Friday, January 27, 2006


why waste so much paper?

You can see that I am a person who hates resources being wasted. With regards to this, I wanted to mention something that I have noticed for all these days in IESE. In the cafeteria, when we go for lunch, one is supposed to take a tray and put a sheet of quality paper on the tray. On top of that, you are supposed to put your plates.
Does it look nice? Yes.
Is it necessary? Absolutely not.

Everyday, we waste at least 400 (counting at least 300 MBA students and 100 other members of IESE) sheets of papers. One sheet equals 4 A4 size sheets and is the same quality, if not better, as the one we use for printing. So, it is equivalent to 1600 sheets of A4 size paper every day. A picture would explain it better, here you go:

The rational behind wasting these sheets, I was told, is to make the tray look nice and keep the tray clean if you spill something on it. But guess what, the trays are washed in the dishwasher anyway, so whats the problem if it spills on the paper or on the tray itself? It is just basically wasting tonnes of paper, just for the "feel good" effect. I definitely didn't feel good when I saw this wastage.

I don't use those sheets myself, ( it would make no sense to rant about this if I continue to use it) and I have convinced few of my friends to not use those sheets. I am yet to convince everyone. So I am actually pondering if I should start a Environmental Club and make IESE community aware about these issues with the full force of a club rather than just one individual.

Monday, January 23, 2006


information for prospective students to IESE

The following is an edited version of my emails to some prospective students from non-EU countries which others may find useful as well. It was helpful for me when I received such kind of information when I was applying last year.

Social culture: I felt that the class might be a little too european and the country difficult to live in - in terms of language etc. But your blog seems to suggest you are doing just fine. I'm a little introverted myself, so socialising might be a tad more difficult for me. What do you think?

It is very international, many Europeans, many Americans(US), South Americans but not many Asians except few Indians and Japanese and one Nepali (in MBA 2007).
Yes it is important to know Spanish to get around in Spain but they have intensive Spanish course as part of MBA if you are interested in learning a new and "very important" language. I took it more as a challenge than a hurdle. I know many "not so extrovert" people in IESE who are doing fine, so you should be fine.

Career in finance: It is pretty clear that non-EU citizens find jobs in london. How difficult is it turning out to be? How have other non-EU citizens in your batch fared in their internship hunt?

For banking jobs in London, non-EU citizenship is not a problem. It may be a problem for consulting jobs which are mostly located in countries where you also need a second language like Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch,French, etc. I know friends from US, India, Russia, Brazil and
Hondurus who have got internships in banks this year.

Financing studies: It's nice that IESE has an assured loan that covers full tuition fee. But I need funding for my living expenses as well! What other loans have non-EU citizens taken? Can't seem to find any other loan made available through IESE. This is a BIG CONCERN for me. Need to be assured of a loan for living expenses. All my other applications are to universities that provide for this. Of course, I'm looking at options from my home country. But bank loans from my country have very high interest rates.

Yes, this is the bitter part. I wish they had it too. Many of my friends from your country have taken educational loan to cover their living expenses.


How is the class profile andhow international is the student & faculty body? How is the learning experience ?
The class profile is very international. We have students from more than 40 countries, I believe. There are many students from US, Europe,Mexico and Latin America and only few from Asia (except India and Japan). One of the reasons there are many from Mexico and Latin America is because the language in Spain is also Spanish like in their countries. There is also a section in which the classes are taught in Spanish (although I think this is going to be discontinued from next year).The faculty is also very international. I do not know the numbers but it should be in IESE website. Many of the professors are IESE alumni and have PhD from leading schools in the US.

How is the student and work life in spain ? any language barrier ? cultural barrier ? any other barrier ?
Student life is fantastic here. I do not know how the work life is as I haven't worked in Spain. If you do not know Spanish, language will be barrier for you.Learn as much Spanish as you can before you come to IESE (if you decide to). I still regret on why I didn't spend more time taking Spanish classes in Nepal before I came here. There is not much culture barrier, Spanish people are very friendly and smiling all the time. Not to mention Spanish girls are generally considered hot (matters more if you are single). :)

How is the job market post mba in spain ? How is it in other western european
countries/latin america ?How soon can we hope to bag a good job ? any
constraints to bag jobs for foreigners ? any work visa problems ?
Job market after IESE is good if you like to be a banker. Most of the banking jobs are based in London and you won't need a second language besides English for most of the banking jobs. Almost all the top investment banks come here for recruiting. Most of the top consulting firms also come to campus. However if you like to go to management consulting but if you don't have a second language like Spanish, German, Dutch or French, it may be difficult to get in as most of the positions are for European countries where the language of the target country is a must to have. I do not know of many people going to consulting in Asia orUS from IESE.

