Friday, September 30, 2011

Best Image Ever

Introducing you to my friend's new kitten, Penny!

As usual, it was a busy day! I started off the day at 8:30 at school, finalizing the Power Point for our Being a Manager presentation that will be on Wednesday. After that, I had a meeting with the International Affairs VP, as I have been appointed as a Director of International Affairs! It was great discussing our plans for the year. I hope our future events go well!

After that, it was pretty much a haze of finalizing our group projects. I was at school for over 12 hours, but I'm finally home and our assignments are ready to be printed and submitted. Now that that's over with, it's onto studying for finals! My plan of attack is to rotate among each of the subjects so I can ensure that I have an equal chance of succeeding at all of them. 

This is going to be one crazy week ahead! We finish classes on Thursday, and then we have finals on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We'll be done on Sunday at 4:30 and then our next batch of classes starts up again on Tuesday! Sounds fun, eh? I'm in great spirits, all things considered.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not Sour Yet

I can't believe it's Thursday already! This week is passing by so quickly! Last week was ridiculously stressful with so many assignments thrown at us, but this week was actually quite enjoyable. Right now, we're in the midst of finalizing three assignments (Accounting, Being a Manager, and Models & Decision Making). Fortunately, my team only really has Accounting left to truly focus on but I think it will be dreadfully looming over us until the minute we print it.

To top off the week, there was a Latin American-themed 5@7. I was only able to stay for a brief while, since I have a dinner tonight, but I was so eager to go to get a pisco sour. Love those! If anyone ever wants a good restaurant recommendation, Raza and Madre are two of my favorites - good Latin American food and good drinks (pisco sours obviously)!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Night by Night

In honor (yes, American spelling) of the Chromeo concert last night, I'm posting their "Night by Night" music video. It also sums up my approach to this MBA program. Day by day or night by night, I will make it through!

I did discover something at the concert last night. All of a sudden, I felt so elated to hear music and I realized that, since I've started my MBA studies, I've completely cut music out of my life. Now, this is in complete contrast to my working life, when I had my iPod on all day at work. Essentially, I went from 100 to 0 and was wondering why something felt awry in my life. I cannot survive without my music! I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me that it was not okay to eliminate it during my studies. I have promised myself that I will listen to music whenever I can. It feels weird to have to remind myself of that, but ever since I started my MBA, my priorities got all skewed.

I can't believe it was such a beautiful day today and I didn't have one second to get outside and enjoy it. I know this sounds crazy but I'm actually looking forward to winter coming. At least then I won't feel bad about staying inside working or studying all day.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Softer Side

It's the end of Week 4 (out of a 6-week session) and it's not surprising that I haven't had time to update my blog. In addition to the endless amount of work we've been given, I was also busy with birthday festivities for the special someone in my life. It was one week of madness!

Today was actually the first day I can recall in the past few weeks that I haven't woken up to the sound of the alarm clock and I've had the chance to wake up to my body's natural rhythm. It was pretty much the best feeling in the world. It was also perfect timing, since I went out to Garde Manger and Philemon Bar last night and really needed a morning to sleep in a bit.

My leisurely morning quickly transformed into a rushed project day as I made my way to the school library to meet my group to work on our three projects. Insane! We basically divided the projects to work on the ones we're each most comfortable in. It's such a pleasure to have a positive group dynamic and really complement each other. I hope my future groups work as well as this one!

Tonight I will be continuing my work on our Being a Manager project, which is an analysis of an interview. We had interviewed an Associate Producer at Ubisoft Montreal, which proved to be quite insightful. I'm looking forward to moving the project along and getting a significant amount of work done this weekend.

