Speed Dating

I'm sorry to tell you that I met neither Ms. Perfect nor Ms. Psycho-Bitch at speed dating. So unlike my counterpart CL, I don't have any crazy stories from the speed dating event at the GSB. Nonetheless, I can share some thoughts with you.

Here's how the whole deal works: there were 180 of us, half men and half women. I sit across from a gal for three minutes, and then I move five spots (more on this later) down and repeat the process with another gal. It's that simple.

Obviously, three minutes is a very short time and not enough to talk about anything significant. Hence when I get asked which year of business school I am in, or what concentration I am on track to get, or where I will be working, I get quite restless. Can we talk about food and traveling instead? Or music? Or movies? Or books? Anything but school and class, please.

And how many people asked me about class and school? All but three. Two were GSB gals whom I knew from before so we weren't limited to three minutes. One was a cool gal who liked to travel so we talked about that. I tell you, U of C does weird things to non-MBAs.

Since there were 90 pairs of men and women, one can't really meet everybody. Hence the "plus five spot" rule. It's a good way to get people moving around and tour the entire room... but, uh, there were certainly a few times when I wish it was a "plus four/six rule" instead.

Anyway, it's time for a top ten list: if I could do this again, I would...
10. ask the first question: what is your favorite food (courtesy of CS)... or if food isn't your thing, ask about the last movie she watched
9. not talk about Chicago weather
8. put some simple notes on the back of the sheet - by the end, I couldn't remember any names... not even the numbers, actually
7. let her talk... if this doesn't work, she's a keeper. heh heh.
6. write down all the numbers of everybody I met (save the psycho bitch). Since three minutes is too short, if you didn't feel like fleeing, it's probably okay. You need two sides to agree anyway.

If I were the organizer, I would...
5. offer some of the above advice to participants
4. organize a smaller event with pre-screening, so all dudes gets to meet all gals, and save those "I wish I was a plus four this time" feelings and help the guys focus on the task at hand rather than the lost opportunity next seat.
3. allow one "skip card"... I didn't need it, but I'm sure some did. You may have one guy whom all the gals uses the skip card on. He can then at least get a refund.
2. have multiple breaks that allow for more alcohol, and maybe some catch up time. Have an after party at a real bar / club.
1. allow one "change seat card" to be used - yeah, it would be controversial, but it'll also be hilarious...!


shmoo said...

I wouldn't do the skip and change seat, unless it's only to be used if you already know someone.

Anyway, as you know, I went last year and I wrote down about 17 numbers, but I agree that it would've been better if others thought to follow the same strategy. I only got two matches, but I can't imagine all 15 others really didn't like me. What could I have done in three minutes?

Also, and most importantly, by about halfway through I did stop asking the same questions over and over. Of course, when I asked one person "what did you do last weekend?" she answered "my father's funeral", so it didn't always work so well.

sindy said...

great idea about the skip and change cards! i've been curious and wanting to try speed dating; but worried that i'd have to entertain one jerk after another.

hedonist said...

Speed dating? The way you described it reminds me of orientation...hmmm.

And what do you mean by "U of C does weird things to non MBAs"?!!!!

Josekin said...

All the non-MBAs were interested in what the MBAs were doing in school and after school, which makes for a boring three minute conversation. Arg.