Friday, August 24, 2007
Somewhere in the middle of my journey through Sin City, TheLC was able to spend a few hours with long-lost family members. It was good to re-connect with aunts and cousins and re-establish blood ties. They will form the core of my support group as I start a new life at school.
When it was finally time to go, I couldn't help but take in those last few moments with my blood brother, the Most Eligible Bachelor in Vegas. It was fitting that he was the last to see me off, as I did for him ages ago.
Last stop: Evanston.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
After a grueling flight passing through Nagoya and Detroit, TheLC finally landed in the Big Apple. Although this isn't my first time in the big bad City, I still wandered around like a wild-eyed tourist: gawking at the skyscrapers, getting lost in the subway, scuttling through endless museums and even managing to lose $40 after getting mugged/conned by someone that frighteningly looked like TheAnswer, Allen Iverson. Third Eye Blind once said, "Where's the soul, I want to know. New York City's evil."
But alas, NYC still remains my all-time favorite city. I absolutely heart NY. This is why I made it a point to make this my first stop. The City is so alive and full of promise. They say that if ever you get bored in NYC, then it's entirely your fault. TheLC could learn to live here.
Of course, the ultimate highlight of the trip is my traditional pilgrimage to Liberty Island. This time I also passed by historic Ellis Island, America's Gateway where 12million immigrants entered the land of the free. I feel a certain sense of kinship with these exiles, and share the excitement, elation and anxiety that must have coursed through them as Lady Liberty beckoned them to the breathtaking Manhattan skyline.
The Statue of Liberty has been called the Mother of Exiles. While TheLadiesChoice does not consider myself to be such, I will consider this Home of the Brave, my home at least for the next two years.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Down to my last two weeks. Had a semi-severe case of the Deps, which CSteady assured me is part and parcel of the whole thing, but also is sure to pass. But now I feel the blood rushing. TheLadiesChoice is looking forward to the adventure ahead. Pit-stops to kiss Lady Liberty and re-visit LNGGG will finish off this never-ending summer before finally heading onto MJ's country. (I plan to offer eggs to His Airness' statue before each and every final exam by the way.)
Only the loose-ends are left. Finish up packing. Last-minute lessons on cooking and laundry. Closing time and one last call for alcohol with the boys of A. The Besht Saturday at Friday's. One final look at letters and memories left behind but always brought to heart.
It's only fitting that it's raining outside. Perfect weather for the closet introverts. I can't help but think that these last few moments are really the last of everything. You can always go back, but things will never be the same. Hero's journey indeed. Dandelion wine isn't enough to overcome Closing Cycles.
Rainy season at its best. The calm before the storm as MonsterMo put it. It's so close, I can almost taste it.
Eyes are dry at the last goodbye, a wise man once said. But a wiser man said (albeit at 3 in the morning pigging out in a Chinese restaurant after a heavy night of strong blue stuff):
Saturday, July 7, 2007
TheLadiesChoice must apologize for becoming negligent in my blogging duties. As the endless summer begins to wind down, I've ironically become less and less inclined towards introspection (I just need to finish the online pre-enrollment courses, before I plunge headfirst into prolonged sentimentality - - more on that in a future post).
In truth, I've started to have B-school dreams at night...a sure fire sign that my psyche is already gearing up for the challenge ahead. I'm interchangeably excited as hell and nervous as hell. So, what have I been up to?
1. Watched Transformers the Movie twice (see picture of my personal idol, Optimus Prime in his prime). Though I'm a purist at heart (wore my Decepticon shirt the first time I watched it), I still loved the movie despite the many inconsistencies. TheLC broke out into a classic slow-clap when Prime first came into the scene. I still wish Megatron transformed into a big, bad gun though.
2. Stopped going to the gym regularly. Yeah I know, I should go back and I will. I've made too much of a monetary investment already. I'll pick it up soon.
3. Crashed and burned. TheLC just went for it. I'm not entirely sure if it was a moment of weakness or a singular moment of enlightenment. Yes Stutter, it would not have been appropriate, but sometimes you just got to swing for the fences. Should have just faded away.
4. Went on a shopping frenzy. I spent $1,700 on b-school clothes in 2.5 hours. I guess crashing and burning the day before was not good for my bank account. Nevertheless, I'm almost done with my shopping. I just need dress socks, dressy brown shoes, and a new camera bag.
