Friday, April 30, 2004
After we covered my history I mentioned that I read that his company recently introduced a code of values to its employees, and I shared how my company has the same thing and how important I believe it is for executives at the top to set that standard because everyone kind of follows their lead. That launched us into a lengthy discussion about Enron (always a popular subject in this town), Arthur Anderson, Shell's restatement of reserves, and executive ethics in general. He brought up an interesting idea, one that I had not really considered before.
He felt that one's most basic and influential workplace motivation is the desire to do well for your family and loved ones. Greed, pride, etc. are all secondary when compared to the importance of providing for family. So, when someone is placed in a work environment and instructed to follow in behavior that is crossing the line but perhaps not unethical or illegal, they are usually going to do it with good intentions, they must bring home the bacon. I could dwell further on this but what's more important is that he asserted that if you remove the negative influence, you might find that the previously unacceptable behavior of these people will improve drastically and quickly, perhaps even overnight! There will be those who don't change, of course, and his philosophy for them was that they were given one get-out-of-jail card and then future transgressions would be punished quickly.
Ok, more later, right now I have to go to dinner!
Thursday, April 29, 2004
The Student Association at HBS publishes a great guide every year that they give to all the incoming students. It covers a wide range of material, including the case method, where to live, what kind of laptops to buy, the grading system, etc. One thing that I found interesting is that Year One, admit weekend, and the HBS guide all stress how recruiters don't know students' grades, nor can students disclose them. However, I don't believe I heard anything about this policy from the Business Week guide or on the forums. I'm not drawing any conclusions, I just wanted to point out that interesting tidbit.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Today my boss sent me this great political cartoon: Don Asmussen. The guy writes 'em every few days. Good stuff.
Still in limbo at work. Everything will be clear next Friday, that's when we'll know whether or not the strike will happen. Between now and then will be a lot of rhetoric and speculation, but until the negotiations actually fail there is no telling whether the strike will happen or not.
Other than that, not much going on.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Ok, I'm going to get ready for bed now. I'm trying to get to sleep just a little early, hopefully it will payoff in the morning.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
There are a lot of things that I will have to take care of between now and July 15th. HBS requires that we complete several online 'modules' in finance, quantitative analysis, and accounting. In a few weeks they are going to start sending out a package with our copies of Office XP, a Myers-Briggs test, and three textbooks that must be read before August. So, I am a little concerned that if the strike happens at work it will really make life miserable trying to complete the materials for HBS while working 80+ hour weeks. This means that I should spend the next two weeks getting this stuff knocked out ahead of time, but I just can't seem to get motivated... Well, maybe next week.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum…All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies.
That’s some crazy sh*t. There are only two cities in the world that keep stocks of the botulism anti-dote, and she happened to be in one of them when she got sick, so we’re hoping for a speedy recovery.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
I started the DaVinci Code last night. So far so good, I think the hook is sinking in...
Monday, April 19, 2004
And that is really all I have for today. I had a dissatisfying day at work, had to go grocery shopping, and then spent a bunch of time working on an excel spreadsheet this evening. None of that makes for good writing material...maybe tomorrow...
Not much going on. I got an e-mail from the library the other day informing me that my copy of The DaVinci Code is ready for pick-up. I guess I will try to get that today.
I really wish HBS would get on the ball and release the laptop requirements and the purchase deal with IBM. Although I probably won't order mine until early June, I at least want to start drooling over the specs now...
Friday, April 16, 2004
And if you're wondering, this is what Elements taught me:
It's Les's cup. - Correct; It's Les' cup. - Incorrect
There is an exception, though, for historical figures:
It's Achilles' cup. - Correct; It's Achilles's cup. - Incorrect
That concludes the grammar lesson for today. ;)
This is a Blocked Website!
You have attempted to reach an Internet website that has been identified as non-business related, or otherwise inappropriate.
In the address bar of internet explorer I gathered that they have blocked IP addresses in the 10.65.60 range because they fall in "CAT=PORN". Hmmm... I did not realize that. Of course, I can still get to blogs not on blogspot, and I can still post things to my blog, but I can't read it. Oh well... In the past they have blocked and then un-blocked such sites as Hollywood Video, so maybe this too shall pass.
On a less bizarre note, I informed my boss yesterday that my last day on the payroll will be July 12th. Additionally, June 30th will probably be my last day in the office, and then I will use vacation to get me through the 12th. Only 53 days of work left! Woo hoo!
Thursday, April 15, 2004
I mentioned earlier that the main character suffered from severe trauma. He had been put through an emotional and physical ordeal (I'm trying not to give anything away), and you wonder through the novel what could happen that is so terrible to reduce such a vibrant character to such a mess. Then you read about it and you understand. I would recommend the book to anyone, but it's certainly not a casual read.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
The Sparrow is getting very good. How can you go wrong with a book that combines spaceships, aliens, brothels, murder, and catholics??? Seriously, though, I am about 60% of the way through, and I am hooked. I have always liked reading about crazy people (The Beach was one of my favorite books), and the main character in this book is suffering from severe trauma, it's fascinating to me.
Today at work I felt like that girl in X-Men 2 who stands outside the ship and routes the water around to save the others... Then she gets swallowed up by it all. Yeah, that's about right.
Monday, April 12, 2004
I am continuing to devour books like a madman. Yesterday I started The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. It reminds me of Contact (the book, not the movie) but with heavy religious undertones. It's about first contact and the journey to meet the other civilization, but this time the quest is underwritten by the Jesuits. Apparently all hell breaks loose on the planet they visit, but I am only a quarter into the book so I have only been given hints. Mrs. Russell has a doctorate in biological anthropology, and there seems to be a certain depth to the novel that is very interesting. Thus far, I would recommend it.
