My First Year recap (part.1)


The MBA journey started. I arrived in Williamsburg in early August and I stayed in a cheap motel for three days before I moved into my apartment. The first three days were tough, mainly because I did not eat rice at all; I only had either fillet-o-fish or tuna salad. So the first thing that I did when I moved into my apartment was to buy a rice cooker :p

Settling in and moving into a new place ain’t easy, especially when you‘re moving into an unfurnished apartment and you don’t have a car (particularly in Williamsburg). I had to go back and forth to buy groceries, cooking utensils, furniture, etc. I made the right decision coming one week early before the boot camp started, otherwise I would have been doomed.

I had been told that Williamsburg is a small city and I wouldn’t find traffic at all (which is nice), but I never thought it was this small. Turns out Williamsburg’s population is only 15,000 people, and almost half of it is William and Mary students. Because I can’t rely on public transportation (the bus only stops by every hour), I decided to buy a car. Luckily, I found one on a mailing list. A grad school student from the Master Accounting program just graduated and wanted to sell her car. With help from Aditya (my classmate), I bought her car for a good price. Finally I have a car, my first car ever.

The next week was boot camp. It was intended for students who do not have a background in accounting and math. Well, I did not have any background in accounting, so I needed this. The classes were great. I learn some basic concepts in accounting. Afterwards I found it helpful when the accounting class started.

Orientation week was held after the boot camp during the last week of August. I finally met all of my classmates, MBA Class of 2016, and I also met my designated teammates for the first year. I kept my story for my teammates later on. :p


The beginning of module 1. A little bit overwhelming because of the pace of the class. There were lots of materials and assignments. Perhaps this was because I have been out of school for 5 years and grad school is a bit different from undergrad. Given the fact that I was not a good students back then, its a lot of work for me to keep ahead of the game.

I realized that the culture and educational system is varied between countries and its kinda shaped the character of the students in the class. The way people convey their opinions, the way they communicate with other students and the difference in their thought processes makes the discussion really interesting. Well, that’s the beauty of diversity.

In the second week, I applied to be a first year MBAA representative. I was so nervous when I was giving a speech in front of my section and I did not think I would get many votes. Luckily I got accepted. At the time I thought I needed an activity beside academics to keep me busy and to improve my soft skills.

In mid September, I went to DC to visit my friend in Georgetown for a day. I was in need of a short getaway at the time. It was a nice getaway. I visited the White House, Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial in one day. It was a long walk and I was surprised we could covered all those landmarks in a few hours.

One day getaway to DC

One day getaway to DC


I had a mid-term in early October and luckily all my grades were above my expectation. I went to North Carolina for a fall break to visit my friend in Durham. He is my friend from college and currently he is a student in Duke’s Master of Public Policy program. We had a short trip to Asheville and Blue Ridge Parkway with two of his friends. It was a nice trip and my first road trip in the United States.

Asheville road trip

Asheville road trip


In early November, I had a final exam for module 1. A week after the final exam is the beginning of module 2. Marketing Management and Finance Management were the new courses that were really intense. I thought module 1 was already intense, but these two courses changed my perception. I had no background in finance before. The professor was really great, but because I don’t speak the language, I needed to put a lot of effort to catch up with the class. For Marketing, we had to read and understand a case before the class. By understand I mean not only read and know the whole situation, but also do the analysis and come up with a recommendation. So even though these classes was really intense, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot in these classes.

We had a thanksgiving break during the last week of November. My friend from Michigan and I (again) went to DC to visit my friend in Georgetown. We visited many landmarks and museums this time. I had my first experience of snow during the first day, though it was only snowed  a little.

first snow experience

my first experience with snow

ps : I did not shave my beard this month, because of the Movember charity event.


When I got back from Thanksgiving break, a lot of assignments and exams were waiting.  We had our big project & presentation (DA, Econ and MC), Marketing Mid Exam and Finance Mid Exam. We nailed the big project and we receive many good feedback from the other teams and EPs. I think my presentation skills are getting better, though I still need to improve many things.

My friend and I went to New York City for a week after the exam. We visited most of the landmarks and must-visit-places in NYC. I finally went to the top of the Empire State Building, where many romantic movies have filmed. It’s so beautiful up there, no wonder why many romantic scene take place in this spot. I also went to McGee’s Pub, the pub that Carter Bay and Craig Thomas got the idea of making HIMYM while they were still working for the Late Show with David Letterman.

Top of Empire State Building

Top of the Empire State Building

How I Met Your Mother Pub

“How I Met Your Mother Pub”

So, the reason why we visited NYC was not only because its the-must-visit-city in the United States, but also because we made a pack a year earlier that if we got accepted into MBA program in the United States, we would go to New York during the winter, spend Christmas Eve in front of the Rockefeller Center, and perform a silly dance in Times Square. Guess what? We finally did it!!!

oke champ!

oke champ!!

to be continued..


About alvanalvian

my name is alvan
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