Friday, December 23, 2011

The best spa... ever!

I admit, I am not the guru of spas and I am not one that frequents them either. But this particular bath that is found in the middle of no where in Vals is simply phenomenal. Anyone that visits Switzerland NEEDS to pay a visit to this sanctuary of relaxation and pruney skin. Welcome to the Thermal Baths by Peter Zumthor.

The outdoor bath combines breath taking scenery and warm blue waters.

Smooth as silk


Breathing in peace

Good bye luxurious relaxing weekend... till next time!

Monday, December 19, 2011

One last graduation!

Art! We dug deep into our sub-conscious and painted...  
Graduation procession 
Awaiting our diplomas

Cha-ching! Howie Chan, MBA

Savoring the spotlight

Doing my best for my class (IMD MBA 2011)

No more IMD responsibilities... for now

With my Japanese advertising guru and main actor - Takashi

Rali, Hannes, yours truly and Alison

The boys having some fun with the props

Singapore connection - Andrew Wong

The "Before" picture... 
There you have it! We are on our way to the next thing. We will be celebrating the holiday season with both our families: Christmas, New Years and Chinese New Year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A journey ends and a new one begins

Last Friday was our graduation and we had a blast. I had an absolutely fantastic time delivering our graduation speech on behalf of the class and the party at the Beau Rivage was such a good time. It ended at about 5.30 in the morning. Alison and I ducked out at about 3.45am, thinking it was over as the lights came on.

In the last month, we had our electives and a last week that consisted of learning about the first 90 days in our next job, painting and learning about team work from a string quartet. It was a perfect way to end the year as we reflected and start to process the intense experience of the year. Good byes were said over the next few days during dinners and getting together at the White Horse for some pints. There were lots of hugs and lots of kisses as we part and move to different regions to start a new chapter in our lives.

I will miss the camaraderie with my class. We were really close and the intense experience really brought us closer together as a group, which is evident by the tears after it hit us that the year is over. For me, I look forward to the visits and laughing about the hard and fun times throughout the year. It is the thought of reminiscing that will help us all move on. Alison and I also look forward to building a home together, this time hopefully in a better living space!

As I start to catch up on the pictures, emails and closing out the year, I will post more pictures and videos.

Graduation Ball at the Beau Rivage Hotel, Lausanne, Switzerland

Howie Chan, IMD MBA Graduate

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Graduation Ceremony Speaker

It's official! I will be the graduation speaker for the class of 2011 IMD MBA on December 2nd. May my creative juices start flowing!

Feel free to give me some ideas as well. Cheers!

A hilarious yet thoughtful speech by Conan O'Brien

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

IMDeception - Private showing

To commemorate the year, I have put together a short film that spoofs different movies with an IMD spin.

Sowing the seeds...

... of a career! It is an apt metaphor as I continue to navigate the world of jobs and find one that fits. I must say it continues to be an amazing experience of connecting and talking to people. It IS true when Forrest Gump says, "you never know what you are going to get"!

So in line with building an online presence, here are qualities that exemplify me:

- Marketing excellence
- Customer focused
- Leadership & influence
- Innovative drive
- Curiosity & learning agility
- Breadth in communication
- Global awareness
- Adaptability

There you have it, a little teaser about me and find me on LinkedIn!

International Consulting Project Final Presentation

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Calm in uncertainty

It is down to the last 2 weeks of ICPs and we will then start the last stretch of electives. At this point, offers have been starting to come in for some and for most, it's still a wait and see game. To help ease the ups and downs, Alison and I have been taking advantage of the weekends and also making plans to spend christmas in the Twin Cities!

Eze - Cote Azure
I have also launched the IMD movie trailer this week and anticipating the full launch sometime in November! This is a project that started in the first half of the year and have continued through the holidays and into the ICPs. A couple of scenes left to film, but it will be a hit for sure... since most of the students are part of the cast... cheers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nespresso & Career Search

The International Consulting Projects (ICPs) are well under way. I am working with Nespresso, which is a 5 min walk west of campus. Pretty sweet huh! Being close has its perks, since we can get together with our client as often as we want and we can meet with pretty much anyone in the building. Don't forget about the endless cups of Nespresso we can enjoy!

We are halfway in and have completed Phase 2 last week. We are gearing up for an exciting Phase 3. It will be intense, but I think it will be great fun. At the same time, we are also in the midst of our job hunt. It will definitely be a trying period as we try to stay true to what we want. The pressure from friends, family and a "deadline" of December 2nd will continue to brew and I think this is where persistence and optimism will play a great part to stay above water.

For me, I know my long term targets and being sure about them gives me a certain calm that everything is going to be alright. A great quote (more of a paraphrase) from an Alum this past week:

"All of you are already one of the best in your field, and you have all been thrown here together to experience something very unique. Your system is continuing to digest the changes and becoming slowly aware of what has changed within you. Take your time and figure out exactly what you want and do not worry, it will work out."

