Monday, December 1, 2008

HEC Paris - ranked top European b-school, again

HEC Paris has retained its position as Europe's premier business school. Read further details here

Something to cheer about :)

Friday, October 24, 2008


Haven't written for quite a while because:
1. I have been very busy with classes and assignments
2. There hasn't been much to write about (except for financial mess which I am sure everyone is aware about).

So, what's new!
Well, a good news for all who are planning to join HEC Paris in future (maybe in 2010). HEC is launching an expensive drive to raise its profile. Read here

Apart from this, the new batch is here. They are a bigger intake, around 150 in number; I haven't got a chance to interact with many of them, might get to know them better in future. Like last year, they have already started campaigning for MBAT elections. Watch some creative videos

From MBAT-Men
Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

From Squad

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last term at HEC

I began my last term here this month; Started the term with a 3 day seminar-cum-course on "Ethiques and Performances" which was held in Domaine de Chednac (near Puy en Velay in South France). It was an interesting course where we discussed and debated on how to deal with ethical issues that we could face in our professional life.

This was followed by the fifth edition of Annual Sustainability Conference, a 2 day event organized by HEC MBA students each year. It was a good event where we had round table conferences with industry leaders in the field and some presentations by firms working in development consulting. I was impressed with the presentations by MBA Without Borders and Dalberg about their development consulting activities.

Our regular classes resumed last week with my first class at Monday 8 AM! It wasn't easy going back to school after the summer break and I did have some long days in the first week itself. We already had plenty of work in the first week and I had to work on two assignments. My courses in this term are not evenly spread out - I have a lot of courses till Oct end and then just the core course in Nov and Dec. That means I'll have plenty of time to dedicate on job-search.

Gotta work now - have to finish some readings for today's class...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

$100bn note!!

Okay, it is actually Z$100 bn note (Zimbabwe dollars) and not USD. Zimbabwe recently launched this note against its 2.2 Million annual inflation rate (Yes, you heard that right) This is hyperinflation at its worst.

Even this note is barely sufficient to buy a loaf of bread. At present rates, it takes atleast Z$500 bn a day to survive!!!

Read the complete article here

So, if you wanna be a billionaire, go to Zimbabwe and find a job ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In India

This post comes after probably my longest break after I begun blogging last year. Needless to say I was occupied but for different reasons this time.
In June, I was occupied with elective courses which ended on 30th June (with 2 takeaway exams left). On 1st July I left Paris for India and have been in India for 2 weeks now.

Before leaving for India, I was having a really hard time with the trains in Paris - In one week, I encountered delayed trains, cancelled trains and a metro strike. For my last class of Corporate Strategy, it took me almost 2 hours to reach school on a Saturday morning because of an undeclared train strike on RER-B. When I left for India, I thought that I had left my travel woes behind. But that was not meant to be for my misfortune continued. To cut the long story short, after reaching India, I encountered a cancelled domestic flight, an unconfirmed train ticket and it finally took me a 21 hour bus journey (in a non-sleeper coach) to travel from Pune to Bhopal.

After I reached home, I was in for a surprise with the internet connection. In my hometown (Narsinghgarh), I have to use dial-up internet connection which provides data transfer rate of 3-4 kbps (yes, there is no typo). With this speed, I was barely able to check my mails and faced a really hard time accessing the net. There is no broadband facility here. After speaking with multiple vendors (ISPs) and exploring multiple connection modes, I settled with a GPRS enabled internet connection using my phone. Even this does not provide a great speed but it is definitely much better than the dial-up connection and I can do the basic surfing and communicate with people.

I have been in India for 2 weeks now and might stay here till Aug end. During this time, I will be travelling a lot. If any of the prospective HEC participants want to meet me, drop me a line and we can plan something out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Some interesting articles

Found the following articles interesting:

An article in Independent on MBAT

Article by David Maister in Consulting Magazine. Some of the points mentioned in this article are really worthwhile

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Elective Courses

Yesterday, I had exams for two of my electives- "Financial Dimensions of Strategic Decisions" and "Economics and Finance of International Business".
Don't get intimidated by the names - the first course was mainly about Corporate Finance and understanding the non-financial dynamics behind financial decisions. This course, taught by Proff Pascal Quiry, has been among the best courses I have had. In each session, we discussed cases which were mostly based on the proff's experience in advising companies in his illustrious career. What made the class more fun was proff's sense of humor and the concept of "Mr/Ms Summary"; the last person in class had to write the summary of the discussions in class and email it to all participants. This meant there was a sudden last minute rush and people trying to outrun each other to enter the class ;)

