Sunday, October 30, 2005


Random Dinner on Thursday

Thursday nite, Srijana and I went to a "random dinner" hosted by 2nd year students. As the name suggests, the first year students who signed up for it were selected randomly to different 2nd year hosts (matching dietary preferences, if any). Our hosts were Steven from US, Andre from Poland, Alankar from India and Dhawal from India. Rest of us who were invited were Roman from Barcelona, Kendra from US (exchange student from Kellog) and Alok from India. Kendra arrived late as she got lost because she first went to a street which had the same name except for one letter. That gave us an excuse of creating some Kellog jokes until she came.

The hosts were all really nice. The food was great. We had Indian, Mexican and Polish dishes. I think I saw huge lettuce wraps for the first time. The idea was to make something like a burrito using the lettuce wrap and different items prepared for our wonderful dining experience. "Raita" was very tasty. I also took some shots of sweet liquor made of "swanf". I am not sure what "swanf" is called in English. It is that mouth freshner you can get in an Indian/Nepali restaurant after you have dinner. Thank you Steven, Dhawal, Alankar and Andre. We had a great time. It was a lot of fun to hear your your first year stories.

The only drawback to going to the dinner was not being able to prepare for the classes the next day. Luckily, I didn't get any cold calls in my Financial Accounting class. Few of my classmates were missing in the first class on Friday. Many of them also went to the BOW(Bar of the week) on Thursday after the random dinner. Perhaps that was the reason why some of them couldn't make to the class. Thanks God I didn't decide to go to the BOW. I would have ruined my Friday if I had gone. Although I hadn't prepared much for my ABP(Analysis of Business Problems) class and OB class, I think I participated more than I used to do in other days.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


career forum over

Overall, career forum was very good. There were many top ranked banks, consulting and pharma companies represented. It was good to hear how the banks differentiated from each other. Citigroup and Google's presentation were popular. We had a houseful auditorium during their presentations. Lehman Brother's presentation was impressive. The top Lehman guy from Spain and Portugal region gave a convincing pitch. Barclays' presentation was very good too. The key speaker was an IESE alumnus and he explained more about why we should try banking if we are really interested in it, not just for the sake of working for a big firm. His main message was that one has to have a real passion to do banking, otherwise it would be a waste of resources both for the bank and the employee. He later on pitched on how Barclays was different from other big name banks.

There were many big name management consulting companies but most of them were recruiting for countries like Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands or France where you would need to know the local language. Since I do not know any of the languages of those countries, I was not really interested in them. We could apply to UK office or other offices around the world through them but I am not sure how effectively the applications get forwarded to the other offices. At least for banking, most of the recruitments are done for the UK offices, and hence langauge issue and work permit issue do not come into play. UK has a special program that lets you work in the UK with mimimal hassles if you have a MBA from a top 50 school.

There were very few companies from technology industry (not counting pharma). Google, Schneider Electric and Philips were some of the companies representing the technology industry. I was told by career services that we will have more technology companies like Yahoo, EBay on campus later in January.

We had a cocktail reception (with real cocktail) on Monday evening by Lehman Brothers. It was good to hear the experiences from the people working there. One of the representatives was a LBS alumnus. He was good in explaining different facets of working in the Investment Banking Division, especially M&A. (For those who do not know much about investment banking, Investment Banks do more than "investment banking". They have other divisions like Fixed Income, Private Equities besides Investment Banking division. They however are loosely called Investment Banks) I however was very tired from the earlier day when I had to finish my ABP paper . I wish I was not. Perhaps I could have enjoyed and concentrated more on the presentations and asked the representatives much better questions.

Tuesday was better for me. I had a good sleep. Then in the morning I had an informational session with a prestigious investment bank. I asked them why members of IBD (Investment Banking Division) have to work more hours than members of other departments like Fixed Income. I got a good and convincing answer. I also asked him whether M&A would be a good fit for my background in managing operations of a technology company.

Overall it was a good opportunity to know more about many big name companies from banking, consulting and industry.

PS On Monday afternoon, we had a "lunch" sponsored by a big name company. But that was a shame in the name of a lunch. That experience was analogous to when I learned the new meaning of cocktail a month back. The lunch was nothing more than the so called cocktail we have at times that included some nuts, tiny sandwiches, orange juice and cocacola. Since this was a cocktail organized during the lunch time, perhaps they called it lunch. And we actually had to send our resume and sign up for this lunch.

