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February 10, 2009

new year update

Since we broke for exams in mid-December a lot has happened.  Leaving the snow in Boston, I went home to New Zealand for just over a week, met my new nephew and went to the beach just about everyday.  After that I headed back to colder climes spending Christmas and New Years with friends in Amsterdam.  And now, since the beginning of January I've been back in class, this time at London Business School.

Watching facebook, I've been jealous of classmates around the world spending their IAPs (Independent Activities Period - the way we spend January at MIT) in exotic, warm, places doing g-lab and other independent consulting projects on the most part for start-up companies.

I chose to spend my IAP and the first half of my last semester on exchange in London.  I'm taking classes, meeting new people, looking for jobs and having fun.  The classes I'm taking are top quality, I'm expanding my network, I get full access to career services and I think London is a great place to live.

It's also great to get another view on how another school works.  There are definitely differences in the culture, even if the basic program and principles are the same.  For starters, there seems to be a lot more diversity in terms of accents and cultures.  There's less of an online culture here - this means that you don't get bombarded each day with multiple emails about what's going on, people don't reply to threads at 2am, in fact sometimes people take several days to reply!

There are also a lot more programs running here concurrently - as well as the full-time MBAs, there are executive programs, fellows, and Masters in Finance both full and part-time.  While people know others in their own program, there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of mixing.  This just means that wandering around school and entering a classroom doesn't mean that you're met with a bunch of familiar faces.

And to be honest, it is the familiar faces that I miss.  I'm looking forward to returning to Boston at the end of March and spending my last half-semester with the friends I've made over the last year and a half and to all graduate together in June.  After that?  That one's still an open question... :-)

December 03, 2008

December already?!

Well apologies that I have been remiss in posting on my blog this semester.  It's hard to believe that yet another semester has just flown by and we have less than two weeks to go before Christmas break and IAP.  In a couple of weeks I'll be off home to NZ for a week before heading to Europe and starting the Spring term at London Business School where I'll be on exchange for IAP and the first half of next semester.  I'll be back though for the second half of my last semester as well as the spring break trip and graduation.

Second year has been great - it's funny not having the 2008s around but it's been really fun getting to know the 2010s.  I learnt my lesson from last semester and slowed down a bit, focusing my attention on a few key projects and clubs and also spending more time with friends I've made over the last year - getting to know them better and talking about things other than school!

So, favourite classes this semester?  One definitely has to be designing the X Prize for Energy, I also really like the course I'm doing at the Harvard Kennedy School just up the road.  It's called Analytical Frameworks for Policy and changes your view of the world through behavioural decision making and game theory concepts among others.

I've also narrowed my club focus spending the majority of my time and efforts on SEID (Sloan Entrepreneurs for International Development) - we grew the club this year from 5 projects last year to 18 this year!  We're also deepening our relationships across campus and have a great lot of VPs to take on the club leadership next year.  I also attended the Net Impact conference at Wharton last month and was reinspired with the breadth of opportunities and the innovation and creativity of people wanting to change the world.

Lots of decisions to make this semester - so much to do, places to travel and the MBA experience clock is running.  Where to go for Spring break? (Brazil I think)  to BVI or not to BVI? (most probably)  and not to mention courses and career as well!  Happy December!

June 18, 2008

Summer in San Francisco

"The coldest winter I ever knew, was summer in San Francisco" ~ Mark Twain

So, I've moved over to San Francisco for the summer (haha) for an internship and so far I'm loving it.  Loads of my classmates are also in the Bay Area and it's really great to see them and get to know people outside of the classroom and school setting. Here are some learnings so far:

* Mark Twain was right!  I spent my first weekend in San Francisco shopping for a jacket as I hadn't thought to bring mine with me (and I also lost one on a plane :-( ).  San Francisco is pretty cold in summer but the good news is the rest of the Bay Area has warmth, sunshine and ice cream :-)

* Policy is really important to the energy equation.  Google.org was kind enough to send me to the Plug-in electric vehicle conference co-hosted with the Brookings Institute.  My first time in DC has involved getting a feel for what people are thinking and reacting to on this important issue.

* I bought a bike - hurrah!  Only now I feel that San Francisco is a lot hillier than one might first think when walking or taking buses... My goal is to be cruising up these hills by the end of summer - "hills?  what hills?"

* It's so nice to have weekends again!  No team meetings, no assignments... ah...

* Also check out me and my new car! :-D

May 25, 2008

EOY1

This academic year has just flown by.  This Spring semester has been especially intense.  I've written about some already experiences but here are a couple more...

Teamwork - this semester I've been really privileged to work with some truly amazing teams, notably for E-Lab doing a project for a biofuels company and New Enterprises writing a business plan for a student information system for schools.

