The State of Recruiting

Well well well... week 3 of on-campus recruiting is almost over. Two big consulting firms are interviewing today and I have no part of it. Didn't bid enough points for them. No matter. Anyway, here are some of my classmates:

Have nots: my kind. keep the faith.
Semi-Haves: they deserve it. keep the faith.
Haves: they deserve it. time to dodge class and have fun!
Have and want mores: assholes.

Invariably, you will find these assholes at any school. They've scored their first choice and keep looking for more offers. Though I'm not sure what they are trying to prove, but "look at me, I have so many offers... still have to interview though, since number of offers will validate me!" sounds about right.

Anyway... don't want to leave the bad impression: I know a lot who have cancelled interviews with their fifth choice or with their second choice industry. Thank you, guys. If you get to choose between 1, 2, and 3, good for you. Look closely and examine them; make the best choice for you and your family; take your time until you can make an educated choice; and try and do more at class while we have nots keep concentrating on recruiting!

As for the ones with ten offers and still interviewing for consulting and corporate and marketing... well, since we clearly have different principles, I won't even try to convince you.


Recruit at as many firms as possible

Yeah yeah, the nay-sayers think it's stupid because you're spread too thin and can't do well at everything. Well, I'd like to offer another way to view the recruiting process:

I was treated to a very nice dinner by a consulting firm who shall remain unnamed. Great restaurant. Here's what transpired:
7:00 Arriving in style. Our hosts just sat down.
7:02 I hate sticky name tags.
7:03 Whooped out the magnetic name tag, followed by "wow" from the recruiter.
7:05 My name is Eric... blah blah blah... if you don't mind, let me take a look at the menu
7:30 Excellent, everybody is here. Can we order food yet?
7:30 - 7:45 This is difficult... Octopus or Scallop? Or soup? Char or Salmon? Or Tuna? Steak or Veal? Wine? Are our hosts choosing a bottle? Oh shit, I forgot her name... what's her name? Is she going to interview me? I wonder what's on the dessert menu?
8:00 Octopus arrives. The dish looks delightful. Probably a whole baby squid, bbqed and smelling really good. It did not disappoint.
8:20 Arctic Char arrives. After much debate, I decided to ask our server for her opinion. She went with the Arctic Char, and matched it with a white wine (whatever that means). Excellent choice by me (for asking for her opinion). Excellent choice by her too. It's similar to salmon but with a lighter taste. Very impressed with the treatment of the skin - seared and crunchy - and the meat - medium.
8:30 Tried some veal from my friend's dish... not that impressed. Where's the tenderness!?
8:31 Are we ordering dessert?
8:35 Are we?
8:50 I cleaned my plate. My host ask if I have had enough food. Not good times.
8:51 I poured some fries for myself. I think someone is staring.
9:00 Dessert menu! Yes!
9:02 uh-oh... banana dessert? cake and shake? port wine?
9:20 Cake and Shake. I'll let the restaurant do the desccription: layers of chocolate buttermilk cake milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate mousse chocolate meringue buttercream and a vanilla malted milk shake. Oh yes.
9:30 OH YES!

Well, if you are lucky, then you apply to many firms and get many dinner invites. Good times all around. Oh, and don't forget to ask about the firm and stuff. Would help your interview. But hey... can't forget the food!


Democracy and Hamas

Exit polls show Hamas gaining about 40% of the votes in the latest Palestinian election. Yup, the same Hamas branded as a terrorist organization by the US State Department (thanks for reminding us every single time you report about Hamas, CNN) are selected by the Palestinian people. Two points:

1. No doubt this is a democratic election. If the Palestinians support Hamas, are their supporters of terrorism? What implications does that have on US policies regarding Palestine? Do you still acknowledge the effect that Hamas has on Palestine and engage in negotiations?

A democratic terrorist government... what an irony.

2. Is this a successful election? Can an election that produces a terrorist (by US and Israel standards anyway) government be considered successful? Strangely, you could make the same case in the US, where many Palestinians/Middle East people would consider the Bush administration terrorism. Anyway... there are many lessons to be learned here.

In college, I remember writing about free market fiscal policies. The US supports such policies and enforces it through IMF bailouts. BUT ONLY IF the target country is willing to do it the as US advices. i.e. only if it is in line with national interests. Will democracy (and non-democracy for that matter) be the same deal? I suspect so.

We'll love your democracy if it loves our democracy;
We'll love your dictatorship if it loves our democracy;
We'll hate your democracy if it hates our democracy;
We'll hate your dictatorship if it hates our democracy.



Upon reading my blog, someone asked me how I feel about group-learning. Excellent question.

Well. Let's see. Learning during group studies is like practicing tennis. The following list is an approximation of tennis partner ability (relative to me!) and how much I learn from the match:

Is he a pro? I'm being raped. I learn humility.
He's everywhere, damn it! I learn how to struggle.
I can almost handle this guy. I learn how to play better.
This is going to be a long game. I learn to fine tune some of my techniques.
Just a matter of time before I win. I learn what mistakes to avoid.
I will squash you like a bug. I learn nothing.
Dude, at least run after the ball. I regress a little.


