Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Unthinkable

I managed to do the unthinkable. Between yesterday and today, I completed four assignments (two for From Boss to Coach, one for Selling and Negotiating, and one for Managers and Negotiation). Now, all I want to do is crawl into a ball and go to sleep! Of course, my work is not over yet because I still have to do readings, but at least now I will be able to enjoy my upcoming birthday weekend without unfinished assignments looming.

For one of the From Boss to Coach assignments, I wrote a critical book analysis of GIVING the Real Recognition Way by Roy Saunderson. In order to properly analyze the book, I did a bit of research on the author and I stumbled upon the video below.

What is interesting about the video is that Saunderson echoes something that Francis Ford Coppola mentioned during C2-MTL. At C2-MTL, Coppola said, "The things you get fired for when you're young are the things you get lifetime achievement awards for when you're old." In the video, Saunderson provides a personal experience that reiterates exactly that point!

Also, at C2-MTL, I had spoken with Amber Mac, who wrote a recent Fast Company article called "3 Things Professional Women Should Stop Apologizing For." Considering that I was recently talking to a fellow female student about the issues plaguing women in the workforce, the article provides excellent advice for women in MBA programs.

If anyone has a great startup idea, FounderFuel is now accepting applications for their startup accelerator program. I have met a couple people who are now alumni of the program and it seems like a great opportunity. More information about FounderFuel can be found here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I feel fortunate to have an MBA professor who is so forward-thinking. Today, my Digital Marketing professor was stressing the importance of learning about social media within an MBA program. In fact, there is a Huffington Post article that emphasizes this point and discusses the lack of social media learnings in MBA curricula. Fortunately, the article shares recommendations for those whose education left out this important facet of technology.

I emailed the C2-MTL staff today with a suggestion for a speaker for next year's conference:  Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. It turns out that she was invited this year and will likely be invited again next year. I think she would be an excellent contributor to the event!

As someone who is interested in time management, I was excited to find an Inc. article with a supposed secret on the topic. Sadly, the suggestion is so weird and complicated - I would never recommend it! Perhaps it works for someone else, but it would never work for me.

I was elated to see that Canada made the list of the top 10 happiest countries in the world. See the article here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pots and Pans

As I write this post, pots and pans are clanging in the background outside. It is all part of the student protest for the Quebec tuition increase. More information about the clanging of student unrest can be found in the Gazette article here. Fortunately, HEC Montreal students have not been on strike and so things have been calm at my school.

Today, in From Boss to Coach, I did a role-play where I was a manager explaining a prioritization change to a new employee. See a photo from class below.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Beginning of the End

It is clear to me that this point in the MBA program represents the beginning of the end. Students, whether due to the nice weather or the continuous studies, are unmotivated and ready for the MBA to be over. In reality, I have only two more weeks to get through and then P6 is over. After that, I'll have my Campus Abroad to Russia (P7), then my National Film Board (NFB) consulting project (P8), and finally a brief Ethics semester (P9). It is bittersweet to think that the MBA will be over soon. I know I will miss the experience.

I am charging through my work this weekend, particularly a Southwest Airlines case for Services Marketing and my team assignment for Selling and Negotiating. It's hard to believe that I have so few P6 assignments left to do! Also, when I took my Operations Management exam in P4, it was my last final exam for the MBA program. I have purposely been taking courses that have no final exams because I don't see the value in test-taking. I was happy to see an article in The Chronicle that shares my viewpoint.

This afternoon, I spoke with an ex-colleague who is applying for an MBA program. It was great to be able to field her questions and give her insight into the MBA experience. One of the things I mentioned during our chat was the importance of sharing your career goals with everyone, including classmates, school administrators, friends, etc. Interestingly, only a few minutes after our call, one of my classmates sent me a job posting for the type of job I've been seeking.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back to the Books

I have to admit that it's extremely hard to focus on my return to schoolwork today now that the fun of C2-MTL is, sadly, over. It was an amazing week of conferences, new friends, cool ideas, and of course volunteer work which involved being a personal concierge to the speakers. I had the opportunity to spend time with speakers Dr. Rex Jung and Jennifer Yuh Nelson, as well as participants of the event, which happened to include winning emerging entrepreneur Hicham Ratnani (founder of Modasuite and Frank & Oak) who I met last week. See a photo of Hicham and me from the new PHI Centre below.

