This feels like...

My second day in Hong Kong...

7:30 - I'm up due to jet lag... at least they are playing some good plays from the world cup
8:00 - complimentary breakfast at corporate apartments
8:50 - leave apartment
9:00 - arrive at Bain office and start filling in forms for corporate card
9:15 - powerpoint training starts
9:16 - wow, this is mind blowing... and to put this into a little bit of context, the CEO at my former employer used to ask me to man the laptop when it was in the final edit phase. I was quick and I was accurate with powerpoint, rarely using the mouse and always knowing all the shortcuts. And this training at Bain is completely blowing my mind.
9:25 - I'm still being amazed!
11:00 - Excel training now... haha, now it's my domain. I went out to do something more useful, such as setting up my voice mail and getting my cell phone set up
12:30 - Lunch on Bain. DIM SUM, finally!
1:30 - More training...
3:00 - Manager explains all the potential projects, ending with "I can't tell you what you are working on until tomorrow because I am really busy and I can't meet with you one on one"
3:10 - I start looking at prior cases just in case...
5:00 - Time to go home!! SWEET!!
7:00 - Arrive at parent's to have dinner
7:30 - Reading my family tree... which my dad retrieved from some temple up in China. I'm the 25th generation. Every step of me was retraced! The first Lam was a provincial official sent to 福建 (FuJian) in 宋朝 (Song Dynasty) in about 960 to 1279 AD.
10:30 - Leave home to go home... so weird, yet so normal
11:00 - World Cup!

And... this feels like home.


Off to Hong Kong

Bain's training ended with a blast yesterday. How much did I learn from 2 days of training... a lot, perhaps, but I don't think what I learned will stick around. One thing I did learn that will last: Bainies are a great bunch to be around. It's sort of like the start of business school, when I meet amazing people after amazing people... only this time they are all nice. Bain seemed to have filtered out all the nice people. How do you even do that!?

Anyway, it's 4 in the morning right now, and with a bit of nervousness and excitement, I'm off to Hong Kong. It'll be about 20 hours of travel and I will arrive in HK at about Sunday 10pm, 10 hours before I have to be at the office. Yes, Bain is already testing whether I can withstand cross-pacific travel.

With my name tag saying Eric Lam, Hong Kong, U of Chicago, fellow Bainies are invariably interested on whether I intend to stay in Hong Kong. Not so fast, I say, let's see how that fulltime offer comes along. All kidding aside, I did start to wonder what I am trying to accomplish this summer. The answer I finally got was surprisingly profound. True, Bain seems like a great opportunity and I will evaluate it as much as it evaluates me... but even more true is this: I'm trying to figure out WHERE IS HOME.

Let me just repeat that for emphasis: where is home. I had said that without much thinking at a bar event. And it has struck me and stuck with me. While most people are trying to find out whether they are made for consulting, I'm trying to evaluate my life. Where is home for you? I bet most people have one or two solid answers. Me? Not quite. Hong Kong? Haven't lived there for 11 years. Boston? Fun for undergraduate, fun for working... but the complacency I feel there always kills me. Chicago? No yellow food. West Coast? Sounds good, but I've never lived there. America? China? I mean, I just realized at a bar that the summer is a HUGE process for me. Who does this kind of thing at a bar? Well, me.

And with that, I'm off to Hong Kong for my Bain summer internship, trying to find out if consulting is right, if Bain is right, if family is right, and... if Hong Kong is right for my life.


Starting... finally!

Today, I will start at Bain in Boston... that's where their training is. I'll be flying back to Hong Kong on the weekend and report to the office Monday first thing in the morning. Exciting indeed.

Bain Hong Kong. My top choice firm, my top choice location. I wonder to myself why I got so lucky in the process... and I do actually have an answer for you. It has something to do with the dollar bill showing the twin towers on fire, or that 9+1+1 = something related to the flight numbers.

Bain's Address? 233 S Wacker
My Address? 233 E Wacker

Bain's floor? 44
My floor? 44

Bain's fleece jacket? Landsend, bright red, black zipper
My fleece jacket? Landsend, bright red, black zipper

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... and so I start. Finally.

By the way... I watched a bunch of movies on the plane:

King Kong: one benefit of seeing movies on the plan is that they are "edited to suit viewers on the plane" (or something like that). That means two things: no swearing and shorter. So glad I saw the short version of Kong. Boring. I can't believe someone paid $10 to sit in a theater for this crap.

