Author Archive

avatar

Goodbye Berkeley

Posted by: Stephen
Comments Off

Img_0220 How to describe my exchange experience in a phrase? I would say ‘life changing’. I’ve been here in Berkeley since the end of August and this place has blown me away. The students and people in general are friendly, helpful and collaborative not competitive. The school has welcomed us like we are their own students. We have had full access to the careers service, get a permanent email address and now qualify to join the Haas alumni network. The policies of the school are symptomatic of the attitude of openness and inclusion that permeates this whole area.

Exchange Berkeley has been a refreshing change after a number of years spent in London. Usually, if somebody smiles at you or tries to talk to you in London they are completely crazy, or drunk. Yet here people literally walk down the street smiling all the time. Just happy to be living in such a great place.

The focus of the business school is management of technology and entrepreneurship. They have branded the school a centre for innovation, attempting to combine the massive volume of research conducted on the campus with entrepreneurs from the MBA class. I have taken classes such as Innovation in Services and Future of IT. Imagine a school where (almost) nobody wants to work for an Investment Bank or Hedge Fund! 

I have tried hard to find a job here and have turned down 1 offer. If I can find the right job I would move here permanently after the MBA.   

23112007016 My previous blogs have focused on sports, so what have I been doing in Berkeley? Well I’ve been busy. The University sits on the edge of a large mountainous park. I have been running in the hills (<- see view from top of hill) training for the Las Vegas marathon. The hard training paid off when I managed a PB 03:11:42 on a freezing day in the Nevada desert. I went with many of my new friends on the international exchange from IESE & Columbia business schools. See pictures below:

http://picasaweb.google.com/fouad.jaidi/LasVegasExchangeStudents?authkey=i0m3aiXOwhg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21498601@N05/

Img_0248Then there is the sailing. The San Francisco Bay is great for learning how to sail. I’ve taken some courses with a club called OCSC at Berkeley marina. I highly recommend the professional sailing instruction at this club. I have passed the US sailing certification at Basic Keelboat and Basic Cruising, training in J24s.

Img_0223 Overall, I have learnt a lot here at Berkeley. Some practical skills but also a different attitude towards business. An attitude of entrepreneurship, innovation and social responsibility. I recommend any 1st years considering exchange to come here and to experience a different perspective on business and life.      

This blog is dedicated to my close friend Fouad Jaidi MBA 2008 at ESSEC. 

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

San Francisco Exchange

Posted by: Stephen
Comments Off

San_fran3 Its been awhile since I last wrote a blog entry, so what have I been doing? Of course there was the internship. But the less said about that the better. Now I’m in San Francisco on exchange at UC Berkeley. I have much more positive things to say about the Bay area, so I think I should focus there.

But first I feel like providing some advice if you are currently thinking about internships for next year. Firstly,  do your homework and research exactly where you are going, what you will be doing and who you will be working with \ for, before you commit. My other top tip is that if you aren’t sure exactly what you want to do then do something really different, what do you have to lose?

BBay_bridgeerkeley is amazing. I came here 2 days after finishing my internship and classes have been running for nearly 3 weeks. Yes their term starts early! My first purchase was a mountain bike, renting an apartment came third on the list, after getting a phone.

I Summer_of_love_1have been training on the Olympic athletics track, running in the hills behind Berkeley and mountain biking around Mt Diablo. I have a weekend of sailing in the bay this weekend and some golf lined up for next week. If you like the outdoors lifestyle then this is the place to be.

I also met a lot of other students and we have been having a great tSan_fran2ime exploring the area. Last week we went to San Francisco and checked out the ‘summer of love 40th anniversary concert’. See pictures.