Despite my late night at the Finale Party featuring Moby, this morning I attended my film screening with my P8 team to watch the NFB's upcoming documentary about women in Canada. It was quite an emotional and touching film and I am looking forward to developing the marketing plan for it with my team in July! We had a great meeting after the screening and one of my teammates already proposed an excellent suggestion for the film's title.

Now, I am awaiting a make-up course for my Selling and Negotiating class which will be this evening. In the meantime, it is back to the books as I catch up on my work in the library.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Commerce + Creativity

This has been an insane past few days! In preparation for my C2-MTL volunteer duties this week, I have been packing two weeks of schoolwork into one week. It didn't help that this past weekend was the first beautifully sunny weekend in the city and I wanted to spend as much time outside as possible. In the end, I was able to complete my assignments and enjoy the outdoors, but it was a crazy undertaking.

Now I am officially in C2-MTL mode, with a break from school until Friday night. In fact, my Digital Marketing team is doing our JetBlue on Twitter presentation right now, while I am preparing my calendar for C2-MTL. Actually, you can see JetBlue's shout-out to our class here. Due to my absence, I created a video for our presentation (see below).

Last night, all of the C2-MTL volunteers got a tour of the facilities and obtained our gear. My content team also went out for dinner afterwards, which was a great bonding experience. We have a great team and I am looking forward to our meeting and activities today. See a sneak preview of the C2-MTL venue below.

Le Main at New City Gas

Yellow Room (as opposed to the Pink Room or the Green Room)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

For Peanuts

AméricaEconomía Intelligence has just released the 2012 MBA Global Ranking Results and HEC Montreal is placed in the number 14 spot! See the list of the top 33 schools here.

Yesterday's webcom speakers raised some excellent points about social media that were helpful in my preparation for my meeting with my Digital Marketing team today. My team meeting went well this morning and I am now ready to do my part for our JetBlue on Twitter (@JetBlue) presentation.

This afternoon, the HEC Montreal MBA students had a unique opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship through a Lunch and Learn event that was organized by one of our classmates. We had the chance to hear Hicham Ratnani, founder of Frank & Oak, discuss his career trajectory that ultimately led him to establish an e-commerce men's fashion business.

At one point, Hicham said that "you can't do entrepreneurship part-time." This reminded me of two young women Keeley and Erika who started a peanut butter business called Wild Squirrel Nut Butter and were recently featured on Shark Tank. On the episode, Kevin O'Leary stated that it would be implausible for the girls to continue at university while still focusing on the business demands.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Tangled Web

Interestingly, news source Asian Correspondent recently released a list of the top North American business schools for Asian students and HEC Montreal is on the list. I'm not sure what exactly qualifies as being a good school for Asian students, but alas, I did not make this list. See the article here.

Yesterday, in our Digital Marketing class, our professor showed us two videos featuring Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. Coincidentally, immediately after leaving class, my Zite news feed had two articles featuring this acclaimed professor. The first article was about his latest book, How Will You Measure Your Life, and the second article was from Fast Company with a featured excerpt from the book, explaining how to find work that you love. For those students who found Christensen's work particularly interesting, these should prove to be good reads.

Although I have been sleep-deprived these past few days, I finally caught up on my sleep last night - I slept for 10 hours! It proved to be beneficial, since I was able to complete my 10-page paper for From Boss to Coach today. This evening, I also attended webcom Montreal for a free speed-keynotes conference, where I got to hear from Rawn Shah (@rawn), Sameer Patel (@sameerpatel), Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang), and Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd). I really liked the examples that Stowe Boyd used, particularly when he mentioned a Lock Haven University study that showed that Twitter users earned half a GPA point higher than non-users (see article here).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Knowing Me, Knowing You

In From Boss to Coach today, our professor talked about the importance of knowing ourselves, and thus using a learning log to write about our experiences. Fortunately, through my blog, I am already working on this.

