Monday, March 27, 2006

Welcome Arab Week !!!!

Lets throw the oil money as an excuse for the most spectacular start to a national (oops, regional is a more appropriate word now) week ever: The Arab Week. Whether it is the cafteria decoration or the richness or the amphistorming or the movie(s) screened in the evening - This certainly was the best opening day EVER for a week I have witnessed so far. The Arab week has raised the bar for the rest of INSEADers to follow.
The arabic music is just spectacular. Its so much fun to listen to it everytime I walk away for the coffee. Despite having 6 hours of classes and a couple of class assignments to turn in and a cover letter to finish up today, I decided to sneak into the movie showing "Paradise Now". I was kind of embarassed to sit next to an Israeli (talk about the price of diversity) when the actors kept calling them "occupiers". The movie was a spectacular experience and I decide to continue to be neutral on the political issues in the region. The movie is charged with emotions of youth and it is portrayed rather well although it would be unfair to call it balanced as it gives a very one-sided (palestinian) view of the world.
As you might guess the week has tons of sponsors and rumors are they have "excess money". Will keep you posted on any more exciting stories from the week. Today I sent out the application to my favorite company ever (any guesses on what the company is?)

Monday, March 20, 2006

The 40 Hours of Lack of Classes

In the next 40 hours I don't have classes. I have NO CLASSES ! Thats going to be the longest 40 hours without classes in a year (outside of period breaks and weekend of course). I do have a couple of company presentations and a couple of class meetings and a couple of cover letters to take care of. It still is a lot of time so I thought I will visit all you nice folks out here. Not bad eh? Meanwhile I thought I will give you a quick sneakpreview of some of the classes I do and some personal assessments.

First Class I do: Realizing Entrepreneurial Potential
Easily my favorite course this period, the cases feel incredibly close to heart (of mostly non-MBAs) going out there and doing buy-outs. The professor is not really a professor. He is an Alum who does buying companies for a job and I can see he is goddamn good at what he does. He brings in his experience a ton in classes and his style is not very different from the style of Patrick Turner from our class. Surprisingly enough, the MBAs in the class are quite stressed out with the job search and are not as participative with the case discussions. The content is very rich though. There is some valuation that we do in the class, we talk about the debt levels that one should take and all the real useful stuff when you go out there and buy things up. My rating is a 4 on a scale of 5. The project on this course is extremely demanding. We are expected to propose a company to buy and this includes a resonable level of 2 way communication. Oops, maybe my prof. wouldn't be too happy I say such things here. But what the hell, this is an anonymous blog right?

Second Class I do: Negotiation Analysis
If you are in business school please take every class on negotiations !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ....atleast to improve your grades. If things go the way they are now, I might end up with the highest grade during my INSEAD year in this class. Love it. Its so simple, there are so many things you are told in class and atleast the two negotiators I dealt with so far haven't really followed most of what is told in class :-). I never thought negotiation skills can be picked up in class. I now do and I do recommend classes !

Third Class I do: Market Driving Strategies
This is a game class. We play a game with a team. If you are all A Types its a mess. Luckily for us there is only one AA type the rest of us are between A and Z. Its fun. Interestingly the whole team has people from the same section in P1 and we have known each other from P1. Most people still hang out with the same guys they met on the first few days on campus. Its kind of nice to know that smaller communities are formed within INSEAD and we get along quite well. It took me a game registration to figure that out duuh !

Fourth and Final Class I am in: Industry and Competitive Analysis
Karel Cool is super cool ! He is quite interesting. For the tone in which he started class one, I thought this was going to be less exciting than any other 28 bid point course. Within 90 minutes, I changed my mind and figured out this perhaps will end up being the most spectacular class in my INSEAD life. I know when I spoke to an Alumni a few days back (he graduated in 1998) he spoke about the "bath tub"I was to see in ICA. It is amazing to still see the bathtub. I was surprised some courses just stay the same. It is amazing how much there is to learn even with some old analogies. So when you go to INSEAD in 2010, watch out for the bathtub in ICA.

Now to the industry I am going into. I don't like to go into small companies because you need to put in more than the 50 hours and I am not willing to take that commitment atleast until I figure out my entrepreneurial career is not headed anywhere. So I am looking at the big guys ! Any big guy is good for me. Any recommendations anyone?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Awesome Weekend

The weather is Fontainebleau is incredible. The sun is out, the sweaters are getting thinner, and the birds are chirping. Sigh ! Love France.

The McKinsey presentations were loved by several of my classmates. The partner I had dinner with (in a table of 5), was an incredibly smart German. Its amazing they fly some 50 partners/consultants in total from all over the world for a dinner. I feel there are several more efficient ways of doing this ! Anyways, no complaints on the food and drinks. We were treated royally. I should say the guy who made the "presentation" was the best public speaker I have seen in my INSEAD life (The MD of my previous employer was one such). Anyways, it was fun.

Nano Working

My nano at last is out of its packet today and its celebrating itself after a near month long break. Tons of music, tons of memories. Why do you think I am getting all nostalgic already

The True North

Well, I think I did mention my true north a while back didn't I? Doing something on my own. Although I do think I will not be able to pull something off the bag this year, I am planning to move into Industry (a boring one hopefully) and spend 40-50 hour work weeks and start on creating / buying something out ! Will call that blog "A Search" probably.

Travel around Europe
I plan a "every weekend travel" at the end of P4 probably because there is a bird telling me this is the last sometime I will be spending in Europe. I love the continent. It is just fabulous. Berlin and Paris are certainly my favorite cities but I am sure I am going to fall in love with Milan, Barecelona, Nice, Vienna and Prague when I see them.