The second course, by proff Laurent Jacque was about International Finance and taught us about the dillema faced by MNCs while making international financing decisions. It was a very interesting course, by a very senior and knowledgable proff (he has also written a book on foreign exchange risk management). This course was very demanding - I must have spent atleast 50 hours for this course which is quite high considering that an avg elective course is about 18 hours. But, at the end of it, I would say it was completely worth it.

This is the advantage of being in Sep intake. We have much more choice of electives and some great proffs to learn from. Jan intake, does not get this luxury but they have some other advantages.

Things have been steady on the strategy consulting elective. We have been practising case-cracking regularly and will have mock-interviews with real consultants soon. Am really looking forward to it because that would give me an indication about my current level.

Another development here is that some of my classmates will leave HEC for good this week. They will finish their classes for this term here and will go on exchange programs with other schools in next term. I am really sad at the prospect of not seeing them in future classes. Having spent so much time together, it will be really difficult to watch them leave... But I guess C'est la vie....

Friday, May 30, 2008

Snapshots from Hell

It just keeps getting tougher. At the end of 2nd term I had thought that life at HEC would become easier because I will choose the subjects I'd be interested in and have less work. But that was not the case to be - in my quest for business-knowledge I ended up taking too many work-intensive courses. As a result the workload at the moment is very high and I can safely say that the past couple of weeks have been my most hectic ones here.

This week has been specially tough - I have been sleeping past midnight and getting up at 6. What makes it more difficult for me is the 2 hours of daily commute. I would have saved some precious time (and energy) if I had stayed on expansiel. But living in Paris is a different experience altogether!!!!

So, what is the reason behind this workload? I'd say it is mainly because of the Strategy Consulting elective. In 2 weeks, each of us was supposed to solve 25 cases. Now case-solving is done in pairs. So each person solves total 50 cases with his/her partner. On an average, a case takes 30-40 minutes. So the total workload is appx 25 hours spread over 2 weeks. This does not include the time you have to spend preparing for case, your pitch and so on. Tomorrow, we will finish the first milestone and then we will have more cases to solve till 14th Jun when final session of this elective will be held.

Even though the workload is high, I must admit that I am enjoying it, esp. the case-cracking exercise. I love brain simulating activity and case-cracking helps me work on different types of problems and look at them from different points of view. I am glad that I took this elective.

I guess the next week is going to be even tougher. A brief overview of my schedule for the first two days next week:
Monday - Make a presentation at 8 AM in finance course. After class, I will go to Roland Garros to watch French Open. Will come back to school for a class from 6 PM to 9PM
Tuesday - Make a presentation in Microfinance course at 1PM. Work on the case for International Finance which is due on Wednesday. In evening, I will go to Stade de France to watch the football match between France and Columbia.

So on and so forth. There are so many things to do and you have to work according to your priorities otherwise it is very easy to get lost in a b-school life.

In case the subject of this post sounds unfamiliar, you must read
Snapshots from Hell

Monday, May 19, 2008

Consulting at HEC

This week, we started classes again after MBAT. One of the key events this week was our trip to BCG. BCG had organized an informational tour for HEC students at their office. With this event, they began the recruiting exercise for full time positions from HEC. We now have to submit our applications online by May 26 and the first round of interviews will be held on Jun 24.

As in other b-schools, consulting is one of the most sought after career here. It is generating more interest from people this year because of the slowdown in financial sector. For students interested in Strategy Consulting, we have a special elective - Strategy Consulting - tools and frameworks to prepare students for consulting interviews. This elective is conducted by a HEC alumni who has worked in BCG. The number of seats in this elective are very less (16 only); workload is high as every one is expected to solve a lot of cases as part of the course.

Apart from this, the consulting club at HEC is become pretty active and conducts regular sessions to provide insights about consulting industry and help students prepare for consulting interviews.

Last week, I restarted my case-cracking preparations after a break of 2 months. After doing a couple of cases I realized that I still need a lot of practice to structure my thoughts. Hopefully, things will fall in place with more practice.

