Thursday, March 30, 2006
China was a blast. We flew into Beijing, spent 1.5 days in Xian, and then spent the rest of the time in Shanghai. In Xian we used Hyatt points (thank you consulting firms!) to get a queen room, but we got lucky and were upgraded to a King Suite instead. It was a really nice room and on the same level as the Regency Club, which is Hyatt’s little perk room where you can get free breakfast and cocktails. We assumed we were upgraded to Regency Club since it was on our floor so we partook in a free breakfast before realizing that evening that we weren’t. Ah well, the breakfast was nice for the first morning.
Shanghai was a whirlwind trip involving numerous lunches and dinners with Jie’s family. The food was fantastic and it was great to reconnect with all the people that I last saw three years ago. There were two new kids to play with this time, which is always a lot of fun for me. Aside from eating, I got to ride my first Chinese train this trip, which was an interesting experience. We also went to pay respects at the grave’s of Jie’s three deceased grandparents, which was a personally and culturally significant experience. My China galleries are available on smugmug, just follow the smugmug link to the left and look for the featured galleries. They’re also listed under Travel.
Now that I’m back for the final run in school Jie and I have turned our attention to summer plans and the number and timing of trips to Chicago to look for a place. I suppose I’ve also got to figure out what to do with this blog. I think I’ll keep blogging in one form or another, but I have a feeling that the best thing for this blog is to end at graduation and live on to provide a somewhat encapsulated recording of the HBS experience. Any other thoughts?
Oh yeah, special thanks to Ben who loaned me a copy of The Face of Battle by John Keegan. The book was great and I recommend it to anyone looking to read a little history.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Summer travel plans are way up in the air for us right now. We’re planning on buying in Chicago and so it’s hard to rationalize spending $5-7k on a vacation right as we’re about to put $40k+ down on a condo, part of which we’ll be borrowing from somewhere. And that’s just to hit 10% for an 80-10-10 loan. It feels a little irresponsible to pay for a big trip, especially when we have a sweet lake vacation spot in Texas, with the home purchase looming. On the other hand, when are we going to have three months off at the same time again?
We leave tomorrow for Spring Break in China. We got our RT airline tickets to Beijing for just 30k miles each, and our hotel in Xian is paid for with Hyatt points, so it will be a pretty inexpensive trip. It should be a lot of fun, too, as we’ve never been to Xian and we’ll get to feast with Jie’s family in Shanghai for almost a week. I’ll put pictures up when we get back in a few weeks!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Now, this is all well and good, except that it has come out in conversations with fellow students that grades sometimes don’t add up. Here are a couple of examples from trusted sources:
- In one 2nd year class four students who all participated in class on an approximately equal basis worked together on the final paper. Two students received 1’s for the semester and two received 2’s. Not too strange, you may think, except that another group of three students who worked together on a paper in that class received the range of grades: 1, 2, and 3. How is it possible if the paper is 50% of your grade for one student to get a 3 and another a 1??? Perhaps one student spoke constantly and the other not at all, but that seems unlikely.
- Another student received a 1 in one of his first year classes while also scoring a IV on his final exam. How does that happen? Is it really possible to be in the bottom 25% on the exam and top 20% overall?
Anyway, I have more stories but I don’t have approval from those people to share them so I’m not going to. I no longer think grade disclosure is going to be the cultural disaster that I once made it out to be, but I still think it causes unnecessary stress in the first year and is troublesome due in part to the arbitrariness of the grading system at HBS.
Friday, March 03, 2006
I finally got around to putting up my pictures from DC last weekend, so if you want to see some choice shots from around the Capital City you can check them out. I’ll be the first to admit that my photography hasn’t been very inspired lately, but the views from the top of the Washington Monument are pretty cool, as is the “Freedom is not Free” wall at the Korean War Memorial