April 29, 2008

Two useful tips / easy subscription to this blog/HDD cleaner

Subscribing to this blog so that you need don't need to visit this page often to check for updates...

You can subscribe to this blog by email by clicking on the "Subscribe by email" link to the left of the page.

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or if you're feeling particularly lazy but want to do it anyway, just click here or subscribe later (once you figure it all out) by using http://feeds.feedburner.com/LetMeWearASuitPlease

If you've never used a feed reader, do some reading about it on the web, and then subscribe using IE7 or Google Reader or Yahoo etc. When you subscribe to a feed, you never have to keep coming to the blog to check updates...the reader will fetch the latest posts automatically. Very convenient. Try it. Really.

Keeping your Hard Disk Lean and Mean!

If you are a heavy PC user and your HDD is filling up with junk, it may be time to clean up some space. I found this great tool called CCCleaner (free) which helps you get rid of a lot of crap. I freed about 1/2 GB (and that's a lot considering I clean my PC quite often). I also used RegToy (free) another great tool for Windows that helps you tweak many parameters (don't use it if you are scared of IT and don't know much about registries and computers...)

This weather sucks. Raining for the last 2 days.

Plan B - what is yours?

In strategy or marketing there is often the lesson that a company or individual needs to have a 'Plan B'. The bottom line is a back-up, fall-back option if the primary course of action fails.

For example, getting a job. For most of us, plan 'A' is really getting the job we seek in campus recruitment. But getting that job is a function of variables within our control (CV, academics, interview performance) and beyond (Economy at large, company performances, the institution's brand image in the eyes of recruiters). This comes to the question of 'what is your plan B''?

It could be any of the following, depending on one's priority.

  1. Find a job on-campus but not necessarily in my preferred area
  2. Find a job off-campus in a preferred area of work, through networking
  3. Find a job off-campus in a related area of work, through networking
  4. Go back to my previous employer in a different role, different function
  5. Go back to my previous employer - not much change in role or function
I was mindful of the environment and competition, so I kept my lines open for off-campus opportunities and my past employer and kept them engaged in conversation. At this point, of course, I think I have what I wanted so my back-up plans may not need to materialize. In the past weeks, I've sometimes wondered what else I could be doing...hmmm....

a) Farming - my dad owns some land in our village farm. Assuming he would employ me..

b) Shady Bollywood back-dancer / fighter - one of my class mates has some connections in Bollywood. I could be in there. No, not as a hero, but if you've seen some Bollywood movies you see that in certain song and dance sequences there are these badly-dressed, bad-looking dudes dancing in the background showing off some awful moves. I could fit that! I could be a fighter as well.. the one that gets beaten up by the hero and flies through glass walls, fruit carts etc. That works as well.

c) Singapore food-court owner/seller - I could make some $$$ there! Apply for a food court license and open one near INSEAD. But then..Singapore laws do not look kindly on illegal immigrations. I don't mind getting deported but getting my @ss caned isn't what I'm looking for. I'll pass this one.

I wanted to travel Northern France for 2 days, but I'm stuck at Fonty due to certain circumstances that prevent me from planning. Crap.

April 28, 2008

End of P4

The INSEAD P4 finally ended (2 days ago). We are now 4/5th into the course with the last leg starting on Monday. Overall, it's been a great ride - stressful at times - but rewarding ultimately. P4 specifically has mixed emotions - on one hand we have some great electives but on the other, we are consumed by the job search process that sucks your soul. So a few observations, highlights or whatever you want to call it.

1. Cell phones are objects of terror - sitting and waiting for that call - rejection or "next round" or offer, is horrible.
2. Cell phones buzzing and people walking out in middle of class - truly weapons of mass destruction. Everyone freaks out when this happens - "are they calling?", "will my phone buzz?" .. and when the person who walked out comes in, everyone is looking at them to gauge their expression. Is that joy? disappointment?
3. The best electives get little love - ICA (Karel Cool) and MDS (Market Driving Strategies - Markus Christen) are both great electives. Except that I really couldn't concentrate and did horribly in ICA tests. I really wish we had 2 months in INSEAD that was only about recruiting and no classes...because I missed out really learning ICA in depth. My advise to future intakes is that if you're really focused on the job search and want to do ICA - do it in P5 when things are more settled. A lot of people are distracted in the classes.
4. People chill a little bit - there's not that much heavy peer pressure to party or do anything you don't really want to do
5. France gets really pretty in spring - when the weather's good, it's lovely outside. Though it still isn't consistently good weather - rains many of the days.
6. People stress in P4 - understandable..job search anxiety, bad economic conditions..can't read FT anymore..series of dings..not fun!

I'm hungry. And I need to wait 40m more for food. Let's do a case. Profitability of the INSEAD cafe has been  declining in the last 2 years. Frank wants to know why. Find out the reason and also make 3 recommendation how you would improve it. Now..let's split this to Revenue side and Cost side... ;)

I'm hungry. And I'm delusional from hunger.

April 27, 2008

A few more tidbits / France / Recruitment..

