At HEC Paris, mvlti svnt vocati, pavci vero electi!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

T-2 Days; the excitement, the nervousness, the confidence!

So, just got two more days to go before my interviews in Paris. I am pretty confident that I can give a didactic presentation on the day, and I sure that I can handle all the usual 'why MBA now?', 'why our school?', 'what after the MBA?', 'how will you contribute to the school?', and other questions of a similar trait and yet, I find that there is a certain rumble in my stomach as I mentally picture the interviews. A certain level of nervous energy drives me well but I just hope it stays this way on the day! And, nothing more! :-) Perhaps, it is the realisation that what I have been eating, drinking and dreaming of for the last few months is finally coming to an end, and it depends solely on me to perform well to jump this one last hurdle. Perhaps, it is the thought of picking up everything from scratch and starting all over again if this does not work out (shhhh...can't harbour -ve thoughts in my head). I can feel that change is on its way but what way?

If you are in a similar position, it may help to listen to 'Acing the MBA Interview' Podcast and read the accompanying notes. Good luck!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Weekender

My presentation for the interviews is done and I have practiced it a few times so, feeling fairly confident that I am ready, I decided to take a break! We didn't have a choice; the boy was finally coming home and we had to go pick him up from France. Drove into London on Saturday, spent a few hours at Regent's park, met up with a friend for a sumptuous Italian lunch, and then went to a cultural show in the evening at The Blue Elephant Theatre. And, early today, we drove to Calais, picked the boy up and here we are, back where we started from, ready for another week. While he was there, the boy learnt to walk so he is busy exploring the house. Will have to buy a few more gates! :-) It is wonderful to have him back!

Monday, September 18, 2006

SD, CSR and hey, will I meet the Queen?

Got to work this morning and found a very pleasant surprise in the pigeon hole. A gold lined card from the Palace, written by the Master of the Household at Her Majesty's command inviting moi to attend a reception au Palais! I am thrilled! Excited! And, curious as to how this happened? How did She know? It is not until late October so I have got time to find out...and enough time to arrange my trip to the City! :-)

OK, enough of this! What I really meant to do was discuss Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility. What do these terms mean? Are they just some fluffy corporate terms that sound great but mean nothing? Or, do they actually imply something? And, if so, what?

Our common future, the document that came out of the United Nation World Commission on Environment and Development, written under the leadership of former Norwegian Prime Minister Dr. Brundtland, defines Sustainable Development as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". But, could this not mean anything? What I like to do is to imagine it as a three legged table where one leg represents economy, the second society and the third environment. And together, they keep the table standing. Or, SD could also be thought of as three circles (environment, society and economy) overlapping...and the overlap represents sustainable development. Sounds fluffy? We see these circles all around us every day - we just have to get the balance right.

What about CSR? Well, it is the corporate world's way of approaching not just SD but also encompassing a much broader aspect of development, that of its sorrounding communities, environment, society but always ensuring that business is profitable. One has to be pragmatic in approaching the issue as a business that is not profitable is unlikely to find the resources to focus on environmental and social development.

However, CSR cannot be ignored. In today's complex world of multinational supply chains and supranational business transactions, a company can easily slip up and miss a key point that can bite hard when it is uncovered. Remember Syngenta and child labour in India, Coca-Cola and the University of Michigan, Gap in El Salvador, Shell in Nigeria, and yes, Enron?

So, the message is simple: don't ignore SD and CSR but be pragmatic - approach it sensibly and maintain the balance.


Friday, September 15, 2006

AWA, and chill out with golf!

Yesterday was such a wet and windy day with the rain hammering down on us and the drops bouncing off the ground like little marbles...and today, man, what a difference a day makes! It was so sunny this morning I felt guilty not being out running...

At the end of the lectures today, a few of us got together and went out for a game of golf - I know I am no pro but I also found out today that I am no amateur either! :-) Perhaps, I should just blame the course! Anyway, it was nice to be out in the open breathing fresh air and basking in glorious sunshine (just look at the pictures below). It was a good relationship building exercise and perhaps, if I do an MBA, I will perfect the skill! :-)

In the meantime, I have got my official GMAT score and I am pleased with my Analytical Writing Assessment score. I am not sure if the schools I picked look into this score but as long as it is not too low, I guess one is fine.

Another piece of news; our son, who I mentioned in my first post has started walking in the last week or so. But, he is in France so we won't see him until later next week. Can't wait! I am hoping he will be running around in Paris next year! :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Boyatzis’s theory of self discovery

I am in the north of the country, in the land of the white rose, these days and have been sitting through piles and piles of lectures on theology, or was it tribology, or rheology - some comprehensible and some which just fly over one’s head...whoosshhh and it is gone! I have also been taking some time out running around the college where they have installed us to prepare myself for the hours of sitting listening to lectures, and also to get to know the sorrounding areas. But, just as in Dublin, I went out for what was supposed to be a 30min run but ended up getting lost and running for 60min! Navigation and moi are sans affairs.

