Spot the differences

2198892027_3252e02b3cAlthough I’m not quite sure if two weeks into a 2 year course gives me enough comparison material, and realising full well I’m comparing apples and pears, I’ve been thinking about the differences between the MBA and this MA in Design Studies (henceforth known as MADS, I’m too lazy to type the whole thing out every time I mention it). Beyond the obvious (many more women at MADS than LBS; students are younger on the whole, most of them have a creative background, they’re a lot more funkily clothed and I’ve not seen a Financial Times in class yet) there’s also some differences that go a little deeper. *deep thought alert. well, semi-deep thought then*

The MBA is mostly about making good choices. Knowing which tools and frameworks to use when and how to choose the best option. Strategy, finance, operations, but even to an extent marketing and entrepreneurship help you become a better manager. You learn to manage and choose from a range options. And that’s a very good thing methinks, provided you’re reasonably good at it of course. MADS is all about generating options. It’s about those steps that come before choosing an option from a set: it’s all about creating something new. Very different mindset. And I’m kinda doing it backwards: I learned to make logical choices before I learned how to make the things that you choose between.

Right. That’s enough deep thought for today. I haven’t fully adjusted to my course schedule and the work that comes with it yet, plus at work the workload has jumped up and bitten me in the bum these past two weeks, and I’ve planned a ton of social engagements so I’m struggling to find time to answer personal email and to blog. I reckon I need a few weeks to adjust my schedule back to what feels like more normal again. So excuse me for making this post a bit of a hotchpotch of random thoughts.

Photo at the top of the page was taken in the Tube on the way home yesterday and I don’t mean to be rude, but I can’t believe Vicks put this out. Come on guys, you can do better than this! Damned, you’re owned by P&G, they have more than enough money to hire a good agency. Show some guts and vision. Anyone spot the dodgy statistic in the ad? This kind of stuff irks me. It’s unnecessary. It’s unimaginative, boring and juggles dodgy stats. *Sigh*

Visiting a b-school is a lot like dating

810755727_9d0aa748caLike the ever-handsome-and-clever Patxi (yes, ladies, it is true, there are some very handsome men at LBS*! But before you all rush out, this one’s taken), I got an email from Manoj asking for advice when visiting b-schools. I think Patxi has put down very useful comments and for a while there I didn’t think there was anything I could add. However, I wouldn’t be I (me?) if at one point I do feel there’s something I need to say about this too. So here it goes.

Visiting a b-school is a lot like taking a girl on a first date (not that I have any personal experience in taking a girl out on a date, I must admit, I prefer to date guys, but I’m extrapolating from my experience of watching American movies). If you asked her out, that means that you already think she’s going to be nice/interesting/sexy/entertaining (delete or add as appropriate) so the groundwork is laid. You dress up nicely, but not too formal, just enough so she can tell you made an effort. You come on time, make an effort to be courteous and interesting and most of all interested in her, and try and leave a good impression in general and not behave like an idiot/raving lunatic/serial killer (again delete or add as appropriate, you get my drift). You try and figure out if you want to go on another date. Now that’s exactly the process of visiting a b-school too. Follow the above (and most of all, read Patxi’s advice, which is much more practical) and you’re sorted.

I’m getting ready for what promises to be an interesting week. Tomorrow one of my old housemates is back in town (yeehaaw!), Tuesday and Wednesday I’m off to Istanbul/Ankara for what promises to be a whirlwind business trip, and Thursday it’s back to normal schedule again. I spent the past two days trying to assemble a wardrobe for a business trip: after ditching my suits 4 years ago, and only having a few dresses/skirts I really needed a wardrobe update (although no suits are necessary, it’s not that kind of business, I still needed more than trainers, a tee and jeans). And of course with my first paycheck update, and some of the sales still on, I had a blast :-) I had forgotten exactly how nice it is to shop with a paycheck in the bank.

Above photo taken about a month ago in my ‘hood in London, as always with the trusty N95.

* That said, I must say that all the male LBS MBA bloggers are quite handsome… maybe it’s a blogging thing ;-)

[edited to add: btw, I’ve officially graduated. Got the letter last week. Now all that’s left is the nice shiny piece of paper that someone’s calligraphed my name on. Apparently, that will take a little while, till sometime in autumn.]

I’m too lazy to think of a title

[Part of this post was written on Monday, right before our internet connection at home became possessed and we’ve been living with its temperamental whims all week. It seems fine now.]

I’ve just come back from a short weekend trip over to NL to celebrate my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary (happy anniversary mum and dad!), which was a blast. We had a cycle tour round Amsterdam (which none of us know very well, we’re not from there. Please don’t ask me next time you see me. Yes I am from NL. No I’m not from Amsterdam. And hardly know anything about it. Which is why we took a guided tour.). Had a lovely dinner, hung out, celebrated. Life is very good!

On my way out I picked up a copy of Monocle magazine (hat tip to mr NW who brought it to my attention), which although ultra-yuppie-hipper-than-thou, something which I don’t think I am at all, I liked a lot. Find out more here [link via the excellent Putting People First].

