Monday, February 28, 2011

Things I miss...

Obviously there's all of you beautiful people reading this (and lots of you who aren't :), but a conversation I just had reminded me of a few things that I've yet to find here or maybe haven't really spent the time to find. I hope it is the latter.

Are there times in life where you feel something is missing. Your entire being is functioning. You're in a great place. You are actually happy. There's obviously dreams you have yet to achieve but if someone stopped you on the street and said, "Hey Bud - are you happy?" what would you say?

Personally, if you don't know the person I would probably suggest you bolt, but say it was a kind old gentleman/woman/child. (not that I don't trust the rest of us/you - its just that the universal symbols for innocence are in the extreme spectrums of age... partially because they have yet to be corrupted or are wise enough to be thoughtful and reflective and partly because you can outrun them so you just as easily believe they are innocent).

And in this fictional scenario that question was raised - what would you say... I would say, "Heck yes, I am. And I'm happy to be happy, but sometimes... I know I could be just a little bit happier."

That's begging the stranger to ask a follow-up question, "Oh? Why's that chap?"

Because I've been spoiled by the gift of memory. I can be here now, but there's always what was and in those moments of what was, so many come flooding with happiness (many times skewed since your brain distorts good to great and meh to bad quite frequently) - that I wonder, in comparison to such events of what-was, how happy am I.

Ah, what a curse, init?

And right now, in all honesty, my response to this here person would be, "Sir/Ma'am/Kiddo - it is because I miss what I know."

By now, you are scratching your head, I hope. Or you're shaking it, which would mean you know me relatively well.

Because I think we can all agree that there's just about a ton of things I could be referencing, but none so core to who I am than

choc.o.late.MILK. ober.friggin.WEIS. I. kid you. NOT!

what I would do for a bowl of cereal with oberweis chocolate milk right now, I don't even think I can express in words. You have to see it in my eyes.

yes, you are.
There are of course other food-related items, but also non-food related items like certain pens, cable TV (not that much actually), and of course - a bass and an amp. Music. I mean we could launch into a philosophical debate.

But back to chocolate milk. Now I'm not saying that you should do this but if my birthday was coming up (March 21st) then why not send me what you know I want?

Trick question - because by the time it got here, it would either be spoiled and/or refused by Customs. And the pang of seeing but not being able to enjoy would further propel me into my nostalgic moments of what-was.

Instead, do me the second favor of making sure to purchase some of this oh-so-lovely goodness. The more of us that purchase, the higher their sales and hopefully profit margins (if their marginal costs are higher than their COGS, etc...) - the more cash, the more investments, and the more expansion considerations are raised.

Soon, Oberweis will be more prevalent than Starbucks, and then you'll know, in your heart-of-hearts, that you were part of the revolution. And it was all part of a birthday present.

If THAT is not fulfilling I don't know what is.

Boom Boom - tricked you again - by now you should be saying, "We know what is... Oberweis Chocolate Milk ya freak!"

100 points. You pass.

Thank you.

"Peace dudes." -RM.

Bollywood Blast at Bill'Art!

So last night was the "last night" of parties at INSEAD for the next 2 weeks. The reason, obviously, is because we have Period 1 Exams coming up.

Uncertainty, Data, & Judgement
Prices & Markets
Organisational Behaviour (like the spelling ;)
Financial Market Valuation
Financial Accounting

And that is about it, thankfully. We're back to back Monday - Wednesday. Should be fun. So the campus has pretty much shutdown. The P3s (our seniors) have already left campus for their break so we've got all the study space to ourselves. Very smart, INSEAD. I like your foresight. Two points.

Anyhow, in preparation for said shutdown, we decided to throw a Bollywood-themed party and what a night it was! At first it was just going to be a DJ playing some Bollywood numbers. Somehow, we got talking and decided that any Bollywood themed party needed to have a choreographed number and so yours-truly got somehow recruited to help choreograph said-number.

1hr. 2:30 min dance. Beedi. Ready, Set, Go!

