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

Friday, April 18, 2008

HEC Paris: A Journey in Pictures

For all of the time I was posting messages on this blog, I never posted personal photos which showed me, my friends or my family. But, now that I am done, I thought I should at least allow my readers to join me in my journey through 16 months at HEC by looking at some of the pictures I took and collected from friends. I hope you like them and I will add a few more in due course.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

The MBA is Over!!!

Between Thursday and Saturday last week, we attended the last round of our executive seminars and, with that, my MBA has come to a conclusion. The subject area was ‘Europe at Work’ with lectures given by prominent members of the HEC Europe Institute, some of whom are former ministers, EU commissioners, lobbyists, and lecturers at HEC. My group - you cannot escape from group work at HEC even on the last day - presented a 15 min presentation on ‘Is there a real alliance possible between the EU and Russia?’. We were able to give a good argument as to why an alliance between the two is of strategic importance for both parties and laid out examples to prove that there already was one. However, we also suggested the need to understand that Russia is a new democracy and cannot be expected to meet all EU standards overnight. This session brought the MBA to an end and I must reiterate again that the HEC MBA has been extremely beneficial for me. I have learnt the usual subjects that one learns in a business school but I have also made a lot of friends. The group tasks we had were sometimes stressing and we had to put in a fair number of unholy hours and, without the support of my group members, balancing the MBA with family life would have been extremely challenging. To anyone planning on pursuing an MBA, I would urge you to visit HEC, talk to the student ambassadors, faculty, alumni and see how the programme can be tuned to your needs. If you are focused and clear about what you want to do, and you are willing to put in the extra effort required in planning ahead, the HEC MBA is ideal. I don't think you will find another MBA that is as challenging as well as flexible that will help you in your overall growth. Of course, HEC is not all sunshine as there are some definite challenges; infrastructure, research faculty, variety of recruiting companies, and increasing its profile and ranking. But, I doubt if these are not universal challenges and, at least, HEC is working hard to address these. So, all in all, we have had a great time, learnt a lot and, despite the current gloom in the market, ready to take on the world...

One of our friends organised a party Friday evening and there was another one, the final party whilst we are MBA students, on Saturday but I missed the second one as I had other wife had booked a surprise trip to celebrate my birthday so, right after class on Saturday, I drove home and we headed out to the secret destination! The location turned out to be a hotel by the lake just north of Paris - Hotel du Lac d'Enghien Les Bains - so we didn't spend long driving. I was given my gifts which, among other things, included a coupon to test drive a Porsche on a track; I have been dreaming of owning/driving one for a while and my wife thinks test driving will be enough to satisfy my urge to own one. She cares too much for the environment to support buying a car that burns so much fuel! Even if I am planning to stick to the oil and gas sector for a career! The weather yesterday was perfect - warm and bright - for the trip and, this morning, walking by the lake cheering the runners from a local event was also a great opprotunity to spend time with our son.

The next big news will be the arrival of our second child, and hopefully I will know where I will be posted by then as I am currently having discussions for positions in eastern China, Japan, Texas, Angola, California, London, Paris, yes Paris, and God knows where...I guess time will tell if any of these will work out as my sponsoring company is going through quite a trough at the moment and hence my shotgun approach. If not, having completed a free MBA, I will have to just stay at home and look after the children! Which, for someone who has stayed away from home for so long, does not seem like such a bad plan! :-) Oh yes, and I have one of the two apartments I just invested in to renovate as well...goodness me!


Friday, April 04, 2008

Older and wiser...

The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything. - Oscar Wilde

I started this blog early on my big day but never got round to completing it so today, a Sunday, seems like a good day to finish it. A snow covered Sunday in southern England which, at 1:00am last night, was absolutely dry and sans snow.

A snowy start to the day as seen from my window!

Now, what have I been up to in the last week or two? Apart from realising that the MBA is coming to an end and we will eventually be saying our goodbyes soon? Some of us are better positioned than others to face a world that everyone estimates is heading to a partial recession, with significant job losses, but then, isn't it a cycle that we are all so familiar with? All I wish for is that everyone will be happy wherever they are and whatever they do.

Last week provided an opportunity to attend my PhD professor's retirement do, a black-tie affair at The Long Room, in one of cricket's holiest of holy grounds. It was good to see my old labmates, my former supervisors and friends with whom I had lost contact. However, I am not going to go into any more detail of the entertainment that followed dinner! ;-) A reunion party in London just ahead of a farewell party in Paris. The world does revolve!

I also went to the Career Fair that HEC had organised in London last Friday to get some names to contact in case I find myself in a limbo post-MBA. Following the fair, and the ensuing cocktail session, I and 16 other friends headed out to crawl London's China Town...eventually ending at the Imperial China restaurant to munch down a quickly thrown in course for a 'big' table. Not a bad night for a Birthday!

Wednesday, I am heading back to Paris for my last executive seminar on "Europe at Work". I am looking forward to the lectures and our own presentation topic; Is there a real alliance possible between the EU and Russia? I thought this would be an interesting topic considering Russia's rising influence and its push to nationalise everything strategic, especially oil & gas. I am also looking forward to a surprise, short get-away that my wife has planned for my Birthday.

If you are thinking mediterranean, you are way off target. This is Portishead, near Bristol in south-west England where I spent a weekend recently.


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