Piloting - I've been selected to be a pilot for the class of 2010 - I'm really looking forward to meeting the incoming class, getting to know them, make friends and share whatever I know that could be helpful for them!  I'll be back on campus to start the prep 23 August :-)

S08_kitchen_3rd_floor House - finding a nice house with great flatmates (and classmates) to live in next year, I'm so looking forward to having a living room and kitchen (and a big patio!) and be able to have friends over for dinner and random socialising!

There's loads more but that's just a taste of what I've been up to and experienced on this MBA journey!  Now I'm at the airport heading off to San Francisco for the summer to do an internship with the Climate Change and Energy group of Google.org - check it out, I'm really excited about the potential this initiative holds!  Have a great summer everybody!!

May 05, 2008

New Orleans Jazz Fest

It's getting close to the end of the semester and projects are heating up but it's still nice to take time out with friends and do something fun.  Last weekend was Spring Gala in Newport - so nice to see everyone and their SO's dressed up and partying in a huge old mansion!

This weekend was even more fun!  One of my good friends and classmates is a native of New Orleans (pronounced: n'awlins) organised a trip to the New Orleans Jazz Festival - in a word: AWESOME!  Great music, fantastic food (crawfish everything and loads of other great stuff as well) and fun company.  Pretty good weather too (at least on Saturday and Sunday and especially compared to the rainy reports from Boston!)

Definitely take the time to hang out with classmates - there is a great diverse and interesting mix of people and many people proud of their background and wanting to share.

Pictures to follow!

April 24, 2008

Famous!

13-Apr-08 - My name in lights!!  Well, not quite.  In print at least :-)  Here's the online link to the FT article talking about China Lab.  The print version was published Monday April 13th, we were on page 13 of the front section.  I even got a message from a distant friend who randomly spotted it!

Job hunt

2-Apr-08 - MBA student seeking employment.  Just a summer job really.  But definitely a big reason I haven't been writing so much here lately is this distraction of finding gainful employment in additional to the rest of the Sloan-load. 

It hasn't really helped that the last few months I've kind of changed what I'm looking for but it is really great that I'm getting clarity on some issues. e.g. Location is important - I really don't want to live in the middle of the USA, and I'd rather head to Asia sooner rather than later; that it's all about the impact that I'm having and that energy is important to me but not critical - especially if it means not working for a huge hulking bureaucratic company; and the fact that I really do want to work with interesting and smart people!

Still looking!  Watch this space...

China Lab!

31-Mar-08 - Spring break is when Sloanies jet all over the world - this year included >250 heading to Japan and others to Brazil, Korea, Ghana, Israel, India ad Saudi Arabia among others (no doubt I missed a couple!).  I headed to China for the inaugural China Lab program.

It was a really great experience and very different to the research project I did in January.  The definite highlight was working with and getting to know some of our Chinese counterparts in international MBA programs around China.  I went to Kunming in the Yunnan Province, just a few hours from the Vietnamese border.  It's called the Spring City and the temperate weather was a really nice break from the cold of Boston!

The company we are working with is a first generation family run business.  We had 'fun' (a little confusing at the time!) putting together the puzzle of what the super-ambitious CEO was saying in comparison to what everyone else described the business as.  It was a really great practical learning experience and insight into Chinese business culture.

The last weekend a lot of us gathered in Beijing to be tourists for a day before heading back home to H2 out of the brand new beautiful Beijing airport.

H1 whizzes by

14-Mar-08 - So, I've been remiss in updating my blog again - H1 has gone by in a flash, I don't believe we're already half way through the second semester!

So what are the highlights of Spring 08 so far?  Although inevitably wishing I could take many more than the 54 credit limit (for the learning, not the workload!) I've got some great courses this semester.  Some really great professors and project based courses and I'm working with some really great teams.  I seem to be gravitating towards taking mostly entrepreneurship and economics focused courses which I personally find most interesting.

Because of my project heavy courseload I'm a lot lighter on extracurricular activities than during the Core - I decided to drop the extracurricular SEID project I wanted to work on but I'm still involved in leadership positions in SEID and Net Impact and helped organise the MIT Energy Conference (wow!) - there's always more than enough going on to keep busy!

February 18, 2008

AdMIT Weekend coming up!

AdMIT weekend is coming up at the end of this week!  It's an exciting time and the email lists are buzzing with opportunities to get involved.  I remember what a huge impression my AdMIT weekend made on me last year - all the friendly people and so much activity!  Everyone at MIT Sloan is looking forward to welcoming the newly admitted students - we hope you see what we have to offer and have a great time!