Monday, November 30, 2009

Earring: in or out?

video

Quick tip for valuing a company

If you're all like "How much is this company worth and stuff?" here are six steps you should take:

1. Gather data from income statements, balance sheets and cash-flow statements. The last five years of statements should do. You'll want lots of stuff, like sales; cost of goods sold (COGS); selling, general and administrative (SGA) expenses, depreciation, capital expenditures (capex), accounts receivable, inventory, and some other things.

2. Restate all those numbers as percentages of sales.

3. Make projections using those percentages and forecast the future free cash flows, applying a reasonable growth rate to sales.

4. Calculate historical free cash flows for comparison.

5. Determine a discount rate (WACC, or the weighted average cost of capital) using book values for debt, market values for equity, the company's Beta and some other stuff.

6. Do final value calculations by discounting the five years of cash flows and calculating a terminal value at the end of the five years and discounting it back to the present day. Then find a reasonable growth rate by solving for which growth rate brings the computed equity value close to the actual equity value; then evaluate whether that growth rate seems reasonable.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes. Meanwhile, here's a terrible video:

My first day in retail

The view from behind the counter at Food For ThoughtToday I worked a cash register for the first time as a new volunteer at Food For Thought, the little cafe/store inside SOM. Just basics are sold -- coffee, bagels, granola bars, candy, Advil, nuts, chips, cold drinks, etc. -- and the profits [(P - MC)Q] benefit students who embark on summer internships with nonprofit organizations that don't pay well. To qualify for these funds, students have to work 25 shifts during the year; each shift is 50 minutes.

I don't expect to work in public service this summer, although I may. But I am volunteering for five primary reasons:

1. If I do end up working for a nonprofit this summer somehow, I don't want to miss out on these necessary funds.

2. I wanted another activity for my resume.

3. I wanted to do something fun that involves interacting with fellow students and whomever.

4. I wanted to do something that would be relatively low-stress and take my mind off more pressing matters.

5. I wanted to volunteer and do something good for the school; I sorta do that by giving tours to prospective students, but this is a little more directly do-goodery.

I've had a variety of jobs in my day, but none have involved a cash register. Fortunately, the one at Food For Thought is basically a drawer with a button that opens it -- not rocket science. And the prices are round, even numbers, so this shouldn't be a mind-bending job. For my first shift, I picked a 50-minute interval that did not contain a between-class transition; I did that so it would be relatively quiet, and it was. I'm volunteering again on Wednesday, though, and that shift will have more traffic. We'll see how I cope.

Meanwhile, it's another busy week, especially with cover-letter writing to get done. We have a "resume drop" on Dec. 3, which means that certain companies that recruit on campus want resumes and, usually, cover letters from students interested in interning there. I really need to get on the ball with these letters -- I'm planning to apply to maybe three or four places in this round. We'll see.

Speaking of recruiting, I've got three events with two companies this week that should be really interesting. Tomorrow, I'm going to a marketing workshop put on by DuPont, and then later in the day I have a half-hour info session with them, which is my opportunity to ask questions, although it's also something of a mini-interview. If nothing else, this will be good practice interviewing. Then on Friday I'm going on a company trek to Mars, which should be really exciting. I think I may get to see how they make M&Ms!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

You know what your problem is? I do.

At the beginning of the year, we had an assignment for our Careers course that required us to collect positive feedback from a variety of people who know us well so that we could look for trends, thereby helping us acknowledge situations in which we shine. It was, of course, a fun assignment, because everybody likes to read compliments. Some of the main themes in mine were that I'm good in small groups and creative.

Now we're doing a miniature version of the other side of that coin, collecting "negative" feedback, or improvement opportunities. Mine have been unsurprising -- that I could improve my skills in large-group networking situations and that I need to project more optimism and confidence. Comments about optimism and confidence always have a particular ring with me because I've been getting that feedback since I was very little. A couple years ago, I was re-reading some old elementary school report cards, and even in fourth grade, my teacher said I was bright and brilliant and wonderful and beloved, but that I needed to be constantly reassured of all these things or my confidence would crumble and I'd stop participating. Beyond intense psychotherapy, there's not much I can do about this today, although I can certainly work on faking it.

