Saturday, July 30, 2005

Am in Fonty. Loooooving it here (the weather et al). Detailed post to replace this in a couple of days when I get an access to an internet connection.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Keeping the Promises

There are some emotions in the air. I am indeed leaving. Family has got all goody with me. They are packing for me, buying toothpaste for me, & printing out maps for me.

I ended up finishing the packing. I have about 40 Kgs in the 2 large suitcases, I have one cabin size suitcase (12 Kgs) and the laptop and a "schoolboy" backpack. If I do get away with one cabin suitcase and the laptop with the backpack hanging, I might closely shave the unstated 35 Kg limit for check-in. I am glad I have organized myself a lot better than I did on my previous journey. I certainly will not pay a ridiculous sum. The weighing machine did breakeven or should I wait for the verdict from the airline before commenting?

I even let go a lot of heavy clothing and packed "intelligently".

I kept a promise to a friend on a get-together. Guy is doing very well for himself since we last met (about 2.5 years back), married and happy :-) and able to take 3 hour lunch breaks (even more at times he claims). He is self-employed (pretty much).

Next Post to come from Fontainebleau or Tours.

Wannabe - IPod? I insist I am so not into these things.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Big day.

Woke up at 9:00 Am. Was on the streets from 9:40 Am until about 8:50 Pm. Finished every little bit of shopping. Lets see all that I bought today....
1. Started off by an impulse buy - Reebok Tracksuits / shorts in a 50% off deal.
2. Formal Black Shoes - My dad who was going around with me was oddly pushing me to keep something formal. (wise advice I do think)
3. A checked casual shirt. (too expensive I think)
4. A black and a navy blue trouser ! (that you can wear and wear and wear with practically all shirts)

I also called about 8 insurance agents browsed a few websites for "cheap insurance" in Europe for Students. They are too cheap with high deductibles, now I wish they were a little more expensive.

I gooffed up on 2 mini "Get togethers" on the sameday. I was late. Managing my way in this city's traffic has been difficult. Lot of missed calls from friends. Will catch up tomorrow.

PS: Ms. Fiancee confirmed that it was she who posted that anonymous comment but underplayed Poirot's achievement by saying "of course you had to crack it". Death Spiral turning into an emotional spiral ;-).

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Countdown at 100 Hours

Blogging is like any other "conversation". One starts off very focussed and gets into the unimportant detail and remains in the unimportant detail the whole time.

I have hardly talked about my plans. In the next 100 hours or less, I will be leaving home for a year. A YEAR. I will be off vacation partially and will spend about one month is a small town in France (Tours) to learn French. Yes. After the month, I am told, "You almost certainly will speak French". Lets see. What I couldn't do with a bunch of dictionaries, verb conjugation books, phrase books and state of the art multimedia CDs this 20 hours / week, 4 week course promises to do, nevertheless at a big premium. Verdict on the program in the end of August. I am also going to spend the 4 weeks with a french family. That is exciting. I will leave for fontainebleau after I finish the course to INSEAD about 2 days prior to start of orientation. So that is going to be tight. But working 20 hours only on language for 4 weeks should be something for an adult. I don't understand how they will keep my (and my classmates) attention, but we will see.

Still to do before I leave home
1. Shoe Shopping / Casual shirt shopping
2. Temporary Insurance (until I buy insurance locally in France next month through INSEAD)
3. Meet up with Old colleagues, New INSEADers from this town and Ex roomie to say goodbye. (Poor order I know)
4. Reorganize packing with excess baggage estimates.
5. Get the maps and contacts printed out.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Winner of Champagne : Death Spiral !!!

Obviously because no one has claimed the prize, I keep the champagne as per the original deal
:-). Whoever #100 was. I even noticed someone has deleted a comment on the previous post. That certainly is against "Freedom of listening".

Today was a very eventless day. I started shopping (to add to my 42 kgs). I have been wearing formals all my work life. There is an urgent need to add casuals / business casuals (like polo shirts) . Got some good deals. Might also do some shoe shopping etc tomorrow.

