Monday, May 23, 2005

“Starve problems, feed opportunities”

Seriously..all that blogging about placements has cooked my brain! So, lets talk about more interesting stuff. I read Peter Robinson’s book – “Snapshots from hell – The making of an MBA”. He profiles the first year of the MBA that he spent at Stanford Business School, in the late 80’s. Fascinating read, highly recommend it to everybody who wants to be or already is an MBA. I read the book because I wanted to understand what an ‘ivy league’ MBA is all about, NUS is not at that level and despite what they might believe neither is IIM Ahmedabad. The Wharton’s/ Harvard’s/ Stanford’s of the world do not teach 20 something adolescent’s but people who have already attained a level of career distinction that we hope to achieve through our MBA’s. Incidentally Peter Robbins was a White House writer who wrote speeches for the Reagan administration. I read the book because I wanted to glimpse what it means to be a part of these hallowed, envied institutions.

Robinson was a ‘poet’ in Stanford, a history or English honors whose struggle to just survive in Stanford makes my efforts trivial in comparison. There were the usual complaints of ‘child teachers i.e. oh god! I am paying money for these teachers, unresponsive administration etc etc kinds of issues, problems that you would face at any business school. I am sure the non poets would go swearing to the grave about the value added at Stanford. But that’s not the point. Robinson in this book brought a very important perspective to the table, a perspective that only a poet can bring and not any of the others of us who believe that the equilibrium between demand and supply is a fundamental law of nature

Let me stop here for a second. I ramble but I ramble with a point, a message that I wish to convey and I sincerely believe that while brevity is a very admirable quality, there are times when rambling is required. In this blog I only write about Singapore and the NUS MBA so if you trust me to give relevant messages, read on. So where was I?

Robinson’s perspective is important because we often treat the MBA as a sub-par a short-cut to a good job, a short cut to hopefully great money. But take the arts for example, a literature or history graduate is there to form fundamental perspectives, to get a life changing learning experience that allows them to explore their own beliefs and value discipline. But we treat the MBA as a signaling device. (If you don’t know what signaling is, then you will learn it in Microeco with Prof Jo Seung Gyu, sem 1, NUS MBA). An MBA is a signaling device to the rest of the world that we have talent of high caliber, employees who will perform with distinction in your company. Take IIMA. I have interacted with them at length and if quantitative abilities is your argument then why don’t companies hire Maths Hons in bulk? You see the point of IIMA is not that these guys learn more than everyone else in two years but the fact that they recruit 200/300 of the smartest guys in India. That’s what companies care about and as long as IIMA continues to do that the rest of the schools in India will continue to be wannabe’s. Another case in point. If IIMA taught everything then why do companies like P&G put hires through their paces where they are asked to sell in small cities in India. The point I am making is that companies don’t expect IIMA (a very high quality Bschool) grads to know anything about real work but they expect them to be sharp and smart by virtue of their presence in that institution.

So where am I? I am back to the fundamental question of what an MBA should be and where does NUS fit in?

An MBA should not be just a means to an end. It should not be a shortcut to that great job i.e. subpar to an arts honors. It should instead be a program that teaches us how to “think” about commerce, a practice that is the fundamental underpinning of the world we live in. Take all the governments away and we would still trade. Barter existed much before Max Weber expostulated the concepts of bureaucracy. What does it mean for a wannabe MBA student? It means that you join an MBA for a higher purpose than joining Goldman Sachs or McKinsey. It means that you know why you are at an MBA. It means that you know why you learn concepts like Net Present Value, Oligopoly, Inventory accounting, diversification… It means that you believe in the concept of a free market, of competition, of profit and the fact that you believe that these concepts are not just sufficient to challenge you intellectually but also provide a reason why you want to learn them. You see where I am going. The others are wrong when they think that MBA does not have a higher calling. It does but the problem is that most of us are so wrapped up in our short term goals that we forget there is a bigger reason why we should sell more Ipod’s for Apple,. Darwin was right about survival of the fittest. If animals who don’t have the ability to process this rule know it by instinct, then all the more reason why businesses should. The greater good of society is irrevocably linked to business and we are the custodians. When you join an MBA, you should already know all of what I have said above. Only then can you derive the maximum out of an MBA because then you can focus on what you learn because you know why you need to learn it. Once you read the book you will realize that this is exactly what Robinson got wrong.

