Saturday, May 28, 2011

Computer Orientation at Sloan Technology Services

The program office organizes an hour long Computer Orientation for the incoming class. I finished mine a few days back. The Technology Services team gives you a brief about the Tech Support facilities available at MIT (which are pretty awesome by the way). They also set up your system (PC or Mac), help you download one copy of MS Office and McAfee free of charge), configure your outlook and provide printer access.

One interesting thing was each student gets x no. of Print Credits every year. It means you can take as many print outs as the no. of credits you have with you. If you run out of credits, you can buy more.

Pretty neat...!!

Host Assignment

Every year, the existing class of Sloan Fellows get a Host Assignment. This is a very old practice where each member of the incoming class is introduced (over email) to a member of the existing class. The Hosts then act as a single point of contact for the incoming fellows and help them by answering their questions about the course, city, housing etc. Usually one gets a host from his/her own country.

I think it is a good practice as it eases the load on the program office to answer a lot of individual queries and the new students get a first hand download from existing fellows. However, if your host is busy (which is the case mostly) one should find out ways to connect with other students through LinkedIn etc. to get the required information.

P.S - Hosts get their assignments in mid-Feb every year as by then the class if finalized. I missed putting this in my earlier posts. Though this post comes after the April Orientation, the timing of this assignment should not be mistaken. Its the first communication you receive from the program office after the confirmation of your admission.

Friday, May 27, 2011

April Orientation

I forgot to talk about the April Orientation in my earlier posts.

April Orientation happens every year and lasts for a week. It happens in Cambridge and is organised by the program office and the existing class of Sloan Fellows. Its basically the first formal meeting that the new Sloan Fellows have with the members of the program office, professors, fellow classmates.

The week long schedule consists of sample classes, getting to know MIT, get together s, sessions with partners and families of existing class, breakfast and lunch meetings with key speakers etc. A lot of time during the week is also allocated for house hunting. The main objective is to give the incoming class (and their families) a flavor of their experience at MIT.

All students have to make their own arrangement for a week long stay in Cambridge. Hotels during that time do get very expensive (over $150 a night). However, there are other cheaper options available. (check out www.airbnb.com).

Point to note here is International Students have to travel on a B1/B2 visa. So unless one has a business/travel visa already its difficult (and expensive too) for one to get a B1 visa first and then again apply for a F1 Visa.

Important question is - Is it worth traveling all the way for the orientation.?

When I asked this question from the members of the previous class, I got mixed responses. However, majority of them did mention that people who don't attend the orientation don't miss out on anything. In my opinion, if your housing is taken care of, which means you have finalized it online, then you have a lot of free time during the orientation week. I had finalized my place before the orientation and even though I had a B1/B2 visa, I did not come in April. Also, my F1 visa interview date was clashing with the orientation dates.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MIT Sloanpoint

Few weeks after the MIT id is created, all Sloan Fellows get access to an internal site called Sloan point.

Its an interesting website which contains important information about upcoming events, fellows students, financial aid, medical insurance, technology services, laptop recommendations, parking and T-passes, tips about getting your family to Cambridge and also information about sublets and housing. This site even has an online marketplace where current fellows advertise stuff they would like to sell. Items range from furniture to computers to cars.