My task list looks pretty much the same as the task list in every other blog around in the MBA league, so I "stole content shamelessly" (like Welch's Steal Ideas Shamelessly) and pasted it here: (of course this is an assortment hence no acknowledgements)
Pack up(almost)
Paid tuition fees that is due (done)
Rent / Deposit / Contract (done)
Preliminary budget (done)
Selling the car (done)
Buying a car (done)
Pre-reading (in progress, need to organize myself better to finish on time)
Shopping (in progress)
French Lessons (All August)
Bank account (later)
Currency conversions (done).
Excess baggage strategy (Ref: Weighing machine, done)
Rental Car (done)
Printout of maps / directions / contact numbers etc.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Packing begins...

Packing has started and I have 2 full suitcases that weigh about 42 Kgs (7 Kgs or ~$40 in red). I am targetting about 15 Kgs or < $100 excess. That won't be too bad for the big journey. I certainly can pay a 3rd world country's national airline about $100 when I can pay Europcar $100 for that KANGOO.


Read about 6 pages more of pre-reading for a good hour. (well I am going to be doomed if my reading speed / concentration is at current levels. I learnt one simple fact. Whatever governments do to intervene in trade (the great Demand / Supply model) has to be either wrong or dead wrong. Everything including taxes, ceilings, floors (like minimum wage acts) act negatively on both buyers and sellers.

The Counter

> 50 within a day. Good job visitors. I plan incentives for the 100th, 1000th and 10,000th visitors if you can prove it. (Champagne for INSEADers & essay review/commentary for applicants). Of course since all of you have a lot of time - take a screenshot of the prize winning visit count and send it through email to If there are multiple entries, the champagne is for myself ;-).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Nephew Produces Positive Energy

As scary as it sounds, I think a diaper clad toddler in a family is a great idea. He (or she) seems to keep 3 adults so busy (his grandparents and mom, the lucky dad is away working his ass off) that they don't have time to get into mundane quarrels. Although an occassional confusion erupts on who the fellow loves the most, the innocent kid is the most politically correct creature in the world. I am enjoying the company of my nephew although at home, I look like the most indifferent, heartless fellow sitting and blogging his way to fame admist all the commotion. In a week or so I am going to miss all this action. Am I old or what??????

An Inspiration...

The temptation to keep the non-geek image failed terribly when I had about half hour on hand and I had already updated all of you with the latest. Ms. Fiancee has been busy trying to find a way to call me and hasn't got here (the blog) to give the verdict on the champagne. So no additional news to report. Half hour on hand...Hm... A productive way of using the time was to follow the inspiration from KV and then by Le Optmiste, I added the counter. Its a cool tool. Checked a couple of links, this one was the simplest. So here it is.

New Weighing Machine

I bought myself a weighing machine and a lighter suitcase to make travel to Fhanse easy. I am going to weigh every single piece of luggage before qualifying it for check-in. I am also going to do the math myself on excess baggage charges. Interested in flying free to help transport my baggage - press 333 now....

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Rental Car Episode 2

Wannabe suggested I rent a motorcycle, not a bad idea if wannabe flies down from Malaysia to move my luggage from CDG to Fonty. Ill-mannered bad joke, I know. I have some history with motorcycles. Will share someother time.

Mr. JB from europcar wrote back to me this time answering my question (suggesting a car I could rent). He suggested I take a RN KANGOO EXPRESSION. hi hi hi. People - From Megane to a Kangoo. Please look at the pictures of these two cars (Google Search Images). And I now need to pay Euro 78 for this Kangoo fellow (for a mere 9 euros I get demoted from a "love it or hate it" estate to the worst cargo van in the world ever). Anyways I guess it is absolutely functional and I am taking it.

Detective Work: Death Spiral turns Hercule Poirot. (Notice the French touch)

Anonymous (nice guy/gal anonymous) wants me to guess who she / he is (and the prize is a Champagne - read comment in the Rental Car blog below)
Clue 1. Obviously someone I know because there is no point in me attempting to guess who it is without actually knowing her / him.
Clue 2. I get a champagne, so obviously someone who gets to be next to me when I am at INSEAD.
Clue 3: (the giveaway) Someone who has no relationship with business
Clue 4: Epitome of political correctness, that means, someone who has Empathy, & Harmony ;-).
Based on the four clues, my only guess is: My fiancee.

