Monday, April 30, 2012

A New Semester Has Come

It's only Day 1 of the new P6 semester and I'm already exhausted. In P6, I will be taking the following classes:  Services Marketing, From Boss to Coach:  Managing Performance, Digital Marketing Strategy, Managers and Negotiation, and Selling and Negotiating. Today, I had the first two, and tomorrow will be the remaining three classes. So far, I am very happy with how it's going. My Services Marketing and Digital Marketing Strategy classes are with a professor I had for Global Marketing in P5, so I already know what to expect there. As for From Boss to Coach, it is great to have another course that is focused on self-reflection (like Visionary and Entrepreneurial Thinking from P5), since a good manager needs to consider past experience and current stance before figuring out where to go and how to get there.

Everything has been much quieter and calmer now that the undergrads aren't around. The bus is empty, as are the halls of the school. I'm hoping it stays like this until graduation!

There are so many other things that I'm thinking about that it seems impossible to focus on this new semester, though. First of all, I have my Louis Vuitton (LV) interview tomorrow. When doing a bit of research and preparation, I came across this LV image:

LV and a cupcake together?! Now I'm even more determined to have a great interview! And when it rains it pours, so they say. My schedule this week is getting busy, as I will also be meeting with someone from MBA recruitment at McGill to discuss a position there.

I saw a great opportunity recently for women who own or run businesses. PROFIT/Chatelaine is seeking Canada's top female entrepreneurs for its W100 program. More details about the benefits of getting involved and nomination criteria can be found here. Additionally, I saw two interesting articles about Canadian businesses this weekend. The first article was about Canadian hospitality and a Business Insider writer's excellent customer service experience, as compared to the US. The second article was about Canadian companies moving to Silicon Valley, with the help of an organization called C100.

Lastly, considering my current studies at HEC Montreal and my potential opportunity at McGill's MBA program, a recent Gazette article about the costs and rewards of doing an MBA was particularly interesting. The article features three MBA programs, two of which are HEC Montreal and McGill.

Friday, April 27, 2012

48 Hours

I'm not really sure how it happened that my week off from school became even busier than my time in school, but it somehow worked out that way. Let me begin by mentioning some of the most exciting things that have happened in the past 48 hours. First of all, I got a request for my first post-MBA job interview! On Tuesday, I will be meeting with someone from LVMH for a position at Louis Vuitton Canada. Frankly, I cannot really contain my excitement over this opportunity!

Also, today my article for QS on the TopMBA Connect MBA Blog has been published! Read my article about pursuing a one-year MBA program here.

This morning, I went to the Sid Lee offices (pictured above) for a meeting regarding the upcoming C2-MTL event, where I will be volunteering. The fact that the entire meeting was in French and I understood most of it is pretty impressive, as far as I am concerned. At one point, we were asked to rank our preferences for our volunteer role, but I just want to participate in any way possible, so I left mine open-ended. Let's see what card I get drawn!

Mostly, these past few days have been a blur of job applications, networking events, and seeing friends. My job application to Twitter has forced me to now become a frantic monitor of my Twitter news and account (@lorihelix). One of my classmates was kind enough to initiate a Twitter hashtag #twitterhirelori to help me to get a job at Twitter. Feel free to jump on the bandwagon and help me get hired by Twitter by tweeting it. Let's see if we can get it trending! In the meantime, check out an article about Twitter's role in politics here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I love that, while my fellow classmates were in the midst studying for exams and working on final assignments today, I was doing a photo shoot. Schadenfreude? In all seriousness, though, I have noticed that everyone seems a lot more relaxed during this exam period. It must be because this one is a week long, while all other prior finals have been crammed into only a weekend. Anyway, see a sneak preview from my shoot below.

This evening, I went to Startup Drinks Montreal - Spring Edition 2, where I met some really cool people involved in the startup community in the city. Even though I'm not involved in a startup, it is such a great opportunity to meet dynamic people in Montreal, and I recommend the event to others. In fact, I had three of my MBA classmates with me tonight.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Fifth Element

At a permanent height of just over five feet tall, I never thought I would ever be asked to be a model. But today, I have been preparing for my modelling debut which will take place tomorrow morning. I was invited to be a model for the Fondation HEC Montreal annual report and I graciously accepted. I hope my first ever photo shoot goes well! See my new 'do below and check out all the GMAT prep books I still have on my shelves behind me!