This MBA program, and maybe business schools in general, seems particularly keen on self-analysis. I can't even count the number of assessment tests we've done about our personality, aptitude and leadership style, and that's on top of papers about our strengths and weaknesses, values, commitments, future plans, etc. But it's very important to look deep down inside and not be distracted by minor ... oh shit, I have laundry to switch out. Be back later.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Semi-truncated Thanksgiving

Henry The Thanksgiving weekend offered SOM students such as myself a small sample of the legitimate vacation that will come in a few weeks. It wasn't a worry-free break because of all those darn assignments ... and cover letters ... and general anxiety. Booze and turkey certainly help one forget, temporarily, about things like that. Nevertheless, I returned from the weekend around dinnertime Saturday because there will be much to do tomorrow.

John & Shiri But I had a nice few days with my brother and his family (younger nephew pictured above). It's been nice to see the boys (5 and 3) often enough that they recognize me when I come over and remember games we've played and jokes we've made. After that family time, I swung by to see my best friend from high school, Shiri, who recently moved to Scarsdale.

It's hard to believe that our second of eight quarters at SOM is drawing to a close. Exams end on Dec. 18. We recently had an info session for choosing spring electives. First-year students all have the same three core courses in "Spring 1" and another three in "Spring 2," and we can choose either a semester-long elective, or two quarter-long electives, or a bigger load if we want one. The process works by bidding; we have 300 points to divvy among classes, and then spots in the class are awarded to the highest bidders. Fortunately, there's a favorable professor-to-student ratio at SOM, so it doesn't seem to me that it's too problematic to get the classes you want.

My strategy is to bid for challenging, quant-heavy classes so I can get as many hard skills as possible before my summer internship. Second-year students' schedules consist entirely of electives, so at that stage, it will be desirable and necessary to mix hard and soft skills. We'll see if things to my way.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

10 things I'm thankful for


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I present 10 things for which I am thankful right now:

1. I got into my school of choice. I sometimes need to remind myself of this, but it's true. Lots of people don't.

2. I met an awesome guy and am in a relationship that's making me happy. It's true.

3. I live with nice people, including my best friend. Lots of people live with assholes.

4. My apartment is beautiful. I've lived in plenty of dumps in my day.

5. My family is healthy and alive. And I'm within a couple hours of my brother and his family; I'll be there later today, in fact.

6. I'm doing well in school. One of my fears was getting into SOM and then struggling to understand anything and barely passing. So far, that is not true.

7. I have wonderful friends. I'm not sure how I pulled this off, but some truly amazing people seem to care about me.

8. I have my things with me. One of the nice differences between grad school and undergrad is that in undergrad I was away from all my things -- my bed, my books, my video games, my photographs, and all that stuff. Now that I'm a grown-up, my home is my only home, and all my things are here. Nothing to miss, and that's nice.

9. A new cultural experience. Living in the Northeast for the first time is fun and educational.

10. I have a blog! I'm skeptical about technology in a lot of ways, but this is a nice way to keep a journal and hopefully share some things that might be useful. Keep reading, please!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hello

I'm still alive. Just busy. :-)

I will write more soon.

XOXO,

John

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Morning beer sparks interest in football

Today was The Game. Football, that is. Yale vs. Harvard. Yale was winning 10-0 when I decided to beat the traffic and go home. Turns out Harvard then came back and won 14-10. My bad!

Prior to the game were innumerable tailgate parties, including one for SOMers. People started drinking beer early. I wasn't among them because I had a late drunky night, but I did show up in time to pick off some edible remnants of a buffet. It's always a pleasure to see friends and classmates outside the physical structure of our school, out in the sunshine, away from stress and so forth.

It was fun!

This is now my second football game this year, and that's not bad for somebody who's only been to four football games. I prefer hockey, which is handy because SOM is next door to Ingalls Rink, also known as The Whale. Have I been there for a game yet? No, but I will, by employing this schedule.