All this reading started out as a an attempt at some business reading to prepare for b-school. After downing Barbarians, When Genius Failed, First Year, and Against the Gods, I guess I was ready for some fiction. I have been keeping up with The Economist, though, and I would like to get to some more business related works next. I think I will stop by Half-Price Books on the way home from work one day this week, any suggestions?
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Conveniently, all three are intricately related. In fact, you could make a very good argument that the flaws in taxation led to (or exacerbated) the FUBARed status of Health Care and government spending. The editorial, Taxing the poor to pay the poor, pointed out that Europe has been able to keep up with the US in part due to the more efficient tax systems that they have. Efficiency, in tax terms, generally means that you structure the tax system to cause the least harm to the economy as a whole. Our system is pretty inefficient, given that it generally discourages working, investing, and saving. European systems, on the other hand, are much more likely to encourage investment and tax consumption over income.
More than ever, I am in support of a consumption tax for individuals combined with either a flat corporate tax or no corporate tax at all. You may think that's crazy, but think about this: no matter how you structure it, consumers pay all taxes. Always. If you slap a 50% tax on corporations that will only result in higher prices for consumers. Why not eliminate the middle man and just tax consumers directly? Anyway, I could go on, but I've probably bored enough people already. Feel free to use the comments section to flame away!
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Not much happening on the b-school front. I am working on getting all the paperwork together for immunizations, Shad consent form, etc. It's not due until 7/1, but I'd like to get it out of the way.
I'm also pondering what day I would like to quit working. July 9th is the day I vest my 401k matching, so I need to stay on the payroll until then. I do have 12 days of vacation stockpiled, and I can also take up to 30 calendar days unpaid without pushing out my vesting date, so I have some options. If there is a lengthy strike, though, I would have to work right up until July 9th, since the company will not allow vacation or unpaid time during a work stoppage. I guess we'll see...
You know, at each stage of the process I have said: well, after this then I'll know what's going to happen. First it was after January 21st. Then, I got into two schools and I had to choose, so then I set myself a deadline of early-March to decide. That passed, and I thought I made a decision, but then more uncertainty. Then I thought I would know after March 30th. And I did. But then on April 7th the Union sends its letter and it's back to more uncertainty. Well, it does beat boring predictability...
Thursday, April 08, 2004
I finally watched Matrix Revolutions for the first time last night. I thought it was pretty good, but then again I also enjoyed A.I. The Matrix series got steadily deeper into Sci-Fi as it went along and I think that caused it to lose a lot of its audience, including Jie. They left it wide open for another, so I wonder if we will ever hear anything more from Neo or Trinity.
Right now I really don't care, I just want to be put out of my misery.
Do they have the same problems with allergies in Boston?
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
The two rankings that were most useful to me were the specialty rankings in U.S. News and the in depth coverage of Business Week. I think overall rankings are overrated. Most business school comparisons must be done using very personal criteria, and so no magazine will be able to evaluate what is best for everyone. The refusal to give out student e-mail lists does not mean the end of student/alumni feedback anyway. All this means is that publications will have to work harder to get the information they need. Perhaps the 10+ annual rankings will be reduced down to 3-4 who really do a good job getting valuable data. Those rankings would be a lot more worthwhile than what’s out there now.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
"...we are impressed with the content that this site has published to date. Certainly a 'bookmark-worthy' site for any future applicant!"
Now, if we could just get John, PY, Harry, Naveen, Trip, Luv, 3app, and Joey to add in their comments and advice I think the site will really prove valuable to the next generation of MBA applicants!
Monday, April 05, 2004
I have known for some time that I am fascinated by the way things fail. In engineering, telecom, and everything else I am always curious to see how things will fail, how they will break down. Today at work was a classic example of when the sh*t hits the fan, and I loved it. It was a great day of work. I wonder what career I can go into where I get to deal with breakdowns all the time?
Sunday, April 04, 2004
Against the Gods has really turned into a fascinating read. Keynesian economics, game theory, Markowitz Portfolio theory, it's all very interesting. I may try and put up a full review after I finish it.
Saturday, April 03, 2004
Friday, April 02, 2004
I was reading Adam’s blog yesterday. Although he hasn’t kept up his posting lately, he did a pretty good job last year, which was his first at HBS. At one point he recommends Year One to prospective HBS students. In my conversation with the HBS alumnus on Tuesday, I also got the feeling that the book had given me a good insight into the workings of the school. I meant to mention that when I wrote about our discussion, but it slipped my mind. So, for all you future HBSers out there, I recommend that you swing by your local library and pick up a copy.
I started the Quantitative Methods module that all incoming students have to pass before matriculating. It reminds me a lot of the Kaplan GMAT CD, in that it has voiceovers and kind of an entertaining story. It is a cool reminder of the resources that HBS has at its disposal. The module is something I would expect in a $50 software package, not “free” from a university.
Against the Gods
I am still pushing through Against the Gods. It’s not an engrossing read in and of itself, but the underlying concepts are pretty cool. I have some background already in statistics (from the CFA), and so it is pretty interesting to read about the lives and times of the pioneers (Gauss, LaPlace, Bernoulli, Pascal, Fermat, etc.). It seems like a pretty good pre-MBA book, if you can stay awake... The last two nights in a row it has put me to sleep in a hurry.