As I begin to prepare for the upcoming semester, I have been having difficulty committing to a choice for my fifth class. I feel like Goldilocks! Now that I have made my third decision, I am hoping to stay with this one (Selling and Negotiating). I can't believe I'm only one day out of P5 and I'm already thinking about P6.

I was invited to complete the Bloomberg Businessweek 2012 Graduate Survey today, which I did honestly. Well, actually, Weiss Lori did. I look forward to seeing the B-school rankings once they are available!

Monday, April 23, 2012

End of P5

Only three short hours ago, I officially completed P5! With no final exams and all of my assignments handed in, I now have one week to run my errands and apply for jobs. My semester ended with my last Visionary and Entrepreneurial Thinking class, where we had guest speaker Karim Haggar, who spoke about his ecotourism company Kepri. For anyone else who is interested in being a visionary thinker, there is a great article in Inc. that outlines a four-step process to make a business dream a reality.

Now that I have been in school for eight months, it seems bizarre to be going back into the employment world. It feels like it's been so long. I can't imagine what it must feel like to do an MBA for two years; the program must feel like an eternal escape from reality. I am happy to be undergoing a serious job search, especially since most of the positions that I have applied for are located in the sunny state of California. I have submitted applications for the following companies:  UCLA, Live Nation, Pinkberry, University of San Diego (USD), Electronic Arts (EA), Hulu, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Wish me luck!

Today, I finally get to share a video that my friend Shane Turner and my boo have been working on together for Lancome. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Small Business Management

All that I have left to do in P5 is attend my Monday Visionary and Entrepreneurial Thinking class and hand in my take-home final for Being a CEO. That means that all the rest of my time will be devoted to my job search.

On Thursday, I completed my Being a CEO and Small Business Management courses. In our last Small Business Management class, we talked about family businesses and the difficulties that are inherent in their structures. We learned that it is especially hard when the business reaches the third generation, the cousins' stage, and it made me think of the movie The Descendants. Also, it reminded me of the "wonder, thunder, plunder, blunder" phrase that a friend once told me. I found a great article about the blunder stage from the Family Business Institute that should be helpful to anyone who is involved in a family business. Sadly, the end of my Small Business Management course probably also means the end of using clickers in the classroom, which was a lot of fun and a great use of technology. The New York Times even wrote about the benefits of clickers recently (article here).

A few days ago, I received notification that I had been accepted as a volunteer for C2-MTL. However, since then, scheduling conflicts have arisen and I am no longer sure that I will be able to participate. I really hope that it will work out because this event will be an amazing opportunity - Michael Eisner, Francis Ford Coppola, and Arianna Huffington will be there!

HEC Montreal was in La Presse recently, in an article about the evolving MBA programs in Quebec. The original French version of the article is here, but the not-too-poorly-translated Google Translate English version is here.

Lastly, I am happy to report that the National Film Board (NFB) has received several Webby Award nominations. That means that they already have great online resources to put into place the marketing action plan that my P8 team will recommend this summer.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

For the Record

Last night, I learned that an official report found that "the trendsetting city of North America" for indie music is right here in Montreal. The Discover Magazine article can be found here. I've said that Montreal rocks before, but this time it's literally true!

Inspired by the finding, I watched I Need That Record! on Netflix. At one point in the movie, MBAs were blamed for the destruction of the music industry. Essentially, they said that, when profit-hungry MBA graduates started working at record labels without really understanding music, things really fell apart. Shaky camerawork aside, the film did a good job of showing the contradictory roles of music as an art and music as a business.

And once again, my past and present have collided in a news story. My previous immigration work experience was the reason for my piqued interest in the CBC News article about a new potential immigration stream for entrepreneurs with viable startup ideas. Since my Visionary and Entrepreneurial Thinking articles for next week's class discuss the immigration aspect of entrepreneurship in Canada, I thought the news was particularly timely.

Today was my last day of Global Marketing and Managing Products and Brands. I have truly enjoyed both classes and I was sad to have them end. Fortunately, I will have more courses with both of these professors in the weeks to come. There was a good article in Canadian Business today that touched upon the product lifecycle lessons that we learned in our final Managing Products and Brands class this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Listing Off

As beautiful as these past couple of days have been here in Montreal, I would still really like to move to California. Who wouldn't want to have 365 days of good weather? Haven't I suffered through enough winters? I'm obviously not the only one who feels this way. The Gazette reports that, in California's Bay area alone, there are 350,000 Canadians (note that Canada's population is only 34 million!). Today's Gazette article features six of Canada's top tech talent who are enjoying the golden state.

