Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The best day at INSEAD so far.

Today certainly was the best day at INSEAD so far although I missed my alarm and slept on until 9:15 am. (didn't miss any class / appointments though). Started with a career counselling session. Was good to hear a view of a coach who pretty much said "Consulting is not really for you". Today was an action packed day. 10 countries / regions are fighting for 9 spots in "National weeks" scene for the next three periods. Tomorrow is the vote and its heating up. Also the most popular performance this week will lead to "First pick" on the slots. So some serious competition going on. I find the Israeli's, Italians and Spaniards the most creative although for some unstatable emotional reasons, deciding on the "Arab week" as well. Thats not why I call it the best day so far though.

Today we got to see INSEAD in its true form.

In leading organization we got to the last class on "Cultural Challenges in managing cultures" and each of us were supposed to talk about stereotypes about our cultures. Of course only 2 groups got to present and not out of coincidence did we get to see about 10 different countries. The 9 countries I learnt about today include: Canada, Spain, France, India, Russia, Poland, Costa Rica, Australia, & Israel and there are several I am forced to go through the slides without the background. It is a pure coincidence that none of the 7-8 americans in my class didn't get up there, although my groupmate american had a fun fun fun slide about the country.

One of those days, I feel I made the right choice, by coming here. All that said, if you like and respect culture - INSEAD is the place to be. I think there are a lot of BS in b-school and this amazing diversity of people makes me look forward to tomorrow.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Party, "Elections" and the CV.

The CV book and the zillion other cases to do is the talk of the town in campus. I didn't make it to the party last night as I didn't "Get tickets"...yes such things happen too. Most people I spoke to were disappointed with the party because the club got overcrowded supposedly. I was home watching some tv and thinking about my finances that were getting a little out of control. After a long time I had a 'peaceful' friday all for myself. However, I made it up with a "guys night out" with some friends. That was fun too.

The CV thing is going great. I don't think my CV ever looked as good (thanks to the several feedbacks I have received from people around the world). I still am getting feedback and in the true spirit of deadlines will click go at 9:00 Pm tonight (a good 2 hours and 59 minutes before I run out of time).

Juggling several things?

Well the whole hype about the program being overwhelming is still as I already called it a 'hype'. Yes there are unrealistic expectations occassionally but you always have the choice with you - You just can't do everything and you need to be ok with that. At the very least you discover your likes and dislikes as time passes and you are occassionally surprised. But as time passes, I have noticed the extremely serious loosen up a little bit and the happy go lucky get more serious !

French Test

I strongly recommend you attempt the initial test after adequate preparation. The further you get with your score the better it gets. After having put enough efforts on my language, now I am convinced its a total waste of time / distraction in b-school but a "neccessary evil" atleast for INSEAD to help its own positioning. Of course if you do fail the test, if you take the INSEAD class you are atleast "safe" with your graduation requirement as they teach you exactly what is tested and test you exactly on what you know. Get my message? ;-).

French Forests

In no way is this a "balance" between urban and rural. Its rural rural and more rural. I had a lot of fun in the summer even fall. The forest was beautiful, the drive was soothing, the personal garden at home a place I wanted to rush every day. But to ruin it all winter arrived and I am f**king cold. It gets really really cold and living in a large house (although well heated) doesn't help a whole lot. I love the fire place at school and at home. Its about time I pack my bags for singapore. Now if you are saying its a balance between "urban and rural" between "Singapore and Fonty". True. Agreed.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ze French Ouik.

It is the French week that is being concluded here in INSEAD. I need to give credit to the French for having done an excellent job bringing to INSEAD the culture from "outside the campus inside". Their unique selling point was the fashion show they arranged organized by G. Lafayette from Paris. But they also had a good 'Amphi storming' and the CEO of Louis Vuitton (an INSEAD alum) as the guest speaker earlier in the week. Today is the party at Champs Elysee in Paris at club Poona. This time with no LBS girls :-).

