domingo, septiembre 24, 2006

Watch out Wouter! ;)

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jueves, septiembre 21, 2006

The Pre-courses saga

Getting back to books after 6 years is painful. I somehow got myself to study for the GMAT without giving much thought to how difficult it was going to be for me to get into the study mode again, so allow me to repeat what I've already stated - it's not easy!!

This week started with the 2 optional pre-courses offered by the school - Introductory Financial Accounting and Basic Quantitative Methods, both designed to help accounting-and-numerically-challenged students (like yours truly) to be in the same step as the rest of the whizkids. Having studied Accounting roughly 200 years ago (well seems like it anyway), I thought "Bah, this is chicken sh*t, I'm gonna crack this!". The only thing I managed to crack was my skull while butting my head against the wall trying hard to crack even the easy-peasy problems, all the while wondering how the hell I managed to do the same back in college.

Quant is another story altogether. Inherently, I have something against probability, and guess what shows up in the very first lecture? Fortunately I'm trying to convince myself that it's not as boring as it seems and I seem to be succeeding to quite an extent.

One thing that has changed in this week, that's starkly different from the previous weeks is my workload. If previously we "only" had Intensive Spanish classes for 7 hours, this week it's Accounting, Quant AND Spanish. Naturally each professor wishes to keep his students busy by giving homework, so out goes mad partying, dinners that last hours and extended conversations on the campus after class. Lately it's more like wake up, go to school, attend classes, try to grasp as much as possible, rush home, do homework (which usually goes on till 0100 hrs) and sleep. And to think that when actual MBA classes start, the workload's going to double. Gee, what fun!

p.s. I do hope to recover over the weekend all that I've had to forgo over the week.
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viernes, septiembre 15, 2006

End of an era.. well, almost.

Today was officially the last day where we had Spanish lessons for about 7 hours flat, something which we've been doing for the past 2 weeks without a break. I remember speaking to my landlord in my almost non-existent Spanish 2 weeks ago when he told me "You'll be amazed by how much you're able to speak by the time your intensive Spanish courses end..", and he was so completely true.

Every single one of us probably wonders what happened over the past 2 weeks, about how we got to where we are today, and I guess a fair share of the credit goes to our profs. Mine, especially, was such a complete delight to work with. That guy exuded so much enthusiasm, even after all those heavy lunches that I secretly thought he drugged himself after lunch.

That's besides the point. Also coming to an end, along with Espanyol, is the freedom we've been enjoying here. Freedom in terms of no homework, no headache (well maybe a little) and no case-studies to ponder over. Things are about to change. Come Monday and we start our Accounting and Quant. pre-courses, so I expect to be a lot more busier than I already am. We'll see how that goes.
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martes, septiembre 12, 2006

La vie est belle

To plagiarize un amigo mio de Estados Unidos, Life is Beautiful. That's about the extent of my plagiarization for 2 reasons - a) not my style and b) I don't hope to match the literary talents of MBA students moonlighting as bestselling writers.

Coming back to the point though, life, presently has been close to perfect. Work load's bearable (considering the fact that we only have to deal with about 7 hours of Spanish per day) with a little bit of excitement thrown in in the form of exams. I've got one in less than 15 hours, although that doesn't stop me from being online. After all, how much Espanyol can one hope to study by himself?

Anyways, a few incidents that captured my attention this week. First up, was my fairly expensive Spanish lesson with a haircut thrown in for free. I went to this rather fancy looking peluqueria to get a hair-cut ("you should do something about it.. it looks like a wig"), as they (boldly) advertised on the outside - Cut and Wash: 7.95 euros. After about an hour and a half and a conversation in Spanish that would shame a 3 year old, did I find a sign about 2 inches wide next to the cashier that said "Corte Caballero (Haircut for men) - 14.95 euros". Why in their right senses, would they charge more for cutting a man's hair is beyond me. To add insult to injury, they charged extra for putting some rotten gel on my head! Not that 20 euros is a lot of money, but it does hurt a bit when you're expecting to pay 10 and have to pay double.

Not that I'm complaining though. I had 2 random people complement me today. Guess I'll go back there.

Next up is the amazing cultural awareness of me and hang-out club. We were crossing La Sagrada Familia,

where I was telling this friend whatever precious little that I know about the church, we suddenly saw this poster proclaiming that Missy Elliot was about to perform in Barcelona. The enthusiasm with which we changed subjects left me dumbstruck and fairly glad. I'm not alone out here.

Finally, an acknowledgement going out to my-friend-who-shall-remain-nameless for cooking the most exquisite Chino-Japanese dinner that I've tasted in a long, long time.

Oh, and I learnt to write my name in Mandarin. How cool is that!
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viernes, septiembre 01, 2006

Baby steps in Espanol

For the Nth time, I BARELY SPEAK SPANISH. I don't know how I ended up in the level that I did, maybe someone overwrote my test. Maybe one of the professors took fancy at me. I don't know. What I do know is that I'm clearly in a level that I maybe shouldn't be in.

For starters, I'm surrounded by people who, apart from being extremely nice, are either Brazilians, Portuguese, have studied Espanol for a while and/or have been living and working in Spain for the last few years. I'm the underdog.

Sure, I'm good at conjugating verbs in all possible tenses. But like the say about the proof of the pudding - when it comes to speaking Spanish, I plain suck. I had a word with the prof about this, but he seemed confident that I'd catch up, and if he's being so confident about someone who he's met like once, I think maybe I can try harder. One thing about him and the classes though - he's impressive. Maintaining the interest of a bunch of guys in a language class for 8 hours at a stretch each day for the next I-dont-know-how-many days is a task that he excels at. When it comes to hiring professors, IESE doesn't like to fool around.

The plus point though is that I finish Spanish lessons in the first trimester, so when it comes to grappling with Quantitative Methods in Management, I don't have Tenga, Tengas, Tenga, Tengamos, Tengais, Tengan running around in my head.

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