Do I win my champagne? You owe me atleast a couple of champagnes for missing out the phone call on 20th July 2005 - The 36th anniversary of the day man set foot on the moon. So make it three if I win :-).

Sorry readers for that rare personal touch to the blog, I hope you guys and gals don't mind it ;-).

Coming soon: How Hercule Poirot cracked the case.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rental Car Surprise.

Today I decided to do some hardwork. I didn't realize the magnitude when I started searching for a one day rental to move from the airport to Fontainebleau. I thought car rental might be a good idea. I kept away from the rental company that was "red tagged" by past INSEADers. Talking about red-tags, the INSEAD community seems to have a robust process to say "Please don't choose that real estate agent or Please don't rent a car from XYZ company". I chose Europcar and went through the online process including the scary part of giving them my CC #. I was happy to find a Renault Megane for Euro 86 (with all the luggage I will have to move, the car looks spacious).

I was happy the task was behind me until i got a very personal mail stating the car is unavailable. I guess they use a very preliminary system to annoy their customers. Anyways, I need to go through the process all over again because they did not even suggest alternatives. Oh well, thats unfair, they did suggest an alternative: "Cancel your booking and get lost".

A Blog I read....

I spent about an hour yesterday reading past posts of a blog by an INSEADer who has mastered humor. I enjoyed reading it.

This blog is easily the most personal blog I have read of an INSEADer till date. It includes a lot of struggles / dilemmas "applicants" ignore during application.

Most applicants tend to think that "one has made it" when there is an "Admit". But the truth is - admission is simply the beginning. There of course is some struggle before you get into an MBA, but then there is this incredible rat-race you have got yourself into, there is no easy way out of it. (Disclaimer: I am often called an emotional roller-coaster, so I might change my views with no notice)

Career change aspirants - do try reading this blog.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Book Review - How full is your bucket? / China Inc.

With nothing better to do I thought I might as well post a couple of book reviews. Books I read in the last couple of months.

How full is your bucket is a book from a couple of guys in Gallup. A fantastic "Easy to preach, difficult to follow" concept. Its about how much difference positivity makes. I forced about 6 people to read the book amongst my friends in the last couple of months (before leaving my "old home"). The concept of the book can be summarized in a couple of lines. Let me try,

"Everyone in the world is carrying an imaginary bucket with her/him, every moment of interaction can be represented by an imaginary drop into the bucket or a dip into whatever lies in the bucket (a fluid would be a good idea to visualize). A positive interaction causes a drop both to the person causing it and the person effecting it. A negative interaction is one that causes a dip" obviously Gallup's theory is: the more full someone's bucket the more productive, successful, happy, willing to fill buckets etc, etc etc the are. Recommended reading. That wasn't two lines !!! Anyways, amongst my friends it has been working very well, whenever someone makes fun of someone else we joke around with a "you just drilled a permanent hole in my bucket"....or in a good mood situation a statement like "whats up why do you seem to have an overflowing bucket today?" is way too common.

About China Inc. The author is strong in numbers - He talks about how the chinese economy is doing. The book for the most part is giving numbers and statistically convincing "how china took over every single manufacturing business from the US....lots and lots of numbers from Michigan, Ohio, and every manufacturing midwestern state. (The author also seems to be infatuated with Beijing's namesake in Illinois Pekin for his examples). The part about software piracy is scary (especially in the minds of young chinese). The part about human rights is not all that scary but there certainly is truth to the story. After reading a part in Willy's blog about china "disallowing blogs" - I am completely able to relate to a few things I had taken for granted about China. That said, it certainly is an exciting country. All cons are compressed into one chapter and that comes at the very end. I wish the negativity was sandwiched in between so that we could walk away from the book with a sweet taste of a "Booming economy". Recommended reading if you are either super-pro-China or wanna throw a few numbers to startle your b-school peers.