Let me stop here on commenting about minor things like the lunch. That was not my real concern in the career forum. I was there to explore my career opportunities.


long weekend is here

We have a 4 day long weekend starting tomorrow. This means I will have enough time to catch upon many things including updating my blog. I will do so tomorrow as I really need to first catch up on my sleep.

Good Nite!

Monday, October 24, 2005


Career Forum coming up on Monday and Tuesday

I have been very busy this weekend working on a case of "Analysis of Business Problem" subject. We actually have to write a report on the case which counts 25% of our grade. So it is an important paper although if we do bad in it, we have a chance to make it up with our final report which we have to do at the end of the trimester.

On top of that, I had some career events going on. Today, I had a sailing event with IESE alumni who work for Barclays Capital. I had a great time both personally and professionally. This was the first time I had been in a sailboat. I actually took control of the rudder for like 15 or 20 minutes which was fun. Towards the end, I was getting sea sick but the trip ended before it got worse. So nothing bad really happened. On the professional front, it was amazing to chat with former IESE students and get an inside view on what it is like to work for a high profile investment bank like Barclays Capital. They were very amiable. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that they are IESE alumni, I didn't have any hesitancy in asking my questions to them. I didn't have to worry much about how my questions would affect my application position in the near future. I am really liking Barclays now. Lets just hope that rest of the people in Barclays are like the representatives I met today.

After the sailing event, we went to a restaurant in Port Olympic. I don't remember the name of the restaurant but the food was good. I enjoyed the lunch very much. I thought "there was no such thing called a free lunch" but I was wrong for the time being. :) One thing which bothered me in the restaurant was they had a large statue of Hindu god Ganesh in their restroom. I thought that was very disrespectful of them to do that. I didn't get a chance to complain about this. I have to tell the manager about that.

In the evening, we had a cocktail reception with Morgan Stanley in a hotel right near our campus. It was an opportunity to network with IESE alumni as well as other recruiters from Morgan Stanley. I love the IESE bond. The alumni were very supportive. I am really starting to believe that the alumni connection of IESE is very strong.

I came back home and started wrapping up my report of ABP due tomorrow. I wanted to do more online research on the companies that are coming to campus tomorrow but its just getting too late. Its already 1:45AM now. And I have to go to a breakfast sponsored by CitiGroup tomorrow at 7:45 in the morning. Is it just me or are other students in the same boat like me?

Good nite!

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Huy is great...

I had asked my groupmates what case we had to study for tomorrow's OB class. Huy, my friend from Vitenam who grew up in Alemania(Germany), was the only one who answered. Huy, you are the life saver in our group. Bravo!

In case you are wondering what OBI is, it is an acronym for Organizational Behavior. I didn't know what OB was until few months before I was applying for MBA. So don't feel bad.


a very busy week

Last week was a very busy one. As usual, we had three cases to study every day. On top of that, we had a deadline to finalize our resume during the last week. Companies would start looking at our resumes after the deadline. So I passed my resumes to my friends who were good in giving suggestions and making corrections. They pointed out many things which I was not aware of until I showed my resume to them. I must have spent many hours going through my resume over and over.

We luckily had a holiday on Wednesday. I spent almost the whole afternoon understanding and solving one problem of Financial Accounting. But in the class the next day, our professor didn't even go through the problem as it was something of a "quite" new concept, according to him. Don't you hate that? I was hoping to feel good, confident and ready to answer any question on that problem when he would go through it. Oh well! At least I learnt something new. After all, we are all here to learn something new, aren't we?

Yesterday, I spent much of the day preparing my cover letter and resume (yes, again) for summer positions. Since I am a career changer, coming from a very technical background, I had to come up with some convincing points. Now I have to show it to my friends for their inputs. I don't know when I am going to read my cases for tomorrow.


veg food available in the cafeteria

One good news for the vegetarians is that the cafeteria in IESE now has a vegetarian item everyday for lunch. So when you get to the counter, you just ask for the veg item of the day, it is done on an order basis like the grilled items.

I tried one on Friday. I forgot what it was called, but it was good. Good job Cafeteria team!

Monday, October 10, 2005


Dandia party and Navaraatri

The second event was the Dandia (stick dance) party organized by Indians in Barcelona on the occasion of Navaraatri. Navaraatri is a 9 day Hindu festival culminating in a big fiesta on the 10th day called Dashain (Dashera in Hindi). As an analogy, you can compare it to Christmas where everyone of your family comes home to celebrate time together. We also get blessings from the elders on the 10th day. I am missing not being with my parents, sister and other relatives at this time. In India, however, Diwali is considered a bigger festival than Dashera.