Today was the start to what will be an extremely busy two weeks. My team's Starbucks presentation for Services Marketing went very well and we received lots of great feedback from our classmates and professor; although, our professor did point out that it would have been better to include one additional PowerPoint slide with an internal and external analysis. Nonetheless, I am very happy with my team's work!

Between today's classes, I led a tour of the HEC Montreal building for a prospective student who is from Toronto. I was so happy that he asked some questions which were also unknown to me at the time that I was in his shoes. It gave me an opportunity to clarify them for him before he enters the program, should he decide to choose HEC Montreal for his MBA. I hope he does!

It seems that MBA application processes are being influenced by Twitter. According to Culture-ist, some MBA programs are asking their applicants to submit essays with less than 200 characters (see the article here). It is definitely something to think about for tomorrow's Digital Marketing class and my team's meeting this week about JetBlue on Twitter.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

C2-MTL: Wow!

I am so honoured to be a part of the C2-MTL team! I've just completed an amazing weekend of volunteer training that gave us insight into the speakers, the venue, and the sponsors. It also gave me an opportunity to catch up with an old friend from McGill and make lots of new friends. We even had the chance to hear and work with one of the speakers Lotfi El-Ghandouri who was awesome and received a well-deserved standing ovation. I guarantee that C2-MTL is going to be the best event in Montreal!

Amidst all the excitement, I am trying not to get too distracted from my schoolwork. Although, C2-MTL will probably prove to be just as important in my career development. Nonetheless, I am trying to stay on top of my studies and I have relentlessly practiced my part for tomorrow morning's Services Marketing team presentation about Starbucks and its unbranded stores (an Economic Times article about the subject can be found here). I am also expected to produce five deliverables next week - the week of C2-MTL. This is going to be crazy, but so worth it!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Social Mention

My second QS TopMBA Connect article is out! The subject this time? The GMAT. Read about my GMAT experience here.

My head is spinning with articles about Twitter and social media that I read today in preparation for my upcoming team meeting about the JetBlue and Twitter case (Amplifying Perceptions:  How JetBlue Uses Twitter to Drive Engagement and Satisfaction). JetBlue certainly has a solid grasp on how to engage individuals through Twitter.

With such a sunny, beautiful, peaceful day today, it's hard to believe that the rainy metro mayhem was only just yesterday. Today was a perfect time to get out and enjoy the sunshine before my busy C2-MTL volunteer training weekend ahead.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Smoke and Mirrors

The city seemed to be in absolute chaos this morning. For an hour and a half during rush hour, all metro lines were stopped, buses were packed with people, taxis were occupied, and there was bumper-to-bumper traffic on the roads. It was all due to smoke bombs that had been set off at a few metro locations, completely paralyzing the city's metro system. The Gazette article about this morning's metro incident is here.

I suppose that many of my MBA classmates were able to safely avoid the situation, since they were en route to Toronto for MBA recruitment and networking events. I wish everyone in Toronto much success at the events!

Oftentimes, I find links between things in my courses and news articles that I read. But this time, I noticed a link between two things I recently blogged about, and it's a combination I never would have expected:  Cirque du Soleil and Major League Baseball (MLB)! The cast of Cirque du Soleil's "Totem" show was responsible for the National Anthem and first pitch at Petco Park this week. The brief article and video about it can be accessed at here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Roundup

My Services Marketing and Digital Marketing Strategy professor Christian Dussart mentioned this week that MIT and Harvard have teamed up to work on a revolutionary online course initiative. A few of us were wondering what was so "revolutionary" about this, so I did a bit of research today and discovered the edX press release that explains the new platform. It looks like a great resource for online learning.

Also, this week, in my From Boss to Coach class, we talked about the influence of motivation, competence, and context on performance. Inc.'s article "10 Ways to Motivate Anyone" brings up a lot of the same points that we noted in class.

Sadly, I cannot talk much about my Managers and Negotiation course on my blog since we are pretty much sworn to secrecy in the course, promising not to divulge any information that would sour the experience for future cohorts. I can say, though, that this class has been a lot of fun so far and I am looking forward to my assignment that involves interviewing a skilled negotiator.