Trying to meet up / talk to a few schooltime friends. No luck so far.

I read three blogs today in detail - two of which had a mention of long distance relationships. Coincidence? Maybe.

IDP + This blog is getting boring.

Managed to find an agent who will run around to get my IDP. The whole thing looks very redundant and unnecessary. I have valid licenses issued by 3 countries and I still need to go to the DMV equivalent with my passport, visa, the "social security card" equivalent to get my IDP. What better things do I have to do today? So I did some running around.

Life is good. I have been receiving emails from people who are applying to INSEAD at several stages (Deciding on the school, about interviews etc etc). I am surprised how the news spreads about people attending b-school. Some of these people have a very convincing story about their b-school plans.

This blog is getting something else for the next 10 days when I challenge my own limits of "doing absolutely nothing". Isn't this ironic. When you have a looot of time on hand, you actually don't have content. And when you have a lot of content (meaning activity levels are high), you just don't get to sit down and blog in peace. I need to find a way to overcome this.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Maps of Europe & Pre-reading

Today was spent pretty much on a chapter of economics that gets deeper into elasticity and on websites that provide maps (along with toll-charges) within Europe. (About 20 minutes of the whole day).

Eventless. Lots of sleep....pampering the 2 year old nephew and getting pampered by the oldies at home. Eventless still.

One more day closer to INSEAD. Tomorrow I plan to work on my international driving permit that will allow me to drive in France in the first 6 months.

Lets go read the other blogs....I will start posting links of a few more I have been following very soon (Collectively).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Excess Baggage, Mom's Food, Thunderbird and Unemployment.

As much as I am pleased to be home eating mom's food, I am traumatized by something that happenned and I am afraid I will have to go through it all over again. I was checking in my 5 bags weighing a total of 70 Kgs on my way home. To clarify, I am not a woman with a lot of shoes. Rather, I am a boring fellow with a poor dress sense (especially in picking socks), relocating back to my permenant address after living in a country for 2 years.

I was told by the check in clerk that I had to pay excess baggage of 1200 bucks. Yes thats right 1200. I politely told him that I paid 980 for my ticket that allowed 35 Kgs. Now I had to pay 1200 only for extra 35 Kgs. For that kind of money, I should logically be able to ship one more Death Spiral + all the baggage + have enough to drink my way to glory all the way home. (and buy drinks for my newfound clone as well if he is not a teetotaler). The clerk realized his mistake and gave me a "discount" and I ended up paying 730. In return I got upped to a B-class seat :-) for the 5 hour flight. That was nice of him. But I could have used another 200 discount instead of the upgrade. (if you know my country of origin, you could straightaway correlate my cheapness to a stereotype about my countrymen that is wellfounded...any guesses?)

What worries me though is the fact that - I will have to fly to france in a few weeks and I need to go through exactly the same issue of excess baggage...recommendations are welcome. Just keep in mind that I am way too lazy (and unorganized) for doing cargo shipments or the likes.

Met an interesting father of a fellow who did his MIM at Thunderbird. He certainly didn't feel happy about the investment his son made on the program (who is unemployed a year after graduating). I personally think the Thunderbird program is great. I didn't have enough information to counter his arguments on ROI related concerns on the program. I just heard him out and let it pass. One sample is never a good idea to make a judgement on...(Except when it is as representative as wannabe ;-)..........)
Where did I meet him? Excess baggage counter.

Now all is well. Moms food is as great as always. Pampering is at its best. I use the term "unemployed" to get sympathy from my family. It seems to be working so far.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Hero : Wannabe

We have reached the sample size target for the market study on "What do you want out of the Blog". So based on Wannabe's only rating. (well no one else took the pain)...going forward I assume:

What my readers want: (Plural on purpose)
1. I read the death spiral blog to laugh my ass off.
2. I read death spiral because both of us share one thing in common - we have a loooot of spare time on hand.

