A few of you may be shocked to hear this, but I’ve recently discovered that writing a blog is not the only way to get in touch with other incoming students. Surprise!
The incoming MBA class of 2016-2017 has been using a special forum for communication: Telegram.
Telegram, for those of you lacking in an under-20 sibling to keep you up-to-date, is a messaging platform like many others, except that it also specializes in total encryption of its messages. This is all well and good, as this way, no one will know about our class’s dastardly plans to take over the Radcliffe Camera and make it the new headquarters of Saïd Business School.
Let’s say we have a new student. And because I’ve been re-reading Terry Pratchett this summer, let’s say that student’s name is Carrot.
Being an enterprising sort, Carrot finds his way to a Facebook group for this class. Reading the instructions there, he dutifully emails the Telegram admins and is subsequently admitted into the most exclusive (and most garrulous) of communities.
Upon entering, he is given a very kind greeting and access to thousands of Telegram messages from very enthusiastic fellow students. Judging by the admission office’s estimated class size of 320 for the incoming year and the current Telegram group population of 261  , about two-thirds of us have already taken this step.
He is asked to fill out some basic biodata in a Google spreadsheet. Only about 160 people have actually gone this far. By entering his information,  Carrot contributes to a startling treasure trove of analytics. 
Here, there is much to learn. For instance, it appears that most of the class comes from South Asia, with North America as a close second. It dives off quick from there, with notable numbers hailing directly from South Africa or Australia.
Most interestingly, only a few students appear to be domestic. The current class has UK students in the single digits, and looking at previous classes, this does not appear to be uncommon.  More than 90% of students, therefore, are international! No major business school I know of in the US can make a similar claim. And yes, the countries represented here heavily consist of Anglophone former British colonies, but even so, we’ll have an especially wide variety of fellow students to learn from. I feel confident that Carrot will take good advantage of that fact, and I hope the rest of us can as well.
The Telegram conversation itself is a potpourri of information. There’s commentary on everything from the impact of Brexit to whether we need to buy tickets for college balls  to sharing news from recent Saïd webinars to updates for fans of the Serial podcast. Most charmingly, many students have already run casual city meetups and have sent in photos. Carrot would approve.
I must say, it’s quite impressive to see how mobilized people already are for the year to come. I have no doubt that our coup attempt at the Radcliffe Camera will be wildly successful.
So if you’re an admit for the coming year and haven’t yet joined in the conversation, make your way to this Facebook group and kick off the process. We’ll be seeing you soon.
 Telegram is, in fact, so good at its encryption process that it has gained some notoriety as the communications platform of choice for the seedier elements of global society, including—gulp—terrorists. Let’s just brush that under the rug for the moment, shall we?
 While discounting for a few kibitzers from the Class of 2016 who are keeping an eye on our discussion as might an outwardly disapproving, but inwardly pleased older sibling
 Name: “Cpt. Carrot Ironfoundersson” | Country: “Ankh-Morpork, Discworld” | Relationship Status: “Onne (1) Wharewolf Ladyfriend, Angua von Überwald, who will accompanie me to yore Distant Lands, but only if we finde Speciale Couple’s Housing with Paw-Friendly Doornobbs, wich St. Hilda’s doesn’t seem to provyide…” | Work Ex 1: “Ankh-Morpork City Watch, being On The Beat, avoiding the Crowne” | Work Ex 2: “Mining, gold gold gold, Mining, Smelting, gold gold gold” | etc.
 I just discovered that some point in the last month, my own spreadsheet data were deleted! In revenge, I have, at random, very slightly altered the inputs that ten of you have entered. Chocolate rewards for those who can uncover my malfeasance.
 I was going to include students from other European countries in this “domestic” statistic, but in light of recent events, perhaps not…
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