Friday, May 23, 2014

The Grand Finale

The Grand Finale of my. International MBA at IE, the graduation day, the day of last post for this blog, the four hundred and sixteenth day, the day to receive acknowledgement and appreciation and certification for all the hard work put in past thirteen months, the day to remember, to reflect, to rejoice, the day when I officially become an alumni and join 40,000 others at the IE alumni association.

When we started from Madrid towards Segovia, it was raining. Many in India believe that rain on an auspicious and/or important occasion is a good omen. And if that was not enough, when we reached Segovia, we saw a rainbow in the sky - full of colors, full of joy, full of hope, full of excitement, full of accomplishment.
And then, as soon as we walked down with our diplomas and transcripts, the sky was clear and it was warm and sunny all around. The sunshine of achievements, the brightness of future ahead.
Thinking of metaphors and good omens and signs, there were many. And yes, not to mention, we graduated from the same place where Columbus had sought permission from the queen of Spain for his Voyage - the voyage that led to discovery of the Americas. To top it all, the biggest factor that made me feel really good was to receive my MBA transcript and diploma in presence of my parents, and of course my new found friends and their families.

Jeff who taught us how to make business sense out of many non-market events from the decisions that governments make, to the choices that people make, and who received most votes from my section A2, was voted as the best professor for the year. Phillip received award for the best student, and from what I have come to know him, in the classes we took together, in our interactions inside and outside the school, I had a feeling that he should be the one to receive this award. Natalie delivered an extra dose of emotions in what was already an excited arena, and I could see tears in eyes of many, as she spoke about the spirit of IE, of togetherness, of helping each other, of being socially responsible and of being thankful to our families, friends, peers and all those who have helped us in the past and will be there for us in the future.

There are many mixed emotions that gather in my mind this day, from thoughts of the day I decided to go for an MBA, thoughts of all criticisms, and of the love that has made me what I am today. More on the reflection on some other, at some other place. Today, it was the day to "Keep Calm and Graduate"

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Getting ready for the graduation

Haircut, Suit, Ironing, checking for IMBA team posts, charging my handycam [now that the dslr is history] basically everything and anything that is related to getting ready for the graduation day tomorrow - was the agenda for the day. Also met Prof Alvaro to return his book and bid him farewell - yeah, its the season of farewells.

IT was way back in 2004 that I participated in a convocation, to receive my gold medal for the master in civil engineering from Mumbai university. Much has taken place since then, I have seen many ups and downs of this life, have had a professional career, visited many countries, gotten praised for my work, and have been questioned about my abilities; and all this just makes the graduation of International MBA tomorrow, even more special for me. Sleeping early tonight, got a big day tomorrow, and not to mention the day when I will conclude this blog, this journey, this MBA :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rest day

After spending eight days traveling, and losing my camera in the process, today was the day to rest - and to do "nothing", and I did just that - comments from friends and relatives kept pouring in on my FB update of lost camera through out the day and all I did was check on them, apart from watching some Marathi and Hindi movies recently released in India.

By the way, its already time to count down for the graduation day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Got Robbed in Rome !!

Well, I knew the trick - I knew that there are places in Madrid where I need to be careful about my bag, but in Rome, I didn't expect something similar. And it was not those teenage girls like in Madrid, but a suited guy, who walked in, showed some writing on the wall, and by the time we looked back, my camera bag, with my dslr, all the lenses, sunglasses, usb cable, batteries, filters - everything was gone. Tried looking for the guy for next 10 minutes and then gave up - I knew from similar experiences of my friends in Madrid that there is no point in looking any more.

A great trip came to an end by a frustrating theft. Got to experience this side of Europe as well. Spent the day thinking about photos of all those beautiful moments lost with the camera, and also how Tokyo, Singapore, India are all so different from these deceiving encounters that many of us have experienced around Europe. WTF .. I got robbed !!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Roman Ruins

From Colosseum to churches and walls, today we first took a full ride of the hop-on bus and saw it all and then got down at the Colosseum to spend more time. After this was the time to visit that famous fountain in Rome, where you throw coins while eating ice-cream.
Today was a better day, as we knew how and where to get the bus, and we covered more things.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Vatican

Long queues, long walks and a hop-on-off bus and towards the end of it all the Vatican - it took us the whole day to visit just this one place - good that we have reserved two full days in between the travel dates to see this place - the food around Vatican was expensive and there were many hidden charges, and it wasn't really that good food. The food we had back in the restaurant at our campsite, that was a different matter altogether - it was yummy, and it served the craving for Italian food really well. Hope we can cover the rest of the places tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

