Thursday, November 30, 2006

Headless Chicken

As the end of the fall term nears, the workload mounts. Wait, that's a lie. The workload has always been there. We have just chosen to ignore it for as long as possible. Because really, who feels like doing a paper that's due in 2 months when you have cases to read for the next day? Organized and forward-thinking people, I suppose...

Anyway, now comes crunch time. And what could be a better way to add pressure than to have interviews in New York in the midst of it all? Fortunately I function better (and faster) under pressure, so maybe this little NYC jaunt is just the kick in the pants I need to get everything done in time.

One thing I simply cannot do, regardless of how much work or pressure there is, is to put my extracurricular activities on hold. And, as such, I have continued to play soccer a few times a week, as well as rugby on Thursdays, and to play with the band whenever we're all able to make it happen. Without that, I wouldn't be able to function at all, and I realized long long ago that spending an hour kicking a soccer ball around makes me much more productive than spending that same hour thinking about how much work I have to do without actually doing anything.

And now I realize... hmmm here I am procrastinating again. Writing a blog entry about proctrastinating in order to put off my work even more. Fantastic! I am a procrastination genius! I should win a prize.

Monday, November 27, 2006

An IESE Thanksgiving

Last night was the 18th annual IESE Thanksgiving, organized this year by Lindy and Abe, and attended by some 160 faculty members and students. Chris and I cohosted, which was interesting because the dinner started at 7pm and at 6:45 we were just starting to figure out what to say. Nevermind! It went fine.

After dinner, the talent show started, and we debuted our band, The Rhythm Method, with our rendition of "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. I've been told this video doesn't do our performance justice.... so you'll just have to imagine we sounded even better!

We were followed by some other impressive and hilarious acts, like a group of first year guys who sang a few Spanish songs (and got the crowd singing along), and a hilarious skit about cultural differences written by Noshaba. Then we closed the show with our rendition of "I Will Survive."

But the fun wasn't over yet because David and Kyle then started their portion of the program. They were the hosts of an auction to raise money for charity, and produced some of the most hilarious ad-libbed one-liners I've ever heard. Anyway, I don't know if it was our fabulous auctioneers, the spirit of Thanksgiving, or the influence of the all-included wine, but we managed to raise twice as much money as last year: a whopping 18,000 euro.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Since returning from Milan, I hit the ground running and have barely stopped to breathe. An hour after arriving home Sunday night, I was off to practice with the band at our rehearsal space in Poblenou . We were a bit disappointed to learn that we wouldn't be able to have the necessary equipment arranged by the school and thought we wouldn't be able to play at the annual Thanksgiving dinner/auction/talent show extravaganza, of which I also happen to be co-MC. But where there's a will there's a way and just 24 hours later we learned we'd not only be able to get the equipment (speakers, amps, etc.) but we were requested to do not one song but two. Which meant finding and learning another song... fast.

Monday, Tuesday, and today have been insanely busy. Class from 8am to 5pm... five classes in a row really takes it out of me. Monday night I had my phone inteview, which went well enough to grant me a second round interview in NYC in two weeks. (Sweet!) Yesterday I played soccer after class, and today I went straight from class to another rehearsal with the band. Our second song now rocks just as hard as the first one. My parents arrived tonight so I took them to Cerveceria Catalana - probably THE most touristy place you can go for dinner and still get fantastic food. Delish.

Tomorrow and Friday I'm fortunate to have only two classes, but of course there's also rugby practice, a football match, Thanksgiving dinner, my mom speaking at IESE (she rocks), and ... well... then it's Saturday! Somewhere in the next few weeks amongst all these extra-curricular activities I need to also find time to write all my final papers, whose deadlines currently seem somewhere in the distant future, but which will come due much sooner than any of us could possibly expect. This is the life of a second year student! It rules!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Girls Gone Wild (Milan Edition)

So it has been a very busy week. After a fabulously entertaining Random Dinner (where second year students host first years for dinner) on Thursday night, we were off to Milan on Friday for the first annual "MBA World League" tournament, hosted by Bocconi. Technically, this was the same event we played in last year, but with more sports (volleyball and basketball in addition to soccer), more participants, fancier uniforms for our soccer team, and a bigger logistical headache for our hosts.

We arrived in Milan Friday night without much hassle or delay (on Alitalia! imagine!) and were greeted by this beautiful sign at Linate airport. Maybe it's just me, but I think that if you decide to post a neon sign at an international airport, it might be a good idea to look into all the possible implications of your company name...

