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Friday, April 30, 2004

Yale 

So, I spent the early part of this week doing the tourist thing in New York and then headed out to visit Yale on Wednesday. A two-hour train journey got me to New Haven and a short taxi ride deposited me at the main University visitor centre, where I picked up a campus map so I could do dome structured wandering before it was time to be at the SOM. I also picked up a copy of the Yale daily newspaper, the headline of which was 'SOM student hit with brick' - not exactly reassuring.

There were six of us visiting that day - a New Yorker on interview, a Canadian who'd applied third round, and then prospecitve applicants from Japan, India, Israel and the UK (ie me). I was the only women. There wasn't a formal briefing session, instead a group of four students showed us round the SOM and then had lunch with us so we could talk and ask questions. This meant we didn't get a 'hard sell' session, which I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it felt more like we were getting a real picture of the school rather than a 'marketing' one, on the other it would have been nice to have been given an overview of how the school sees itself, and to have been able to ask questions of the admissions staff that were maybe more appropriate to them than to first-year students. I know I can phone or e-mail with any specific questions, but I still feel a formal presentation would have added something.

The tour showed us most of the SOM area, which was a nice blend of old buildings with new facilities. There was a small, friendly feel to the place, but it seemed maybe a little cramped. This concern was backed-up by our student guides, who cited the lack of space as one of the major drawbacks of the school. After the tour through the teaching area and talk about teaching methods, extra-currics etc. we had lunch (paid for by the admissions office) in the cafeteria and a chance to talk some more. All our guides had internships for the summer, although apparently some of their classmates still didn't. All were impressed by the alumni network and how accessible they were (one of our guides had contacted 29 people, all of whom had helped him) and by the accessibility of the faculty. The general consensus seemed to be that living in New Haven was better than they'd expected, and they mentined the cultural life of the university and city, the local restaurants and the easy access to New York and Boston.

After lunch, I headed to a International Economics class, which consisted of student group presentations (which I guess is what happens when you visit in the last teaching week of the year). I know very little about economics, but found one presentation, on the effect of the Chinese exchange rate mechanism with the US$, particularly interesting. In general, the class didn't seem to be particularly engaged, but given that this was the end of term and they presumably weren't going to be examined on the material in the presentations, this wasn't surprising.

When I get home, have had time to reflect on all my visits, and aren't in danger of getting hypothermia from the ac in a hotel business centre, I'll write about what I wanted to get out of my vists, my feeling about each schol before I visited and how I feel afterwards. For now, I'll say that I still intend to apply to Yale, but that visiting didn't excite me about the place as much as I expected, and I'm not quite sure why. The University area is lovely, although I'm not too sure about the rest of New Haven, and I felt a knot of excitement in my stomach at the thought of maybe being able to go back into a university learning environment, but somehow I got a bit of an 'is this it' feeling about the SOM. Maybe it was to with it being the end of term and students being in wind-down mode. Maybe I was just over-stimulated by what I'd read, I'm not sure.

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Sunday, April 25, 2004

So Good They Named it Twice 

Spent a very pleasant Friday night at the Hilton London Paddington and then flew to New York yesterday. I was somewhat dismayed to be pulled over by a security guard before check-in so he could search my luggage. This always seems to happen to me. I can't decide whether:
a - I look suspicious.
b - They have to fill their quota of searches and I look like someone who won't give them a hard time.
or c - I look like someone who's possesions they'd like to rifle through.

The plus side was that it meant I was fast-tracked to the front of the check-in line, and as the line was quite long, this was a bonus. And, of course, I aprreciate the need to make sure we're all safe.

Got to my hotel at about 2pm EST and spent the afternoon on a bus tour of Upper Manhattan. this was a pretty quick and easy way to see some of the sights, especially when jet lag means that having someone take you places is a much better idea than idependent thought! In addition to lots of historic places and wonderful views of Central Park in the bud of spring, the tour also enabled me to locate a Sephora, which as I somehow forgot to pack my mascarra was an essential first stop. I'm staying in a hotel in Hell's Kitchen, a couple of blocks from Times Square, which comes complete with fridge and microwave, so I also stocked up on juice and snacks to keep me going through the early morning wakefulness which comes with heading west across time zones. Having said that, I managed to stay awake until 9pm last night and didn't properly wake up until around 4am, which I thought was pretty good going.