The NUS MBA! For those of you who are joining us, I deliberately take this narrow perspective because I have committed two years of my life to this program and I want to think about what this means to me. NUS is not Stanford and it’s not IIMA. It’s not Stanford because it is not as intense as Stanford and it’s not IIMA because it does not offer the same job opportunities as IIMA. But it presents a different value proposition that is my primary reason why I will stand up and proudly declare that NUS is my alma mater. NUS OFFERS OPPORTUNITIES. Not opportunities that will be thrust down your throat but opportunities that you will realize only and only if you have the motivation. Opportunities in terms of resources that can help you learn by providing access to faculty, library, time, databases, infrastructure. Opportunities that are available by studying with a truly Asian cohort (No IIMA grad will ever learn how to deal with the Chinese out of business school) and opportunity to study with a peer group that has work experience which counts, an MBA that lets you experience all of this at less than 1/5th the cost of an American MBA. You see the NUS MBA makes you grow up. It puts you through your paces by offering opportunities that you can capitalize if and only if you have the will and the smarts to capitalize on them. For people who do not manage to achieve that, I have no sympathy. THIS IS AN MBA!

Starve problems, feed opportunities! This is where I come from. There are issues at NUS. Sometime teacher’s make you wonder why you ever took that course. The pressure of the program is a lot less intense thus giving you a lot of time. Sometimes cohort politics makes you wonder – oh! Hell. But this is the point. For every bad teach that you get there is one outstanding prof. at NUS who will help you. These professors will go out of their way, for dinner/beer etc and do all that it takes to help you understand. You are not a child to them but somebody who deserves equal respect and trust me before long you will appreciate that. When you get more time, you will have more resources to contribute to your learning, at the library, through a part time internship etc. The cohort politics will never stop you from making a difference because the cohort is small.

You see where I am going. Starve the problems and feed the opportunities that NUS gives.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

If only my folks had taught me discipline!!! (and yes...i do talk about placements again)

If only my folks had taught me discipline, I would have accepted my responsibility of blogging a lot more seriously, blogged a lot more often and informed/entertained you a lot more. But on the fip side, if I had been half as more serious in life than I am now, I would have probably never written this blog the way I do now. So there you go!

Disclaimer - I am making up for 2 and 1/2 months, so this one's gonna be a marathon

Okay! After a hiatus of nearly half a semester (apologies to the few readers of my blog), now that my exams are over, I am back. But before I begin randomly splaying all over the place, let me take care of a few administrative issues.

Firstly - somebody commented that my estimates of starting salary are skewy. In his/her opinion, SGD 40000 is more reasonable. Fair enuff. Let me recount. If you are looking to join NUS, when you graduate, you can look forward to a starting salary of SGD 3500 - SGD 5000 per month. That means anywhere between 42000 - 60000 a year before you pay ur CPF and taxes (assuming you take up PR). The range is this wide for a reason which is that you can actually be anywhere in the middle of it depending on experience/industry/darned luck and whether your employer thinks your actually worth a damn. It is also fair to expect that the greater majority would be towards the lower spectrum with a few lucky sods on the upper end. Hope that clarifies. If you were misled before, my sincere apologies.

Point No. 2 - My blog is anonymous for a reason. It lets me write what I wish to write in a manner that I wish to write without really being concerned about the political correctness of it all. So in case you have sent me a mail in the past with a desire to talk one on one with me and I havent replied to that, dont take it personally. This is the only way I will operate. Also I think that there is nothing that you cant say on the forum. I suggest you put your queries up and now that I have time I will respond promptly.

PLACEMENTS!! - End of day its all about placements isn't it? I promised in one of my long forgotten earlier blogs that I will update. So here it is. In case its too late in the day coz you have already made your decision, my apologies. Let me start with the Career Services Office (CSO). I have indicated in the past that CSO needs to buck up. Well they are beginning to. Sometime back a fairly remarkable thing happened. Our BBA and MBA career services got merged into one office. This is excellent becoz BBA has always been the resource heavy greater traction CSO with MBA playing a distant second cousin. Now after the merger, we get a lot more resources, the new guy heading it is a very smart feller who's focused on getting us better opportunities and we can see a lot more aggressiveness and ownership of our placements. Concurrently our faculty is being pushed to tap into their industry network to get us better placements. The initial signs are encouraging. We seem to be getting more jobs and better jobs. But before you do the hula dance, its only an improvement and not a dramatic change.