Monday, May 12, 2008

MBAT ends

Last week, we held MBAT at HEC Paris. As I have mentioned before, MBAT is the biggest MBA sports tournament in Europe. This 18th edition had over 1300 students
from 14 European b-schools participating in over 20 different events.

During this 3 day event, MBA participants competed fiercely with each other during days and then winded down by partying till wee hours every night. I guess there was hardly anyone who slept for over 4-5 hours a day. It was great to see the future business leaders fighting and enjoying on (and off) the sports field. But it was not all fun - people broke ribs, wrists, even collar bones and not to mention the numerous minor injuries.

Like last year, LBS won it this year too by a big margin. Well, they had to - they brought the biggest contingent (about 230 people), played all the sports and had more than one team competing in some sports. To be honest, they also deserved it considering the spirit they demonstrated. They were very competitive and had many people who came with them just to cheer their team. IESE came second and HEC third. I am glad with our performance because it was extremely difficult for us to be both organizers and participants at the same time.

Some of my favorite memories of this event are people dressed up as Super Girl, Bat Girl, Roman Soldier etc; LBS double-decker buses with one dedicated to beer and Cafe Rotterdam by RSM.

It is sad that this event had to end so soon. It will be difficult to get back to classroom tomorrow after having gone through the amazing week and meeting so many new people. Alas! life must go on - C'est la vie

Monday, April 28, 2008

Trip to Switzerland

I returned from a trip to Switzerland yesterday night. I had gone there with 7 other friends for a 5 day trip. We left from Paris for Basel on Tue morning, then went to Lucerne and finally Interlaken before returning last night.

Now I realize why Switzerland is such a popular tourist destination. It is so beautiful and awe-inspiring. I ran out of adjectives to describe the beauty of the places we visited. Every other place evoked a "wow" from us. The clear skies, snow-laden Alps and crystal clear lakes were a treat to the eyes. The weather played spoil-sport on both the occasions we went up into the Alps - first at Mount Pilatus and then at Jungfrau. It was cold and cloudy and prevented us from getting a clear view from the mountains but still it was worth a visit. At Jungfrau, the temperature was -11 degree C and wind was blowing at 40 kmph. Needless to say, it was freezing and I don't remember the last time I had weathered such cold.

We were also lucky in some respects. At both Lucerne and Interlaken, our hostels were at amazing locations; in Lucerne it was in front of the river Reuss, in Interlaken it was in front of lake Brienz. In Interlaken, I used to get up with the sun beating down on my face from the Alps! It is difficult to describe the feeling.

As I said before, words will not do justice to the beauty of the places above. One thing is for sure, I will definitely go back to Interlaken at least once more.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Visions of Leadership

Last week, we had Visions of Leadership week at HEC. It was a week full of conferences and workshop dedicated to Leadership. Speakers were prominent leaders from industry and government. Some of the people were:

Gerogia Garinois ( President Beauty Care Strategy and New Growth, J&J)
Avivah Wittenberg-Cox ( CEO, 20-first)
Jean Rene Fourtou ( Chairman of the Supervisiory Board, Vivendi)
Henri de Castries (Chairman of AXA group)
Jean Paul Agon (CEO, L'oreal)
Theodore Zeldin (Philosopher)
General Jean-Louis Georgelin (Chief of the Defence Staff, French Army)
Valery Giscard d'Estaing (Former President of France)

Each day had a different theme - leadership perspectives, change/crisis management, decision making etc. The speakers talked about their experiences w.r.t to the particular theme.

The opening session was a talk by Mr. Theodore Zeldin. He exposed us to some very basic and probing questions about life and existence and about priorities in life. Time and again, I ask these questions to myself and I think I need to answer these questions again at this point in my life. The last session was by our Dean - Mr. Ramanantsoa. He talked about the power games in an organization and about the different perspectives of managers and leaders. My favorite session was the one by Mr. Jean Rene Fourtou, where he talked about how he turned Vivendi around from the brink of bankruptcy in 2002. The session was full of anecdotes and made us laugh by the way Mr. Fourtou described the series of events during his tenure.

One common thing that almost all leaders talked about was the importance and role of intuition in their decisions. This is an important takeaway for me who always tries to get a detailed analysis of every situation and wants to have an extensive look at data before taking a decision. But as they said, intuition comes with age and I guess as I grow older, I will trust my instincts more often.

