Today in Class...

Woohoo, finally, something about my classes at the GSB. Speaking of which, how do I get my blog onto the admission website? If you are completely unaware, admitted students get a list of blogs that they can visit on the website for admitted students. There are blogs from first and second years and also faculty members (Gary Becker's blog is awesome).

Anyway, finally, something about class! This is what I learnt from my International Comparative Organization class (basically, the class substitudes policy for culture to explain business behavior in other countries):

1. Free agent athletes exert effort up to the contract day, and then sulk after a big contract. Bigger the contract, bigger the sulk. Empirically tested in the NBA! I love this game! It's faaaaantastic!

2. Majority of human beings overestimate his or her ability (i.e. everyone thinks they are above average). Only the clinical depressed demographic are right on with estimates of their own ability/expected life/etc.

3. Good employees are identified relatively early in their career. Those who are identified early as "good" are more likely to succeed later in their career. However, research show that a wrong identification will still result in more likelihood of success! This is called the Halo Effect, caused by people bandwagoning on the identified person even though true ability is bad. For more details, check me out.

I'm almost done with my investments study group (learning SO much in that class that I'm not looking forward to the midterm at all). Next up, I get to listen to the Czech president speak about economic reform - he's a Chicago-trained economist - with Gary Becker. Good times all around.


My Computer Exploded

Actually, I just wanted to see how that title looks in print. Pretty bad ass, I'd say.

Sunday night, I was sitting on the couch watching the NBA playoffs... ops, stopping the story: I really like watching the Bulls play. They play like a team at all times: constant moving with and without the ball, cuts, picks, movement, open looks. No true star player to take over down the stretch, but they play the right way. I've got tickets to their Thursday night game 3 and I'm skipping class (to be made up during a marathon Saturday class + review - damn you, Akash) to go see them. I have extra tickets if you'd like to go to!

I'm so easily distracted. Anyway, I was watching the game and typing up my homework that was due the next morning. Suddenly, I noticed that the power sign switched to battery mode. I looked down at the AC adaptor and the green light is on. Something is not right about this picture. I pick up the adaptor, and the green light starts fading. Noooooooooooo!

Um... no what? I don't even know. Since computers are like girls - warning signs are unpredictable and hard, if not impossible, to decipher - I have no idea what I should do but to leave it alone and hope all is well when I come back to it.

Alas, I couldn't wait for even five minutes. I plugged the stuff back into my computer. Green light comes on... battery not charging... green light goes off. Okay, so this is really frustrating; my batts are old, they don't last that long without the adaptor. Anyhow, I decided to keep the damn thing plugged in and hope it fixes itself.

Next thing I know, I smell something burning! Sparks are coming out of the wires of the adaptor. I'm not sure what happened, but I must be more amused than anything, cus I picked up the adaptor to see what's going on. That's when the thing exploded. Sort of. Fire and smoke and all. Unplug everything. Fire put out.

Okay... so if you remember, I'm supposed to be doing my homework assignment. I've got about 30 mintues on my computer, and this puts me in a really awkward situation. Do I speed up and finish everything in 30 minutes? Or do I use this 30 minutes to solve the battery problem? I did the latter (I'd wake up at 6am and head to school to finish the assignment - but that's another story). I went online and looked at Ebay and Dell websites - $70 for a new charger! Holy crap. I better call Dell. Jack - whose real name is probably Amit or Ashish - is very good over the phone and is worried that I might burn myself. He keeps telling me to unplug the adaptor and put it faaaar away from my computer. Yes, Jack, I'm doing that. Honestly. Thanks for the free adaptor, by the way!


Tony Parker, you da man

Tony Parker and Eva Langoria interviewing on E! I'm such a sucker for this stuff. Anyway, just want to point out that Tony Parker is the man. He's only 24!!!!!