ROME calling

Time to move to the next destination, in Italy to Rome, the city of Colosseum and of the Vatican. We arrived in afternoon to our resting place, and liked the arrangement made in the hotel we were in - every need served in short space of the bungalows that we were in. Spent the evening in this place enjoying the breeze and the atmosphere - it was a campsite anyways, so many people around were already having a party and good times :-)

Friday, May 16, 2014

From Mona Lisa to Modi

today, we spent the morning at Louvre museum, took a picture with the Mona Lisa, had breakfast watching the inverted pyramid that is center of mystery in the movie of The Da Vinci Code, went on top of Eiffel tower in the evening, and enjoyed the wind there by sipping a cup of hot coffee, had Indian dinner in a neighborhood full of Indian grocery stores and restaurants, and came home to hear about two wins - our local candidate for Indian Parliament, Mr Udayanraje Bhosale; and Narendra Modi of BJP with a clear mandate for the party - an era of new hope begins in India today, and I am all eager to be part of this new nation and the new world :-)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A First look at Paris

It was the day to move on from Barcelona to the next stop - Paris, another country, another language, another significance.

Took the hop-on, hop-off tour of the river ride in Paris as it stopped at exact same spots as the bus and was a different experience in itself. Day to take a first look at this city, famous for so many things from romance to poetry to museums.

Spent the evening on banks of the river Sein just next to Eiffel Tower :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Birthday Time :-)

Another Birthday in Madrid, an inflow of wishes on social network, some calls back and forth to India, day spent with loved ones and great weather of Barcelona. Spent the Birthday having great food and seeing great sites in this beautiful city of Spain.

Thankful as always to all those who remembered me on this day :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Travel time

Well, there is nothing on my schedule until the graduation day, so the plan is to travel, travel in Europe for next eight days, starting today with Barcelona. Not sure how the internet connectivity will be, so, next few posts may be irregular. Its time to break free and see this part of the world, before bidding it farewell.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Suit Up, The Finish Line awaits !!

Today in the afternoon, I was all suited up, and presenting my analysis with my group to the panelists - my final presentation at IE - the finish line. Followed it with a loooong lunch with family and close friends. Finally, the International MBA is done, the finish line is crossed, and its time for some relaxation and jubilation and reflection ... the overwhelm of feelings is such that there are not many words I can think of right now to describe the whole thing :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Last Submission

Yesterday was a long night - slept at around 1:30 AM after preparing the executive report initial version and then woke up at 6 AM today again to review and revise it for one last time. Submitted it at 12:30 PM just to make sure that the last submission at IE has no issues, or if it has, they get taken care of. And as feared, there was a minor issue which made me sit until 2 PM to redo a few things and submit the document again. Basically, it had to be original and not a scanned or pdf version, which needed some amendments to submit the signed first page.

And then, it was time to work on the final presentation - yes the "FINAL" presentation here at IE. By the time, I prepared first few slides, our group met in the evening to give it that final touch and finalize the flow and practice.

A long day, one last time at MM31, at IE Business School, for this MBA.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Last few hours for the finals - lets keep working :-)

Last few hours for the finals - lets keep working: that was the spirit seen in many workrooms of MM31 today, where many from my intake were busy trying to "Crack the case", write the executive summary and prepare for the presentation - just as I was :-)

Met many folks whom I hadn't seen in days, thanks to the final exam work that everyone is doing in MM31.

In less than 24 hours now, my final report for this MBA will get submitted and in less than 48 hours, my final exam will be done. Not to mention, I also took care of the fellowship related work, just to make sure that after Monday, I am not working on anything that is related to school curriculum or enrollment :-)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Of meetings, cooking and changing plans

Today started with an agenda : to have my house owner couple and a friend over to my place for lunch. Went to the supermarket, hot the grocery and just when I was to start cooking, got a message from house owner that she won't be able to make it, and will meet in the evening over a coffee instead.
There was still one guest invited so I continued thinking that left overs are never a problem when you are away from home. During lunch hour, it turned out that this friend of mine cannot make it either. 
I decided to enjoy the food for which I had invested entire morning anyways by myself and then soon it was time for that coffee with the owner couple.
To make the long story short, my final exam related executive summary is due in 2 days and the presentation itself is to take place in less than 3 days, and here I was spending all my day cooking and meeting people.
Not that I mind it, but a day spent entirely in a different way than what one would imagine, and by the time it was evening, I am already too tired. So ate the food, watched some programs online and sleeping early today - tomorrow I need to finish a lot of work, so I better start the day early :)