No reason to be grumpy

Afb0037… but I am grumpy. I suppose having a headcold and trying to move to a different country trying to not have to charter a plane for all my stuff is not really agreeing with me. I foolishly threw away my kleenex yesterday and today I’m in desperate need of them. So I’m resorting to Starbucks napkins. Somehow I get the feeling that they were not designed to blow your nose with ;-)

Besides the headcold and the move, I’m doing alright. I think. There are so many things going on at the moment, that I’m finding it hard to sit down and think about what’s going on and how I’m doing. The most urgent things get done, and everything else seems to be shifting to the background. Hopefully, with a few days off at my parents, I should get a little R&R, and be ready and refreshed for NY.

Good news too: congrats to KV for landing a fulltime offer, well done amigo, I’m so happy for you!

Oh noooooo

Scared_monkeyRats. Feeling a bit under the weather today (slight summer cold), so made some comfort dinner in the oven. Have been a bit absent minded, opened the oven door, and forgot to put an oven glove on. So now I’ve got a blister on my right ringfinger. You reckon they will still let me into the US next week?!?

Far and away

Afb044_1My life still feels like one big to do list, which seems to be growing exponentially by the day. However, I keep on ticking on a lot of things to:

  • Go to Edinburgh for the weekend. Check. Went there last weekend with three friends and had a great time. I’m not a big fan of theatre, so I only went to the production that one of our classmates was putting on, but I saw some great art exhibitions, had some great meals and heard some great jazz. And had some great flight-delays. Edinburgh is such a cool city, can highly recommend it to anyone.
  • Find tenants for our landlady. Check. Done and sorted. Pfiew.
  • Catch up with (most) of my friends in London. Check. Think I’ve spoken to almost everyone I’ve wanted to speak to before I leave for NYC. Friends are a very good thing!
  • Have leaving lunch at work. Check. Had my leaving lunch today, although tomorrow’s my last day at work (today was the day the most people could make it). Nice lunch, very nice speech, very nice presents and very nice card. Great end to a great internship.
  • Organize leaving drinks for classmates. Check. Tomorrow night my housemate and I are hanging out in a local pub with our friends and classmates. I’ll be missing them when in NY.
  • Figure out what to do with all that s**t that magically appeared in my room. Sort of check. My parents were here and took 40 kgs home, a friend is storing two boxes of books, my binders have been reduced to a small stack of papers which will hopefully fit into my school locker, and the rest I am either throwing out, or taking with me to NY. Moving continents is hard to organize ;-)
  • Try and find time to blog. Check. But I’m struggling a little bit, apologies for that. There are so many emails (apologies again if I haven’t replied yet), moving issues and life in general interfering.
  • Worry about my shadowing project. Check. But less than last time I worried about it. Through a friend I’ve managed to get in contact with someone who’ll hopefully let me shadow them for a few days. Keep fingers crossed.
  • Crave Dutch food. Check. Good thing I’m off to my parents on Sunday before I’m off to New York next week, so that I can eat some of my mum’s wonderful food. Yum.

Words from a wise old woman

Images35Ah well, maybe not so old. And definitely not very wise. But I survived my first year of MBA and hope that the following might be useful to some of the first year’s starting soon (thanks to AngelAngie, who suffered through part of my sermon below already).

Take it easy. This is the most important advice I can give you. Take it easy. Don’t rush into things. Don’t sign up for every single club. Don’t volunteer to be president of a million clubs. Don’t expect to know every single detail about every single thing right away. Things happen as and when you need them. On a need to know basis. Go with the flow and see where it takes you. It’s one hell of a ride, this MBA thing, sit back, close your eyes and enjoy it!

Don’t take it easy. Yes, I know that contradicts the first one. But you need to find a balance between taking it easy and making the most out of your time here. Try and get an idea of what it is that you want to get out of your MBA (think back to those awful essays if you have to). Is it to learn, to network, to have fun, or a combination? What matters most? For me it’s most important to learn and to only do things that I love doing. Not like doing, but love doing. Figure it out before the rollercoaster ride starts, and you’ll know what experiences to look out for and which ones to participate in.

Buy books only when you have to. They’re expensive, they’re heavy and they’re a pain to have when you’re moving. And most of the time, you might not need them. I bought a couple of the textbooks, for a number of reasons: Finance because I know I need to revisit that at one point because there’s no way that I could remember that all in one go, Strategy because I think that in my lifetime I will not be able to remember all 5 of Porter’s 5 Forces, Financial Accounting because I completely did not get it the first time round (and because it’s heavy enough to function as a doorstop) etc. Try out the books first by getting them from the library, and if you think they’re useful, only then buy them.  Best place to buy books in London: online (obviously) and on Charing Cross Road at either Borders, Blackwells, or my favourite Foyles, who’ll all have discounts in September.

