Friday, June 16, 2006

US Exports

It appears that the US is finally closing the gap on its trade deficit. Well, I guess this isn't the kind of export that many people will be happy about (unless you happen to be an "underpaid" European executive). I can't imagine that the unions, which are much more powerful in Europe, will let this situation progess the way it has in the US. But, the times they are a changin - maybe I'm choosing to come to Europe at the right time...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I haven't posted in a while, but today certainly deserves a comment. I just received word that I was awarded an Annual Fund Scholarship! With the weak dollar, this is VERY good news. I will now be able to eat two meals a day rather than the one meal that I was planning on.

On a separate note, I tried to post last week about my recent vacation to Cancun, Mexico, but Blogger was not cooperating. I wrote a really long post only to see it erased. To give a quick recap, Mexico really was a blast, but I had forgotten that they got hit with a severe hurricane last October. Most of the hotels were closed, but we didn't really leave the resort much anyway. The water and weather were incredible. I could certainly see myself being a man of leisure.

I'm back in London next weekend for a wedding, Oregon the weekend after that for another wedding, Chicago the weekend after that, and then a one-way ticket to L...B...S! I paid my Reservation Fee today, so it is now official. Things are looking up.

13 days of work left...

Friday, May 26, 2006

What a week!

Well, its taken me longer than expected to post about my week in London. To be honest, I'm just now recovering from the whirlwind that is my life. The picture at left was taken on the Saturday of Admits Weekend. Beautiful, isn't it? The funny thing is that it was raining ten minutes later. Ahh, London.

Okay, let's begin. I arrived at Heathrow on Wednesday morning. I'm exhibiting all the symptoms of a serious case of senioritis at work, so I decided to fly in a day earlier than expected. During the first day, I walked around town with my friend, trying not to be jetlagged, and met up with my other friend for some Lebanese food. Wednesday night, I hit Nobu. If I haven't mentioned this before, I LOVE sushi--and Nobu is like Mecca for sushi lovers. Anyway, Thursday had more walking, followed by the Radiohead concert that night. Holy crap! It was the best concert I've ever seen. If I requested a song in my head, they sang it. Unbelievable. One word: Idiotheque! I was so revved up from the show that I literally did not sleep on Thursday night, which was awful because Friday night was to be the first time I meet my fellow 2008ers. I really should have napped, but who has time for sleep when you're in London??

And now, the part you've all been waiting for--Admits Weekend! So, my cabbie decides to let me off in the inner circle of Regents Park rather than the outer circle. Not an auspicious beginning. Luckily I got some nice photos on the walk (see above). I just make it to the school by 6:30 to meet up with everyone, and I see a ton of students partying in the courtyard. I assume (read: ass out of u and me) that these are all fellow admits waiting to go to dinner. Wrong. Evidently Sundowners is on Friday night this week and almost everyone there was a current student. I proceed to walk around introducing myself at a lightning quick pace like I'm running for office. Again, not an auspicious beginning. I feel like a freshman in high school again. Totally clueless and awkward. Finally though, a ray of light. I walk to the front of the building and meet the Divine one, Miss N! As she mentioned in her post, I sort of bear-hugged her--could have been perceived as friendly, could've been perceived as psychotic and aggressive. Fortunately, I think she chose the former :) The tube was incredibly hot on the ride over, and I was actually sweating by the time I got to Kettners, in Soho. Yikes. Dinner was really cool though. The food wasn't great, but LBS was footing the bill and evidently about double the number of students showed up this year compared to last year. Thanks LBS! I love free meals.

During the three course meal, I spoke with a Turkish gentleman, a Mexican 2nd year, a couple of Brits and a Russian fellow among others. I met the lovely Angel Angie, Moe, and Al (very briefly--I sort of heard something he said and recognized him from his blog, and then proceeded to identify him from afar by yelling his name--sorry Al). As you'd expect, very diverse. I found a lot of very intelligent people having a lot of very intelligent conversations. I know, however, that people weren't yet letting loose, and that everyone was still feeling out the environment. That being said, a bunch of us went out to a pub next door after dinner. I thought I'd be responsible and leave around 12:30, but it was pouring rain by this point and I had to walk (without an umbrella--such a rookie move) about a half hour before I could find a cab.

Saturday was the big day of the week. We started with breakfast at 9am at the school. Here, we received a name tag and a goodie bag with a tee shirt, umbrella (a few hours too late), a London survival guide, and a few other helpful items. We heard Dean Tyson, Julia Tyler, and the president of the student association speak. It was at this point that it began to sink in: I was actually at business school (sort of). I was actually meeting my future classmates/friends/colleagues. Who would I end up being friends with? Who would I end up with in my study group? Who are the star students? Who are the slackers in the group? It suddenly became very real. It's quite a thing to finally get what you ask for.

