Monday, May 25, 2009

byebye blackberry

So my Blackberry Curve died this weekend in NY... even though it's been under a year, AT&T's warranty won't cover it because they said I damaged the "charging port" myself. Yeesh. So apparetly my options are 1) pay $400 to upgrade to a new AT&T blackberry, 2) pay $300 to get a new AT&T phone of the same model, 3) pay $190 to RIM for an exchange of a refurbished phone, or 4) pay $230 to RIM for repair. Ugh.

I'm going with option 5 instead and asking if anyone has an old (yet functional) blackberry that they'd like to send or sell me. Bonus points if the phone used to have AT&T as the carrier (cuz then we don't have to get the carrier to "unlock" the phone). You generosity is appreciated!

And yes, I understand this is the most blatantly off-topic post I've written ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


We had another informal happy hour this monday in DC... except this time, it was a joint one along with admits from 2 other top b-schools! I won't bore you with needless details but it was very fun. There were even nametags! And I met the cat known as Soni! Cool guy, cool blog, but unfortunately I will have to crush him at basketball too (I've been playing very well the last week or two). I bet you all are jealous that I've met Soni, HappyBunny (remember her!?), and Samantha. And I might catch up with D.G. in London for a pint too! BTW, I will no longer be going to Paris for my 8-day mini-trip starting May 30. Due to time restrictions, I'm going to visit Brussels instead... that way I can still save my impression of Paris for my honeymoon :)

I just purchased a new laptop yesterday. It came down to the Samsung Portege A605 and the Lenovo Thinkpad X200. In the end, I went with the Lenovo. I've always hated Dell (due to past experiences) and Sony was way overpriced. Lenovo was a bit expensive too but I've had a great experience with them after using a T61 issued by my company for the past 19 months. The laptop's tiny, lightweight, very fast, and has superb battery life. There's no touchpad but I plan on using a mini travel mouse. Also, I need to get an external dvd/cd drive but that's okay cuz I never use the darn thing anyway. The Samsung looked hot and was even smaller and lighter but durability concerns scared me away (along with the slower processor) despite its much cheaper price tag.

For Memorial Day weekend, I really wanted to go to Montreal... I thought I'd be willing to go alone but the airfare only came down in price today! AFTER I had already decided to go home to NY and see some old friends instead (not many CBS people this trip). No sweat though.

There are still 26 (or maybe 27) work days left before I'm free... the countdown continues.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Hour, Asia, Europe, and Roomies!

Last night was yet another informal CBS happy hour organized by one of my classmates. It was in DC on the Georgetown waterfront. We had a decent turnout with about a dozen people and one classmate even brought a couple friends of his who are prospectives for next season's application cycle. We started on the waterfront and then moved to a typical Georgetown bar to drink some more and eat some food. Afterwards, the six of us who remained went to another bar for some bad dancing ;) Interestingly enough, I believe some sparks may have flown between 2 classmates (if mine and another classmate's interpretation of the body language was correct). I won't start any rumors though hehe. I did not, however, anticipate getting home at 3 am which explains why I'm staying in tonight.

Oh, and a tidbit of sad news. It looks like I won't be getting a merit scholarship. My hopes weren't up but still, I have the best applicant blog of the year (supposedly)! Surely that's worth at least a 3k scholarship right? I'm not asking for much when the tuition's already 47k per year! Scholarships haven't officially stopped being released yet but it's winding down for sure and it's looking very bleak now. Aye.

I'm moving my resignation date from July 3 to July 1. Slowly getting there. It stinks though because I'm supposed to be slacking more (if that's possible) yet I'm actually working harder now. I'm on a new project and the people are nice so I don't want to let them down. Arrgh. Too bad they don't stink like my current managers, in which case I wouldn't mind letting them down just a little :P

The reason I'm leaving on July 1 is because I'm strongly considering (80% likely) going with classmates on the CBS Pre-MBA World Tour to Hong Kong and Macau which starts on July 1. I would then be a day late but it'd still be fun. It's a shoe-in because I'm spending the next two weeks of July in Beijing (and surrounding cities) with my parents so I might as well leave a few days early and see two huge metropolises that are nearby. I'm 75% likely to join the World Tour again immediately afterwards for the Russia leg. That means I'll be gone all of July (literally). The cool thing is that one of my CBS roomies next year is helping lead the Russia leg which lasts a week. It'll be a good bonding experience and I'll meet some new peeps. Plus, I probably wouldn't see Russia otherwise.

