Found a Home!!

SanMateoHouse

We finally found a place to live…

We settled on San Mateo since it is close to the mid-way point from Palo Alto to San Francisco. Hope will be commuting up to the city via CalTrain and I’ll be driving down to Stanford. Hope was hoping for something closer to downtown San Mateo and a little less suburban feeling, but we submitted 2 other applications (and lost those homes due to the competitive rental market). We were starting to get a bit anxious (probably more me than her), so we’re happy to have this process behind us.

We’ll be a little farther from campus than many of my fellow Sloanies, but we’ll have room for our pups and some grass for them to run around.

If the rental market stays this aggressive, I encourage future Sloanies looking for off-campus housing to ensure you allocate enough time for your search. We heard of folks from the previous cohort temporarily moving into short-term rentals then moving after a month or two – you could certainly do that too, but moving twice sounded pretty awful to us — not to mention expensive…

It’s getting exciting now – it is all beginning to feel very real… Now the task begins to pack up and sell the house in VA…

Great Orientation

Great Orientation

We had a great visit to campus and a very helpful orientation. But best of all, it was an opportunity to meet the folks I will be spending the next year getting to know better. We covered topics ranging from course selection to health insurance and housing choices.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am — three short months until classes start!

We’re still looking for off-campus housing (we have dogs who aren’t welcome in Stanford housing). Hopefully we’ll have a solution for this soon.

I didn’t have a chance to speak in-depth with everyone in the cohort, but I can already tell that we have an incredible group.

A few words of advice for future Sloan Fellows — come to orientation a day or two early, hydrate well, get acclimated to the time zone and start the orientation well rested. There are plenty of opportunities to stay up late, drink a lot and ask the current cohort a lot of questions. You’ll also start building friendships within your own new cohort — and it pays to have the stamina to hang in with the late evenings. Orientation days are long and action-packed — so come prepared to soak up a lot of info and ask a lot of questions.

Hope and I find the Palo Alto weather nearly ideal — but the mild temperatures may be a bit of a shock to some. It will be warm in the sun and can be chilly in the shade or in a breeze. So wear layers or bring a light jacket…

If you have pets — it seems like the advice varies quite a bit. There are folks who will tell you to sneak them into on-campus housing. Others will tell you to turn your dog into a “service animal” and get an exception (e.g. you can’t live without the assistance of your poodle). But we came to the conclusion that the right thing to do is live off-campus. There are many apartments and rental homes that are quite accepting of pets — but since the rental market is so competitive these days, applications that come in without pets may trump your application. So be prepared for potential disappointment and seek multiple options.

As for off-campus housing — Palo Alto does offer affordable rental options — and very nice rental options. But, as we found, the two often don’t come together! I’m convinced that the photos in Craigslist are even less accurate than those you would find on a dating website… We found one house that looked so nice in the photos, but we walked away calling it “shit brown” — so we are no longer considering Palo Alto. 🙂

If searching for off-campus housing, do it with a sense of humor and a little patience — you might occasionally find a gem, only to have it stolen by another competing rental application. And anyone with a real job will likely get the house before you!!! We started looking a bit up the peninsula — currently we’re thinking San Mateo. A bit farther away than some people suggested, but I think we will be able to make it work.

Last item: We were invited to share an evening at Antonio’s Nut House. Apparently, this “tradition” has been passed down from previous Sloan generations. I don’t  personally get it… An interesting place to say the least — but if you have a peanut allergy, avoid like the plague!! But a great place to get cheap beer…

Searching for housing!

Ok, we are looking for a home in the Bay Area that will accept us and our pups. We’ve found a couple places that we like! Applications are going in now — wish us luck.

The rental market is pretty hot right now in the Bay Area, so I can already tell we will have some competition. Places are getting snapped up quickly. Rents are high…

Originally, we were hoping for something in Palo Alto, but I think we’re moving up the Peninsula. Palo Alto rents are approaching absurd… Redwood City was better, but currently liking San Mateo a lot.

Orientation starts tonight. Looking forward to meeting my cohort!

