There was a guy with a bloody mask and a chainsaw standing in the gallery on State Street... it must be Halloween. A regular day, with class and an SAB meeting, gave way to a mini evening out in Ann Arbor. We dined at Jimmy Johns, hit Cingular, and enjoyed the goings-on at Borders, which was totally slammed with Halloween festivities.
posted at 8:54 PM - comments
Monday, October 30, 2006
After two and a half years of mixed use, NAME reclaimed my desk today. I hadn't really used it since last spring, so if somebody up there can get daily use out of it I can live with that. Still, it was my office and homebase for a very busy year and so I'm a little sad that I won't have that backup study option.
Linda Lim was on hand for my first day of ST503 The World Economy; she was funny and sarcastic as always despite the condescending attendance policies which apparently cannot go unstated. Just the same, it promises to be a good course.
It was Mom & Dad's annual fall football weekend in Ann Arbor. The festivities started with a cancellation, Friday morning, of Habitat building activities that opened up the day for a lunch at Zingerman's (#51 Bob & Roz's Fiesta, decent but not as peppery and zingy as you might expect... #74 Dave's Open Road still in the lead). In the afternoon, they stopped at the SAE club car show - which turned out to be something of a joke - while I headed north to NAME to catch up with the President of SNAME: Webb Institute Dean Roger Compton.
Jill and the Dean were in town for the whole weekend, as it turned out, and didn't have dinner plans in Ann Arbor so we combined dinner with parents with dinner with Mr. & Mrs. The Dean. Jenelle hosted and cooked up one heck of an awesome spanikopita, spinach salad with hot bacon dressing, and we really had a great time.
Saturday started and ended with rain; the game was cold and wet and windy but still fun and relatively comfortable since we'd prepared for the onslaught. Michigan proved fickle and tried just hard enough to win; we celebrated with a relocated UMBSA tailgate at the bus, which was so cold that we ate a single plate of Mexican food and were on our way. Back at home we talked wedding stuff, lazed around, had a bratwurst dinner with key lime pie, had a very mini-birthday celebration, and watched Michigan's less-than-punishing power play go 0-11 in a 3-2 loss to Northeastern.
Sunday (fall baaaaaack) was mostly about Angelo's, braving the line for Angelo's, and then a lazy afternoon. They went to Royal Shakespeare Company's Julius Caesar while we read for school. They left in the early evening, Jenelle went home, and I had a team meeting... another weekend coming to a screetching halt as reality sets back in on Sunday in the PM.
I'd be better if the Tigers could win and the rain would stop, but all in all life is pretty good around here. Yesterday's interview went ehhhh... but fear not! While I was interviewing with one company another was calling - totally unsolicited - to offer an interview of their own. Any complaining or resentment of TMI that may have cropped up during the busy first few months of b-school are certainly forgotten now as those three little letters turn into interviews, opportunities, and leverage. Sweet.
Mom arrived late in the PM and we headed down to Casey's to take in the closing innings of the Tiger's game. It's just a cool local place with a couple of TVs that had been on my list of things to do before Ann Arbor is in the rearview, and it was fun to be around real Tiger fans for a pretty big game.
A few minutes from now high five will present our prototype for IPD. I can't believe how much of my 'week off' this project has taken, but I'm hopeful that what some of us have concocted will be successful. I'm frustrated with team dynamics and burned out with the wood shop.
I had promising career talks with two people today - the first about a career for me and the second about one for Robin. She was back in town, passing through again, and we spent an afternoon out and about in Ann Arbor having fun and talking about interviewing and jobs and the like. We met Jenelle for a too-quick dinner at Madras Masala and then I had to split for this presentation, Jenelle for work, and Robin for the balance of her trip from Cleveland to Lansing.