Change in Grades

After a lot of controversy our grades were redone in two courses because of some large scale mix-up at the MBA office between Professors and secretaries and office staff. I got nearly a 3 sigma increase in my OB grade and almost a 1 sigma fall in my accounting grade. I am still a happy man because my overall GPA went up by nearly 0.4

Gruelling Week

After a lot of rest and drinking, this was the most gruelling week at INSEAD so far. There are about 4 group assignments to be turned in on monday and tuesday and classload has not been any lesser than normal. The problem is that even some of the investment bankers are struggling to "guide the teams" (read: do the assignments for the most part themselves) satisfactorily to completion. And guess what? we are already talking about exams again...3 weeks more to go and this time I am not too optimistic about the finance course.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

No offense to consultants.

But I found the following logoff hilarious.

After having spent years toiling as a consultant I have come to realize that life is somewhat similar to another professional we all probably know of. I present my view below and would appreciate your candid input, since most of us are, have been or will be in the same boat.

1. We work very odd hours.
2. We are paid a lot of money to keep our client happy.
3. We are paid well but our pimp gets most of the money.
4. We spend a majority of our time in a hotel room.
5. We charge by the hour but our time can be extended.
6. We are not proud of what we do.
7. Creating fantasies for our clients is rewarded.
8. It's difficult to have a family.
9. We have no job satisfaction.
10. If a client beats us up, the pimp just sends us to another client.
11. We are embarrassed to tell people what we do for a living.
12. People ask us, "What do you do?" and we can't explain it.
13. Our client pays for our hotel room plus our hourly rate.
14. Our client always wants to know how much we charge and what they get for the money. 15. Our pimp drives nice cars like Mercedes or Jaguars.
16. We know the pimp is charging more than we are worth but if the client is foolish enough to pay it's not our problem.
17. When we leave to go see a client, we look great, but return looking like hell (compare our appearance on Monday AM to Friday PM).
18. We are rated on our "performance" in an excruciating ordeal.
19. Even though we might get paid the big bucks, it's the client who walks away smiling.
20. The client always thinks our "cut" of our billing rate is higher than it actually is, and in turn, expects miracles from us.
21. When we deduct our "take" from our billing rate, we constantly wonder if we could get a better deal with another pimp.

And now let me log off since I forgot to do that in the first place. Sorry for the mass but I hope to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Quotable Quote

"Politics at work is a lot like Sex, we all love it, all of us do it but no one wants to ever talk about it"

Prof: "Politics can be caused by demographics, once I was the only man in a university programme full of women"
Guy in the back row: "What programme? Name Please"

Prof: "I always wondered how your voice sounded, you haven't spoken at all".
Response: "You are going to regret you said that".

Monday, November 21, 2005

The LBS Woman Post.

This post is dedicated to the LBS women who lit up the party on saturday. Ok KV here are the details: There was this one girl who was totally totally drunk even before the real party started (read: before I got drunk). She was doing everything she could think of to attract attention. Some examples include: licking a guys bottom (with clothes on of course), exposing her LBS stamp (not in a very politically correct place) to everyone who was around and she was all over people who gave her a chance :-). In our true competitive INSEADer spirit, a couple of my section-mates stretched the limits on the fooling around and the thing caught on like a wild fire. By this time I was drunk enough and was busy with my Vodka to notice anything more. Later I discovered (from one of my housemates) that I made some real good friends with a few LBS guys who actually offered me jobs in their home countries :-) Too bad we were in the rest room and I was too drunk to negotiate salaries :-).

On a serious note, about pre-reading: It totally depends on the professors. If you don't have a business (Finance, accounting and economics background), you better read it or you will end up in the wrong side of the normal curve in no time.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Wharton Exchange, LBS visitors Aussie Party & the third campus?

Hello all, I am back again to keep the promise on the Wharton exchange. It might be a little difficult to explain but I will keep it simple.

Wharton (and Singapore) exchange have NO RELATIONSHIP with academic performance or how rich your father is. At the beginning of the year everyone is giving 200 bidding points. They can use the 200 bidding points on the elective courses of thier choice + going to wharton. I for example bid less than 50 points for Wharton because I wasn't as keen as some people whose only goal in life is adding Philidalphia to their CV (so rationally they bid 190 points which is the upper bound) ! Since there are 35 seats and the bidding was "cut off" at 50, everyone who bid above 50 got to go to Wharton. Others are on the waitlist. Now even the ones who bid 190 go to wharton by paying just 50 points. Now they have 150 points to bid for 2 periods of electives (because they spend 1 in wharton anyways)

Aussie Party

Last night the Aussie week ended with a "Fosters Party". They had 4000 cans of fosters but thanks to my cold, I gulped down perhaps half a bottle of some noname vodka. As you might rightly guess, I was drunk enough to want to hit my sack the moment I got out! But it was a great party. We had visitors from LBS playing Rugby against INSEAD. The game was tied but most importantly the LBS women went wild wild wild ! The INSEAD women seeing the new competition made it a super fun night :-).

