Saturday, April 30, 2005
Friday, April 29, 2005
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Bad Idea:I went with 40 other members of the section on an all-night trip to Foxwoods Casino last night. We left campus around 6:30pm and arrived back at 7:30am this morning. Including the cost of the bus, dinner, and my gambling losses those 13 hours of entertainment cost me $155. Not as bad as some, but it sures seems like I would have been better off hanging out here and getting more than 3 hours of sleep.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
I've got one overall long term career goal, with a couple or three intervening paths to get there. Right now I'm really focused on two options straight out of school, and hopefully this summer will allow me to decide which way I want to go. Either I'll love my summer job, and that will be the industry to move into, or I won't, in which case I go to Plan B, which is really just Plan A2, in that I am basically indifferent between them.
So what does any of this have to do with goals? Well, back in December I meant to write about a couple of books I read over the break (Replay by Grimwood and Memoirs of Hadrian by Yourcenar). One of the themes that the books shared was the idea that without goals and direction you won't ever accomplish what it is you want to do. Instead, 1,5,10 years will pass and all of a sudden you'll realize you're 40 and you haven't done anything you wanted to do. So, as my long term goals become clearer I can break them down into short and medium term goals so that in 10 years it all works out.
In order to stay focused on my short term goals I try to make it a habit to write them down in a notebook once a day. Now, at this point I might start losing people with this quirky sounding new-age BS, but for me it works. This is what I used to focus on the CFA, b-school applications, and my summer job search, and in each case I accomplished exactly what I set out to do. I'm not saying it will work for everyone, you've got to find your own system, but the basic idea of setting goals and keeping them firmly in mind is a powerful one.
Anyway, the difficulty lies in figuring out a concise set of goals that covers everything, is motivational, and can be written down each night without being so tedious that I won't do it. So, that's what has occupied my thoughts when I say I've been thinking about goals.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
A strange thing keeps happening to me in Firefox lately. If I type in my blog's URL, it automatically redirects me to www.blogger.com. This doesn't happen in IE, just Firefox. Any ideas?
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Parents get in tomorrow, 3 cases Friday, Chili Cook-Off Sunday, Red Sox game on Monday. It's going to be a busy, but fun, weekend.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I finished my application for financial aid this weekend, which was just one item on my to do list. Nothing else got done, as I was too busy enjoying the weather. Now I've got to crack down because we have three case days every day this week and my parents will be here visiting Thursday-Sunday. So, I need to get as much out of the way as I can.
Monday, April 18, 2005
We have the laptop deal through Harvard, but those laptops are all high end machines that aren't really what we need. We're looking for a desktop replacement laptop that represents good value for the money and is reasonably inexpensive. Also, there won't be any heavy gaming or graphics requirements. Right now I'm looking at Dell Inspiron and HP Pavilion, but does anyone have any suggestions?
Sunday, April 17, 2005
After that we had a few hours to kill before our movie so we walked through Boston Commons and down Newbury Street. It was more crowded than I think I've seen in Boston, check out the photo below and the pictures on smugmug. Tomorrow I'm heading out to check out some of the marathon, so I'll try and get some pictures of that as well.
We caught Sin City this afternoon, it was pretty good but much more violent than I was expecting. This was my biggest movie surprise since we watched Closer thinking it was a romantic comedy. It's always better when you know what the movie is about before you walk in, but I still enjoyed Sin City. We also saw it with a digital projector, which was actually pretty cool. Not a huge improvement over regular projectors (not like HD vs. regular TV), but I think it made a difference for Sin City, since the movie was shot entirely digital.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
- Professor/Class rating: You want to know how previous people rated the class, and especially the prof
- Actual impressions: It's even better to get someone who actually took the class to give you a feel for it, as some classes are perennially well-rated for no apparent reason.
- Schedule slot: Most classes are either taught in the fall or winter (spring), and not both. Also, there are X schedules and Y schedules, and you can't have too many courses in one or the other. X Schedules meet M-W, and Y W-F.