Some days it is incomprehensible that the events of the morning happened on the same day as the events of the evening. Today's 8 AM interview seemed a week removed from the marathon IPD work session that wrapped at 10 PM. There wasn't a lot in between: some career stuff, some cleaning and some recreational interneting were the sum total of day's activities.
posted at 11:15 PM - comments
Integrated Product Development is cross-listed course with three credits in both the business and engineering schools; I should have been more aware of what a six-credit engineering-based course would look like. Over the past few days IPD has consumed much of my free time, leaving my throat dry from wood shop dust and my mind weary of focusing on one project when several others loom. Those other projects include interviews - two this week - which seem to be going better than ever. I've gotten something of a rhythm going, now, with roughly the same amount of preparation yielding better results. It's hard to say, of course, what the results really are, but it feels like my experiences the last two times out have been very good and should result in second round flybacks.
posted at 10:18 AM - comments
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Anthony was in town for a busy weekend; here's the review... Friday I recruited him to help out with the Michigan House, which he did willingly, putting up most of the siding on one side of the house. In the evening, Jenelle and Robin arrived from different directions and we had a 1/2 gallon at Casa Dominick's and a stop at btb before Constable and I headed down to Yost to take in a CCHA tilt. Unfortunately, Michigan just plain did not show up and got schooled in the most one-sided 4-1 victory in the history of the sport.
Saturday morning we got up and went downtown to the Fleetwood Diner before making our way to the MBA tailgate (which was oddly under-attended and kinda lame) and then the game. Iowa presented the last big pre-tOSU test for the varsity, and the fans knew it. Michigan Stadium was rocking and the team demonstrated why it is number 2 in the nation. The place got loud in the third quarter and stayed that way - probably the second-best crowd of my time here. With our ears ringing and legs tired we went back to 409B for pulled pork and cornbread for dinner, then made an evening out of it and watched the Tigers' struggles at Buffalo Wild Wings. Today Anthony had a relatively early flight and I an important IPD meeting, so the weekend came, as they tend to do in grad school, to a screetching halt. Just half a day later it seems like a long time ago that he was here.... something of a testament to the pace of our lives.
For reasons unknown I find myself drawn to odometer-derived milestones. Today the Jimmy reached #90000 leaving me to think back on those miles, from "what a marvelous machine!" until this very morning. It reminded me of a song:
"A million miles our vagabond wheels
Clocked up beneath the clouds
They're counting down to show time
When we do it for real with the crowds
Air miles are owing but they don't come for free
And they don't give you any for pain
But if it's all for nothing
All the roadrunning has been in vain."
- Mark Knopfler & Emmy Lou Harris, "All the Roadrunning"
posted at 4:53 PM - comments
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I finally got frustrated enough about the utter crappiness of the tripod-supplied site search that I broke down and swiped one from a search engine this morning. Now, you can toggle between searching the universe and searching my universe, with better results in both scenarios. Give it a whirl; I promise you'll love it.
Yesterday I landed another interview and have now dubbed next week Industrial Conglomerate week. It feels a little odd to interview for staunch competitors on alternate days, but this is the b-school way. It's also apparent that these companies are outside my wheelhouse, so I have a ton more prep to do ahead of these two.
Yesterday was the last float on the CEO parade. Jenelle correctly pointed out that this is a pretty bizarre class and also a bit contrived. Yip. I mean the face time is great (although not really since it has no lasting value) and it is interesting, but the learnings are of dubious quality and enormous subjectivity. Yesterday our professor, the apparently-esteemed ex-Chairman of American Motors, rated himself as a 9 (out of 10) leader and 10 (out of 10) master manager. A perfect manager and the Pacer was your hot-seller? No comment.
There has been concern of late, among my peers, that a person's internet presence could lead to negative career-search baggage. (This assumes, of course, that a recruiter doesn't use Google search, as documented previously.) My thought is that if you aren't proud and confident of the persona you represent online, you have a real problem. If you can't comfortably share opinions, personal activities, and even pictures with a recruiter, what are you hiding? I'm sure that I don't achieve 100% consensus with my virtual views, but I certainly don't get there offline either.
Another day largely devoted to the two main focuses of my life this week: IPD and career search. I wish there was another way, but our product is coming along and I'm making headway (I think) towards not needing to worry about school anymore. In the afternoon and evening Jenelle and I hung out at her place. We made stir-fry, looked at wedding music possibilities, I looked at ski trip options, and she worked on work for tomorrow. It was a nice night at home together, without the craziness of a mountain of work or a late meeting.