On a Grolsch update: they’re going to do some cool stuff at the Lowlands Festival this summer. They’re kitting out some festival-goers with an RFID armtag, and there will be camera crews roaming around. If you, the one wearing the armband, feel like being filmed, you hail them, they scan your band and they shoot whatever’s happening. The whole thing will then be uploaded to a website. If you can read Dutch, read all about it here.

[now back to Friday night again, this is some original content written on the day that I’m posting this]
Wow, what a week it’s been. With goodbyes, reunions. dinners, Proms (last night, very good) and of course work it’s been packed. Something no one warned me about, and I should’ve known this but hadn’t realized: a lot of people are saying goodbye because they’ll be moving elsewhere to work. And I’m the worst at saying goodbye. Ever. Dunno why, but I hate them. I’m not good at them, I don’t like ‘em. That’s not true. I stink at them. My own and even more so other people’s.

I’ve been trying to think about what to say about my job (assuming some of you, and I’m pointing at you Rogier, might be curious). I haven’t talked to my bosses about the blog, so I won’t mention any names. However, I feel comfortable saying that I’m working for a branding and design consultancy, a small and entrepreneurial one (just the way I like my employers) with cool offices south of the river close to both here (where I saw this today) and here and doing some amazingly good work (well, I would say that, wouldn’t I ;- ehm, I didn’t mean that I do amazingly good work, but the company does). And I’m really liking it. It’s exactly what I had dreamed of doing post MBA. And of course being a good design company, they have Macs, so my office laptop is a nice and shiny 17inch Powerbook.

Photo at the top taken on my way home from work, curiously enough in the same location as this one. Southwark is a bit of a weird neighbourhood ;-)

My head’s too big

829289279_d54dc1151b Wow, what a week this has been. Since the last I had a chat, a lot has happened.

I’ve been to the Proms for the first time in my life (see pic left) and it was absolutely awesome. It was French Baroque, and I never knew it, but that’s very good music! Check out what I heard and saw here. [edit: after I finished writing this, I read this piece in the Guardian, which is very similar to what I’ve been going through in terms of starting to appreciate classical music more. Scroll through to two-thirds of the way down and there’s mention of the Prom I went to too. Good to read I’m not the only one who enjoyed my ears out! That’s not an expression I think. But it should be.]

I ran a 10k and live to tell the tale (no, don’t ask me for my time, suffice it to say that three guys disguised as taps finished shortly before me. And man did my legs hurt on Monday and Tuesday, that will teach me to stop training 3 weeks before the race). I want to run another one. And train better for it.

I went to the New Designers’ show and was bowled over by the quality and most of all by the passion of the young lads and ladies.

I said goodbye to yet another friend who is moving countries. I don’t like it when friends move countries I’ve decided. And that sucks, because over the next few weeks a few more of my friends will be moving (most notably Al and his mrs).

I met some of the Starting Bloc folks who were on LBS campus these past few days. Wow. They’re so passionate and friendly and fun to talk to!

I worked a whole workweek. It’s a bit weird being back at work again. I love my job, but am still a teeny bit freaked out by sitting in the same place for 5 days a week. Getting used to it though.

I went and had passport photos taken after which I trekked to the Dutch embassy to apply for a new passport, only to be told that my head was 1 milimeter too big. Sigh. That’s the second time in a couple of months someone thinks my head’s too big! (I was trying to find the original post where my mum measured my head for graduation, but can’t find it now).

I spent today cheering on a friend for her 5K (go Kim!) and then went on a photosafari with a friend which reminded me how much I miss roaming out and about with my camera.

I realised that I miss living in the Netherlands. Lord knows why this realisation dawned on me this week. Perhaps it was the trip to the Dutch embassy. Or the upcoming quick trip to NL to celebrate my parent’s wedding anniversary. Anyway. I miss it. I miss cycling to the Albert Heijn for groceries, shopping at the HEMA and Bijenkorf, and being able to drive to my parents to see them or my popping up to see my friends. I miss it. A lot.

I realised also (and this is totally contrary to the previous one) that I absolutely love living in London. From Sunday papers to afternoon tea, to the wonderful museums and architecture, to riding at the top on a bus through central London, I do seriously love this city.

I forgot to mention in the past weeks that I’ve also been to the How We Are exhibit at the Tate Britain which was very good (although the audioguide was weak, the photos were stunning), and I saw some of the Grand Tour paintings (both of these were on my cultural to do list).

I just realised that all of these start with an I. Ouch. Sorry.

Life as an alumn is so far so good, really. It still hasn’t dawned on me that my weekends are mine to do with what I please again without feeling like I should be finishing up a project. And that I no longer have a locker at LBS to stuff my gym shoes in. But other than that, no big changes just yet.

Thanks for all the comments on the blog, I finally managed to have a look and respond to them. That’s what you get with mobile blogging: I don’t even need my laptop to blog so get lazy about responding.

The beginning of the end

They’ve started building the marquee for the graduation ceremonies and summer ball. The beginning of the end. Sigh. Alright. Time to stop the drama queen act and get back to work. Before I graduate there’s still tons to do!