Nothing speaks like numbers/facts so I am going to share some with you and hope I dont get prosecuted for it. ;)

Final placements first - Let me start by giving you a quick idea of the opportunities that we got through CSO this year. Most companies came for 1 - 3 positions and most likely many of them were not exclusive (i.e they might have gone to NTU etc for the same) and they include the following - Ascendas, Synovate, Goodyear (Management Associate MA program), KPMG, BP, Emerson (MA), Satyam, Coca Cola (Stand alone Public Relations Role), OCBC (MA), P&G (purchasing manager), Bank of China (Derivatives Dealer), Bax Global, IBM, Philips, DBS Bank (MA), Mercer etc. These are a select few of all jobs that came to campus. In addition to these there were a lot more opportunities for one off jobs in local companies, smaller companies etc etc. For example, working capital analysts with BP or Sodexho (Mkt development manager) etc.
For all you investment bank junkies, we did have jobs from Goldman Sachs come to campus in fixed income, private wealth management and finance & operations. I also know that a few people from NUS are currently interviewing. But before you go back to your hula, competition is incredibly tough and chances are low and definitely not exclusive. But the fact that they are looking to hire Singapore MBA's is positive enough.

In terms of jobs that have actually been procured, my information is a lil bit sketchy but I will fill you in best that I can. Starters, dont know too much about the chinese in my batch in terms of placements so information benchmarks are primarily driven by knowledge of Indians. Good news is that all the guys who had passed out in December all have jobs. Great Stuff rite? Secondly, cant quote an exact statistic but most of the Indians in the May graduating batch already have a job. In my knowledge they have the following - 1 in Citi bank (own effort), 1 KPMG (College), 1 Stanchart MA (own effort), 1 NUS Administration, 1 Frost Sullivan, 1 Banyan Tree etc. In all I think only 4 Indians are left looking for a job. In my opinion thats a damn good statistic. In terms of salaries offered, the range I give holds with the median ~ SGD 4000.

Internships - If you liked what you heard about final placements, you are gonna love what I have to say about internships. This year's internship season was terrific in relative terms and since nothing will tell the story better than hard facts, here they are - Big kill of this year was P&G. Came on campus, interviewed on campus and picked up approx 6 interns for summers MBA program. They went to NTU also but for some reason they loved NUS and got the bulk of Singapore hires from my Univ. For those of you Indians who lust after the P&G jobs that go to IIMA, FYI, these are the same ones. Selection is bloody rigorous and they declare that if you perform well they will offer a PPO. Pretty much a replication of the IIMA story. Now that I have bragged a bit, let me get more structured. Out of the 15/16 Indians in the batch, only about 3-4 are still looking for internships. Most of the chinese also have got internships. Companies where people have procured internships include IBM Business Consulting Services, Olam, HSBC, Equant, Chubb Insurance, PwC, CSFB, StanChart, Hewitt, Spire Research etc. With the exception of HSBC, all of these were through the CSO. In fact a key highlight of our batch was the fact that most guys sat on their ass waiting for the CSO to get us jobs and lo behold they did. Other companies that came to campus with internships include LBBW (a brilliant investment banking internship), Philips (great internship), GE Money (shitty), Byun Consulting (great), BP (great marketing internship), JP Morgan (great but bloody competitive internships), Energizer (good), Diageo (great), ABN Amro (ok), IE etc. Whoever is still left in our batch still have interviews lined up and with a lil bit of luck , we should hit 100% people looking to internships received match. The money we receive for internship fluctuates anywhere between 700 SGD/month to 1800/month. A fair amount to expect is ~ SGD 1000.

Whoa! that was tiring. This should give you a reasonably exact idea of placements and if you are still confused, come down to NUS, speak to everybody in both batches and compile the statistic. For those of you who are enterprising enough to discover this blog, I hope your efforts have been rewarded with sufficient info. At the bare minimum you know enough to make an informed choice. For whoever's not enterprising enough...tough luck!

I am half afraid that this blog might crash and I will have to redo this bit so I am going to publish this first and then carry on in a second blog.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Gah! Mid term approaches....That means work

When will exchange start? When will I gain access to those promise filled days of beer, partying and travelling. Hopefully in a really cool country! Your grades dont carry back from exchange i.e when you calculate CAP you dont factor in your marks at the partner university. They do attach a transcript of your exchange grades to your University transcript...But when did you last carry a transcript at a job interview. So exchange is the one possible semester of academic socialism/ marxism where a chappie getting C+ is equal to the book fiend with an A+...Hahaha isn't that just great.