Lately it doesn't seem like there's much worth blogging about; I suppose any and all journalists go into some sort of funk from time to time, but it doesn't feel comfortable when that happens. Deep inside I'm itching for a redesign of this site - a project for another day or two.
A frustrating email on Friday cancelled weekend plans, but we salvaged a decent couple of days. Our first move was to join the TMI crowd for whirly ball on Friday night; Jenelle had never played but really enjoyed the game and the hilarity of watching other people play badly.
Saturday was meant to be a trip north to solidify our baker and enjoy fall colors, but instead the baker we'd arranged a visit with went out of business at 2pm on Friday. As an alternate, we grabbed the two free tickets to the Henry Ford Museum that we'd gotten waaaay back in May from IMDC and hit the museum. It was a pretty quiet day in Dearborn, but we saw all of the exhibits about cars and trains and planes and houses and machines. Both of us had been as wee children but not since, so this was both a return to our youth and an interesting display of history. In the afternoon we watched the Tigers' clinch the ALCS and then headed to Caroline's to watch Michigan clinch victory over Penn State. There were about a dozen people there and it really was a fun time. Sunday was like a regular old day... neither of us had excessive work or meetings, so we walked in the Arb, did some grocery shopping, made pasta fagioli for dinner, and had a grand time.
Today started fast and furious with another Monday morning interview; Brunswick reps were on Kresge 3 in the interview suites, and I was on the list. I think the interview went well - my enthusiasm for this industry is significant and well documented, which I think reflected in my level of energy and eagerness to participate. Afterwards, a marathon IPD meeting that included lunch and a trip to the hardware store, an MBA first.
Winter arrived today in the form of blowing snow that came flying sideways into our lives a little too early. I really wasn't cold, but the wind and snow served as reminder enough that seasons are changing. Apart from the weather it was the last day, incredibly, of one of my Fall A classes and the last for two weeks for a full-term class. I cannot believe how quickly the time went by, but I feel like I learned quite a bit and am looking forward to Linda Lim's World Economy in Fall B.
At the RenCen this evening for b-schoolapalooza... quite a turn of events to be on the other side of the coin. There was much less nervousness on my part but the anxiety and optimism in the room was much more palpable since I wasn't emitting it. I actually had the free energy to enjoy the view of the river (with ships!) from the 36th floor of the 200 tower. I hadn't been to the Renaissance Center since a spring break when Mom granted Robin and I 100 steps each and, using escalators, we were able to make it roughly 800 yards. Things have changed significantly and the whole place has a bit of a buzz, like a McCann-Erickson commercial exploded in the lobby. Which it kind of did.
It's Wednesday and that means compulsory rain and drear in Ann Arbor. So far this semester every single Wednesday has been rainy. Every one. To celebrate, the HLBSA (Hispanic Latino Business Students Association) organized free food. Ha ha! Just kidding, actually they were celebrating Hispanic Awareness Month. I'm aware that tamales, beans and rice, yuca, and a hibiscus drink taste very authentic and I'm happy for this diversity in our population.
Last night I watched - for the first time in my life - the Detroit Tigers play postseason baseball. They crushed the Oakland Athletics. Now I get baseball: when your team is playing, when you have something to cheer about, when something is on the line, it's fun. I can sit and watch football and, to a lesser extent, basketball regardless of who is playing, but not baseball. So let's keep having the Tigers play!
I was invited to a Ross pre-admit reception at the GM RenCen tomorrow evening. A few years back I attended a similar reception in West Bloomfield and had the first taste of what b-school would be like. Now I'm the one that everyone crowds around, the TMI rep that sold me on that program, and the stakes for me have increased because now there's career networking on the line. All life is a circle, or so I hear.
There's not much to report, good or bad, about today. I woke up feeling not-so-very-hot and slept a bit more before getting things going. Then it was a very average day: classes, TMI stuff, and now I'm done. There's career buzz (as always) with another interview on Monday and an ongoing high level of activity as I explore options on and off campus. Incredibly, my Fall A classes are winding down; my last, hardest, and best negotiation was today and I think it went quite well. Tomorrow is the second to last float of the CEO parade: Dee Kapur of International Truck & Engine. Incredibly, it's closing in on fall break time and the term is almost over.
