sábado, enero 20, 2007

application overload....

Dear Mr Recruiter,

I am a first year MBA student and I wanted to give you some advice, on behalf of (almost) all my fellow students. I really think that, for the next time, it would be much more efficient to set up a centralized application website for all milkround companies coming to campus.

As MBA students, time is one of our most precious assets. We shold not spend so many hours:

- researching your company
- adapting our CV/resume to the particular traits, skills and experience your company requires
- networking with insiders about the opportunities within your company, the prospects for MBA interns, etc, etc.

At least the 'common' part of the application (name, address, undergraduate university, etc) should be centralized, avoiding thousands of repeated entries in your recruitment databases and saving the MBAs hundreds of man-hours.

If you are interested in this idea, do not hesitate to contact me for further information.

Your sincerely,


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martes, enero 16, 2007

gadget for 2007

I have to admit it, I'm into the virus. I already had a second hand (or was it third?) old powerbook, and I bought a brand new MacBook for business school. I have an iPod, and I have started to appreciate the simplicity of the things that Apple, Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) does.

Now I'm on a mission: I desperately want an iPhone!!!! I watched Steve Jobs' Keynote at the last MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, and I fell in love with it. Contrarily to some of Apple's software (which I deem interesting and easy to use, but not really best-in-class for most needs), I think their hardware is superb. If I can afford it (fingers crossed, it's internship hunting season!! ;) I will definitely buy an iPhone.

So what makes this device so appealing???

1) Concept

It's pretty neat: integrate an iPod, a PDA and a cellphone. The iPhone is bigger than a regular phone, but smaller than a PDA. However, it provides the functionality of both. I have an HP iPAQ, but I rarely carry it with me: I don't want to carry too many things when I'm not on my desk.

I deem Treo phones (or any other smartphone) as complicated devices: just take a look at those QWERTY keyboards on a 2 square inches are. Some friends have XDA's from O2 (basically PDAs that you can also call with), but they are heavy and difficult to use. You need a stylus.

2) UI

This multitouch thing is one of the biggest breakthroughs: get rid of the stylus and keyboards, manage a computer with your fingers!!! It's analog to the way you usually use your normal cellphone. Brilliant. It's the ultimate pointing device....your fingers!! How come nobody thought of it before?? And have you seen how you can zoom in and out of pictures?? Looks like sci-fi!

Besides, add to it Apple's magic for simplicity of the user interface, great graphic design, not many taps to get to the most-used functions. Eliminate the complications, keep the most-used functions accessible and simple. It's what my grandma used to say, keep it short and simple!!

3) Basic Phone

It's not that special, but it has a built-in killer app: you can all people! Integrated with a nice addressbook and a nice "recently used" numbers, you can practically call anyone with just a couple of taps on the screen.

Visual voicemail (developed together with Cingular) will enable users to access particular voicemail messages without having to actually hear all of them.

OK, it's not state-of-the-art videocalling, but who uses that anyway? What many users want is just to call without having to read a big user manual. Apple has done it. Again.

4) Other neat things:

Push email (just like a Blackberry) if you are on a Wifi or EDGE coverage area, integrated Google Maps, a fully working HTML browser, bluetooth connectivity for headsets, some widgets (I don't really use them on my Mac, but it's a good foundation for future miniapplications), Photo & Video browser....4 or 8 GB of data can make this phone a nice companion for travel (question: can we disable the phone in order to use the other functions while flying? Usually cellphones are forbidden on board, but iPods and PDAs are not.)

5) Summary

I think this project shows that Apple does actually a lot of consumer research and usability tests before developing their products. They might not have a huge market share, but they are really profitable and have very loyal customers. There must be a reason for that somewhere!

Even if it's based in California, it's not a technology company. It's consumer goods. And it really does understand us, consumers, and what we want. Or at least it tries....

So, if you ever need to give me a present.....please, buy me an iPhone!!!

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sábado, enero 13, 2007

moments of truth...

Last week it was used car salesman week. We had banks, consultancies, and big industry companies coming to campus to present themselves and try to attract the brightest minds of yesterday, today and tomorrow: MBA students. In the so-called milkround, companies tour the top business schools on Earth trying to lure students with promises of bright careers, high compensation packages, challenging workplaces, and so on.

Myself, I am trying to decide now what to do. Finance careers look interesting, but I lack any experience in the industry. An Investment Banking internship would, therefore, be a great way to learn more and also a door to enter as a full-time associate later, if I perform well. I am not 100% convinced that I can 'fit' easily in a bank, though. Moreover, the current bullish markets suggest that there will be a slowdown in M&A activity (or corporate finance activity, in general), which might lead many banks to cut back their hires in the near term. Pity, it happened in 2001 when I just graduated from engineering school, and it might happen now as well.

I guess the only interesting department where I see myself working in a bank is the advisory business. M&A or corporate finance. Sales & Trading or Capital Markets don't look so interesting to me. This makes the challenge of getting an internship even higher, since M&A is traditionally one of the most competitive careers.

On the social side, I must say that I was greatly impressed by several bankers that I met last week. In the networking events, the people from Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers appeared as completely normal human beings, and were very helpful with hints and tips on how to approach the upcoming recruiting season. I guess I wouldn't mind working with such bright, nice folks.

On another front, there have been few strategy consulting firms as well. Some did a terrible job in presenting themselves, appearing as disorganized and pretty chaotic. Others, however, looked really professional and appealing. Given my engineering/management background, I think this is also a very suitable career path for me. And it has a very big advantage: it is much easier to return to Spain, if I wished to.

So, it looks like it's the moment of truth...am I going to do NPVs or two-by-two matrices next summer??

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martes, enero 09, 2007

flickr discovered...

...and created an account, and, as promised, uploaded some pics from the santa pubcrawl. Don't hesitate to check them out here.

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lunes, enero 08, 2007

back in London!!!

After 2 weeks of holidays back home in Spain, and a week skiing in the Alps (probably the only place in Europe with snow enough to enjoy winter sports), I am back in London. Back to cold weather (compared with the 18-20 degrees that I used to have in Valencia, although I admit those figures are pretty unusual), darkness after 4pm, rain and drizzles every hour, and business school!!

It is so-called Milkround time. This week, we don't have any lectures, just presentations by corporate partners of the school, followed by networking cocktails. Hordes of students fighting for airtime around experienced consultants, investment bankers and industry executives, in order to extract the ultimate application tips and exchange business cards. Interesting presentations, though. And a lot of application work ahead (business idea #x: how about a single application database for business school internships?? why do we have to fill up soooooo many online forms?? is there no way to just do it once???). Apart from that, I should start preparing the term work, review the five new binders and refresh Finance in order to be able to do the homework for next week.

On the personal side, it is strange to be home alone. E stayed in Spain (she really has a dream job....it allows her to really manage her time the way she likes), so I'm trying to arrange some dinners for this week. Don't feel like cooking at all...

PS: Feliz Año Nuevo 2007 a todos!!!

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