Later this evening you'll find me at the Chromeo concert! I'm so excited!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Test Day

I'm counting down the minutes until I have to leave for my Canadian citizenship test and I can't focus on anything else. I've already read through the study guide all morning, and since then, I've tried doing a reading for class, but I keep getting nervous and distracted. I'm happy that when I get back from the test, I'll be able to move forward with some course work!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wine Tasting

I had an opportunity to go wine tasting in the Bromont, Quebec region today. It was a beautiful day and it was the perfect time to see the beginning of fall foliage. I tasted delicious ice wines, ate bread with cheese, and sipped on an iced maple drink. I'm so happy I had the chance to enjoy one last day of nice weather before the bitter cold starts.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Here is a photo from yesterday's 5@7. As you can see, we had a great time! Also, I wanted to note that, when I first came to Montreal, I had no idea what 5@7 meant! Of course, I've since learned that it means "five to seven", in other words, the drinking hours. Here in Quebec, it's more than simply "happy hour" - it's two hours of fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Great McGillian

Today was a long day! I woke up at 6:00 in the morning, as usual, and went to my Economics class, where we received our assignment that's due in one week. After class, my group met to work on a couple of our group assignments. Unfortunately, there's a particular study room in the school that we like to use and that we've been utilizing for the past few weeks, but we were forced to leave when we realized that we have to use the formal booking system through the library to stay in the room. But at least we are now booked in the room for Sunday all day!

We stopped our group work around 6:00 PM when we all headed over to the Salon National for our  Thursday 5@7 celebration. It was a great opportunity to let our hair down, mingle... essentially eat, drink, and be merry. Even after spending a couple hours there, one of my group members and I went back to our work, but I only got a bit done due to fatigue. Even though I'm supposed to meet my group at 8:30 tomorrow morning, I'm going to try to sleep in, so I can be a successfully contributing group member.

One of the things that's funny about our course readings is that we've had quite a few theoretical articles by Henry Mintzberg. Not one professor mentioned that he lives here in Montreal! I had no idea! I just learned that not only does he live in Montreal, but he works at McGill. Now I'm looking forward to reading Managing even more than I was before.

I thought I would share this interesting article about discussing emotional experiences as a way of connecting at business schools. I wouldn't say we rehash our emotional backgrounds, but we do have two "soft skills" courses that help us to self-reflect.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Breathe In, Breathe Out

We're in the middle of Week 3 and we're getting slammed with assignments this week! Even though we knew it would be coming, as my team member said today, it feels so different now that we actually have them. It's quite overwhelming! However, I think the key will be to take deep breaths and manage our time wisely. With efficient prioritization, I strongly believe my group can make it through until the end of our six-week P1 with great results and manageable stress levels.

Even though I had received an email today about taking other French courses outside of HEC, I think I will have to pick my battles and pass on that opportunity. Instead, hopefully, I will be able to act as Director of International Affairs for the student association (AEMBA). I guess if the AEMBA does not work out, then French language courses will still be an option. However, I think doing both would be too much. Kudos to anyone who can participate in both!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Honestly Speaking

We had our speeches for Management Skills today! I'm pretty pleased with how mine went. I really like how everyone approached the assignment in a completely different way, and we all made very unique and individual choices. Afterwards, we discussed the speeches and gave each other feedback. When it comes to giving speeches, some important things to consider are:  the impression you leave, the material you present, how clear you are, the physical space, hand movements, the final impact on your audience, and props. Now onto my one-page review of my videotaped speech!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saving Face

Hot off the press:  MBA hopefuls need to monitor their Facebook settings. You can read the Globe & Mail article here. However, this really applies to everyone, whether you're an MBA hopeful, MBA student, or MBA alum. You should be fully aware of your online image and proceed with caution.

Super Supermarket

This morning I felt like a rockstar! I went to Provigo to do my grocery shopping and I got a great parking space, an easy shopping experience with hardly anybody in the store, and then I got my 10% student discount at the end (available for all students on Mondays). For someone who hates battling the crowds and shopping carts during the grocery store's peak hours, this was heaven. This is one serious advantage of being a full-time student.

In a few minutes, I'll be meeting with an HEC alumnus who just graduated from the English intensive program. I met him at one of the student association's 5@7's and he's done a great job of fielding my questions about the MBA program ever since. I've found it's extremely valuable to get feedback from the alumni for questions related to the courses, books, assignments, and job searches. The alumni are an invaluable resource.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Not Speechless

I met with my group today to work on one of our school projects. It was great because I feel like I now understand 10 times more accounting things than I did before we met up. Also, it was a good opportunity for us to practice our speeches for Tuesday's class. I am so impressed by my group and what they came up with. We may not sound like Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, but I think we all did a great job of coming up with material for our assignment and presenting it in a coherent and interesting way. I'll be rooting for my team as they do their speeches in class on Tuesday!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend Update

Yesterday I met with my career counsellor, which was great! I thought I was really lost and confused about what I wanted after my MBA, but she said I seem to have a very clear idea and together we're going to explore some options I may not have considered. She told me to take a look at the elective classes I want to take in a few months and I'm going to send her a list of job offers that interest me. I'm looking forward to our next appointment in October!