The next few days I'm going to continue the tourist bit and hopefully go to an information session at Columbia, then it's off to Yale on Tuesday

Now to find somewhere open for breakfast at 6am on Sunday!

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Friday, April 23, 2004

Almost Off 

Tomorrow’s the departure day for my B-school visits, although as I’m not staying at home tonight I suppose I’ve technically already departed. My flight’s at 9.30am, so I’m staying in London overnight. I’ll be within walking distance of Paddington Station and the Heathrow Express train, which makes it nice and easy to get to the airport in the morning, much easier in fact than staying in one of the airport hotels.

Work is the usual frantic rush to get things finished that always seems to proceed a holiday. This time things have been compounded by it being my boss’s first week back from a three-month sabbatical, and there was a highly ‘political’ meeting yesterday that’s had repercussions both before and afterwards. To cap it all, it looks like my job might be changing quite significantly. This could actually be a very good thing, but it has implications that I need to think through while I’m away.

Not sure what opportunities I’m going to get to update this while I’m away, but will do the best I can.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Links fixed 

Columbia and Wharton links on the left should now be working.

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Sunday, April 18, 2004

Wardrobe Issues 

Still having problems with the comments, although I've managed to read them on the Haloscan site, so thank you to everyone.

Thursday's event went pretty well, and without any untoward pasta incidents! It's a long time since I've felt as completeley exhausted as I did at the end of it though. I had a two hour train journey afterwards with every single bit of my body just screaming to get home and go to bed (this was at 5.30pm). Nervous energy can lead to very physical exhaustion. I'm not usually this prone to stress, I think it's just becasue this was a new departure for me and the organisation, and there was a lot of expectation tied up with it.

The London Marathon was run this morning. One of the fun runners is 93 and only took-up marathons when he was 89, which makes me feel like a complete lazy-bones. My exertion for the day has been limited to partially disassembling a wardrobe. I have a wonferful 19th centuary wardrobe that belongs to my landlord. Unfortunately one of the doors got stuck today. After attempting micro-surgery with an unravelled wire coat hanger throgh the gap at the top of the door, I decided the only solution was to go in through the back. This involved moving the wardrobne out from the wall (it's huge and very heavy, I'm 5'3" and a long way from being Ms Universe), unscrewing the back, removing the contents, and then unscrewing the lock on the inside. Once that was all sorted, everyhting had to put back together, with the lock properly working this time, and the wardrobe moved back to its original position. I finally managed to eat lunch at about 3.30pm and am amazed I haven't pulled any muscels, but at least I have retrieved to things I want to take on my trip. And I'm glad I did all this today instead of having to do battle on Thursday night.

I think I'm just about set for 'The Great B-School Treck'. Yesterday I bought myself a replacement guide to New York (my previous one having had an unfortunate incident with a bath-tub full of water) and ended up being seduced my a '3 for 2' offer in the bookshop. This wouldn't have been so bad, except I have a stack of books by my bed that I've yet to read and am seriously short of bookshelf space. My name's britchick and I'm a biblioholic.

When I haven't been wrestling wardrobes or dreaming about pasta, I've been getting my thoughts togetehr about MBAs in general and the schools I'm going to visit in particular. I've formally put down on paper what it is I want to achieve through an MBA and the things I'm looking fo in an MBA course. For the schools, I've listed the things that make the course stand out, what my concerns are about it, and the questions I want to ask when I visit. I've even invested in a tab-divided workbook to keep all my notes in, so I feel smugly organised.

What I'm somewaht less sure of, is what I should be taking with me to wear. It's not a 'What is suitable attire for a b-school visit?' dilemma (they're getting me in smart jeans and a top, and will have to like it or lump it), more 'How do I take the minnimum of stuff when Palo Alto has temps in the mid-70's forecast next week and Chicago is forecast snow?' Actually, I think this primarily comes down to whether I take my winter jacket or not. I was hoping not to, but I can always sling it in at the last minute if that would seem prudent. In true 'Brit visiting the US' stlye, I'm taking an extra bag with me anyway. Clothes shopping stateside is always better value, and the current exchange rate makes it even more attractive.

Oh, and if anyone has suggestions for good breakfast places in NYC, Palo Alto, Evanston or Chicago, I'd be very grateful ('the most important meal of the day' and all that, you know).