But before, like everything good thing in life, the concept of 'Karma' is there to foul it all up. We must earn what we receive...and thats how life is supposed to be. that what Karma means? Anyways you know where I am going. So before the rosy time of exchange starts, I must slave away in the trenches.

gah!! double gah!! Mid term approaches...I feel the chill of work in my bones.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Lets talk about placements !!

So.... I do know that I tend to ramble quite a bit on largely philosophical issues but considering that its application time in the year, let me today first talk abot placements. Many of you out there might reasonably worried about the job placement scenario in Singapore and at NUS so let me try and paint as accurate a picture as I can.

If you are applying to NUS and have done your homework, you know that students can pass out in either 16 or 22 months. This December approx 10 guys passed out. The stats are as follows - 1 guy is working with British Petroleum, 1 guys is working with a specialist Market Intelligence company called Synovate Business Consulting, 1 guys has joined NUS administration in a senior role and 1 fellow has joined (his choice) Synovate in India. That leaves 6 - Unfortunately 1 is still looking, 1 was in the final interview rounds with a global financial behemoth (Last I Know) and 1 more fellow has also gone back to India (Choice/Compulsion dont know). Most of these jobs were assisted/aided by the career services office.

Let me expand the discussion a little. I know a couple of people who have friends in The Nanyang MBA cohort which passes out in December. From what I have heard, seems that most people passing got a decent job at decent pay with a good company. So in my opinion, its really not as bad as you may suspect.

Plus, during the winter break, there were a number of guys who chose to stay back and do a winter internship. Am glad to say most of them got one. Companies included Standard Chartered, Siemens, IE Singapore and if I am not mistaken also STB. Again, these were all routed through the CSO (Career Services Office). Although there are a couple of unresolved issues with these internships, overall it was a quite positive experience.

About Summer Internships - They tend to be trickier because 1) many companies in Singapore do not have formal summer training programs and 2) Most internships are usually full-time 6 month positions. As of now, I dont think most people have started to chase seriously so there is really nothing to write home about.

The acid test really is in April wherein the majority of the cohort passes out . That will indicate far more definitely how strong our market equity is. So you have to pretty much wait for that. However, the information above should have at least helped you get a 'real' feel of the situation. The only point I missed is pay. Well expect to get a job anywhere between 3500 - 5000 Sing D's per month. Responding to a comment, it is entirely reaasonable for you to expect SGD 50 - 60,000 annual pay. However and this is the caveat, what finally comes to you depends on your background & ability.

Lets break for a moment and chat about the resources that NUS MBA career office has. Well to be honest, as of now we dont have a lot. There is a one person career office, who helps us in getting leads, gets companies on campus for recruitment talks, organises CV workshops, interview workshops etc. But how much can one person do, right? So be prepared to deal with whatever crosses your way - good, bad, ugly.

However, a couple of good things have happened in this semester. First the BSchool administration seemingly has gotten a lot more serious about helping us find a job. They have committed resources to it and hopefully it should translate into more opportunities in the near - term. However, efforts for longer term branding/Equity building for the school is still hazy at best. Second there is now a placement team of students that is focused on getting companies into the school. We are trying quite hard to get a placement week organised in school during March and if that is successful there should be a lot of positive ramifications. How it will all turn out is the million dollar question? But things are moving, students voices are being heard, change seems to be in the air.

Lets close the discussion here with a few summary points and frankly this is all that you need to know about placements at NUS and in Singapore.

1. You will not walk into a job here, you will have to hunt for it and strive for it. Career services will get you opportunities on campus - sometimes they will be great and sometimes not, sometimes it will be companies you want and sometimes not, sometimes the role will be great and the money will suck and sometimes vice versa. We are all defined by the choices we make, be prepared to live that statement at NUS.

2. There are no exclusive jobs. e.g. JP Morgan is technically on NUS campus recruiting. But it is an island wide recruitment process for 16 summer internship positions open to every BBA/MBA on the island. Fancy ur chances? OCBC Bank has a management associate program for MBA's. They came to our campus (5 of them) to speak to only the MBA batch and strongly encouraged us to apply. But are only NUS MBA students being considered? Of course not..Last year i think they took some 25+ people out of an applicant pool of 300+. If you are not confident that you have the guts for this...stay home!!!

