Archive for the ‘Employment (Or Lack Thereof)’ Category

And nothing but…

March 21, 2008

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong

You know its gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through

Happy times together we’ve been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Wouldn’t it be nice

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be married
And then wed be happy

Wouldn’t it be nice

You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But lets talk about it
Wouldn’t it be nice

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” – Beach Boys


I should be in bed, recovering from the week’s worth of madness and back-to-back nights of company presentations, career fairs, shitty hors devours, bad champagne and threadbare suits.   Instead, I’m sitting in this rickety chair, hammering away at this rickety keyboard, wondering why this rickety blogger can’t bring itself to reply to the countless “where have you gone and what the hell has happened to you” emails that are collecting dust in various inboxes, nor to write the all-important, ass-kissing cover letters required for the numerous interviews I won’t get, for jobs I’m not really sure I want.

On the upside, classes this period have been excellent thus far. Granted, there haven’t been more than a handful of sessions for any subject, but I’m already a fan of both the content and the professors, especially “Negotiations Strategies” with Ayse Öncüler.

Last Friday, we discussed a few key ideas in negotiation, one of which was Degrees of Truth, of which there are varying iterations, all considered “the truth.”

Why wouldn’t everyone use the maximum degree, I wonder? This ties in with a topic we covered in PIM about espoused values (values which you proclaim to uphold) versus _______ values (values which you actually exercise in daily life). The value of “honesty” was brought up, and I’m sure many a student in class counted it among their espoused values, but probably don’t live it 75%, let alone 100%.

It’s really no surprise then, that life is lived and played like one big game, but it still makes me wonder. Sure, I’ve played the game, and I still do, to some degree, but as I get older, I see less and less point in obfuscation and misinformation. I’m bound to get some readers who are shaking their heads so hard at my perceived naivete that their vertebrae are in danger of snapping like kindling, but it’s their right to laugh.

Does this make me guilty of seeing the world in shades of black and white? Probably.

Is it wrong of me to try to keep some ideals alive in that lump of coal known as my soul? Probably.



    March 18, 2008

    I have the saddest feeling
    Deep inside
    Don’t think that I will hear
    From you tonight

    (bridge 1)
    Now the moon lights up
    I know the stars will shine
    But I can’t escape
    The way I feel inside

    Every shade of blue I see
    When you’re away from me
    Thinking about you Oh Oh
    Thinking about you
    Every shade of blue I cry
    ‘Til the colours all run dry
    When I’m without you Oh Oh
    When I’m without you

    Alone in the darkness
    I can dream of you
    But always the daylight
    Comes around too soon

    (bridge 2)
    And the night goes on
    Feels like it never ends
    I keep holding on
    ‘Til you come back again


    (bridge 2)

    (chorus ad lib) 

    “Every Shade of Blue” – Banarama


    I’ve got one foot in a rift in the space-time continuum, and the other in some strange alternate reality that my life has become.  You know what else I’ve got?  No idea what’s going on.  The endless zerg of company presentations and consulting applications has something to do with it, but so does the “WTF?!” aspect of the last couple of days.


    I thought I was lost before.  What the hell does that make me now?


    March 17, 2008

    Aaaaand they’re off.  The first round of consulting applications came due at the stroke of midnight, and I haven’t seen anyone turn into a pumpkin yet.  My head’s still spinning from cover letters, CV edits and random lightning strikes.

    The company presentation circus is rolling into town again this week, and I don’t have any non-wrinkled business attire to sport.  Oh well; that part of life can wait, for now.  In the meantime, it’s time to try my hand at that sleep thing before I get hit by another runaway meteor.

    Muggsy Bogues

    March 12, 2008

    OK what is it tonight?
    Please just tell me what the hell is wrong,
    Do you want to eat, do you want to sleep, do you want to drown?
    Just settle down, settle down, settle down…
    I’ll give you candy, give you diamonds, give you pills,

    Give you anything you want, hundred dollar bills,
    I’ll even let you watch the shows you want to see,
    Just marry me, marry me, marry me…

    I’m so sick of you tonight,
    You never stay awake when I get home,
    Is something wrong with me, something wrong with you?

    I really wish I knew, wish I knew, wish I knew…
    I give you candy, give you diamonds, give you pills,
    I give you anything you want, hundred dollar bills,
    I even let you watch the shows you want to see,
    Because you married me, married me, married me…
    Married me, married me, married me…

    I was young I learned a game,
    That love and happiness were the same,
    And now I’m older and I don’t play,
    I found out the hardest way,
    I got wasted, she got mad, called me names and she called her dad,
    He got crazy and I did too, wondering what I did to you.

