Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Death Spiral Begins.

The first ever INSEAD test was returned. I have already started trailing behind my peers. The average is 16.3 on 20 (inhuman I call it). I made 14. I am soo proud to be in the midst of these outstandingly smart people who knew not to choose phrases like (as the correct answer)

"It is more less than d(p)".

when I couldn't even interpret in my native language to be able to answer. Anyway, life moves on and I already know I start with an advantage with the course.

Who reads this blog for acads anyways right? So let me move on to stuff I am good at reporting.

The Red Day is here.

Thursday's are social days for our section. Social day means the whole class collectively does something (crazy or not) at school. Today, we were supposed to get dressed in one of the three colors of the lebanese flag. But the color had to be chosen based on whether one was "Single and Purely Single" (Green Color), "Grey Area" (White) or "Married or Totally Committed" (Red). I was so surprised almost everyone (about 80%) was in RED !!! So I did feel like in the middle of very old people (Guess what color I was wearing?)....We were also supposed to say "Istez" before we started any phrase (Prof in arabic) and it was fun. These things really balance out the insanity in the system. Last night I worked 4 hours on my Finance / Accounting assignments for today's class.

The Reason I came to b-school

Four years back I lost about $2000 in a week in the NASDAQ (worth 10 b-school applications, 1 vacation in France, etc etc etc). I then said to myself I wanted to go to B-school. Today, we spoke the subject concerning it (Stock picking) in Finance 1 (At last after all that crap about discounting, NPV etc in which Warren buffet doesn't believe in ;-) we got into Portfolio management. It was a very very interesting class on how variation can be reduced by picking different stocks with different risk-reward equations. Can't wait to learn more about all this.

Quotable Quotes

Question of the Day: "So the ending balance is the beginning balance so why is not the ending balance the beginning balance?"

Girl to Guy: "Is that really a white shirt or is it a red shirt that is so faded I can't see it?"

Guy back: "No no no...this should actually be green, I just didn't find a better green in the wardrobe".

Prof to Student: "You would want to use LIFO or FIFO depending on which shirt is in the inventory....if it is this one (pointing to his own) or that one (pointing to the student's). Mine is a lot more expensive than yours so expense it first."

Prof to Student: "I know thats a lot more interesting than what I am teaching here, but I am paid to teach this".

Monday, September 26, 2005

First test ever

Ok, today I got evaluated for the first time and the journey 'towards' average has just begun. When everyone is equal it is so fun. Actually it is not. The test was in financial accounting and contributed about 30% to the final grade. The test wasn't all that difficult but I didn't really like the idea of including the little details he mentioned in the class on Friday. It was ok. So no complaints. Anyone going to INSEAD, please do get yourself the 6 MB Cheatsheet docket and save some serious time. If you are the 'customization geek' you might waste your personal time will contribute to the future class experience. But I am no customization geek so I am just enjoying the fruits of labor of all the alumni who are making 100s of 000s of euros around the world (or so I am told). A couple of guys freaked me out by walking out of the exam hall in 50 minutes (2 hour test) when I was done with about 30% of the test. Are they brilliant accountants ? The mean / median / mode of the test will tell.

Tomorrow we have the second test, this time a 10% evaluation through a multiple choice :-). So guess what? I am ignoring it absolutely with no pang of guilt.

I am thinking of going to the oktoberfest but am worried already that I am not getting the most out of the 'typical INSEAD weekend' (drink, drink, drink and drink more in funny clothes)...but wait a minute - isn't oktoberfest exactly that?

The girl is gone, leaving behind a lot of memories (sob sob). Atleast there is skype in this world of student budget.

Work beckons.

Lebanese Week

Its lebanese week here. All lebanese are wearing a funny cap I never saw in the 5 days I spent in Beirut :-). With all the bad things happenning in the country on the media (Journalist killed yesterday) I hope we get to know the good side of the story this week. This week is the first national week. Should be exciting.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fiancee cooks dinner

Ok, now if as wannabe points out the people invited for dinner last night would certainly know who I am if they read it. But what are the probabilities? I think the number of people who blog is much more than the number of people who actually read blogs. That relates to a funny comment the OB Prof (I loooove the guy) made....'when all of us have a view who is there to listen?'. So true.