Study Group

I've always wondered about the effectiveness of study groups. Here are a few popular ways in dealing with a group project:

Divide and conquer: the most popular methodology. The group work exists in the form of a stapler (stolen from our marketing professor's memorable quotes). You learn the least but spend the least time. It is the most efficient because our classes ironically place little real importance on the homework. A real hit or miss when it comes to the grade.

Smaller Groups and divide and conquer: somewhat popular. Same as divide and conquer but do so in smaller groups. Slightly better results are reached and slightly more time is spent. Consensus may or may not be reached but little is done to ensure that. Minimal learning.

Gather and discuss: the most annoying way by far. The group work is 90% talk and 10% do. Dominated by strong personality. If there are strong personalities, expect Jerry Springer bodyguards to break up the fight. Involves shouting and backhanded compliments such as "That's a very good Kellogg idea." A consensus may or may not be reached. If reached, the consensus may or may not be written down. If written down, the consensus may or may not materialize. It depends on the person writing the final version. And that's if you reach consensus!

Come prepared and discuss: hit or miss method. Asking people to come prepared is easier said than done. The most likely outcome is similar to "gather and discuss," since prisoner's dilemma leads to all parties to be more or less unprepared. However, in the rare occurance that everybody comes prepared, both learning and grades are maximized. Well, congratulations, you just scored an "A" on a 3 to 5 pt project that took you 5 hours to complete.

Such is life at the GSB.


What did I do this week?

Monday was MLK... somehow, the week just zipped past and I'm sitting at home Friday night realizing that I didn't seem to do much this whole week! Unbelievable. Maybe this is the calm before the storm (interviews)?

Today I witnessed a friend being extremely disappointed after being dinged. That was me last Wednesday. Just have to get over it.

My mom asked me what my Plan B was. Um... my Plan B is to start thinking about a Plan B. =)


Who's getting married?

While the human race worries about identity theft in the Internet, I'm worrying about the anonymous comment on my blog. Someone is getting married in Vancouver and I have no idea who it is!? Winnie? Perry? Perry 2? Ivan? Isn't he married already? Wait, isn't he THE wedding photographer? Ahhh...!?

And you know he or she is reading this right now and fuming that I don't who (remember?) he or she is.

Speaking of which... I just realize that there are more people reading my blog that I thought. Would it be too much to ask you to post a comment so I can tally some. I did suggest to Blogger that they ought to keep count of how many visits... I think that would be useful!


Time for Movie Review!

Merry Christmas - I saw this French (I think?) film in Hong Kong right before I left for Chicago. It is based on a true story during WWI in 1914. It's basically about how three sides of the battlefield (Germans against the French and Irish) refused to go to battle on Christmas Eve and how the sides found it difficult to continue the battle. I found the movie simple yet profound. The entire movie really just spans a week max. The message was also quite simple: men as single units are mostly anti-war; it is only a problem when you put them in armies. Well... do I even want to start on this topic?

Unfortunately, this movie may not even make it to the US. There's no macho hero, no real villain, no real tear jerking moment... just men on a battlefield, "working" for different govenments, fighting for nothing they really believe.

Recommedation? Yes, go see it. It's light hearted and carries a good message.

Memiors of a Geisha - I hear it's a really good book. I found the movie lacking depth and in general weak. Unlike Merry Christmas, this movie is driven by the characters, starring Zhang Ziyi (章子怡),Gong Li (鞏俐),and Michelle Yeoh (楊 紫瓊). The movie starts off strong with nice sceneries of Japan and strong performances from the little girl and the adults she had to deal with. Gong Li, in particular, was really good. Then it starts going downhill. Except for Gong Li and the Japanese lady who played owner of the Geishas, the other characters really were just floating around with not much development. Zhang Ziyi, in particular, disappoints me. Personally, I think it's more of a casting problem. By any measure, she is not that stunning. She's beautiful, yes. Taking the breather of the who's who in Japanese upper class, no.

Unfortunately, the movie never develops into anything significant.
The last part of the movie, when all the older ladies leave and the Geisha is trying to reestablish herself with her former "men," in particular, is painful to watch. Men use the Geisha as a product or gift for their own purposes. The Geisha views herself as the perfect gift. There ought to be some depth in these exchanges. Yet what ends up on the screen are chessy dialouge followed by predictable scripts. And then some more chessy scenes. My question after watching the movie: why did Steven Spielberg not direct this himself? I hate him when he is executive director.

Recommendation: read the book. I hear it's really good. Oh, and definitely buy the CD. When disinterested in the movie, I listened to the music and it was magnificent.