I also had an appointment at the MBA office to take a French placement test. Apparently, my French skills were too advanced for the Level 1 classes that are offered at HEC. I couldn't believe it! It was the first time my French skills actually exceeded expectations. I guess my French is better than I thought!

Today I've been catching up on readings and working on assignments. Now it's finally time to stop for the day and be social! Woohoo!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

O Canada

I meant to post this article about Americans coming to Canada. How timely! Yesterday, I got a notice in the mail that my Canadian citizenship test will be on September 19. Two weeks to study on top of my five classes!


So tired! I generally don't like to say out loud that I'm tired, as I once had a teacher who said that that apparently makes you more tired. But I feel drained, and it's hard to believe I just finished Week 2 of my program. 50 weeks left to go?

I went to a really informative Library Workshop today. Not many people came, but it was actually quite interesting and I feel so fortunate to have so many great resources available to me as an HEC student. The speaker at the workshop, Jean-Yves Cote, was so adorable and helpful! This workshop was also a million times more effective than the networking seminar I went to this week.

Now I'm working on my resume in preparation for tomorrow's appointment at the Career Services. I'm also reviewing my Accounting notes, so I can begin working on my part of our team project for that class.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Solving the Problem

Today was a long day of classes. I know six hours of class may not sound long, but trust me. It is.

The highlight of my day was during my data modelling class (my most frightening), when the professor quickly talked us through a complicated Excel spreadsheet. After a couple of my attempts produced the wrong Solver add-in answer, I discovered my mistakes and finally got the correct response. I silently screamed!

The Results Are In...

This past Thursday I had given a speech at school, promoting myself for the position of VP International Affairs on the student association (AEMBA). Yesterday, at around 4:45 PM, I found out that I had lost the election. However, I am very happy to see everyone who has won. Congratulations! I think we will have a great year with this new team.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Here is a good New York Times article about doctors getting MBAs:
Adjusting, More M.D.’s Add M.B.A.

(Also, there's a McGill mention near the end!)

Monday, September 5, 2011

My First Blog Post

After taking my GMATs, applying to MBA programs, and collecting recommendation letters, I'm finally here. I was accepted to York University's Schulich MBA program, as well as HEC Montreal's one-year English intensive MBA program. In the end, after speaking with students and graduates of both schools, I ultimately decided to enrol at HEC Montreal.

...And now the fun part begins! School began on August 15 with a preparatory Accounting class, which lasted the entire week. The following week was an intensive week (no exaggerations there), where we were each placed into groups of four or five students, and competed for a globalized business simulation. My group placed third in a class of seven groups, so I was pretty happy! Once the actual simulation game was finished, we had to do an oral presentation, a group paper, and an individual paper. I'm looking forward to getting the results soon - my first graduate school grades.

Now the real, hard work has begun, as of last week. My classes are, respectively:  Management Skills, Accounting Language, Being a Manager, Models and Decision Making, and Managerial Economics. I'm spending this long weekend doing the required readings, including tracking down the ones that aren't in the course packs from last year!

As MBA programs go, though, classes are not the only thing to focus on. We've already had two career workshops; one focused on what the career services could offer and the other discussed on-campus recruiting events and the one-page resume. One of the reasons why I ultimately chose to study at HEC Montreal was to further improve my French skills, however I am being realistic about my opportunities post-MBA. At this time, I'm thinking that my job search will focus 70% in New York, 20% in LA, and 10% in Montreal. Although my French will improve, I do not think I will be skilled enough to work whole-heartedly in a functionally bilingual office by the end of the year.

Last night, I was curious to see what kinds of opportunities were out there for me. I was pleasantly surprised when I found great job openings (through Indeed and Monster) in New York and LA that were for MBA graduates. I saw jobs at NYU, Disney, Time Warner, etc. that seem promising.

Now I must get back to my Economics readings, but I look forward to posting again soon!