About Me

My photo
a baker-holic, choc fanatic, dessert-freak.. yeah and i'm south asian :). A happy member of the Fuqua Class of 2011.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Lost Generation...

I have a lot of free time on my hands (yes, i've resigned from work, and am just serving my notice period).. i get done 31st may! you would think that since these are my last few weeks, i would be swamped with work, leave late and have a stressful life. Not at all actually.

Surprisingly, work has slowed down a lot, i actually have a little too much free time now. Not that i don't enjoy it - my gym-ing activities have started again. Although i have realised something, the free time you value when you're working in a rigourous 9-to-6 or whatever time routine (unofficially) you have at work, that feeling of high on the weekend is just unbelievable. .. I now have a whole two months to enjoy and plan, before the journey starts on 1 Aug.. actually the journey will start much earlier, what with immunizations, visas, accomodation, pre-coursework and planning on living in the US, i'd say the journey is already on full swing :)

Anyway, so what with the free time, my mind finds itself wandering and pondering various random thoughts... what's been bugging me for some time, is what i like to call "The Lost Generation"....here's how i define them:

See when all of us grew up, we had hobbies. Now, the way i see it, a hobby is an activity that you indulge in for leisure. It's an activity you take up in your free time, something to look forward to, a passion even. Some of the common hobbies are taking up sports, reading, collecting stamps or coins, painting, learning a craft, cooking, baking and so on. But for the generation of today, the kids who will grow up (or have already grown up prematurely), it all boils down to one thing - FACEBOOKING. Urgh. Facebooking is a hobby? Is it really? I mean seriously!! But honestly, if children/teenagers today spend all their free time on Facebook, chatting, joining x group, thinking whether to accept xx friendship request, what else would you call it? A hobby. A very sad hobby though.

Sigh. As much as I love technology, the Internet, Youtube, Facebook and the world of cell phones, i can't help but look back on my childhood. To start off with, none of us had cell phones. The world of missed calls, sms-ing, rejecting a person's phone call didn't exist :P It had a charm though - a certain freedom. You could do what you liked, unwatched, unaware. Now, it's just plain creepy - the stranger next to you on an aeroplane or bus could be google-ing you or facebooking your account to see who he(she) is sitting next to... or worse, they could be taking your picture with the oh-so-sleek camera of their cellphone and you wouldn't even know it!

So here it is - an ode to the lost generation; the kids of today who will never know the joy of playing CaromBoard, Risk, Cluedo, cards with their family; of meeting a stranger and knowing nothing about them; of reading books, painting on a summer afternoon; of calling your friends on their home phones; of not knowing who is calling you when you pick up the phone; of technology-innocence and simplicity.

:) Magical, the times we used to live in, eh?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Long distance Apartment-hunting...

So finally I won't be sleeping off the pavement in Durham :) I decided on an apartment and submitted the holding fees! Phew - what a relief! Honestly, the pre-apartment research was grueling (and might i mention a bit stressful). Here's why :

Majority of Fuqua students live off-campus. Apparently Durham is not really a city you can explore by foot - you do need a car to get around. So I weighed the options - the standard apartment complexes 8 minutes drive from campus, or the pricey complex within walking distance, but known as party central? Anyway despite being not able to attend the Blue Devil Admit Weekend, and do the apartment tour they had that day, I feel like I already know what it would look like. The magic word - the Internet.

The 2 or 3 areas I had shortlisted, provided me with complete information such as amenities available, 3D views of the rooms, floor plans etc. The Facebook group for the incoming students has also been pretty useful as seniors have given their thoughts / experiences on the apartments as well.

I'm all set now - decided on a roommate, exchanged a few emails with her to see if our living habits would match, and seems pretty good till now :) So now that I know i'll be staying somewhere for my Fuqua days, I feel like i'm finally going.

I do plan on cooking a bit (provided there is time), perhaps on alternate weekends or something.. I don't know. however, i've decided to refresh some of the recipes i'll be needing the most and the ones which I know i'll miss the most!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Preparing for Takeoff !!

So the way I see it, going (abroad) for an MBA is pretty much like a pilot preparing for takeoff. The feeling of nervousness, last minute butterflies in the stomach, excitement, restlessness... it's pretty much what I would expect a pilot to go through before a flight. Hm.. then again perhaps I wouldn't really want to be sitting on a plane where the pilot is feeling jittery and slightly nervous :D hehehe

See I always thought that the hardest part would be the MBA apps.. and so, when I completed those, was lucky enough to be admitted, I thought, wow this is it... now I can sit back and relax..welll... I just had a big laugh at myself for actually thinking this. For now, as the destination has suddenly become oh-so-clearer, I'm swamped with things to do, preparing to go abroad and much much more!

