Thursday, June 13, 2013

LGO with a Baby? Are you crazy?

When my husband and I were deciding whether or not to come to LGO, one of our biggest hesitations was delaying starting a family.  At that point, we had been married for four years, owned a home, and I had been bitten by the “baby bug”. LGO seemed like an amazing opportunity so we decided to put starting a family off for a few more years since we felt like we were still pretty young (26 at the time).

At the end of my first year of school, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that I was pregnant!  My due date was the first day of spring classes my final semester at MIT. LGO is already a ton of work and a huge time commitment. Some people assumed I’d just be quitting the program. Apparently the last female LGO to attempt this was 20 years ago! In my eyes I saw this as a huge blessing to be able to be a part of the program AND get to start a family at the same time. 

My first trimester was during the second half of my [off-cycle] internship. I had pretty bad morning sickness and would always have saltine crackers, almonds, and sprite with me to help ease my stomach during status update meetings. When I told the MGH team that I was pregnant, they just figured I really liked saltines!

Since I knew I would have a newborn my final semester, I loaded up on classes that fall. I finished all my engineering coursework and took the maximum number of credits in addition to TAing an engineering class I had taken the previous year. Classes kept me pretty busy despite wanting to sleep all the time!

My pregnancy timing only scared me about one thing- recruiting. I was afraid no one would want to hire me with a baby bump! Turns out that all worked out fine (see Recruiting Advice) and I received multiple offers.

I even went to Camp Sloan as a counselor. This included a 45-minute hike up to the cabin with our gear and it turned out to be dark and snowing during our particular trek up to the cabins!

Six months pregnant at Camp Sloan
The MIT community was so incredibly supportive! My Sloan classmates, LGOs and SOs from the year after than me, and my class of LGOs and their SOs all threw me showers. We were so thankful for their generosity!
Sloan Shower
LGO 13 Shower Hostesses
Noah ended up coming two weeks early which was hugely helpful in recovering before starting classes two weeks after that. I ended up not having to miss a single class due to the birth. (I did end up missing a few towards the end due to senioritis however.) I ended up being able to present my thesis at Knowledge Review five days after giving birth!

Knowledge Review
My mom, mother-in-law and best friend, all flew up and took turns helping me with dishes, watching Noah, and doing laundry. For six weeks all I had to do was feed Noah, go to class, and sleep. It was pretty magical. I don’t know how Brad and I could have handled it on our own.
Mother-in-law Jane
My friend Sabrina
My husband is a fantastic partner in everything we do and having a baby was no exception! He was great at making sure I had enough sleep and supporting me emotionally when things were tough. Just in general, he was extremely supportive through LGO. I couldn't have done half of what I did without him (sometimes literally, as an Mechanical Engineer, he helped me in my mechanical assemblies class).
The Bradford
The hardest part of the semester was writing my thesis. It was due a month after I delivered, so I essentially wrote the entire thing in two weeks with a two week old baby. That part was actually pretty stressful. Here's Noah helping me with my thesis.
Noah helping me :-)

In the end, all my classes were passed and my advisor signed off on my thesis- woohoo!
My advisor signing my thesis
Finally done!
I’m excited to finally get my “maternity leave” over the summer before heading off to work!

Check out all the LGO’s whose wives had babies this year: With help from LGO community, new parents juggle work and family life

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Recruiting Advice

This time last year I wasn’t sure where I wanted to work or what I wanted to be doing but I knew that recruiting season was coming up quickly! In April of my first year I met with Julie Papp from the Career Development Office and asked for advice narrowing down my prospects. Julie explained that there are three primary dimensions to filter on when researching jobs: Function, Industry, and Location. For me, location and function were most important and what drove my career search. Together, we came up with the following “to-do” list for exploring career options:

Create a list of characteristics you are looking for in a job, prioritize them and think about “deal-breakers”
For me this list included over 17 items but some of the things that were at the top of the list were that the role be intellectually challenging, have a clear plan of succession preparing me for leadership, require little to no travel, have exposure to management, and have a good work life balance.

