Iowa City) several times to train with the Miletich Fighting Systems team.
Iowa City is an outstanding place to live, especially for a college student. First, it is very inexpensive. For instance, housing is about 40% cheaper here than it is in Nashville, TN. Second, there is no resentment towards students expressed by the "townies." Trust me, this can be a problem. I have had friends who attended Dartmouth (Tuck) and Duke (Fuqua) tell me that local residents were not so welcoming. Third, even though the city is relatively small, it has a cosmopolitan feel. I think this is due in large part to the number of international students at the University of Iowa. Fourth, traffic is pretty much non-existent. Fifth, the area is quite happening. There are numerous bar and eatery options within walking distance of the Pappajohn Business Building. Sixth, the campus and the surrounding area are very safe. In conclusion, do not let the fact that we are not located in a "hot spot" dissuade you from considering the Tippie program.
IMPACT began on August 17. I must say that I was little nervous heading into the first meeting. I had been out of school for awhile and had gotten kind of set in my ways. Plus, anytime that you throw 70 strangers (not including the faculty and staff members in attendance) into a room and tell them to get to know one another ASAP, stress levels tend to rise. I felt like I was a fresh person again.
IMPACT serves the purpose of orienting students to the campus and facilitating the "get-to-know-you" process. It eases students from their former lives into the world of business school. In the process, it gives students a week to get to know one another before the rigors and stresses of classes limit their ability to socialize. Like most other top business schools, Iowa emphasizes teamwork. For instance, all but one of our first semester courses (Managerial Finance) involves cases, homework assignments, and other projects that are completed within teams.
Before Orientation officially began, we gathered in the Galleria for an informal reception, where we had the chance to get to know and meet those who would be our peers for the next two years. Quite frankly, I had not been sure what to expect. Let's just say that I was pleased with what I encountered.
Our class is very diverse. Students are bright, talented, and highly motivated. Almost all professional and academic backgrounds are represented. Plus, given my liberal arts background, I was relieved to discover that a large number of my fellow classmates were non-business majors. The vibrant mix of talent and diversity within and across teams is impressive.
IMPACT week began with simple team-based activities. It is amazing how well you can get to know your team in such a short time. The week continued with a lot of fun activities, such as an Outward Bound-type excursion (outdoor group activities, including obstacle courses, much like those you see on MTV's "Road Rules"), and ended with a case presentation by each group. This year our case involved the SkyBox by Maytag. The case presentation was a wonderful learning experience. We presented our case analysis to Maytag managers who were involved in the actual launch of the Skybox. After our presentation, we received feedback on the content and style of our presentation. It was a great way to get groups to "pull together" right away.
Our classes started on August 23. By that time, I had made some friends, and I had already achieved a level of comfort with my group. I was excited to be back in school, but a little nervous at the same time because the march toward midterms had begun. In my next entry, I will let you know how things turned out with midterms, so check back to see how I did!
As I stated in my introductory journal entry, I welcome e-mails if you have any questions about the Tippie program or the MBA lifestyle, in general. I hope to hear from you soon. Best wishes with the MBA application process.
"Brush Up on Your Excel" and Other Important B-School Tips
Welcome back. I am glad that you are still considering Tippie. In this entry, I will describe my experiences between IMPACT and midterms.
All courses during the first-semester are required (however, unlike most other top business schools, Tippie, allows students to select 3 electives during the Spring semester). These courses include 5 semester-long courses, and 2 half-semester courses. The semester-long courses are Corporate Financial Reporting, Managerial Accounting, Data and Decisions, Marketing Management and MBA Competitive Preparation. The half- semester courses are Managerial Economics and Seminar in Strategic Management.
We meet for each class twice per week for a total of 3 classes per day on Monday through Thursday. No, that is not a typo; we do not have any classes on Fridays. This is a great policy because we are able to use Fridays to attend review sessions, participate in group meetings, and, whenever possible, sleep in!
Our professors are superb. Experts in their field, they have extensive research requirements outside of the classroom, yet they make time for us whenever we need help. There truly is an open-door policy here, and, after spending time at Vanderbilt Law School, it is a welcome relief. I do not know of one case of a student seeking extra help outside of class and not receiving it. Plus, several of our professors hold optional weekly review sessions. I guarantee that if you visit Tippie and sit in on a class, you won't be disappointed.
Tippie is known as a Finance school. While this reputation is justified (our program was ranked 7th in the world by "The Financial Times"), I feel that it sometimes detracts from our other departments. I believe that our program is strong across the board. Our Marketing department, in particular, is underrated.
The pace is brisk. I had heard rumors that the Tippie MBA program had one of the ten most extensive workloads in the country. After comparing my experiences with those of friends at other top schools, I can say that there is probably a great deal of truth to this rumor. During IMPACT, one of our professors told us that we could expect to put in at least 20-25 hours per week outside of class time. Most of us felt that this was an exaggeration designed to scare us into not slacking off. However, we quickly learned that, if anything, the professor's estimate was modest. Students from non-business or non-quantitative backgrounds are working especially hard. I know this because I am one of those students.