I don't know if domestic US students are going through all the paperwork, housing worries and preparation that international ones have to. Perhaps, perhaps not. You see, for an international student I guess the process is a bit longer as it's about relocating your stuff, belongings, thoughts, view on life, social network, support structure to a new place, a new country for 2 years. It's part of the process, the MBA journey - and that's also what makes it so exciting!

Here's a short list of to-do things that I guess would help international applicants (especially those for whom its going to be the first trip living in the US).

1) Branching out, Finding out: Once your'e admitted, and have decided to attend school x, start networking. Find out as much as you can about the school, the location, surrounding locations, airport, facilities available as you can. It's going to be a long process, so it would be best to start soon. In my case, I've started contacting current 1st year students, alumni, my MBA interviewer, International Housing staff, Facebook groups, other MBA applicants, and have really learnt quite a lot about Durham and Fuqua from them. The web can really be a great resource - I haven't ever been to Durham, North Carolina, and yet I have a great image of how I expect it to be from:
1) The University website
2) The town's official website - in my case, Durham's official website. Even got a free magazine from them about things to do, where to shop & dine in Durham! Cool :)
3) Facebook - ah, finally I like Facebook again! Here's why - by joining your school's MBA Class of 2011, or the International Student's Class of 2011 and so and so Facebook Group, you can sit wherever you are, and discuss housing, living and everything with mentors, future friends and other people in your situation.

2) Vying for Visa: This is probably one of the biggest headache's - visa. It's ok though, really. We're all in the same boat. We will all get it :) But it's good to speed up the process (if you can), figure out how long it's going to take you, and yes, always have a plan B.

3) Housing: Most business school's don't really have on-campus graduate housing. I may be wrong, but at least at Fuqua, 99% or so of the students live off-campus. So here are things you need to start figuring out right away: What kind of housing do you want - on campus or off campus? What locality? What location - do you want a family friendly housing or a party place? Do you want a single room or a roommate? When should you start booking in advance? How much rent are you willing to spend on the room / apartment? Will the housing have live-in facilities such as laundry, furnishing or will you need to do all this yourself? What kind of roommate do you want (if so)?

4) Immunisation Incentives: Make sure you get all your immunisations done. Fuqua's pretty good about this and has a whole list of immunisations required from international students on their Duke wbebsite. Check with your school in advance - if you're free, might as well get it done now.

5) Health care / health insurance: Needless to say, if you fall sick, you need to know where to go :) Sure the home-made remedies of chicken soup, Joshanda, or herbs could work for a flu. But in case it gets prolonged, you should be prepared.

6) Planning a budget and arranging for finances: Look at living expenses in detail. The universities usually provide an item by item estimated expense. See if your budget would allow for this. Else, figure out how you're going to manage it. If you intend on saving or living with spouse/kids, you need to make provisions beforehand.

7) Cell phone / connection: Decide which cell phone / connection to get. This is also an aspect where current students could help you out.

8) Computer Cruise: After browsing Fuqua's recommendations for computers, I just realised that my Mac may not be such a great option for Fuqua. Oh damn. Apparently, not all their softwares are Mac workable, or even workable for Windows installed in Mac. Figure out computer, laptop, internet options.

9) Transport tour - Decide what you're going to do about transport. Are you going to have a car? Are you going to rely on public transport or car pool? In this case, housing becomes important - perhaps you want to look at an apt near the bus routes / or parking spots.

10) Gearing up your Goals: Figure out what you want from your MBA - See once the MBA starts, you'll be too caught up to realise how it's heading. Decide in advance, what you want to get out of your MBA - for some it could be a job in Pvt equity, or Financial Services, for others it could be about the global exposure, for even others it could just be about networking, or making new friends. I'm sure we've all done this in detail for the actual MBA essays / apps, but hey, it doesn't hurt to re-visit the goals.

11) Pre-course work: Fuqua has a Math Software that we're all supposed to revise / refresh before school actually starts. Check with your school if there's something similar.

12) And finally.... RELAX!! This is the pre-best time of your life :P Quit work, resign, travel, do what makes you happy, enjoy the me-time, hang out with friends. You've done half the work (getting admitted) - now enjoy - you deserve it!

All the best, till my next post! and yes.... before I forget... a big Congrats to all fellow winners of the Clear Admit's BoB contest! Thank you Clear Admit, Judges and fellow voters for making this
Number 7 in the best of blogging applicant category and others!!