There was a "Puja" ceremony in the beginning and then the Dandia dance began. It was good that they actually taught us how to do the Dandia dance. It was very fun. We had two circles, one of guys and one of ladies. Guys would move anti-clockwise and the ladies clockwise, and hence you get a chance to do the Dandia with everyone else in the other circle. I had a lot of fun. It was the first time ever I had done a Dandia dance. I wish I had taken some pictures. I couldn't use my camera as my batteries were dead and I couldn't buy replacements in the last minute. Pobre me!


the famous Bar Crawl...

Well, this was the first weekend after the regular classes started. I already had 2 fiestas lined up for the weekend. The first was Bar Crawl, organized by 2nd year students for the 1st year students (2nd year students were welcome too). So the idea was to go to different assigned bars in a group, the same group you are part of for the 1st year of your MBA program and take part in different surprise competitions. We have 3 sections in the 1st year, and each section is divided into something like 8 groups. Each section was assigned a theme for dressing up during the Bar Crawl. Our theme for dress was Punk, section B's was nerds and section C's was 70's. The Bar Crawl would start at 8 pm on Friday.

I was actually not keen on going to the Bar Crawl as I was tired from the first week of intensive classes. On top of that, Srijana was not feeling well. However, it was a well advertised party, special one as it is organized only once every year, and meant to foster team spirit within teams in a non-academic way. Everyone in my group except one (who had flown to the US) was going. And it seemed like everyone else I knew was going too. So I changed my mind although Srijana couldn't come with me. She actually suggested me to go. But then the problem was in dressing up like a punk. I never wanted to be associated with a punk and here I was trying to dress like one. But when there is a will, there is a way, right? Since I had piercings in my ears from my childhood when my mom used to put small rings on my ears, I borrowed Srijana's big ear ring and put one on my right ear. Coupled with that,I "gel"ed my hair to give it a weird look. So here I was, a partial punk ready to go Bar Crawl.

It was a fun event. I agree, it brought my group members more closer than before. I got to drink a free beer, I stole one from the beers we provided to judges as bribe. :) Actually I am glad I did it because the judges didn't give us good points in the bar where we bribed them by buying 5 or 6 beers. We also got to see Huy's flat where he invited us to have some drinks. He has got a very beautiful flat, with 2 big balconies for a very good price. He is good in deal making, I guess. Huy is a Vietnamese but grew up in Alemania(Germany). But I decided to return early as Srijana was not feeling well. I think everyone went to a dance club later.

Congratulations to the 2nd year students who organized it. I had a lot of fun.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


menu items in the Cafeteria

The cafeteria in IESE has good foods in a reasonable rate. The staff are very friendly. However, I wish the menu specified the type of meat some of the food items consisted of. It is generally diffcult to ask those questions as the line gets very long during the lunch time. On top of that, most of the staff who serve food do not understand English.

As I don't eat beef and pork, I like to know what types of meat a food item consists of if any. As I have found in other countries, sometimes a seemingly vegetarian soup may also have some meat in it. That was the case sometime back when I asked a lady in the cafetria if there was any meat in the soup they were serving that day. I think I said "hay carne en sopa?" And guess what, the soup consisted of some disguised pork(jamon).

I can imagine how vegetarians must have felt about lunches in the cafeteria.


My comment was voted second in the COW competition

In my marketing class, our professor gave an example of Mariachi when we were discussing a case. I didn't know what that meant. Like I always do, I asked the professor what Mariachi meant. Most of the students in the class laughed. Apparently, what it meant was a Mexican street band. I have seen many Mexican bands playing on the street but I didn't know they were called Mariachi. Did I mention that one of my flatmates is indeed Mexican? Shame on me, Pradeep!!

But its always a good thing to know something new in a class, isn't it? Actually, it was more than learning something new. I actually almost won a competition. :) NolliBoliie and her group had started a new ranking on comments called "Comment of the Week(COW)". The ranking would list the three most famous comments from the class and would let the class vote at the end of the week. Guess what! The comment I made in my marketing class was voted second by the class. The comment which ranked first was something like "I don't like Mickey Mouse" when we were discussing a Disney related case in the class.


getting a phone/DSL line in Barcelona is a long wait

We finally had Internet access in our flat on Friday. That was a long wait to get your flat hooked up to Internet. We had to wait almost a month to have it. Telefonica, the company which provided the internet for us, is extremely inefficient. Telephone companies in Nepal, a developing country, are more efficient that they are here in Spain. I am surprised. If we didn't have Walter, my Mexican flatmate, with us, we would probably have never been able to order the phone line and internet as we would face language issues. Thanks God! We have someone who speaks fluent Spanish staying with us.