3. Everybody wants to work for McKinsey/BCG/Goldman Sachs etc. And so do you. But keep in Singapore you do not compete with the schools at home to work with these companies in Asia. You compete with INSEAD, Kellogg, Chicago GSB, U Michigan etc. Got the idea!! And frankly speaking, in my opinion, if you really could cut it, you would be at those schools and this entire issue would be irrelevant. There are always exceptions but am not really targeting them in this write-up. Please be realistic about your aspirations before you decide to come here.

4. So is there an UPSIDE to all of this...Of course yes! People here are driven by their own sense of initiative, urgency and ability and to those people, this place offers opportunities. There are ex NUS MBA's working in organisations like Microsoft, P&G, World Bank, Barclays etc etc and let nobody mislead you a lot of these jobs were based on cold calls. Think about this - There are a number of guys right now in 1st year who are working as part-time interns with companies like StanChart, DBS bank, Siemens etc etc. Without doubt these guys will have a far better shot at placements. But in return they sacrifice quite a bit of their personal life. These are the kinds of trade - offs and choices you will have to make here.

Net - Net: There is no set formula here ..put in your time & effort and you are likely to be adequately rewarded but not guaranteed.

I hope that helps you get a firm grip on what to expect. Wish all of you all the best in your endeavours.

PS - Today is Chinese New Year so....Gong Xi Fa Cai ... look it up ;)
PPS - Am not gonna answer any profile questions, so no point in trying!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The trap of negativism

I started to write this quite some time back...but never managed to I have lost the context of the post so I am going ahead and publishing it all the same.......

Today is a beautiful Singapore day to post. Hit by waves of rain and dark overcast clouds, the city leaves behind its hot & humid reality to almost take a slightly magical, slightly emotional aura of peace. I was travelling back to college by MRT today lost to the world outside by the music in my ears (In Singapore there really is not too much else that you can do while travelling) when I began to think about my posts and the trap of negativism that I might be unconsciously falling into. Ever noticed, how easy it is to focus on the negatives of a particular situation than the positives. Of course, you have. You yourself have done that more times than desired.

So today, let me first drop in my two cents about that. I knew a lot of the flaws of the NUS MBA prgram even before I came here. Even if I had known about each and every deficit that NUS suffers from, I would have still unequivocally come here. If you have studied economics you would understand the 'budget line'. Suffice to say that within my budget line, NUS presented the best combination of international exposure, learning, challenge, fun everything that an MBA should have. Plus this is Singapore. Opportunities abound for the courageous, strong of heart and the daring. If you consider yourself to be one (as I do) you would enjoy this city and the promise it holds for us.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Singapore Sugar Daddies

No matter how much I promise to myself, I can never stop punctuating my blogs with long breaks in between. For example todays blog has been swirling around in my head for more than a week and a half but I am writing it only today. Partly this could be because I refuse to adopt the common 'What happened in my life today" approach to blog writing.

I love partying and Singapore's a great place to do that. Expensive yes but a great place to party. And the best thing about lots of places here is that you dont have to quit partying till its almost morning. I believe Bangalore in its infinite insanity shuts down at 12, whereas Delhi does manage to carry on but with not quite the same enthusiasm. Bombay, I love its party scene even more than Singapore.

But there's this phenomenon that I have seen here that is not really so apparent in India. The genesis of this lies in the fact that the majority of oriental women here (Singaporean, Chinese, Malay and even 'kiasu' Indian) love getting it on with white guys. I understand 'Gold Digging' but i dont think thats all there is to it. There is this place called 'carnegie's', where a lot of women fitting the above description hang out. So if you are a non-retarded white guy who goes there, chances are that you will pick up somebody damn quick. More often than not, it will result in a one-night stand and nothing beyond. But these women will be back there soon enough. So this cannot be about money. These women must genuinely like white guys. There are too many similar episodes to narrate. The number of old, one foot in the grave white guys I have seen with a hot 24 year old girl on his arms defies description. And I refuse to believe that all of them have money coz a lot of them dont look like it. These are the Singapore Sugar Daddies

Brings me to wonder about what is it they have which we dont. And I dont mean Indians, I mean Asians. Why do a lot of us believe that US/Europeans are better than our ownselves, our own race. I know the extrapolation is a bit of a stretch but if you think about it you will know what I am talking about. In an era where the entire world seems to talk about how smart Asians are, we are the ones who can a lot of times negate that sentiment. Its a pity that the Japanese engine died out, at least there was one counter to this polarised world. Of course there are others waiting in the wings - China? India? but until we learn to beleive in our Asian identity I dont think we will get there.