Summer_of_love2 I spent the weekend in Mexico for my study group mates wedding. CONGRATULATIONS Poncho! There were lots of LBS students attending. The wedding started at 9pm and the party went on until the next morning. By the end it was only the Bride & Groom, some teenagers, the MBAs and very tired looking sets of the wedding couples parents. The Mexicans certainly know how to party. Hopefully, I will be able to post some pictures when I get them. Summer_of_loveAlcatraz

   

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

The Race to the Finish

Posted by: Stephen
Comments Off

Where did the year go? It only seems like 5 minutes ago, when we were sat in Lords Cricket ground during the course orientation and now we are within sight of the end of the first year. I’m just relieved that I listened to the people who advised me that a 2 year MBA was the only option. I have so much more I want to do next year.  Including, the exchange to San Francisco, some great elective courses and perfecting my French.

The first year has been extremely hectic at times, but every part of it has been enjoyable. I now have hundreds of new friends, new skills and have tried new sports. It has been a productive time and I really feel that I have moved into the fast lane.

All that is left are lots of end of year parties, including several BBQs, dinner at Cafe de Paris and a talent show. Oh yes, and then there are the exams. I have Finance, Accounting, French, Operational Mgmt and Economics next week. These exams can sometimes get in the way of your social life and it always seems to be the case that the parties and the exams come together, at the end of semesters. 

There won’t be much time for me to reflect on the past year. I will be starting my internship at Barclays Wealth Management 2 days after the last exam. A large portion of the students will be missing the last week of term as they have been sent abroad by their employers for training. The best advice I can give regarding the summer internship is to make sure you build as many contacts with your current employer as possible. It is infinitely easier to secure employment somewhere you have a proven record.

The day after my internship finishes I will be flying to San Francisco to start the autumn semester at Berkeley. If you are starting the MBA this year, make sure you make the most of any summer holidays you have before the course starts. You don’t know when you will have another.

Congratulations to fellow blogger Sean who is the new SA President. Another fellow blogger, Martha and I will be in charge of the running club next year with help from Joe and Karen. We are planning to participate in some marathons and other races.   

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

Mighty Mighty London!!! MBAT Champions 2007…

Posted by: Stephen
Comments Off

It is official, London Business School are the greatest athletes in the MBA world!

The London squad spent the weekend battling against the best the other business schools around Europe could muster and destroyed them in almost every sport. London Business School won rugby (men’s and woman’s), cross country, tug of war, swimming, volleyball, salsa, woman’s football, cricket, partying, drum playing and many more.

MBAT took place at the HEC campus just outside Paris. The squad travelled together on the Eurostar on Thursday and returned victorious on Sunday night. Other schools involved included Oxford, Cambridge, CASS, MBS, IESE, IE, HEC, Rotterdam and Bocconi.

With a squad of around 250, London Business School was the best represented of any school at MBAT. We also had the distinct advantage of having a big red bus full of beer. This kept the athletes and supporters refreshed for the many battles that took place on the field and provided a base for post competition parties.

I was involved in some of the running events. The standard was extremely high. For example the 1500m was won by a guy from IESE in 4:21. The same guy thrashed me in the cross country by 5 minutes. However, Cross Country was a team competition and because London had 5 people in the top ten we won. Overall, in athletics London came a close second.

Thanks to the SA and in particular Martyn Buttenshaw for organising the London team this year. We will be back stronger than ever next year.

Pictures from the weekend. Thanks Brendon -

http://picasaweb.google.com/brendon.moss/MBAT2007?authkey=_qfo5eCM6so

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

Marathon Mishap

Posted by: Stephen

Last Sunday was London Marathon day. I set off on the familiar route to the start line at Greenwich and I thought I was set for a good finish time. The training had been injury free and smoother than any previous year I have competed.

Then the ultra reliable London Transport system failed and I was stuck 3 miles from the start line. The only alternative rail route would have guaranteed getting to the start late. So, together with hunders of other runners, I walked the last few miles in a desperate bid to get to the start. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the start area the place was a ghost town. Still cursing the docklands railway I started the marathon.