- Demand: Many of the popular courses are requested by 2-3 times as many students as they are able to accommodate.
Our Finance 2 final is coming up on Friday, and today I helped lead the review session for our section. The two resident finance whizzes in the section helped out as well, and between the three of us I think we pretty much covered the important parts. It's kind of funny to reflect back on review sessions last semester and compare them to this one. Everyone has realized now how little grades matter, and are a lot more laid back about finals. There doesn't seem to be any more hectic studying or stressing over grades, everyone is learning what they can and letting grades take care of themselves.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
It's snowing, by the way. In mid-April. Whatever.
Update: I watched most of the Jack Welch interview today. Rakesh Khurana, the guy who wrote The Curse of the Super Star CEO, interviewed him for about 30 minutes before Welch got frustrated and decided to take questions from the crowd instead. The main points of contention were over executive compensation, the growing divide between the rich and poor, and those type of questions. Anytime Welch didn't have an answer he would turn the tables and ask pointed and difficult questions to the interviewer. It was interesting, but I don't think I would like to work for the guy.
My favorite part was when Khurana asked him about excess executive compensation and Welch replied that it was due to market forces. Khurana asked how market forces were to blame when many executives short-cut the process through cozy boards and biased compensation consultants. Welch apparently had no answer, as he asked why Harvard professors take raises and consult and take paid speaking engagements. When Khurana pressed on the point Welch cut off the interview and went to audience questions.
Monday, April 11, 2005
I got a package in the mail today from my summer employer. I called them a few weeks ago and let them know that I'd be happy to get a head start if I could and start reading anything they thought would be useful. Yes I know, so ambitious. So, I've now got several manuals and books to take a crack at if I can motivate myself to do so.
I went to a cool sounding seminar today that was supposed to be about the linkage between strategy and valuation from an analysis and investing perspective. The speaker was from CSFB Holt, and it turned out to basically be a sales pitch for the software they produce. I never did figure out what the talk had to do with business strategy...
I've been designated the Chili Cook-Off lead for my section for the upcoming Cook-Off. It takes place on the 24th, the day after Admit Weekend II, so if you come for admit weekend you should try and make the cook-off. It runs from 12-4 that Sunday. Anyway, I'm not much of a chili person but I'm going to take my best shot. Apparently people get really into it, with cheers and t-shirts and decorations and so forth.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
I have to say that I agree for the most part with people who decide to forego an MBA. I think the cost of a program has gotten out of control, and you don't really learn that much relative to what you would learn in the working world for two years. I'm fortunate in that I have a lot of assistance in terms of covering my tuition, and if I didn't have that help I'm not sure I would be here. If I had studied business in undergrad and also didn't have help with my tuition, I think it would be really unlikely that I would take two years to come back to school.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Thus begins my business version of The Hippocratic Oath, our assignment for LCA for tomorrow. I always like to invoke Alan Greenspan's name when possible... ;)
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Along with the list, we were given access to the course reviews for the Class of 2004. There are clearly several extremely well regarded courses and well regarded professors, several on the bottom of the scale, and then the majority somewhere in the middle. I've heard the expression take the professor, not the course, and based upon my experience in undergrad I think that's great advice. So, over the next month or so I'll be scheming and plotting my course selections and then submitting my preference list for next year. They then randomly allocate courses based on preferences and let us know what we got in August. Yes, you read that correctly, we don't get the results for three months after we submit our requests.
It occured to me today that I haven't written much about school. Things have stayed busy since Spring Break, much to my surprise. I was looking forward to time to relax before the summer, but we're already in the last 6 weeks of school and so there's no rest. Next week we have our Finance 2 final, and the week after that is LCA. They stagger course start and end times, so it means we don't have all 6 finals at the end. Seems nice in theory but I'm not looking forward to cramming for the FIN final next week.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Vieques - We had a great time on the island. It's about a 70 minute ferry ride from the island of Puerto Rico, and you have to take about an hour cab ride from the airport to get to Fajardo to take the ferry. Vieques is where the Navy used to conduct weapons testing for the Atlantic Fleet, and as such the tourist boom is just taking off. I imagine in 5-10 years people will say the same about Vieques as they say about Prague today, which is that they wish they went before the commercialization. So, with that in mind, go to Vieques! You won't regret it!