    I gave you candy, gave you diamonds, gave you pills,
    I gave you anything you want, hundred dollar bills,
    I even let you hear the songs I wanna sing
    I’ll give you anything, anything, anything…
    I’ll give you anything, anything, anything…
    I’ll give you anything, anything, anything…

    “Anything Anything” – Dramarama


    Bain & Co. packed the house in the largest amphi earlier this evening, followed by a shoulder-to-shoulder hosted bar event at the Fontainebleau Chateau. This was the first top-tier consulting firm to come to campus this week, if you don’t count Roland Berger. AT Kearney and Accenture are on for tomorrow night, and the biggest bad-ass of them all, McKinsey & Co., is slated for Friday night. It was a tad surreal, sipping champagne in a marble-pillared room decked out with more cherubic statues than you can shake a stick at, while trying to look comfortable in “business attire,” and schmooze at the same time. What would Napolean think about all these nutjobs standing in his hallway?
    I haven’t seen so many MBAs running around in suits since, well, our P1/P2, when the previous intake were in the thick of their recruiting season. It’s amazing how behavior shifts in the context of a cocktail party cum recruiting event. Trying to get in a word edgewise with a consulting firm partner at one of these gigs is like trying to post up with Patrick Ewing, Shaq and Yao Ming running interference. Polite elbows get thrown, petite folk get edged out, and the loudest, most dandruff-laden types, who inevitably sport the most poorly cut suits you’ll ever see, usually end up monopolizing most of the airtime. I’m not complaining, I’m just “telling it like it is,” to quote the Bain presentation. See, I’m the perfect fit for that firm. Maybe I should put this on my CV, like a fellow INSEAD blogger has chosen to do. But he actually gets traffic.

    There’s so much on my mind, and so many things to do, not the least of which the brick of reading for PIM tomorrow and it’s already past midnight. I should really get on that, and get in to bed. Better yet, I’ll do both at the same time. But before I forget, I’ve been asked to start a fan-club for myself. Step right up and sign on the dotted line. You can be the inaugural member.

    Desperately Seeking Mangrove

    March 7, 2008

    Which of the bold face lies will we use?
    I hope that you’re happy
    You really deserve it
    This will be best for us both in the end

    But your taste still lingers on my lips
    Like I just placed them upon yours
    And I starve
    I starve for you
    But this new diet’s liquid
    And dulling to the senses
    And it’s crude
    But it will do

    Which of the standard lines will we use?
    I’ve been meaning to call you
    I’ve just been so busy
    We’ll catch up soon
    Lets make it a point to

    But your taste still lingers on my lips
    Like I just placed them upon yours
    And I starve
    I starve for you
    But this new diet’s liquid
    And dulling to the senses
    And it’s crude
    But it will do

    “Hope You’re Happy” – Dashboard Confessional


    I attended the first session of “Psychological Issues in Management” (PIM) today, taught by the infamous Fernando Bartholome. It’s an interesting class so far. I’ll post on this when I have more data, but I didn’t find it shocking or offensive as many others in the classroom did, if the looks on their faces were anything to go by. For me, it was incredibly draining more than anything. I sat there, coiled and tense, waiting to be cold-called and flip on the flight-or-fight instinct, with an inclination toward the latter. Maybe it was just the jam-packed amphi and my closet claustrophobia kicking in. Maybe it was the way some of Fernando’s comments hit home, hard. Maybe I’m just imagining things and should stop listening to the little green men.

    “If you know what this class is about, why are you taking it,” I was asked.

    “I dunno; to challenge myself, to spite myself, to push myself,” I replied.

    Who knows why I do the things I do? I sure as hell don’t. An impartial third party thinks I take selfless actions to further my path to sainthood whilst ignoring my Rogerian conception of “self.” Well, if that’s the case, then once my stigmata arrive from, I’ll be fit for canonization.

    There are various parties going down tonight: P1/P2 section reunion deals, house gigs, get-togethers, and whatnot. I didn’t receive an invitation to any of them. Now let’s just get this straight: I do not crash parties. That’s just not my thing. If I haven’t made it to a mailing list and I receive a double, triple forwarded email with details, I just won’t go. Sure, this is INSEAD, and I constantly hear, “everyone crashes, who cares? Don’t be stupid,” but I won’t do it. Call it principle. Call it idiocy. Call it being antisocial. Call it what you will. I’m not whining about the state of affairs. It is what it is. I could network better. I could care more.

    I’m tired, hungry, spent, and not really sure what’s coursing through me right now, though in an attempt to be Rogerian, I’m trying hard not to benchmark whatever it is against anything/anyone else, and am stewing in the deserted West Wing typing this by the harsh, clean glow of a lonely fluorescent tube.

