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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NPISim or is it also called LegoSim?

On Monday, we played a game called NPISim which is played in groups of four or five with individuals assigned certain tasks. I was a project manager in round one and an observer (as I had worked so hard as a project manager or so the prof said!) in round two. The idea was to simulate a project aimed at making a new product (in our case, a flying object - not telling you more) whilst continuing the production of the traditional product, i.e. a lego vehicle. My role as project manager was to ensure that we functioned efficiently and made the new product on time and without loss. We came a close second as we forgot to put the engine! Surprising though that our customer approved the prototype. :-)

As for today and tomorrow, we have Steve Knight, a broadcaster from England teaching us presentation skills via the use of video and audio recording tools (yupe, it includes our iPods). We had to do one-minute presentation each this morning on which we got critical feedbacks and my group (this time including a French, American, Argentinian, and Chinese) has a 15 min presentation to do tomorrow.

Furthermore, now that exams are over and holidays are here, I seem to have caught a viral fever of some sort. Just what I needed before going to Barcelona on Thursday. As promised a long time ago, I have started a slide show of HEC Paris pictures and I will continue to upload more pictures as I get the time to take more of them.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2007 (Everybody's Free ('07 Mix) by Quindon Tarver)

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2007

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

- Originally from Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune


Exams over...

Exam: Official exercise designed to evaluate knowledge and skills, and covering the contents of a course or a program of studies.

What a I said in my previous blog, I had my mid-term exams and we had three of them. Marketing, accountancy and statistics and I am so glad they are so over - I expect an A in at least one of them, just not sure which one! :-| They were all open book exams and the questions were pretty straightforward but exams just make me feel like being back in school...I guess I am! Having exams is great in one way because we get a lot of time off, supposedly to study but I used most of it to spend quality time with my son. Actually, I didn't have much choice as France is on holiday this week and next and he has to attend the local nursery. My timings are perfect to drop him off and pick him up. This is great as B School can be quite a strain on quality 'life' time and can take a heavy toll (just read this). I picked him up this evening and took him to the local playground...he played a lot which may be explains why he is fast asleep on the sofa behind me as I write this. :-)

Preparation for the exams has not been the only thing that I have been doing during the last few weeks. I have also decided to make the best 'pedagogical' use of my iPod video and have subscribed to a whole bunch of Podcasts: Bisiness Week, Harvard Business Review Editors' Preview, BBC Radio 4's In Business, Lucy Kellaway - podcast, Times Online MBA Podcasts, New Scientist Podcast, and a few others. Alright, I have downloaded all these and synched with my iPod but do I have time to listen to them...perhaps a long trip abroad? Ah yes, I am off to Barcelona next weekend with a few of my mates from the MBA course...we are actually going for work but have a full day for fun in Barcelona (day temperature: ~20°C!).

Now, I did say we had more free time than before , or should I just say we had some free time, but this does not mean lecture-free. Yes, we did have lectures and I want to show you what our marketing professor showed to highlight the use of creative advertising in building brand recognition. The example used was Real California Cheese and I just ROTFL everytime I watch one of them ads. Don't believe me? Watch the Happy Cows and find out for yourself here. We also had a consultant come in to discuss Communication in Intercultural Teams. I have lived and traveled across many countries over continents and thought I knew all about this. But, I did pick up a few good tips on the day such as an Arab man counting his beads is not necessarily praying but could be also relaxing, showing your fingers open with the thumb folded means you do not have any more goods in Colombia, etc. Any activity in which I learn something is worthwhile for me! :-) Two messages to take away: Be open, be curious and be prepared for surprises, and avoid generalisation.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Half a century of messages...

With this post, I have reached half a century of posting messages on my blog and I hope I am continuing to give some insight into life at HEC Paris. If you are planning on attending HEC, pay us a visit. There are many positive things to talk about HEC Paris: good ranking, ever growing global positioning and branding, good team environment, very thorough in its approach to overall growth, and strong focus on keeping us busy and engaged. As with everything, there are also some downsides such as HEC Paris not being exactly in Paris so it is good to have a car if you live off-campus, and my colleagues often seem worried about job prospects. But, I think this is more an MBA thing than a school factor especially if you are trying to switch career streams - which many seem to want to do. And, remember that your job search can only be driven by you, not by the school. The career service department can only help you move in the right direction and provide you with the right training, guidance, and networking potentials but you are the driver. I took this approach and I think I have not done too bad. They also seem to send out a lot of emails with potential jobs and internships for MBAs. Also, remember that even studying at HEC, a top quality brand within France, cannot guarantee you a job in France or the EU if you do not have the right work permit and linguistic skills - but being at HEC will definitely increase your chances of getting a job.

So, what have I been doing recently? We have been busy with a lot of assignments (including the 'famous' Boeing 777 Case Study), and mid-term exams start next week so it is time to start burying one's head in the course materials. I have also taken up golf with a bit more seriousness than before and try my best to play every Thursday afternoon, when we have time off to practice for MBAT, the MBA Tournament. Talking about MBAT, we had an election recently to elect the MBAT coordinator from my batch and you can watch the campaign video of the winning candidate below.

I have also been busy scouring for a marketing project for next semester and I think we have found one. It will involve working with one of the largest, if not the largest, social networking sites in the world that wants to establish itself as a top player in France. My team - yes another team besides the two others I already have (HEC Paris truly believes in creating a 'coopetitive' environment) - is just as diverse and multi-national as the other two so it should be really good fun to work on the project. I have only been here for six weeks and I have already worked in a group with a French (used to this), American (this one too), Canadian, Chinese, Chilean, English (used to this one as well) , Israeli, and a Nepali French!

And, today, I went for a full day of 'intégration civique' during which I had to learn about French society, history, the legal system, democracy, et autre chose. I believe this is compulsory for all immigrants who want to work/live in France on a longer term basis. So, if you are a student Carte de Sejour holder and want to work in France after your MBA, you may have to change your status and go through this day-long session in French (though I was assured the teacher would speak English!). I also got some info on how foreign degress can be recognised in France but I don't think I need this - click here for more info on la reconnaissance des diplômes. The thing that touched me most during the session today was a conversation I had with a gentleman who fled Iraq about a year ago. I was not happy that we had such a long break for lunch and that the whole thing could easily be squeezed into a few hours so that I could go back to my classes when he told me his story. In fluent English, he explained he had a construction business in Iraq and had built over a thousand buildings - including homes and galleries - and, now, he didn't even have a room to settle in! He smiled and advised me to relax and not be too concerned and to take things as they come along...which I felt was very poignant coming from someone with his experience. I will remember it!

Right, I better go study for my mid-term exams now. Bonne Nuit

The video below is the MBAT campaign video I mentioned earlier on:

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bill Gates at HEC Paris

Mr Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft Corp., was at HEC today to participate in a conference and was also honoured with the title of "HEC d'Honneur". So, in a way, he is an HEC Paris alumnus now - or so we would like to claim! So would HBS... :-) He he he... It was great to see this greatest entrepreneur of our times. But, I had to wait for more than an hour at the gate to enter the auditorium and, that too, after much pleading and debating with the security guards. It was all worth it though! :-)

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