Explore companies in specific geographies
For me, it was important to find a job in a city where my husband either had a job or could easily find employment. For us, that narrowed it down to just a few cities in the US. I did research on which companies were in those cities through “top companies” lists on Forbes, US News and World Report, and the Boston book of lists websites. Once I had a list of companies, I looked through the Sloan and LGO databases to find out if they had recruited at Sloan in the past and gathered information about roles for which they have historically recruited.

Research industries
MIT Sloan has subscriptions to Hoovers and Plunkett databases that have loads of industry information. I looked through those industry lists and created “no way”, “yes, sounds good” and “maybe” lists of which industries I’d be interested in.

Learn about company cultures
Fitting in with a company culture was very important to me and I knew I couldn’t pick that up just from a website or even a recruiter coming to campus. The summer before recruiting season I reached out via my network to find employees at each of the companies I was considering. This gave me an honest view of the company and what it was like to work there.

Going into recruiting season I had narrowed my list of companies I wanted to interview with down to five with specific roles I was interested in. In each interview, I knew at least one of the people interviewing me from speaking with them the summer before. Not only did this put me at ease during the interviews, it also showed them that I was genuinely interested in their company. From the information gathered over the summer, I could speak intelligently about their company and the role they were interviewing for. In the end, much to my surprise, I received offers from all five companies in cities that I wanted to move to, with roles that fit my criteria, in industries I was interested in. It made for a very difficult decision but in the end I chose an internal consulting role with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. I’m very excited about the people with whom I’ll be working and the potential impact I hope to have on their employees!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spring Time Adventures: Sloan A Cappella

In college I sang in an all-female a cappella group, Nothin’ but Treble. In fact I met my husband Brad through a cappella! He was in the guys group Sympathetic Vibrations. I haven’t had a chance to sing a cappella since but awesome Aditya Nag decided to start a group at MIT for grad students. Brad was the director last year and Aditya was the business manager. They made a killer pair, which resulted in a fantastic year of casual, fun a cappella. We got to perform at a couple Sloan town halls, an art gala, and Sloan Follies. 

(I'm the second soloist...and if you watch through to the second song I actually rap too.) :-)

Spring Time Adventures: Sloan Gala

The beautiful LGO ladies- we can do math AND look this good!

Brad loves any excuse to wear his tux so when the tickets for Spring Gala came available we jumped on it! I’m so glad we did too because it was a stinking blast! We went to Newport, RI in the fall but this time we got to do the Cliff Walk, which was beautiful. Sloan rented one of the beautiful Newport mansions and had a delicious dinner followed by dancing. I didn’t want the night to be over!
Outside the mansion

Any excuse to wear a tux...

The Crails looking lovely as always
(I think they always look so good because they are from Texas.) :-)
Check out Nish's sweet white shoes
Beautiful day the morning after

 Cliff Walk!

Spring Time Adventures: Camp Sloan

Some of my favorite folks at Sloan sporting the Camp Counselor shirts
Another highlight from the spring semester was Camp Sloan. 100 Sloanies went over two weekends to cabins in New Hampshire. I volunteered to be a camp counselor and had a blast! The cabins were deep in the woods not near car-accessible roads so we hiked all our gear up the mountain. ‘Campers’ were selected to create a good mix of 1st and 2nd years, and other Sloan programs (SDM, LGO, MFin, etc). 

The outdoors environment seemed to break down walls that seem to exist normally on campus. We had a late-night dance party, some of the more daring counselors set off fireworks, and some even more daring others actually got in the freezing cold lake! The next day we took a 3 or 4 hour hike up to the top of a mountain that had great views of the surrounding area.

Killer hike
('killer' literally, I was pretty scared at this point when we were climbing this ladder!!)
We made it to the top!
The best part of the trip though had to be seeing Sunish Gupta, a (now graduated) SDM student, hike up to the cabins. Sunish started losing his vision about 10 years ago and is now legally blind. The hike was not easy for many of the campers with sight so you can imagine what a daunting task this was for Sunish. Chengran Chai and I had the opportunity to help him step-by-step up that mountain. Chengran held his hand to steady him and we warned him of each rock/tree/root along the way. I talked or sang in front as it helped for him to follow my voice. I ran out of songs by the end of our three-hour journey! Sunish is so incredibly brave. I had the honor of getting to have dinner with his family several months afterward and got to meet his three daughters (13, 2, and a newborn) and his wife (who is also blind). They are SO inspiring!!!
Sunish and Chengran
Check out his story HERE

Spring Time Adventures: Dancing

My Sloanie Semester

My first fall semester at Sloan I didn’t have much time to get involved in many Sloan activities (8 classes/71 units will do that to you!).  In the spring however, my internship at MGH was so close to campus that I could come back for lunch meetings and with zero homework to complete, I could make nighttime meet-ups. The next few posts will highlight all the fun I had last spring!