The other great news is that I've finalized my roommates for next year! They're both CBS classmates and we've been talking about it for a while now... but now it's pretty certain. It's one guy and one girl and we actually complement each other very well. Our personalities are a bit different (in a good way) but we're all clean and responsible and fun. They're a couple of my fav people in the class and I'm not just saying that- this I knew before any roomie talk occured. We don't have a place lined up yet as it's far too early for the Manhattan real estate market but I'm very optimistic. We plan on living right in Morningside Heights within walking distance of campus. Sweet!

Lastly, I'm 85% (I love assigning probabilistic values don't I?) going to Western Europe for the first time in my life later this month for 8 or 9 days. It's embarassing that I haven't been yet and I'm already in my mid-20's! I can't wait any longer and it doesn't look like I'll have much more time this summer so I might as well do it while still employed since I still have a few vacation days left. I'm thinking in 8 or 9 days I can only see 2 or 3 cities max. I definitely want to go to London (for 4 days maybe) and Amsterdam (for 2 days)... that means I still have 2 or 3 days for another city. Any suggestions for this rookie? I feel like Lisbon, Madrid, and Barcelona should be done together at some other time and I feel like the various Italian cities should be done on their own too (rather than squeezing them all into one short trip). I'm intrigued by Stockholm and Prague and Berlin too. Darkhorses (but not really) are Antwerp and Brussels. But I feel like the obvious choice is Paris due to proximity to London and Amsterdam. My one concern is that it's supposed to be such a magically romantic city that I don't want to ruin my first time by going alone as a backpacker. Much rather go there for my future honeymoon. I've finally put up a new poll on the right side of the blog so please let me know which city should be my 3rd destination. I'd appreciate it! Oh, and there's a chance I get to meet up with one old high school friend and one CBS classmate but both are very tentative. Sooo if you want to meet up in Europe in one of my cities from May 30 to June 7, let me know!

So I guess my immediate future looks like this...

May 30-June 7: Psuedo-backpacking in London, Amsterdam, and ?
July 1: Last day of work!
July 2-7: CBS World Tour in Hong Kong & Macau
July 8-23: Beijing and random Chinese cities with parents
July 24-31: CBS World Tour in Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg)
Aug. 1-6: Move to Morningside Heights!

P.S. I also discovered a new ab workout which I am very optimistic about :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Open House II, Sydney, and Retirement

Long time no blog! I’ve been incredibly busy the past couple weeks and there’s a lot to mention so I’ll aim for brevity.

Of most interest is probably CBS’ Open House II on April 17-18. I already posted about the first Open House (which I loved) and had some reservations about taking a 4+ hour bus ride from DC to NY for more of the same ole same ole. However, rumors were flying about the Bloomingdale’s reception (CEO is an alum) and potential goody bags. The choice was easy after hearing that! I was originally going to Australia for vacation but postponed my trip by a week for the Open House… I know that sounds like an insane decision to some but it was an easy one for me.

I am incredibly happy I went. It was a blast. It was a lot more relaxed and fun the second time. Not that the first time was stuffy or anything (because it wasn’t), but the second time seemed so much easier and familiar. There were tons of familiar faces which was good! Acquaintances became friends… and friends became lovers (j/k about the second one). Some of the panels were different but CBS did a great job of trying to mix it up a bit. Highlights included a great welcome speech by the CEO of Coach as well as some great informal (aka student-organized) post-event happy hours. Sadly, the financial crisis made an appearance and no goody bags were given out at the Bloomies reception. This was a disappointment to most admits as news of the goody bags (received by previous incoming classes) had circulated pretty well. Can’t complain too much though. BTW, I hope the student happy hours are even half as good as the ones that have been informally organized by my future classmates. The thing about living in DC (well, one of the many things I guess) is that I can’t attend most of the events in NY. That really eats me up because that’s all I really want to do these days is go out with my classmates. NY already had another cocktail hour a week ago and on May 15, sixty (yes, 60) are doing a CBS-alum-owned steakhouse & bar hopping. Jealousy.

Also interesting is that CBS and Stern planned their open house schedules together. CBS started Friday morning and ended at Saturday 3pm. Stern started on Saturday 3pm and went until Sunday evening. Nice teamwork, guys!

