Staying Synchronized


I’ve got a small confession to make. Graduate school is not that incredibly difficult – it is certainly not medical school. When it comes down to the subject material, given enough time and enough brain cycles, its all pretty elementary stuff. Even our country assessment models for international marketing are nothing but multiplication, addition, division …. the basics. However, finding time to stay organized when everything is flying past your head at 100mph and multiple assignments are competing for your precious thoughts, now THAT’s where it gets difficult.

Classes have slowed a bit down to a dull roar – just three simultaneously for the next two weeks instead of the six we have had for the last four weeks. I spent the better part of today synchronizing my work calendar with my personal calendar. I’ve never had such a large part of my life planned out like I have now. I think I pretty much know what I’m doing until January 8th. I suppose its comforting in one way, knowing where you will be and when, knowing exactly how much free time you think you have, and how much you really have – sometimes wishing I had never seen the latter.

Today, I was able to flex a little IT muscle as well. It felt good to bring out the skills I have used so heavily in the past six years of my professional life. Our admissions office is doing some data analysis so I’ve started the task of doing some data manipulation and data aggregation. It was a great time to take a look at open-source ETL tools.

All in all a good day.

Finding a Job … With Technology


I’ve always been a proponent of adage “work smarter, not harder”. But sometimes, those work smarter opportunities find their ways to me without even needing to try. Earlier this week, I happened to be spending a few minutes searching in advance for some internship opportunities overseas when I ran across a very pleasant surprise that has made my ability to network and find MBA internships that much easier.

A Google search had promptly redirected me to for job and internship listings for one of my favorite companies, Nintendo. To my surprise, I was unaware that if you have a LinkedIn account and the LinkedIn FireFox plugin, a great little sidebar pops up when you are viewing a job entry such as those on Check out the screen shot here:


This sidebar then tells you how many people in your LinkedIn network actually work for that company presently and are open for contacting. Dance monkey dance! Do the work for me. This will make one part of my job / internship search that much easier.
To get a LinkedIn account, simply visit – consider it “MySpace for people seeking professional networking”. To get the FireFox plugin for LinkedIn, visit that link and follow the instructions.

Foreign Direct Investment in アイスランド


Japanese FDI in Iceland? Someone please clue me in.

For a global economics class, my program requires me to research the economic state of a particular country. For this class, I had chosen Iceland since it presents such a unique macro and microeconomic picture. this research I ran across a great website maintained by the Invest in Iceland Agency outlining the particulars of FDI and how to invest in Iceland.

What surprised me however is the availability of a very colorful, very rich PDF in Japanese of investing in Iceland. There were no other languages available that I could see and Japan is truly nearly on the other side of the world from Iceland. I did some brief research and I could not find the connection for myself.

Strange…please help.

… And Then There Were Two

Japanese Track of 2009

Actually, there have always been two. I’m talking about my program’s Japanese track candidates for this year. I was a bit surprised to learn that there were only two Japanese track students when I arrived on campus this July, but after getting to know Alex a little better and going through the Waseda application process together, I’ve come to like the close knit group we have with the Japanese track.

The remainder of the Japanese trackers (class of 2007) had returned in August. Last week was the first time we have actually caught up with them for an encounter more than just passing in the hallway or casually saying hello. Our advisor met us out for dinner at Inakaya where we had two large sushi boats of fish and plenty of beer.

Everyone in the track seems really friendly and have been willing to share their experiences an insight. As Alex and I return from Japan in the summer of 2008, I only hope that we can be as insightful and helpful as those who are helping us now. みなさん、ありがとうございます。

Rock, Scissors, Paper – MBA Style

MBA Rock Scissors Paper

Today was the famed Section 1 vs. Section 2 showdown of the IMBA Rock Scissors Paper competition. The prize? To see which section would be able to choose their time slot for the joint Marketing / International Management session. Section 1 was victorious and chose to take Friday at 10:30am instead of 8:00am.

The competition was intense with two false starts. Brad pulled through as Section 1’s designated rock thrower and pulled a sweeping victory out from John. You can see the intensity in frame two. For all of the photos, click here.

Section 2 leadership states that their preferred choice was Friday at 8:00am anyway, so I support this wasn’t a zero-sum game afterall. Time to sleep in on Friday!