5. Went on unbelievably surreal adventure and snuck into the house at 5am.
Monday, June 11, 2007
"...you work so hard, you do everything you can to get away from a place, and when you finally get your chance to leave, you find a reason to stay."
1. Just bought a Playstation Portable. I'm a total dork. 27 years old and still a gamer. I don't think I'll ever grow out of this.
2. Just came home from a weekend getaway with my family. I'll miss them. My favorite quote from Gattaca: "It's funny, you work so hard, you do everything you can to get away from a place, and when you finally get your chance to leave, you find a reason to stay."
3. TenYearsAfter is just around the corner. The alcohol is waiting. Time to remember how the more things change, the more they stay just the same.
4. Just ordered my MBA laptop. Sweet.
5. Spurs in 4. I'm no Lebron believer, never have been and never will be. Tongue-wag vs. Nail bite? No question. MJ forever.
6. It's TheTeacher's 80th birthday. One of the most influential people in my life. The lessons learned and principles ingrained still haunt me to this very day.
7. Learning to cook, clean and do the laundry.
8. MBA Meet and Greet part 2 is on Friday. I'll try to be more behaved though.
8. Finally, MBA Applications guru, Alex of MBApply has a blog. A must read.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
As is customary in the PearloftheOrient, we all agreed to meet and greet one another at a local watering hole. I couldn't seem to explain it, but there was really a very strong ( a bit nervous) vibe in the group. I haven't been to a livelier soiree in years. Then it hit me (along with that 5th glass of long island iced tea...but more on that later). These people got along so well together, and were so willing, no desperate, to reach out to each other because finally we've found other human beings in the same boat. These other MBA students felt the same excitement, nervousness, hope and anxiety of leaving the mother land as I did. We could talk. We could connect. We could understand.
My only regret was that I got plastered a bit too soon. For some reason, I got from tipsy to drunk in record time. TheLadiesChoice was hammered enough to sincerely insist the HBS guys pay for the bill! I was telling the MIT guys that we'll all get lonely together or some crap like that. I'm sure my "party" school in Chicago would have been proud of me. Good times all around.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
1. The housing lottery just came out and (un)fortunately I've been assigned a twin-studio along with a fellow MBA from my own country.
What this really means: Although I'm glad that I got lucky in the lottery thus saving me a pretty penny and all the hassles of looking for off-campus housing, I'm quite terrified of sharing a bathroom with another human being.
2. I've started a Yahoogroups for all the MBA students leaving my country. This starry-eyed group of hopefuls is set to meet tomorrow at a local bar.
What this really means: As a naturally introverted person (though some might disagree), I've started to realize the value networking (oh, horror of horrors). And while a part of me will always consider networking as "selling out", I'm realistic enough to know that it's part of the game. And TheLadiesChoice always plays to win.
3. Been working on a slideshow for my highschool class's Ten Years After reunion.
What this really means: The nostalgia trip has officially begun. This is part of my own personal way of saying goodbye to the closest people in my life. What struck me the most was how exceptionally close we all were back in the day. We literally did anything and everything together. But now, we've all grown up and are leading separate lives. Nonetheless, it's always good to look back once in a while.
4. Just signed up for an optional pre-MBA field trip for incoming first years.
What this really means: Amongst a list of dozens of international destinations, I only sorted out and chose the trips with high-comfort and high-nightlife rankings. TheLadiesChoice isn't shelling out almost $2,000 for a glorified hiking trip to leave me battered and bruised. Give me tequila shots, and margaritas anytime!
5. Just narrowly evaded a blind date.
What this really means: In my half-hearted attempts to find an IntheMeantimeGirl, I almost managed to secure myself a disastrous date. I know I always say that I look for good conversation first and foremost, but this presupposes that the aforementioned date passes a certain threshold for physical attractiveness. Let's just say that this prospective date did not pass this threshold to say the least. Thank the Lord for Friendster stalking. So thanks to a certain KPie for rescuing me from a harrowing experience!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Chris Webber is probably one of the most intriguing characters in the history of professional basketball. All experts agree that he has all the genetic traits and qualities, all the skill sets that make up a basketball player for the AGES. But there's always something not quite right about C-Webb. He's a big power forward but is more known for his passing. Here's a guy who could score 30pts a night, but instead favors a behind the back pass. A legitimate franchise player who defers to other players during crunch time. An obvious dunk machine who decides on a medium range jumper more often than not. A legendary high school phenom who revolutionized college basketball (along with the Fab 5) yet failed to win the NCAA championship. And of course, a go-to player who infamously called time-out (when his team didn't have any left) in the closing seconds of the championship game thus awarding possession to the opposing team. A multi-millionaire with a billion dollar smile who got dumped by supermodel Tyra Banks.