It was a BLAST. We had an Asian American step in to the number (and she outdid most of the Desi Girls!) - we've petitioned that she gets a PIO card or some such attestation :)

The turnout was great and what's even greater was that lots of non-Indians were dressed in quite traditional clothing - Salwars, Sarees, etc... A night full of great colors and combinations! Only issue was that one of the sets of speakers kept fuzzing around and we're not sure why the owner of the bar wouldn't turn up the music. It is hard to dance when your singing-along-with-a-song is louder than the song itself!

Got home around 4:23 and have been spending all of today working... because that is just about what is going to be needed from here on until March 9th!

My apologies if I disappear, but I will try to stay true to the once-a-week posts!

Much love... and pics from the Bollywood party might make their way here (I'm not too good with uploading pics with posts since I write them on Sunday nights just before hitting the hay and going through folders to find pictures hits the backburner pretty quickly! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Time Zones~

I just realized that these are the following time zones I need to keep track of (so if I miss dates/days or specific times, I apologize ahead of time)!!!

Bangkok +6
India +4.5
Dubai +3
Iraq +2
France =0
UK -1
New York/Michigan -6
Chicago/Iowa/Nebraska -7
California -5

As some of my housemates might say - what the foil?

Anyhow, that is pretty crazy. I wonder if Skype is truly the only/best way to communicate or not. By the way, I'm on Skype as cybermonk2001 in case you use it! We can talk :)

Today is bidding for Campus Exchange. I've decided after lots of discussions with family & friends, to really maximize the INSEAD experience and stay in France/Singapore for the entire term instead of possibly doing an exchange with Wharton.

Exams in 2 weeks. A short break. And then back into the madness!

And apparently P2 is supposed to be even more interesting!

On a side note - just received emails from people about housing, banking, transportation, and other such queries around Fontainebleau. I can't BELIEVE there's already another class of students getting ready to join us! Where is the time going?

Too many exclamation points in this here post, so I think that is a sign.

Two. Dulz.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


so here we go. the spice of INSEAD is back on the table. Just when I thought I had things figured out we had a little bit of a twist thrown in to z mix.

INSEAD has 2 campuses - one in France, where I'm at, and one in Singapore, where I hope to be soon :)

INSEAD also has exchange programs with Kellogg and Wharton towards the end of the year where you  can take advantage of the on-campus recruiting facilities as well as the added benefit of being IN USA IN person during part of the recruiting cycle. Depending, of course, on where you want to end up in the future, you basically have to bid certain number of points for each of the periods for each of the locations.

P1 - Jan & Feb
P2 - Mar & Apr
P3 - May & Jun
Summer - Jul & Aug
P4 - Sept & Oct
P5 - Nov & Dec

And here I am. with a few points and a few ideas and absolutely no idea how the heck I'll be deciding and where to go when. Well, that's a lie. I know I want to head to Singapore and I am contemplating Wharton. Truth be told, however, there are certain areas I wish to work at/in which I know INSEAD specializes in, so going to Wharton might not be the best option.

Some say, Take advantage of the "REAL" INSEAD experience - i.e. Singapore & France while others remind me that Wharton & Kellogg are an added benefit and very much a part of the INSEAD experience. I just have to realize and decide what is the right experience for me and my long term goals. Of course, I have to also consult a few other people whose lives are directly impacted ;) but that goes without saying.

So I guess "we" have to decide now. And when I say now, I actually mean now. I have a few days before I bid, and then that's that!

End of the day, I'm excited for yet another piece of the INSEAD puzzle.
It'll be crazy.
It is filled with uncertainty.
But I know I've got to figure this out soon, so here goes!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I wonder what would happen...

If I put all my professors into a single space and threw out a topic at them. I want to say random topic but I feel like that would give the statistician a headstart!

In the past week I have watched VDOs in different classes about completely different situations - one was 12 Angry Men for an Organi(s)ational Behavior course while the other was this really odd video from the 70s about how a statistician saves the day. Sadly youtube doesn't have it, but don't fret, I will find it!

Anyhow, I really do wonder since they are such experts in their own fields, how much of their brain has become so focused on their expertise that their brains are over-developed AND under-used!