Tomorrow, I am leaving for Switzerland on a 5 day trip. Can't wait to get to the Swiss Alps now :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

End of second term

My second term at HEC ended this week; We had 3 consecutive exams - Economics, Corporate Finance and Strategic Management and each exam tested us thoroughly.

In Economics exam, we had 2 cases apart from the usual MCQs. One of the cases was on LM/IS schedules in which we had to present a complete analysis of the economy which was depicted by those schedules. This made it quite challenging.

Corporate Finance was by far the most difficult exam at HEC. Each of the three sections of our class had a different proffesor and the paper was also different for each section. But after the exam everyone was unianimous in the view that the paper was long and difficult. There were angry protests from some people that the proff did not cover all the topics in depth and the questions required a much thorough understanding of the topic. I partially agree with this opinion but then you shouldn't expect spoon-feeding in a top school.

Strategic Management was a different story altogether. The exam duration was 5 hours!!! Before the exam, most of the people were of the view that 5 hours is too long and one should finish the exam in 3 hours. After the exam, people were complaining that even 5 hours are insufficient to solve a strategy case and submit a report in the form of paper based slides. I guess most of the people (including me) mismanaged their time and 5 hours were definitely enough for the case.

Now that the exams are over, I have some time to relax. Next week is going to be interesting; It is the Visions of Leadership (VoL) week at HEC. VoL is an integral part of the HEC MBA program in which leaders from leading companies are invited to talk about their leadership experiences and challenges. In the next week, we will have sessions by CEOs, a workshop by Mckinsey and a group case where we have to analyze a situation and submit our findings to a leader.

After the VoL week, we have a 10 day break; I am going to Switzerland for 5 days with some classmates. Looking forward to that trip.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The month gone by

The past month has bene very hectic. It has been full of fun activities, academic pressure and internship search.

We truly celebrated HEC Paris' diversity in March by celebrating India Week, Africa Week and China Week. For three consecutive weeks, we had some or other events to showcase the culture and diversity of our participants. These events were not just fun; Every week had a roundtable event in which there were discussions about doing business in that particular region. Finally, one common event that marked the culmination of every event was a fashion show where our classmates walked the ramp showcasing their colorful cultural diversity. These events were fun and informational.

On the academic front, we are close to the end of 2nd term here. We have already had final exams for two subjects and with three final exams next week, we will finish the 2nd term on 10th April. After that, we will have one week for Vision of Leadership events. More on that later.

The past month was also stressful because of summer internship/elective related work. I interivewed with DHL for a Corporate Strategy profile but did not get the position. So as of now, I don't have any internship offer and as things stand now, I will take electives till June end and will spend Jul-Aug in India. But it was good to see some of my classmates get internship offers although not everyone got what he/she wanted. Overall, this has been a tough time, especially in the financial sector. Not more than 5/6 people have landed with core finance profiles for internships.

I am leaving for London tomorrow for a career fair exclusively organized for HEC MBA students by JP Morgan. There will be close to 20 companies present and I am interesed in 3-4 of those. Lets see how this event goes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bear down! who's next

The fire-sale of Bear Stearns at $236 M was the most talked about topic at HEC yesterday. Everyone was wondering who the next casuality is going to be and if we could pool in some capital to buy a bank ;)

In our Economics class y'day, the professor showed the following video which is a spoof on Bernake's monetary policies. Awesome video I'd say...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Trip to Prague

I went to Prague last weekend and it turned out to be a great trip as expected. I was part of a group of 50 people, all residents of fondation "Deutsche de la Meurthe" who had gone together by a bus! It was a 14 hour overnight trip and even though we had sore back/neck after reaching there, we thoroughly enjoyed the journey and the stay in Prague.

Prague (or Praha as it is locally called) is a lovely, small, developing city. Most of the tourist places in the city are situated in a 3-4 km walking radius and so we spent most of our time walking rather than travelling in trains. The city with its cobbled streets makes for an awesome walking expereince; the streets are beautiful, old and I really liked the colors of the apartments and buildings there.

On the first day, we spent most of our day in Prague Castle, walking around the place and visiting churches, museums inside it. The evening was fabulous - we were treated to a traditional Czech dinner with folk dance. Because I am a vegetarian, I did not enjoy the traditional delicacies but definitely enjoyed the folk dance and songs.