It’s spreading like wildfire

This t-shirt is spreading like wildfire at LBS, this is the second person wearing it :-)

These past few days have been… ehm… interesting. I visited the largest Hindu temple outside India (which is in Neasden, north west London, see picture, can highly recommend, I was very impressed), tested a computer simulation program for a prof at LBS, ironed out problems and outstanding items surrounding the yearbook, catch up with friends (hi Farhan!), become nostalgic about going to miss LBS, kicking myself for not sorting out my life yet followed by trying to sort out my life, working on my CPM homework. Oh, and trying to enjoy the lovely weather we’ve been having. And trying not to get buried in an avalanche of email that for some strange reason hit my emailbox in the past two days. And hearing complaints about not writing longer blog entries. I think it’s the phone. A picture is worth a thousand words. Or maybe I’m just too lazy. Or mentally-elsewhere-occupied to string together more than one paragraph. 3 more weeks in the MBA and I’m trying to squeeze it for everything that’s in there.

There’s a bunch of stuff in the pipeline for this blog, some wisdom, some lessons learnt etc. To follow when life is slightly quieter than this.

(waving my hand)

…to (at?) all the admits I met over the weekend. We hosted some 140 MBA2009s and 50 partners and the campus was buzzing! I really enjoyed myself, talked to a bunch of really nice people, ran around trying to help to make everything go smoothly (assisted by a lovely team, including my sidekick Al), danced my legs off on our LBS band, was stunned by the amount of people reading this blog (hello!). Especially that made a big impression on me. Apparently there’s actually people reading this. People beyond just my friends and family, people I had no idea existed. I haven’t quite figured out what to say when people say they read this though. Beyond ‘thanks’ I’m pretty tongue tied. You know so much about me. I know nothing about you. It’s kinda weird. I need to think about this. Anyway, lovely to meet you all. And fellow blogger M!

Yesterday we had some awesome guest speakers in our CPM class, I want to write about it, but don’t have time now, so I’ll save it for later. I need a hot shower. My body feels like it’s been hit by a truck. Maybe I’m getting too old for admits weekends ;-)

CPM is everywhere!

Outside the Windsor Castle tonight
Outside the Windsor Castle tonight, having a drink on the picknick benches, when I saw this sign… CPM (LBS MBA elective Creativity and Personal Mastery that I’m taking right now) is everywhere :-)


Even this over-zealous MBA student needs a break from the MBA every now and again and what better way than to celebrate a mini-one-day holiday in my own lovely London? I woke up, pottered around for a bit, then headed over to the V&A to check out their Surrealism exhibit, which I liked after a rocky start. Once you walk in, you’re plunged headfirst into surrealism, and for someone like me who only really knew Dali and Magritte a little, it was a bit confusing. I decided to lean into it though, instead of getting frustrated and I ended up enjoying the exhibit a lot especially the furniture and ballet sections.

After buying some postcards (I have a thing for museumshops and the one at the V&A is one of the best and most imaginative I’ve seen) I headed over to Harrods, tourist destination extraordinaire. Their foodhalls are some of the best in London, and I got some lunch, wandered into Hyde Park and had a lovely picknick. Read John Maeda’s Laws of Simplicity which I enjoyed tremendously (read it if you’re interested in design, you won’t regret it), worked on my tan, and then headed over to Oxford Street to check out Primark. Ever since it opened a little while ago, there’s been a lot of hooha about it and I wanted to see it for myself. Oh my word. It’s definitely a retail phenomenon, even though it isn’t my taste. It was interesting to see people drag baskets of clothes around as if they were giving them away for free and most weirdly: there was an endless line in front of the changing rooms, with dresses for £8, I would take a gamble and not wait 30 minutes in line to try it on I guess…

Tomorrow it’s back to MBA reality with the kick off of the class gift campaign, CPM class and yearbook preparations.

Face of Fashion

Exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. It was good. Not mind-blowingingly awesome, but pretty good and well worth the effort.

[edit: So I thought about this exhibit some more. There were a lot more women than men visiting the exhibit. Is it art or advertising? Or both? This was my favourite photographer. But I also like this guy’s photos a lot. The National Portrait Gallery rocks. Listen to the exhibit here. If you want to see it, hurry, Face of Fashion closes May 28th.]

This could very well be

the second nicest cheesecake I’ve ever had (it’s the swiss mountain one, available here, made by this company). The best is still my mum’s. Nothing beats her cheesecake. Or appeltaart (Dutch apple pie).

The student ambassadors were treated to dinner last night by the admissions office. Admits Weekend 2007 is coming up fast and we’re getting ready to receive the MBA2009 class on campus on June 1st, 2nd and 3rd: the first year student ambassadors and the admissions office are running around like mad trying to get everything organized, this year I’m taking a back seat in organizing, although I’ll definitely be there on the weekend itself (come up and say hi if you’re coming!) running around like a headless chicken.

In the meantime I’m still working hard on my 2YP, it’s kinda coming together now, later than I’d hoped, but better late than never. Special mention goes out to my very good friend H who helped me with the model, without you I’d still be stuck :-)