Saturday, January 27, 2007

Six idiosyncrasies

My friend Cybele recently tagged me with a request that I write a post about six of my idiosynrasies. Here we go:

1. I can juggle.

2. Just a few years ago, if I drank the slightest sip of coffee I would "go into orbit," to borrow one of my dad's expressions. Something changed (MBA program) over the past year, and now I drink two (large) cups of (strong) coffee per day.

3. I am completely allergic to dairy products -- not lactose intolerance, but the full-on allergy. I can't eat anything with any dairy in the ingredients -- whey, etc. This means I check a lot of labels. And I tend to eat a lot of Asian food.

4. I was a spelling bee champion in junior high, winning 3rd place in the Western Washington regional spelling bee finals.

5. This isn't all that idiosyncratic, but it seems to surprise many of my current MBA classmates: my appearance has changed a bit over the years. In the mid-90s, I had long hair and a beard. (The photo shows my sister and me at a costume party; the beard is real.) At other points, I've had skater hair, no hair, 70s hair, and a short-lived moustache.

6. I am fourth-generation Washingtonian.


Election results

I won the election for MBAA President! From what I heard last night, it was a close race. Bonnie, the current President, will start discussing the transition with me next week.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Me for president!

It's been a whirlwind of a week. Addressing one of the questions I was wondering about a few weeks ago, I decided to run for MBAA President. Conversations with the current MBAA executive team have inspired me to take this step. I don't have a traditional business background, by any means, but I'm increasingly realizing that this is an asset, not a liability. (I can talk business!) I do think I've got a lot to offer in this position.

So I gave a candidacy speech last night. It went well, because I (miraculously) had two free hours before the speech, and I used this time to find a secluded spot on campus and practice. There were still people walking by, a little ways away, so I held my cellphone to my ear to make it look like I was talking to someone. I ran through the speech about ten times, until I felt comfortable with it. Afterwards, as I walked away, I noticed a fellow camped out with a sleeping bag in the bushes, right by where I had been speechifying. The poor guy probably got very tired of hearing me talk about my qualifications and what an exciting time this is in the UW MBA program.

Voting happens tomorrow and the election results will be announced at a mixer (known in UW MBA parlance as a TG) on Friday evening. Whether I win or not, it will be a fun evening; my Korean classmates will be serving up Korean food. Like me, my sister and brother-in-law are huge fans of Korean food, so I've invited them to come and share in the yumminess. And, if win, well...they'll be there to congratulate me!

In other news, it has really been an intense week. I had three hours of sleep the other night, which took its toll the next afternoon during macroeconomics. But I didn't feel so bad after talking with one of my classmates today who didn't sleep at all last night. I was astonished that she was able to stand there and lucidly converse with me.

What else was I wondering about a few weeks ago?

  • The internship search. So far I've applied to IBM and Microsoft; I'll be interviewing with Microsoft next week.
  • Business consulting project. Things have changed a bit, but our project fortunately didn't get nixed. Our task -- an online marketing campaign for a small local software firm -- is interesting, but our client is incredibly busy and we're basically doing a lot of it on our own. I'm leading this team and it's been presenting some interesting challenges.
  • Business plan competition. Plugging right along. Second Life presents an unending number of fascinating business questions right now, and it's fascinating to explore them.
And now ... I've got some reading to do for strategy class. It's my favorite class thus far; a lot of my classmates feel the same way. And it's very challenging, replete with frequent cold-calls, as my classmate Sarah describes.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My mother the cowgirl

Because I'm too busy at moment to write a post, I present this photo of my mother, circa 1959, southeast Washington state:


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Winter quarter vs autumn quarter

Winter quarter is busy thus far, but I find that I'm having more fun than Autumn quarter. Autumn was...honestly, it was a trial by fire. I feel like it pummelled me. It must have; I've never slept as much as I did during Winter break.

But now I feel like I've developed a better sense of sifting through the plethora of competing tasks on my ne'er-ending to-do list. There is much more self-directed work this quarter. For example, this weekend I've spent a fair amount of time working on applications for summer internships, researching Second Life for my business plan project, and figuring out my schedule for the remainder of the month (a daunting task in and of itself).