We spent the next day travelling around Old City and visited places like Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, Petrin Tower among other places. We spent the evening in Karlovy Lazne - among the biggest discotheques in Central Europe. The disc has 5 floors and each plays different genre of music. I really enjoyed music there and we left the place around 2 AM and walked for over an hour to reach our place by 3:15 AM!!!

Since Prague is a small place, we had covered almost all the important places in the first couple of days; on the last day, we just walked around the old Jewish Quarters, sipped coffee in Franz Kafka Cafe and then left Prague around 5 PM.

Overall, it was an awesome trip; Now I want to visit more places in Eastern Europe which I think is relatively unexplored. Looking forward to many more trips around Europe...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ethanol as biofuel - a viable alternative to traditional fuels ?

In recent times, we have witnessed a lot of talk about biofuels in general and ethanol in particular. Biofuels are being promoted as alternatives to traditional fuels primarily because they produce fewer poisonous and greenhouse gases that harm the environment and cause global climate change (global warming). Governments everywhere are subsidizing startups in biofuel industry and leading energy companies are also investing huge sums of money to develop biofuels.

Some recent studies have pointed out the ill-effects of using ethanol as a bio-fuel. I recently came across a very good article on Economist debating the use of ethanol as a biofuel. The entire article can be found here:

Another article from CNN talks, among other things, about how ethanol could add to the food woes of emerging countries. This article can be found here:

It will be interesting to see how the biofuel industry responds to these challenges. I will try to get some industry responses on this and post them here.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Mid-terms finished; Vacation about to begin

I wanted to write earlier but could not because I was busy with certain things - preparations for India week and then exams. In last couple of weeks, we had final exam for Management Accounting and mid-terms for Economics and Corporate Finance. Management Accounting was simple but the other exams really tested our concepts. For Economics, we had 50 multiple-choice-questins on MicroEconomics; the catch was that there was negative marking which meant we had to be very careful while marking our answers. In today's Corporate Finance paper we had to answer approximately 15 short questions and only a couple of questions were straight-forward. After taking the exam, I realized that the more I learn, the more I realize there is left to learn.

Apart from this, we also submitted our exchange program applications and track-selection applications last week. HEC Paris has outgoing exchange program with most of the world's top MBA programs and I think close to 20 people from my class will go on exchange. I did not apply for exchange and applied for Strategy as my chosen track. This year, getting Strategy track will not be easy because there have been over 40 applicants for 40 seats. I think we will know the outcome of our applications next week.

We have winter-break vacation from March 1-9 and I am eagerly looking forward to this break. I will leave for Prague on 6th and spend 3 days there. It is going to be another exciting trip I am sure.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Business Quiz at HEC

We had a business cum general knowledge quiz for MBA participants at HEC. There were 5 teams of 5 members each. There were 5 rounds with 10 questions in each round. It was a tough quiz I must say. A couple of teams were virtually out after the second round itself because of their abysmal performance. At the end of second round, we were trailing by 1 point but the third round changed it all. We scored 10 whereas the previously leading team scored 5. After that it was just a matter of maintaining the lead and we did it albeit by a narrow margin of 2 points.
So it was a closely contested victory and each of us received a bottle of champagne for the win:). I would say we were extremely lucky because Marvin - the person who did bulk of the scoring was not in our team originally; he joined us at the last moment and helped us win the contest. ;)
Here's a picture of the winning team:

The people in the pic from right to left:
1. Goran - one of the organizers
2. Bipul
3. Deepak
4. Marvin - the star
5. Rahul - that's me
6. Ashish

Looking forward to many such bottles of champagne ;)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Latin week at HEC Paris

It is getting increasing difficult to find time to write these days. There are just too many things to do here(and I am not talking about studies...) and sometimes it becomes difficult to choose. I have to juggle my time between sports, preparing for India week and different club activities.

This week was particularly hectic as we celebrated Latin week here. We have people from Venezuela, Mexico, Columbia, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil (I might be forgetting some other countries) in our batch and the Latin week was an event to showcase the Latin culture and celebrate the diversity. We saw some famous movies - City of God, Motorcycle Diaries which provided us insights into the life and culture of Brazil and other latin american countries.
Apart from this, we had presentations on various countries, a discussion on doing business in latin america, a music fest and finally a sumptous latin dinner. I tried to attend as many events as possible by balancing my time between other activities.