In the end, C-Webb is all about potential. About expectations. About chips on the shoulder. He is about inner demons.
In some ways, I've always identified with him. I've always had to deal with expectations (real or imagined). I have always been very good, but not quite the very best. I've always had doubters and I've always had doubts. People have said that there's always something not quite right about me. Some inexplainable character flaw. Some sort of block to true potential.
But maybe that's just me. Maybe that's just who I really am. Maybe that's why I'll always have that chip on my shoulder. Why the demons will always be there.
Maybe I like it that way.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
This is only the second time in my life that I have ever seen my father cry. Enough said.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Again, as Third Eye Blind once said, "I remember the stupid things." I was a bit saddened to see my countrymen wheedle, plead, beg and almost prostrate themselves in front of the almighty consuls. Even as they were applying for non-immigrant visas, I could hear through their heavily accented English that raw desire to just get to the land of milk and honey. I'm sure the consuls could also feel the desperation in their voices. Applying for non-immigrant visas are a shame and a sham. I'm sure close to 80% of those applying have 100% intention of finding work in the States and snagging the elusive greencard.
They aren't coming back. As a matter of fact, I can't blame them either.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I need a couple of days to decide what to do. Choices being:
a) Continue with The Ladies Choice MBA blog but restrain full disclosure
b) Continue with The Ladies Choice MBA blog with full disclosure (just take it strong)
c) Create a new blog....
We'll see what happens next.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
As is usual with TheLadiesChoice, I am struck by seemingly random things. With the massacre at Virginia Tech, I got goosebumps when one of the survivors described how Cho would really get up close and shoot students through their heads 3 or 4 times. Can you imagine that? Can you picture yourself actually going up to a fellow human being and just blowing their brains out at point blank range? Of course shooting people from afar definitely isn't the lesser of two evils, but that vivid description really made me appreciate the term "cold-blooded killer" in a very profound way.
On a different note, I found the Cho family statement very heart wrenching. I think the letter was very sincere and genuine.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I'm not entirely sure why, but I've been repeating this line from the official soundtrack of The Beach (Yes, I know I'm a closet DiCaprio fan. Hey except for the cheesy Titanic, he's had some pretty good movies with a lot of good lines.)
I think this has sort of become my mantra for this long summer before business school. Never refuse an invitation. Never resist the unfamiliar.Now I'm in the best shape of my life (which is not saying much, believe me.) learning to play tennis and going to the gym religiously. More importantly, my liver is in high-school form. The almost daily consumption of alcohol has prepared me for the work hard, party hard days ahead.
Next up: solitary road trips, whale shark watching, a trip to Bangkok, photography trips, and finance classes (TheLadiesChoice is a dork really.)
So fellow class of 2009, just keep your minds open and suck in the experience.
Orbital - Beached LyricsTrust me
This is where the hungry come to feed
For mine is a generation that circles the globe
in search of something we haven't tried before
so never refuse an invitation
never resist the unfamiliar
never fail to be polite
and never outstay your welcome
just keep your mind open
and suck in the experience
and if it hurts
you know what... it's probably worth it
you hope, and you dream
but you never believe that something is going to happen for you
not like it does in the movies
and when it actually does
you expect it to feel different
i was waiting for it to hit me
i still believe in paradise
but now at least i know it's not some place you can look for
cause it's not where you go
it's how you feel for a moment in your life
and if you find that moment
it lasts forever
Monday, April 9, 2007
It's been a while since I touched base with my roots, but I am deeply grateful that I did. I am truly humbled by the experience. It's a very, very long way from the town of Gawilab to Chicago. A long way from goat's milk, farmers and fishermen to one of the top business schools in world.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Multiplying the weights to the ratings gives the the final table below.
Some caveats: I have absolutely no first-hand knowledge about management consulting and investment banking. The ratings above are a reflection of the impressions I've gotten from people I've talked to, message boards I've read, and of course Hollywood's portrayal of the said professions. A lot of people will have different job-related concerns but these here are my own. The weights I hope are representative of an afternoon's worth of deep soul-searching in front of my office PC at the expense of course of my previous employer, ThePlaceToBe.