No answers this time, only questions...Till then the Singapore Sugar daddies rule!!!!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

2 Months Down - Some reflections, some ramblings

On the oft chance that there is actually a living soul in this world other than me that reads this blog, my apologies for dissapearing. Once you have worked under the pressure of budgets, results, deadlines etc, you would tend to think that you got the entire 'time management' problem licked. Errrrr.....guess again! Bschool kinda of puts you back down on the ground.

Today is more or less two months into the course. Not the end of the mid-term yet but the final exam remaining is multiple choice, continous assessment + today was end of the dreaded economics paper, so the tempo has kind of slowed down a bit. So I am back to blogging again.

I have realized that I have undervalued the importance of time here at NUS. A lot of people i know say that Bschool is utter crap. They argue that whatever you need to learn you do so at the job. I disagree. MBA is a once only opportunity to learn, flex our mental muscles, engage in intellectual debates and read up on stuff becoz of well 'what the heck its interesting'. Most importantly you do so without the consequences of failure. . However, despite my best intentions, I have not been able to do so. Time just flies amongst classes, projects, ECA etc. Brings me to think that should Bschool slow down....Give us more time for reflection, for thought. But maybe not, we are as liable to drink away that time in Beer!

That brings me to today. My first resolution in the MBA is to start my learning process in earnest. But in the first semester class does not teach you much. You mostly surf on the upper crust of knowledge and do not delve deep within.

There was one thing that I wanted to point out about the NUS MBA. There is a distinct sense of lack of community...among past and present students alike. Take for example, the MBA program office does not even know the names of MBA alumni for more than three years back...Apalling...Even more surprising in the context that MBA is usually a very tightly knit community. Even the present students are more of a loose agglomeration than a batch that works hard and parties harder together. Surprising no, considering that our batch is less than even 60 people.

But if you are somebody in this world who is thirsting to make it big in Asia, this is the place to be. 30 to 50 years back, the US was it. The place where you make dreams come true, the land of opportunity. Today it is Singapore. Regardless of everything else, one aspect of this place shines through everything else. This is a land that values talent, has more than enough money to buy it, Usually has less of it than it needs, is safe and for Indians, one of the few remaining havens that welcome you with open arms. If you are an American or a European you have two large labor markets open. But if you are an Asian that is most of the time precluded from applying to those jobs (leave apart what they would like us to believe), right here, right now is the place to be. The future of the world, clicked yes, but thats what we are. Unless the boffins create something that take the competitive advantage of Asia markets away, this will be where companies will chase profit.

On a different note, not so long back, we held something called 'International day'. It was held for the first time in the batch and it actually turned out to be really good fun! For somebody like me, who does not get a word of Chinese, some of the stuff they presented was pretty good. Hmm which brings to the topic of the 'Chinese'. (Sorry, its my blog so I am kinda allowed to ramble).

A remarkable race, they are. All 15+ of them in my class, 2 months on a run and still their capacity to work amazes me. Indians aren't a lazy race by any stretch of imagination but compared to the Chinese, we are as good as drunk vagabonds who hate studying. From morning to night (Typically defined as 7 Am to 11 PM), they spend 90%+ of that time in the library studying. And this is not just on weekdays. They are like automatons with a book. What is it that motivates and sustains this behaviour I wonder. I mean after all how long can u go without having fun and that too in an MBA. Today was best, I actually saw somebody from my class, somebody who inevitably would have spent nights up for today's exam finish the test and head back to the Library for Wedneday's accounting exam. Aiiiyaaiiiya!! All I wanted to do was get drunk silly! Althought this might be an extreme case, this kind of behaviour typifies the chinese people of my class.

Similarly on International Day, they approached their so called country presentations with a level of Zeal and seriousness that was incomprehensible. For most of the others, we made an efort which was porpotionate to the status of the evnt as a social gathering. For the Chinese, ay]anything less than an attempt at perfection was unacceptable. I know I want to work in China some day but before that I really need to understand what drives these guys.