Monday, August 28, 2006

Crowded Campus

Last week the fall semester started. This had no direct affect on me or my schedule, since my classes are on more of a block schedule. However, the campus and town of Columbia has become taken over by undergraduates. They have filled up the elevators, created waiting lines at the gym, and best of all, they look great sitting out by the pool.

Training has reached a peak for my triathlon. It is less than three weeks away. In my constant search for the next challenge, I think I have found one. In December, there is a half marathon run a couple of hours from town. I am not sure of all the particulars, but I am going to go for it. I have never run that far, but I should have some great support from some fellow classmates.

My weekend was spent reading a massive amount for classes, going to a happy hour, trivia night at Delaney's for a Bday party, and a night in Myrtle Beach seeing STS9 and G Love. All in all it was a great weekend.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Light At the End of DA

Today, I have been productive, but not enough. I have so much more to do! Preparing for this next week has not happened like I thought it would. I am going to keep cranking out the work and see where I get. The good thing is that I can see the end of DA. It is coming!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Scratching My Chin, Thinking About It

In a couple of hours I have my final accounting exam. It has been a long week studying for it, but I am feeling pretty good about the whole thing. One thing I know for sure, is the whole process has made me a bit frazzled. My hair is disheveled and I have scratched my chin so much this week, while thinking about accounting, that I am beginning to feel a bit disturbed. If I am not careful, I am afraid that my lip my flip up and swallow me whole!

Any suggestions on how to cure this problem?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The End of Accounting

Tomorrow marks the end of another class. Even though we had an outstanding teacher (I hope he reads my blog), I will not miss this class. I say this because I have done almost nothing but accounting this week. A little reading hear and there for other classes, but nothing in comparison.

I did manage to have a little fun last weekend. Below I have a contest for my fellow IMBAers. If you can tell me who is in the picture, I will be buying you a beverage of your choice at your choice of establishments (this is not a full bottle, but rather one drink). Good Luck!! Oh yea, if you were with me when the picture was taken, I am sorry, but your are excluded from this contest. I will permit any asking or collaboration among your peers. Please post your answer as a comment.

Training is coming along. I was able to complete 1000 meters in the pool without stopping this morning. That is a new milestone.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I Did A "Floyd Landis" Today

I still haven't quite figured out why I have more energy one day versus another. I know it is a combination of rest, hydration, calorie intake, and several other factors which I try to be mindful of. So, whatever the factors where today, I had it! I woke up full of energy and hit my bike hard for 12 minutes, then I ran for a mile, then back to the bike. I did these brick exercises three times, before I had to stop and clean up to go to class. But that was just the beginning...

I went to the pool this afternoon. I could feel that my legs were tired, but my arms were fresh, since I had not swam in several days. I started swimming and just kept on going. Before I knew it, I had completed 1200 meters. That is 300 meters more than I have ever done previously. And thanks to some encouragement and motivation from my swim coach, you know who you are, I made it to the 1500 meter mark, So, I did the impossible to day, just like Landis. Of course many people swim 1500 meters everyday and only one person wins The Tour every year, but if you stretch it far enough the comparison is there.

Now I just have to keep this up for about five more weeks, then it is milkshakes from Zesto's, bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy's, and lots of Dr. Pepper from then on out...or at least until I find another challenge.

Check out my friends band, I Voted For Kudos.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It Just Keeps On Coming

The IMBA program at USC is gearing up for the fall. I started a new class this week and have gotten a sneak peek at some upcoming classes. Needless to say we have only cracked the surface. My newest class should be a blast. It is covering entrepreneurship. I love it and have already had a small taste of it, so I am looking forward to learning just about anything I can from this class. The group project for this class involves making a realistic business plan for a product/service of our choice. My ideas have been swirling in my head with thoughts for the project. I will let you know what my group decides for a product.

To a more sobering thought, my Leadership and Ethics class which starts soon, has just put out the first set of materials. The grading system is tough. My peers will be deciding every class how I performed during the class. This means that if I do not make an insightful comment or repeat an idea that has already been stated, then I will not score well for the day. In addition, a quiz will be taken in every class concerning the previous class discussion. Thank goodness I am a talker. Now I just have to learn how to say something meaningful, instead of spouting off a bunch of bull.

For those people in classes that don't like to address the class, I suggest a daily dose of Paxil or Valium to ease your anxiety.

Any good business ideas? Post them in the comments!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Grades...what is the point?

The measurement that grades give rarely reflect the intelligence of the person. Can society not think of a better way to measure a persons performance?

I bring this up because I was a little frustrated by my accounting and statistics grades today. I know many others felt the same, since their was a complete silence after our test was handed back to us. Everyone was taking notes, trying not to think about the grade they had just received. In fact, they were taking diligent notes because of the grade they had received.