Today, I spent nearly the entire day reading for next week's Digital Marketing course, so that I can write the Major League Baseball (MLB) case before my busy volunteer training weekend for C2-MTL. It's overwhelming looking at my calendar and seeing all that I need to accomplish within the next month, but as always, I can do it!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cream of the Crop

This morning, I noticed that my friend Michelle's blog (The Honest Palate) had been updated recently. Since she has some great points about food health and safety, I thought I would share it with you. Besides, she mentioned that, in order for change in the industry to occur, it is important for people to know the information and post it on their own blogs, so that executives will begin to notice. Michelle, this is for you!

I am so happy because I actually completed all three of my assignments this weekend and I managed to get out and enjoy the sun today! I was even able to take the time to discuss my case with my assigned classmate for Managers and Negotiation, in preparation for Tuesday's class. It's great that I was able to get out while I could because I discovered a new favorite place in this city:  Kem CoBa. It's an ice cream shop that has homemade soft serve flavours that change regularly. Delicious!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

Even though I should be at my friend's birthday party now, I'm stuck inside working on my Services Marketing case about the Saint George Hospital in Beirut. With three assignments to work on this weekend, I sadly cannot do much else during this time. The worst part is that Montreal is finally experiencing some nice weather this weekend. Below you will find the weather forecast screen shot I took earlier today. With a great outlook for tomorrow, I want to finish my work as quickly as possible so I can get out and enjoy the sun while it is still around for the week.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Genuine Article

I really wish I had read Entrepreneur's "7 Tips for Networking" before I had attended our MBA recruitment event on Wednesday night. It would have been great to have seen these pointers beforehand, as a quick reminder of how to proceed. At least I have them available for next time!

Today, I have been doing a ton of reading for my Selling and Negotiating, Services Marketing, and Digital Marketing Strategy classes. In the midst of working on my Alumitech case for Selling and Negotiating, I happened to come across an Inc. article entitled "What a 9-Year-Old Can Teach You About Selling." Although I had already started my individual case assignment, I was happy to see my key points emphasized in the article, confirming that I was on the right path.

Looking at my calendar, it seems that just like last semester, every day that I have class, I have an assignment due. I have a feeling that P6 is going to be an overwhelming experience. Keeping up with courses, going through the job application process, volunteering for C2-MTL, and beginning work on my P8 Supervised Consulting Project are just a few of the things that will keep me busy this semester.

I have to say, though, this MBA experience has not only benefitted me, but my friends, too! One of my friends, who works for an NGO, contacted me today to ask me questions about partnerships between NGOs and corporations. Not only was I able to share my insight with her, but I was able to send her a couple articles about the topic from back when I worked on my team's Globalization assignment about IKEA and Rugmark.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Welcome to the Circus

This has definitely been an exciting past couple of days! Yesterday morning, I had my interview with Louis Vuitton and I'm extremely happy with how it went. Out of respect for the company and the selection process, I will not divulge too much except to say that the interview was not what I had expected. There was a great, friendly vibe in the room and I felt completely at ease. Since I know that I am being assessed against other HEC Montreal and McGill MBA student applicants, I am sure the competition is stiff. So even if I do not make it further in the process, I am happy to have had a lovely experience. Although, of course, I hope that I get called to a second interview!

This afternoon, I went to McGill to discuss a potential position as a National Recruiter for their MBA program. I asked how they had come to find me. Was it someone from the HEC Montreal Career Management Services (CMS) who had directed them to my candidature? Apparently not. It was solely my LinkedIn profile! Hence the reason why it is important to be on LinkedIn and to make sure your profile is accurate.

Having the potential for two job opportunities in a span of two days has made me feel pretty good. So tonight, when I went to the 2012 MBA Recruitment/Networking Event run by CMS, I felt less pressure to network with companies that truly did not spark my interest. In the end, I actually only met with one company:  Cirque du Soleil. I will definitely follow up and see if it leads anywhere.