The 3rd Campus.

Well well well, I wouldn't want to speculate on this subject. The key reason is the dean said "nothing has still got to a paper" meaning its all very very preliminary. But one of the options that is being speculated is "Americas". The plural was stressed ;-).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Whats with the anonymous comments?

Why do you all think there are so many anonymous comments on my blog? Ok...the week is almost finishing up. Let me try to answer a couple of questions here.

1. Why not L'Oreal ? Well it has nothing to do with being engaged or not. It just looks like a job for blondes and although I might sound like someone with no big aspirations for life (like becoming the CEO of GE) I certainly do not plan to work selling cosmetics and competing with hot chicks at that(I might have considered that before spending a fortune at this place)...its all about "playing your strengths" you see.

2. What did the dean say? Well...let me see...he said a ton of things. "Truely global school, we are independent and we make our decisions without "Parent" university riding our balls....Asia campus a true innovation, quality is great, we hope to make it the same size as fontainebleau campus but no dates in mind....we make a ton of money from the executive education and NOT the MBA program, hope to work with research centers in a few more cities"

3. Wharton exchange - There is a lot admits need to know about this before you get excited about it. I am going to create a detailed post over the weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Meet with the Dean

The dean of the school met with our promotion of MBAs to talk about the schools growth plans and stuff. I found him surprisingly down to earth. He spent some substantial time on "the business school for the world" concept.

Yesterday L'oreal was here promoting its e-strat games wonder if a lot of MBAs participate in it. It sounds like a lot of time commitment for a company who is interested in selling women's cosmetics working with hot chicks. Going by the two girls who presented it, it certainly looks like L'oreal hires based on vital stats :-). My principle of elimination seems to be working VERY Effectively. One more company off the list :-).

A couple of cases were due today and a couple over today and tomorrow. Need to figure out the logistics with moving to singapore...and I am getting close to broke. Need to figure out the finances as well...

Monday, November 14, 2005

P1 Grades Hurray !!!!

Woooooooow I got my P1 grades today and Guess what? I am AS AVERAGE AS IT GETS at INSEAD. How boring is that? Well in a place like this...I feel privilaged to be average in this talented community and not to be on the "Special Dean Letter list" :-). Love life !!! And yes, I did crack that one finance exam that kept my head out of water when I made a miserable grade in LPG (Org. Behavior) almost 2 standard deviations below the class average F***ing group mates screwed up the final :-).

Saturday, November 12, 2005


As she lay there dozing next to me, one voice inside my head kept saying, 'Relax, you're not the first doctor to sleep with one of his patients', but the another kept reminding me, Buddy, you are a veterinarian!'

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Singapore Exchange Results, Parties, Oktoberfest, CV, & Groupwork.

Yesterday we heard back from the exchange coordinator the results of the Singapore exchange bidding process. The waitlist for a one period visit to Singapore is at an ALL TIME high of 82 Fonty participants. We are well past the learning curve on the exchange thingie in INSEAD. Everyone seems to have a perception that it is a good idea to spend P3 in Singapore (to save yourself from the gruelling cold in France) and return to fontainebleau to interview with European recruiters. Of course it is based on a random lottery and I was one of the lucky ones to make it in the lottery. Btw, if you do not want to risk ending up spending all time on one campus, INSEAD proposes ideas when you bid (they warned us about this situation even as we bid). There are multiple tiers of priorities and it is clearly communicated so people can "truely choose" what is best for them. Unfortunately there are a lot of gamblers and when there are gamblers there are losers too ;-). It is unfortunate I will leave behind a few people I have got to know very well and there is a bright chance I will not see them again at all after Christmas. Thats scary isn't it?