What my readers don't want:
1. I read the death spiral blog to understand who is a better professor, the Org. Behavior or Managerial Finance one at INSEAD.
2. I read the death spiral to learn le langue francaise.

That has got to be good. If I had phrased the #2 "don't read question" now I would also have "the English language" along with "Le Langue Francaise" as some people do seem to come to my website to do spell and grammar checks. (I learnt it was grammar and not grammer from a friend who helped essay editing for b-school).

And last to my hero of the day / week / blog - Wannabe. Thanks a ton for filling out the survey :-). Here is your bumper prize
1. If you are an INSEADer: in the true INSEAD tradition, you get a champagne bottle.
2. If you are an applicant: I promise to work on your "almost ready" draft of essays (I can't believe I am promising this) for one of the following schools (I know only these schools: IMD, INSEAD, Columbia, Wharton, NYU & GSB Chicago)

Good to know there are a few readers of the blog and some even enjoy it "even though they don't know what I am talking about". Get those comments out there so you can help refine this blog.

Tomorrow I leave the 'Exotic country' I live in and leave home for a 15 day break. That ought to be good.

Monday, July 11, 2005

La Langue fran├žaise & Joe's perception of Popular Business Schools.

Aujourd'hui, we will all learn un peu la langue fran├žaise (hurray, I even found the hook at the bottom). Lets see what all I know so far,

(Excuse all the little scratches that go off the letters in random fashion, usually with the vowels)
Long Sejour - Long Stay
Carte de sejour - Stay Card (we will keep the connections so that its easier to learn)
Carte gris - Grey Card (the registration card for the car)
Droite / Gauche (one is left and the other right, but which is what?)

The question everyone at works seems to be asking me when I say "I am going to France for an MBA"-"So you know French?" or "So how will you manage without french?" or something to that tune. To save some explanations I say, "Well I am going to do an intensive French course before I start my program" and the discussion ends there.

My observation so far has been that: INSEAD as a brand seems to enjoy extra-ordinary popularity amidst senior management, business educators and recruiters. The brand is still not recognized by the average Joe (sorry Joe). The weight that a Harvard or Stanford carries with the average Joe is extra-ordinary, schools like Wharton / LBS / INSEAD suffer. (Please welcome scantly clad Ms. Controversy into my Blog). I also think there are a disproportionate number of students (oops, Candidates / Participants) who actually pick the Harvards and Stanfords not because they believe in the quality of education or the opportunities ahead in their desired career paths, (For example: I do believe genuinely that INSEAD any day is THE SCHOOL for a career in International management), but because of the perception by the average Joe who is a bartender down the street who will pour that free drink celebrating your success, one chooses emotionally rather than rationally.

I wanted to use the elasticity theory to show you how people actually make these trade offs (Microeconomics pre-reading chapter 2 on Demand Vs Supply). But then, my marginal understanding of the subject would flagrantly unelasticize (also called plasticize) your perceived value of this blog. So I will just get going....

Au revoir....

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Privacy, Value Proposition, & Customer Value.

I today decided to broaden my perspectives and learn about Blogs from other schools, started randomly and the one thing that struck me the most is - how open other bloggers are when compared to the INSEAD bloggers on Privacy related concerns. People have pictures, and that certainly hasn't stopped them from giving out strong personal views about anything and everything. I do agree each one of us does have a strong personal view. But I couldn't help but start stereotyping people based on what they started saying about themselves and their actions. I started relating their opinions in no time to their backgrounds. This is precisely what I am trying to avoid in this blog. Am I starting to justify why I haven't got my ugly picture up there?. Maybe I am. Maybe there is more to it. I want to avoid any "connotation" or "preconceived notion" that might come along with my background.

There might even be some questions on why I never blogged on a "very controversial country" I live in.

I haven't even mentioned to my classmates at INSEAD (including some good buddies I have made in the last 8 months) for this very same reason. I might be a little too ambitious in attempting to create the quality level that the information about the blog will spread.

Knowing the quality of MBA blogs out there, this is a stretch. Today, I am defining my "Vision" for the blog. Lets see.....