    The job hunt is already starting to overwhelm me. Thirty-nine messages were waiting in Outlook when I booted up this morning, a good two-thirds of which had something to do with employment. There seems to be a career services event workshop of some sort happening every night, and though I know from experience that I won’t extract much value out of them, I feel guilty if I don’t attend each and every one. There are something like six presentations that I want to go to next week, and the consulting firms have all sent out panic-mongering emails offering slots in limited-availability, “non evaluative information sessions,” asking us to reply ASAP and indicate our office geography of choice. As much as I hate to curse in a public forum, and as much as my excessive use of language bugs one particular reader, there’s no more appropriate turn of words here than a good ol’ “Fuck me.”



    March 6, 2008

    Today I’m gonna start again,
    Find my home,
    If only I could escape,
    My danger zone,
    I have to take my own advice,
    Don’t make it hard,
    There’s something in the universe,
    The brightest star.

    Here’s what I’ve been waiting for,
    Day, night, seen it all before

    Memory! Telling lies,
    I am scared and cannot hide,
    When I sleep,
    Be my guide,
    Could this be my paradise?
    Something deep in my soul,
    Tells me where I must go,
    All my dreams, telling lies,
    Could this be my paradise?

    I want to share it all with you,
    The special place,
    Imagining the perfect day,
    In time and space,
    The secret of the universe,
    Is beautiful,
    If you could listen close enough,
    You’d here it call….


    “Memory” – Dumonde vs Lange

    This track really does bring back memories; of leaving one of my favorite cities on the face of our little blue cosmic ball; of nearly blowing a subwoofer while blasting this song after saying goodbye to the first person to show me that there are other ways of thinking, and who incidentally took a little bit of me with them on their way out; of gulping down a giant tumbler of Jameson after saying that last goodbye and cooking up the biggest heap of pasta and sausages with D that night. Was that the night of The Screen Door Incident? Oh, man, I’d forgotten all about that, too.  Memory fails me, here.

    Red alert, red alert; the Fontainebleau campus has been overrun by hordes of bronzed, beaming and bemused (by the “warm weather” and different “dress code”) folk from Singapore. Combined with the hordes of post-exam, beer-addled P1s running around like they’d all just won their own individual lotteries, trying to walk through campus today at noon was like trying to crowd surf at a Kenny G concert. Yeah, it didn’t work out so well.

    You know what else may not work out so well? The next month of mental, physical, emotional gymnastics required to hunt for that elusive beast known as The Job.


    Company presentations start next Monday and I swear you can see people walking around campus with their strong hand hidden in coat pockets, flexing away at one of these


    to improve on their firmly professional-yet-friendly handshakes, and hitting the local chop doc to stock up on Botox for the truckload of shit-eating grins that they’ll have to deliver for the next four-ish weeks. And by “they,” I really mean “I.”

    Things to do in the next 7 days:

    • Create giant job spreadsheet with risk-adjusted, weighted variables including, but not limited to: geographical preference, proximity to networks, forecasted salary, industry preference, job title, job function, chance of getting any job, proximity to McDonald’s, PPP-adjusted living standard, flight radius to locale where I can get a decent milkshake
    • Plug the 38,901,625 scheduled career services events over the next four weeks in to Outlook
      • Panic
        • Turn to my dear friend whiskey to assuage my fears
    • Write cover letters for companies listed in bullet one
      • Realize I haven’t written one of these since college
      • Panic
        • Turn to my dear friend whiskey to assuage my fears
          • Possibly write better cover letters as a result
    • Figure out what I want to be when I grow up
      • Panic
        • Turn to my dear friend whiskey to…figure it out for me?
    • Organize my life
      • Panic
        • Realize whiskey probably isn’t go to help here






    February 2, 2008

    I nearly blew out my knee getting up from the couch to fish for a fresh pack of smokes just now. Ah, the things I do for stuff that I know is so very, very bad for me. Welcome to a slice of the DTLF life. Ice cream will cost you a little extra; a dame blanche might just blow your bank, and your mind.

    Last night was a good night, by all technical definitions: Had an interesting chat with the BCG folk who came to campus for a pre-recruiting season schmooze-fest, followed by an interesting new venue, interesting people, interesting unexpected use of one of my INSEAD-qualifying languages, all laced with free-flowing beer, wine, and whiskey.

    This post almost sounds upbeat, so I’ll qualify it with a DTLFism. The Chinese have a saying, “May you live in interesting times.” What isn’t commonly known is that this proverb ranks high on the list of the worst curses one can wish upon another.