Lots of pharmaceutical companies come here as well. But if you want to work in "industry", IESE doesn't seem to be as strong as it is with banking and consulting. But it could also be because the companies in industry don't generally have formal MBA hiring programs and they generally start late (Its only January now). If you need to work in other countries besides UK, I think work visa could be a problem. In UK they have this program where MBAs from top 50 schools can work without permit for the first year. I think they take Financial Times Global ranking as their basis. IESE comes around 12th or so in the FT worldwide ranking. In rest of the countries, I believe it depends on how "big name" the company is you will be working for. Many of my classmates are now in the process of confirming summer internships with investment banks and management consulting firms and some are going through final rounds of selection process.

How reputed is IESE outside spain/europe ? How strong is the alumni
network ?
IESE is extremely popular in Europe, alongside INSEAD and LBS. But unfortunately, it is not much popular in US or Asia. I myself didn't know about IESE until last year. But it seems like the latest Economist ranking of IESE as number one may have helped strengthen the IESE "brand" in Asia,especially India. Being such a wonderful school, I do not know why it is not very popular outsideEurope. Alumni network is quite strong. I have encountered them mostly as recruiters from banks and consulting firms. They said they really loved their time in IESE and they seemed to be keen in helping IESE in whatever way they can. In the entrepreneurship area, the alumni network is even stronger, specially in Spain.

I read that IESE has tieups with Banco sabadell for
offering loans to International students. How does the process works and
how easy is to get the loan ? Any other financial aid ?
Banco Sabadell loan is a guaranteed loan, as far as I know. They might have something in fine print, but I don't know of anyone who is rejected. So if you are admitted, you can have the loan to cover tuition expenses. Just to be in the safe side, apply for the loan as soon as you are offered admission. You should know whether your loan application was approved in a week or so. They also have some half tuition scholarships.

Admission Tips: Read Richard Montauk's "How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs" book. It was extremely helpful for me.You should be aware that IESE is a "general management" MBA program unlike LBS which is considered to be focused on "Finance".

Friday, January 20, 2006


I am in Madrid again

I am in Madrid again, but this time with my wife. And I didn´t forget my camera either. So you will see a lot of photos after I am coming back home tomorrow night.

We were here to apply for yet another visa. This time, it was to the US to attend my sister´s wedding. It was approved with almost no questions (I think IESE brand name and the fact that I was in the US earlier for about 8 years helped). And guess what! I have got another good news. Along with me, my wife now has a job. She is starting this Monday as a Research Assistant at IESE. So I will be seeing her even at school.

I will be sharing more on my second time Madrid experience once I get back home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


could it be better?

I have a summer job now. It is with a big bank in London. You might think I have become an investment banker, it is not exactly like that. It is more of a what I like to call "a job in a financial sector which also gives me a feel of working in an industry". I would be making creative financial solutions, selling them to clients and maintaining relationship with them. Sounds interesting eh!

I had my interview on Monday. I flew to London on Sunday and stayed in a nice hotel near Canary Wharf. (It was a smart move on my part to have applied for UK visa during the break, wasn't it?) The travel and hotel expenses were covered by the bank I was interviewing with. This was the first time I had been flown to a different city/country for an interview. On Monday, I had an all-day interview schedule. I had three interviews, one case study and one presentation on the case. I felt I could have done better with some of the questions in the interviews. I was wondering, perhaps I might not pass the final round. Three of us from IESE were interviewing that day.

I was with my friend Fernan in the Heathrow airport after the interviews were over. Fernan and I were interviewing for the same job. In few minutes after we checked in, he got the good news. Immediately I thought, I was right, I didn't perform good and didn't get it. If I were to get good news, I would have gotten it right then. Oh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be. I was sad, although without any doubt I was happy for Fernan. There was this completely two opposite sides of human emotions: one person extremely happy on getting a job for the summer and calling his parents, girlfriend and friends AND the other person putting his head down, not knowing what to think, not knowing how fate takes its turn and how he was going to tell his wife that he didn't get the job. When I was analyzing each and every minute of my interview wondering if I smiled too much, if I didn't make good eye contacts, if I was talking to much and if I talked too little, I got a call. It was from a "private" number, generally calls from the offices are private number. Wasting no time, I picked up the phone and yes it was the good news. Oh I would never want to have those tortorous moments I had in those last 20 minutes. I can't imagine how happy I was. Did I say no when Fernan asked me if I wanted another pint of beer? Of course not. What an eventful day was it?

