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The DAK Experience

Having waited a whole year extra to start my MBA journey, I was foaming at my mouth at the prospect of attending DAK. I booked tickets for the wifey and me as soon as the dates were out and started counting down the days to when I would actually be able to stand in front of the Jacobs building. So it was with great excitement that I landed at the Chicago O’hare airport on the morning of 14th February 2013. I took a rental car from the airport and drove myself to my hotel in Evanston and got ready for the first event of the weekend –  an MMM social.

At exactly 8 in the night, as instructed, I found myself at the address mentioned in the email invite – with not a soul in sight. The next three attendees were also prospective students with the first year student hosts coming in only later. But given that it was the internship and recruitment season a slight delay was understandable. But as soon as I started talking to the students and fellow admits, there was that usual comfort factor that I have always felt when I talked to Kellogg students and alum. I instantly felt at ease. The night progressed with current students answering all our questions and sharing their own experiences from their time at and before Kellogg.

Another of the welcome emails for DAK had also assigned me a mini section. The mini sections are modeled on the actual sections which the Kellogg class is divided into, so the Poets become Nursery Rhymers, the Bullfrogs become Tadpoles and I was assigned to the mini version of Big Dogs i.e. Puppies. The Puppies had a meet and greet scheduled for the night of 14th as well. So I proceeded to meet my fellow mini-section mates straight after the MMM event. After meeting with another great bunch of people and downing another couple of drinks it was time to call it a night as Friday was supposed to start nice and early (7:30 AM at Jacobs).

Wife and me were again ready on time, but were caught by surprise by the snow that had fallen overnight. We gingerly made our way to Jacobs. Having read a lot about the under-par infrastructure at Kellogg I was pleasantly surprised by what I  saw. The place had a nice welcoming feel to it and was not at all like the dungeon I had in mind ;). In any case we sat ourselves with the rest of our mini section and waited for the events to start. The DAK weekend was opened by an excellent talk by Prof. Kraemer, and I know already that I am going to be attending one of his classes even if I have to use up all my bidding points just for that.

Sadly the rest of the two days were a big blur with me having a hard time remembering the order in which things occurred. I remember attending a couple of lectures, meeting some people, presentations by the Energy and Agribusiness club, meeting some people, sessions by section leaders for puppies, an exciting egg saving and jingle writing competition, meeting some people, taking part in the Puppies Harlem shake video, meeting more people, attending the KWEST fair and meeting more people. Frankly I met so many people that I had a hard time remembering who was who. It got to a point where I even started asking myself if I am even cut out for this. I am guessing 5 years as an engineer takes a heavy toll on your social skills. Hopefully I would be better at this when the actual classes start in fall.

The highlights of the two days were definitely the mock classes that I attended, confirming to me that I made the right choice; the KWEST fair where I made up my mind about what trips are going to be on top of my list and the MMM tour, where we got to visit the Ford building and talk to the seniors about their reasons for choosing MMM over the traditional MBA.

Another thing I learned from the weekend was how jampacked my schedule is going to be for the two years. There was something happening all the time, and even over this short duration I had to make up my mind about things that I absolutely wanted to attend and things I could give a miss. On Sunday, I also met a bunch of seniors from India and was very grateful to them for taking time out to meet me. It was great to know that I will be joining such a supportive group of people.

The Sunday was probably the most useful day of DAK when we also got to tour the various apartment buildings around Evanston to decide which might be the best to move in for the next 2 years. The ones we really liked were way out of our budget, so I am pretty sure some big compromises will have to made.

As I waited for my flight out of Chicago, I wished that there wasn’t another 7 months of waiting for the classes to start!

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