Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The search continues...

I have been researching schools over the last couple of weeks, primarily going through the information on the websites to check out the 'FIT'! I believe I finally understand what fit means... atleast I get a feeling of when something in a program/school excites me and makes me want to know more about it!

My primary aim is to narrow down to a group of 10-12 schools from which I can pick and choose the final 5-6, could be lesser but surely not more! And the deadline is March after which I concentrate only on those schools and dig deeper, setup contacts and talk to my would-be recommenders, read up on essay-writing, resume-building and the like...

The other thing that I am really interested in is the Corporate Service Corps initiative... It not only would be a great experience if I am selected, it would also make for a very good story for my applications! Since I fulfill all the criteria there is only a form to be filled and submitted but the catch is that I have to first talk to my people manager and get his approval which might be difficult considering its a 3-month in-house work followed by 1-month in-country work! If the project were to wind up by May, it would be perfect timing but till Feb 15, nothing can be said for sure.... But Feb 15 also happens to be the last date for submission so I have to talk to him and convince him to approve my registration... I have a chat scheduled with Claudia sometime this weekend, soon after that I plan to talk to Ajit and get it out in the open.

With so many things, big and small, happening all around me, time seems to fly by.... its hard to believe that 2008 is already a month old!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Who moved MY cheese?

Today, I had a learning experience today thanks to the world-famous 'Who moved my cheese?'
Now I had already read the book and so when I heard that Anant Bull-winkle(thats not his surname really but I like calling it that!) wanted to hold an audio session with the team on it, I wasn't exactly thrilled.... I mean, I had already read the book and in this day and age of videos and 3D and 4D, plain simple audio would be soooo boring!

And as the session got underway, my opinion was only reaffirmed but then as I tried to make a genuine effort to pay attention, I realized that the book (or rather the audio) did indeed have many lessons to share. Anybody who has read the book would know that it talks about change and how different people are impacted by it and how they react to it. It also tells us that change is inevitable , not good or bad... what makes it so is how we face it. Change, most of the times, is actually a harbinger of opportunities and more change, like right now! There is a major change in progress at work and though nothing is clear as yet, I feel it in the air. I just have this feeling that it is all going to end well for me :)

Speaking of change, there is one another thing that came out repeatedly in the story and that is - the power of dreams, of wishes! Everytime Haw felt scared, depressed he imagined himself reaching his goal - the next cheese station - and it made him feel good, gave him the courage and energy to carry on. Don't we all feel great when we imagine ourselves achieving the goal we have set, living the dream we have dreamt? I sure do.... these days I often dream of my graduation day, actually :D I am actually feeling quite good about myself these days.... I know the road is long and the destination distant but I am on my way and I will get there!

Like a wise man once said - 'God did not give you a wish without giving you the power to fulfill it. You would have to work for it, though.'

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Common phrases on Bschool websites

1. Its not what experiences you had, but what you made of the experiences you had
2. Rather than focus on specific categories of work experiences, applicants should focus on their roles, responsibilities, and what they have learned from the types of work experiences that they have been involved in.
3. Experential learning
4. We are one of the few schools that are constantly innovating to confront the changing business scenario and prepare world-class leaders who are ready for all challenges
5. diversity of thought, experiences and true appreciation of others' opinions
6. Achieving personal mastery through self-awareness and self-development

Setting SMART goals

I have recently been reading about goal-setting, time management and decision making and there was something interesting that I came across on Mindtools about setting smart goals. Now haven't we all heard of that before but they had an interesting twist to it -

Quite 'smart', isn't it?
Also realized that Pareto's principle (80:20 rule) does influence my daily productivity significantly! What exactly is the 80:20 rule as applied here? - 80% of unfocused effort produces only 20% of the results desired.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Resolutions to keep!

This new year I will begin and keep an exercise routine was one of the resolutions I had made for myself alongwith learning to dance :) Dont know about dancing but I have started implementing the exercise routine thingie!
Started last week with surya namaskar, easy to do and quite beneficial! Last week was more of a start-stop week with me oversleeping on a number of days but next week on I am going to be more rigid with the routine. Aerobics is also one form that I always wanted to try out and so am reading up on it... is it safe enough to try out alone? what are the requirements, if any, for practicing it? where do I get videos and aerobic music? etc etc. I found this one video routine that I really liked - Latino Macarena
I have also begun (or should I say, re-begun) my school hunt and I am making slow but methodical progress and hope to be done with it by March. Self-analysis and introspection is also in progress and with the loss of contract, I have to do it on more than one level so taking it nice and slow for now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Isnt this what surviving is all about?!

The inimitable Calvin!!

the Big Blue gets dinged!