That is the wonderful thing about the people in the IMBA program. While temporarily they felt shaken, they are determined to perform better. I myself fall into this category. An "A" is not out of reach; instead it is just a matter of putting in some extra practice. Some logic...if practice makes perfect, then practicing statistics makes an "A" on the next exam. Does that sound right?

For those of you who are still feeling bummed about the grade, put away the test and cheer up. The next\last exam is not for three weeks!

I started a new class today called Entrepreneurship. This one is right up my alley. We are going to have to pick an idea and create a business plan. I have a little experience in the business plan, but I have a lot to learn. My Berkman personality tells me that I am not the planner; instead I like to do just "do" and make decisions on the fly. So, this will be a good practice in patience.

I have ideas for businesses daily. However, if this does not come as easily to you, try to think of it this way: While going through your day, what need in your life is not fulfilled? What item, device, or service could fulfill that need? Does it exist? If not, then you have found your idea. If it has, then can it be improved upon? Some of the best products come from making small modifications from an existing product. Also, making small changes means that you don't have to reinvent the wheel to think of a great product, just how to make something better.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pools, Beaches, and Biking

What a weekend I have had! After a tough week at school, I got the chance to forget it all at a pool party, which started Friday afternoon. And as much time as I spend in class with everyone in my program, I still enjoy hanging out with everybody outside of class (even more so, since we aren't in a school environment). I spent a few hours sipping on beer and margaritas and chatting it up with everyone. I was sufficiently pruned when I left to go to services at the local reform synagogue.

the synagogue was small, but nice. I enjoyed the younger rabbi, but the melody of the tunes dragged on a little. The rabbi is new, so this may change as he officially takes over next week. I was eagerly welcomed by several of the congregants. They introduced themselves and asked lots of questions. I even met a couple who lives five houses down from me. I might be house-sitting soon, according to them. I still want to check out the conservative synagogue, to get a comparison.

Yesterday was once again spent trying to ignore the fact that I was in school and had responsibilities. Several people from my program and myself took off to Charleston to hit the beach and do some exploring. I had never been there and was eager to check it out.

The day was spent at the beach (see pics below) and then we headed into town to see the market and have dinner. The water was warm and lots of cute girls walking around. I am sure there were some cute guys, but somehow I missed them. The town of Charleston reminded me of New Orleans's French Quarter. The market was set up the same and the old buildings had the familiar historic european charm. However, there were no women in doorways trying to lure us in, there wasn't music flowing out into the streets from all the bars, and no one was walking around with a drink in there hand. Instead, the town had lots of nice restaurants, art galleries, and a lovely water front at Battery Park.

On the way back, about a few dozen miles from Columbia, I started getting that feeling that I was headed back to the "real" life. The life of school and homework. This is the life that I love much more than work life, but just like in the work life, it is wonderful to escape from it now and again.

So, today I woke up and went biking for about forty miles and then ran for two and a half. I really was hurting on the transition from bike to run today. I ended up walking the last few tenths of a mile because I got a cramp in my thigh. I guess I still some hydration learning to do. After a 2 quart pitcher of cool water, my roommate and I did some laundry and reading. Now, I have to finish my work for the week.

The group pic has Lee, Lourdes, and Natalie in it. Then the other pic is of Hawaii Chris. This man can swim in the ocean!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

First Major Test Completed...Ouch

Today I had only one thing to do, that was to take my first Decision Analysis test. I studied for this test for four days. I felt confident and ready when I went to school today. I walked into class, got my test (which came on a CD), and began. I thought the test felt thick, but all the people in South Carolina only print on one side of the paper, so I was not too surprised. After I answered the first question, I was feeling good, however, it all changed shortly there after. For the remainder of the test, about 2 hours, I spent looking at my computer screen. Trying to figure out the answers and then checking my answers were quite difficult. This test was much harder than expected. I am not sure how I did. When I received a perfect grade on my Globalization quiz, I was sure that my method of preparation was working. However, now I am in doubt and will have to re-double my efforts for the next test in Decision Analysis. This will not be fun, but I will "go to the mattresses" if need be to perform well on the next test.

I added some new blogs on the right side of the page. My fellow IMBAers are getting on the blogging bandwagon. If you would like to know what Columbia, the business school at USC, and some other things around town look like, check out Adrian's blog. He has got some great pics.

Some better news...
Yesterday, I went to the gym and was able to complete 900 meters in the pool! That is the most I have done to date. Tomorrow I should be back in the pool for at least another 900. I owe it all to a wonderful swim teacher, Emily. Thank you Emily. She got me swimming like a swimmer should swim. Now all I have to do is get good at it:)