Fiancee has been around for a week and I have been multitasking soooo well. (Read: Ignore acads, focus on the lady). My group has been super-extra nice in the last week covering for me on a lot of occassions. Fiancee has been nice too letting me do home-work instead of hang out with her. We watched 'broken flowers' the only english movie being screened in a 50 km radius from fontainebleau on Wednesday.

Yesterday we had a fabulous dinner with a handful of friends (mainly housemates and groupmates). I never knew the girl was so culinarily gifted. My organizational abilities (mastered over the last 3 weeks) complemented very well too. The girl leaves tomorrow. I plan to buy a 1 litre scotch bottle and drink it alone.

Exams already?

The first mid-period test is on monday. Accounting. Suuuucks. I haven't mastered the art of equating assets to liabilities+equity. I hate it.

Going to Paris tonight. Dinner in Champs-Elysee is the plan. No drinking.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The M&M Class

Today the stats prof decided to be nice in the Stats class. Teach students about sampling with M&M candies. I couldn't complain. It was good fun counting M&Ms and eating them (silently) after we finished the sampling exercise. I am liking this class because it is simple and makes me feel in control. Here are my course ratings (although I know wannabe doesn't read it)

Financial Markets & Valuation - A++
Leading Groups and People (OB in the B-school world) - A+
Uncertainity Data and Judgement - B++ (The M&M class)
Financial Accounting - C
Micro (economics) - D--

I think my grades are going to be inversely related to my personal liking of the subject. Micro is an exception (Bad grade, bad liking)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Life is rolling

Opinions, views, discussions I have been involved in.

"The Parties are great, can't get enough of it"

"Micro Professor is boring, that finance guy is amazing"

"I have still not found my car man"

"Want to go to Oktoberfest with me?"

"Did you read all those 30 pages for the stat class?"

"Has Death Spiral been blogging?"

"Want to play some soccer this weekend?"

Oh yes, besides the last one, everything above are real. It has been busy. There is a lot of reading. I have actually started ignoring a couple of courses just to get better with a couple of other courses. Also to make sure I sleep my 8-9 hours every night. I have my priorities right.

1. Sleep
2. Working for a worldclass company
10000000- getting on the dean's list.

For those who think #2 and #10000000 are should talk to Prof. Gareth Dyas who has evidence that academic performance in an MBA and "Business success" (however that is defined) are inversely related.

People have already started liking / hating each other. My group seems to be nice. Let me define them for you

Mr. Niceguy - The youngest in the group is actually the nicest as well. Very sensitive, very mature, very interesting. Is good with numbers and people. One good combination I should say.

Mr. American - Embodies everything american. Self-confident, high energy. Brings a very valuable dimension to the team. Wish he listens a little more.

Mr. Multinational - This guy holds 2 citizenships and has LIVED in atleast 5 countries for long periods in time (1 year +)...still very calm, and composed. Wish he spoke a little more to enlighten us.

Mr. Stud - This guy in my view should be able to get any girl he wants in this school or outside(from a looks and fashion consciousness standpoint). That doesn't stop him from being nice, smart, intelligent and sensitive to the rest of the mundane creatures. He is European who speaks 3 languages with ease.

Only 2 in my group (includes me) are still struggling with the third language certification. I don't still understand most of the conversations that happen in the campus bar. Its wierd. But I am loving it so far.

I heard from a few people about their waitlist status / admits. Congratulations Januaries....

Bon week-end.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Roller Coaster Over.

All the unstable roller coaster work over. Everything seems to be on track and as time passes I am falling further behind my classmates with courses :-). Life has been exciting to say the least.....

Sorry for staying away...a long blog on its way.