Plan B

Plan B is sort of the antithesis to MBA students. "Plan B!? What are you talking about? I'm an MBA and I have Plan A." Yet here I am, sitting in the library, finally coming to my senses: it's time to draft a Plan B. Yes, my peers a year older have warned me (us, really) about getting a plan B ready. Yes, I (we) knew they were right. No, I did not listen.

I've heard the usual "don't put all your eggs in one basket" advice. Personally, I think most people do put all their eggs in one basket. I mean, seriously, who wouldn't during an MBA? Especially since spreading oneself between several career tracks is quite detrimental! If I had to look at banking and consulting, I might as well cut the toilet time (I prefer sleeping, so bathroom time has got to go first).

But you and I all know that when we go all-out for something, there's a darker figure lurking behind. Every now and then you feel the figure, take a quick look back, and keep moving on. But it's right there behind you. It's not bad, it's just that you don't want to face it and loose sight of what is in your path. But hey, now that the road is closed, I just have to turn back a little and start a Plan B.

There. I said it. I have a Plan B. Well. I will have a Plan B.


Three Blind Mice

Blind Mice 1: talk the talk, never walk the walk.

Blind Mice 2: wears a question mark on the forehead.

Blind Mice 3: slept in spectacular style during class.

They somehow were able to find each other and become good friends. I guess the moral of the story is this:
1. There's a market for all types of people, even airheads like our three blind mice
2. Procrasination is a powerful tool in business school



This is an interesting day.

Despite having no class on Monday, I had 8am meeting with the consultant to our consulting team (say what!?). Waking up Monday 6am isn't exactly my way to start a week. Oh well, at least Sports Center was showing highlights from the Patriot's game. The meeting went very well.

Right after lunch, I got my first Ding... well, partial Ding. I capitalize it because I think being Dinged is more than a simple verb. It warrants a formal name. It describes a fact, then a feeling: disbelief, anger, rejection, acceptance, and many more physical and emotional reactions. For non-MBAs, Ding is a rejection. Specifically, it's used for interviews. One who is Dinged is rejected after the interview. I haven't been interviewed yet. But I'm extending "Dinged" to the interview invitation section now. I can still bid for an open interview spot (don't ask, I don't know why things have to be so complicated), so I'm technically still in. Maybe this is Mini-Ding.

Next up, group study. No sweat. Done. At 3pm, I received an email from the Management Consulting Group (MCG). Apparently, at 4pm, there will be limited sign up for case interview practice. Well, thanks for telling me at 3pm. 4pm, I look over to where you can sign up, and THERE'S A LINE! My god, what has happened to we consultant-wannabes? We've become bankers and follow the herd to line up! So... I lined up. And you know what? I got the forth last spot on the list. And there were about 20 people behind me. Truth be told, I feel bad for them, but not as bad as those who are at home today (very little classes in GSB on Monday this quarter) and received the email and thought they could come tomorrow and sign up for such a useful event.

Next up: ITP... for Interview Training Program (I think). I got absolutely skewered. Sweet Jesus. A long way before being prepared, I suppose, and I thought I was prepared. Anyway, since this isn't real (thankfully, I think it's pretty close to the real thing), it's only helped me. Now I will go practice how to speak with my brain and not my mouth.

Oh, funny thing is... the evaluation sheet asked me whether my day prior to the interview went well. I thought about it for a second, and circled 3 out of 5. At that split second, I said 3 because I had to wake at 6am!!! Not because of the MD (Mini-Ding!)... but because of when I woke up!

Oh, some observations in life. People who are late will always be late. Airheads will always hang with airheads. Smart people don't like to mingle with dumb(er) people. Dumb(er) people hate to mingle with smart people.


Just a Little

Just a little behind... a little lack of motivation... I'm pretty sure its the residual holiday effect (RHE), a long time chronic disease. Do you have it? (By the way, I looked up RHE and was surprised to find no such thing on the realm of Google!)

Yesterday, I went to a marketing class. I'd say the professor was very good. Actually, she was so good that she sort of cured my RHE. I feel revitalized a bit, finally.



看一看,是我自己学的,不过因为只是学拼音的,所以有一些拼不出来。 还有就是拼音字很难打广东字,所以我就放弃了。往后多多指教!有人跟我说速成是最好的,我看不一定!让我慢慢学拼音的话,一定会进步很多!

可是还是英文才词"能"达意... 真悲哀!

=) 给我美国的朋友:

Just practicing typing in Chinese! My new toy.


New Year Resolutions

Honestly, I don't see the point of new year resolutions. Don't we all have resolutions springing up and down throughout the year? I want to land a management consulting summer internship in Hong Kong. Is this a new year resolution? No. Should it be one? Probably. But what's the point if I've always wanted this target since my first day in business school? What exactly is new about December 31 that I cannot think about earlier in the year (or later, for that matter)? None.

Maybe a deadline... a new year resolution has a timeline - a year. Fair enough. Let's get that deadline then. But please, why force me to think about a list before the New Year?

Happy New Year to all those who care!