Episode 53 – Finding Guitar Hero


Probably the fast episode I have ever put together, but a good one at that. I’ve got two main chunks of goodness in this episode. First, I talk a little about the CEO at my company and how I see Japanese companies changing. Second, we go on a sound tour of arcades in Ikebukuro looking for Guitar Hero. Will we find it? Listen in.

Show Notes:

  • Working full time
  • CEO Story
  • Ikebukuro Arcade “Sound Tour”

Reason #24601

You know are in an international business program when…


Your email client gets confused with the encoding because there are more than three languages being used in a single thread of email. I think I’ve started to officially confuse gmail. (^o–)

Hello World From Columbia


Hey everyone, just a quick hello from Columbia. This picture was from a few weeks ago – a party at Sarah’s house to celebrate the fact that we miss our peers so much (in a a good way of course). I’m still completely jealous that everyone is having amazing experiences overseas. I will certain be posting many videos and pictures come March when I arrive in Tokyo to enact my sweet revenge. Muhahahah!

We miss you guys, come back soon!

Ready, Set, Abroad

After a long long 48-hour day of travel back home (yes, one day), I’m finally back on the right-coast. I’ve come back to messages, photos, funny voicemails, and great stories from my classmates who are now abroad in various countries – so much so that I can hardly remember where they were all going (sorry Tara). I hope to share mine as soon as I get the pictures and video off of my camera.

In catching up on some blog reading, I ran across an entry from my friend Adrian who summed up the semester quite nicely.

Some interesting facts that speak for our past in the program:
– our class mates total is 95
– unfortunately 4 of them left the class already
– 13 different nationalities: US, India, China, Bosnia, Germany, France, Belgium, Romania, Hungary, Peru, Mexico, Thailand, Barbados
– 9 different tracks that we will all be involved in (calculating Mexican and Spanish as two different ones)
– we took a total of 13 different classes, taught by 16 professors which come from 4+1 distinct countries (Explanation: India, US, Hong Kong, Bulgaria and Boston 🙂
– 25 credits worth of studies
– 9 physical text books, 1 online text book and millions of cases from our friends from Harvard
– attended 4 CEO speeches (Wachovia lectures)
– eat 2 times per week for free at the International House of Students right across the street
– we spent about $70 worth of parking tickets in 5 months
– estimated 264 bottles/cans of beer consumed by us
– estimated 76(Anand) and 23(Adrian) Starbucks caffeine drinks purchased
– 24,000 actual minutes spend together in class, paying attention

To read more from Adrian, visit here. It is amazing to consider what we have accomplished in such a short time. I will see Adrian in a few days but will miss many of the people who I may not see again in the next two years. I predict many trips around the world to satisfy the need to keep the bonds that we’ve created in the last 9 months. Good luck everyone and safe travels.

One Down, Two To Go

Well, it’s official. Global Finance has finished today with the exam I completed not more than two hours ago. By far, learning international finance has been the most difficult topic within the program. The past week has been spent studying and focusing my efforts in order to truly understand the concepts, not just the calculations. I now feel I can watch CNNFN with an excellent understanding of what is driving international business today. Very powerful.

One downfall now is that we are so focused that everyone is in study-mode in the afternoon. We’re being constantly shelled this week, relying solely on the frail bunkers of our minds and each other for protection. Coming into class to take an exam and leaving at different times leaves little time for salutations and goodbyes. I’ve met some truly amazing people in this program, many of whom have opted for the two-year language tracks. I will always remember my peers in this track as I will most likely only see them again through world travels. Best of luck to all of you and enjoy your language study and internships in Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and more.

Moving forward, I anticipate focusing on Japan and writing more on what this blog is truly about.

Good Music to Get You Through


Music, ahhhh music. My place of solice when it comes to numbing the mind.

This last week of the semester is killer. International Finance is kicking my butt, and I know I’m not alone. Fortunately, I’ve found some solice in some excellent music. Last year I opened a Last.fm account and I only just recently spent about 2 hours going through music of people that have similar tastes with me. Combined with some great recommendations from Saya-san, I’ve got what I feel is the quintessential soundtrack to December. Check out what I’m listening to:

  • Say Hi To Your Mom – This guy is excellent. I may have heard one song before but Saya turned me on to his website earlier today which has at least three songs from each album. Excellent winter music.
  • TV on the Radio – I have trouble describing these guys. Noisy, organic, loud, a little like Peter Gabriel with synths. Preview their songs on Last.fm here.
  • Dinosaur Jr. – Nearly forgot about these guys until recently. Going back to the album, “Where You Been”. Incredible.
  • Marxy – An american-expat I believe (not sure), living in Japan. Great writer and surprisingly good musician. You can his latest for free here. If you are curious, check out his blog too. Inspired me to become a better writer.
  • The Futureheads – English rock, but good. A bit like obscure Devo and the clash. Some people may not like this but I find it refreshing. Not many English bands like this put so much emphasis on vocals. Catchy lo-fi tunes done right.

