Saturday, December 31, 2005


We were busy (and/or stupid).

For more than a month, we were having a water heater problem. For some reason, the water heater only worked when we opened the tap nearest to the heater. So whenever we had to take a shower, we would go to that tap, turn it on, come back to the bathroom, turn on the shower, go back to the tap again and turn it off and come back to take a shower. It was a pain but at least we were able to take a hot shower which mattered most at that time. We were also wasting a lot of water because if we dared to turn the shower off while we were shampooing, we would need a lot of luck to get hot water again. Basically we were having the "jumpstart" problem. (Once we jumpstarted the car, it worked but as soon as we stopped, we had to jumpstart it again.) At least 4 weekends passed, but the problem didn't get fixed. We called our rental agent, she said we had to fix it ourselves. She didn't give us any hint on what could be the problem. My flatmate Walter checked with a plumbing agency, we got an appointment for 2 weeks later. Two days back my second flatmate Kapil along with our friend Anil looked underneath the heater and found a small box. He wondered what it was and guess what, it was a battery placeholder. So he suggested we could change battery and see if it works. Yesterday, Walter got 2 new batteries, changed the old ones and voila! the water heater started working again. For a simple thing like that, we waited more than a month and always dreaded to enter a shower wondering if suddenly we could get no hot water.

Yesterday we also fixed one another problem. After we got internet at our flat, I was not able to access it from my room because it was supposedly not in the range of or blocked from the wireless router. So whenever I wanted to use internet, I would either go to living room or our study room. We thought about putting the router in a different location to have access from my room but in those locations, we didn't have either a phone outlet or a power outlet. I could have put the router in my room, but then then we couldn't access it from our living room. It didn't sound logical not to have internet access in the living room as we all would be using the room time to time. Then few days back, I got a long RJ45 cable to hook my room directly to the router (ie without using wireless). When I was thinking of how to take it to my room without making the corridor look cluttered and without letting it get snapped by our doors, Kapil thought about taking the telephone connection from my room and using power outlet in his room. (Only my room and the living room have phone outlets.) Kapil's room is in the straight line view both from my room and the living room.
kapil's room* | *living room
| _________________
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
my room

That idea worked. Although his room looked cluttered from phone wire, at least, we had wireless access in all the rooms. Even better, he found that there was a phone outlet in a "nobody would know" point in the study room. Since the study room was closer to my room, I was able to get wireless access in my room. Bravo Kapil! we got the best solution after one semester was over.

In retrospect, we were just tired or didn't have much time to explore all these options but perhaps we were stupid too not to figure out these options earlier!! What do you think?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


winter holidays in Barcelona

My friend Sandeep and his wife Biparna came to visit us in Barcelona during the Christmas break. Sandeep and Biparna are both medical doctors. Sandeep and I did my A levels together in Nepal. When your friends come to visit you, then you will have a very good excuse to visit places you have been waiting to visit. It applied to us as well. Together with Sandeep and Biparna, we explored Barcelona and the outskirts.

They loved Barcelona as soon as they landed here. It was expected for someone coming from the cold England to the warm Barcelona. They had actually visited Paris before coming to Barcelona. It seemed like they enjoyed the romantic and artistic city Paris but they hated the cold Paris.

First we took them to the famous Park Guell. How could we not? I don't think I would ever say no to visit Park Guell anytime. They loved it as well. Plus the weather was fantastic that day. They had already become fan of Gaudi by the time we showed them La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batio. The funny thing was, following Gaudi's style, Sandeep had also started to hate straight lines and structures.

We also visited Magic fountains of Montjuich. They were truly beautiful. Although it was getting chillier in the evening, we just didn't want to leave the place. The views of the fountains which change color with the tempo of the music played are really breathtaking.

On 24th, we went to Sant Sadurni D'Noia of the "Penedas" region to tour the "wine country". Unfortunately, everything was closed as it was the day before Christmas. We had a feeling that they would be closed but we took the chances anyway. Nevertheless it was our first train trip to the south of Bartcelona. We hadn't taken Renfe trains earlier. Next time when we have guests we can take them easily to wine region now. This time we had to do some research and "adventure" to find and reach our destination.

