Dreaming of Picasso

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Network More, Network More

The power of network is always touted as something that most MBA applicants and candidates desire. However, apart from building a network in business school, I feel that it is equally important to develop a "rich" personal network at work. The reason, I use the word "rich" is because I have always tried to actively network with people from other functions. As I introspected a bit, I realized that the limiting factor in my approach is that most of people I have contacted are the people that I have had to deal with as a part of my job function. Therefore, most of these people have adjacent responsibilities. The problem is that there are several functions in a company, that are equally vital, but I really never have met these people. Consequently, I have little knowledge about

So why am I bringing this up? Mainly because as we go through the MBA program, there will be courses that require different projects in different areas. With a cross-organizational network in place, it might be a lot easier to get insight into potential challenges and have an opportunity to solve them. More importantly, this may be a way to demonstrate interest and value to the company( and potential bosses). May be there would be a possibility to translate these opportunities into a lateral move in the future.

So my new motto is - Network more, Network more.

So starting this week, I am sending out emails to "contacts of contacts" to set up lunch meetings to get this going. My networking skills probably need a lot of work. Sometime down the line, I will post something about what I learned from my networking experiences. For now, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


This has been a moderately busy week. Classes have started, I have a Student ID card, and I went shopping for school supplies - it is finally sinking in - I am now also a student. This semester I am enrolled in two classes - Mircoeconomics and Organizational Behaviour. I have really enjoyed my first classes, and I also like the teaching style of both professors. I even managed to be _awake_ for the entire 8 hours of classes last weekend. One of my biggest concerns going into the program was - Can I really be awake for all 8 hours of classes? Thankfully I am surviving.

I will keep this post short but I read an interesting article on businessweek on Student Personality Quotient (SPQ) that measure how well one may fit in B-School. While I don't always believe in this tests, I did take the test and my SPQ was 31-40 that translated to an "Annoyance Level" of Low. Hope readers of the blog enjoy this test!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The reading has begun..

After the wonderful orientation weekend, I have been taking it real easy. I figured that I should enjoy whatever remaining days I have left before classes begin. Haas has been offering different types of orientation classes on the weekends. They have ranged from
- Basic Math
- Finance
- Microeconomics
- Excel
- Powerpoint
I think that the orientation classes are a great idea. Unfortunately, I have not been as diligent as I should have been. That being said, I have been reading the presentation materials for these classes. I have also been spending time going over the case studies and the related material for the Organizational behavior class. So far it has been fun reading about different organizational scenarios around motivation. In the past, I have wondered about what motivates team members and how to keep team members motivated. The initial read gave me a better perspective as I looked into my work life. I hope that some of this would make for some interesting discussion during the class.

Classes begin this saturday....

Monday, August 07, 2006

Aloha Aloha !!

The orientation is over and it was pretty awesome.

The orientation started on Friday with an informal reception. After I checked-in, I registered myself and got my packet that contained best practices for an effective case study, a case study and the facebook. I went to my room, which was a pretty nice room in the Doubletree at the Berkeley Marina. I had a view of the Marina from my room and after freshening up, I joined the reception. The evening passed quickly and it was time for dinner. The dinner started with a very inspiring speech by Dean Lyons about the essence of a Berkeley MBA - Leading through innovation. Dean Shogan gave an insightful speech about the history of UC Berkeley. The party moved to the bar. Most people hung out till late socializing. I was enjoying myself thoroughly but then I realized that I probably should read the case study and left around midnight.

The next day -Saturday- started early. I was late, but I managed to grab a small bite before going into a very practical session about life as a Haas student. Important things like billing, transportation and the Cal identification card were covered. The next activity was a team building activity where we build a Chateaux (out of craft materials) and protect the residents (six eggs) from cannon balls ( tennis balls being fired at 100 miles/hour). It was an hour long task and our chateaux was selected as the most aesthetically designed project. We did not do as well after the firing round. Although, 5 of our residents survived, the other teams had taller structures with more residents surviving. It was a fun exercise.

The Saturday afternoon begun with a trip to Haas. After the group photo, we went to a case study. Interestingly we had a case study on Robert Mondavi winery, and the professor brought bottles of Robert Mondavi wines for the class to enjoy during the case study. It was a fun hour and since was a learning experience for me. Later that afternoon, I attended the financial aid workshop and then it was time to pick up our books that came in a nice ogio backpack.

The evening was a Hawaiian Luau with live singers, a giant roasted pig and awesome food. After the dinner was over we played a game in which we had to identify some of our classmates who had some pretty interesting accomplishments like

  • Someone who has been a part of an Olympic team
  • Someone who has won a Grammy
  • Someone who is the official Spanish voice for Virgin Mobile
  • Someone who has trekked above the Artic circle

There were about 30 different accomplishments like these and I immediately started wondering how the hell did I get in? I really don't have any dazzling accomplishments like these, but I was happy to be a part of this group nevertheless. There was music, booze and soon the dance floor got started. I also shaked my booty a bit and went back to mingling with more people. Although, I went to bed at about midnight, we have some really energetic folks, who hit the bars in San Francisco and returned back at 6:00 in the morning.

Sunday morning passed quickly. There were sessions on how to make use of the career services. The list of career services was impressive and I plan to make use of them shortly. The orientation ended with a presentation by Professor Odean. I really _loved_ the presentation and may be I will try to bid for his class on behavioral finance.

In a nutshell, it was a wonderful and information packed weekend. Kudos to the Haas team that organized the event because it ran like a well-oiled machine.

Now it is back to reality - I have opened the wonderful ogio backpack, and seen all the reading that needs to be completed for the OB (Organizational Behavior) class.

It is going to hectic...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Countdown to the Blast Off

The EWMBA orientation starts in two days. The actual event will start on the evening of Friday, 4th August and end on the afternoon of Sunday, 6th August at the Berkeley Marina. Classes will begin for the weekday cohorts in the week of 7th August and the weekend cohort starts in the week 19th August.

Now that the bills for the Fall 2006 have been released, the reality of the amount of money has hit home. I have been "pushing paper" in the office to make sure that everything is in order for the tuition reimbursement process. Hopefully, everything will get processed by August 15th, which is the deadline for paying the fees.

I am looking forward to the orientation because we will get an opportunity to see the entire class. On the regular class days, we will end up seeing folks from a specific cohort, but the orientation will provide an avenue to meet and greet everyone. Haas has planned an interesting set of activities for the orientation, and I will outline them in the next post.