I Blog to bring the secrets of what goes on in a High Cost MBA (where I used to work, countries were differentiated as high cost countries and low cost countries) to the rest of the world so they are in a better position to decide how to spend the several thousand Euros, in the process venting out my own frustrations in a high pressure environment despite my indifference.

Pheew. Thats a little complicated don't you think? Let me take a more customer centric approach (background influence again). Why don't those who read this comment on what this Blog should serve as (unscientific survey - the louder one speaks the better he is heard) to uniquely position itself as a valuable B-school blog and we will take it from there. To limit your answers here are some of the questions I would like some of you answer.

Answer the following questions on a scale of 1 to 5 (1-Strongly disagree to 5 Strongly agree)
1. I read the death spiral blog to understand who is a better professor, the Org. Behavior or Managerial Finance one at INSEAD. (See why anonymity at every level has its advantages?)
2. I read the death spiral blog to get a 3rd world perspective of very high cost business education.
3. I read the death spiral blog to learn a methodology of forecasting how my career will shape up.
4. I read the death spiral blog as a part of the advanced level "anger management programme".
5. I read the death spiral blog to laugh my ass off.
6. I read the death spiral to learn le langue francaise. (where should I go to find that C with a hook at the bottom?)
7. I read death spiral because both of us share one thing in common - we have a loooot of spare time on hand. (hi hi hi, and they all say MBAs keep them busy, but then what the hell, that is what you need to do to justify all the money you are spending)

Use the comments section and just put in your rating as follows: (Q1-5,Q2-5,Q3-5,Q4-5, Q5-5 and so on....)

I volunteer (and add it to my community activity list) to tabulate results and publish it shortly. (Minimum sample size restriction: 1).

On a closing note, a quotable quote from the former dean of the MBA program I heard about a year back in a reception.
"We have two programs, the MBA and the Ph.D. In the former it is difficult to get in and easy to get out, in the latter, it is easy to get in and difficult to get out".

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Death Spiral Getting Popular?

Guess what? I received the first comment ever on my blog. Thanks Forest Gump for the first ever comment. I wonder if POE will work when you have more than 5 choices (ref: GMAT). It didn't work at all even when I had five choices :-).

Is it just that I have been way too egoistic to actually advertise this in the message boards.I finally managed to put the link on

I have also started playing around with the blogger. Links to the two INSEAD blogs I have enjoyed reading are right here. (You will directly know where my style is lifted from).

Now that we spoke about all the marketing and stuff, I am going to give you reasons why you should read my blog. I think its easiest when someone has already taken the initiative and "walked into" the sales floor. So I am going to try and convince you why you should be reading my blog on a regular basis. So to start today's blog, I am going to define "Target Audience".

So here you go....

If you are one of those applicants / MBA students / anyone who does not fall in the above two categories with any of the following traits...this is the one stop shop for you....

1. You have no clue what exactly you want to do with life but you also don't want to waste 2 of those uncertain years solving cases (hence a one year program).
2. You are from the third world, where getting things done takes 3 times the energy it takes in Fhanse and will never complain about dead phone lines and leaking bathtubs.
3. Theme Parties - Well well well, if I start on this one, I will certainly be offending a lot more people than I should. INSEAD seems to have a lot of theme parties. It should be interesting to see the kind of reception the death spiral gets in such parties. But me thinks the spiral is too conservative to make statements. So the death spiral might just not be attending.
4. Average, average, average. Never were you ashamed of being average in class on the tennis court, on the football team (what MOST of the world calls the game). You were perhaps not ashamed because you knew you were surrounded by active below average people and you were the only lazy average fella.
5. You believe life is simple and squarely unfair. Luck, chance and probability almost always plays a significantly more important role than effort, hardwork and determination. (oops did I just conflict with #4?)
6. You don't look for reason in anything and everything you do. You are random, impulsive, emotional, & wild - In English thats called Human. (Example: why am I called Death Spiral?)
7. You are unable to relate to any of the top 6 but still kept reading this far :-).

