I went to Columbia Business School a long time ago and, to be honest, I might not recognize the School or the curriculum today. But I did learn something there that stayed with me and was of more benefit than anything I can remember from the classroom. I started out thinking I'd be in a huge city and know nobody after graduating from Amherst where it seemed like you knew everybody. I expected to be in my dorm room at John Jay Hall most of the time, have few friends, study like mad, go to classes, and graduate in two years with a good job.

What happened instead was that I met a group of people like me in the dorm and we quickly learned that instead of studying solo we could meet—just like real people in business do—to discuss the assignments, which at that time were mostly case studies. We would share our point of view and then go off and write our own papers. Once we figured this out, we explored New York, made time to find and attend parties, and (as men) met women. We all got pretty good grades and became known by the faculty as "The Syndicate" because we figured out the system. I ended up with a part-time job downtown in the second year and found a job quickly afterwards, and this group of about 15 people became my best friends for life.

I spent four years in corporate marketing and 30+ years in the advertising agency business, and today I still have a consulting business. Our interaction as students working together taught me how to function productively in business and have some fun doing it.