Sunday, January 22, 2012

Almost There

Three exams down, two to go! As one of my classmates pointed out, in total, we have 17 hours of examination within a span of 51 hours. Lucky us!

I'm looking forward to going out for drinks tonight. I think we all need it and it will be well deserved. Right after exams, we will be heading to La Maisonnee, which will be followed by L'Abreuvoir, neither of which I have been to yet.

In the spirit of our final Marketing exam, I am sharing this article that provides four rules for better marketing. In only a few hours, I will be done with my Corporate Finance I and Marketing Management courses.

My CSR team is in the unfortunate position of having no weekend break, since we will be returning to school on Monday to work on our case. At least that is something to look forward to!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Corporate Social Responsibility

Just a few hours ago, my CSR team had our dress rehearsal for our case competition. We used last year's case to present our recommendations to our coach (our former Ethics and Governance professor) and two fellow students. We were fortunate to get great practice and feedback, which will certainly be beneficial for our upcoming competition. This week, I have been speaking with the HEC Montreal's Communications Department on my team's behalf, and it turns out that, if our team makes the top three, then press releases will be sent out. I hope we get there!

Apparently, York University has been ranked first among Canadian schools in the U.I. GreenMetric Global Sustainability survey (video below). I hope that doesn't give their team an added advantage in the competition!


With so much talk about CSR, this article about social networking and ethics in the workplace caught my eye. I'll definitely be keeping the solution at the end of the article in mind as we formulate the recommendations for our case.

It's hard to believe that finals begin in only two days! Although I've been studying, I've also obviously been distracted by the case competition. In a way, it's been great to be looking forward to something other than the dreaded final exams.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Studying Up

I recently stumbled upon what seems to be a great opportunity for graduate school students:  the 2012 Pitch for Change Competition. The entries will be evaluated by Harvard students and faculty, so I'm sure the contest will also be a great backdrop for networking. The only downside? The submission deadline is Friday. More information about the competition can be found here.

This afternoon, I studied for my Strategy final for a bit by reviewing my notes and creating a "cheat sheet," as the exam will be open book. Since I will have this professor for two more classes (Strategic Management II and International Strategic Management), I hope I end up doing well in this course.

The rest of the day was spent studying for Finance and Globalization with one of my classmates. Even though my initial instinct upon looking at Finance exercises is to run away and hide, I'm proud of myself for constantly trying to do the problems. The good news is that this time next week, P3 will be over! The bad news is that Corporate Finance II will begin a few days later.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I've hardly begun studying for finals and I'm already exhausted. I had a great study session this morning with a few classmates to prepare for... you guessed it.. Finance! Fortunately, I've discovered that I can learn these concepts. After all, it's not rocket science. It's just a matter of practicing the exercises over and over again until they become something that makes sense.

In the afternoon, I met with my case competition team to prepare for our Wednesday dress rehearsal. I think we did great preparatory work today and now I just have to practice on my own and get ready to put it all together for Tuesday. Now that I've taken an Ethics class, written a CSR paper on IKEA, and prepared for this CSR case competition, I feel like I'm becoming a corporate social responsibility pro.

This evening, I will be out celebrating my friend's 30th birthday. Although it's -3 degrees Fahrenheit, I will be trekking outside for my good friend. At least it will be better than staying inside studying!

Friday, January 13, 2012

In Good Company

Having only yesterday discussed the issue of child labor in our Globalization class, it was interesting to see not one, but two articles today accusing companies of having suppliers that employ underage workers (Apple and Victoria's Secret). Now Nike and IKEA are in good company.

For anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship, I found this article to have some good insight about the "5 Things They Didn't Teach You in Business School." Although it's no surprise that starting a business is no easy task, it's always good to be reminded of the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that it actually entails.

Ironically, on the one day that I allowed myself to sleep in a bit, I discovered that I share one main trait with 23 really successful business leaders:  waking up early. Although I'm not (yet) a CEO, I find that I am more productive in the morning hours and arising early gives me a great start to the day. I'm able to catch up on e-mails, the news, assignments, etc. and still feel like I have an entire day ahead of me.

Today consisted of completing my Globalization assignment, attending my final Strategy class, and meeting with my case competition team. This weekend will be spent studying for next week's finals (primarily focusing on Finance) and practicing with my CSR team. It's hard to believe that in only two weeks both finals and the case competition will be over!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Time is Money

A few weeks ago, my team member had approached me about an idea that he and another classmate had called "Brown Bag Lunches." Essentially, he realized that each of us has a talent, one that other people would be interested in learning about, in order to achieve some type of self-improvement. For example, some fellow MBA students have great PowerPoint skills, while others excel at giving oral presentations. My team member envisaged that it would be ideal to have informal lunches where those who have a particular skill would be able to share their tips for success with others. I was flattered that my teammate had asked me to present at one of these Brown Bag Lunches to speak about my time management abilities.

