It’s Time for All to Know: Origins

I sat in the second row FIN9770 awaiting my test results.  I wasn’t expecting a stellar score, but certainly above the average.    That was my modus operandi — a solid B+ student.  Most of the answer cards were met with an exaltant “Yes!”   Mine was a 86.  Satisfactory I thought. Until . . .  I learned that nearly everyone got 95 or higher (and many a 100). Turns out I had the second lowest score.   Steamed was I.  Among mostly grade-chasing apathetic students, I was an engaged student who firmly grasped this subject.  I inquired further. Turns out an advance copy of the test-bank exam was circulated beforehand. Never on the inside track, I didn’t know and relied on my own brains.

This is the story of how the Graduate Baruchian came to be.

I was furious and wanted to do something.  The patina of b-school naivete had worn off by the time I took the core course FIN9770.   The reality of b-school was sinking in.  Like all schools, cheating is rampant. Stellar professors Mohan, Stauffer, & Grein that I had in the beginning were followed by mediocre has-beens that regurgitated dull slides from the book.  Remedial out-of-touch lectures over several semesters left me questioning why I remained at Zicklin.  Then came FIN9770. We spent far too many lectures going over 8th-grade math (compounding interest, PV and NPV).  The word ethics was mentioned once.  A quick Google search of the professor did more than raise my eyebrows.  When the exam situation was revealed, I’d had it. No more.

Committed to earning an MBA I applied to the eMBA programs at NYU and Columbia. Rigor, challenge,  and world-class academics were on offer.  I did the road-show again and filled out applications and went to all the info sessions.  Had I found where I belonged?  Perhaps.  I was ready to sign and commit fantastic sums of money.  Two things entered the calculus. First was the cost.  150K+ just for tuition and the lost earnings over two years.  It would take me at least a decade to make that back if, and only if, I managed to land a plum consulting gig.  If not, I’d never earn it back.  At 41 was I really going to make that happen? It was a big gamble.  A little more research and digging and it looks like I was jumping from the frying pan to the fire. Cheating and ends-justifies-the-means attitude is endemic.  Elite schools would be different only in the gloss and with more sharp elbows.

I’m not a gambling man. I stayed at Zicklin.  At my age, it was a better bet financially. However, the course work would not be challenging enough.  I needed something else.  At this time the GSA was trying to restart the Graduate Voice — a newspaper for graduate students.  This could be it; so I went to the  first meeting.  I wanted to tell the story of what was wrong here.  9 people turned to 3 in the second meeting and 2 at the third — me and another dude that ended up flaking out.

Stoked by the sting of that horrible FIN9770, I persevered.  Restarting the Graduate Voice would be a colossal task.  Student life has many high barriers and as a media organization the members had to go the Baruch College Association — more hurdles. Enough!!!!

Why start a paper that hardly anybody would read?  Those first meetings discussed running a blog and then printing the best posts. So why not just run a blog?  The only cost would be buying a domain.  So in April 2010, I bought and a few posts made it on to a WordPress platform.

And there it remained stayed until Jeremy Sykes emailed me in the summer looking to get involved with the Graduate Voice.  So with Jeremy’s help a group gathered in the Fall of 2010.  It turns out that being outside of the administration is far, far easier — and happier.  It has the added benefit of bypassing the soul-crushing attitude of the Baruch’s administration.  We could do what we wanted and how we wanted without being deflated by the ubiquitous “No.”

That fall Jeremy Sykes, Marina Koletis, Emily Rotella, Emily McMillen, Tex Morgan and I started on this adventure by convening mostly at the Hairy Monk (another administration no-no.) I’m sure there are other b-school blogs like ours.  I know of Harbus at Harvard that is independent like ours (they have staff and an endowment though.) Other school’s blogs are a part of their respective administrations.  We have the distinction of being truly independent and being bootstrappers — another endemic Baruchian trait.

Hundreds of posts, thousands and thousands of hits, and dozens of contributors later, I will chalk this up as success.   It has served its purpose as an outlet and avenue to connect.  The Graduate  Baruchian also gave me something too — a raison d’être.  It challenged me to write better, to park-bench lead, and to make the best of the this experience.

There you have it.  How this blog came into being.  I took the negative energy and with the help of a great team we created some lasting. Now it’s up to the rest of you Baruchians. Gather up your vim and vigor.  Carry on.


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