poniedziałek, października 29, 2007

Around Southern Africa in 31 Days

After some thought, I’ve decided to go ahead with the overland Africa trip solo. There was the option of an organized tour, there was the option of coming back Early, and changing my flight with some heavy fees attached, or I could just wing it. Regardless, even if I were to go back to Europe before my previously scheduled time I would already miss out on the career fair, and looking at many of the companies I applied to, luckily, their interview sessions begin in January.

So… taking that in hand, I plan to do the following….

Head north from cape town, stop off at the Orange River, then up to the Namib desert for some dune boarding, then up to Walvis bay up the Skeleton coast to the land of the mud people, then to Etosha, anf off to Okavongo in Botswana for some serious game (hopefully will not contract Malaria here – yey for Malarone), then off to Kasane where I’ll do a day trip to Victoria falls and pop in to Zim to give a quick shout to Bob, back through Zambia to Botswana and down through Gaborone to Limpop back in the Republic of South Africa, and then to Mozambique for a few days of lounging on the Indian Ocean, and return to South Africa, if time allows, I’ll head down to Lesotho for some beautiful mountain viewing, and back to Cape Town through the Karoo. – 31 Days…. Whether or not it’s possible we’ll see. But sure enough, it’s man vs’ nature vs’ self.

Only thing I’m worried about is I may get the bug, and decide to go on crazy vacations from now forth instead of some boring weekend in Castelldefels.

niedziela, października 28, 2007

Job hunting time is upon me…. and… doing Africa – alone :o

… so far so good, but there is one MAJOR problem, this whole application process requires that I be in Europe during November, and December, which is completely understandable, however, being in South Africa with little access to the web is doing me no favors while looking for employment; and then there’s the month plus that I’m going to be in the middle of nowhere, with little to no mobile/internet service until mid December.

So sure ‘nuff, I’m a bit worried and stressed out about the whole thing, but it will be how it will be, and there’s no use crying over it now. :D

In other news, my travel buddy backed out of our overland trip to Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia, and as such, I think I’m just going to just do fly solo, meet people on the road, and see what happens. Only problem is, there’s a lot of driving, 11k km, and regardless, that IS a lot, and then there’s the whole anxiety thing, because if this were Europe, or the Americas I wouldn’t even think twice about doing a trip alone, but being Africa, it’s still gives butterflies in my stomach. Regardless, it will be an amazing experience, and I just have to do it. So… come mid November; into the heart of darkness. :)

niedziela, października 21, 2007


And the party last night was goooood. D-Nice was DJ’ing, and he hung out at our table, even bought us a bottle of Stoli, then went to the City Bowl for some good fashioned fun – oh and ripped my pants at the crotch doing a split last night. But I do have to say, that it was well worth it.

Other than that, the we came back from the garden route tour on Thursday, and it was a fun filled adventure, with ostrich riding taking the top spot for sheer fun and brilliance. Pictures will be up on flickr in a days’ time.

As for classes, they’re almost over, crazy really how they cram everything into two weeks, and then you’re left doing work at home. But… I still have one or two classes more which should keep me busy in between job hunting, and planning the 30 some odd day trip through southern Africa.

And that will do it for this installment… btw, that down there, is d-nice. :)

czwartek, października 11, 2007

Cape Town: My time here so far.

School has started and not much really to talk about, classes are very different than at ESADE, there’s things like advanced leadership (AL), and depth consulting (DCF), that deal strictly with one’s emotions, and there’s classes such as emerging enterprises (EE) that are just wonderful.

For example in EE we went to speak to a woman who opened the 1st Bed & Breakfast in Kyalitsha, a Township just outside of Cape Town. In addition the class really challenges us to think about the problems that South Africa faces in the Entrepreneurial spectrum. i.e. if you don’t incorporate HIV/AIDS (deaths) costs in your strategy, you’re pretty much throwing money down the tubes.

Moving on, reality here is definitely not what you think back in the Northern Hemisphere, AIDS is very much a part of everyday life, and there are still very visible tensions between the different peoples of RSA.