Seriously been thinking about this a lot recently especially since professors are touching on similar themes in various different methods. All very interesting. All very eye-opening!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


That sounds like the title of another Linkin Park album. (for those clueless, Reanimation was the actual name and all they did was remix previously written songs. Was OK but somewhat a lie to fans - I would say like myself, but by then I had given up title of "Fan")

Anyhow, I'm sorry for the long pause in between posts. Lots going on that I have wanted to share, and lots I have been sharing through random emails to folks here/there so now I'm going to take a minute to gather those thoughts and post them (probably in a few posts). I've actually been trying to reach out on a personal level to most of you...

First off, I have been re-evaluating things in general, while at INSEAD. Some of these semi-philosophical moments, I have shared with you, whilst others I have been trying to somehow categorize in my own brain so I could share them with you... yes, it is all about you! Aren't you delighted? I am. (And now I'm hoping it isn't too silent - i.e. there's at least one reader out there *cricket... *cricket... :)

BUT (IRRR)regardless, here's a recent thing that I've only just come to understand myself. The idea of being "busy" has always been explained to us in a certain context. Our whole lives we've been "busy" with work so we couldn't go out to watch a movie, or vice versa ;)

And after several years of living my own life through school, college, and my first job, I really had a grasp on the boundaries of my busy-ness, that is to say - I knew my limit. When I knew "OK I'm really busy and need to sit down, take a deep breath, and re-prioritize."

Those of you who know me well (i.e. all of you reading this) are probably laughing to yourself thinking, "how is that possible? all he knows how to do is over-commit & spread himself thin!" but truth be told I've been working on that weakness and taking it quite seriously the past few years.

Only to be smacked in the face at INSEAD with a realization that I should've waited to "work" on this "weakness!"

First off, I do not want to be a jack-of-all-trades because that implies king-of-none. Secondly, I find that the time I'm spending on one endeavor is really eating up the time that I could be spending on a skill that, with some refinement, becomes a talent (using those terms loosely). And finally, it is just plain tiring!

At my old job, of which many of you know a little here/there, there's this idea that if you're in prolonged moments of distress - i.e. the moment is lasting a good 12-18 months, you start to find new ways to deal with your distress.

I find that to be where I am now. Don't get me wrong - I am not in distress in the way you might be assuming - i.e. this is a cry for help. Far from it. I am, however, learning about what constitutes being busy, what I want to get done with my time, how to prioritize, and what the e/affects can/are/will be. I am not sure I have really figured it out down to a science, but personally, I am starting to feel much better about things.

I have been needing to spread myself quite thin, but I have also been using this technique that my group and I discussed, with the help of our friendly neighborhood frenchman (WATA!) to realize that sometimes 80% of a goal is 100% - that is to say, if you've got 5 chores to do on a Sunday, and you're working meticulously on all 5, then there's a very high probability that you are not going to finish 2 out of the 5 chores, which then gets pushed off to next week, par exemple. Bascially, there is a 100% chance you will not complete these chores.

Now you ask yourself, OK what would I do if those 5 chores became 5 homework assignments and the 1 day remains. This is not even a matter of being prepared or thinking ahead or planning. You literally were told at 11:59pm on Saturday that you had to turn in 5 assignments by 11:59pm on Sunday. Now what?

THAT is real prioritization. And you have to ask yourself some very important questions - and if you're working in a group - you have to ask align your priorities accordingly. That is not to say don't try/work hard/meticulously or do a shabby job. It is just a fact of life. Do what you can at a good pace, with good results, and work through each problem.

Sometimes you have the option of saying, I will not do 2 out of 5 chores - laundry can be done next week. But when you have 5 deliverables for 5 professors, it is a different story.

And to be honest, that is when you forget about the grade and start concentrating about the learning. You start to really want to learn and appreciate what you are learning and assimilate the knowledge in a way, that in the past, has been very different.