Got my new student binder!

Ok, I must admit, it was a little anticlimactic… Sure, there are some good nuggets in there, but I didn’t find anything in there that couldn’t have been emailed in a PDF attachment or put on a student-only website.

But having it in-hand does make it feel “more real” — after all, I’m still somewhat in disbelief that our lives will be abruptly put on hold in a few months. I do look forward to new Sloan orientation (mid-April). Meeting my fellow Sloanies and getting some on-campus time will do wonders.

Here’s what I did learn from the binder:

  • Early Sloan Orientation: 13 – 15 Apr 2013
  • Recommended on-campus date: 28 Jun 2013
  • Sloan Orientation: 9 – 10 Jul 2013
  • First day of class: 15 Jul 2013

In the early orientation, we’ll get to meet current Sloanies and get their perspective. Spouses and significant others will be sharing their advice with new incoming spouses (and significant others).

Apparently, there are some 60+ GSB student groups — but no information on how to join, when they meet, etc. Apparently there is a new Sloan-specific entrepreneurship group too — not sure how that will be transitioned, since no one from the previous year will be there to hand off the torch to incoming students…

I wish there were more information in the binder about how electives will work and how we go about deciding which ones we want to take. But it looks like we won’t have the opportunity to add very many electives until Winter quarter — so I guess there is plenty of time to figure that out. Because we’re only on campus for one year, I’m realizing how short this program will be and how difficult it will be to incorporate certain classes (either because they are full or not offered when I would be able to take it).

I also hope to have decided where to live by April orientation. I figure that would be a good time to pick a new landlord and sign a lease. Hope we find a great place to live!

Visited GSB campus

Ok, got back from my trip to Palo Alto!

Virginia and Sally answered all my questions and arranged a class visit for me. Most pressing for me: If you have any pets, you will need to find off-campus housing (unless it is a certified service animal). So we will definitely be looking for a rental house or apartment that is dog-friendly.

I got to sit in on Prof. Aaker’s Marketing class (this is part of the Sloan core curriculum). This class was dominated by guest speakers which had interesting perspectives on modern marketing methods. The Sloan students had also prepared “elevator pitch” style marketing solutions to assigned case study problems. Since I don’t know the context of the overall course, it’s hard for me to comment on how this day factors in to the overall goal — but I can say that the class was engaging and interesting.

I was surprised that the Sloanies weren’t more outspoken as there were relatively few questions, but clearly they were paying attention. Some were sitting back and absorbing the presentations and others were taking notes furiously (either handwritten or laptops open). I was also surprised that there weren’t more laptops open — I only counted 6 active laptop users (a few more closed) and a couple tablet users.

Guest speakers represented these firms:

  • Klout (social / media analytics specifically measuring influence)
  • Gilt (e-Commerce specializing in high-end / exclusive brand products)
  • Edelman (PR firm specializing in tech clients)

The lecture hall (classroom) is reasonably comfortable. This particular room has a 3-part front wall that is slightly angled inward and the entire wall behind me was glass. The front wall can be any combination of whiteboards and projection screens. The room is tiered — each row is one step higher than the row in front. The chairs were comfortable, but could be better…

IMG_1372

I also had lunch in the Arbuckle Dining Pavilion — the sushi is actually quite good. But it can be difficult to find an open table…

Overall, the new GSB campus is beautiful. The buildings are inside out — there are no interior hallways. I was surprised by this, but it totally makes sense in a climate where the weather is so nice most of the time. Simply no reason to force people to stay indoors. Almost every classroom or office suite is directly accessible to the outside. The upper floors are connected with balcony-style walkways and open stairwells. Solar panels on most of the roofs and signs proudly stating use of reclaimed rainwater for flushing toilets.

Although the GSB campus is at the periphery of the other Stanford academic buildings, it is a short walk to the rest of campus. I was able to walk from GSB to the Huang Mechanical Engineering building in less than 15 minutes. It was easy to see when classes let out — a throng of bicycles would appear in the streets and sidewalks. Clearly bikes are probably the most common mode of cross-campus transportation.