I am also happy to report that my P8 team has successfully rescheduled our film screening and contract signing. It's not easy, considering the busy schedules of the client, the team, and the professor, but we managed to do it! I must admit that I was also getting nervous that the NFB budget cuts could have an impact on our project, but if the NFB is not afraid, then I shouldn't be either!

One of my fellow classmates posted on our Facebook group today, stating her reasons for not liking P5. I have had the complete opposite reaction! Herein you will find my reasons for why P5 is awesome:

  • These are elective courses, which means I chose them. Thus, I have an interest in the subject matter in all five classes.
  • With the exception of one of my classes, the courses have fewer team assignments. Though I enjoy participating in group work, it means less time spent scheduling, planning, and discussing with a team.
  • That leads to my next point, which is that I now have time to actually see my friends. Less time spent on team projects means more personal time.
  • I have no final exams.
  • The weather is beautiful. Here comes the sun!
  • I started the semester with a fresh tan from Turks and Caicos.

Today, I realized something. During the MBA, we have had many interviews and speakers, and there is one question that has often weaved its way through each:  What would you recommend to MBA students, as future business leaders? I have thus prepared answers from select interviews and lectures with the Montreal businesspeople that I have seen, as I believe it is good advice to share.

Sebastien Racine, Associate Producer at Ubisoft:

  • Listen to people.
  • Communicate expectations and objectives.
  • Have fun!

Stephen Hart, COO of Rideau:

  • Really listen to the people around you.
  • Do not be afraid to hire people who are smarter than you are.
  • Be practical. Go with your sixth sense.

Eric Chouinard, CEO of iWeb:

  • Stay curious.
  • Get inspired.
  • Learn from your failures.

I hope you have appreciated these words of wisdom as much as I have!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Every Minute Counts

The countdown begins - I have only one week left in P5. It's hard to believe that, in only seven days, my remaining assignments will all be handed in and I'll be a free woman (at least until the following Monday). While everyone else is taking final exams during the last week in April, I'll be running around the city, taking care of all the things I've put off during the semester.

Hopefully, I will also get a chance to follow up on some employment leads. The good news is that The Independent has reported that 2012 is looking to be a great year for MBA grads. There is an increase in recruitment efforts for MBA students this year. See the article here.

Today, in my Visionary and Entrepreneurial Thinking class, we had another inspirational guest speaker. Also a blogger, Eric Chouinard is the CEO of iWeb, an international web hosting company. Eric was even featured in the Globe and Mail's Top 40 Under 40 list in 2009. You can read the Globe and Mail article here.

Montreal and Canada have also been featured in the news lately. Montreal was recognized in the Travel section of the New York Times for its newly hip Old Montreal neighborhood. See the slideshow at this page. And the bizarre story of the day is that Canada will be releasing a glow-in-the-dark quarter. At $29.95, they will cost a bit more than 25 cents.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Food for Thought

I'm not sure how I feel about having made it a whole weekend without completing an assignment. My Bikram yoga case analysis is taking much longer than I thought it would. Today represents the third day that I'm working on it. My plan is to hunker down tonight and just finish it. We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, I will think about what a wonderful weekend I've had and how it has, sadly, passed too quickly. Yesterday started off with a walk to the Chinatown location of Qing Hua, where my boo and I feasted on beef and chicken curry dumplings.

I also booked my Campus Abroad flights yesterday! It's official - in June, I'll be heading to Russia, followed by a brief stay in Chicago. It's definitely going to be a three-week history and food adventure!

This morning, I read an article on The Economist that perfectly married my past (immigration) and present (MBA). Apparently, Canada has done an excellent job of luring international students to enrol in our MBA programs. According to the article, "Over the last two years, Canadian full-time MBAs have seen the biggest increase in applications of any region." It is great to see further interest in Canadian MBA programs.

Before heading off to write my Bikram yoga case analysis, I just wanted to thank my friends Frank and Jess for preparing an amazing brunch today. It was a great end to a fabulous weekend!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Being a CEO

After every semester, MBA Program Director Michael Wybo invites several students to discuss the completed period. Yesterday, I was one of the participating students who had the opportunity to provide feedback regarding P4. I hope that our constructive criticism can help to make future experiences even better!