In this regard, let me digress for a moment to give you some advice that will serve you well whether you decide to attend Tippie or a different MBA program. First, start using Excel right now. Seriously, when you get done reading my journal entry, go get started on Excel. It is that important. Second, make sure that your math skills are not rusty. Read anything you can get your hands on about Probability, Statistics, Calculus, intermediate algebra, etc. More importantly, practice problems; reading is not enough. Third, purchase a good financial calculator and learn how to use it before you get to business school. Finally, make sure that your time management and multi-tasking skills are in order. If they are not, then you may get overwhelmed by the pace of B-school life.
I do not mean to scare you. To the contrary, I am trying to prepare you so that you will know what to expect. I definitely underestimated the workload, and I do not want you to make that same mistake. Anecdotes are common about how difficult and time consuming law school is, but you rarely hear these same comments about B-school. Thankfully, I am in a position to give you a candid assessment about the relative difficulties and workloads of the two programs. That is why I am belaboring this point. I can assure you that, at least for students from non-business and non-quantitative backgrounds, B-school is every bit as challenging as law school.
Our class is very strong on leadership. One thing you will hear from MBA recruiters is that the primary reason they recruit MBAs over undergraduate business majors is because they expect more leadership from MBA graduates. Therefore, I think the future of our program is strong in this capacity. If there is a weakness amongst my peers at Iowa, I would have to say it is in presentation skills. While those students from a sales and marketing background tend to do well in this area, others struggle to some extent. The lesson to take away here is that you will be expected to do a lot of public speaking in B-school, so you might as well get used to it.
The Tippie administration is first-class all the way. From Admissions to Student Services to Career Services, you will not find a weak link in the chain. It is amazing what you can get done here if you just demonstrate a little initiative. For instance, the Class of 2004 made two major complaints to the administration: (1) the week before midterms was loaded with too many assignments, and (2) there were too few writing assignments in the curriculum. The administration responded to these concerns, and we definitely benefited from the changes. Now there are writing assignments in every class, ranging from case write-ups to market forecasting reports. Moreover, the professors eased up on us slightly prior to midterms.
Let me give you another example. Our class decided that it would be helpful to have a first-year networking database. With the generous support of Career Services, we had this database completed and online within a matter of weeks. I can assure you that your imagination is the only limit to what you can accomplish here.
Midterms were difficult. I did not do nearly as well as I had hoped, but I am still in striking range of my desired GPA. I try to take solace in the fact that my learning curve was especially steep, given my liberal arts background and time away from school. If I step back and focus on how much I have learned instead of what grades I will get, then I see how valuable B-school has been for me.
I do not want to come across as negative, though. There were a number of positives. It was refreshing to take exams in an environment where cooperation, rather than competition, was the norm. The cut-throat, "zero sum game" tactics that pervade other programs simply do not exist here. Plus, the "boot camp" mentality put us into survival mode. This served to bring us closer together as a group.
The first ten weeks at Tippie have been amazing. I have acquired an entire new set of friends, skills, experiences, and future prospects. On every count, I am glad that I came to Iowa. I hope that you decide to join me here in 2005!
Looking Toward the Next Semester
One quarter of the way through the Iowa MBA, I don't have much in the way of constructive criticism. Tippie has been so successful because students, faculty, and administration have formed a pretty cooperative partnership, and through that partnership a strong, supportive community. The professors are open and accessible, encouraging us to e-mail, call, or drop by anytime we have questions, and my classmates have continued to amaze me with their ability to pile more and more onto their plates, whether it be event organizing, fundraising, taking ownership of club activities, or competing in (and winning!) case competitions.
Like at most programs, final exams were the benchmark event of the semester. First, the workload in the second half of the first semester was very substantial, and it had the effect of intensifying the atmosphere surrounding the exams. Second, the two weeks leading up to finals were crammed with assignments. These assignments limited my opportunities to sit down and study for extended periods of time in a focused manner. Third, I was elected president of the Graduate Marketing Association (GMA) by my peers, and I spent a lot of time learning my duties and making plans for the organization. Finally, everyone was so drained from the work required during the first semester that we did not have the same level of energy to devote to our studies that we did at the beginning of the semester.
Thankfully, I expect next semester to be easier than the last one. Tippie only has two required classes during the second semester. Hence, I can take three marketing electives, which I find more interesting than some of the required courses taken during the first semester. However, I do have to intensify my internship search efforts, and fulfill my duties as GMA president. Therefore, there will be no slacking off on my end.
I am glad that you are still checking out my journal entries. I hope that you had a great holiday season, and I wish you a safe, happy and prosperous 2005. Please e-mail me if you have any questions!
Posted On:3/22/2005 9:23am
Style: Shi Ja Quan
Capt Kirk is from Iowa, he just may have to bitch slap them asswipes !
Badness will not be rewarded
Posted On:3/22/2005 9:59am
Screw that. Hammerfist to the back of the neck is MUCH more Kirk style.
Posted On:3/22/2005 10:12am
Here's Google's cache of the page: http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache...rk.html+&hl=en
I also tried to attach a .zip of the cached page so it can live on long after it's flushed out of Google, but I can't see the attach option so I guess I'm not cool enough to have attachment privileges.
Posted On:3/23/2005 2:04pm
Nice to know that we've got the text of Clark's Diaries entry on the thread as well as the cached Google link; too bad the picture wasn't on the link, though. The night before Clark's entry was removed, I printed a triplicate of the first page of the entry; it's got his picture on it, and it terminates just after his undefeated record statement. I don't have a scanner, but if anyone out there does and wants to scan and post the page, let me know and I'll snail mail the printout.
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