Admit weekend. Always fun to talk to eager admits - they absolutely remind me of me. One difference though: I see a huge improvement over last years admit weekend. Much better organized and not too boring. I remember last year they stored us in the dreaded 104 room and lectured about the GSB for a good three hours. Good first hour to get us pumped up, and then it was all down hill. We were so tired at the end of the first day. This year, they moved people around so they didn't have to sit for too long. They made things more outdoor to get some fresh air. In fact, at a later bar event, I was told by admits deciding between schools that GSB's admit weekend was the best - "much more organized than Kellogg's" and "tighter message than Columbia." Amen.

NBA playoffs start today with the Bulls taking on the Heat. I thought the picture of Kirk Hinrich scratching his crotch would be a good start to the playoffs. Okay, maybe I should stop drinking in the morning.

Go Bulls!

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Chicago Brand and Sex

It's Admit Weekend II and I start getting emails about the Chicago Brand. While others have real reasons for coming to the GSB, I have one too - just realized this morning at 9:52 am while watching CNN.

CNN just presented a study on who is more satisfied sexually. Turns out Austria was number one at 71% satisfied while a host of western countries came in the top cluster. Predictably, Asian countries came in at the bottom with Japan scoring a 29% satisfaction rate for the dubious honor of lowest scoring country. The study concludes that it seems that sexual satisfaction is connected to gender equality.

So you're wondering what does this have to do with the Chicago Brand. Well, naturally, the study was carried out by the University of Chicago (bottom of the screen - it stared at me)! What's the value of the Chicago Brand? If the study were conducted by University of ABC, I would have raised the following questions:

1. Have you controlled for frequency of sex?
2. Have you controlled for gender?
3-100. Have you controlled for (insert demographic)?

But because it is the U of C, I know I'm getting the real deal and that the research was rigorously tested. Most reasonable doubts and question marks MUST have been answered by the researchers and the conclusion (gender equality -> sexual satisfication) reached is likely very close to the real answer.

Of course, you the reader should be skeptical. I was last week (here starts Part II of this post) when Professor Hsee of the GSB spoke about what makes the Chinese in China happy. Turns out owning a house and relative income were key factors. A third key factor was frequency of sex. Naturally, the audience were surprised (honestly, audience, why are you surprised!? I'm not!) about this and asked questions regarding it. Prof Hsee had it coming. He said he's controlled for gender, for marriage (!!!!! Meaning statistically marriage didn't add weight to the effects of frequency of sex !!!!!), for income, for almost all the question marks we the audience had. Amazing display.

And that is the Chicago Brand. When research comes out of Chicago, you know you are getting the real deal.

Especially when it comes to sex. (Sex is more important than marriage)



That's 43 people on MSN - yet another sign that work has finally slowed for many GSBers. I've always wondered what would happen in Spring quarter: no presentations and no recruiting, what do business school students do with (to) themselves!? Alas, this past weekend provided the perfect answer:

Friday - LPF, eat crawfish, poker game.
Saturday - Greater China Conference, karaoke party.
Sunday - brunch, basketball.

So what else can I blog about? Poker game was won by my (so-called) protege 2R. Unfortunately I didn't get very good hands to play with (a total of 10 hands maybe in 3 hours), so I couldn't face off with 2R, which would be a fun time.

The China Conference was pretty well done considering that they didn't have much time to plan. Speakers were good but somewhat irrelevant. Not enough big picture view, in my opinion. Otherwise, a well done event!

Oh yes, I played 2 full hours of real basketball. I couldn't walk on Monday morning. LOL. I'll be playing again this Thursday. Must make this regular.

Admit Weekend II is in-coming. Amazing that it's already been a year since I decided that the GSB would be the school.



Just wanted to share my new toy with everybody:

I've been asking for this product forever (苯, my friend at Google, has been hearing my grief for a whole year now). Couple of things that Galendar could really do to enhance my experience (they don't allow feedbacks):

1. Birthdays - link them up with address book!
2. They allow invites and link them to Gmail address book. Yet groups (with multiple emails) on the address books are not automatic. So I have to re-type the 20 emails in.

Oh, and upon telling my mom about Galendar, she quipped, 'Gay Calendar?'