A shameless plug: last evening Jenelle and I put our heads together and added some content to the wedding site, so click the little blue box on the left and ready yourself for dazzlement.
There's simply no better way to start your week than with an 8:30 AM interview on Monday morning. Having to bring your A-game before the sun clears the big trees in the arb means that you have a huge, productive day ahead of you independent of how the interview goes. This is one of the corollaries to the Dombrowski Principle: have your test early in the day so you can be done with it and get on with life.
This afternoon I have another of these unusual exposures to the real world called “Dean’s Seminar Series.” From time to time during life at Ross you get an unsolicited email inviting you to join a C-level exec from this company or that for a meet and greet, short seminar on leadership or some similar ambiguity, and refreshments. Today’s guest is Dan Hesse from Embarq, a bandwidth provider. I’m not sure if you are allowed to turn these things down or not, but who would want to? It is reasons like this that I love the big school feel of Michigan… you never know what your inbox may bring you.
A beautiful fall Sunday spent indoors, negotiating for negotiations class, writing a report for the CEO parade, and working up a project description for supply chain. This is the life of an MBA - I'm happy to be here in general, but on days like this you can't help but second guess.
Mike Valenti's insanity from two weeks ago on Spartan talk radio apparently didn't do too much: we headed down to the Big House around 4:30 and watched MSU make too many mistakes to be competitive with Michigan. They committed three (3!) drive-extending personal fouls and didn't use their strengths, notching only 13 points against Michigan's 31. But, they have a marching band and it was a great day for football.
When I got to 972 Watling - the Habitat House - this morning it was all of 41 degrees F. By mid-morning I had shed my sweatshirt; a few hours later my back was sweating and by clean-up time I had that 'day at the beach' weariness that hour upon hour in the sun can bring. It's early October, all right. Tomorrow promises to be the same when Drew Stanton, Crazy John L, and the Spartans roll into the Big House. It'll be clear and cold when the game wraps up under cover of darkness, which is a good feeling... Big Ten football, walking back up the hill to campus with your ears crackling from the cold, breath hanging heavy over the crowd, and red and yellow leaves shuffling underfoot. There's a picture of me as a youngster (barely a toddler, really) sitting in a pile of leaves wearing a jacket, hat, and gloves, holding a football and grinning. Yip. That's me.
posted at 4:59 PM - comments
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Sometimes the world amazes me. I accidentally left my notebook and favorite mechanical pencil (please send enginerd jokes) on a table in the Duderstadt Center last night after my impromptu case resume review with Tim after class. That was 10 o'clock. This morning I realized what I'd done and jumped on the bus to the Dude and found, to my surprise, that my notebook and pencil were sitting on the same table even though the other detritus on the table had been cleared. Incredible.
It's been one of those days when 19 little things happen in short order that make you feel good about your progress. I arranged pizza delivery for Habitat for Humanity each week this semester, took care of two urgent resume drops, and got some school work done before classes start at 12:40 Michigan Time.
Undoubtedly the hottest story on the blogosphere is this notion of Congress approving $20m for a victory celebration at the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Actually there is some doubt; I suspect that Eva Longoria and Tony Parker's relationship status might be the hottest topic.) My commentary isn't on the futility of such a spending provision - trust me, even as an avid lover of monuments and festivities, this seems premature - but on the role of media. Usually I'm very apprehensive about private news media because they fundamentally rely on new news to stay in business. Without news, CNN could not exist and this relationship does not incent them to be fair and even-tempered conduits. However, on occasions like this I am thankful that they do exist because how the heck else would we find this stuff out? I don't know about you but this afternoon I was busy doing other stuff and not using my Freedom of Information Act rights to find out what the last Defense Appropriations bill allocated towards activities commemorating the cessation of hostilities in Iraq.
posted at 5:49 PM - comments
Last night was the inaugural induction ceremony for UHS' chapter of the National Honor Society, to which I was invited. It was great to see the students being recognized, but more importantly it was great to see the parents so excited about their kids' accomplishments. Compared to the subdued, "this is just what happens" attitude from our childhoods this is a major shift. Afterwards, the UHS faculty had a major shift and headed to Hi-Tops for a social break... how very different from RRHS.