There were a couple of parties in a row on Wednesday and Thursday. There are some real talents I discovered yesterday in organizational and cooking skills in a few people. I continue to be pleasantly surprised and flattered by some people's company.

Wednesdays party was our champagne party. I drank atleast a bottle or more of champagne.


Today is Oktoberfest in France !!!! It is the heart of Europe week and I am sorry for not giving them as much coverage as I should have...partly because I have been down sick for most of this week. It has been the most "efficient, disciplined, well organized, united" week. The Austrians, Germans, Bavarians ;-), Swiss have all come together to put a great show. I am thinking of skipping the oktoberfest the one thing I want to do most for health reasons - this suuucks !
The amphistorming was real fun. The German secy. deserves special credit for her job.

CVs/ Resumes
We are working on our CVs for the job hunt (who does that 3 months into an MBA except us ???) now...we are expected to upload it next week. My lazyness I think won't allow me to finish before the due date.

There are three group assignments due next week. We plan to work on all of it on monday and tuesday. We have set aside 6 hours and are targetting to finish it quicker than that. Don't be surprised if I disappear.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Death Spiral Defined

Ok guys, finally I understood what I stand for. Here is the definition from the guru himself.

Continuously pricing out of market because of an increasing burden rate applied to product cost

That of course is the managerial accounting term and there certainly is a finance term called deathspiral that is on its way (but essentially meaning a disaster in both courses). He is going to be so proud there is a blogger in his very class calling "oneself" the disasterous "Death Spiral".

Life is beautiful. Today's case was very interesting in the managerial accounting class. I am enjoying the humor in this class.

Todays class in Leading Organizations (OB II) was about "Pay for Performance". Everyone in the class had something to say about it and the prof. had a blast with the participation. I chose to listen to views because this subject has (perhaps just like the rest of the class) bothered me all my life. Some French sensitivities were seriously offended when some stereotypes about workhours and laws came up. There was also a significant "national skew" on who thought a 'piecerate meritocracy' works or not. The asians were split while europeans were heavily against it and the americans were neutral. Expected one would think. It came as a big surprise for me.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Drinking alone !!!!

I did something for the first time in my life yesterday. After having rejected a housemates request to go to Paris with, I spent the evening at home (because of the cold getting from bad to worse mainly) drinking a glass of vodka all on my own watching TV. It felt wierd but the vodka was good though :-). Sleeping a proper 10 hours every night for 4 nights in a row. Gotta be good. Any suggestions for fixing the bad cold / cough / intermittent fever I have?

Yesterday had to be the laziest day in my INSEAD life so far. Despite the "warnings" I received from profs and seniors about the "gruelling nature" of P2 (being even tougher than P1), I haven't seen much action so far. This week looks a little worrisome with all the CV book stuff etc...but still tons of time to take care of things. I am still undecided on what to do with the singapore thingie....postpone until the last moment is the magic right?

Friday, November 04, 2005

First week is over.

Did I say I hate the first weeks more than the last ones? I already feel like I have started catching up and to top it up there are a gazillion decisions to make already. Today for instance I had to make a decision on when I want to go to singapore and when I wanted to be in Fontainebleau. The weather in Fonty is going to get much better post february and I want to enjoy good weather ! That on one side, I also have to take care of the 'career' preferences when it comes to geographies, then there is the issue of electives and where they are available. Now it feels all hypocritical to have said in the application essay 'I love the one school two campus idea that is unique to INSEAD'...atleast I don't like it until I am able to decide.

Having a bad cold. I think I am going to let go of the first costume party of the period. Thats a shame. Better safe than sorry (the organizers claim to have a donation of 1500 beers from somewhere for the party).

Everyone have a nice weekend.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Football Match

Went to the Lille Vs Manchester United game last night. The French won 1-0 in the first championship league game I have ever watched :-). Awesome stadium, good quality crowd ! No homeworks done for today.....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My bloody Housemates

Ok classes started yesterday and it has been good so far. I have one quick and interesting story to tell.

Yesterday in class the Prof for Managerial Accounting : Lets call him one Mr. JC mentioned "death spiral" out of the blue when I was not even paying attention in class (talk about a sincere participant in the first day of classes)...and that sent some chills through my spines. Why would there be a mention of death spiral in an accounting class? Anyways, I just flattered myself by saying maybe he follows my blog and wanted to 'send a signal'. So here I am trying to send Mr. JC a signal back.