This is the picture that has everybody talking. Yes, it's me. Yes, it's me. Yes, it's me.

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The Switch is On

No, I'm not talking about how baseball teams play Big Papi.

I'm talking about my emotions. I had an uncontrollable moment in Toronto last weekend. Then I came back to Chicago and it lingered. I start noticing little things, like the belt I wear, which belonged to Alan. I wear it almost every day, yet I only started to pay attention to the fact this week.

I was walking back to my car along 58th at about 1:30 pm. Classes have ended for me and I need to get back to downtown for a study group meeting. Grade school was in recess and the kids were out. Running around the playground, playing some sort of baseball game, basketball, sharing toys on the steps, sharing new nature discoveries around the bushes... suddenly, the world slowed down so much. Across the street, a woman was walking her dog; she wasn't paying attention as the dog dragger her on. Another guy just jogged past me, iPods and all. A couple walked pass me, talking about their parents. I can hear the birds too.

The sun is out. Spring is here.

And then I realized I parked my car on Midway, not 58th! So I had to walk back to my car through the school. Funny when your mind is not right, even the trivial stuff goes wrong.

So much to write, so little time. This quarter is going to be interesting. Between Data-driven Marketing, International Comparative Organizations, Investments, and Chicago Asia Pacific Group (CAP) should keep my hands full. But it's definitely more relaxing and less pressure. All I'm really doing is looking forward to this summer's experience!

Oh, I switched my MSN picture and everybody started asking me who is in the picture. That's still me, okay? It was 10 years ago.


Dream Poker

Fell asleep on the couch for the 962,287th time this year.

I'm holding A-6 unsuited in the late position. The flop came A-Q-6, all diamonds. In the dream, I can see my opponent's hand (A-8 diamonds). Naturally, my opponent raises, and I went all in. for some reason, the cards remained face down as the turn and the river were dealt. On the river, I caught a full house with a 6! Since the cards were face down (though it was clear int he dream that my opponent has a flush), I hesitated and looked at my cards again. I won!

Dream over.

Meanwhile, on TV, a poker tournament is being aired. Amazing. I wonder if that exact hand happened too?



Thanks to Le Voyageur, I was able to copy and paste a bunch of other people's blogs onto the sidebar. Have fun. I will continue to add to this bar. Meanwhile, I should find out who they actually are.

A bit disappointed

If you are wondering where I've been for the last few days, I was in Toronto visitng my girl friend (she too understands business school classes...). Anyway, it's always nice to see Kal even if it's only for a few days. As usual, the Lam cousins had yet another dinner that is measured by pounds and not dollars. I miss Asian food.

Anyway, Kal brought my pictures from Hong Kong. I must admit that I am rather disappointed at the quality. Some of them I expected to be difficult because of the lack of sunlight (at Grand Canton... uh... Canyon); others was just my lack of understanding on how the camera handles lights. Especially on using long lens and not being able to control the shutter speed. Very disappointing. Here's one from Death Valley. With some help from photoshop (Picasa), there is more contrast for a better feel.

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My feelings at GSB classes, 9:08 PM, while I was walking back home:

During soft classes - marketing, competitive strategy, HR: !!!
During hard core classes - finance, operations: ???


Breaking news: B School Class Makes Sense to Mom!

Well well well... the conversation started innocent enough. A while ago, mom and I were discussing about our summer trip to Dublin (James will graduate from a London high school this summer), and I casually mentioned that my competitive strategy class used Ryanair, low cost carrier between London and Dublin, for a case study of tactics of Judo against incumbant giants BA and Air Linges.

That was a week ago. Today, mom tells me that she visited Ryanair's website and was shocked to find round trip tickets as low as $2! That's right, $2 between London and Dublin. For all four of us, it was going to be about $300 (um... $8 for the tickets, $292 for tax and other fees). And then it hit her: how do they do it? I explained the lost cost structure and Judo and so on... and it made perfect sense to her!

Mom being mom, she asks why I cannot buy a cheap ticket to Vancouver to attend my cousin's wedding during May. I tell her that there is an invetory problem with gates at Chicago. And mom says: it's like an entry to barrier.

