Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Death Spiral Returns with a BANG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow ! Isn't life good. That was just a week off from all you "complainers". I am one of the most frequent bloggers that the MBA fraternity has provided. But atleast now I know for certain I have some expectations to meet and I am hell bent on not disappointing you.

Today is a day. Its not just another day. Its not even just another day of INSEAD (any day here is special already). It is the day I finish one period. It is one of those rare days when I have all the time on earth to look back and say "Phew ! Thats the most I have ever done in 2 months". I mean it people and I am not alone. Today I finished my 5th and last final in Finance. It was "suspiciously easy". The course sucked my blood all period long but today I felt like I knew it all in the finals. When I came to INSEAD, I knew what stocks and bonds mean. Today, I know how to value a company by levering and unlevering betas of companies and why in a "tax-full" world its smart to run a company with as much debt as you can practically take on !!! Not bad eh? I can do the same with almost every course this period. Profs were of great quality (except one) and I am decisively happy about having come here. I even know what I want to do with my career. Oh wait a minute. I know exactly what I don't want to do with my career. But the thing is by doing principle of elimination (the only thing GMAT contributed to my IQ/EQ/BS-Q), I have brilliantly elimated consulting, investment banking, retail banking, pharma, and a few other industries. That roughly leaves me with picking some 20% of the companies that come here to recruit. That I call a "process of scientific clue formation"

The Exams
The finals all happenned in a period of 65 hours. 5 Exams of 3-4 hours each all packed in 65 stressful hours. It was so much fun to see so many adults being collectively stressed. It is one hell of a social experiment I hope to repeat when I become the CEO of some company and have the power to do so. I am going to one day say "Ok people, lets see how good you are at your jobs, you need to take so many hours of test in the next two days or you get fired"? Am I death spiral or a sadist? ;-)

The Four day Break
I am sitting here on a Wed afternoon and have four days to do whatever I want all by myself !!! Imagine that !!! 4 days for myself, no studying, no parties, no exams to worry about (I will for simplicity that there is no reading to do for monday the first day of next period which is overly wrong !!!!) . And as the famous saying goes "Good boys go to heaven and bad boys go to amsterdam" and guess where I am going ;-). Good guess people. Amsterdam and the stones....let me not leave none unturned this long wierd october weekend :-).

The one special difference
Except for the day I got sooo drunk in the "Heaven or Hell" costume party, I have slept an average 8 hours every 24 hours in this period. It is supposed to be one of the two most stressful periods and I don't buy the argument from certain quarters that it is extremely stressful.

I can see that there are more people visiting the blog if I actually don't blog than if I do. No one bothers to comment if I blog daily. Here I am missing for a week and there are a zillion comments.

LeOptimiste - sorry for not actually sending you an email earlier. I logged onto the blogger after a week today (people, it wasn't that long ago after all....). Shoot me an email at will try to have a look at your questions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Visiting Leader.

A senior executive from a leading Investment bank (oops, am I not talking like the dean now?).... from Morgan Stanley was here to kind of "endorse" all that we are learning in FMV (Financial Markets and Valuation aka Finance 1) . I have probably spent about 50% of my P1 time on this course. Homework takes for ever and every one of the 16 (with two passes allowed) are graded. I am however glad that the hardwork was worth it because the guy from the industry was actually explaining the terms. He even touched on "vicious downward spiral" in prices (assuming lesser mortals in P1 wouldn't know death spirals ;-) . He even managed to get away with calling the Ex-IB guys in the room "chickens" when no one was keen on answering a couple of his questions. The presentation was ok. About 50% of the people in the audience were bored. (I asked a sample of about 5).

Nothing much happenning. I need to organize myself to start preparing for the finals next week. Its scarily close and back-to-back.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

40 Years after graduating?

Any guesses on how I would look 4 years after graduating from INSEAD? If I extrapolate from the Alumni that are visiting today, I would be speaking French and be hairless :-). Well there seems to be a very exciting program going on today here. I am on campus for my boring finance tutorial and this place is filled with people. People mostly from Europe (INSEAD wasn't as global before remember) from the class of 1965,70,75...and so on....The place is full of old people being told 'every cubicle has computers with internet'. I was tempted to ask the one person who held the door for me when I walked in (when I should have been the one doing it) 'How much did you pay as tution?' but then changed my mind.

They all have nostaligia in their eyes and certainly no finals to worry about.

Friday, October 14, 2005

LPG Report over

I am done with the report and feel much better. I finally managed to read the singapore blog and it sounds like the singaporean INSEADers are having some serious fun. Strongly recommend you to visit

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Say Anything you want?

People, I have been on MS Word for 6 hours so far today, doing my OB (called Leading People and Groups in this part of the world) in a row. I have been typing, editing, correcting and I am so happy to set it aside to come here and talk to all you nice people. You know why? I can make mistakes here and you don't have a choice :-). For a component with 60% weightage, you can't do the same. About 4 hours back, I had thought I had the final report when I ended up figuring out a few changes and before I knew it, my report was ripped apart and redone. It has been fun. With my love for talking (read typing), I seem to have liked what I did. I still think there is more color in the report than meat but lets see how I score on it.

Ok, the spiral gotta go now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Suck-it up day

With the exams around the corner, this weeks social theme was to "Flatter professors". Obviously wednesday was picked to execute because there were two professors who we found best suited for the prank. The pretty stats prof. and the accounting prof from NYU with a good sense of humor. Every workgroup brought in gifts for the profs starting ranging from pineapples to wine bottles. The profs were in a really fun mood.

As the tradition goes (Atleast the tradition created in 3 weeks), we are supposed to make a flattering comment before making our point / asking the question. The stats prof. unfortunately found it distracting (she lauged a lot) and requested to call it off. The accounting class had a lot of reverse flattery.