Our last visit was to Montserrat mountain. It was 1 hour west from Barcelona. The small train ride across the mountain was impressive. We fully enjoyed our time there.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


not good..

Financial Accounting turned out to be tougher than expected. I at least expected some questions of the same pattern as in the past papers. And I was really ready to answer questions like "What is the loss on disposal, what is the account-receivable write offs, prepare a operational cash flow..blah blah". Guess what, we didn't get any of those questions which seemed very likely to come (they were asked in all of the 3 past papers from 2001, 2003 and 2004). But like we learned in our Decision Analysis class, even when the percentage likelihood was high, it was still possible to not get it. A true real life example of what I learned in Decision Analysis class.

We had Decision Analysis exam today. I think I did bad as well. I thought I was better in this than Financial accounting, but as soon as I walked out of the exam, I realized that I might have done worse than I thought. But I never seriously walked though the questions again after I walked out of the exam. I was "sort-of" confident on my logic during the exam, so it could still be the case that I was right. But chances are, no matter how likely or unlikely they are, I could be wrong, at least in my first question with the heavy weight of 35%.

Tomorrow we have Marketing case, I am not even sure how to approach my final day preparation. We have to analyze a case, so I am just going through some "case analysis" guides I found in the IESE Consulting Club website.

Friday, December 16, 2005


great documentary

Today was the last day of classes for this semester. At the end of the each class, we gave a long applause to our professors.

Before the lunch break, we had a great Comment of the Week presentation by our friend Rafa from Mexico. More on it can be read at calatrava's blog.

During our lunch break, Theater club presented a fantastic play in the main auditorium. It was houseful and was broadcasted live in another auditorium. The lesson of the play was we should have a balance of work life and family life and not get carried away by the money factor alone. Kudos to the members of the theater club! You guys did an amazing job.

After the lunch break, in our OB class, we saw this documentary called "" which is a story of two entrepreneurs building a startup, reaching the highs and then falling apart during the dot com crash. As someone who has thought of starting his own company, it gave me good insights on what it is like to start a company (regardless of the outcome). The company not only fell apart, but the relationship between two high school buddies was also at stake. More on how the company went bankrupt can be read at .

We have finals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The first one is Financial Accounting. After doing first few problems of a practice set "mas o menos" correctly, I am feeling motivated to do more exercises. I hope I will maintain my motivation level throughout the weekend.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Learning a lot at IESE

I remember the days when my friends and I used to have a round table discussion on a great idea we had. We would then think of establishing a new business. We even started writing a business plan but we didn't calculate any "break even" or "expected value". We didn't do any "sensitivity analysis". We didn't talk about accounting issues like how our first year balance sheet or financial statement would look like. After preliminary, what would be a very incomplete business proposal in retrospect, we would talk about what we could do to raise money and then didn't use to progress much.

After 3 months in IESE, I can proudly say I am learning a lot here. I now know, although in a very basic way, how to critically look though balance sheets and income statements of companies. I know of different factors we need to take into account when making a decision from Decision Analysis course. I could relate to many things that happened in my past workplaces when going through the cases and discussion in Organizational Behaviour classes; for example, how one of my ex-boss who also had a huge stake in the company was acting more from a stakeholder perspective than a manager perspective. Just before I started writing this blog, I was reading a HBS case on "Accounting Fraud at Worldcom". I could very easily relate the analysis to what I have learned in Financial Accounting on how financial accounts are prone to manipulation. The case itself is very nicely written and I believe I got a complete and well rounded picture of the fraud that took place in Worldcom. The list of what I have learned at IESE goes on.

