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This makes me laugh…

I promise a new blog post shortly.  Topics will most likely include sailing, applicant advice, living in London, and/or the economy.  For now though, take a look at this clip… and get some asprin ready because it will make you laugh until you have a headache.  Make sure you watch the entire thing!


Copying my other blog

So, I’m doing exactly what I intended not to… I’m falling behind on my blog.  I was absolutely adament that when I started my MBA, I’d keep posting on my blog on a weekly or so basis.  When I was applying to schools, I got so much out of reading current students’ blogs, I decided that I wanted to help others by writing my own.  I also got really frustrated when a blogger I had been reading for a while suddnely stopped posting.  I vowed to keep posting on a regular basis once I started my MBA… and what have I done?  I’ve hardly posted anything at all during the past month!  My official excuse is that I’ve been far busier than I ever thought I’d be… but in reality, I have no excuse.

Guys, I promise I’ll get around to writing some more posts for this blog… but for now, I think you’re going to have to settle for a cut and paste of my blog posts I’ve written for the school’s blog.  Here is my latest one:

My shins are black and blue, my knees have soft mushy spots which hurt to touch, I can feel muscles in my back that I didn’t know existed, my forearms feel like rubber, and I have a red scratch under my eye from getting punched in the face by a French girl.  No, I didn’t have a rough night out in East London… I spent the weekend sailing with the London Business School sailing club in the Sunsail Regatta in Portsmouth.

It has been a long time since I’ve been in a sailboat where I was doing something more than just relaxing, sipping wine, and taking in the sun.  This was racing and I had forgotten how physically taxing (and exhilarating) it can be.  With all of my bumps and bruises though, I got off easy; my classmate MK, who was on the other boat, got in a fight with a sailboat and the sailboat won.  Basically, the main sheet caught his neck as they were jibbing and it smashed his face into the deck.  He’s a trooper though, he was in class the next day, bandages and all.

Well, as fun as I had during sailing, Krish already told me he had written a blog post about the whole experiences, so I’m going to use this as an opportunity to segway to the topic of clubs in general.

The shear number of active clubs at this school is crazy… its almost impossible to keep track of them all.  The trap which many first-years fall into is to join too many.  There are many clubs that I’m interested in, but I realized within the first few weeks that I was going to have to prioritize and only participate in those I really wanted to be involved in.  Trying to fill professional, social, and sports needs, I have joined the following clubs:

  • Venture Capital Club – one of my main professional goals is to work in Venture Capital, preferably in Renewable/Green Tech or Nanotechnology.  Though this is a lofty goal (it can be very difficult to land a VC gig right out of school) but the VC club greatly increases your chances of breaking into the industry.  There are numerous speakers, entrepreneur pitches, and competitions.  I’m particularly looking forward to the VCIC competition in the Spring Term where we form fictitious VC funds and evaluate real entrepreneurs’ business plans.
  • Energy Club – As I have a strong interest in renewable energy, and I may not be able to land a coveted VC job, I’ve started looking into working for a big energy firm such as BP in their alternative energy group.  I’ve been learning quite a lot about the industry through the clubs events, and I look forward to more.
  • Entrepreneurship Club – I’m still holding onto that dream of starting my own company right out of school (yet another pathway into VC), but I’m having trouble coming up with a winning idea.  The entrepreneurship club’s  speakers and competitions help bring ideas to the surface and offer inspiration.
  • Squash Club – I used to enjoy playing racquetball in college, and squash is the next closest thing.  Amazingly enough, the London Business School squash club has full access to the Lord’s Squash Courts!  The opportunity to play at such an exclusive club is invaluable, not only for the experience, but also for the people you may find yourself playing squash against!
  • Student Ambassador – ok, so its not really a club, but it will be taking up a considerable amount of my time.  A former student ambassador, Dana McNabb, was instrumental in my decision to apply to London Business School.  I decided a while ago that I wanted to help prospective students learn more about the school, just as she helped me.  I’ll be attending information sessions, giving campus tours, and generally making myself available to answer questions about the school.  You can see a listing of all Student Ambassadors here.
  • Sailing Club – as I mentioned above, I had a great time sailing and want to do as much of it as possible during my time at London Business School.  My boat, skippered by the incomparable Miranda, came in 3rd place last weekend out of about 20 boats!!  Each year the sailing club takes a spring break trip somewhere to go sailing… last year it was Thailand… its up to us this year to figure out where we want to go.  I’m thinking Vietnam sounds good.  Today I start a seven week Day Skipper course taught at the school, covering maritime basics such as navigation, etc..  Its the first step towards getting my Skipper License which will allow me to rent boats and take them out.

Well, there are a few other clubs I ‘dabble’ in (Poker, Rock n’ Roll, and Wine & Cheese come to mind), but these are the main ones I’m making a strong effort to be active in.  I’m at least making sure I go to all of the meetings and events, but once you start factoring in class trips, friends’ birthday drinks, company networking events, etc. it become hard to keep all of the balls in the air.

By far one of the best aspects of London Business School is the extremely high level of involvement that the student body has in clubs and activities.  There is something for everyone offered at the school, and if there is a club you want to join which doesn’t exist, the school makes it quite easy to start a new club!