An Online Education

A classmate of mine pointed out a great resource for MBA students. The Sloan School of Business at MIT has posted most of their classnotes for free online. It makes me wonder if it would be entirely possible to get an MBA-level education (without the degree of course) online. With such sites as Google Scholar, OSEF, and now this MIT site, one really could learn completely online.

I plan on using MIT’s site whenever I have some downtime to expand what I’ve learned so far within my program even futher, now to just work on that pesky lack of time aspect.

Life After Decision Analysis

(metaphor, not mine)

Batteries blowing up everywhere, Pluto no longer a planet, two tests in a week time period, left-handed people still rule the world, two review sessions for Decision Analysis this week, two new classes starting … it is all coming down at once.

I hope everyone does well on the DA exam tomorrow. Thankfully it will not be cumulative. Though I learned much in this class, I am glad it is over. It seems we will now be turning our attention to applying what we have built as a base of knowledge in the operational realm with our operations class – a class I am very much looking forward to. Good luck and have fun this weekend!

Time to Get Serious, Again

Photo 6.jpg

Today I met with my Japanese track advisor, a very intelligent and caring individual. I think we will be perfectly situated to handle the logistics of getting to Japan, getting our applications at Waseda taken care of, securing our visas, and convincing the Japanese government that we are otherwise fiscally responsible and can pay for our year and one-half stay in the land of the rising sun.

What does concern me though is my overall language ability and how much I can improve it within the next 222 days. I went out and purchased my study text for the fall today, complete with an incredible amount of business Japanese. I’ve only really studied Japanese on my own and until sometime in January, it will continue to be that way. In January we will begin intensive classes before heading to Waseda.

Our workload for regular classes really doesn’t allow much time for intensive language study at this point. However, I do want to do try my best to get up to speed. So I guess it starts again, but on another level of task and time management yet unheard of. If I begin speaking Japanese to you with expectations of a reply, simply wack me hard enough to bring my back to the reality of Leadership and Ethics.

Apple Reports on iPod City

In the past few months, Apple recent came under fire for its use of overseas labor in possibly harsh conditions. As a followup and throwback to our Globalization and Corporate Responsibility class, this little webpage caught my eye today. It appears Apple has concluded a recent investigation of the allegations and has posted a response on their website. An excerpt from Apple’s report:

We found no instances of forced overtime and employees confirmed in interviews that they could decline overtime requests without penalty. We did, however, find that employees worked longer hours than permitted by our Code of Conduct, which limits normal workweeks to 60 hours and requires at least one day off each week. We reviewed seven months of records from multiple shifts of different productions lines and found that the weekly limit was exceeded 35% of the time and employees worked more than six consecutive days 25% of the time. Although our Code of Conduct allows overtime limit exceptions in unusual circumstances, we believe in the importance of a healthy work-life balance and found these percentages to be excessive.

Continue reading “Apple Reports on iPod City”

Finding the Time

T-Rex Raaarr Is it me? Or do none of us really have any time to do much of anything right now.

I found myself having a very enjoyable weekend with my girlfriend. But on the way back from the airport, I could feel the stress covering my head like a wet, wool sweater. I’m still amazed that people can find time to go out and be human with the workload.

We begin a new class this Thursday, “Leadership and Ethics”. The syllabus is nearly 10 pages long and looks to be pretty intense. The reading list is fairly spartan as well, and the grading will be based upon peer review, case studies, and a case project. The day after that we have our Financial Accounting final which covers thirteen chapters of debits and credits which we have covered in exactly thirteen class sessions. This will all be followed by the decision analysis exam the following week which seems to be the T-rex hiding behind the fig leave for many people.

In addition, my team for Global Entrepreneurship has decided upon a fairly unique international business opportunity that will take a fair amount of research to develop fully. But wait, there is still room for more classwork. Next week we begin an Operations Management course, and the week after that, a Global Marketing course.

These first six weeks in this program have been intense, but already I can see myself looking at the road ahead of me, the opportunities just beginning to break the horizon. Yes, there does appear to be light at the end of the tunnel, we just need to keep reminding each other of that.

On that note, its back to the books for me.