Restaurants - Unfortunately, most restaurants on Vieques operate on Island Time, which means they are slow. You can expect to wait ten minutes to order and then another 40-60 minutes to get your food, irrespective of how crowded it is. If you plan your own trip to Vieques during a busy period like Spring Break, I would highly recommend making reservations before you go. These places fill up fast. I'll seperate places into two groups, those we liked and those we didn't.
- The Good: Our favorite restaurant by far was Bili. The service was good, the food tasty, and it wasn't horribly expensive. La Sirena was inexpensive and pretty good Mexican food, and it was also very fast relative to most restaurants.
- Middle of the road: We ate a light dinner at Banana's on the first night, which has reasonably good and reasonably priced. We ate at TradeWinds our last night, which was ok but for the price you can do better.
- The Bad: We ate at a couple of local joints, Richard's Cafe and Taverna Espanola, which we didn't care for. The prices were about average, the service was incredibly slow, and the food was served in small portions and over cooked.
- Supposedly Good: If we'd known, we would have tried Uva or Cafe Media Luna, which are supposed to be excellent, according to an ex-pat bartender I spoke with.
Beaches - This is the real reason to go to Vieques, as there just isn't a whole lot else to do on the island. Luckily, the beaches here are varied and top notch, so you'll be able to find what you're looking for.
- Green Beach - We went here the first day. It's on the West side of the island, and apparently was hit bad by the last major hurricane. It isn't so much a beach as pockets of sand located near dirt roads. Green Beach is by far the hardest one to get to, and the least impressive. If you don't have time for it, you aren't missing anything.
- Sun Bay, Media Luna, and Navio - This is a public beach complex close to Esperanza. Sun Bay is a huge beach with bathrooms and a snack stand. The water is gorgeous and there are lots of palm trees to sit under to stay in the shade. We never actually went to Media Luna though we drove past it twice. This is a large shallow bay that is popular with families. Navio is my favorite beach. It's the last in the chain starting at Sun Bay, and is also the smallest. It makes up for that with some great body surfing waves and the best atmosphere. Navio seems to be popular with the 20-something crowd, and was where we spent our final day on the island.
- Red, Garcia and Blue Beach - Red Beach and Blue Beach are closer to Isabela Segunda, the other city on Vieques. They are both pretty beaches, but we always wound up at Garcia or Blue Beach. Garcia was a small, quiet beach. It's a good place to go if you want a little privacy. Blue Beach, on the other hand, was a large beach with an island that you could swim out and snorkle around. The snorkeling wasn't as good as Cayman, but it was pretty good.
That's it for my review of our trip to Vieques. It's the perfect place to go to relax and enjoy yourself, which is just what we needed. I would definitely recommend it as an island destination. Check out The Enchanted Isles website for a lot more information.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Saturday, April 02, 2005
I also requested that my summer employer send me any materials that they would like me to review before I get down there this summer. This may have been a mistake, as they are putting together a package and I should get it in the next week or so. Still, it will be nice to walk in with some modeling knowledge and a few training DVD's under my belt, so I plan on getting to everything I can.
On a final note, I took advantage of a lull in the class today to clean all of the dead blogs out of my list on Bloglines. So, I'm looking for several replacement blogs. What are the best out there? What can you not live without? This don't have to be MBA blogs, though I enjoy reading about other current student's experiences. Leave me a comment and let me know what your daily must-reads are, if you don't mind! Thanks!
Friday, April 01, 2005
I think the sheer hilarity of it was lost on the guests in class, who were part of an outreach program encouraging College Seniors to apply. Likewise, it's hard to relate the comedy here.