The day after Open House, I took a 23 hour flight (and that’s direct too!) to Australia. I left NY on Sunday evening and arrived in Oz on Tuesday morning! Crikey. It was an amazing time though. The first 5 days I actually flew again (ugh) to New Zealand’s South Island and did a quick tour of the major spots (Christchurch, Queenstown, etc.). Queenstown in particular is suh-weet though most of it was a little too scenic if you know what I mean (read: boring). The week I was actually in Sydney was the exact opposite. I spent 2 days doing the tourist stuff like Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, Darling Harbour, Chinatown, etc. I even re-visited my old university where I studied abroad, University of New South Wales, and my old apartment/neighborhood, Bondi Beach. The rest of the time I partied my face off. On 2 of the nights I went out with 2 friends who I knew from my study abroad days (5 years ago! thank goodness for facebook). The other nights I was on my own but I was determined to meet people. Living in a hostel made it easy especially if it’s a great one like YHA. I met tons of backpackers and had a particularly fun 2 nights in the Sydney suburb of Newtown. It used to be a blue-collar area but now it’s becoming indie, alternative, and cool. Downtown Sydney was also fun and even tried Oxford Street (no jokes from those in the know please).

The best part of it was that I felt so independent. It’s an empowering feeling to know that you can go somewhere by yourself and make friends spontaneously and have ridiculous fun for a week straight. Backpackers are my new favorite people! Sorry, hipsters. As one of the few people left on this continent who has not visited Western Europe, I’m heavily considering doing a mini tour for 3 weeks this summer on my own if I can’t find anyone else. They have to be backpacker-friendly places though- preliminary agenda to include London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin… ? Or maybe I should actually do some research first.

Also, if you can see the graphic on the right side of the page, then you know I’ve won Clear Admit’s Best of Blogging award for the best applicant blog of the season. I actually found out when I got a text message from a future classmate while I was at a punk dive bar with backpackers in Newtown! It’s a bit crazy to think that my blog was originally spawned as a way to keep me focused (a bit too focused some would say) on my goal. I know that the graphics suck and that my posts are too long but I’m really happy if this has helped some people in any way. I try not to mention specific consulting companies in my posts (don’t want to seem like an advertising tool) but I really do appreciate Clear Admit’s generosity.

That said, this blog has run its course and will likely be fazed out in the coming weeks. I’ll still keep it online but updates will eventually trickle into nothingness. Not sure if I’m up for posting a student blog next year yet (due to the time constraints) but in the meantime, feel free to send any and all questions before I become defunct. Maybe I can do a “mailbag” post soon!

Friday, April 3, 2009

DC Happy Hour

On thursday night, I attended an informal CBS happy hour in DC for the local admits. This was an informal one organized by a couple of the admits which was nice cuz the only DC happy hours before this were sponsored by the CBS Alumni Club of DC. This one was admits-exclusive which hopefully meant for more debauchery. The location was Bar Louie, an upscale-ish sports bar in DC's Chinatown. It was also underneath the Verizon Center, where LeBron James and the Cavs were visiting that night, so the place was packed. Luckily, we had a few tables reserved.

It started at 7 and the turn-out was good. Considering there are around 35 local admits (an alarmingly large number at first glance but then you gotta consider that DC probably contends for the second largest applicant region next to NY), we had a turnout in the low 20s which seemed pretty good. I got there early and met everyone except for 2 chicas. I had already met half of the people previously so there was the comfort factor, but the newbies were all very cool. Fun crowd.

The drinks/ordering was terrible since the waiter put up a real fight to do separate tabs (understandably so) when the bar's management said that it wouldn't be a problem. Most people paid in cash anyway. People started clearing out around 10 and by 11, the five or six of us who were left decided to go to a club which was okay. On any other night I probably would've liked it a lot (though I've historically hated clubs but not so much since I learned to "dance") but I had work the next morning and hadn't really expected a clubbing night. Highlight (or lowlight) of the night was probably getting hit on by a so-called senior cougar (not just a cougar, but a senior cougar) who immediately slipped and fell on the floor after making her advance. I wound up taking a taxi home around 1:30.

All in all, good times. Funny enough, there's about 5 or 6 other admits from my company in DC! Granted, my company is humongous (can we say oversaturated?) but still. I guess CBS wants one of us in each cluster hehe. The second Open House is in 2 weeks but I'll be back in NY this weekend to see family primarily.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mini Updates

I've always wanted to do updates using a bullets-only format but I know I'll never be pithy enough. So screw it. The big news is that there's a DC happy hour for CBS admits this thursday. I'm really looking forward to this one. I've already met some of these people a few times now so I feel comfortable enough drinking in front of them. I'm not looking to get super duper drunk but I do plan on it being a fun night!

Since it's tax season, I've been dealing with a ton of personal finances recently and it's been giving me quite a headache. I'm really hoping CBS steps up and gives me even the smallest of merit-based scholarships. They don't even announce them until May and I'm sure my Early Decision status doesn't make me the highest probability recipient for an award but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Every little bit helps.