Last night, I shook my little toosh on the dancefloor and subjected the whole crowd to my inspiring requests. It goes without saying that I was a dance major back in college. Well, no. I took modern dance and loved it and was successful, and wondered whether I could in fact major in it despite having no skills, but I decided to do journalism instead. But that's basically majoring in something. The point is that whenever I bring my moves to the floor, jaws drop. As if they were hot, even.

Skipping to another topic, one thing that's a little hard to adjust to in New Haven, or I suppose the North in general, is how freakin' early it gets dark! I'll think, "Hmm, dark out there. Probably should start getting ready for bed." Then I'll look at the clock and note that the time is half-past 4. Then I will think, "Oh, right ... I haven't even had dinner. Why's it gotta be so dark?" It's a little depressing, actually. But nothing snaps me out of my depression like "Total Eclipse of the Heart: Literal Version."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's the combination to MBA success?

The combination is 16, 35, 04Because I'm the most successful first-year student at SOM*, I'm constantly asked about the keys to success in an MBA program. What a dumb question, I respond. If success is a lock, it can only have one key, or copies of that same key ... not multiple keys. A better question would be: What is the combination to the combination lock of success? With that, I give you three things that, together, open MBA success. You need all three, though, or you'll be standing, defeated, next to the locker that contains your dreams.

1. Ducks in a row. If you are a frazzled person who is always forgetting appointments and losing keys, success at business school will be hard to achieve absent a concerted effort to improve your organization and prioritization skills. I am not the best example of these skills at their most refined, but with the help of an Outlook calendar, I am getting along just fine.

2. Brainz. If you can't read or add, you're SOL at b-school. It's not rocket science, to be sure, but some of the stuff is like hard. If you are without smarts, however, you may nevertheless get by on confidence, charm and resourcefulness. That's how I'm managing. And nobody seems to be the wiser.

3. A work ethic. I'd elaborate on this, but "Deal or No Deal" is on, and that's more interesting.

*This claim has been neither made nor verified by anyone.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looking for holiday cheer? Look not here.

Last night, Mike and I took in a motion picture: Disney's A Christmas Carol. In 3D! It was a relentlessly joyless and terrifying film about a creepy old man who goes crazy. The special effects were pretty kickass. I would not recommend seeing it if you're headed to the theaters for a dose of holiday cheer. Instead, save it for Halloween.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Strict vs. kind teachers

Viola Swamp, from Miss Nelson is Missing This morning I'm having flashbacks to to the children's book Miss Nelson is Missing, which is about a "nice" teacher whose misbehaving students take advantage of her kindness; so she comes back disguised as a very mean substitute teacher, Miss Viola Swamp, and the kids eventually realize they should appreciate Miss Nelson. (Because our society equates beauty with value, you can correctly deduce that the illustration above is of Miss Swamp.)

I was having a conversation with a classmate yesterday about teaching styles. On a discipline spectrum, the SOM staff seems to run a wide range. Is one style "better" than the other?

1. "Mean" teachers. On one hand, I like that these teachers promote behaviors and values I think are important -- promptness, preparation, intelligence, confidence. "Mean" teachers keep control by creating an atmosphere that is tense, or even adversarial. This keeps people alert and ready. And in general it works (i.e. "Boy, s/he is tough! I better come prepared and on time, lest I look the fool.") On the other hand, this approach can be not only unpleasant and condescending, but also potentially indicative of the professor reaching beyond a suitable level of control. We are adults, after all. Should we not be trusted to prioritize our own time between our various classes, clubs, interests, career searches, social lives and families? Some would say no, and others yes. I can see both points of view.

2. "Nice" teachers. "Nice" teachers are always appreciated, but are they as effective as "mean" ones? I'd say it depends. On one hand, some "nice" teachers prove they can be warm and respectful while keeping students attentive and hardworking. I won't name names, but "nice" doesn't necessarily mean easy. If a professor has credibility and is well-prepared and has high expectations, s/he can be effective without treating students like naughty little kids. On the other hand, it's also possible to be a "nice" teacher to the point of ineffectiveness. And I think this is especially true of professors who don't solicit comments or foster participation, and don't collect much or any homework for credit. That can be a dangerous combination: nonthreatening, and nonparticipatory. A recipe for people to not do work.