It certainly feels good to know what I am going to do in summer which is still more than 4 months away. And not only that, it is not bad to get paid well while doing some interesting work in a new field, is it? Thank you Finance Club, Anubahv, Nicollo, Ermias and everyone else who guided me through this journey.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


the best Spanish law ever passed

Because of a new Spanish law, nobody is supposed to smoke inside places like educational institutions and workplaces effective Jan 1, 2006.

So if you are a non-smoker, you will be pleasantly surprised to see that nobody is smoking inside the campus. This is such a good news for someone like me who used to hate smoke when going to the cafeteria or when meeting someone who smoked inside his/her office. Once I went to Banco Sabadell office, I think it was the second day I was in Barcelona. I was really surprised then to see people smoking inside the bank. Well, not anymore. I think this is fantastic. I haven't analyzed other Spanish laws but this may probably has been the best law ever passed.

But I think it went little too far by not allowing smoking even in the open space inside an educational institution. I don't mind people smoking as long as it is not in a closed space. People can't even smoke now in the gardens inside IESE. That was little too strict, I think. pobres amigos, they have to go now outside the gate to smoke. If you take it in a positive way, it may actually discourage people from smoking because they have to make an effort to walk all the way outside the main gate to smoke. I know one of my heavy smoker friends who wants to quit and is trying to quit is happy that he doesn't see his friends smoking which would entice him to smoke. He has already cut it down to 5 per day from his usual 15.

Bravo my friend!

Friday, January 06, 2006


visit to Real Madrid

The day before yesterday, I went to Madrid with my IESE friends Abanish and Kapil who are both from India. The main purpose of my visit was to apply for visa to UK. This means, if I get lucky to get to the second round of banking interviews which generally take place in London, I don't have to worry about having to come to Madrid by missing at least a day of classes. It is also nice to be able to go to London whenever I wanted to go (during the next 6 months as the max "visit" visa I could apply for was a 6 month visa)

We flew to Madrid with Spanair, a low budget airline and reached Madrid in 1 hour in the afternoon. It was a relief to not worry about 2 new languages like in Barcelona. I could be sure that whatever is written, it is written in Spanish and not Catalan. Madrid airport seemed to be modern and clean. And it had a nice "Metro" connection unlike in Barcelona where you have to take an "airport bus" to get to the Renfe station and change train one more time to get to Catalunya, the center of Barcelona. But as we went towards the city center, the stations were dirty and the trains(Metro) were smaller and looked old.

We got a nice hostel at the center of Madrid. We didn't book it online, we found it through a recommendation of one of the hostels Kapil had shortlisted to enquire. No rooms were available in that hostel and the guy from the hostel recommended the one we eventually took. The price was a bargain. The room was nice and clean and had an ensuite bathroom. I took a single room for 17 Euros and they got a double room for 13 each. Amazing rate for something in the heart of the city. I forgot to take my camera, so I couldn't take any picture. The name of the hostel is "Narancho" and is located at Pubela 6, Piso 2 . I will put down the phone number when I find it.

We later then went to what I was told the "must see" place in Madrid, the Museu del Prado. Abanish and Kapil felt like they came to the wrong place as they got bored with paintings there and they felt they would rather go out and enjoy the hutsle and bustle of the city. I thought about it differently. I can always enjoy the city life that evening or in the afternoon the other day and didn't want to miss the opportunity at hand. I had heard a lot of good things about this museum. I spent about 3 hours enjoying the paintings there, especially the ones by Goya, Velasquez and Raimundo de Madrazo.

One of the pair of paintings I liked most was "Las Majas" by Goya, one with clothes and one naked. (No wonder, hmmn!) The audio guide mentioned that there have been never ending speculations about who that beautiful lady in the painting is. Apparently, to make sure nobody would recognize who he painted, he changed the face in the painting later on. It does look like an amateur "Photoshop" editing in the painting where the head and the rest of the body is aligned. A quick google search on Las Majas can point you to the paintings I am talking about.

The next day, we applied for our visas. One tip for you if you are an IESE student and need to apply for UK visit visa! Make sure you take a letter from Student Affairs which says that you are a current student at IESE. I had that letter but they didn't. Luckily, it worked out at the end after they submitted IESE "place conformation" letter. By 1:30, we collected our passports with the visas stamped.

More on the trip in the next posting!

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