Don’t take too many electives. First year core courses are heavy, especially when you’re also looking for an internship, running around being involved with clubs etc. Think twice before taking more than one elective on top of your normal core curriculum. I thought twice, decided to take on two electives in Summer term, and struggled to cope with the workload (although I’m also glad I took both courses, they’re proving to come in handy now).

Have fun. Don’t forget to have fun. It’s only an MBA, it’s not real life. No one will get hurt if you pass a course with a B instead of an A (thanks to the wonders of grade nondisclosure). Enjoy everything that London has to offer. Go and travel, explore and remember there’s a whole world out there. Get to know people. Hang out. Read. Do nothing. And enjoy.

US Visa

Afb0252Oh, I forgot to tell the story of my US Visa. I had heard that the visa-people can get quite strict, so I packed a stack of paperwork the size of a Vogue magazine. This included evidence on how much I love the UK and how I very much intend to return here, how much money I’ve got, how I very much live here and pay bills here etc.

Got to the embassy, got my number and the big wait started. An hour and 92 pages in my book, I was called to the first window. Handed over a stack of filled out forms, and was sent back. 2 hours and 55 minutes, by which time I had finished my book, later I was called for my interview. After being gobstruck by the cuteness of the consul (he was REALLY cute, which makes it hard to answer any question intelligibly ;-), and answering two questions, he sent me on my way. So that made 4 hours wait, and 5 minutes visa stuff. They keep your passport to tack the visa onto, and send it to you via courier after notifying you.

Fast forward to a few days later. I walked out the door, ran down (ah, not quite true, I wished I did, but truth is that it was more a slow trod), and jumped on the tube. As the doors were closing, I suddenly remembered the big portfolio bag with the notes from our customer research the night before, the stuff that we were going to discuss that day! So got off at the first stop, took the tube back, and walked to my apartment building. As I walked in, our porter was talking to a courier, and pointed to me and said ‘That’s the one you want’. Turns out to be the courier with my passport. Somehow their notification hadn’t gotten through to me, so I didn’t know they were coming that day. If I hadn’t forgotten my bag, I would’ve missed him! Talk about lucky coincedence :-)

PS guy at the top left on the picture has nothing to do with the US embassy, but everything with the trip I made last weekend. He’s William of Orange, fellow Dutchie, who landed in Brixham long time ago. Couldn’t resist taking a pic of the one other Dutch person who was there!

Whoa…

Afb0202All of a sudden, life has taken a hectic turn. Apologies to everyone who reads this and whose emails I haven’t answered yet, I’ll try and get round to it this weekend. So what has happened that is making life so hectic and that has caused friend FL to call me ‘the Diva formerly known as Divine Miss N’ because I’ve been acting a little bit Diva-like and not respond to email and generally being hard to track down? Hmmm, nothing out of the ordinary really. You know how sometimes they predict horrible weather and it turns out to be a wonderful day, but that was so unexpected? Same here. I thought it was going to be nice and easy, turns out to be nice and whirlwind.

Afb035Last weekend, a friend and I went to Torquay for the weekend (which was my first time driving in a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the road), and that was good fun. Stayed in this great, kinda shabby but not quite, filled with old fogey’s (spelling?) hotel, which was fabulous. The seafood was very good, the weather was good on the second day (finally got something resembling a tan), and it was great to be out of the city for a while.

Work’s keeping me pretty occupied too, I’ve started on a new project, doing portfolio planning strategy, which is very interesting, and I get to apply stuff I learned in Prof Roberts’ ‘Advanced Marketing Strategy’. Only 2 more weeks left, and I can’t believe these past 7 weeks have flown by so quickly.

Afb027We’re trying to find new tenants for our place in London (almost done), I’m trying to find a place in NYC (and whole hosts of people have been extremely kind and have kept an eye out for us or sent good tips, thank you), started saying have goodbye drinks and dinners with friends and deciding which books can stay and which go to the Oxfam store. And I’m writing blogposts at 8am on a Sunday morning ;-)

Sandcastle

SandcastleRight, quick post to say that I’m not posting. Which I then obviously am. But not a real one. Just a quick one to say I’m out for the weekend, building sandcastles down at the seaside in Devon, trying desperately to get something resembling a tan, and will post early next week.

And for those who are interested: I did get my US visa, great story to tell about that, will tell all next week (anyone wanna buy a big box of bandaids?). And I still don’t have anywhere to live in New York.