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Monday, January 30, 2006

Bareback Mountain

I have just come back from seeing a great film at a cinema we recently discovered 10 minutes walk away from our flat. The film was called Brokeback Mountain and had received a hearty endorsement from my ol' mucker Benny Blanco in London. Heath Ledger (aka Scott from Home & Away) and Jake Gyllenhaal (of Donnie Darko fame) headline in what is a very well acted and extremely moving story - however ! One word of advice - don't watch the trailer ! It basically tells you the whole story ! I don't know who's in charge of making movie trailers these days but they should really learn to confine themselves to providing teasers rather than an entire synopsis of the film.

Ok - rant over. If you really don't want to know anything about the film, don't read on. Not really much of a spoiler but didn't want to be hypocritical ...

Basically the film is a story about two cowboys who grow rather - erm - fond of each other on a long summer tending sheep in the mountains of Wyoming. Although they carry on their separate lives after they come down from the mountain they continue their "fishing trips" up into the mountains together from time to time.

As we walked home from the cinema Alex joked that he wanted to join the fishing club at school. I felt at pains to point out to him that I was, in fact, the joint president of the fly-fishing club along with it's only other member, Jan Erik from Norway ! I think we'd better get some new members in before people see the film and start getting the wrong idea !

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Not just us ...

I took a little bit of stick over the Christmas break from a few people who had read my blog and come to the conclusion (as a result of various Party Pictures I had posted) that the life of a IESE MBA student is one long string of fancy-free-fiestas, all jape and frivolity. Well I can tell you it certainly is not.

And even if it was then at least it's not just us ! Back at the start of last term a Portuguese chap called Nico left us to go to INSEAD on the Singapore campus and has just started the course this January. I recieved an email entitled "Happy Chinese New Year" with some photos attached. I expected to see images of Nico praying before a 12ft effigy of the Buddha, josticks a-blazin' etc. But no ...

New Year - Singapore Style

... as you can see - these are new MBA students. Give them 4 months of financial accounting and they'll be the ones be staying in on a Saturday night looking like this :

Saturday Night - Barcelona Style

Sad - isn't it ?

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Just a quick post to tell you a little story about today's class - we have a thing called a COW (Comment Of the Week) where the silliest comment made by a student in class is awarded with a fluffy cow at the end of the week. I have a friend over here who we will call "Swiss Tony" as he comes from Switzerland ("oooorghh ... Schavitzerlanda" for those in London - imagine the following in "that" accent ...). We had a case in Human Resources Management about a hotel in California that was trying to resolve problems with their personal valets (a part-time quasi-butler, aka "PV" for short). Now Swiss Tony, along with many others from his region of the world, have problems pronouncing "V"s, preferring instead to pronounce "W"s. Imagine the hilarity then, when asked whether the personal valets were good for the guests, Swiss Tony replies "yes of course - the guests would love to have fun with our peewees" !!!

Incredible ... in-credible !

Had to be there maybe ... ?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Deep in study

I know I know it's been a while but since I last wrote we have been plunged back into the mire with a brand new set of courses and a whole array of strange and whacky professors to go with them. For those of you in the remotest bit interested, here are this trimester's courses :

  • Operations Management - Gantt charts galore and more process analysis than you can shake a stick at.
  • Operational Finance - a short but sharp blast to the head featuring such delights as Returns on Equity and Debt/Equity ratio appraisal. Still interested ?
  • Managerial Accounting - hard.
  • Human Resources Management - an extension of last term's Organisation Behaviour class this deals with the tricky ramifications of wayward unions and how best to crush a strike.
  • Negotiations - my godsend. No cases to prepare for these classes, just turn up and barter away to your heart's content !
  • Marketing Planning & Implementation - my nemesis. Marketing last term was a mystery to me and this term is proving to be no exception to the rule as we tumble headlong into the murky depths of how best to sell sweets to overweight Italian schoolchildren (among other major dilemmas)

Well, there you have it - that's probably enough about school for now suffice to say that I have also been through a round of interviews for summer placements and have surfaced the other side with a second round interview at Booz Allen Hamilton - a consultancy. "The dark side" as my brother Ed would say but then the dark side does have its advantages ... anyway I'll let you know how the second round goes. Currently scheduled for the 8th of February.

Otherwise I can tell you that I went to see Barcelona Football Club play a couple of weekends ago which was great. Really great - first visit to the Camp Nou and we saw a huge punch-up on the field. The game itself was pretty dull and the fight was the only thing that really got the crowd pumped up - walking out of the stadium felt like we were in the middle of the civil war with everyone chanting "Catalunya - Catalunya" ... awesome.

Last weekend saw the ol' jalopy heading out once more as a small group of us headed out to the Pyrenees for the weekend. Andorra to be exact where we had a jolly good weekend's skiing. The plan had originally included study sessions scheduled into the Friday and Saturday nights but we should really have realised that was a non-starter from the off. As a consequence Sunday night and all nights since have been extremely late ones catching up with work I should have done last weekend. This weekend coming it is set to rain in Barcelona so I think I will stay in to catch up on study. Much needed in these pressing but educational times.

Pictures of Andorra and a couple of the future "Captains of Commerce" you can find here at IESE ...

Ian looking pensive

Ryan looking ridiculous

Vive le moose !!!

A couple in the making if ever I saw one ...


The last supper before coming back to BCN

He's Canadian - I say nothing

George and Huy - I say nothing

Give it all you got, Davy-boy !

Many thanks to brother in law David for his most educational comment on my last post - it had me in stitches mate and provided some much needed relief !

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Happy new year to one and all !!! Today is the 8th of January which as everyone knows is officially the last day of Xhristmas - what a shame. I am back in Barcelona after a rather long and winding journey down through Europe in the ol' jalopy. Setting off at 10.30pm the day before New Years' Eve, I drove through the night, witnessing a great sunrise when passing through the Champagne region with the roads all to myself. How apt, I thought - Champagne for New Year's !!! "Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends" etc ... two hours later I was snoring in a traffic jam outside Dijon, which struck me as a bit more down to earth. Arrived in Bourg St. Maurice to meet Sebaaaastian and Brrrradders - was shattered but managed to pull through to see in the New Year at the Howell household with Seb's folks, Luke and new ladyfriend Emma. Many thanks to all of you for allowing me to remember New Year for the first time since I was 15 !!!

New Year's Day and I was very excited to be able to use my new snow chains on the car (see picture). We drove up to Val d'Isere to meet William and had a great day's skiing (for "skiing" read "lunch" however - we were on William's timetable). Seb and Bradders left that evening to head back to London and I stayed with Paul, Debs and Guillaume to ski another day before realising the back wheels on my car had completely frozen ! After sliding round Val for a couple of hours (it was like doing a constant handbrake turn around town - awesome) we eventually got the wheels unstuck with the help of monsieur Ogh-he-hogh (think that was his name) in the garage and off I set down to Barca. The drive down through France was "thimply wonderful" - was a shame my camera was broken as there were some pretty spectacular views dropping down through the Alps.

Have two days of Finance interviews coming up starting tomorrow - should really be studying the "Capital Asset Pricing Model" and "Weighted Average Cost of Capital" (zzzz) but golly it is tiresome. Anyway just wanted to stick up the photos that Sebbo sent over from New Year - thanks for them chief ... hasta luego !

Arrival in Val (note the snow chains)

Snow really was this deep !

Extreme off-piste action

A frozen lunch at la Fruitiere restaurant

Windy : if you're reading this in the States - make sure you get yersel' upstate now ya hear - ah hear its really budeful this time o' year ... ya just gotta ... :)