I spent the next 2 hours weaving between people dressed in Rhino suits or as Rupert the Bear in a deperate bid to get ahead. It got me nowhere. I did 5 miles at 12 minute mile pace. This was very frustrating and by now I was cursing the DLR and the London Marathon organisers. Eventually, I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to break away from the crowds and tried to enjoy the festivities that surround the marathon. The support from the crowds was phenomenal. I finished eventually in 3.56.

I was cheered on Monday by being accepted on the international exchange programme. I managed to secure a place at Berkeley HAAS for one semester next year. Since the start of the MBA, I have realised that my lack of international experience really stands out amongst my peers. This made me quite concerned when my first round exchange application was rejected. Berkeley was not my original first choice, however I have a growing interest in entrepreneurship and getting Berkeley must be fate giving me some kind of sign. I’m definitely looking forward to spring in California. 

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

Sailing the Caribbean

Posted by: Stephen
Comments Off

Dsc_0025 We have just returned from the spring break sailing trip to the Caribbean. We spent the last 10 days sailing around the Windward Islands. The conditions were great for sailing, although the first couple of days felt more like the Solent rather than the Caribbean. With 30 knot winds and a 9ft swell the sailing was good fun but bad for sea sickness.

Dsc_0017After starting the trip in St Lucia, we spent the first night in Wallilabou, St Vincent. This small cove was where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. The set from the film is still on the beach. After an uncomfortable night moored next to rocks and being buffeted by big waves we left for Admiralty Bay, Bequia. This was an interesting port with a few more shops and facilities than our first stop. There was even a cruise ship in the harbour.

The next day we travelled to Canouan island. The journey between the islands was quite rough and the harbour proved less than sheltered. One of our dinghys was flipped upside down twice whilst trying to get to the hotel on shore.

By this point we were quite tired from bad weather and lack of sleep. Luckily the next Dsc_0051day the weather improved as we headed for Union Island. At the half way point we found a deserted beach and dropped anchor for some lunch and snorkelling. We arrived in Union just before sunset and moored on a jetty. That night we joined the Easter celebrations in some local bars. Unfortunately, one of the other boats had engine problems and had to stay on Canuoan for an extra night.

Dsc_0183The next day we made the short trip to Tobago Keys. This is a group of reefs and small islands close to Union island. We anchored in the middle of the keys and spent the day snorkelling and sunbathing. That night we went ashore to a deserted island and had a fancy dress beach party. We hired a local guy called ‘Mr Fantastic’ to barbeque fresh lobster for the whole group and my boat made lots of rum punch.

Dsc_0004The next day we started to head north back towards St Lucia. We stopped at Mustique for lunch and made it as far as Blue Lagoon, St Vincent by nightfall. The next night was spent in another small cover on the West coast of St Vincent called Cumberland Bay. We had no food on the boat so we bought fresh fish from Jo the Fisherman and barbequed them off the back of the boat. As the holiday was close to the end we tried to finish all the drink supplies by playing drinking games until the early hours.

The next day we sailed to Marigold Bay, St Lucia. Most of the group decided to spend the last night in the Discovery hotel in the bay. This was a very pleasant change after being on the boat for so long.

Thanks to Bruce and Brendon for organising a great trip. Back to school tomorrow.
Dsc_0032 Dsc_0043 Dsc_0179 Dsc_0103

      

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

Into the final week

Posted by: Stephen
Comments Off

The last week of term is shaping up to be the busiest week so far. I have 5 exams this week, 2 of them on Saturday. But rather than spending the whole weekend revising I headed down to Silverstone with some of the running club to compete in a half marathon.

The weather was horrendous. During the race it switched from hail stones & high winds to sunshine several times. I was freezing cold by the end of the race. I managed to finish in 1:30 which was a good as I could hope for given the conditions.

