A Berkeley Moment

Several protesters are holding up in the oaks outside Memorial Stadium (across from Haas), hoping to prevent UC Berkeley from removing several oaks for a new athletic facility and parking lot. A fellow student was overheard saying “Dude… I’ve finally had my Berkeley moment.” I do hope there’s a way to have it all.

On a lighter note, my Marketing Plan and Corp Fi final are off my plate. On to the next set of projects. Not too fast, though… I have a HaasWeek celebratory dinner tomorrow night and the MBAA Holiday Party on Saturday.

I was a bit hesitant signing up for Corporate Finance. It seemed beyond my scope, seeing how the Coast Guard doesn’t regularly issue debt or equity, but I figured it would be good to learn. Boy was I right, but who knew valuing debt for an unconstrained firm (amortization table people!), cranking out a European call option by hand with the Black-Scholes formula, or discussing violations of Modigliani-Miller assumptions would be so interesting? (Or that I’d be blogging about it?)

I’m not surprised, however, that someone did a Marketing Plan on Playboy (and submitted it all wrapped in plastic). Bet the research was tough on that one.

Oh, did I mention GOLD won the Big Games? Just checking.

—Colin C.


Too… much… going… on….

It’s my fault, don’t get me wrong. I tried to do too much this semester, especially as of late when I realized that I wasn’t participating in many social activities this semester. One TNAG, one Consumption Function, one HaasWeek event, one Football game, one tailgate & after party. So sad.

At the start of the semester we in Corporate Finance asked to move the exam up to December 7th so we could start our break earlier. We all figured we’d have plenty of time to study and complete our other projects. Boy was I wrong. I’m still cranking out my Brand Management Plan and have yet to review Corporate Finance for the final tomorrow, never mind the other assignments due next week.

Had I not taken half a day out of Saturday to attend the alumni tailgate and Big Game, I would have been done. I didn’t even hang for the crazy after-parties. But you need to balance the academics with some social. Folks always seem to remind me that I don’t attend many social events (see my photo on page 4 of the last issue of Haasweek). There’s a lot going on between academics, social, career, and life… and it requires balance.

I guess that’s one of the key lessons you learn at Haas. It isn’t all about work… you need to take time out for yourself. Work-life balance, I think they call it.

In the meanwhile, today (and the early morning hours of tomorrow) will be a busy day.

—Colin C.


The transition is underway. Elections are on-going, bidding for classes has begun, successors are being chosen for clubs. First years are eager to be the big guns on campus and drill down the internships; second years are looking at jobs, snow, and our last classes.

Academically, I’m now starting to focus on my final projects. For New Product Development, I’m designing Project Runway design challenges with Meghna (post below) based on course lessons and conducting a post-mortem on a company started by a fellow classmate; developing a marketing plan for Audi in my Brand Management class; preparing for a Corporate Finance final involving bond covenants, taxes, and asymmetric information; and focusing on an unknown Service Strategy case for the final, having just completed my American Express Interactive case presentation last night. (Hence the delay in blog.)

Socially, I’m looking forward to snow in Tahoe, winter parties, winter break and more time in my schedule next year.

Right now, I’ve got to focus on homework due later today.

—Colin C.


It’s mid-term time for second years, and finals for first years.

The BofA forum this morning was absolutely empty; the usual buzz of first year study groups conspicuously absent once the undergrads departed for class. Once I turned off the volume of the ever-present CNN plasma, there was absolute silence as well. The first years finish up finals and focus on career this week (as noted below).

For second years, this is a busy week as well. Mid-terms are next week, so this week is prep and project completion. Brand Management brand audit is due on the 24th; finish Corporate Finance problem sets and sample mid-term in preparation for the real mid-term on the 24th and complete a case due the 19th; Service Strategy take-home mid-term case given tonight and due on, yup, the 24th; and incremental individual assignments in New Product Development due on various days.

To top it off, I’m headed to yet another wedding in Santa Barbara this weekend (is it number 4 or 6 this semester? I’ve lost track), so my weekend is shot.

It’s at times like this when I’m glad I’m a sponsored student and don’t have to worry about the career hunt. I have more time for class work.