In the end, I don't necessarily think it's intrinsically better to be a "mean" or "nice" teacher; whether it's effective depends on the person and the subject. But the issue also has its roots in the question of what the point of graduate school is: Is it a boot camp we're willingly subjecting ourselves to, or an abundance of resources and services we're paying a high premium for?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Matt's thoughts: 48 seconds

video

Matt's moved in, starts work tomorrow

Sturdevant and CurillaEnjoying a gin and tonic, Matt makes himself at home, with his lady friend, my roommate, Susan. He is now our roommate, too. Last night, Mike came over, we all played games and ate Susan's jalapeno soup.

Matt will start work tomorrow at the Hartford Courant, where he will cover the insurance industry.

Today will be work-filled for yours truly, with review sessions and various meetings taking place in the evening. But it looks like the week is relatively clear, which means I should take advantage of that extra time to turn off the lights, scoot into the corner and ponder my future. I'll be sure to report any insights.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!


Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Matt's almost here!

Journalism conference / games

Games Tonight I played games and enjoyed doing so thoroughly. Wits & Wagers, Pictionary, and then a fabulous parlor game Suzanne (right) taught us, called Celebrity. It was all wondrous ... one of the rare times I didn't think about school for several consecutive hours.

During the day I went to a journalism conference that was sometimes rather interesting. Here are 10 thoughts/takeaways from the first day:

1. Rich people have always and will always pay for information they want. The tricky issue is public news, which has always been subsidized by philanthropists, the government, advertising, passionate users, political parties, etc. (Source: Jay Rosen, professor at NYU)

2. As journalists have become better educated, news sources have become less trusted. Perhaps there is a problem with the way journalists are educated. (Rosen)

3. Newsrooms should do what they do best and borrow the rest. Also, they need to stop thinking of what they do as a product and start thinking of it as a service. (Tim Rosenstiel, director, Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism)

4. Also, instead of looking at how we can get customers to pay more for the news we're providing, we should look at where there is demand for news and information that is not being provided, because there's plenty of that. Newspapers don't seem to care about how they can inform customers, just how they can get paid.

Journalism conference at Yale Law School5. News isn't dying; an outdated model is. (Paul Bass, New Haven Independent)

6. News and information aren't different; news is information, and that information has no use if people aren't civically minded. (Peter Shane, OSU)

7. It doesn't matter that people don't want to read about a city council meeting; what matters is that they want someone to be there covering it. (Bass)

8. The three steps on the path to renewal are to shed legacy costs, re-establish community and build new advertising categories. (Penelope Abernathy, UNC)

9. AP has been doing a 123 system, where 1=headlines, 2=present-tense short story, and 3=longer story. But they want to add 0 and 4, where 0=a tweet, and 4=user interaction.

10. Money will take care of itself if the product creates value, and to create value, you have to focus on customers.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How black holes are created

Janice, looking at this blog Here is a photo I took of my friend and classmate Janice, looking at a picture from this very blog. It really wasn't until today that I sort of realized I hadn't made much mention to anyone at SOM that I'm doing this ... partly because I assumed nobody would care, and perhaps partly because it seems a little "LOOK AT ME"-ish. But, that said, if there are any SOM people reading this, I'm thrilled you are here.

As soon as I publish this picture, I expect the planet to fold into itself. If it doesn't, then I can only assume that it will do so if and when Janice returns to this blog and sees a picture of herself looking at the blog at an earlier time. Even more doom may transpire if she clicks here.

And if you look at this picture extraordinarily carefully, you'll see I'm in it twice. But, man, you've gotta look awfully close.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I've decided not to have an abortion

An anti-abortion sign near Yale, Nov. 10, 2009 Here's something you don't see every day -- an anti-abortion/pro-life sign near Yale's campus. I passed this on my way home from school today.

Politics aside, this is a reasonably effective campaign, although as a homosexual man I am probably not the target audience. I will say, also, that there's an extent to which the logic behind this sign is either flawed or, at least, not universal. A picture of a pile of human feces, for example, does not convince me I shouldn't eat solid food, even though the picture may be repulsive.

