Ross Jensen

MBA 2014
  • Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Pre-MBA: Teach For America; Director

Ross Jensen

Post Graduation Goals:

I’ll either return to the education field or enter the social sector with a focus on improving resource allocation or human capital development.

Favorite GSB Memory So Far:

My TALK and the day or so after. The support and encouragement I received from my classmates was unbelievably awesome. It confirmed what I had begun to suspect: this is where I belong.

Woke up, ate breakfast, checked email.
Did fascinating reading for my Incentive Mechanisms for Societal Networks (“Incentives”) class. The reading discussed the differences between “broken hydrant” and “leaky faucet” societal network problems and the power of lottery incentive systems.
Reading and online homework for Finance class. Off to a good start…
I normally have class at this point on Mondays, but it was President’s Day, so Monday classes were shifted to Wednesday. Scheduled a conference call with the GSB alum with whom my group is working for our regression project for Data and Decisions (“D&D”) class.
Worked on a proposal for a Stanford social entrepreneurship pitch contest I entered with a GSB classmate and a few others. We have a pretty great–if you ask me, that is–idea for placing more talented young people in impact careers.
Went on my favorite run – the Dish – while listening to a This American Life podcast. It was unusually cloudy. (We’re very spoiled when it comes to sun.)
Finished my workout in the Schwab gym.
Showered, ate lunch.
Met up with my friend Andrew for a walk. We were in the same section last quarter, but we don’t have any classes together this quarter, so we needed to catch up. (I should explain why I’m taking so many walks. As part of my Incentives class, I’m participating in an incentive mechanism system involving Nike Fuel Bands, which tracks daily physical activity. I’m pretty close to my daily goal after my walk with Andrew.)
On the way back, I broke down and bought a box of Girl Scout cookies. I had been walking past the stand for the better part of a week. My willpower has its limits.
Stopped to chat with Lawrence, Nader, and Edgar, the awesome Schwab staff, on the way back to my room.
Email triage, scheduled flight for summer internship interview the following week, did some work for the Student Association Diversity Committee I serve on. Ate most of the Girl Scout cookies, felt sick.
Fun dinner in downtown Palo Alto with Jonny (a GSB classmate), Malini (a friend from high school who’s a med student at Stanford, and Kacey (not pictured; sorry Kacey!). I must be telling a really great story.
Caught up on email, scheduled a visit to a potential apartment for next year.
Woke up, ate breakfast, checked email, showered. Another beautiful day outside. This is the view from my window in Schwab.
Reading for Incentives and Finance classes.
Walked across the street to Finance class. The topic was pretty technical and dry, but we ended with a fascinating discussion about the way firms use leverage to create tax shields and whether the U.S. could and should change this policy.
Incentives class. Apparently the old GSB campus didn’t have any windows in classrooms. That sounds bad, but it’s pretty hard to focus when you can look out at this:
During class, we talked about the role of incentives and games in behavior change. The professor walked us through systems he designed and implemented at Stanford to reduce peak-time traffic volume and to encourage recycling. We played a few different varieties of the games and debated the merits of each model.
Walked through Town Square–my favorite part of campus because it actually feels like a real town square–to get lunch in Arbuckle.
Went to lunch info session for a boutique consulting firm focused on healthcare and nonprofit practices.
Ran into Haley, Jasper, and Juan Pablo on my way back to Schwab.
Email triage.
Met up with Allison, one of my Leadership Lab squad-mates from last quarter, to catch up. Went on a walk through campus (gotta meet my Fuel Band goal for the day!).
Met up with my friend Christine and walked over to the Christine’s taking a class there and her team’s project involves middle school kids. They wanted to hear about my experience as a teacher and about my strategies for engaging middle schoolers. The short version of my answer: it’s not easy.
Walked back to Schwab, email triage, talked to my friend Natalie about running for the Diversity committee, talked with D&D group about our regression project.
Prepared reading and case for D&D class.
Went downstairs to a Social Innovation Club small group dinner hosted by my friends Monica and Steph. The topic for the dinner was the balance between lifestyle and impact in social sector careers. We had a fascinating conversation ranging from the meaning and value of “work-life balance” to the choice to work in the private or public/social sector. The food was from Oren’s Hummus Shop, a local favorite.
We had to leave the room because another group had it reserved. So we continued our conversation in the hallway for almost another hour. Monica had made brownies but dropped them on the way into Schwab. I convinced everyone they were still OK to eat. They were delicious.
Our dinner group eventually dispersed, but Matt, a second-year friend, stuck around to help me think through which club leadership positions I might want to apply for.
Email triage, reading for Econ, worked on social entrepreneurship pitch competition proposal.
Woke up, ate breakfast, checked email, showered. (Yes, this is the same photo from Monday, but I promise it looked exactly like this.)
Background reading for lunch meeting, brainstormed potential topics for Incentives group project.
Skimmed case for Econ class.
Walk over to D&D class.
D&D class. Nafeesa’s ready!
Ran into Johnny and Gaya after class.
Grabbed lunch from Arbuckle. The pizza looked especially good that day.
Met Allen from the GSB Center for Social Innovation, Rob Mosbacher from BizCorps, Rebecca from the GSB Career Management Center, and Anay, a second-year classmate, for lunch. Rob was on campus to speak about BizCorps’s plans to send a cohort of MBA grads to small/medium businesses in developing countries to facilitate economic growth. Allen invited me to the lunch because he knew about my interest in talent development in the social sector.
I was supposed to meet with my friend Athip to talk about my experience at Teach For America because he’s interested in potentially applying the TFA model back in Thailand. Unfortunately, Athip had to cancel. Fortunately, I ran into my friend Sam and we had the opportunity to catch up before walking over to Econ class.
Interesting Econ class about the pros and cons of pay-for-performance models.
Walked over to the library with my friend Caitrin to work on regression group project and prepare for Incentives project group meeting.
Meeting with Incentives group to decide on topic for our project. We came up with lots of ideas, ultimately deciding on an approach to get parents and kids to read together more frequently. We’ll work on it for the next few weeks and create a video and report about our eventual approach. I forgot to take a photo during the meeting, but we did get this photo of us jumping. Always fun.
Went over to the weekly Friday LPF (aka happy hour) on Town Square. This week’s LPF was sponsored by the Black Business Student Association. I did not join in the group dancing. No one wants to see me try to dance.
Met up with Louis and Faris. Faris’s shoes were really, really orange.
Walked over to Arrillaga Dining Hall and had dinner with Louis, debriefed the week, and talked about summer plans.
Walked back to Schwab, made sure to send a description of our Incentives project to the professor before I forgot what we decided on, email triage.
Did Econ homework that was due at midnight. Thank you, procrastination!
Planned out my priorities for the weekend. I just always feel better when I have a sense for what I need to accomplish. Then I wasted some time on the internet.
Bedtime. Boring Friday night, I know, but it has been a long week. And it’s not so important that my Friday nights are exciting when my weeks in general are awesome.