Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What business school cannot teach you

During the Thanksgiving holidays last week, I visited my wife's Grandmother Millie in Chicago. At a young age of 93 years, she is witty, very much mobile and plays a mean game of Scrabble. Throughout the couple of days, I find myself practicing my note taking skills as I scribble down quotes and meaningful advice as she doles them out at random times. Here are the best ones:

Grandma says:

Personal Development
- "laugh out loud and laugh often"(as she points to a plaque on the wall) "that's the secret to long life!"
Facing Adversity
- "live your life one day at a time, and be flexible when things happen"
- "do what the kids tell you to do" (she gestures to my mother in-law) "until they are gone" (she grins)
Profit through ethics
- "I follow the angel in my heart"(she points to her chest) "and the devil in my head" (pointing to her head with a cheeky smile)

and my favorite advice she has for an MBA student like myself:

Prioritization and time management
-"less loving and more studying!"

We will miss her dearly and I expect during the tough times throughout the year, I WILL remember her kind words of wisdom.

We love you Grams!

Grandma Millie and Alison

Monday, November 22, 2010

2nd installment on BW

"Completing the MBA checklist" by Howie Chan

My second article on Bloomberg BusinessWeek is posted! As a follow up, I'm glad to say that my loan was approved and will be disbursed on my birthday. We are still waiting on my wife's visa... so that is still somewhat concerning.


Getting used to homework

As I continue to work on my pre-MBA assignments, I cannot help but feel lucky as I have not days but weeks to read the assigned books and complete the 15 page essay. This privilege will no doubt disappear when school starts in Jan. Meanwhile, I am slowly getting used to the idea of no free time and in preparation for this, I will continue to take things easy until school starts. It will be interesting to see how ridiculous hours are going to be, but I have a feeling I'm going to have an extraordinary amount of fun while facing 5-6 hours of sleep a night. This is what I say now anyway...

2.5 books to go, 12 more pages to write!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tawantinsunyu - The Inca Empire and the Inca Trail

Our trip to Peru was anything short of amazing! Primarily due to our guide Miguel, who is sort of a renaissance man, proud of the Quechua culture and really a great guy. We were fortunate enough to spend a whole lot of quality time with him, since it was only Alison and I in the group during our 4 day hike along the Inca trail. It was a tough hike but it was an experience of a lifetime.

Instead of putting all of it down in a long narrative, here are the highlights:
  • Altitude sickness - headaches, fever, elevated heart rates, indigestion
  • Coca leaves - went on a quest for some leaves, drank them in tea, chewed them
  • 25 lbs on our backs? - both of us carried our own packs (~80% of hikers do not!)
  • Highest elevation - dead woman's pass at 14,000 feet!
  • Microclimates - the mountains presented us with: humid, hot, dry, cold and rainy weather
  • Porters - the heroes of the hike: with >55 lbs on their backs, they leave later and arrive earlier to cook and setup camp
  • Ruins - beautiful and amazing ruins that are part of a grand vision of the Incas that radiate from Cusco, the navel of the universe
  • Machu Picchu - the most beautiful and spectacular experience after ~26 total hours of hiking
Day 1 - at the start of the hike

Day 2 - at the top of dead woman's pass

Day 3 - close to campsite (Winay Wayna)

Day 4 - Machu Picchu