I also learned to be careful when reading my mail in Spanish today. I got a mail from Career Services saying "Los alumnos seleccionados para las entrevistas del di­a 17 de enero, ya han sido contactados." I read the word "entrevista", saw the date, noticed that the subject was the name of the company I had applied to, so I immediately thought I was shortlisted for interview. The congratulatory emails we receive when we are actually shortlisted are generally "short". (It makes sense, short-listed and hence short email, right?) So, I was happy that I was shortlisted and told some of my friends. They all congratulated me, one of them even suggested that it must be for London position as they haven't yet heard about the positions in Spain. Only after I came to my flat and shared the news with my flatmate who also received similar email, I realized the true meaning of the sentence. I know I am to be blamed for making a wrong interpretation but couldn't the email have been written to give the intended message without mentioning the date?

Sunday, December 11, 2005


my longtime enemy

Just when I need to study more, my longtime enemy called "sinus" comes by and says hello to me. He not only says hello, he hypnotizes me. He captures my head, doesn't let me do any thinking, makes me unable to concentrate and challenges me on whether I can win him. I sure can win him, but not in a minute. It takes me at least a couple of hours to win him and say bye to him temporarily.

I think I know why he is visiting me lately. I have been drinking "cafe con leche" (coffee with milk) in the past few days although I am aware that my longtime enemy loves leche. He gets excited when he gets his favorite leche. He should be happy and just be "tranquilo" when he gets his favorite food, but he gets excited. And he comes and plays the game with his host. How selfish are you? Leave your host alone, just say "thank you" and sleep. Go somewhere else, and leave the host alone, damn it!

Update 4 hours later: After taking some hot lemonades, I think I have been able to fight my enemy off, at least for now. So this is the good news.

Friday, December 09, 2005


preparing for finals

This is the last stretch of the first semester here in IESE. We have finals coming up in 2 weeks. The main subject in which I need to catch up is Financial Accounting. I will be dedicating my weekend for it.

I got the DVD of my sister's engagement today. She got engaged on Thanksgiving day. This is a picture of her and her fiance. I wish I was with them during the engagement ceremony.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


ABP report, holidays and summer job

Most of this last weekend was spent on writing the ABP report. I was working on it until 2 AM on Monday. I felt like I didn't manage my time properly but when I found out that some of us were working until 8 or 9 AM on Monday morning for the paper and some even skipping the morning classes, I felt better (I told you! its all relative). So if there were others who didn't stay later than me, I would have felt bad. There is something wrong on the way we judge ourselves, don't we?

Time flies by so fast. We have only 2 weeks for finals left. Luckily, today was a national holiday in Spain. I both like and dislike the holidays in Spain. I like them for obvious reasons, I have more time to prepare for classes, spend time with my wife, go out, have fun, blah blah. I dislike them because most of the shops are closed on holidays. So this means I couldn't go to groceries to buy food nor to mall to do any shopping. I am supposed to do shopping when I am the busiest. I am aware that there are some grocery stores/supermarket that are open 24 hours but I know for sure they are not near to my place. But perhaps with an extra effort, I can find them.

On other updates, I got shortlisted for a summer internship in a company where I really want to work. This is the first step, I now need to pass my first interview on campus. Then if I pass that, I will have to pass second interview in London to finally have the job. I will be talking with second years who are going to work there and get ideas from them on what I could do to do well on the interview. But the slightly scare news is that I am not shortlisted for any other companies so far. I know that not all the companies I have applied to are done with their first round selection but there are already 2 or 3 which are done with their selection and I was not on their list. I am not expecting to be shortlisted by all the companies but that relativity comes into play again and makes me scared.

My friends are coming to visit me in Barcelona during Christmas. They will be here for a week. I am not sure what I am going to do after that. I may just go to my classmate's house in Finland. That would be fun, wouldn't it? I like to go to UK to visit my friends and some relatives there but I have yet to apply for a visa to London. I may end up going nowhere as I need to prepare for the interviews. Since I am a career changer, I really have to prepare myself and convince them that I can do the job and I am really interested in doing it.

I also have to apply for a visa to the US. I have to go to US sometime in next couple of months for my sister's wedding. The date of the wedding is not confirmed yet and hence I said "sometime in the next couple of months". Otherwise you might be wondering how come I am not even sure of my sister's wedding date.

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