At any rate, I was too exhausted to do anything aside from crash Friday night, which meant that getting up at 7 Saturday morning to get breakfast and catch the bus for the sports complex wasn't quite as bad as it could have been.

We played back-to-back matches without a goalkeeper (Gemma valiantly stood in for the first half of each match and I took over for part of the second half) and managed to shut out the competition, defeating Bocconi 8-0 and London Business School 6-0. I don't think I will ever again have the opportunity to score 12 goals over two matches, or to score one while wearing keeper gloves, so please forgive me for enjoying it for one little blog entry. Normal self-deprecation will resume in one sentence.

Behold, the fabulous ladies of IESE: Cary, Gemma, Carol, moi, Anna, and Teresa. And muchas gracias to BBVA for our sweet uniforms!

I refereed the last match between Bocconi and LBS and then it was time to relax and cheer our basketball, volleyball, and mens' football teams on. Sadly, the others didn't have the same luck we did, but everyone managed to have a fantastic time.

After our day of sports, we were off to a molto tasty buffet dinner, where mingled with other students and I met Paolo, a fellow blogger from Bocconi. It's funny to walk by a complete stranger and be greeted by name. Ah, celebrity. I suppose I'll have to find a way to deal with it!

Unfortunately I couldn't chat with Paolo for long because we were presented moments later with our first place trophy and I was also given a very unexpected MVP award. As Borat would say, "High Five!"

The ladies and our cup

To which we quickly became very attached...

With the ladies of LBS

Feigning humility...

I learned a very important lesson that night: Be very careful when you give a shiny cup to a group of girls. We get completely out of control! We spent the following 30 minutes in a corner of the room cherishing our new friend - kissing it, taking pictures with it, drinking from it... not to mention singing IESE songs and chanting each others' names. Only slightly ridiculous.

Our love affair with our trophy soon came to an end however, because it was time to head to Old Fashioned for the official event party and some serious dancing. All of which is much easier to do (and more fun) when you know you don't have to get up early in the morning to play more sports. Woo hoo!

A bonus side note... I returned home to learn I have an interview (in 3 hours!!!) that I am VERY psyched about. Sweet! So now I must refrain from futher blogging in order to prepare. But coming soon... some important insight into Italian airport security.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jack Ruby Tuesday

Last night was the inaugural Cigar & Whiskey club meeting at a top-secret location. Okay, it was at Ian's house. He didn't even give us a password or a secret handshake! And what's worse is that I missed it, but not without a good excuse. Ali and Marc both celebrated their birthdays last night and invited us to a killer dinner.

But the point of even mentioning all of this? Right. So aside from the rather obvious "cigar" and "whiskey" elements of the aforementioned club, there also exists an oratory factor. Yes, members must be prepared to get up and give a speech on a pre-selected topic chosen by the God of the club, Ian himself. Last night's topic? Your favorite political assasin.

Naturally, I chose Jack Ruby. Why? Well, he was the first person that came to mind. And then I started thinking about how he really screwed it up for everyone by killing Lee Harvey Oswald, who was himself already implicated in the assasination of JFK only 48 hours prior. So that's like a double assasination. And considering that the ill-fated date of 11/22 is just a week away, the timing seemed eerily right. So yeah, I never got around to giving a speech, but I tell ya... it woulda been good!

But the REAL point of mentioning all of this? An amazing photo I came across while researching ol' Jack Ruby last night. Most people - or at least most Americans - are familiar with this famous photo of Jack shooting Lee Harvey while he was being led to a bus headed for maximum security prison. (And again I ask... how did the photographer happen to capture that moment? Surely he was involved. I think he was the additional gunman on the grassy knoll. Maybe someone should look into this.)

Well the thing is, I've often wondered why we can't just solve global problems with a dance-off. For instance, Dubya and Osama go head to head breakdancing or doing the Macarena. Or better yet, ballet! Or even whole countries could battle it out on the dance floor.

Another option? A singing contest. Which is exactly how Jack and Lee Harvey could've settled their dispute.

(Thanks to Canned Revolution for the image)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Personality Order

One of the cool things about the 2nd year class "La Personalidad del Executivo" (The Executive Personality) is that you get to take the MMPI-2 - the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Try saying that three times fast.

We took the "test" (officially, it's not a test - whatever) on the second day of class and I received my results today.

Yes, it appears that I am perfect. The ideal human specimen. Completely balanced emotionally, able to take criticism, clear in thought, flexible and tolerant, and with great self-control and zest for life, among other exceptional qualities.

