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!