I believe I HAVE changed and I look at the world a little differently than before. My system is still adjusting, I am certain of that. I will continue to reach for what sends a tingle in my spine and excites me, for our lives are very short and I want to spend my time doing what is worth doing.

Monday, September 5, 2011

South Africa - Discovery Expedition

It has been almost a month since I last blogged! I must say, the break was so good, I long for it again... Anyway, things are now better and more human than the first six months. We actually plan our schedule and we can get to bed at a decent time. Even though it is better, the stress of finding a job and client presentations for ICPs take on a different dynamic. More on that later!

South Africa... where should I start? It was a fantastic experience. I was in a group of four: Pasha, Michael,  Kingshuk and I. We spent our time working with a company that makes accessories for 4x4 vehicles. You know the documentary with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in Long Way Around and Long Way Down? This company outfitted the support team which made their expedition possible. In addition, they outfit modern day explorers like Kingsley Holgate that brings mosquito nets, reading glasses, you name it, to different parts of Africa. The company is FullOutput and their leading brand is AfricanOutback Products. Adolf the entrepreneur is an absolute amazing guy that came from Germany more than 40 years ago. Working with this company was just great, Adolf was inspirational and spent a lot of time with us, even bringing us to a Rhino and Lion park as well as the Cradle of Human Kind.

The factory workers and his staff were absolutely great and very hospitable. They would chat with us and tell us their life stories without hesitation. We were also fed like we were eating our last meal when we were there. Homemade meals and all! I must say, the challenges of high youth unemployment, lack of high skilled workers and spillover from the apartheid regime makes it a complex system to operate in, and especially to grow and sustain a business for the long term. We learned a tremendous lot and I would say a truly amazing experience.

The rest of the trip was spent at a Pilanesberg National Park, where we did safari hikes and tours. It was stunning and it is safe to say that I will definitely be returning with Alison. No more zoos... ever.

Front: Pasha,  Back from left: Kingshuk, Michael (in our daily van ride)

Kingshuk ready for safari

demonstrating the ostrich wing!

Pasha and I just chilling in a vehicle

Being fed... constantly

Michael is just a workaholic! Well and a sweet-aholic

dried worms anyone? (it was crunchy and salty...)

Tribal dance

At the cradle of human kind

just after a good meal of steak

brothers rubbing horns

protecting the herd!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bongiorno Lausanne!

It has been over a month without blogging! I am finally back in Lausanne. Sorry, I have been busy taking a long and well deserved summer break and just returned from our Discovery Expedition in South Africa.

Our 3 week break was spent entirely in Italy, driving from Venice, all the way down to the Amalfi coast, past Naples. It was glorious! We were able to spend quality time together as well as indulge in everything Italy has to offer: fantastic wine, pasta, pizzas, seafood, art, ruins and last but not least, crazy drivers! I must say, we really enjoyed all parts of the break, we were able to get back into "normalcy" for a few weeks and really enjoy each others company. We experienced farm stays in Tuscany, roof top pools in Umbria and fancy Amalfi coastal towns. That is one of the reasons why I love Europe; just a few hours away lies a totally different culture to explore and learn about, simply amazing.

reflections of venice

agriturismo in tuscany

quick bite in florence

food dictionary put to good use

relaxing in beautiful siena

up and down gubbio

pizza town
warning: heart burn ahead

a dip in the sea - positano


Thursday, June 30, 2011

In the alps - Rochers De Naye

One of my wishes is to be in the mountains more often and so Alison will always hear me suggest - "how about going to the mountains?" So while we were planning for this sunday, we tried to figure out where the closest mountain adventure would be and we ended up with Rochers De Naye. It is a really short trip from Lausanne; short train ride to Montreux and then a 45min cog wheel train up the mountains. I must say, the train ride was magnificent and well worth the money. We went all the way to the top, above the clouds.

We then proceeded to hike down... this was the tougher part. It was really steep and not exactly a leisure hike like we planned. Kudos to my in-laws for toughing it out! Nonetheless an excellent adventure we walked away with some wonderful memories, pictures, a great story and some sore quads.

Cog wheel train (Toby & Dorothy)

Less than 2 hours later, we are above the clouds


The great steep descent

Reminiscing the journey

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Alp horn cheese aliens!

Alison, Dorothy & Toby in Gruyere

Raclette - melted cheese... mmmm

Gruyere cheese metropolis

The alp horn masters

The Giger bar where aliens dwell

Alien watching over Gruyere

The Giger museum!
Our side trip to Gruyere was great! The old town was beautifully set on a hill overlooking the area. We ate, walked and appreciated aliens in the Giger museum. I must say, it's such an odd location for a sci fi museum. Nevertheless, it was great to get out and it was fun to spend some time with the family.