On the career front, I'm starting to veer away from Trading again. I think I want it for the wrong reasons which is materialistic in nature. I'm heavily considering real estate again. It remains (along with luxury retail) one of the few areas that interest me on an innate level. If I keep coming back to it, then it must have some legs right? Then the entrepreneurial bar idea can still be in my long-term vision. What would I do in real estate though? Development? That would be great but not likely. Analyst for a REIT or real estate focused fund? Sure, that sounds good. Geez, suggestions welcome!

Lastly, let's send out some good vibes to all our friends on the waitlist. I'm sure they'd really appreciate some.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Open House - Day 2

About time I posted Day 2 of CBS’ February Open House for Admits huh? But before we get to that, let’s have a big round of applause for Samantha as the only other person (aside from Maxwriter) to get an admit from Columbia. Kudos indeed! Now she has the tough decision of choosing between Kellogg, CBS, and Tuck… I’ll try not to sway her too much with this post ;)

9:00-9:45 am – Registration and Breakfast. I intentionally arrived late at around 9:30 because I wanted to sleep in a little extra. I didn’t bring the schedule with me and merely assumed the breakfast would be in Uris again but I was wrong. I arrived in Warren (a nicer, newer shared building with the Law School) and most people were already there. I met a few familiar faces and then we were ushered into our respective panels. I got some orange juice but didn’t get a chance to eat anything.

10:00-12:15 pm – Panels on Chazen Institute’s “Globalize your MBA”, Financial Aid, and Housing/Student Life. We were then assigned to 2 of 3 panels. I got the Housing/Student Life one first. It was the same ole info that I knew before. Then I had the Chazen Institute panel which is about international/study abroad experiences. CBS really has a plethora of them. I can’t even begin to think about them though. My energy level is really down and I don’t recognize a lot of the people there. I wasn’t assigned to the Financial Aid panel which seems like a bad omen. I am praying that I get something!

12:30-1:30 pm – Affinity Group Lunches. We then had boxed lunches (decent) with current students. We were broken up by interest which mostly meant ethnic/racial background. Instead of choosing one of those, I chose the only other option which was Student Life. Coincidentally the student we sat with was into Sales & Trading and I got some good info from him. Despite all the terrible recruiting news coming out on message boards and forums, it appears that everyone who has wanted a S&T internship has been able to find one. I’ve thus far been very impressed by Columbia’s placements. I met a couple cool admits too including the product manager for the video game, Guitar Hero.

1:45-2:30 pm – Career Management Panels. We all walked back to Uris and heard from the career management office. Details are fuzzy (I knew I should’ve posted this a week ago).

3:00-5:00 pm – Reception at Lincoln Center Penthouse. The final official event was drinks and finger food at Lincoln Center. Nice touch. The admissions offices gave everyone subway passes to commute there which felt like a cutesy little field trip. I got my energy back up during the reception, meeting a few new people and a bunch of the people I had met on Friday or even in the weeks leading up to the weekend. It was a lot of fun. I realize that I need to definitely be standing and doing active things instead of sitting in lectures/panels if I want to stay engaged/awake. Not a good sign for classes! The group of admits from DC continues to grow (we have identified at least 15+ now) and my buddy and I are going to start organizing happy hours. Highlight of the reception is at 5:30 pm when I was about to leave. I said a casual “thank you and goodbye” to one of the senior admissions officers and he/she said “I hope you had a good time. Write about it in your blog.” Of course I was flabbergasted. He/she revealed that I was found via the ClearAdmit blog links. Apparently they (including Linda) liked my post about the December Reception too! Funny stuff. Embarrassing stuff too. I don’t know if they found out about the blog before or after I was accepted but it doesn’t matter now hopefully!

A lot of admits exchanged numbers and then went their separate ways. Several of us (around 15) wound up a couple blocks away at the rooftop bar of a fancy hotel. Then I went with two others to a little get-together “pre-game” for the Pre-MBA World Tour which was fun. At around 10:00 pm, a bunch of us (maybe 15) met up at a pub downtown to cap off the night. I didn’t leave until the early AM hours.

All in all, twas great fun! But also incredibly exhausting after only 2 days. I can only imagine what Orientation week will be like. There’s another open house on April 17-18 that I’ll definitely be attending. Rumor has it that there is a Bloomingdale’s reception with goody bags! At least that’s historically been the tradition. I was going to Sydney that weekend but have since altered my trip to depart one day after the Open House. Yup, it’s that important :P I'm completely serious too.

In sadder news, I missed a recent CBS Alumni Club of DC happy hour here this past week due to my intramural basketball team competing in the finals. Don’t worry, we won. I’ll also be in San Francisco this weekend for the first time in my life so send me good/fun vibes!!