Today is yet another rainy day in Ann Arbor, busy with Habitat stuff and the first brushes with an interview on Monday. It's incredible the amount of effort that goes into one of these things. I anticipate that I'll spend somewhere on the order of four hours prepping for an interview where 24 people are probably vying for less than a quarter that many jobs. That being said, obviously everybody thinks they have a >25% chance of being one of the hires and, in a typical prisoner's dilemna, over-preps.
Today's CEO Parade entrant is Mr. Gary Kelly from Southwest. LUV is hardly a company in crisis - as the course name implies - but I suppose as the lead dog in an industry firmly in the grip of the icy hands of recession he is as qualified as anyone to talk about how to avoid crisis.
A quick addendum to add a feature film that we saw this weekend. If you have yourself a few hours and need a story along the lines of Motorcycle Diaries or The Straight Story, check out The World's Fastest Indian. Jenelle pointed out that this is a drama achieved without drama - Mr. Munro doesn't need to be the victim of anything for the story to be emotionally compelling. He says 'if you don't work towards your dreams you might as well be a vegetable' and it all makes sense. Speed freak or not, there's a single-minded humility and gusto that work surprisingly well together, carried off beautifully by Anthony Hopkins. Check it out.
posted at 7:17 PM - comments
Blogging is a great hobby because it fits into holes in a pre-existing schedule. When you have 10 minutes and an internet connection: blog. In this way the things that are trivial in the long term but noteworthy in the short term get caught, you don't really have to dedicate/block any time, and the record is produced.
My Mondays are in total flux this year as I struggle to stay productive without the framework of classes. Today I've done Habitat stuff, looked at bowl game logistics, and had an IPD meeting already, with the specter of a potentially long supply chain meeting later in the day looming large. I realize that evening meetings are a necessary evil, but man am I ever ready to be able to have some sanctity in terms of free time. Summers and past job have allowed a certain 'turning off' of the o-n/o-f-f switch around, say, five pm. Now, not so much.
Finally today, a disgruntled Spartan radio commentator, as heard on air. Even if you never, ever click to anything on the internet you should make an exception for this clip. Fast-forward about 7:30 into the clip and sit back and enjoy the lunacy.
Weekend recap: the walls went up, Cummins went long, Jenelle and I went out, Henne went deep, Kyle went home, weekend went fast.
After building some walls to get the HFH house ready for trusses (which didn't happen Saturday due to rain) and an info session from Cummins that went way longer than it was supposed to or needed to, Jenelle and I met outside the Union and headed downtown to Prickly Pear, a southwestern cafe of some reknown, for a pre-birthday celebratory dinner. I had buffalo enchiladas, which were good, and we each had a margarita, which started the weekend off quite nicely and reminded us that summer is just a tropical beverage away. Then to Borders and home!
Saturday was Jenelle's 24th birthday. We celebrated with one of our trademark days out. First stop was IKEA, where she bought a great coffee table and we battled monster traffic. Next was downtown Plymouth, a place we'd been wanting to check out but found to be a little sleepy, adding somewhat to our ongoing dialogue re: why is Ann Arbor better? We found the answer in Birmingham. Places with people on the street and shops open late are better. Birmingham is a happenin' place, even by A2 standards. Two downtown movie theaters, three all-hours coffee shops, several accessible ethnic restaurants, and plenty of nice window-shopping guarantee something for people to be excited about regardless of their time of visit. We celebrated the birthday of the day with a great Thai meal and then, at home, a Cold Stone cake. A cookie dough one.
Today we unexpectedly saw Kyle in Ann Arbor. He was driving from Detroit to Chicago and stopped by; this was a pleasant addition to what might otherwise have been a boring Sunday full of normalcy. We walked in the arb and had a nice outside lunch at Arbor Brewing Company before everyone had to head their own way.