Me: !!!!!


Make your own ad!

Hey, a new toy! Design your ad for Chevy... and waste about 0.5 hours at night! (Shmoo did it first)

Here's mine:

Oh... also, I saw Munich a while ago. I thought the movie focused too much on the struggle of the individual assassin. I found myself dissatisdied with the discussion on the depth of the Israel Palestine issue. Is revenge the right solution? On one hand, you have the assassin who thinks it is not a solution at all because who he kills just gets replaced and, in turn, comes to threaten his life (at least he imagines so). On the other hand, there's the assassin's boss who thinks it is the only solution to deter (not enough, obviously) people from planning attacks. Right and wrong... so many options... but the director chose to focus on just the assassin. Perhaps to avoid the potential wrath of American viewers if he picked against Israel and the potential wrath of Arab viewers if he picked against Palestine.

One thing is for sure: since Munich, the two "countries" have repeated the cycle many many times. Has revenge worked...?


You may call this procrastination

But hey, it's the freaking Animal Planet! You CANNOT say no to the Animal Planet. Yeah yeah, there's data-driven marketing homework and international comparative organization (huh!?) reading... but it's sardines being devoured by predators! Are you kidding me!? BAM, there's goes another sardine. BAM, another.

The dolphins spotted the sardines first. This particular group of sardines split up from the main pack. Anyway, the dolphins split into teams, one circling the sardines so they can't get away, another spearing in from the sides to snatch the fish. Sharks come join in from below, cutting off the last escape route. Then the birds come attacking from the top. The seals join the party last. The sharks don't pay attention to the seals anymore. The sardines have become such easy targets; all gone in a few hours. Every one eaten.

Lesson for MBA: Teamwork is key to getting the process started. Efficiency is at its max with good teamwork. Common prey is good even for enemies. And, most important of all, free riding (birds and seals) is the best.

Penguins are next. Rocked by seals hunting from the bottom of the sea. It's the little ones that are injured and wandered away from the bigger pack. The seal spots it from the sea floor, comes up slowly and strikes at the paddling young penguin. The seal then pulls it to open sea, throws it around like a rag dool (to seperate flesh from bone, the narrator tells us), and then eats the penguin.

Lesson for MBA: sticking with strong figures will save your life, especially when you are young and injured.

Then came the flamingos. In search for better water sources, some flew to a further away lake. They got jumped by baboons desperate for food. Again, the small ones get jumped. (I'm loosing steam here, can you tell?)

Lesson for MBA: don't take the short cuts, stick with the strong figures, and, most important of all, don't upset desperate baboons. NEVER upset desperate baboons. Did I just repeat myself?

Anyway... after an hour of procrasination, the Animal Planet narrator ends with this question: why did this flamingo avoid the wrath of the baboon (close up of baboon jumping from the top and famingo flying away - done Matrix style, very impressive)? Why indeed? Narrator: because it was able to follow the pack. When one flamingo flap their wings, YOU flap your wings. When one flamingo starts moving one direction, YOU move one direction. In that way, all you need is one alert flamingo and the entire herd is safe. Don't be an individual and move away from the crowd. If you follow the herd of one million, your odds of death are only one in a million. The safest place to be is to be in the middle of the crowd. Follow the herd. This is how generations of animals have survived.

And there I was, sitting in front of the TV, confused as to who the narrator was talking about.



Now this should be an interesting quarter. I have 3 classes. I have responsibilities with CAP. And I need to relax and have fun. That's it. Wow, even I am amazed.

I saw the name card "Jacinta" in class and I just couldn't take my eyes off it. Alan was Jacinto. I miss him. The feeling lingered around for the remainder of the class. Anyway, Jacinta is probably going to be in the same class the rest of the quarter. And I will continue to see her name. And... at some point, my mind will shut the name down. How sad.

Finished the book "Blink." It started strong, faded quickly.

Sprained my hip. Getting old. I swear I am going to get in shape this quarter.