For me Compensation is 30%. I have a family to feed, places to see and Ferraris to drive so shoot me.
Work Hours is also a concern; I've never heard anyone who actually enjoys being cooped up in a cube 20 hours a day.
It may come as a surprise, but I hate travel. I hate the anxiety of long lines, delayed flight schedules and I hate flying.
I'll give in to my inner prestige whore and allocate 15% to wow-factor.
Entrance difficulty is also a concern. As an international student with no finance or consulting background I have a gnawing fear of not having a job at graduation due to my lack of prior work experience. My demons keep me company.
Exit strategies to industry are also a concern. Eventually I do want to go back to industry and hopefully be fast tracked to a C-level position. I'm a corporate ladder kind of guy and I can't help it.
The last 15% goes to all the other self-actualization factors that go into job search. Will I fit in? Will I have find meaning in my work? Will I enjoy doing what I do? Basically at the end of the day, I still want to give props to all the values and principles I learned UpOnTheHill.
Looks like it's Investment Banking for me for now. Will let you know TheLadiesChoice's thoughts on this startling development soon.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
From Alex Chu:
You won't have trouble getting an IB job out of SchoolXYZ. It's a core school for all the major banks.
Yes, SchoolXYZ doesn't send armies of people into IB, but it's simply because there's less people at SchoolXYZ who are interested in banking.
Here's how IB recruiting works. For the schools that a bank would consider a "core school", they have IB associates assigned as the primary recruiting contact for each core school. Usually, these associates are alums of the school. So the associate who is a SchoolXYZ alum would lead the SchoolXYZ effort, the SchoolABC alum would lead the SchoolABC effort, the SchoolDEF alum would lead the SchoolDEF effort and so on. They will interview most of the candidates from their school, but their primary job is to serve as the liaison between the bank and the school's career center to coordinate company presentations, shrimp cocktails, resume submissions, interview scheduling on campus, etc. However, even though they are primarily administrators/coordinators, they do have a say in who gets hired from their school. And even though SchoolXYZ doesn't send as many folks into banking as say SchoolABC, there's still enough XYZers who end up in IB that you'll have them at every bank.
So don't worry. The IB recruiting thing is set up at SchoolXYZ to make it as easy as possible for you to get the job. They will come to you - they have their presentations early on for 1st years (Oct onwards), some will schedule company visits or "day in the life" kinds of thingys, and then they will coordinate with the career center on resume submissions and interview scheduling on-campus. The banks wouldn't be spending this much effort and resources to send their junior and senior bankers to recruit and interview @ SchoolXYZ if they didn't think it was worth it.
As for your chances, land the summer internship and you'll be fine. Go to the company presentations, schmooze with the bankers who show up there (they'll usually try to bring as many SchoolXYZ alums from MDs down to associates, so they're on your side), submit your resume, and interview well.
And one last thing. Bankers don't care about prior experience or whether you're from New Jersey or Madagascar. They can't afford to. They need an army of people each and every year (it's a high employee turnover industry after all), and most ex-bankers in b-school aren't interested in banking anyhow.
When you go to a top school like SchoolXYZ, keep in mind that the investment banks and consulting firms set themeslves up in a way where both are the easiest jobs to get for students. They need an army of MBAs in good times and bad (the difference is in bad times, they will hire you, then renege on your offer in the summer after you've graduated, or fire you in the following Fall).Alex Chu
The MBA Field Guide (sample essays and more)
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Came home at 3am last night driving in autopilot (read: over and beyond the legal alcohol limit) with a happy smile.
Had a few Scotch sevens with TheMonster, my closest buddy in my previous company (ThePlaceToBe). Since I only resigned a few weeks ago, we talked about the latest office gossip but mostly it was the sort of good conversation that comes from the judicious consumption of alcohol. All about life and love. Truth serum indeed.
Then I was off to an impromptu party of my previous-previous company (TheGoodLife). News spread pretty fast about my b-school acceptance and I must admit that I was more than a little flattered with the attention and the congratulatory remarks. I was so happy that I rather quickly went from downright flattered to downright plastered.
Spent the bulk of the night talking and jabbing. Jabbing is the subtle art of conducting exploratory dialogue with members of the opposite sex whom one finds rather attractive. We all know the drill. You jab a little, she jabs a little. You both try dancing over, under and through the witty banter to find out if the attraction is mutual. Jabbing and jabbing to bait the opposite party to finally punch back and fight. Everyone's a fighter, but every fighter needs a good jab.