During lunchtime today, I gave my time management workshop and I am very pleased with the positive feedback. It was great to be able to share my tips and tricks, and I hope that everyone who attended was able to walk away with new insight into time management. I have to congratulate Hassan and Sam, my classmates, for organizing the Brown Bag Lunch initiative. I'm looking forward to attending future workshops!

Right after today's workshop, my group presented our Ski Mont St-Bruno case for IT Management. I'm definitely getting some great practice for the upcoming case competition!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mark My Words

My team submitted our Globalization assignment on IKEA and the Rugmark label today. I was very happy that the professor mentioned several of the important points that we raised in our paper. I sincerely thank Lina, one of my classmates, for meeting with me to discuss this case a few weeks ago. We had a great brainstorming session before diving into the written part of the assignment.

After Globalization class, my team met to finalize our IT assignment on Ski Mont St-Bruno that's due tomorrow. I've just completed my final edit of the paper and tomorrow after lunch we will practice the presentation moments before the live version. I'm looking forward to getting some more presentation experience before my case competition!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back to School

I was back to school today and it was harder than I thought it would be. I was prepared, as usual, having done my readings during the break. That wasn't really the problem. I just found that everyone was getting swept up in the pressure of knowing that assignments are due now and finals are next week already, while I'm having the opposite reaction. I'm so calm and collected that I'm nervous I'm doing something wrong. It's a really bizarre sensation.

Weird feelings aside, I was pretty excited about a couple things that happened today. First of all, my CSR team had the chance to meet with Anik Low, a student from last year's HEC Montreal team. We got some great pointers from her about last year's Rotman CSR case competition which I am sure will now be the first things our team will address. I can't wait!

The second great news of the day was the announcement of the company we will be working with for our HEC Challenge course in P4. The company is Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois, a chocolate factory. Not only am I a candy connoisseur, I am also a regular Food Network viewer who watches any show that mentions chocolate (Cake Challenges, Unwrapped, etc.). To say I am looking forward to this is an understatement.

Being in a Marketing class right now has shaped my perspective about products, brands, and images. I read an article today about under-promising and over-delivering which made me think about Bernard Szederkenyi, VP of Customer Management at Koodo Mobile. He contacted me through my blog, having seen that I'd done some research on Koodo for school. He later took several hours out of his today to assist my team with our Marketing project. I was so thrilled and delighted by his genuine help that I have told this story to others and I would now recommend Koodo's service to anyone seeking a Canadian cell phone carrier. What was the cost to him? A few hours of his time. The positive potential for business? Huge. To me, this is a great example of what the article described.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Passport to the World

This morning, I was up bright and early to go to Passport Canada at exactly 7:30 when the office opens. Not surprisingly, even though I was there at opening, I still had to wait half an hour since so many people were already there before me. Oh well. At least I will get my new Canadian passport mailed to me on January 23!

Registration begins today for the P5 and P6 electives. At exactly noon, I will be sitting at my computer, ready to sign up for the courses I want. I will be taking a combination of Marketing, International Business, Management, and Human Resources Management classes if all things go according to plan.

After my course registration, I will be meeting one of my classmates at school to begin the dreaded Finance studying. Fortunately, Reagan and I study well together and I have a feeling that the studying will go better than expected. I suppose I will find out soon enough.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Closing Time

This concludes my final week of vacation and I'm sad that the fun is all coming to a close. I spent the day mostly doing readings for Strategy, Globalization, and IT, so I guess the fun really ended already anyway. Honestly, though, there is a lot to look forward to once school returns, even though the next two weeks will be focused on final assignments and exams.

Today, while reading my CSR feed, I noticed that there was an article about the MBA and sustainability. Apparently, there is an MBA Sustainability Leadership Bootcamp in February. Unfortunately, since we will have class then, HEC Montreal students won't be able to participate, but it seems like a great opportunity for other MBA students and graduates.

Right now, about 20 of my fellow classmates are competing at the MBA Games in Edmonton. Good luck team!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I had made a conscious effort not to update my blog during my holidays because I wanted to take a complete vacation from school, and that included any reminder of my schoolwork. Even though I spent the first few days of the holiday working on my Marketing and Globalization assignments, that was really the only time I dedicated to school. I needed to focus my energies elsewhere for the holidays so I could come back fully refreshed and ready to finish the semester.

This week marks my unofficial return to schoolwork. Yesterday, I spent the entire day studying for all classes except Finance. Today, I sat down to study Finance and I couldn't make it very long without looking for something else to do. In light of this, I have decided to spend the rest of this week working on my other assignments and tasks, and when I return to school next week, I will study full force for Finance with my classmates.

There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon and I'm choosing to focus on those. I have my CSR case competition coming up in a few weeks, we get to choose our electives for P5 and P6 soon, I will find out if I was selected for the Russia Campus Abroad, and I will be planning my March Break vacation! As for my New Year's resolutions, thus far, I have only one major one:  meet at least one new person a week. This MBA has presented me with a great opportunity to reach out and meet new people, and I am committed to making the experience great by making a concerted effort to get out there and make the most of it.