The rest of my day yesterday was focused on being a CEO, and I'm not just saying that because one of my classes is entitled Being a CEO. However, I would like to take this opportunity to comment on that class. Sadly, the course has been disappointing, since it has focused mainly on the accounting and financial aspect of the CEO position (which, if you know anything about me at all, is a huge disappointment!). The class has great potential to discuss other facets, such as the marketing and visionary aspects of the CEO role, like what we can learn from "The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs" and "10 Lessons from a 'Creative' in the CEO's Office" (about CEO Eric Hirshberg). The class is also outdated, and should provide modern insight, such as why CEOs should tweet.

But I digress. Instead, last night's Small Business Management class did an excellent job of giving us insight into the visionary role of the CEO. We had guest speaker (and fellow blogger!) CEO Peter Hart talk about his position as the leader of Rideau. In fact, his can-do attitude and rebellious edge made me think of Steve Jobs and the below "Think Different" Apple commercial.

Today, I have been working on my final assignment for Managing Products and Brands. Essentially, we are all looking at the same Branding Yoga case, but we are divided into three, looking at the case as brand managers of three different brands:  Bikram Yoga/Bikram Choudhury, Strala Yoga/Tara Stiles, Anusara Yoga/John Friend. I started to develop my SWOT analysis and I jotted down my possible recommendations. I'm now ready to discuss the case tomorrow night with one of my classmates to compare notes. In the meantime, I did some yoga for inspiration.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Behind the Red Curtain

Interestingly, my classes today were focused on China. In Global Marketing, when discussing the Franz Collection case, we looked into the production of Chinese goods, and then later in Managing Products and Brands, we talked about the SK-II crisis in China.

On my way to school today, I read the top nine brand blunders of all time to prepare for class. In fact, my professor ended up mentioning #5:  The Gap, when noting the importance of evolving visual elements and logos, and the mistakes that companies make in this regard.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Relations System

I managed to get through three assignments today! I worked on two Visionary and Entrepreneurial Thinking papers and my final Small Business Management team project. As for the Visionary assignments, they were mostly focused on the relations system. That is why I took particular interest in recent articles concerning positive relationships in business and the HBR blog entry about building effective teams.

Fortunately, due to the Easter holiday, I only have two days of class this week (tomorrow and Thursday). That's the only reason why I've been able to catch up with my work and actually get ahead on my assignments for the week.

In fact, tonight I was able to attend a Social Grapes event called Wine... Demystified!, where I learned about the basics of wine tasting and facets of wine production. What was amazing was that my friends Jess and Frank were there - a nice, unexpected surprise!

After the event, I rushed home to have a Skype meeting with my Being a CEO team for our final assignment together. It has been a pleasure working with them, and I can't believe how much we've accomplished together this semester.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Global Village

Before attacking my Franz Collection Inc. case for Global Marketing, I read about Michael Denham, the Canadian President of Accenture, and his urging for Canadian companies to grow globally. Since the Franz case is about a Taiwanese company growing on a global scale, it was the perfect inspiration to write my individual case report. You can read the Globe and Mail's interview with Denham here.

One thing that is great about being in school is that I have the opportunity to travel more often. I went back to New Jersey for my friend's wedding, I vacationed in Turks and Caicos, and I have my upcoming summer trip to Russia and Chicago. There is no way that I would have been able to do this much traveling while I was working. But of course, it is sad that I cannot travel for everything. Unfortunately, I was unable to be in Florida to see my grandfather for his 90th birthday. However, with the aid of FaceTime, I was able to send my birthday wishes face-to-face virtually.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

30 Second MBA

My eyes are bloodshot and my back and neck are sore after working this whole day, arched over the computer. I was working on my SK-II case for Managing Products and Brands, the Blackstone case and take-home final exam for Being a CEO, and my Small Business Management team project. Tonight, I'll be having a Skype meeting for my Global Marketing case. The work never ends.

I caught the above clip on Fast Company from their 30 Second MBA series. Christy Tanner, EVP and General Manager of TV Guide Digital, actually brings up two good points to consider when deciding whether to do an MBA:  1) the financial investment and 2) on the job vs. academic training. But in my mind, they are reasons for why you do not need to think twice about doing an MBA at HEC Montreal.