Things are moving well on the academic front also. We started our strategy classes this week and the first couple of classes were great. We discussed cases on the success of Southwest Airlines and the classic Cola-Pepsi wars. Our strategy proff makes the classes really interesting. He randomly calls upon a person and asks him/her to initiate the case discussion. This makes it imperative that each of us prepares the case thorougly before the class. I am looking forward to more strategy cases in coming months.

On the personal level, I am looking forward to the one week winter break in March first week. I have just booked my tickets for Prague where I am going with close to 50 Cite Universitaire folks. Hopefully, this trip will be as exciting as my previous trips to Rome, Barcelona and UK.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Last month, French president Sarkozy made his first visit to India. During this visit, a lot of initiatives were taken to increase the cooperation between India and France on various fronts. As part of this visit, NDTV prepared a special show on the Opportunities for Indians in France. The show, titled "France:Opportunities Beckon" included a section on HEC Paris, as being one of France's premier educational instititues and attracting many Indian students. The show can be viewed here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

India makes history again

India have done it again. They have won the cricket test match against Australia in Perth and have stopped Australia's victory march of 16 tests again. They did it first in 2001 in Kolkatta and again today but this time it is sweeter because this victory has come in Perth - Australia's stronghold for years. Perth is among the world's fastest cricket pitches and Australia hasn't lost a test here in a decade. Last time they lost here was to the pace attack of West Indies which boasted of stars like Ambrose, Walsh and Bishop. The fact that this Indian bowling lineup is probably the most inexperienced in years makes the victory even more remarkable.

After the debacle in Sydney, where India lost the match in the last over, this is a great victory. This will match the next test more interesting.

Go India, Go..

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ghosts of Term One

Even though we are into our second week of the second term here at HEC, we are still doing first term's work. We have two first term assignments spilling over in the second term - an individual paper on sustainability and a marketing case to be done with first term study group. Both these assignments are due tomorrow and I have had a really hard time with the marketing case. We chose a case of marketing a Japanese style high-tech toilets in France and this case has proven to be difficult but very interesting. We have not been able to conduct a detailed market research because of lack of time and resources. We have to submit our recommendations tomorrow and as of now, we have not been able to decide the target market segment and the right promotion strategy. Hopefully, we will be able to sort things out after a final brainstorming session today.

Apart from this, our academic classes started today. We have Corporate Finance, Management Accounting, Business Economics and Strategy as our main subjects in this term. Because of my interests in Finance and Strategy, I am keenly looking forward to these subjects. Our professors in this term are also veterans - Corp Fin is being taught by a proff who is an investment banker, Economics will be taught by an ex-head of an investment bank and Strategy proff is also very renowned.

Things are heating up on other fronts also - MBAT team is meeting regularly to coordinate MBAT events, Indian contingent is meeting to hold India week in March, I am working with a group of participants to start a new initiative to hold sessions on understanding the economies of different countries and doing a SWOT analysis. Apart from this, people have started getting interview calls for internships. From the look of things so far, this term is going to be harder than the first one..