Oh, and it should be noted that I didn’t do anything to deserve getting punched in the face by said French girl… it was entirely by accident… I was manning the Genoa sheet, pulling it in after we tacked.  She slipped the ratchet handle onto the winch before I could get the sheet through the locking clamp.  I then leaned in to try and get the sheet over the handle and onto the winch while she was turning the winch handle, and as her fist came around, she caught me square in the eye.   Ouch!

First week over

Well, the first week of my London Business School MBA is over. We are finished with Understanding General Management (someone in the class calculated that that means we are finished with 2% of our total credits) and I will soon be finished with Business Statistics. I really wish I had opted out of statistics (or sadistics as my Grandfather called it from his days at Wharton) because, though things are worded in the form of business problems, once you distill out the data, the stuff we are learning is very basic for anyone who has studied engineering. I suppose the only thing I am getting out of the class are some new tricks on Excel which I didn’t know about; new tricks that I am sure will come in great handy over the next few years.

Heading down to Picadilly on the Tube

Heading down to Picadilly on the Tube

When not in class, I’ve been spending time with my classmates. Activities have included drinking at The Windsor, drinking at The Volunteer, drinking at The Hobgoblin, drinking at the school’s own MBAr, or going down to Picadilly Circus to go… you guessed it… drinking. Again, keeping in mind that in the MBA student world, drinking together is an important part of the course and is thus referred to as networking.

My first class, Understanding General Management, was quite interesting. The course was only a week long because it followed the block format which some classes are offered in here. Basically, by taking a class from 9am-5pm, we can finish the whole class in as little as 3 days. This of course wouldn’t work (I don’t think) for something like Finance 2, but for a course like UGM, its just fine.

We started UGM with a case study on Honda. In the b-school world, its probably once of most famous of all cases. We were assigned to read ‘Honda (A)’ which paints a very rosy picture of how Sochiro Honda and his cohort Takeo Fujisawa conquered the American motorcycle market in the mid-1970’s. By the time class discussions began, most of us ignorant students were of the mindset that Honda was a ‘superman’ in terms. They had entered the US marketplace with such skill, foresight, and wisdom that clearly, as we are all aspiring future managers, we should emulated their overall strategy.

After the discussion died down a little, the Honda (B) case study was handed out to us and we were given the chance to read it. Boy, did it paint a different picture of Honda. Wisdom was replaced with recklessness, strategy was replaced with shear luck. Most of the class enjoyed this image of Honda much more; it painted the founders of the company as men; men with flaws, and in a sense showed us that regular people can accomplish great things. Another purpose of the dual-case study was to teach us that we should not always believe everything we read in case studies; the bias or intention of the author determines how the final article portrays a company, not reality. In truth, I expect that the read Honda and Fujisawa lay somewhere between Honda (A) and Honda (B), but I guess we’ll never know.

Well, that’s it for now. I have more drinking networking to go and do. Haha, actually no, I’m kidding… its only 10 in the morning. I have to go and finish writing up my study group’s recommendations for a fictional Chinese food restaurant called Red Dragon. For Business Statistics we had to advise the restaurant on a policy to offer a 10 pound (still can’t figure out how to type pounds sterling on my US keyboard) certificate to customers in a 10 mile radius when their orders were late, and what time limit to place on that guarantee. Actually a pretty fun exercise, so I guess I am getting something out of Sadistics Statistics after all.

True Story

So, I was in Victoria station the other day waiting for the Maidstone East train to go down to my grandfather’s house.  I arrived at 5:58 and my train was at 6:22.  I figured I had enough time time to stop at the ‘Cornwall Pasty (spelling?) Stand’ and buy myself a Steak and Stilton pasty.

I bought it.

It was delicious.

I ate the first half leaning against the brick wall of Victoria Station.

Just as I was about to take a bite of the second half… I mean, as it was going into my mouth… PLOP!!!

I pigeon from up above on high SHIT all over my pasty!!!



So I bought a baguette from another shop.

Continental Flight to London (backdated)

What is it with me an in-flight entertainment systems. Recently, every time I’ve taken a long flight where access to movies and music is considered a humanitarian service to prevent the passengers from going insane, the in-flight entertainment system has crapped out on one row, or one section of seats on the plane, and it always includes my seat. Usually the flight crew is able to reset the system every time it freezes up, making a two hour long movie take about 3 hours to watch, but on today’s flight one half of the plane has a working entertainment system and the other half does not.

I’ll give you two tries to guess which half of the plane I’m sitting on. If you need both guesses, then you clearly have been smoking some illicit substances.*

*If you have been smoking some illicit substances, go and see the movie Pineapple Express… you’ll enjoy it greatly. Seth Rogan is a comic genius! Even if you haven’t been touching any illicit substances, go and see the movie anyway. A good stoner flick can make everyone laugh.