First, let's look at tuition fees. As a Quebec resident, I pay just over $7,000 for the entire year I'm in school. Also, it is my understanding that the international students tend to get scholarships that bring their tuition to around the same amount. As far as I know, HEC Montreal is one of the least expensive MBA programs in the world. Not to mention, my professors have studied and worked at Harvard, MIT, etc. HEC Montreal's MBA program is truly a value proposition! Secondly, I would never have learned the things I'm learning without doing the MBA. I've learned from a vast array of subjects that I never would have had exposure to otherwise. There you have it - my 30 Second MBA contribution.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Behind the Scenes

I can't believe it's been a few days since I lasted posted. This week has really flown by! Thursday was a really big day, that started at Rideau. My Small Business Management team interviewed Rideau's COO Stephen Hart to get insight into the company for our final group assignment. My fellow teammates commented that it was the best two hours we've had during the entire MBA! It's true - it really was such a fascinating experience learning about the growth of this family-owned company, and then getting a tour of their production facilities. It's rare to get such a behind the scenes look and we felt very privileged to have seen it firsthand.

Yesterday was focused on my upcoming assignments. I have two Marketing case reports due next week:  SK-II:  Damage Control in China for Managing Products and Brands and Franz Collection, Inc.:  The Road From Subcontracting to Brand Marketing for Global Marketing. Cases, in general, are so time-consuming to prepare, but I do enjoy how they make me think about Marketing.

As for today, I went to see Jeff, Who Lives at Home and then had lunch at the new Grumman 78 at Faubourg afterwards (photo above). I highly recommend the Banh Mi - delicious! Tonight, I will be celebrating Passover and relaxing. Tomorrow, it's back to the case report grind.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spread the Word

This semester is non-stop insanity. I realized that, every day that I have class, I have an assignment due. I am aware that this is the price I pay for choosing all classes with no final exams, but it's still crazy. I'm not sure if I've yet mentioned that I have no more final exams for the rest of the MBA program. At least that means that I have two full weeks of free time while everyone else has exams. By "free time" I mean applying for jobs and taking care of everything else I can't get to during these semesters.

Today, I wrote an article for QS that should soon be featured on Top MBA Connect. I just have to get a professional photo taken first, to accompany the article. Hopefully, I will be able to get access to the HEC Montreal photographer because otherwise it will be a while before I will be able to get my photo taken.

Since today was April 4, International Day for Mine Awareness, the HEC Montreal MBA students rolled up our pant legs and showed our support for this cause. We hope that the awareness continues to spread.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cone Zone

If anyone is interested, you still have a little under an hour to get your free cone at Ben & Jerry's today. Every year, I am shocked by how many people line up to get ice cream on such a cold day. At least this year, I was able to go when the midday sun was shining.

I also went to H&R Block today to do my taxes. As a student, I was able to pay the discounted price. With my low tuition and low charge for filing taxes, I feel like a pretty lucky lady. The only bad news is that, as an American citizen, I still have to file my US taxes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

On the Case

You would think that, since my boo works at L'Oreal, my case write-up for Global Marketing on the L'Oreal case would be easy. Sadly, that's just not the case (no pun intended). At this point, I think I will only have time for a final edit and then cross my fingers and hope for the best.

In Visionary and Entrepreneurial Thinking today, guest speaker Luc Maurice talked about his experience starting retirement communities in Quebec. His first lesson to us:  take chances! He also discussed his role as an entrepreneur and his values. I am really enjoying these guest lectures every Monday, and it's sad to think that I only have two more of these inspirational classes to go. Since my professor (Louis Jacques Filion) always recommends good books about entrepreneurship, I thought I would note that Inc. also has an essential reading list for entrepreneurs here.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Nobody's Fool

I was reading an article for my Managing Products and Brands class called "The Uninvited Brand" and it happened to mention the "United Breaks Guitars" music videos. For anyone who doesn't know, this is actually a great story about a musician I know named David Carroll who used social media to air his concerns about United Airlines. It is a great lesson in the management of a brand, and in searching for the video today, I learned that it was turned into a business case by the University of Toronto's Rotman. The first of David Carroll's United videos can be viewed here.

Our HEC Montreal Facebook group has been quite active today, due to an April Fool's Day prank that was played by two of our classmates. Let's just say it involved our grades for the only P4 class that we have not yet received feedback from. In retrospect, this prank was better than the one where I was told that I incorrectly filled out my Birthright Israel forms and was thus being cross-examined.

Having worked at a Canadian Immigration law firm for five years, I thought it was important to note that there is a proposed change to the Federal Skilled Worker Category, which could result in the return of 280,000 Canadian Permanent Residence applications. For anyone in Quebec, fear not! The Federal Skilled Worker Category and the Quebec Skilled Worker Category are two separate immigration streams. More information about the Federal Skilled Worker Category changes can be found here.