But, point taken. And kudos to people for speaking up about their beliefs. I cropped the above photo to focus on the sign, but here's the whole image:

Some individuals stand up for their beliefs. Good for them.Some people, like my father, assume that Yale is a disgusting breeding ground for liberal propaganda. I have not necessarily found that to be the case, especially at the business school. In fact we focus quite a bit of attention on how disruptive the government is when it comes to economic efficiency. But I will say that I've gotten a sense that to the extent that people in my class assume that most of their peers hold a political view, that view is left-leaning. But I have also met Republicans and people who lean libertarian.

I am simply making observations. I'm not going to discuss my politics, because that's outside the realm of "Journalist pursues MBA, blogs."

Tonight I will be giving a five-minute speech on my "commitment statement," which outlines my commitments to purpose, self, others and legacy. That's a lot to cover in five minutes, so I'll be focusing on purpose and self. The gist of my commitment statement is that I am concerned that people in American towns and cities will become more disconnected and ill-informed if they cannot access reliable news, and that this ties directly to my own commitment to myself, which is to try to be connected and informed. I stand behind my commitment statement. We'll see how it flies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thanks for reading this here blog

video

Will Soledad and I finally be together?



A super cool thing about going to this school is that loads and loads of interesting and wonderful speakers come to campus. Not that I have time for that kind of thing, but it's nice that they're here. Several weeks ago I was looking forward to seeing Tom Brokaw, but it conflicted with a Dean's Tea I had committed to. So no dice.

As part of that same series, Soledad O'Brien will be speaking tonight. Being a woman of indeterminable heritage, it goes without saying that she will be speaking about diversity. I'm intending to be attending.

Soledad and I are practically BFF, considering I know two of her colleagues intimately. You may recall that last August I spent quality time with Anderson Cooper. I also was well-acquainted (friends, even) with rising CNN talent Brooke Baldwin, back at UNC. Oh, and I myself used to write movie reviews for CNN's Web site. So when it comes to Soledad O'Brien (or So-O, as I call her) I'm connected like a killer to a crime scene.

Monday, November 9, 2009

OMG CHECK OUT MY WEBCAM LOL!!!!

video

Media is changing, as this video clearly demonstrates. That's part of why I went back to business school after years in the newspaper industry -- to save democracy. (Here's the other reason.)

Hence I'm salivating like Pavlov's dog about this weekend's journalism and new media conference here at Yale Law School! The conference is called "Who Will Pay the Messengers," and it's about four main questions about the future: How are people going to get news, what will become of "legacy" media, what'll become of professional journalists, and how will people who do journalism get paid? Come Saturday night, all my burning questions will be answered. At least, I hope they're questions.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated subject, I really like my Investor class! I did the first homework assignment tonight and was patting myself on the back, not only to admire my ripped triceps in the Webcam, but because I already feel so smart about stocks and stuff. Soon I'll be equipped to play the market, which will enable me to take a low-paying, do-gooder job to help society whilst still earning just enough money to live comfortably.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Business Week says I might land a job

Because me want job someday, I'm psyched SOM was recently ranked No. 1 by Business Week for Best (or Least Worst) MBA job placement.

Here's the ranking. You can see the whole list by clicking through using the arrows above the main photos on the right. (#2 is Wash U, #3 Harvard, #4 Stanford, #5 MIT.) You can also read a story about the not-so-hot job market here.

In other news, this was Explore Diversity Weekend. To contribute a dash of 'mo, I attended a luncheon today and spoke to some prospective students. I also did homework, and laundry, and grocery shopping, and made a smoked salmon platter for me and Mike. There is no point to that story -- just recounting the day.

And while we're at it, yesterday, I finally ate at Mamouns, a justifiably endorsed eatery appreciated by 100% of the roommates I surveyed in my apartment. I also saw Where the Wild Things Are (2 1/2 stars) and celebrated some classmates' birthdays at a black-and-white themed party, to which I wore both black and white. And I cleaned my room. Boy, I had a productive weekend!