C-Function Group Dances

"I hate you like I love you" dance
One of my favorite things I did spring semester was dance in essentially all of the C-function dances. Sloan clubs throw a “cultural” (or ‘C’) function almost every Thursday night during the school year. It is a chance for clubs to share their national pride with the rest of the class. I danced in the European, Israeli, Brazilian, Indian C-functions and the Sloan Follies variety show. My favorite has to be the Indian dances. I had the chance to learn Bollywood style dance from the amazing teachers Rashi Gupta and Asha Parekh. I think the Indian C-Function show was definitely the best one of the year (in my opinion). The show ended with me doing the splits (!!) front and center. It was crazy and SO much fun! I loved getting to know more Sloanies through the hours and hours of practices.

Still able to do the splits? check!
Check out the video HERE (I'm the reflectively white one in the middle) :-)
Sloan Follies Dance - "Who rules the world? GIRLS!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

International Plant Trek - Tokyo, Japan

After saying goodbye to our CLGO friends we headed to Tokyo, Japan. Our accommodations were fantastic (thanks Nori!), I ate the most amazing food (thanks Brian!), and everyone was so incredibly polite there.  I would definitely go back in a heartbeat!
The toilets were ah-mazing. They sang, heated up, made water noises, and had a boy or girl bidet. Check yes.
Our rowdy neighbors. :-)

The first night we headed out to Shibuya. We met up with LGO 14 Brian Chang who impressively speaks Mandarin, Japanese, and English. He was our guide that evening (and several other nights) and found us some delicious Japanese food. Shibuya is famous for the largest intersection in the world. The crosswalk was huge! 

We toured Sony and Nissan in Japan. Nissan opened their factory just to us on a holiday- it was super nice of them! Sony gave us a fantastic tour. It started in their showroom with all the latest Sony technologies including lots of 3D cameras and screens (it was crazy seeing yourself in 3D on a green screen), a speaker in the for of a wire surrounded by glass that radiated sound 360 degrees (it also was the same volume 6 inches away as 6 feet away), and the future of HDTV- 4K.
The sweet 360 speaker

During our free time we saw lots of fun Tokyo sites:

The Tsukiji Fish Market
We got up super duper early one morning to go see the fish market. I’ve never seen seafood on this scale before. It was insane!! The best part was the ridiculously fresh sushi for breakfast- yummmm!
Those are scallops, people. The size of your fist.

Octopus anyone?

All in a day's work

Senso-ji Temple – Asakusa
Tokyo’s oldest temple completed in 645.

Meiji Jingu, Shibuya

Tokyo National Museum

Ueno Park – cherry blossoms

Ginza - upscale shopping district

Imperial Palace

Harajuku – Electronics district

FOOD- The food was soooo delicious...
We ordered this meal without us speaking a lick of Japanese and the staff not speaking a lick of English.  Great success!
Nori planned a fantastic dinner for the group. Unlimited sake is dangerous!
Japanese potato pancakes- yummm.
Ordering was tough but we had Brian Chang who made it a breeze!
Brad with his octopus balls
Crepes from heaven
This was my last meal in Japan. I wasn't hungry but I had some yen left and wanted just one more glorious meal in Japan so I went by myself to a restaurant and it was awesome.
Japanese Onsen

My favorite experience from the trip had to be our trip to Oedo-Onsen a little outside of Tokyo. Relaxing in the hot springs was so nice! I even tried Dr. Fish where little fish came and exfoliated my feet (aka got their dinner). Awesome experience!

We were very sad to leave Tokyo. It was a wonderful trip and I can’t think of a better group of folks to travel across the globe with!