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Dream Meanings 

The Easter weekend's been and gone. My flat is now almost a cardboard box-free zone and I'm generally feeling more organised and sorted-out than I have for a couple of months, since I started the pre-move packing.

I'd promised myself some mental relaxation and a break from work. I think I pretty much managed that during waking hours. Sleeping hours were another matter. Monday night I had a full-blown nightmare about a work event that's happening this coming Thursday - I woke up sweating, with pulse racing, the whole works. Now, I can understand that I'm stressed about this event, although I didn't think it was quite at nightmare levels. What I can't understand is why, in my dream, I had a load of over-boiled Fettucini on my head! Is there some deeper meaning of pasta that I should be aware of?

The rest of the weekend I caught up on some films that I'd missed during their cinema release - 'Identity', which I really enjoyed, and 'Underworld', which I didn't particulalrly. The latter was definitely a case of style over story. I can only presume its good reviews were a result of the reviewers being wowed by the special effects or overcome by the sight of Kate Beckinsale in skin-tight PVC. I also spent some time compiling the information for my approaching B-school visits. I've printed maps and e-tickets, checked where I'm meant to be when, and started to think about specific things I want to find out at each school while I'm there. Two weeks' time and I'll be in New York, which is a great thought.

Anyway, back to work and attempting to make Thursday's event a little less nightmarish.

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Dontcha just love technology? 

Can't read my comments for some reason, so if you've left one and I haven't replied, I'm not ignoring you, just having to do battle with Haloscan.

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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Easter Weekend 

Easter means a four day weekend in the UK (we get bank, i.e. public, holidays on Good Friday and EasterMonday). I spent yesterday doing very little other than buying myself a new pair of sunglasses (as summer does seem to be on the way and I lost my previous pair somewhere on Alcatraz last October) and watching 'The Passion of the Christ', Good Friday seeming a rather appropriate day to go see it. I thought it was a very powereful and well made film, and fail to see what so much of the criticism is about. Yes it's violent, but it's portraying an horrific form of torture and execution, so it couldn't really be abything but violent. It's just that society seems to have accepted the intellectual idea of crucifiction without thinking too much about the reality of it, so we've ended up with a very sanitised idea of what it was about. As far as the anti-semitism charges go, I'm unconvinced but then I've always found the idea of 'blame' for the crucifixtion somewhat baffling (like so much to come out of the medievel church). Without the crucifixtion there'd have been no ressurection, and without the ressurection there's have been no Christianity, so as a Christian I find the idea of blame rather odd. Not to mention that, according to the bible, it's all part of God's plan and the fulfilment of prophect, so if we're going to blame anyone it really should be Him upstairs. I must say though that sitting in a cinema with lots of people who obviously don't usually go to them is a slightly odd experience. One woman was confused by the trailers and had to check with me that she was actually in the right place.

This is all totally irrelevent to MBA's so I'll stop. The rest of the weekend is set aside for properly sorting out my flat, which I moved into a bout six weeks ago, and sorting out my stuff for school visits in a couple of weeks. I need to get together e-ticket print outs, maps, visit booking details etc, so I have some idea of where I'm going and when. I also need to think about clothes to take. Given that California is in the low 70s at the moment, while New York and Chicago are still managing to dip below freezing at night, I think a variety of weights and lots of layers are going tobe the order of the day, or rather fortnight.

On a final note thanks to Future MBA Girl for the shout-out, and to the League of MBA bloggers for adding me to the listing - yeah!

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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Weekend working 

It's the weekend, but work has had to come before relaxation. I spent most of last week waiting to get information so I could get on with projects. Some of it arrived yesterday, so I'm now trying to get things done and on people's desks for first thing Monday.

As this should really be leisure time, here are some place to have fun. The Daily Mail-O-Matic has been developed by a British blogger called Christopher. It brilliantly spoofs headlines from a right-wing UK 'newspaper' that specialises in frightening narrow-minded little-Englanders. A link from that site led me to The Cheese Test. I seem to be some sort of quatro-frommagio fondue, but predominantly Camembert. And finally, one of my colleagues put me on to this Guess the Dictator/TV Character site. I managed to beat it once, but am still completely in awe of the 'anorak' level of detailed research that must have gone into it.

Have fun!

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