Mr. JC : You have the best sense of humor amongst the three profs we have seen this period so far (First impressions of course). You are a funny guy. We all love you.

(Dear Readers: This is just hypocricy what else can I say to a guy who gives a 25% weight for class participation...I am just 'hedging' my bets on the possibility that as an Ex-Harvard prof, should be smart enough to trace me hopefully with no INSEAD IT support). Did I by the way drill myself into a hole by doing this? If this post gets deleted tomorrow you all know the reason right?

So the story didn't end there. I was still curious if he had mentioned it in the other section he teaches (there are 4 sections with approximately 75 students each) and spoke to my housemates about the mention and obviously they found my question "very wierd". I tried using all my skills in morphing my stupid thought. To prove that I am not insane to ask random questions, I had to finally confess. So now 4 more INSEADers know that I blog with the name Death Spiral. Well I think only 4 other INSEADers now know my identity. That somehow curtails my "freedom". I need to say some nice things about these four people so here I start.

M1: Beecombs in the head, smile on the face, gossip in the lips. Party animal, Easy go lucky, Talented singer. Expert accountant. All-rounder. One of M1s groupmates calls M1 the 'best looking person' of that particular gender in the entire school.

M2: The most unassuming person I have ever met from the 'firm'. Academic guru. Very normal until you mention the word "Flea". If you give M2 a choice between an encounter with a snake and sleeping in a bed with flees my guess is M2 would pick the snake. Or am I wrong? M2 also has a very special relationship with the landlady.

H1: The largest Height:Weight ratio in the promotion doesn't prevent the neurons in the top from communicating with the neurons in the rest of the body and being sarcastic. H1 is committed to pulling the leg(s) of others. If your first impression is that he is a geek (which happens to be right) H1 seems to know everyone on campus on a personal level. A very relationship kinda person. The only INSEADer I know that doesn't drink. Always our designated driver :-).

H2: Very serious, means business, analytical, intuitive, critical, and shrewd. Has an unmatched skill in seeing the 'dark side' of people (and unfortunately is mostly right). I am committed to determining through a serial multiple hypothesis test what H2 does in the bathroom 1/2 hour+ every day (leaving me exactly enough time to be late to class if I shower). H2 also believes I plan to be rich by eating his butter and not paying for it. Remember H2 that I am kidding, take it easy and I promise to steal less butter from now on.

Now to the famous landlady.....aaah well, I choose to not talk about it unless I get persuaded to do it.

Ok folks, if I don't blog in three more days call 911 because those four did something to me after reading this.

Amsterdam Brief.

Ok people here is the brief on amsterdam. Arrived in amsterdam on Thursday evening driving. Stayed in a hotel in the west end of the city. Nice place. TulipInn. Just two of us drove down. After grabbing a bite in an incredible italian restaurant, we went to check out the night scene. Spent until 4 am walking around the central station (only drinking) and its neighborhoods. Bar hopped like 4 times including one 'politically incorrect bar'. It was fun. Lot of dancing and partying was going on. We were told that the real parties happen about 5-6 kms away in another area but we were happy with the sights and sounds of the central station area :-). The sights of the 'window girl' was one of awe. Although you know what to expect from such places, there always is an element of surprise (and in this case 'Quality' was the surprise). Temptations weren't good enough !

Friday afternoon was spent at Vangough museum and walking around the city. It was good fun. We also took a cruise in the canals. Two guys on a cruise is no fun. So we decided to make it a photo op. Clicked a ton of pictures. It is amazing how the city is connected through these water ways. Reminded me of the city of new orleans for some strange reason. Dinner again at the same italian restaurant and a 'show'. This show is not for children. It was an onstage live show. It was wierd to watch it. The "smoking sandra" show was lets say interesting.

Slept half day, checked out....walked around a little bit and left on saturday night. So as you might notice nothing much happenned. But isn't that the best part of having a break. We were back in Fontainebleau by like 9 pm.

Sunday was just relaxing and sleeping and sleeping. I wish life remained the same but it didn't. More on that in P2 Blog. Lets all welcome P2.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?