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

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Time to say goodbye to Anchorage...

Well, folks, my time here in Alaska is coming to an end and I fly back tomorrow. My fact-finding 'flying' visit has been quite intensive (but I am glad I did some sightseeing on Saturday!) and I am pleased with the results I have got. Having said that, I now have more questions than answers and, if some items which are brewing right now develop further, I may be back here for my IPP! Yeah, that's right, back here in the middle of winter embedded in snow and away from family for even longer periods of time! But, it will be a very good field experience with potentially a strong bias on commercial analysis. Well, whatever the case, I will cross the bridge when I get there. I fly back tomorrow night and should be back in London Friday night so I have got the weekend to recover. I went out this evening to shop at the Diamond Center, got a neat hair cut, and had a delicious big meal in a Vietnamese restaurant! I think I am ready to fly! :-) Au revoir mon amie et bonne nuit...

PS: Went out for dinner with a few others from my company last night and then went salmon spotting - you watch them swim in the river from a bridge, as easy as that! I think my son will love it! :-)


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Glacier Viewing at Prince William Sound

I must have been really excited about discovering Alaska because, for some reason, I woke up at 4 am yesterday and could hardly wait until 6 am to eat breakfast and drive to the south to explore Alaska's wildlife, waterfalls and glaciers. So, soon after breakfast, I hit the road, in this case the southbound Seward Highway, and drove alongside the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet with just the railway line between the road and the water. This was to enter the Chugach National Forest area where the Chugach Eskimos used to hunt and gather food. From Seward Highway, I turned left taking the Portage Glacier Highway towards Portage Lake and I was so early the Begich Boggs Visitor Centre was not even open. After taking a few pictures and admiring the lake and the glacier, I took a short hike. I was a bit concerned of Alaskan wildlife especially the bear so I picked up a stick - not that it was going to be any use but it gave me a certain level of condifence! :-) During the walk, I found this small lake with water so clear (and cold) I could see the bottom. And, with the mountain rising not too far away from it, it was a brilliant viewing experience.

Soon after, I got back in the car and drove through the Whittier Tunnel, or the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel which is the longest highway tunnel in North America. Across the tunnel lay the town of Whittier, where 90% of the population lives in one multi-storeyed building! It was built during WWII because it was so cut-off and hidden away that no one else could get there until years later when the Army found it surplus and the residents bought it. From Whittier, I took a Major Marine day cruise ship with a restaurant on board - I decided on this after getting to Portage Lake as the weather was bright and warm, rare and perfect for a cruise around here (but, as always, the weather did turn gloomy at some point). The cruise was in the calm and protected waters of Prince William Sound, whose coastline is blessed with some of the most beautiful tidewater glaciers in the world. Unfortunately, this area is also where the Exxon Valdez oil spill happened in 1989. The cruise was such a delightful experience, made all the more exciting when Beloit, one of the glaciers, started calving right in front of our eyes. The falling chunks were so big they created waves which rocked our boat. Interestingly, not too behind from us, were five or six kayakers who had a real ground-level, or should I say water-level, view of the whole event. It was such a thrilling experience. I thank the captain of the boat for timing it so well! :-) So, rare day, rare sunshine, and rare calving! What a trip to remember!

And, one more thing before I sign off for today - did you that there is such a thing called the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics? It was on in Anchorage last week so I paid them a visit Friday night after work. I saw them dance, sing, compete in the two foot high kick (and a girl came one inch close to breaking an 18-year-old record), and all the handicrafts on display and sale. So, not just about glaciers and waterfalls, I am also learning about native Indian culture.

I hope you enjoy the pictures below. Click and place your mouse on the picture for details.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, July 20, 2007

Salut de The Last Frontier!

Hello world! I am finally in Anchorage, in the state of Alaska, The Last Frontier. It is great out here and I must confess, rather different from what I imagined. For starters, it is not cold (weather and people included), it is very sunny, the capital is not Anchorage but Juneau, and there are no large mosquitoes capable of lifting human beings away. At least, none that I have seen. The place is wonderfully beautiful, sorrounded by snow-capped mountains and the sea, which I visited this evening. I am planning to go for a long drive and a long hike this weekend. But first, I need to recover from the flight across the pond. I flew in via Chicago but the weather in Chicago turned nasty with heavy thunderstorms and lightning all around, and horizontal rain drops lashing against the plane. So, for a few hours, we had no flights going out or coming in from Chicago and I arrived at Anchorage at 2:30am instead of 10:54pm! After a few hours of deep sleep, I was up and ready for work. Got a second id card in three days! People are great and I am loving it so far. Call it the honeymoon period but, so far, so good. The presentation I gave in London last Saturday was also very well received so I am generally rather pleased with the progress of things. It is quite late now but the sun is still out and I am told it will be bright until about 11pm. I wish I had more energy to go out and explore but I really need to rest as the body is sapped of energy from all the travel and a full day of intensive technical discussions today. Tomorrow is another big day; I am meeting not just the technology experts but the commercial managers as well. After all, I am an MBA! :-) I hope you like the pictures below. I will add more as I build up my collection.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summer beckons!

