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