What does one feel when something that was so expected to happen a certain way that it was almost taken for granted does not happen that way? Shocked? Stunned? Bamboozled??!! Ok ok i guess all of them mean the same thing but you get my drift, right? Thats pretty much what I was feeling this Monday morning. Why, you ask? Now thats a long story....
The Big Blue has many clients for which it provides IT services, one of which is the makers of the acclaimed PS2 which also happens to be the client I am working for. The client, with intention of keeping costs low and also competition and thus performance high, had engaged multiple vendors for handling its IT services in the US. Now BB (for Big Blue) got the grand idea that if all the vendors were to be shunted out and a single vendor was to get the consolidated project, wouldn't it be wonderful? And thus began the 'CONSOLIDATION' saga.... It all began when I was in India with constant upper level meetings and and the little news that trickled down to us kept us on our toes! Later when I got to the client location, things got hotter.
Going into the year-end holidays, everyone was on tenterhooks! There was one meeting that I clearly remember where my boss's boss's boss came over to talk to us and reassure us by talking about how confident they were of landing the deal. There even was talk about how when (there was never an 'if', always a 'when') we do land the deal, there will be a greater business opportunity when BB would try to leverage this deal for proposing other ideas like PS3 with BB chips, Vaios with BB software pre-loaded etc etc!! Man, were we excited by the prospects!! Reassured, everyone went into the holidays with a smile...
One week back into the office and one Monday morning, the bomb is dropped! BB (suddenly less of the Big Blue and seeming more like a Bombed Bimbette) has lost the bid and also all the chances of landing the multi-billion dollar 5-year deal!!!
So what does all this mean for me? Is it back to India? Another project? in US? No idea, frankly! We are still in an uncertain phase regarding the future plan and for now, I am taking one day at a time and concentrating on my 'other' plan. I was quite scared and worried but now I know that there is not much I can do until the picture becomes clearer, which probably would be later this week or the next... and until then I am keeping my peace. We will see what the future holds!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vroom! Vroom! Vrooooooooom!!

I rented a car over the weekend on an impulse after spending the whole of Friday debating over whether I should or not, especially after the flash flood warning that was issued for the whole of California! But then i just went ahead and did it...
Picked up the car from the enterprise rentals at Iberia place around 9:30 on Saturday, a royal blue 2007 Nissan Sentra (license: 5ZTS423)! my first rental car :)
Took it for a spin and then got back home for lunch only to leave immediately afterwards for Target and Kohls! Did a fair bit of driving and since most of the while i was lost, i ended up driving around a lot towards the evening! Finally managed to reach home after doing my own shopping in my own car! Great feeling :D
The next day, my roomie and I decided to revisit Kohls for some shopping and also drop in at Walmart/Vons on the way back. We had hardly turned a corner when one of the car drivers alerted us about a flat tire! My first day at driving and I alreay had a flat!! Well, then we got back to our apartment, called up the rental office and arranged for the tire to be changed. The spare tire in the bonnet was the 50-50 tire (good for only 50 miles that too at a speed not greater than 50) so that ruled out any freeway driving for us! Anyways, we set out once again and after getting the air pressure checked at a nearby gasd-station we were on our way to Kohls...
I ended up shopping a lot unnecessarily and have now resolved to abstain from all kinds of shopping till the monthend, atleast! That done, we also dropped in at Walmart and Vons to pick up some groceries and then we were on our way back.
I was planning to go around a lil bit in the evening but i guess I have had enough driving in the two days ( i wonder, how many miles?) so now I will be returning the car tomorrow morning but before that I have to fill up the tank and also take a picture of my FIRST rental car!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year Resolutions and Mishaps

The New year did begin quite well with me coming right after the wonderful road trip and all of the fun and enjoyment reminded me of the major task i have ahead of me this new year - the MBA process! Yes, it begins again...
I have a couple of resolutions made up for it and I intend to stick to it. The one thing that staying alone has taught me is 'no sin bigger than procastination' so I am already getting started (just hope i dont lose the fizz midway!)
But the new year also did bring some minor mishaps like my laptop getting conked off which resulted in my losing all the tons of photographs from the trip, though I had shared quite a few before the crash and others do have lots of pics of their own, losing my lot is very distressing :( I also had so many other photographs right from the time i got here in SD but nyways no point in crying over spilled milk! I have to now be content with the photos that are there and depend for the rest on my memory...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Road trip - Winter 2007

I am back in the blogosphere after a long hiatus and there is so much to update, especially the road trip that I went on with a few friends and friends' friends!
It was a time of many many firsts - first time on a domestic flight (made all the possible security breaches that were possible!), first time on any kind of road-trip that lasted for almost 11 days, first time experience of snow (3 days of snow and i was ready to get back to Sunny San Diego), first time going out with a group of almost complete strangers and having so much fun!!
The trip took us straight upto Oregon state to the Redwood national park and Crater lake as our first stop and then we slowly travelled back down right upto San Diego downtown with stops at Mount Shasta, Lava Beds, klamath Falls, Redding, San Fransisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Diego National Park, Point Loma, Santa Monica, Carmel, Fisherman's Wharf and finally ending with the New Year's party at an Indian joint in downtown San Diego.... It was one helluva ride!
Looking forward to many such trips as i already have a list of dream destinations ready for the new year :)