Let's just say TheLadiesChoice had fun trying to be a lady's choice night. Good job. Good jab.
PS. Thanks to AsianGal, Boywonder and Bancaku for leaving comments on the site. Click the links and visit their highly entertaining blogs.
Friday, March 30, 2007
I've pretty much decided on on-campus housing. I have no plans of buying a car during bschool, and since the units all come furnished that also solves any problems of buying furniture, setting up Internet and phone access and all the hassles of moving into a new place. My dilemma now is whether to choose a studio unit, a one-bedroom unit or a twin-studio(!). If costs weren't an issue, I'd go for the one-bedroom unit. Think of the parties, poker nights and PS2 tournaments that can be accommodated by my spanking bachelor pad! But alas, the price is not right. So I'm stuck between a studio or a twin-studio with the latter being the more economical choice.
So what's the problem, you ask?
The thing with the twin-studio is that I'd be sharing a common kitchen and bathroom with a roommate (horror of horrors!).
Well, if you must know, TheLadiesChoice is actually one big mama's boy. Yup, that's right, I've never lived away from home and thus have never felt any compulsion or need to do any household chores. I'm like an undomesticated wild animal...well as wild an animal as a 27 year-old who can't cook, clean, or do laundry can be. Failure to launch indeed.
My thinking is that, if I'm going to have to clean the toilet, then I might as well be assured that I'm cleaning my own crap. I really can't imagine sharing something I hold so sacred with another human being. If it's going to be a mess, then it might as well be my mess.
The price difference is a whopping $300 a month. A small price to pay for my peace of crap. Haha.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
And so, here are mine. Some disclaimers first. I don't have any formal methodology to my rankings (apologies to rankingsgod1 from the Businessweek forums) but I have done my fair amount of research. Before the actual rankings, let me list down a few things which I believe in, and which in turn have greatly influenced TheLadiesChoice's MBA rankings:
1. I'm a marketing guy. And so I firmly believe in the power of prestige, branding and brand names (no matter how subjective or unquantifiable).
2. From all the official and published rankings, the only ones which I trust are Businessweek and USNews. I think that WSJ, Forbes, and FT vary too much from year to year to make them credible.
3. The school stereotypes (Kellogg for marketing, Sloan for techies, Columbia for finance) are true, but only to a certain extent. The top schools especially the so-called M7 reputedly can open almost any door to whichever industry one chooses (provided the hard work is put in.)
4. I do believe in determining that elusive "fit" when applying to b-school. Thus I encourage all applicants to do their research and come up with their own rankings. The most useful sites I've found are the discussion forums in Businessweek and College Confidential. Just learn to be wary of the trolls that lurk.
So here goes. TheLadiesChoice's B-school Rankings:
1. Harvard (brand name without par)
2. Stanford (most selective, great location)
3. Wharton (exceptional academic program, strong brand especially for finance)
4. Kellogg (marketing powerhouse, overcomes 'weak' NW name to still be top tier MBA program )
5. MIT-Sloan (MIT name and strong ties to the engineering school)
6. Chicago (reputedly the strongest academic program, starting to shed it's uptight image)
7. Columbia (finance in the finance capital of the world)
8. Tuck (most active alumni network, great community)
9. Haas (leverages on Berkeley name and proximity to Silicon Valley)
10. Duke (Go Blue Devils!)
So here I am, one week after I've officially quit my job. I have roughly four months until the start of b-school. Four months to do everything I've always wanted to but never found the time to do so. But I've found myself to be merely doing small errands, tying up loose ends. More than anything I think I'm relishing the fact that I have the OPTION of doing whatever I want. Choosing whether or not to exercise the option is a different thing entirely.
The thing is, having gotten accepted to b-school has been a truly big load off my back. I'm actually a re-applicant, so I have been at this whole GMAT, Essays, Recommendations brouhaha for a good 2 1/2 years already. The relief, jubilation and peace of mind stemming from the first acceptance letter was truly life-changing.
This blog will be about this endless summer of 2007 and hopefully until the end of my 2 year stay at business school. From time to time I may look back and reflect on what I have learned from the whole application process, but I'm more concerned now with enjoying the present and looking beyond to the future.
As one of my closest friends said: this is the summer of 007:license to chill.