On the flip-side, countless companies are again on campus and interviews are in full-swing. For some, the summer test-drive (a.k.a. internship) was successful and yielded a job offer. For others, it was successful by showing the absence of person-job/career path/company/culture fit; these lucky ones get a second shot. To have that opportunity… Hopefully when I retire from the Coast Guard they’ll hook me up with a job.

As for now, I better get to work. There’s a lot to do.

—Colin C.

Tough Tuesdays

I treat almost every day as a work day. Almost, because during Spring B last year, I only had classes Monday through Wednesday. Thursdays and Fridays became the start to a Tahoe weekend or a relaxing long weekend. Fall semester first year was the toughest, and I actually spent Fridays getting school work out of the way (individually or with group projects) so I could enjoy Saturday and Sunday. I found that early planning and proper pacing prevented the all-nighters and last-minute rushes I saw other students dealing with.

I set my schedules so I get to Haas around 8am and leave between 4-6pm on school days, enabling me to get most of my coursework done at school. There were the occasional late nights in preparation for my busiest day (Fall semester Wednesdays) or wrapping up some first semester projects on a Sunday, but the 8-6 workday usually did it for me. Surprisingly, I found myself working longer hours at school than I did at work. Somehow, I thought this would be easier.

This semester, now that we pick all our classes, Tuesdays are my rough days, running until 9:30pm. I still arrive around 8am and find plenty of parking at the Stadium lot. I then hit up the FIFO café for a quick breakfast, grab a table in the student forum, and begin prepping for class. As other students arrive, I can either take time to socialize with my friends or find a quiet spot in the library, depending on how far along I am. Today, I head for the library and finish reading my Mountain Dew case for Brand Management.

From 9:30-11am, I have Brand Management with Lynn Upshaw, a great course that has me eyeing brands in a new way. Coming from a military background, I haven’t had much exposure to “brand management” and the class is enlightening, whether we’re talking about Vans, the current situation at HP, or Patagonia (see below). I enjoy the courses that make me think differently (most do) and don’t just teach me something.

As class lets out, I keep my seat and let a new set of folks flow in around me for Corporate Finance from 11:00am-12:30pm. The shift in thought process is big, but the 10 minutes between classes allows me to reset my brain, quickly surf the internet, chat with friends, and fire off a few e-mails before I pack the computer away for class. Our professor, Christopher Hennessey, is awesome; he guides us through the material in a way that brings clarity to a difficult subject while throwing in great one-liners that frequently appear in HaasWeek‘s Heard @ Haas column. Look for a HaasWeek “interview” with Professor Hennessey in the future.

After Finance, it’s off to lunch. I usually take a long from 12:30-2 pm so I can relax, socialize, catch some sun, and catch up with friends over at the Law School café. (It’s my daily extrovert moment to balance the greater introvert in me.) Today I had lunch with my first year mentee over at I-House, one of the favorite places to grab some good food in a hurry. We chatted about the balance between school, social, and career activities and how things were progressing for him thus far.

Now, after lunch, I have a few hours to read the cases/articles and prep for Service Strategy, my last class of the evening, just as soon as I submit this blog.

Before Service Strategy, I have the Real Estate Speaker Series from 4-6pm. With little experience in this arena, I’m taking the class to gain a broader understanding of the real estate world and I’m amazed at what I’ve learned already. There isn’t much prep work as speaker series courses are just that: top experts sharing their experiences and lessons on a given topic. It’s a chance to meet and learn from some great minds and even have dinner with the speaker after class, but my Tuesday isn’t over yet, so I have to pass on dinner.

My last class of the evening is Service Strategy with Tyler Comann, running from 6-9:30pm. The class is an evening/weekend course that’s opened up to a number of full-time students. As a full-time student, I didn’t expect to be taking a late evening course, but the course is interesting and has some great guest lecturers, so it’s worth it. In addition, evening/weekend cross-listed classes expand our peer group and enable us to gain further insight about the companies or industries in which they work. Granted, I’d rather not be in class until 9:30pm, but it’s worth it. There’s also a 45-minute break in the middle for dinner, which helps, and as most of the late classes break at the same time, we get to mix and mingle with a large group of interesting folks.

As my last class finishes, I’ll head home to sleep. I only have one class on Wednesday and it’s later in the morning, so I can prepare for it in the morning.

But now it’s time for Starbucks, the case for tonight’s Service Strategy class.

—Colin C.