    It’s funny the things you remember, and the things you take for granted: Glittering eyes, alive with mirth and dancing with life; clouded sockets streaked with tears, and stained with regret; lustrous hair smelling of comfort and affection; wild anger and base pettiness; true understanding and unmasked emotion; frank apologies tinged with pity and sadness.

    The whiskey ad says, “Keep on walking.”

    The shoe ad says, “Just do it.”

    First one step, then the second.


    Time is never time at all
    You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth
    And our lives are forever changed
    We will never be the same
    The more you change the less you feel
    Believe, believe in me, believe
    That life can change, that you’re not stuck in vain
    We’re not the same, we’re different tonight
    Tonight, so bright
    And you know you’re never sure
    But you’re sure you could be right
    If you held yourself up to the light
    And the embers never fade in your city by the lake
    The place where you were born
    Believe, believe in me, believe
    In the resolute urgency of now
    And if you believe there’s not a chance tonight
    Tonight, so bright
    We’ll crucify the insincere tonight
    We’ll make things right, we’ll feel it all tonight
    We’ll find a way to offer up the night tonight
    The indescribable moments of your life tonight
    The impossible is possible tonight
    Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight

    Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight”


    December 13, 2007

    Note to self: Next time you’re at the local marche, pick up an extra-large, twenty liter jug of perspective.

    In the midst of frantic exam review, also known locally as accelerated cram sessions, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important, whatever that may be. Hell, I’ll go as far as to say that in the Kung-Fu Grip of INSEAD, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll lose sight of what’s important, at least for a brief spell, if not for the full ten months.

    Sure, this statement is highly dependent on what you’re at INSEAD for, and whether or not you knew what you wanted before descending into The Bubble. There are those who are here to find their dream job, those who are here to find a job, and others who’re here to find out if they even want a job. Then there are the few and far between who arrive in the Magical Fonty Forest with open (or clouded) minds, consciously or otherwise, and end up jarringly surprised once they find something that they didn’t even know (or remember) they were looking for.

    Speaking of bubbles, I’ve always wished that I could think with those cloud-shaped thought bubbles trailing behind me, like in the comics. Besides floating around my head like a personal cumulonimbus, my bubble would carry a few cartoon-like Edison light bulbs for the rare “Ah ha” moments that I had. I could have really used one of those on Tuesday.

    I really hate people who abuse the words “cathartic” and “epiphany,” but I had a cathartic epiphany two nights ago. The stress of exams fell to the wayside. The stress of the imminent job hunt disappeared. The other cloud (the black one) that had been hanging over my head went *POOF*, and I was able to see clearly again.



    Apologies are warranted for those around me who’ve been subjected to the last two months. A special apology goes out to a particular consumer of this blog. You know who you are. Thank you.

    Here’s to hope, one day at a time.

    Black-Scholes and Black Souls

    December 9, 2007

    The INSEAD Cabaret was a great showcase for the secretly talented hidden amongst us.  Kudos to the performers, most of whom put quite a bit of effort into preparation and rehearsal in their “spare” time.  Recognition is also due to Pascal Manehout, superstar finance professor and the only faculty member in attendance on Thursday evening.

    Two hundred or so INSEAD participants and partners, mainly P5s, gathered at a random chateau/golf club/resort last night for the Winter Ball, with both men and women dressed to the nines.  The venue was aflutter with ball gowns and bow ties, topped off with festive masks in tune with the Carnevale theme, and fueled by a small river of Perriere-Jouet champagne.

    This was the last party for the graduating class, and I could almost taste the bittersweet tinge in the air.  I spoke with a few who had lined up their dream jobs, others who had taken interim jobs just to make some cash while they continued searching for their dream jobs, and some who were still searching for any job.  “Enjoy it while you can, it goes by fast,” counseled many a departing student.  All I could do was nod and smile, as this was already made abundantly clear by the ever-more-frequent conversations with fellow P2s revolving around, “Wow, where have the last four months gone?”

    Just when the stories were starting to get stale, just when I started remembering everyone’s name, just when saying hello in the hallway started becoming more genuine, and just when the truth was starting to sound like a lie, P2 is coming to an end, and friends are departing to Singapore, some never to be seen again. 

    Pascal taught us that an increase in volatility translates to an increase in the present value of an option.  In that case, my life should be worth quite a bit now.


    October 21, 2007

    Congratulations to Le Blog de Hog for unseating Necromonger as the #1 search result on Google for “INSEAD 2008 blog.”

    I on the other hand, can’t even get to #1 for “DTLF.”  Google is obviously broken.

    On a totally unrelated note, here’s another tip for you D08’s:  Pack warm.

    Fonty Temperature