Just some random tidbits and a little more information on recruitment

first, my interesting experience at the local supermarket. So I live in a little village (small town..whatever) which has a pretty decent supermarket. I mean, it really is a supermarket - like a mini-Albertsons or Big Y or Stop n' Shop etc. My friend and I were out grocery shopping around noon to stock our fridge. Suddenly, at one point, most of the lights go off - and there is some rapid fire announcement on the store speakers. Now, both of us don't speak French (he's a Swede who's lived most of his student/working time in UK) and we have no clue what was said - but we saw many people scurrying towards towards the exit area. I'm thinking "emergency?! fire drill? evacuation order?" and as we go near the rows of cashiers, most others are lining up as well. "This can't be emergency.." I thought..and then it dawned on us and we both cracked up laughing. It was lunch time and the supermarket was closing and kicking us out. That was the first time ever I got thrown out of a superstore... well, the French definitely care about their lunch/free time, which is pretty cool, even if it surprises some of us. But I just couldn't help come up with this..jus' kiddin' of course ;)

Now about recruitment -- well it's been a rather stressful time. I've done OK I guess given the situation and I have something firm on hand - and I really like it. I have a few more final rounds to go for other companies, and once the dust settles I will put in some posts about what helped me during recruitment, what surprised me and so on.

I saw the palace at Versailles, it's pretty awesome. France is beautiful in Spring. Pictures coming soon.

April 23, 2008

The best of blogging awards..

The last time I was nominated, I kind of did nothing. Now that I'm about to arm myself with a MBA, I have to shamelessly promote myself! But I must!

So, please nominate me :)


April 17, 2008

Pauses and Silence

Yes, I know. I've been rather quiet last couple of days - the mad recruitment rush combined with panic of not getting anything done was hitting me like everyone else on campus. You might ask how things are going with me on recruitment, and I will tell you that it's much like most others. Moments of elation, stress, distress, tension, happiness, jubilation, dings, resignation, thrill - it's all there. But overall I'm quite happy where things are headed for me.

I have a few things I want to post on once I relax a bit - next week is terrible with all the term assignments coming in and I haven't started anything yet! It would be terrible to repeat courses in P5!

And this is a wish to a good friend and a fellow blogger. Happy birthday! (assuming you'll see this post on the right day) and here's wishing some great times ahead, and a chance look to a wonderful tomorrow! I would have wished you in person but I'm not in town. You brought me a beer, and I owe you one in return. Next week!

April 07, 2008

INSEAD Singapore Photos / Photographs!

This one was a long awaited post. A few more photos of INSEAD Singapore campus. The description is below the photo.

INSEAD while entering.

A side view into the library when seen from outside. The INSEAD Singapore Library is a compact, nice library.

The behemoth building behind INSEAD (and dwarfs it completely, making INSEAD look like a matchbox!). This is called Fusionpolis - which is expected to be ready I guess in a few months or an year. It's huge, and supposed to have many food courts, malls, cineplex, office space - everything rolled into one futuristic building. The Singapore MRT (metro rail) is opening a new station right next to INSEAD - and this means I expect the Singapore campus to become really convenient and super connected in another 2 years. It's going to get hard to find a seat for this campus.

Lockers - very convenient to hang your suits and leave your coursework.

The main entry corridor that looks out to reception and library at the other end.

Main corridor when seen from the reception.

A view from the cafeteria.

An open "break out room" for study, meetings, group work, napping.

A view of the open eating space outside the cafe.

A closed break-out room. These rooms are in great demand, and hard to find. You feel very accomplished if you find a free one and then you hog it for half a day..

INSEAD Fontainebleau ("Fonty") photos will come in spring. Right now weather is rather sucky here in France and I'm in no mood for photography.

PS - a couple more photos and some campus FAQ is available in this post. And you might want to read this INSEAD Singapore FAQ post that tells you a lot more about the Singapore campus, facts, myths.

April 05, 2008

Batman applies for a job - consulting recruitment sagas

(Click for larger size)
We've discovered a pattern to "ding" mails from companies. If the email subject is "Your application to .." it's a ding. Don't even open the mail.

If the body starts with "Dear <>, We thank you for your application to ...<>" - that means
ding as well. Don't read further.

It's becoming a fun ride!

In other snippets - yesternight I returned to Fony from London very late in the night - around midnight. No bus, cabs - nothing to go to school. 2 guys looked at us (I was with a friend) and asked us to get into their car - er, taxi. We did. They got us to school, and refused to take money! Just a ride, they said. To us, it was such a pleasant surprise and a random act of kindness. Mustafa and Ahmed, I wish you guys good times!

April 02, 2008

coming soon...INSEAD singapore photos

Long awaited post - a few more photographs of INSEAD Singapore coming soon to a .. I mean to my blog near you, once I'm sort of done with this madness.

update: The photos are here -- take a look!

April 01, 2008

Insane days

The last few weeks have been insane. Waking up early, getting to school by 8:15, and then intense pace of study + course work + classes + presentations + cocktails + applications + cover letters.. barely get time to sit back and relax.

Fernando Bartolome's class, called "Psychological Issues in Management", got over this Monday. As resipsa mentioned, if you get past the shock of his initial class or two (he's unlike any professor I've ever seen), there are invaluable lessons there. The last few classes were great and I think I walked away with a few really important lessons.  I won't summarize the learnings and spoil it for others. If you get an opportunity, do his class - trust me, there's a reason why his classes get such high ratings.

After a  long period, where my cajoling, convincing and negotiation skills failed miserably with my friends, I watched Alien vs. Predator Requiem all by myself on my laptop. Why do people not want to watch Alien fight Predator? WHY?!  "Professor Pushan, sorry I wasn't in Singapore, or we could have gone to it together."