And so go the days of my life ... productive and fun.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I'll open up the floor to questions

Dear Readers,

If you have any questions for me, please ask by either posting in the comment field or writing to me at john.metz@yale.edu. I can either answer you privately or post answers here. I realize there might be things about grad school about which people are curious but which I have not yet addressed.

Best,

John

Friday, November 6, 2009

More work? Sign me up!

SmartBikeDC was the subject of the case competition.
Tonight I participated in the First Year Case Competition, which I had never before mentioned because I had not decided to do it till today. For weeks (maybe months), my class has been politely bombarded with e-mails about this contest, for which groups of four all work on the same case, turn in PowerPoint decks and then possibly advance to another round the next morning and give a presentation. The case was about SmartBikeDC.

I did not sign up for a few reasons. (1) I'm busy. (The very true counter to that argument is that everybody else who competes is just as busy as I am, but then again I didn't raise them.) (2) The focus was to be on eco-friendly environmentalism, which, while I think is great and all, is not my area of interest per se, and (3) This is basically practice for consulting work, and I don't think that's what I want to do. So, thanks but no thanks.

But as the days and weeks wore on, it seemed like almost everybody was gearing up for this thing. So when we all received an e-mail today offering to accommodate last-minute additions, I said, "What the hell?" Maybe that question should have ended with "was I thinking."

The work itself was more stressful than fun, I must say. I liked my group and all, but it didn't feel much different from doing the kind of work we've been doing already ... Really, it's practically inexcusable that after one of the most academically stressful weeks of my life, I volunteered at the last minute for what ended up being probably the highest-stress situation of all.

Anyway, it's over now. I would be flabbergasted if we advanced, but I think they release that info at 1 or so. For now, however, I have to go to bed -- got a marketing conference starting at 9 tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If you have time to read this, you have time to read this

Alex's book My friend Alex has been working on his book the entire time I've known him, and it's finally out. I figure if you're the type of person who finds time to read this blog, you might instead channel that free time into a reading project that would be more worthwhile. Buy it here.


Finally, a real use of a real skill set!!!

Let's edit a video. I need to mention how excited I am that I finally get to be the person in a group with relative expertise. Last week I talked about doing a mock negotiation that was taped. Half the class had to edit those videos. This week, my mock negotiation was not taped, so I (along with two other guys) have to edit another team's video.

You can imagine my delight! Finally I get to be the one in the group who is useful in a technical, execution sense. I like being that person; that's why last night I went to the PowerPoint training. I think it's often understated how important computer skills are in school. The people who really know Excel, Stata, PowerPoint and so on can contribute on such a more substantial level, and do so quickly. Granted this is a one-shot deal -- I may never edit another video while I'm here -- but I'm happy to be in familiar waters for a change.

Up late vs. up early

Coffee I knew this would be a busy week, and it is, although really it all seems to be coming down to this one assignment for Competitor. Part of why it's so time consuming is that the instructions are somewhat vague, and the way in which we're supposed to gather our information is, per the instructions, not very efficient. (The assignment basically asks us, in our groups of four, to gather lots of data individually and then come together, discuss it, draw conclusions and write a memo with some graphs ... You can imagine the amount of wasted time that results.)

So this ended up being the first time I've actually been almost tempted to pull an all-nighter, or at least stay up very late, but fortunately for me, my body simply cannot comply. I shut down ... I yawn and yawn and yawn, and before long I realize I just can't stay up and work. Even as far back as high school, my method has been to go to bed as soon as I start yawning, and set the alarm. And that's what I did. (In the upper right of this page, you may see a survey about this very topic!)

The assignment is done. It's not perfect, but it's just a "memo."

Meanwhile, on another note, here is a picture of where I tend to hang out between classes. I look forward to meeting Mike there today for lunch, because it will mean classes are finished for the day! Tonight everyone in the class has a stock trading game, which could be a lot of fun. Since I can barely articulate what a stock is, I don't think I will win.

I can often be found here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thorough preparation for corporate presentation

I'm doing research for a corporate presentation this evening. The company manufactures and distributes a popular soft drink. To get in the spirit, I am reviewing their longstanding marketing strategy:



Also on today's agenda:

1. Customer, from 10 to 11:20, where two groups will be randomly selected to present their calculations about a server-and-software-tool bundle (based on a case). I hope my group isn't one of them, and therefore it will be.