We were split into two groups, blue and red. Miss N was our blue team leader and walked us to our first "class" with the Center for Career Development. I believe Angel Angie has a photo/description of this section. It was extremely informative. I have to admit though, I was a little "dry" from the night before. Next was a meeting in the main classroom to go over the proposed schedule changes and core classes for our year. Very cool. I can't wait to be a full-time student again. Next was a little time to meet some of the 100+ clubs that are on campus. I checked out the Rugby Club (I've been told, both by the members and other students, that the Rugby Club members secretly run the school--the word Mafia was used quite frequently), the Finance Club, the Private Equity Club (run by Rugby players), and the Energy Club. We met the clubs in the MBar, which I understand is where Sundowners generally takes place. After speaking with a member of the Rugby squad for a minute, he performed a Jedi mind trick on me and I found myself drinking a beer at 11am and signing up for the team.

By this point, I was looking at my watch rather frequently. I had to head back to Boston on the 6pm flight, and I hadn't packed yet. So, I grabbed a quick bite while everyone sat down to eat lunch, said goodbyes to everyone I met, and made my way back to the apartment to pack and be on my way. I had an amazing week! I met some truly incredible people, and I can't wait to see what's coming next.

Next up: Cancun, Mexico for a week of fun in the sun!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I was contacted by LBS because they are going to link my blog to the school MBA blog. Excellent.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"Holding most of the aces"

This is the kind of news that I love to hear. Hopefully the situation will remain the same during the 2008ers recruiting season...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Showtime at the Apollo!

Well, I can now reveal the mystery concert which I will be attending on Thursday---Radiohead at the Hammersmith Apollo! Yes! I just found out that my friend and I were the high bidders on eBay for a pair of tix. Radiohead in London?? How cool is that?

On a separate topic, congratulations to all the R3 admits! I can't wait to meet everyone next week.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Show me the money!

It's official. I have sufficient funds to attend London Business School! I just checked the Sallie Mae website and my loans have been approved, both Stafford and MBA Private loans. It's weird, because the debt load doesn't scare me at all. These are some large figures, at less than generous interest rates, but I couldn't care less. Is it because I know (??) that I'll get a great job post-MBA and be able to service this debt effectively? Not entirely. Although I of course want to believe this (and do), the reason for my relative nonchalance stems from my strong belief that this is the right move for me. I've wanted an experience like this for so long that I'd be willing to donate my first born to have it.

I created a budget for the next year (starting August) with cash inflow and outflow forecasts based on the dates of my loan disbursements, tuition payments and estimated monthly expenses. I can definitely make it work on loans (without tapping into savings) as long as the dollar doesn't continue it's slide. I used a $1.8 to £1.0 exchange rate, which I 'm hoping is fairly accurate. Who am I kidding? I'll probably spend twice as much as I allocated for each expense. Travel costs could be huge, because I plan on taking full advantage of London's access to the world.

On to another LBS topic (am I going to have to learn to always say London Business School?), Admits Weekend is a week away! I'm taking the red-eye from Boston on Tuesday night. That gives me Wednesday and Thursday to get my clock adjusted. I think I'm attending an unbelievable concert on one of the nights, but I won't say which one because I don't have my tickets quite yet and I DO NOT welcome competition in scoring a pair. Friday night is a large group dinner in Soho where I will have the privilege of meeting the Divine Miss N (and hopefully some other LBS bloggers). Saturday is the formal day of meetings and presentations, although I have to bail at around 4pm to catch a ride to the airport. Wow, it's really happening. Less than two months of work left...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Practice for London

Last night I met with some of my fellow admits, and once again, I had a great time. I'll give you the lineup: one gentleman MiF 2007, two young ladies in the MBA 2008, and one lad in the MBA 2008. I had suggested a bar that has a fantastic roofdeck, but I forgot where we lived and assumed the weather would be sunny and warm. Nope. It was cold and rainy. The benefit was that we all got some practice getting tipsy in a dark bar while it's rainy outside. Hmmm, for some reason, I can see a future in this...

Moving along, everyone was really cool. The diverse backgrounds of the people I've met at/through LBS continually amaze me. The conversation was intelligent and seemed to flow with ease. We went around the table and introduced ourselves, giving professional/academic/geographic backgrounds. We discussed some of the perceived hassles of moving to the UK (bank accounts, loans, living, etc.), but collectively acknowledged that we weren't stressed about them because we're just too excited about the benefits of life at LBS to allow ourselves to get lost in the details. I like being around optimists. Then we had a few more drinks and began to get into some great conversations ranging from summer travel plans to corruption in government to microfinancing. We shared some more drinks, had some food, laughed a lot, and decided we'd try to get together again before the start of school. I really liked knowing that I would be sharing some amazing experiences with these people for the next two years. The coming attractions that I've seen so far lead me to believe that business school will be a life-altering experience.

Next up...Admits Weekend!