OK this post has no visual aids or exciting pictures and just text about being busy, so I believe that I have now lost you. Here's something to pick up the spirits:

XKCD - knowing just what to say when you need it most... (

Now that I have you back, here's the ending point of this discussion: slowly but surely through the first period of classes and activities at INSEAD, I have had to prioritize between family, school, internships, social engagements, and personal time. At times, I have not been able to say "I will put this off to later" - it is either I am not doing this or I am doing this with the available time I have and really doing a great job at it. Personally I don't like to turn in something that is not, at least for me, ready to be turned in. However, if some of the edges of the drawing are rough (to be highly simplistic), I have learned to pick my battles and I think through this refinement, I'm finding out that P1 is challenging me to learn about time management in preparation for the next 4 periods where I'll be even further into the job hunt, while taking very important course...

I'm learning how to get a lot done with very little time with very little repercussions for not having done 100%. In that time, I'm also learning how to refine the "80%" so that in the same amount of time I got only 4/5 of something done, I can actually do 5/5. I truly believe that. Hence the re-evaluation. And it is exciting to feel so completely free from something as binding as grades - granted I am concerned about my performance, but I also believe, quite strongly, that it will be echoed by what I learn if I'm truly learning...

Saturday, February 5, 2011


There are many triggers to nostalgia, I have found in my life - sometimes it is a smell. Sometimes a taste. The different senses manipulate the exact experience of the moment into something your brain can not only interpret but also relate to outside of where you currently are. And I sincerely believe, with absolutely no scientific proof, that these triggers (whatever chemicals you want to call them) set off a series of events which (in a split second at times) brings you to a completely unexpected memory.

A few very recent ones I wanted to share:
1. Snowstorm in Chicago - I heard about it. And I sent my best wishes along. But as soon as I saw pictures of the snow blanketing the city, I felt this pang. I had missed out on something so phenomenal and exciting. Granted, it was probably pretty ridiculous to be in, but those are the events that make snow worth experiencing (in some ways). I obviously hope and pray no one was hurt, but thinking about how I would've reacted or what I would've done had I still been living in Chicago. It brings me back to a very specific memory with my car and my apartment and my flat screen TV and DVR. So many things come flooding back. The route to the office. Hearing my friends and coworkers complain. Doing some of the complaining myself. Running out of battery on my phone while trying to text people to see how they are doing. Can I just say that I really missed out on something huge (literally) and I miss Chicago - which means all you crazies out there as well!

2. In relation to the aforementioned, I saw a few pictures from a party back in the day at my office and then read an email from a colleague recently where she mentioned a redux of a house warming party. Brought me back to a specific chair in the bar and the house respectively. And then the memories and smells and experiences...

OK none of this is helped by the fact that my better half just jumped on a flight back to Iowa. She's currently above Michigan according to a flight tracker program that's showing me the exact location of the flight. Her trip here was just unbelievable. Not only did we hit London (a previous post) but we were also able to spend some quality time discussing her career and future in line with what is about to explode into a career & soul searching frenzy on my end :) She basically came at the exact time that I needed her here to bounce off some very integral thoughts about our future together and where we wanted to settle as well as how it related to our respective families around the world. Obviously I miss her, but I'm also excited to hear about her career and get started to converge at some point in the near future - when you have goals and are keeping busy, I think long distance can be easy/comfortable to maintain.

Oh - and there was a great house party where she cooked an epic meal for my housemates. A little odd since she was the guest, but she's a trooper and I thank her for being patient with me when I randomly ran around between classes, meetings, homework, and home to spend some time with her. It was also my (and my housemates') first real Thai meal since we got to France - Green Curry (Veggies & Chicken), Mama noodles (Shrimp), Basil Pork (since she was unable to locate minced Chicken), and Eggplant with Sour Cream & Garlic. The entire house was in awe and ate enough to sustain a food coma until quite late the next day...  she even braved a grocery store on her own (with a friend of mine who doesn't speak French). If that's not patience (and if you visit and try to shop without speaking a word of French you'll understand), I don't know what is!

All in all a great trip. Albeit short. Made sense for all that was happening.. More to followith pictures and so on, but that's the general gist of the week! Also hit a really romantic French restaurant on her last night!

Finally, I'm sending out my best wishes to anyone in the turmoil stricken areas of the world. Odd to see things spiral out of control but from my experiences in hearing what people on the ground had to say during the Red Shirt protests in 2010 and what was being covered, I'm trying to read with scrutiny. I encourage you to do the same!