My awesome interaction with Professor Damodaran

What makes some men so unforgettable and awesome? I believe humility is the defining quality of a great man. I have always been a fan of Professor Aswath Damodaran, the famous Corporate Finance teacher at NYU Stern – my Alma Mater. He is one of the two Profs I referred to in my post Teacher.

He is a master at his subject, great with students. I remember his prompt replies whenever I emailed him from school or my job for a concept related to Corporate Finance. But what has truly blown me over is this little email exchange I had with him.

This is what I emailed-

Dear Prof Damodaran,

I hope you are doing awesome.
I was a fulltime MBA student in Class of 2012. However, I dropped out after the first year (after having taken your Corp Fin) class when I got a great job at a startup. I eventually wanted to come back to India and start something of my own. I did come back in 2012, tried out few things, have finally found financial independence which gives me time to write – which is my bigger passion. I ended up publishing a spiritual fiction novel that has received good feedback. And while that is far far away from Corp Fin, I did want to send you a copy as I have always looked up to you as a great teacher and source of inspiration.
So, it would be great if you could send me your mailing address or if you prefer a kindle version, please let me know which email address should I send it on.

Thanks for everything,
Nistha

And I got this reply in less than 10 minutes-

Thank you. This will be a first time I will be reading a spiritual fiction novel but it sounds like something worth trying. I just bought it on Amazon. I am glad that you have found your passion and hope that you keep writing.

I have very high respect for good teachers and he is as good as you can expect a mortal to be.

Update: I exchange couple more emails with him and this one goes one step forward-

Nistha,
You write well and from your heart. In my book, that makes you a success. Of course, it is a bonus when other people read you and like what you write. (You should be proud about the nine five-star reviews for your book.. though I know that you would have been happy even if they had not given you the reviews).

Announcement: Joining my dream startup

I love this blog as it has helped me immensely in landing my dream job.

Just wanted to announce that I am taking a break from MBA to work fulltime at Yipit, a startup that is revolutionizing the daily deal aggregation process. I love the local commerce space and Yipit is innovating like crazy. I am honored to be a part of the team at such an initial stage and will be working on the massive deals data that they process every single day. Details to follow later. But I intend to remain involved with entrepreneurial activities at Stern even though I will not be enrolled in classes.

Many have pointed out that New York right now is what Silicon Valley was in its initial growth phase and I can feel the vibe. Some of my classmates are working on their own cool ideas and I wish them tons of luck. NYU shall continue to contribute tremendously to the uprising startup culture in NYC and I’m proud to be a part of it.

EEX Entrepreneurs’ Summit at Stern 03/25

First things first.

As the AVP Conference, I have worked hard and long on realizing the execution of Entrepreneurship Club’s first Summit idea. I and few fellow officers have been carving the raw stone with our ideas on panels and visions for what is most relevant to our community and after few months of genuine effort, our statue is ready to be showcased. I am extremely happy to announce that Summit is all set for Mar 25th and our laborious calls have not gone unrewarded. We have managed a fantastic list of participants. Here goes-

Keynote speaker:
Seth Godin, best selling author, entrepreneur and agent of change

Panelists:
Chris Dixon, Co-Founder of Founder Collective
Michael Yanonditte, Founder & CEO of Hashable
Charlie O’Donnell, Principal at First Round Capital
Jason Finger, Founder of SeamlessWeb
Eric Wiesen, Partner at Greycroft Partners
Idan Cohen, Co-Founder & VP Product of Boxee
Vin Vacanti, Founder of Yipit
Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder – Reddit
Sam Hamadeh, Founder of Vault
Seth Berkowitz, Founder of Insomnia Cookies
Jen Fleis, Founder of Rent the Runway
Peter Shankman, Founder & CEO of HARO
Sean Black, Founder & CEO of SalesCrunch
..and more!

Our list could have been more heavy weight with Fred Wilson but he does not like the idea of panels that much. Few days to go but hopefully the event will be even better than what all of us dreamed!

Check out at http://bit.ly/eexcreate
It is a small gathering, so share and register now!

First two weeks

Hello readers, prospective MBA applicants and fellow students!

While it’s been only first two weeks of classes, it seems like forever with assignments due every class, tests on Sunday and heavy club activities. But it’s been more fun than it sounds. The most exciting for me was the Annual Business Plan Competition kickoff where we got to speak to many winners from past years and other students interested in participating including undergrads. Although the monetary prizes are the biggest attraction with ~275,000 dollars at stake, I would not underestimate the value of the participation itself. Its an intensive 6 months process till the end where the teams get grilled on business plan, marketing pitch, investment hunt etc etc. I am hoping to participate with some talented and interested fellow Sternies.

Stern Business Plan Competition Kickoff

What else? There has been crazy election times with students vying for Student Body Representation positions such as AVP, First year and Block leaders. Plus, there are individual club elections going on and I am happily interviewing for positions in Entrepreneurs’ Exchange Club (it rocks!) and waiting for some more. There’s also interviews going on for IMI (Industry Mentoring Initiative), InSITE fellowship – that I am participating in – and lot of other positions. Block professors are throwing parties for block students and interblock Olympics will begin soon. Now, I cant go in with details on all of these but if you are a prospective applicant and need more details, message me. Frankly, there are lot of things you can participate in and in the end, it is only limited by how much time can you devote. I feel I had applied to too many things and will need to see how it proceeds.

Other thoughts – I have not seen many scholarships going out and there would be only a handful with any kind of financial support in first year. So, be prepared to support yourself for at least one year if you are interested in Stern. While financial burden seems the biggest worry when you are applying, I would really like to share this quote from our Dean of Students during the pre-term closing ceremony: “Make a good use of these two years. If you are just thinking of getting a job somehow so that you can pay back the loans you may have gathered to attend this program, you are missing the point.”

Again, every student takes his own experience away from a business school and you must plan accordingly. While some are here to have fun and explore, some are more focused. You can design your own experience by getting involved in the things you like and using your judgment as to how much involved you want to be. There’s never an end to the parties, bar hopping and beer blasts; and same with professional and networking events every evening. You can choose how much and what do you want – which is the greatest part.