If you’ve got some recommendations, please end them my way. If you want to keep up with what else is going on in these headphones, look in the column to the right. Enjoy!

9 Weekdays Remaining

There are only 9 weekdays left until the end of the semester. Though I feel very good about many of the papers just handed in as well as upcoming exam in international finance and managerial accounting, I feel thoroughly and utterly drained. This program has been a physical challenge as much as a mental one.

We have just finished an excellent case on Lufthansa and foreign currency hedging options available to multi-national corporations. Jorge A. Bermudez, President and CEO of Citibank’s Commercial Business Group spoke to our class today. It is truly awe-inspiring what affect a global company can have on countries in today’s global capital markets. We heard some great source stories about currencies crisises across the globe from the 1970s through the Argentinian crisis in 2002. It was also interesting to hear his thoughts on Japan and the future competitiveness of the United States. Either way, I’m going to have to watch Commanding Heights all over again now.

Two group meetings later, I’m home and ready to go to bed. But at nights, I always find my mind racing with new information. I think the real challenge of getting this MBA is not learning the information, but properly applying what I have learned after I complete the degree. We have gained so many tools and experienced so many things. Now, like a kid in a candy story, I find my mind exploring infinite directions threads of thought on how to apply what I have gained. It’s overwhelming.

How can foreign currency pricing help me start a business in Japan? How do leadership techniques I have learned help me become more influential in my existing work? How does culture influence ethical decision making in the MNC? What business models will benefit most from real-time decision making systems? How can lessons learned from the business models we’ve studied be applied in other industries: electronic entertainment, music, publishing?

I will be posting more as the program concludes next week and I have some time to reflect on the experiences I have had in these few short months. But until then, its time to quiet the roaring in my head. おやすみなさい。(goodnight)

Welcome Back Update

Well hello there. Sorry for the time off, but its been a great holiday weekend and I’m finally all back caught up with the regular schedule. A quick update for family and friends. Let’s go!

So classes have started again in earnest. Our schedule is pretty much non-stop until December 15th. This ending session will be different as we will have three finals in a row, a departure from our previous staggered schedule of classes. We are also beginning what I feel to be the most challenging module of the curriculum thusfar, International Finance. Spot rates and exchange market futures are all fun. Just as I am submitting tuition to Waseda in Japanese Yen, I learn precisely how that transaction actually works – quite interesting.

This past week marked an entrance into traditional Americana cuisine experience, my first Thanksgiving turkey. I had the assistance and leadership of my lovely girlfriend and her father’s excellent brined-turkey recipe to guide me through the experience. With a couple of friends, we managed to put the turkey down along with some friends for what made a great evening. Earlier in the day, I was also able to teleconference up to my family in the North, to enjoy a spot of turkey with them remotely. It just wasn’t the same over the blocky H.264 encoded transmission though.

Thanksgiving Crew

Two days of this week were dedicated to hunting down the much coveted Nintendo Wii. Alex and I were up bright and early at 3:30am on Friday morning to wait outside of Toys R Us, only to learn that they didn’t have any. The following 2 hours were series of disappointments (being just one and two slots short of the line at Gamestop). Alex did manage to get a Wii later in the weekend as he tackled Best Buy into submission.

The remainder of the week was spend with Linda traveling up to Charlotte, checking out the Discovery Place museum and science center, going to some fancy dinners, relaxing, and catching up on some Nintendo DS Lite titles. It was nice to finally spend some time with her. I truly feel like we have settled into the dynamic of our relationship and it feels great, even with the overseas distance of studying abroad. I’m lucky to have found someone who understands me so well.


So, after all the excitement, I’m left with a sore throat, feeling a bit under the weather but hopeful I’ll recover soon, and overall satisfied – satisfied that this stage of graduate school will soon be over, I shall soon be heading back up north for a nice work week and the holidays, soon to head over to Europe for a nice vacation, dedicating time to the study of Japanese, and soon to take a much needed long night of rest.

Mata ne!

Brief Statistics

A few brief statistics from my life right now:

  • Number of countries conversed with today: 6
  • Number of team groups I am currently in: 4
  • Number of exams/quizzes due this week/next: 4
  • Number of times I’ve eaten dinner at home in the last seven days: 1
  • Number of times I’ve missed breakfast in the last seven days: 7

Busy and boring, the worst combination.

Take That Trivia!

Drawing at Trivia

(click for full version)

Tonight we had some help down at trivia. The IMBAs held strong with second place, twice in a row. We made an amazing comeback, down nearly 7 points in the last round. Throughout the game, I was doodling on a piece of paper. Darrah has suggest I upload this as he though the guy with the gun captured the spirit of our IMBA program and upcoming round of finals quite eloquently.

The math is Darrah’s handiwork scoring us points for figuring out how many acres are in a square mile. I still can’t believe we got that one!

This next coming week will be filled with finishing up two more classes and preparing for finals. 69 days left until the end of the semester and 174 days left before I leave for 日本. がんばります!Push on!