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Trip to Rome

I spent my recent vacation in Rome and Barcelona. Because of the winter, we wanted to go somewhere south in Europe and it being Christmas time, Rome was our first choice. We also chose Barcelona so that we could spend some time at the Beach.Our first stop was Rome.
Without getting into the details of logistics, I will write about the main places we visited.
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Vatican City - A trip to Rome cannot be complete without going to Vatican city. The smallest soverign state in the world, this is the seat of the Pope. There are 2 main places to visit inside Vatican city:
1. St. Peters Basilica - This is perhaps the holiest place for Christians. This is built on the burial site of St Peters, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and who according to legend was entrusted with the task of expanding Christianity. This is where the Pope performs the Christmas midnight mass and we were lucky to witness that. This was once in a lifetime moment for us. Inside this basilica, you can see many of the famous Christianity related historical sculptures and frescoes by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphel and others. The most famous work inside this basilica is "Pieta" by Michelangelo, a sculpture of Mary holding Jesus after he was crucified.
2. Vatican Museum - This contains many famous works of art and sculpture which belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Sistine Chapel, which contains the world famous fresco, "Creation" by Michelangelo is enroute to the Vatican Museum. We were unlucky not to get inside the museum because of a 2km long waiting line :(
Fontana di Trevi(Trevi Fountain) - This is the most famous and largest of the fountains in Rome and legend has it that if you throw a coin in this fountain, you will return to Rome. It is huge and really beautiful.
Piazza di Spagna( Spanish square) - This is a really beautiful place to be in summers. Close to the main square is a set of steps called the Spanish steps which connect Piazza di Spagna with Piazza Trinita dei Monti. This is a must see spot in summers when you can see flowers lining these steps. We could not see the real beauty of the place is it was December
Colosseum - If you have seen the movie Gladiator, you must know about Colosseum. This is where the gladiators fought - with other gladiators and with animals. This place is now mostly damaged but can still hold your imagination if you stand inside it and imagine the battles that took place centuries ago
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument of victor Emmanuel II) - It is situated close to Piazza Venezia and is a monument to honour Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. It is built of pure white marble and features majestic stairways, tall columns, fountains, a huge equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel and two statues of the goddess Victoria riding on quadrigas. This monument also has a museum which contains many artifacts related to World War 1 and Italy's military history
In general, Rome is a small city with friendly people and delicious pizzas. The city contains many fountains and squares and over 900 churches.If you are a lover of art and/or history, want to witness works of Reniassance period and Baroque style, Rome is a must visit place.

Second term begins

Our second term begun this week and the week went by so fast that I can't believe its weekend again. The biggest difference between term 1 and term 2 for me is that I have moved to the campus for term 2. So, no more 2 hour commute daily. It is such a big difference living here, in campus. I can do so many things now; I played squash this week after a gap of 6 odd months and thoroughly enjoyed it. Today, I played basketball in evening and then went for a movie with friends.

We did not have any academic classes this week - we had sessions dedicated to Communication in Action in which we had communication professionals working with us to improve our communication skills. Apart from that we had sessions on Project Management and couple of sessions with Alumni where they gave us feedback on our career plans. It was a good way to start term 2 I'd say.

I think this term is gonna be tougher than first term, not in terms of academics but because in this term people would be busy working to get internship offers. I can already see people working hard putting in applications for banks and other industries. It is not easy for people wanting to get into finanace because the industry is mainly based in London and the competition is very tough especially in the wake of the recent financial crisis. I have also applied to some investment banks, have had first round interview with BNP Paribas and am anxiously waiting to listen from other banks.

Our academic classes begin next week and we also have two big submissions due from the last term - Individual Sustainability Project and Marketing Case submission. It's gonna be a tough week I am sure.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

End of first term at HEC

My first term at HEC ended in December. In terms of number of days spent, the term lasted for a little over 3 months (100 days to be precise) but in terms of the knowledge gained, I was introduced to a lot of new concepts and it might take me years to grasp them completely.

It was a great experience being part of the diverse batch that my class at HEC is. The classmates were cooperative, the proffs supportive and the course structure was top-notch. We were exposed to most of the main disciplines that business requires - finance, marketing, supply chain and accounting. Additionally, we had a new subject -Sustainable Business Development which helped us understand the issues of sustainability and we spent a lot of time in class brainstorming on how businesses should be sustainable - not just making profit for its shareholders but benefitting all the stakeholders concerned, including planet.

I was lucky to have already had an overview and understanding of all the subjects, thanks to my reading habits and my previous work experience. Some of my classmates were completely new to the world of finance and it was good to see them keep up with the rest of the class after an initial struggle.

We also had a lot of fun along with the academics. We fought hard with each other during MBAT elections, had a great time celebrating Diwali and were thorougly entertained by the various events organized during the Japan week. Another highlight was the parties we had in Piano bar - which included normal drinking/dancing parties and the informal salsa training session. One such memorable ocassion was the Latin fiesta where the party continued till 3 AM and only a handful of people turned up to attend the 8AM Statistics class :)

If I were to summarize my firt term experience at HEC, I would say that it was a humbling experience. When I joined HEC, I used to think that I know a lot about business but in the last 3 months I have realized that there are more things that I don't know than what I know.

Am signing off now wishing you all a great year ahead and hoping that my coming year is as exciting and fruitful as the last few months here were.