On the bright side though the Springbuck’s are doing great in the Rugby World Cup, everyone is super nice, we had a braai (South African BBQ) in another township with a guy from the MBA who grew up in it, and next week we’re doing the Garden Route, going to ride an ostrich, and see some elephants. Should be super cool.

What I despise about ESADE!!!!!

Got your attention, didn't I?

Since the creation of this here Blog, many people have asked me what it is that I generally dislike about ESADE. While overall I am satisfied with the choice of school, the location, the people and education there are a few things that I can share with you the wider community, that I personally think can be improved upon. Now, mind you this is only the opinion of one student, and what I think others may not.

So where to start? Well first off, when we as in the now 2nd years arrived at ESADE, the food in the carpa (cafeteria) could have been better, it’s been improving, but eating bocadillos every day for breakfast can get a bit daunting. So if you’re looking at schools based on food quality, I say go to a culinary academy. Luckily however you can eat around ESADE, and for about 5.25€ can get a pretty decent meal.

But what about education? This one is a bit of a WYSWYG, basically there are a handful of classes that really test your mettle, and I mean really pummel you with work, so much so that you pass off assignments that you can finish others. Luckily with groups, and team work and all that, mostly everything gets done. Then there are some other classes that were a walk in the park for me, these was Corporate Finance, Marketing I, and Org. Behavior. But then again, I have a degree from Tulane in Finance, I took marketing before, as well as O.B., and tend to excel in the more soft skill areas in general. O.B. was very heavily rooted in Philosophy for example, where you needed to understand and apply the fundamental concept, instead of a you go with options c, d, e in case of a. But people do fail (not me luckily) and have had to retake certain courses (i.e. OB, and although some in my year will disagree with me, I thought it to be a brilliant and vital class to any manager).

Then are the readings, let’s say there’s a sufficient amount of them, if you chose to read everything that every prof. gives you, good luck having any type of social life, it’s all about time, team and people management. Not to use a cliché, but a work-life balance.

And then there are classes that I understand the need for, but absolutely hated. Namely, Intl. Taxation, and Law. To me, Mandarin Chinese is easier to grasp than law, and taxation as you can imagine is about as much fun as applying self acupuncture, but in the global workplace (another tired cliché), it’s necessary, and will probably come in handy when us MBA grads have to deal with source companies and tax brackets, bills, and transfers.

And finally, language, not the learning of but the understanding of the accent . For some people, especially those who grew up mono-lingual, and have not had ample experience with accents, some professors were difficult to understand. I have personally never had this problem, but I know people who have, and there’s also those individuals that have problems understanding native English speakers, they say some of them speak under their noses or mumble. Basicallyt, his is what happens when you study with people from 29 different nationalities.

What else… career services. It depends who you deal with inside the office, and generally they are doing a good job, the list of companies coming this October to ESADE are more than impressive, and even better than last years. If you want advice, and if you want help planning your career, it’s there, and opportunities are there. Lastly however, over the summer, the school’s installed some sort of glass rooms on Planta A, which in my most humble opinion are an audacity. Planta A was a sort of common area for us, it’s by the exit to the carpa, and they could have put those things on B, which tends to be dead ½ the time. But then again, what do I know.

Social life. As they say in Barcelona, la vida social en ESADE es súper chulo. For real, it’s great, but the school never, other than orientation, explicitly mixed the Spanish and English sections, we did that ourselves, and there really isn’t much intermingling between the MBA and the Masters of “enter field here” programs that the school also caters to. I think this is a mistake, as those people could also be a future network. But the argument for creating a tight knit network of MBAs also has its arguments.

So what is there to say in the end. It’s what you make out of it. For me, it’s building life relationships with intelligent ambitious and driven people, knowing that in the future they will be able to count on me and I on them, it’s getting a good if not for me an overly demanding education, but then, I never read all, or most of the supplementary material. Am I happy? I think I’ve said on multiple occasions I am. Can EASDE be better? I think it can. But it is the goal of any person or institution, to better itself, for itself and its/their respective stakeholders.

And as I’ve said before, I would have hated Columbia. The small number of students at EASDE really makes this MBA a personal experience, unparalleled in my eyes with any other, but they really could get around to having better food for breakfast.