Newark Airport, Aug 18 (backdated)

Well, here I am sitting in Terminal C, Gate 86 waiting to board my flight to London Gatwick. After waiting in line at the Virgin Atlantic check-in desk (Terminal B), I was told that my flight, while a Virgin flight, is operated by Continental Airlines (nice of them to tell me) and that I had to make my way over to Terminal C. Fortunately I had arrived at the airport 3 hours early (yes, I arrived at the airport really early… you read that correctly) so I had plenty of time to make my way over there.As I sit here waiting for the flight, I’m going over in my head all of the things I need to do this next week. Fortunately I already took care of some of the most difficult tasks; opening a bank account and finding a flat, but I still have a large laundry list:

  • Get myself a cell phone (aka. a ‘mobile’ phone in British English). Last month I put myself on a waiting list to get myself an iPhone. Fortunately, it is free with the monthly plan I will be purchasing, though if I want to upgrade to the 16GB, which I probably will, then I need to pay a little money myself.

  • Discuss with Frank and Apoorva what items we need to buy for the apartment flat such as a television, phone, plates, cooking utensils, etc. Then go and buy said items.

  • Go and actually register myself with the school and get my ID card; this will allow me access to campus buildings including the gym. After 3 weeks of indulgence in the US, I need to hit the gym hard. My knees aren’t hurting yet, but if I don’t get running soon, they will start to. I’m particularly looking forward to jogging around Regent’s Park, adjacent to the school.

  • Investigate how to hook-up our apartment (damn) flat to the internet. As you can see, since I am sitting in an airport terminal trying to hook up to the internet, I cannot go for long without internet access. Its a miracle I was able to travel across parts of Indonesia as I did.

  • Get my drink on with some of my LBS classmates (don’t worry Mum & Dad, just a few pints, no gin involved)

  • Get all of my registered mailing addresses changed from the US to London. This, of course, is mainly to ensure that my ‘Scotch of the Month’ gets consumed by myself rather than my father. (note to self: find a scotch of the month club and join it)

  • Find out how to buy an Oyster card. A single Tube ride in London now costs 4 pounds!! Yes, to ride the Tube in London is the equivalent of going to a movie in the US!! With and Oyster card however, the price drops down to 1.5 pounds. Since my flat (woohoo, I’m getting the lingo down!) is only a 12 minute walk from school, I’m hoping I won’t need to use the Tube that often.

  • Figure out how to type the symbol for ‘pound sterling’ on my US keyboard

  • Learn enough Mandarin Chinese in two weeks so that I can pass the Level 1 Chinese proficiency exam (yeah, three years of living in China and would still fail the exam if I took it today… but only because a large portion of the exam is reading and writing… if it were merely speaking, I could pass Level 1 pretty easily. I need to pass Level 1 to get into the Level 2 classes… I’ll be damned buggered if I have to sit through yet another Mandarin intro class chanting, “b- , p- , s- … j- , zh- , g- … etc.” (those who suffered through the first semester of 汉语说在烟台大学, then you know what I’m talking about).

  • And any other of the 50 gabillion things I have to do this week before orientation starts which I’m not going to write about because this blog is supposed to be entertaining to read and not incredibly boring

Well, that’s enough for now I suppose. As I said, I have loads to do… I guess there is no reason to bore you senseless by writing them all here. It does, however, help get things straight in my head by writing posts like these.

They are just about to start boarding, so I’d better go now. See you in London!!

Heading to London!!! Woohoo!!

Bronwen Court, St. John's Wood

Bronwen Court, St. John

Well, my wait is finally over.  It has been 20 months since I first sent in my application to London Business School, and later this afternoon I will be heading up to Newark Airport to board my flight to London.  I can’t wait to meet the rest of my class in person… I’ve been seeing all of the fun they’ve been having these past two weeks.  Most of the class arrived quite early and spends the evenings out at pubs getting to know one another.  For me, it was important to spend more time at home since I’ve only been seeing my friends and family about once per year, so I decided to arrive only one week before orientation.

I am very glad I went to London last month to find a flat.

My Living Room

My Living Room

The past few days I’ve spoken to quite a few of my classmates that are having a very difficult time flathunting this close to the beginning of classes.  I was able to get a fantastic place in Saint John’s Wood (a 12 minute walk from the school) for a decent price.

My two roommates seem cool; Apoorva is from India and has been living in China recently, while Frank is French Canadian and has been living in Germany. I’ve meet Apoorva before… I went to visit him at his place in Shanghai three times and we had loads of fun hanging out together.  I’ve never met Frank in person, but when I’ve spoken to him on the phone, he has seemed like a really cool guy.



My first week is going to be a whirlwind of activity (I’m sure the whole first year will be actually).  I arrive on Tues morning and will make my way to 55 Bronwen Court, Saint John’s Wood.  My house it directly across the street from Lord’s Cricket Ground, so I had better become a fan of cricket (its pretty much baseball).

Some members of the class have already organized an ‘Explore London’ day on Tues… I may go in order to meet some classmates, but I’ve already seen all of the sights they will be visiting (I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve visited London over the past 27 years). 

My bedroom

My bedroom

At some point I’ll head down to Otford to visit my Grandfather and pick up the boxes of stuff I have sitting in his house.  I still don’t know how I’ll get it up to London… perhaps hire the ‘Man with a Van’ that other LBS students have hired.

Well, its time for me to pack up the computer now, so I guess I had better go. I’ll see you all in London!!