1. Seeing the gifts the accounting prof. said "no more pre-class homework any more" (and he meant it)

2. MBA: "I am not the accounting God you are"
Prof: "I know, you are not even close"

Girl MBA: "You are very question is"
Prof: "Well good, meet me in my office after class"

Guy MBA: "You are very attractive..."
Prof: "Don't see me in my office"

I had fun, now back to my OB Report.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Wharton Exchange

To of course educate my loyal reader is a glimpse of how the wharton exchange works.

Everyone is given 200 points around the middle of P1. The 200 points can be used to bid for
1. The wharton exchange
2. Electives you need in P3,4, &5. (P=Period, the two month INSEAD term)

The Singapore-Fontainebleau exchange interestingly is seen by the administration as somekind of obligation the institute has for us and so they don't need us to spend bidding points. If net-flow is too skewed lotteries are used to pick the lucky winners.

Participants in the Jan-Dec class have a chance to go to wharton in either P4 or P5 while participants in Sept-Jul class get to go only in P4. Generally the demand for the wharton exchange in our class is very low because it is "Peak job hunt season" here at INSEAD and people don't want to sacrifice on this opportunity.

IFC / World Bank is here to recruit.

They are here to recruit today and they are looking at both classes I think it should be interesting.

Overheard in the bar

"I am throwing a costume party this weekend to bring class averages in the finals down".

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The OB Report.

Ok, you need to tell things about what you think about your group, who is performing, who is not, what needs to be done. I reread my whole blog once so that I am able to better prepare for the report. Alas, I have been reporting garbage pretty much. lol. I have been writing a lot of stuff that are completely irrelevant (to the OB Report) and have been focussed on entertainment. I also have so many errors in the way I have written, I felt really bad for you readers :-). From the stats, I see there are about 20 of you reading this blog daily (on an average). and thanks to you we crossed the 2000 mark a few days back (or is it wannabe refreshing his page 19 times too often to make me feel good). My target for the year is to hit 15,000 clicks. You can make a difference. :-).

Accounting answer papers were returned and I am +0.8 sigma from the mean (meaning above average). I am starting to like the Prof. I can't believe I have set myself such low academic standards.

The Kamasutra Party

The K/S Party to close the Indian week was a superhit. Every girl was in an Indian dress with 'bindi'. I stayed until 4 in the morning but stayed sober (was driving). The bollywood dance competition was particularly fun with a lot of people trying to shake the 'indian' way. Got into long conversations with a couple of my classmates for the first time in a month. I still don't know about 30% of my class one-to-one.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Decisions Decisions Decisions

The dean made a presentation to the class and all of us need to make decisions. Lots of them. Where do we want to go for our P3,4 and 5 and that means where do we want to find our jobs. The options include INSEAD Singapore and Wharton. There is whole bidding process that seems to work fairly well and the dean, being a guy with an economics background, was thoroughly enjoying himself when he was telling us about it all.

In case you didn't understand 'P' up above. INSEAD is based on a period system where one period is 2 months. So your courses last only 2 months and you move on to the next set after 2 months.

Monday, October 03, 2005

India-Pakistan Week Rocks.

Well what better way to start the week than eating Samosas and watching the indian girls dancing before your OB class? nothing.

Nothing more to report today besides a gruelling feedback session with my group....apparently I don't speak as much in my group and people want me to speak more. I also get too caught up with my computer, any guesses what I do during these 'wade offs'?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Oktober starts !!!

1. What is the best way to celebrate a month of action (the highest level of activity in my life in about 8 years now)?
2. What is the best excuse not to look at all the piling up homework, classwork, & Prescribed reading?
3. Whats the best way to welcome Oktober into the year?

Oktoberfest !!!!

It all started on Friday when after a long days work I was walking back to the parking lot and in front of this library I met this classmate of mine who looked tired after a long week and I said
Me: 'Any plans for the weekend?'
Him: 'Not much really, just catch up with the studying I guess?'
Me: 'Come on, we can do better than that how about Oktoberfest?'
Him: 'Ok lets go'
Me: 'U are serious aren't you?'
Him: 'I am, you are aren't you?'
Me: 'Deal, I have dinner with my team, so you do the maps / hotel booking and I see you in school at 10:30. We will see if we can find one person each to join us and that will help share the gas prices, driving makes better sense'
Him: 'Deal'

3 hours later, I had donated my lebanese party ticket (20 euros) to a classmate so he can use it and was on the road with 4 guys to Munich (I learnt during the drive that it was 9 hours long, deep into germany and Oktoberfest is a festival of beer happenning since 1810)

11 hours later after plenty of breaks, we reached Munich. Checked into the hotel freshened up and were on a train to the Fest. 8 hours later, I was competing on my fourth liter of beer with a Cheq that I can't recall the name and was hugging every stranger I saw. 2 hours later I was in my bed. At 3 in the morning drive back to fontainebleau began and here I am blogging about the best party I have been in EVER !!!

If one day I return to interview candidates for my company in INSEAD, the questions I am going to ask are.

1. Describe a typical weekend?
2. Have you been to Oktoberfest?
3. How many times have you visited Paris?
4. Were you above or below average in the first test you ever take?

So all you guys who plan to work for me, go to INSEAD and help bring the class average down ;-).

Loved the weekend. The week actually starts with the exciting Mr. Brimm teach OB for 4.5 hours tomorrow + the India-Pakistan week. (there are about 100 of those around). The schedule looks promising. This is soooo fun.

About the clues - I have eliminated Investment banking as a place I want to work. So now I need to work on the 80% of the other jobs available. I am picking between Industry and Consulting now.

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