So, on to this next bit of the EI Leadership series discussing Dr. Goleman's book...I would like to write about Boyatzis’s theory here – yupe, management has plenty of theories too! Boyatzis’s theory is about how “leadership can occur in the tumult and possibilities of our relationships” because others see things that we do not see, others can observe us and report on our progress, and assess our feelings, and provide us with avenues for experimentation and progress. Of course, we have to hope that "others" here would give us true feedbacks without blurring their judgement with 'being nice'. It is not only important to have an employee courageous and frank enough to stand up and give negative, developmental, feedbacks to a manager but it is also equally important to find friends, colleagues, and family members on whom one can rely to get true feedbacks on our personality, actions and perceptions without being afraid of diluting the bond of friendship away - that's why they are good friends, right? The comments and feedbacks should also fall on receptive ears. Coming back to Boyatzis’s theory, it suggests five stages through which one can discover oneself and you will have to read the book to expand on each one of them. The stages are:

“The first discovery: My ideal self – who do I want to be
The second discovery; My real self – Who am I? What are my strengths and gaps?
The third discovery: My learning agenda – How can I build on my strengths while reducing my gaps?
The fourth discovery: Experimenting with and practising new behaviours, thoughts, and feelings to the point of mastery.
The fifth discovery: Developing supportive and trusting relationships that make change possible.”

I find running/walking a good exercise to ponder on these! :-)

Below is a picture I took during my first run yesterday but it is not noon, or midnight, that's for sure!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Emotional Intelligence

For sometime now, I have been reading one of Dr. Daniel Goleman's books on Emotional Intelligence and have found it to be rather interesting. This particular book focuses on how one can transform the art of leadership into the science of results. It talks in detail about how "emotionally intelligent leadership drives resonance, and thus performance" and how laughter and humour can lift moods in a working environment, consequently boosting cooperation, fairness, and, yes, business performance. At the end of the day, it is all about performance and understanding one's emotional intelligence can be a strong weapon in this regard. The book discusses how a leader can only manage, and not lead, without a "healthy dose of heart". Dissonance in a relationship leads to stonewalling, where one decides to evade the other, in a desperate attempt to maintain emotional sanity.

In the book, Dr. Goleman also discusses the four domains of emotional intelligence:
* Self-awareness - recognizing one's own emotions
* Self-management - keeping negative emotions and impulses under control
* Social awareness - empathy = understanding and being aware of how others around us feel
* Relationship Management - feeding back, guiding, helping and motivating others

Though the focus of the book is on business performance, there is a lot of relevance to our daily lives - how we act, bring up children, maintain relationships, deal with people we come across in our day-to-day affairs, and how we overcome pitfalls. EI is definitely something I will be thinking of more often in the future.

Having read the book, I went to and did a search for EI expecting to find some business school lecture on the subject. But, I found the video below which summarises the "five rules of Business Emotional Intelligence":

1. don't suck up, suck down - the secretaries and admin staff are important
2. remember constanza - leave when hitting the high note
3. being nice beats being clever - be nice, enthusiastic, pleasant and friendly
4. being the first to arrive beats being the last to leave - early = dedication
5. do your own photocopying - life will be easier and it's good for the soul

Well, you enjoy the video as I can't wait to finish this book and move on to the next one, written again by Dr. Goleman, and which I picked up from the local bookstore while helping a friend find a book on gardening! :-)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Time for Introspection

Living, as we do, quite close to one of the best National Parks in the country, my wife and I went for a 43km bike ride today. It was a good opportunity to go out and refresh myself after the last few hectic weeks of preparing my admission essays, taking the GMAT, and life's ups and downs. It was good not just for the breathtakingly scenic route that we took but also for the fact that, occassionally, it gave me time to reflect on recent events, events from weeks and months bygone. It gave me time to think about what is it that one values in life, what motivates me and cheers me up, and what is it that is driving me towards an MBA. And speaking to a friend, a London-based consultant (medical, not the MBA type), I realised that, may be, there is another, hidden, motive - she thinks it is addiction to education! Of course, I want to grow career-wise, work with people and help the world, play a bigger role in the growing markets of Asia Pacific, achieve something significant and worthwhile, and make lots of money (if I can! ;-)) but I am beginning to realise that what really drives me is challenge. The challenge of doing something different, the challenge of being able to say 'great, it's done!', the adrenaline rush that one gets by accomplishing a task, and the rush that one gets from education and the challenge of learning. Didn't someone say that “the purpose of learning is growth, and our minds can continue growing as long as we live”? Perhaps, the very act of learning something new, whether it be a first degree, a doctorate, or an MBA is what is really driving me subconsciously. Question is, is learning the same as education?

Below is a picture from the bike ride earlier today.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

News! News! News!

Hello world!

I finally heard from my only MBA school of choice today and I have been pre-selected to go through to the interview stage. Just two interviews, and a final Jury meeting before I get in. Or so, I hope. Wish me luck world and send me your prayers so that I can crack this one! :-)


Below is a picture I took on my way to work one fine crispy morning not so long ago.


free tracking