Friday, July 08, 2005

London didn't deserve this at all. I hope all the INSEADers / the families / friends are safe. Considering 65% of the class ends up in western Europe on graduation is scary to INSEADers.

There are very few issues where 6 billion people unite. On these one or two subjects, everyone seems to unite and condemn the 0.0001% that seems to still execute these acts.....

I was reading another really good blog from the earlier year by willynilly. Check that out.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Blogging certainly is not for everybody. For someone very indisciplined as me, it might be an even bigger a hurdle. It is simply very hard to come every day and say something about what is going on - with MBA in context. Well, I am going to try not to miss 4 days in a row the way I did just now. I wonder how it is going to be during those dreaded 16,18,20 hour MBA days.....lets face it when it comes.

Things have been generally very very active on b-school preparations. People are starting to talk about arrival dates, packing advice, insurance, visa stamping, activity we are getting close eh?

Football certainly is a subject that warrants attention especially with the world cup happenning during our MBA. And Guess what? Its in Europe and we have a very cosmopolitan crowd at INSEAD. So I already hear people talk about qualifying, debating about winning The confusing part however is that whoever wins or loses, INSEAD is going to have both joy and sadness those few months (because both sides are going to be represented in the class in abundance) including "extended support" from several of the others whose countries don't make it to the top of the tables.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Today's subject is visa. Heard a couple of horror stories on the message board. It would be really silly not to do an MBA (especially after those essays) because of visa issues. I don't think that will happen to anyone. Its more "taking" a little bit of harassment during interviews and the extra visit to the embassy / consulate.

My visa experience was very pleasant. I was treated very well (although the paperwork was a little too much for today's standards). I also had to translate all my documents into French.

The most irritating person I encountered in the process was the security guard. There is a very good reason why security guards don't issue visas.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I don't know if all b-schools use this "Pre-MBA" networking forum called Netvestibule. It certainly has changed the way Pre-MBA networking works. This is a one-stop shop for communicating with your future classmates, current students....lets see what all people are talking about here....some of the subjects that I have come across so far...

1. Drinking and partying in Bay Area, New Delhi, Paris, NY, Toronto and Beirut.
2. Scuba Diving, Middle East Peace (yes you heard it right), Govt housing, visa issues, the "another hot networking tool" linkedin.
3. For sale - bicycles, baby cradle, cars, microwaves, iron.
4. Opinions on houses, distances, weather etc.

My cheap judgements the above honorable acts.

1. There is a lot more demand for "woman housemates" to add to the "diversity" of the house. Well this is mainly attributed to the M:F ratio of 4 (approximation only) in INSEAD. Its a shame women are still not empowered enough to go for management careers (or are they simply smarter and don't spend all the dollars (sorry euros) they have earned on theoretical knowledge acquired through practical experience of classmates?)

2. Although people spend about Euro 65 K for this year at INSEAD, they still want to sell the Euro 8 worth of electric iron. That minute spent composing that message and handling the phone call (assuming the first caller bought it) was worth more than the Euro 8. Or am I missing something? Well, we all would like to believe we are worth much more than what we actually are. Guess what? It was absolutely worth trying to sell the iron for 8 Euros.

3. Pre-reading........everyone seems to be selling their pre-reading books and guess what? Atleast 2 of the 4 pre-reading books are exercise books. (remember the dots you needed to connect in your 2nd grade Art class?). What use is the art book after the dots are connected? And yet, the ads say "books as good as in new condition" almost invariably. I insist atleast the art books should be returned to the book stores if the claims are true.

4. Sadly, there are a few people still struggling to get their finances in order. I am surprised (INSEAD Praise warning), students are so supportive and almost always come out with ideas that are individualized for the "Scream for help".

5. I love the little picture that is on the left side of the email that comes from netvestibule. You get to see the person who sends the message. Atleast if you see this person on campus you will know...."Ah there goes the 8 Euro Iron guy".

6. Yesterday I think there was a technical problem and I got the same message 26 times (NOT KIDDING) and all of them were delivered to my inbox at work (yes, I am still working)

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