Wimbledon: Laugh all you want... here's my defense... I literally watched it on someone else's screen when I was watching Kong myself. I still don't like Kristen Dunst. Nobody can convince me otherwise.

Firewall: what a dumb movie. Harrison... your time is up. I hope they make Star Wars: Han Solo's Greatest Moments.

Forth movie: I can't remember it... which means I should and then tell you so you don't see it.


Nostalgic in Boston

Arrived in Boston Sunday afternoon. Since touchdown, it's been pretty nostalgic... starting with me remembering how much I hated the "T".

Sunday night was dinner at Shanghai Gate... I MISS YELLOW FOOD!

Monday morning, I was reminded again how much I hate the "T"... the crowd on the "T" wasn't crazy or anything, but there were certain points that I was looking for an escape route.

I spent some time back at Analysis Group. Actually, I spent the whole afternoon there. Lunch was, predictably, at the food court. I continued to boycott (Melman will be proud) the Indian place for their complicated pricing. I settled on rotisserie chicken. The lunchroom had the World Cup games on. Sweet.

I made my rounds at AG, talking to most people rather than just a simple hi. I didn't realize how much I missed people at AG. Just a wonderful bunch to be around at any time. We talked about my year at Chicago (AG just opened an office there), my summer plans, how the company is doing, how some analysts are heading to different MBA schools, how some are preparing for GMATs... very nostalgic. I left at 7pm!

Dinner at OSushi... not even close to Oiishi... but... I MISS YELLOW FOOD!


Back from Ireland

A whirlwind crazy week. After finishing my exams on Thursday night, I packed a suitcase to Hong Kong, packed a suitcase for London/Ireland, and then cleaned up my apartment for the summer sublet. On Friday, I was off to London. Due to time difference, I arrived in London 6am and took a cab to make the 11am graduation ceremonies for my little brother. He's graduating from high school. Anyway, later Saturday afternoon, we were off to Dublin.

A week in Ireland. Dublin and The Burren. Per usual, my website will have more details once I develop my pictures (in Hong Kong, of course, I can't stand the US standards and prices for developing pictures) and organize my travel journal.

Flew back to London on Friday, had birthday dinner with my family and some old friends from Hong Kong. Saturday morning I was off to Chicago. Had to make some last minute housing arrangements. Get my suitcase from my apartment where the sublet has already started. Move everything to the emergency housing place. Then off to another dinner with GSB friends (thanks for dinner, guys!) on Saturday night. Sunday, today that is, I woke up and left for Boston. Bruce is hosting me here.

I'll post something better when time allows.



My reaction after the German's 4th goal... amazing shot. The keeper had absolutely no chance. What an entertaining first game. Too bad Americans don't give a crap. Some quick comments before I head off to London:

Mavs vs. Heat is a fun series. I hope the Mavs win... only because I want to see David Stearn and Mark Cuban shake hands at the podium.

If Germany keeps playing like this, they will have a hard time advancing in the elimination rounds. Great pressure defense in the midfield, very suspect in the backfield, which gives opposing teams many chances. Give it to Costa Rica might be okay, but how many can you give to elite teams?

I love watching football. So much better than watching American sports because of the flow and lack of timeouts.

Commentators are AWFUL. I miss 阿叔。 No color commentating. It's obvious that these guys don't really know what they are doing. For example, a defender who didn't have a chance to get possession in a forward pass slides over and kicks the ball out of bounds. Standard play. Commentator: WHAT A PLAY BY XYZ! He had NO chance at the ball and DID THE RIGHT THING! Uh... that's pretty standard, my friend. Since I'll be in Europe, I expect much more... especially the Irish commentator.

Have a great summer, readers! I'm off to London, Ireland, and Hong Kong.


$65000... well spent on a GSB MBA!?

Short Answer: Oh, Yes!

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I thought this would a fitting picture for the conclusion of the school year:

1. Top left, Drinking Cum in Your Eye Shot in Belize - ah, life before MBA. I kept thinking to myself (and no doubt my fellow first year colleagues were thinking the same) that this MBA thing is going to be awesome. Drink, drink, drink, and the drink some more! And when I'm not drinking, I'm on the beach or on a sail boat! Sweet! I also met some of my (future) best friends on this trip.

2. Top middle, LOE - all I remember clearly from LOE is that we had to be at HPC at 6am to catch the damn bus to Wisconsin. That and Karaoke night and a lot of partying. Good times.