Dsc_0452To give you an idea how  much we have been training for the marathon here is the 22 mile route we have completed twice in the last 3 weeks –

http://www.runlondon.com/routefinder/routefinder.aspx?quickCode=RL050054

Don’t forget, donations to my charity sponsorship webpage are much appreciated. Thanks.

http://www.justgiving.com/showmethemoney2007

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

Start of the sailing season

Posted by: Stephen
Comments Off

Blog6 The sailing season started last weekend in Portsmouth. The sailing club came third in a sunsail regatta at the end of last year and consequently we were invited to participate in this opening regatta of the new season.

We travelled down to Portsmouth on Friday morning. By lunchtime we were out on the water and practicing for the following days race. After some good practice we headed for our overnight berth in Hamble. We had a close call when we grounded the yacht on one of the many sandbanks that the Solent is renowned for.

Blog12 Hamble is a quaint English village on the South coast between Portsmouth and Southampton. We explored several of the old pubs and drank some of the local beers such as Bishops Tipple and Gay Rum. After a well deserved meal in a local pub we headed to the hottest nightspot in the village.

Blog4 I think we may have drunk too much because we were 7 minutes late for the first race the next day. However, we still did not finish last. We overtook 1 boat. The second race didn’t go much better. We finished 12th. Then things seemed to click into place and we managed a 2nd place in the third race. Overall, we finished 9th out of 16. It was good experience and a reasonable start to the season. Maybe next time we will stay away from the local brew and focus on winning.      

Blog3Blog11Blog2 Blog9Dsc_0131 Blog13 

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

Dublin

Posted by: Stephen
Comments Off

Last week was probably the busiest week of my life. This was partly self-inflicted. I chose to take 2 electives this semester, in addition to finding a summer internship.

The week culminated in 2 exams on Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon. Straight after Fridays Finance exam, we jumped into a cab and headed to the airport for a relaxing weekend in Dublin.

At Heathrow we got into holiday mode by drinking pints of Guinness. We continued on the plane and then at the hotel bar and then at another bar in Dublin city centre. In fact the whole weekend involved a substantial amount of drink and some good food.

On Saturday, we took the obligatory tour of the Guinness brewery. Obviously, we had to sample some more Guinness from the source. Then on Saturday night we went for a meal in Temple bar and then onto a nightclub.

We got back to London on Sunday night. Refreshed and ready for another busy week at school. Well not exactly, but we had certainly de-stressed.

These are a few snapshots. Warning – photo quality may be degraded due to excess alcohol -

1 11 3 10 2

Read the rest of this entry »

The London Business School running club has joined forces with a charity called Sense to run the London Marathon on April 22nd. The marathon is one of the largest in the world (around 36,000 runners) and brings a great carnival atmosphere to the city.

The team needs your help! I’m sure that using my blog to ask for sponsorship breaks all the rules of blogging but it is all in a good cause. Sense provide a wide range of support for people of all ages who are deaf, blind or have other sensory impairments. See their website for more information about the charity – www.sense.org.uk.

We are also looking for a corporate sponsor who will benefit from media coverage and have their logos printed on our Sense running shirts. Please send any enquiries to me.   

If you would like to support the running club and Sense please visit one of the websites below. Here are all the London Business School marathon runners –

Sebastian Cataldo (IMP06)

Laurence Cook (MIF07) -  http://www.justgiving.com/laurencecook

Lukas Gresnigt (MIF07)

Sony Joseph (MBA07) – http://www.justgiving.com/sonyjoseph

Matt Judkins (MBA07) – http://www.justgiving.com/mattjudkins

Mehul Khimasia (SLN07)

Vincent Littke (MBA08) – http://www.justgiving.com/vlittke

Simon Loughnane (SEMBA08)

Stephen McCurry (MBA08) – http://www.justgiving.com/showmethemoney2007

James Schappelle (MIF07) – http://www.justgiving.com/runninglondon2007

Martha Vásquez (MBA08) – http://www.justgiving.com/marthita

Thanks for your support!

Read the rest of this entry »