Positivity in air...the spiral departs ;-)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Consultants in Town

The consultants are recruiting and it seems they are recruiting heavily and aggressively. The presentations were very bullish about recruitment forecasts. But you never know until interview invitations come out. I am quite indifferent. Although I think I know exactly what I am looking for, I think I am going to get sucked into an unfocused job search process based on the "order of arrival". We will see how it goes. Four presentations are over so far with overwhelming attendance for each one of them. BAH, Bain, and BCG were in town the first three days of the week.

Life is moving forward slowly....classes are fun. I like Realizing Entrepreneurial Potential. Although the project seems to be too much of a hazzle. Now gotta run for a presentation by the dean on the performance of our profs last period :-). Later folks.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Ride begins again !

The real INSEAD recruitment season begins with Booz-Allen visiting campus today. As you know me already, I am not keen on Consultants. I certainly hope to keep tab of the pulse on campus and who knows something interesting might pop-out of the 20 odd visitors ;-).

The weekend was good. Lots of work. Caught up with the stuff to be done in the week. I organized myself for the first time forcibly so I am not too messy during the week. I know exactly what I am doing for the most part (Even the sections I will be attending classes in for the rest of the week so I can make the most out of the CS activities)

I spent several hours over the weekend with some of the executives visiting INSEAD on trainings. It is interesting to hear the views people hold on INSEAD. Most(read:all) of them, I should say are more positive than Chunkey Monkey's views ;-).

Chunkey Monkey - You certainly are frustrated ! You are free to hold your views. Any system you take no matter how efficiently designed, has strengths and exagerrated strengths turn into weaknesses. You seem to be someone from the INSEAD system who did not successfully collect the rent. The ones who see the rent being taken away always cry ! No more human nature comments now ;-).

Gotta run.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Pamper Time

It has been a hectic starting week. Three days up and I have spent about 25 hours in amphis just listening to professors, career services and professional interview trainers). Phew ! Thats a lot for someone graduating in a few months - yes? I really am hoping my schedule is going to get a little more relaxing than it is at the moment but its not going to be. There are going to be on the same day as many as 6 recruiters starting next week. They are all going to sell to us "their jobs" ! They pamper us with dinner invitations / cocktails and what not. But that lasts a couple of weeks. The tables get reversed starting first week of April when they start interviewing. After having seen a wide range of talented classmates, its going to be interesting to see who goes where. Its a part of the experience.

Todays experience in the mock-interviews was encouraging. I was told although I sounded guarded I sounded confident and clear for the jobs I am interested in (non consulting, non-banking). I will save it there. I have got motivated by a couple of consultants, I will keep you posted on how things turn-out. I need to get started on a ton of things this weekend.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Coming soon...singapore Vs fonty

Defending INSEAD Once

For once I have decided to take a "defensive stance" on INSEAD because that is one USP the school should not give up on. 14% does look high on the outset. How many american citizens do you think are in HWSK? Take a guess on that and I will not take the argument any further. On your stat. 80 still looks on the higher side, I would think it is in the 50-60 range.

INSEAD supposedly has a policy of "upper cap" (near the 10% mark) in its admission policy for nationalities. So to beat that, competition is fiercer in such pools as Indian / French / British applicants (compared to the chances of a girl from Estonia). Once a professor told me the dilemma for the admissions team is really that "whether to simply admit the best quality applicants" or "to be politically correct through a complex and rigid quota system". Of course the US schools are going through similar dilemmas but with respect to American applicants. Also note that Indians with 5-6 years experience do not have any educational institutions to go to get an MBA that has the richness of experience that is available in today's US / European schools.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Life is Beautiful

As P4 is about to start, I just realized life is beautiful for several reasons.

(1) I found a very very beautiful place to live in that just seems too good to be true. Firstly its less than 3 kms from Campus at Avon. Its right behind the fontainebleau chateau and looks like either an imitation of a chateau yet with the luxuries of a hot shower, refrigerator and an "Electric" heating system. If you live in france you will know how big it is to have an electric heating instead of a gas heating system. I live on the first floor in a studio kind of setting. The house is soo scenic even in winter with the atleast 200 square meter garden. Its awesome. All this at an affordable rent (30% less than my earlier house in the middle of nowhere) and a nice landlady who trained me for half hour on how the bed is supposed to be set in France (before you guys get ideas, she is atleast 75)

(2) Being back "home" its nice to see a lot of old friends again. I haven't met the couple of the "Best INSEAD buddies" yet, but then I certainly have seen a lot of people I spent 4 months with. Some all 3 Ps in singapore have switched as well and I feel a "elder brother" love for them too :-). Holiday stories are being shared. Mine was uneventful but then I have the singapore story to tell the fonty folks.

(3) Juicer at EUR 6.95. I love it when France tries to be competitive. I found a citrus juicer at 6:95 when I was looking for a EUR 6.40 adapter (Singapore appliance in France). Wow...something is changing in France. Why do you all think I am abnoxious?

Talking about abnoxious, I think the following comment deserves "reposting here" so no one misses it. I am impressed with myself for being obnoxious enough to attract such critical attention. Loving it all the way. Except that the person who posted the comment remained anonymous.

Anonymous said...
You are another obnoxious idiot MBA. An idiot like you is born everyday. Good riddance!

Obviously the "Good Riddance" means the person who posted it is in Singapore.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Return to Fontainebleau.

Well, I am back home ! Home Sweet home. I am forced to look for a house around here because of the mishaps at the end of P2. There are plenty of houses available around here. Today I visited 5 of them, 4 of which I consider quite nice. That is a good strike rate don't you think. Being on campus a good 4 days earlier than period start date, I took the opportunity to turn in the last report due. I also am starting to look for housemates so I can take a large house and share (2/3 bedrooms)....I want to also live north so its easier to go to Paris than from the south. I will keep you all posted on how the search goes.

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