Friday, September 09, 2005

A week ends.

A week ends, let me look back and what I have done for a week. I have attended classes for about 6 hours / day (average for 5 days). I have worked on homework / pre-reading at an average of 7 hours / day, attended a couple of corporate presentations, Cooked my own food (if boiling eggs, fixing salads can be called that) for the first time in 4 years. I have met a few very interesting people. I have started "participating" in classes (atleast a tiny bit), got my car registered, applied for my stay permit (Carte the Sejour), & finally flunked my french test and dealt with the decision rather well :-).

Life has been good. Today, the week ends with a presentation by McKinsey and two parties over the weekend. I am completely broke thanks to the French banks.

I have tons happenning but am too tired (slept 5 hours last night) to report now.

Au Revoir.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Life Rocks on.

The week started beautifully, what better than having a half day of classes and "nothing" official for a good 24 hours non-stop. That atleast sound like a sunday ;-). But then, Bain is visiting campus to recruit from the december promotion and we are welcome to attend. So 5 hours or classes is not going to keep me away from waiting another 5.5 to attend the session for about an hour. It is my first "company presentation". I have attended a ton of them during engineering but then I bet this is going to be one "suave" experience if my bets are right. The Januaries seem to be excited with the number of companies visiting.

I finally got myself a headphone and then got myself connected to Skype. You heard that right. Skype. That does make me a geek doesn't it? Not really. I am just an innocent student who can no more afford making international calls through the phone. (well if I live in France, even if I am employed, I would use Skype).

What I learnt in class today?

Management & Sex Well, I learnt that "Sex" brings most happiness in a Texan woman's life and "Commuting to work" the least. The average time (based on 1000 samples) taken for "Sex" is about 0.2 hours.

Active listening: Until you repeat and convince the person who says something that you have actually understood what he has said, "you cannot move on" with the conversation. Its a lot more difficult than you can think.

Active gambling: Our prof for statistics lost a bet with a student and paid Euro 10. (Simple toss of a coin). Then she won about Euro 100 (and generously let the students keep it) when she actually gambled on "I bet 2 students in this class have the same birthday in this class" thingy. At the end she put up a slide which gave out the odds in her favor at 97% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

What a Party?

The welcome party was last night in a chateau in Melun. A-W-E-S-O-M-E is the work. A long Saturday or my introversion didn't prevent me from getting into the social circles and meeting a few fantastic people. Got home at 4:00 in the morning and slept until this afternoon.

Playing tennis regularly. Losing so many sets sucks. But it is good exercise.

The Funny Prof.

There is a Prof. who has started the classes for us. He is a guy with interests in Strategy. He gave us an "introduction to General Management".


All the confusion was perhaps due to lack of sleep and my own conspiracy theories. The place is beautiful, people are awesome, the parties are great and there is a lot of work to do. Lets just leave it there ;-).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Another Mean Email

So many boys!! They're all so cute too, especially when they get dressed up in their little suits. I knew this would be a fun year, but I didn't know it would be THIS much fun.

I have only one complaint. The january guys are clearly more suave, more charming, more fliratious. I have my eye on a few of the Septs (you know who you are), but I just wish they knew how to talk to a girl. Hopefully they'll wise up - and QUICKLY! I'll be looking forward to seeing what you've got at the party saturday night...

That obviously came from a lady's email address.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

First Party last night

After a long long time I got to party and the party was organized by a Friend in a very very beautiful house. I am still having a tough time socializing. I am still probably one of the few people who walks around alone most of the time. My housemates are great. They are very very nice. Yesterday I borrowed everything to cook.

Too Competitive?

I have actually been confused. The clubs here are cut-throat competitive and are very less tolerant with each other. There have been massmails all day with petty fights. Its a shame. I guess this is what happens when you have 450 A-Players in one place. Chaos. Diversity has its price.

I had my first group interaction today. This week is just "Trial". The administration is outstanding. Very efficient and open at communicating its ideas.

I think I had a bad day.

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