Oh, and I display a few characteristics of a narcissistic personality.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pots and Pans, Now Clap Your Hands

At 10pm I was minding my own business, furiously procrastinating at the dining room table (multitasking thanks to computers makes you LESS productive, not more) when I heard the sound of a lone pot being brutally beaten outside. I thought it was someone just trying to toss some old leftovers out, but then it was joined by a second, then a third...

Soon the whole neighborhood was a caucophony of pots and pans. I went out on the balcony, but it was hard to see the individual pot strikers. Many of them seemed to be from my own building, and others from buildings across the street. One by one, other neighbors joined in before I too decided I'd better grab something to hit.

I bypassed the decorative plate (too fragile) in our living room and also Atsh (too Japanese) and finally picked up a pan in the kitchen and proceeded to add to the ruckus from the balcony. How fun! Why are we doing this? I don't know! But it suddenly made all the fancy things I was doing on the computer seem unbelievably lame. We should do that every Monday night.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

And now for something completely different

This week presented the usual cases, studying, professors, lunches, dinners, Bar of the Week, job applications, etc. Run-of-the-mill IESE fare.

But this week was special. Tuesday brought Halloween, but I was too exhausted to go out and anyway my Michael Jackson costume was sadly incomplete, and I'm an all-or-nothing Halloweener. So instead I prepped for Wednesday, a national holiday, and the day I had chosen to shoot a short movie I wrote back in August during a flight from Barcelona to Bucharest.

The original plan was to start shooting at 10 in order to avoid crowds at the sporting complex at Montjuic, but as most people were a little tired from the previous night's festivities, we ended up starting at noon. Only to find the track I wanted to use .... locked. So we jumped the fence. Why not? I've been held up at gunpoint by a SWAT team in Manhattan as a result of shooting a movie for film school on a rooftop (pre-9/11!) so I was pretty sure I could handle whatever the Guardia Urbana could dish out.

So five of us had made it over the fence by the time the woman who runs the place came over to tell us she was really sorry but we'd have to leave. In fairness, she was very nice to us and said she would let us stay but the guy who runs the bar next to the track would probably see us and call the police. Around that time, Juan, whose face was still painted red from the night before, said, "Why is the field locked today?" The woman replied, "It's a holiday." And red-faced Juan said, in all seriousness, "Well people like to do sports even on holidays." How that woman said she was sorry for our trouble without even cracking a smile, I will never know. At or around that time we decided Juan probably shouldn't be the spokesperson anymore.

Marc and Juan, moments before we got booted from the stadium

So our troupe moved on to the next location, further up the hill. A really crummy old track which wouldn't allow for some of the shots I had planned. But that was the least of our troubles. Our main actor had yet to make an appearance, and it was now 1pm. Two others hadn't shown yet either. So we got started and tried to make do, but finally the time had come. We needed Rafa, but he was proving difficult to track down. We bravely soldiered on without him and started rewriting the script as we went. So when Rafa finally turned up 15 minutes before this second location was to close at 2:30, we had already figured out how we could include him in the movie without even having to use any fancy CGI. Of course, we were so rushed and out of control, I'm not sure whether the footage can actually now be edited into a movie, but at least we spent three hours laughing and enjoying what turned out to be the last short-sleeves day we will likely have in BCN in 2006.

Max & the Italians make an entrance

Giving preliminary directions to my fabulous cast

The cast hits their marks


Don't worry, Atsh isn't really suffering. Much.

After such an incredibly artistic undertaking, I felt the need for more. Fortunately for me, an overwhelmed first year student had given up a ticket to see Mozart's Requiem at the Palau de la Musica that night, and I was the lucky recipient. An economist might call this the positive externality of pre-midterm stress. I just call it SWEEEEET. It was my first time to the Palau and within five minutes I had already figured out all the other concerts I'd like to attend in the coming year. The only danger in my concert-going is my tendency to play air violin, particularly during pieces I played in my symphony as a kid, so I think I was kind of annoying during the Marriage of Figaro overture. A negative externality. By the way, if you have never seen the Requiem performed live, as I hadn't, I highly recommend it. But don't go if you are opposed to getting goosebumps.

After hearing such incredible music on Wednesday, I was even more excited about what Thursday night would bring... The first rehearsal of the IESE band. Muktambar, Quentin, Rhijn and I spent two hours rocking out in a rehearsal space in Poblenou in preparation for our debut at the upcoming IESE Thanksgiving dinner. Stay tuned for tour dates. If you join our fanclub, you will get early access to sold-out shows and concert tees.