The quest for wisdom, from France to China, of an HEC MBA & Tsinghua MBA dual degree student (class of 2011)
Archive for the ‘Just me’ Category
First of all Happy New Year 2010! :)
It gives me the opportunity for me to look back at my Year 2009 where many things happened.
So what’s your new year resolution? Mine is to learn Chinese. I really hope to become more conversational with my Mandarin this year. Time will tell if I succeeded. :)
So that’s it! Now I’m (hardly) back from my end of year holidays and ready to take over Core 2!
The least we can say is that, academically, Core 2 starts slowly. And this is a good thing since I happen to be hammered with ever more club activities. In parrallel, I need to seriously look for a July-August summer internship.
Finally, the newcomers from the Jan 2010 intake arrived last week. It’s a bit strange to now be considered as the “seniors”. Tonight we have a special “buddy” event to meet with the younger intake people we will give advices to.
Otherwise, I think I’ve never seen so much snow for so long in France…
Those who read my article about school selection know I did an MBA because I wanted to move toward Luxury.
This week I discovered these two videos online (in French).
It’s quite funny to see one of our teachers in a video :)
One week has passed and we are now fully into our MBA. We have had a few academic classes so far and I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised by their quality so far.
But before I go on and on describing my life as a student, I wanted to share a few facts about the September 2009 intake:
So here I am. I came back home to Paris a couple of hours ago after a 7 weeks holiday trip which brought me to China, Japan and Tahiti.
Everything’s good :)
On Tuesday, during a trip to Kyoto, I was visiting around with some friends and as we grew tired of walking, we started to look for a café to sit down and relax for a bit. The café we found by the imperial palace was like nothing we’d seen before.
At first, we didn’t understand how to behave at the Free Café Harimaya Station. It seemed like just any self-service café in Japan, only with the exception of cashiers. Indeed coffee, tea, juice and even rice crackers were completely free of charge. This concept, we later found, had been developed by a successful confectionery company to “give back” to society and promote traditional food, in their case rice crackers (senbei), and environmental awareness.
The café wasn’t a place of only benevolent goodness as a small shop counter was conveniently located a few meters from the free café. By instituting this free café, Harimaya Honten managed to attract people, make them feel good, and even buy their product and offset their running costs!
Their philosophy also caught my attention as they were careful of making rice crackers in traditional, and more environmentaly-friendly, as opposed to sterile industrial ways. Pictures of their factories showed them more like Japanese country houses with beautiful gardens than the typical concrete blocks.
Since I’ve visited this café I can’t help but think of how this new model for marketing a quality products could be applicable in other circumstances. Could this café exist in Western countries or in any place outside of Japan?
When visiting China for the first time in 2004, one of the things that struck me was that, when in China, one should switch one’s mindset to another scale for everything altogether. And it’s not based just on demographic or geographic statistics. Here, everything is bigger.
Well, it may not apply to everything (such as the size of a roast duck), but I don’t think I’ve ever seen city parks as big as Beijing’s own Beihai, Zonghai and Houhai gardens. Not even mentioning the Summer Palace park which doesn’t really count as a city park and lays by the 4th ring. If the notion of city ring doesn’t mean anything to you, think of the nice peripheral highways that border your city. Paris has two: the Périphérique and the Francilienne. Beijing has seven of them… Oh, and did I mention it? They’re bigger.
This year, one of the reasons why I went to Beijing in the first place was to visit the Tsinghua University with which HEC has a double MBA degree agreement. A nice lady from the Tsinghua SEM IMBA admission office greeted me and we discussed about the application procedure. Finally, she gave me their IMBA brochure and invited me to visit the campus. Now I must mention that students typically travel between different academic buildings riding a bike. I’ve seen some people do it with a taxi. We walked… and going from toward the South exit (where SEM is located) to the North exit (by the dorms) took us 40 minutes.
Today, I’m in Xi’an, home to tens of thousands terracotta warriors. Flying tomorrow to Shanghai and its two world tallest towers, then flying back to Beijing and its world biggest airport…
Today was my last day at work.
Indeed, as I reflect on Friday, 29th May 2009, I bring an end to an adventure I started on a 13th of November: 8 years, 6 months and 16 days ago. Throughout this adventure, I have moved offices 4 times, worked on 14 projects (or major proposals) taking me to 17 cities in 10 countries. But more importantly, I’ve had the privilege to work with people from 37 offices around the world which allowed me to gain cultural awareness in a way that’s rare and truly remarkable.
Thought it would be nice to put these numbers in a magic square. As a game you can play at finding out how old I was when I started and when I left.
One doesn’t leave such a job after 8+ years without throwing a goodbye party, which I did.
To this occasion, my colleagues offered me an Ecosphere.
Apparently it can live for around 2 years, so hopefully it will keep me nice company throught my studies. I’ll update you here on how it evolves.
As many before me, here I am, starting a blog about my MBA experience.
I’ll try my best to write this blog in English and in French. You can find the French version here.
PS: HEC being such an institution in France, I was quite surprised not to find any HEC MBA blog in French. If anyone knows of any, feel free let me know via comment.