When it comes to the coursework, I feel like I've become a lot better at studying quickly. This is a necessity, because there's not a lot of free time left over. Also I think the studying is easier because of the classes themselves: I'm finding marketing and strategy incredibly fun and interesting. Finance is great, too, although not quite as much fun. Macroeconomics...well, it's on the other end of the fun spectrum. But it's more up my alley than microeconomics, that's for sure.

I think this may come down to pedagogical technique. Our macro prof organizes everything into tidy powerpoints, and is very clear about the content we should read for upcoming class sessions. Last quarter's micro prof was less organized; he had a non-linear way of teaching that I frankly never really figured out.

And it has been cold in Seattle over the past week, in the 20s. The other day, one of my international classmates was joking about how Seattleites always hasten to explain that this winter's weather is out of the ordinary. "This is very unusual weather," he said, in a faux-Seattleite voice.


Friday, January 12, 2007

I'm an old man

Today is my youngest sister's 16th birthday. She is now half my age. Another sister will be turning 23 soon (an unfortunate year for me, hopefully better for her). And the kicker: my oldest younger sister just turned 30.

All this adds up to me feeling old. It doesn't seem like that long ago when we all looked like this:

Saturday, January 06, 2007

January the sixth: a historical perspective

Today I tromped through Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood with classmates. We visited several businesses and asked if they would like to donate to this year's Challenge for Charity auction. I stopped by Queen Anne Office Supply, where I was a delivery driver ten years ago, and this prompted me to look back through my musty memory-books.

Ten years ago in early 97, I was looking for a job (didn't start at the office supply store until a month later). On 1/6/97, one of the many places I applied was the Starbucks roasting plant, and I wrote down my random observations:

I am in the Starbucks roasting plant lobby. Everything's nice and new here. It's quite a walk down Airport Way S. to get here. The receptionists are talking quietly. But I can still hear what they're saying. The words "vagina ... yeast..." have floated into my ears.

Before I walked down here a paid a visit to a bustling little mart. It has a Vietnamese name, underneath which reads "The Asian Connection." The small store is crowded with noise and people. When I stood in line to buy my noodles and curry, a small old woman cut in front of me. She asked me something in a language I do not know. I just smiled at her. In reply, she let out and a hearty laugh and kept her place in front of me in line.

Fifteen years ago, on 1/7/92, I was a social intermediary 'twixt my sister and a fellow at our high school:
Katy asked a guy named Adam to the tolo. At the game tonight he told me he would say no, and afterwards, she called him, and they both agreed that they were relieved. But Katy told me later that she is actually a little disappointed.
And I recall being stressed about where I would go to college:
I got a letter in the mail today that says I have been accepted to Western. I hope I don't end up going there.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

And winter quarter begins with a bang

Yesterday, winter quarter launched with introductory sessions in Marketing and Finance. The professors for both of these classes have actually won awards for their pedagogical acumen and I'm excited to learn from them.

I admit that I was expecting yesterday's sessions to consist of syllabi review and administrative details. I didn't realize we'd be diving immediately into the subject matter. Let's just say I'm still in Winter break mode and was caught a bit off-guard when our marketing prof cold-called me with a question about something we learned in stats last quarter...

And there is plenty else to consider and plan for right away:

  • Internship search (need to decide on companies to apply for my summer internship and start submitting applications right away)
  • Elected officer positions (what do I want to run for?)
  • Business consulting project (our client contact just left the company my team will be working with, and we're waiting to see how the project will change from here)
  • Business plan competition (I'll be attending a once-weekly evening class on this, as well as doing independent and group work on the business plan)
That scheduling thing that I did for finals last quarter seemed to have worked for me pretty well. I'm going to draw out a map for this quarter but on a larger scale. Basically I want to decide how many hours a week I want to spend on each class and each project, and then treat this as a work schedule that I make sure and adhere to (tweaking as necessary). Perhaps I'll post it here as well; that seems to help keep me accountable. :)