The birds have flown, the flowers have wilted and the place is beginning to eerily haunt! Metaphorically speaking, of course! Summer is here and everyone is eagerly waiting for the exams to be over. Many are going to intern this summer whilst many others will follow the tracks of their dream holidays. So, as some head off on a tour of Europe, or Asia, and other exotic sounding places, I wish I had a few weeks off too. But then, there is money to be made, experiences to be gained, new colleagues to be acquainted with, new friends to be made, and new places to travel to. Sometimes, I look back in amazement at how fast things have moved from when we first arrived on the HEC campus, shaking hands and introducing each other, to today, when we can reflect back on the many events, and exams. Just like what I am briefly doing right now. Perhaps, it is the fact that so many things were happening concurrently. To give you a sense of what I am trying to explain here, let me present to you an oversimplified timetable of activities with extracts from the minds of many of my classmates:

January - Arrive on campus. If you want to do the double degree (with NYU, ESADE, etc.) Feb is the deadline. And, btw, how did your group do in NegoSim?

Feb - Have you started thinking about which clubs you are going to join/head? And, yes, are you doing anything during MBAT? Hold on, what is MBAT? Ah yes, that one...I thought it was in May!

March - Exams are just around the, no, no, they are in April. And, it was only last week when we had our mid-term exams!

April - Yeeeeeeeeahhhhh! The break is here...but let me first send out this internship application form. For those working in banks, it is already past the deadline...too late, sorry; early birds from the September intake got the worm!

May - Phew, the results are out! And, did you say we had Project Management last month? Dude, we only had a week off not three! Oh yes, MBAT is next week! Mr. Coordinator, have I paid my entry fee? Note to self: Wear smart suit and perform well at the Career Fair tomorrow in London. Deadline for exchange is fast approaching, I must make sure I finish the essays.

June - June already! You know what that means, more mid-term exams! Good news! I got an interview call to go on an exchange program at NYU/UCLA/Melbourne/LBS/etc. And, I am not sure why I have not heard anything from XYZ company about this summer's internship. I mean, they interviewed me three weeks ago!

July - Here we go again....exams. God, I so want to get over with these exams and run from here. Have I booked my ticket? Exchange results are out. Many are pleased but some are disappointed in this circle of life. Sorry folks, but I am sure something better will come along. Here I, nice office! Good morning, madam/sir, my name is John Smith, HEC Paris MBA student, and your intern for this summer!

So, there you go! Times flies in the life of an MBA student. I now have just one exam left and then I am done with the Core phase of my HEC Paris MBA. I was intially planning to leave on Sunday to start my internship in London from Monday onwards but, a paper I submitted on my group's marketing project got accepted for an oral presentation at an international conference in London. So, I need to head there earlier than planned, three days to be precise. Immediately after my last exam tomorrow, I am going on a long drive to pick up my son from his cousin's place and we will spend some time together before I depart. If you have been following my blog, remember that I tried to potty train him during my spring break in April and it didn't work. Well, we are now told that he has learned the fine art of you know what....perhaps, seeing other kids in the act helped! I am still in a hotel as the renovation is not complete yet and I need to start packing for London and Alaska; I am excited in anticipation of a great summer, sad as I don't like saying goodbyes, content because I am through the first phase of my MBA and delighted that summer is finally here! When I come back in September, I will be taking up my Strategy track knowing fully well that my MBA will be done by the end of December 2007...what a journey I am having. I am loving it!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 02, 2007

Goodbye et Au Revoir Jouy-en-Josas!!!!

So, here I am, posting my last blog from our house in Jouy-en-Josas. Tomorrow, we vacate the property for a nice cosy room in a hotel located in a nearby town before finally settling into another hotel closer to the apartment while it is being renovated! Interesting times to be relocating as I have a few exams coming up this week and next but I guess a hotel room without much distraction will be an abode for intellectual pursuits! :-) I choose to be optimistic and, yet, I wonder how I cope with all these! In the meantime, the boy is spending a short while with his cousin before moving on to his grandparents' for the summer. Enquête pas, he is having fun!

Over and above the already scheduled trips for the summer, I have also confirmed my Alaska visit and booked my flight tickets, hire car and accommodation. It is going to be a lot of work but I sure do hope to have some time for a leisurely climb up one of the mountains. I am told the views are magnificent!

I may not post anything for the next week or two but I will be back after I have tackled HR, Biz Econ, Corporate Finance, Management Control and Organisational Behaviour exams (I told you that exams just keep on coming at HEC Paris!). And, yes, life in a hotel room! À la prochaine! :-)

Below is one last photo of the house...

Labels: , , , ,


free tracking