2. After class, and before 12:45, I will continue researching Continental Airlines for a Competitor project, and will inhale some lunch.

3. From 12:45 to 2:30, my group will go over our airline research.

4. Sourcing and Managing Funds, from 2:40 to 4.

5. Till 5:30 I will change into a suit and eat something.

6. Pepsi corporate presentation from 5:30 to 7.

7. PowerPoint training from 7 to 8.

8. Then home, to do homework (like finishing the airlines memo and doing whatever else we need to be doing.)

You know, I thought SOM would be all about elbow patches, squash tournaments and drinking cider on a crisp fall day. Turns out there's all kinds of hard stuff that, you know, has to be done by, like, me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

You gonna eat that?

John with leftover Halloween candyMaintaining a sensible, healthy diet while attending grad school full-time is harder than doing so while having a full-time job due to two primary limitations: funds and time. And it doesn't help matters when family members send you home with a giant Ziploc bag of bite-size confections after Halloween.

I do not step on the scale every day as I once did. Now I get on every week or two. And each time, I expect bad news -- I remember the pizza I ordered for dinner one night, or that I've been having too much regular soda lately, or that I allow myself an occasional bowl of ice cream to smooth out the stress. And, yet, I have been finding that I am maintaining a steady weight. Granted that weight is naturally 10 pounds greater than my ideal weight, but I've been surprised at its 0% growth.

I attribute this to a few tricks I wanted to share with other people who might be in my circumstance:

1. Walk. I try to jog most mornings, but I think most of my calorie-burning is coming from walking so much -- to campus, from campus, to downtown (but usually not from downtown, since it's usually late enough that I take the shuttle for safety's sake). I want to pretend I'm using my weight bench, but it's a rare day that that happens. I should do better.

Healthy Choice frozen dinner 2. Purchase lean frozen breakfasts and dinners. Occasional pizza indulgences aside, I usually have a frozen meal for dinner, which grossly violates my values both taste-wise and health-wise. But frozen dinners are a great bargain, they're fast, and they can be relatively healthy, or at least low-calorie. Same for breakfast -- I like to have a healthy low-fat egg sandwich of some kind, or a variation thereof, with some fruit or yogurt.

3. Snack wisely. Bags of Halloween candy notwithstanding, I tend not to keep junk food in the house. No Doritos, Oreos or pork rinds around here. Currently, in the realm of snack food, I have snap peas, carrots, prunes, apples, bananas, organic yogurt, Triscuits, Goldfish crackers and laughing cow cheese ... and, in an uncharacteristic purchase, whole grain fig Newtons. Usually the "worst" thing I have is ice cream (I currently lack it), but in sensible portions I don't think ice cream is a big issue.

4. Don't be a stumbling lush. The most I've ever weighed is about 20 pounds more than I weigh now, and I attribute that to being in my mid-20s and having not much to do but drink. Now, of course, I cannot afford (financially or otherwise) to drink heavily often. I tend each night to have at most one cocktail -- maybe a Jim Beam on the rocks, or a glass of white wine, as the evening is wearing down.

5. Remember that thinking burns calories. ... I think.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hanging with Buzz Lightyear and Thomas The Train

Henry and Thomas I'm afraid I am too buried in homework to provide a lengthy or detailed story about Halloween, but this picture pretty much says it all -- I went to Cornwall-on-Hudson to visit my nephews, and we went trick-or-treating, and they were wildly popular and successful at taking the candy. I had a delightful time.

This is going to be a very rough few days ahead, as my classmates and I have been repeatedly warned. Lots of assignments due simultaneously. Not helping matters is that I had a sudden change of heart about some data I had collected and decided to re-collect and expand it, which took several additional hours ... hours that, probably, weren't necessary. I can be more specific about what I'm talking about tomorrow, after we've all turned in our assignments. :-)

And now it's on to another assignment, which I will tackle boldly until my eyes can't stay open (i.e. 15 minutes).