3. Top right, Chicago Marathon - this was in the start of the Fall quarter already. AG friends came to run the marathon and I showed up to cheer. Things are speeding up already. Although I came into business school knowing what I wanted to do for the summer, I was still learning a lot about the consulting field. This was also a few days after the Red Sox were eliminated by the White Sox.

4. Middle left, Golden Gargoyles - yes, we're at the end of the Fall quarter already. GG is a LEAD event that completely exceeded all my expectations. When someone asks me "who are you wearing," you bet it was a fun night. Got my mind off some serious workloads.

5. Middle middle, St Patty's Day at Howl at the Moon - alright, time flies. We passed exams in the Fall quarter, Beijing Trek where I met many companies to affirm my interest in Asia, a nice week in Hong Kong to visit friends and family, and recruiting season, a.k.a. the unnecessarily stressful period in business school that is a necessary evil. As you can see, my facial hair is that of one who is done with recruiting. Was a good night!

6. Middle right, Grand Canyon - Spring Break! The picture was at Grand Canton... uh... Grand Canyon. But the key was Vegas, which of course I am not free to discuss. But of course there are things I can talk about...

7. Low left, Greater China Conference - You can see the gradual loss of facial hair. The spring quarter is hard to predict. With only three classes, I still find myself busy with student group work. I didn't work on the Greater China Conference, but I'm working for another one. And I can only imagine how much work they have put into this.

8. Low middle, Michigan - always fun to be totally irresponsible and leave for a weekend. It's a pity that the second years didn't start doing this at an earlier time. I feel like I'm missing out on the opportunity to really know some of these fine folks. On the bright side, the school year is almost over and I was eagerly waiting for the summer internship to begin.

9. Low right, and ending appropriately with a drinking picture from Belize - I hope my summer is the same!

Now, I realized I didn't talk about any of my classes. Okay, quickly:

Micro, Accounting, and Regression - at least I got them out of the way

Operations - with the right professor, it could be really good, I still learned some new stuff in this class

Marketing - Once again, a good professor is EVERYTHING, I learned while having a lot of fun... also had one of the best study groups

Competitive Strategy - a whole new world to me. A quality introduction to what the MBA is all about. I'm surprised that this is not a core requirement.

Managing the Workplace - classic U of Chicago; even with issues such as HR, classes still place number and data behind everything. Everything has a reason, and that reason will not be something that cannot be quantified.

My spring quarter classes are here.

Okay, I'm tired.



"The following takes place between 12AM and 12AM on June 5, 2006"

I just realized that I should have said that before my describing my day...

I don't understand the big deal about 6-6-06... what about 6-9-69? Isn't that a more intriguing date? I understand that you'll need to go through 6-6-60 before you get there, but still... I hate the media. Look, if 6-9-69 doesn't become a big deal when I'm 90 years old, there is no justice. Hmmmmm...

I still haven't seen X-Men 3 and Da Vinci Code. Maybe before my investment exam on Thursday. I even have a meeting scheduled that morning.

I packed a little box and two pieces of luggage last night. I can't imagine those who have to move during exams before heading out for their internships.

I don't get fixed income. Equities and options all make sense; but fixed income doesn't. I was reading the notes on my couch and fell asleep last night.

I need to do a year-end review of the GSB. That will come soon. I'm already excited about it. If you're reading this, try and remind me if I'm missing anything: LEAD, my 10 classes, BSG, CAP, Beijing Trek, Belize, Spring Break... (that's right, I have no life outside of the GSB)

Hmmm... I can't believe how little is on my mind right now! SWEET!


Allow me to help you procrastinate

Here's how my day went, Huckle Cat style:

12:00AM - okay, what am I doing here... studying? TV? Which one?
12:05AM - must study Corporate Governance and Privatization
12:10AM - 1 minute break for ESPN2 poker game
12:20AM - 1 minute break for ESPN2 poker game
12:30AM - 1 minute break for ESPN2 poker game... okay, I'm procrastinating
3:30AM - Finally done with studying
7:00AM - Alarm
7:09AM - Snooze
7:18AM - Snooze
7:27AM - Snooze
7:36AM - Snooze... I'm up
8:15AM - Now I'm up
8:43AM - At school. My last stand against International Comparative Organizations. I should have chose to do the final paper
8:44AM - What's new on CNN...? ESPN...? Oh, Bush is trying to ban gay marriage again
9:23AM - Okay, I have to start now... going through practice exam 1
9:51AM - Practice exam 2
9:52AM - Hmm, friend asks about investing... I'm obliged to answer
10:20AM - Done explaining alpha and r-square, back to my notes
11:10AM - Oh, it's too late now... heading into "I don't care" mode
11:30AM - Exams starts
12:12PM - Colleague in front of me groans... dude, I feel you man, I feel you
12:45PM - I'm developing arthritis in the exam
1:15PM - No point in continuing the struggle
1:16PM - Must... get... one... more... point...
1:30PM - Hoof, one down, two to go... I'm hungry.
1:41PM - Nothing is intriguing in the cafeteria... to the computer lab
1:45PM - Data driven marketing take home final... keep programming...
2:30PM - I am really hungry... meeting with CAP Conference Planning Team
2:47PM - mmmmm.... Chilli.
4:25PM - We're bored in the meeting. This will keep you hooked for at least one 10 minute span. Try not to do this at the library or a quiet study room.
5:03PM - Done with meeting. Back to computer lab for the DDM final
7:45PM - My summer sublet is calling for my keys, must head back home
8:08PM - Just in time... to be late. Here are the keys, let me show you the trash shute
8:40PM - Off I go, back to the lab. Gleacher one this time
8:50PM - Resisted urge to turn on laptop... nicely done
10:00PM - Almost done with DDM final... heading home now, lab is closing
10:24PM - Red Sox lost 5-13 to the Yankees!? WTF!?
11:00PM - Full fledge procrastination: MSN, GTalk, Email, ESPN, Youtube, etc etc
11:59PM - Feel need to recount the day so I can keep procrastinating
11:59PM - Start blog entry...



Just wanted to note that today is the 17th Anniversery of 六四事件 (June 4th Incident).


$12,000 Well Spent

$12,000 well spent again. Let's see what I learned this quarter...

Chicago Asia Pacific Group: CAP takes up most of my free time outside of class. CAP and the NBA playoffs and the random Red Sox game that pops up. Anyway, we have a good group going. Meeting every week to make sure everybody is on the same page. Conference planning has been tough but very rewarding. We've actually succeeded in getting some really high profile people to commit to speak to our students. Funding is coming along. But most importantly, everybody seems to be having fun.

International Comparative Organizations: I'll admit it, I didn't learn much in this class. Some random facts are always useful, such as inequality isn't caused by China, US is land of opportunity only if you are an immigrant, Japan's employed for life schemes aren't really employed for life - just employed for three-quarter life, etc etc. Lots of fun facts, not many tools. The professor could have gone one step further.

Data-Driven Marketing: Although the lectures were sloooooooow to develop, the class was quite fun to be in. Given my background, I say slooooooow because the class spent a few classes on regressions. If we could learn more about model building, that would be awesome. I've never enjoyed doing homework, but this class was different. Each homework was like a consulting project. Here's a bunch of data, go figure out what to do. This is precisely why I came to business school: learn what to do with data and then make recommendations based on numbers.

Investments: Professor Akash (Can't spell his last name) is a handful and a hit or miss with the students. Some like him a lot, including yours truly; some don't, including my entire study group. Like him or not, my advice is that at least listen to him. He sounds like your grandma, very high strung, and is always very passionate with class. Anyway, I learnt a great deal in this class, including (His words, his emphasis):

1. University of Chicago discovered everything in modern financial economics.
2. Math is not your friend. (his words, not mine)
3. Fisher Black of Black Scholes option pricing lived a sad sad sad life.
4. Myron Scholes is the luckiest academic.
5. University of Chicago is the only school in the world that teaches this stuff.
6. You will not see this material (pointing at blackboard) in any textbook that I know of.
7. Goldman Sachs will ask you this question (pointing to homework) in your interview.
8. You are studying at the University of Chicago, not HBS or Stanford or Kellogg. You have to know this stuff (pointing at blackboard/slides violently)
9. I am the same as Gene Fama; we both get horrible student evaluations. I am the same as Fisher Black; he was also a physicist. But that is where all the similarities end.
10. This (pointing at blackboard) is child's play. This is nothing. (pointint at us) You will learn much much more in financial engineering. CHILD'S PLAY!



Fortunately, those who don't understand Cantonese may enjoy this less. Or is that unfortunately? Anyway, here goes:

The video is called 巴士阿叔 (Bus Uncle)... subtitles are provided as well.

Here's a remix version.

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