We found out that the reason we couldn't get the DSL router to work on Wednesday was because we didn't press the "reset" button thrice consecutively. That would have reset everything. If we did it just once or twice, only some partial features would have been resetted. How the hell were we supposed to know that? I bet I didn't find that when I skimmed through the Spanish manual. I am sure I would have noticed the word "tres".

Our landlord replaced the bed frames, gas stove and oven as well as the dining hall chairs with new ones during the last week. So the last week was a special one. We had most of the things we needed in our flat. It was the same week when our classes started as well.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Regular classes have already started

Regular classes started from this Monday. Everyday we have (mas o menos) 3 cases to prepare. I am slowly getting used to this case study method. Worst of them are the cases from Marketing Management as there are many pages to read for each case. I think they are more interesting than the other ones but just too long and hence takes too much time.

The professor who teaches decision Analysis is very good in explaining things. So far most of the cases in Decision Analysis involved probability and he has been explaining them great. I am generally bad with probability, but I am able to understand the problems explained in the classes.

Yesterday I didn't manage my time properly and couldn't read all the cases properly. What happened was we got our DSL modem yesterday in our flat and hence got excited to install it myself. However, the manual and the setup files were all in Espanol. That gave me a hard time installing it. Once I was lucky to set it up properly, at least for wired connection but then I did something to nullify that good luck. But guess what, that excitement took like 2 hrs of my precious time yesterday. So I read some cases that night and read one case in the morning. I had to get up at 6 to catch up with my case this morning. I still wasn't able to fully analyze it.

Today was a cold day. I had already stepped out of my flat when I realized that it was cold outside. I didn't go back to my flat as that would take another 5 or 10 minutes. But in retrospect, I should have gone back and put a sweater or a jacket as the wind effect made this morning quite chilly.

Learning from yesterday, I am preparing all the cases today before even going back home. That way I can just relax at home. The few hours of sleep from yesterday have made me tired but I am not going to repeat the mistake I made yesterday of not preparing all the cases before going to bed.

Before I sat down to write this blog, I finished preparing one case. I did it with my team and that was a good experience. At the end, I could compare my results with my fellow group mates. I have one more to go. But at least, I don't have 3 cases to prepare for tomorrow. But I guess we still have to do some reading instead of a case for the class which did't require us to prepare a case, but that would be easier than analyzing a case.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Mike Rosenburg and Andrew J Lothian rock...

I am already lagging behind when it comes to updating my blog.

We had a career workshop and "orientation days" last week. On the first day of the career workshop, we had a session by Mike Rosenburg, a professor at IESE. He is probably one of the most engaging, fun, exciting professors I have ever had. (My Spanish Profesora was another one I was really impressed with). He rocked. His session on when we should do the preparations for our summer internships and full time jobs were very insightful and at the same time, very entertaining. I love a professor who can add some humor to his/her lecture. I think students can focus exponentially when there is some sense of humor in a lecture. Otherwise, some students will just be taking their seistas, as I have already seen some of my friends doing that in a couple of classes. (I am one of them, but not as bad as the rest of the siesta team, I think).

To add to that, we had another wonderful session from Andrew J Lothian, the CEO of Insights.He basically explained us about the different types of personalities and what makes those personalities different from each other. On doing that, he actually acted like the 4 core personalities which he described by colors. There wasn't a single moment when I felt lost or bored or not wanting to listen to what he had to say. He was amazing. We laughed so much during that session.

In a very simplistic "Insights" way, a person who is commanding, fun-loving, caring/helpful and detail oriented is denoted by red, yellow, green and blue color respectively. Guess which color I was! I was a mix of mostly yellow and green. I think the Insights evaluation described me well. My wife was actually very impressed by the evaluation. "How did they know something that I thought I only knew? Perhaps future husbands and wives should do an Insights test before marrying each other. This would tell so much about each other's personalities", she said. I was glad I didn't take that test earlier and showed the evaluation to her because she doesn't like some of my habits which she only got to know after we got married and started living together. :) You know what..I think it is a good business idea, I will propose future couples to do the Insights test and make a deal with Insights to take a portion of the revenues generated from my referrals. My regular MBA classes haven't started yet and I am already acting like an entrepreneur.

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