Gunner get my MBA

Friday, January 27, 2006

A lifeline?

whew.... today I received an interview invite from INSEAD. After the two earlier dings, at least this gave my self-belief a new lease of life. Even though it's a long way to go, and I know that nothing can be certain, this has shown me that I'm "there or thereabouts" in terms of qualifications to enter into MBA. It's also made me excited again to submit my other MBA applications.

Another recent development is I have just gotten a new Toshiba Satellite notebook computer. Compared to my old dinosaur Dell Inspiron (which used to crash daily just to piss me off), this is certainly much much better. I have a slightly bigger screen (15" v 14") but overall its the same size (but thinner). It's also lighter meaning less burden on my shoulders. The screen is super clear, it has DVD/R & also built in Wi-fi. Nothing too spectacular but for me it's like driving a Porsche compared to driving an old Nissan Cefiro. No offence intended to any Nissan owners but that's what I'm driving now and I can confidently say that it's no Porsche.

Finally.... Gong Xi, Gong Xi! for all those celebrating the Chinese New Year. May the year of the dog be a good year for all of us.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

the messiah

It was confirmed late last night (Malaysian time) that Arsenal has completed the signing of the most exciting football talent since Wayne Rooney first burst into the scene. On the surface, this boy seems to have the gifts to take Arsenal into the next level. I think by next season a strike force featuring Henry, Van Persie, Walcott, Adebayor (yet to see him play) and Lupoli (I consider Reyes a winger as he plays better out wide) will undoubtedly be the most exciting attacking force ever seen in the history of the Premiership. Granted that all the above (with exception of Henry) are still very very young, and it shudders me to think how good our team will be in 3 years time.

Now that we have the attack sorted out, we must focus on midfield (where our biggest problems lie this season). Reyes when on form is superb but his flashes of brilliance come too far apart to be convincing that he can take on the left wing position permanently. Pires & Ljungberg are nearing their used by dates and hence won't be around for much longer (a couple of years max). Hleb has shown some nice touches but so far the end product (i.e. killer pass or goal) has been sparse.

In center midfield Fabregas has shown the vision and composure to remind me of a young Pep Guardiola but he still seems a bit lightweight. Gilberto is also not young and his form this season is pretty poor (probably due to being in and out of the team through injury). Flamini also shows a lot of industry and seems to be running on Energizer batteries, but for all his hard work, I dont see him having the class to be more than a bit part player at Arsenal. That brings me down to Diaby (also dubbed the new Vieira). It was a breath of fresh air to hear that he snubbed Chelsea to come to Arsenal. Now perhaps, him and Cesc can form the future dream midfield partnership for Arsenal. He certainly seems to fit the Vieira mold, i.e. tall, lanky, hardworking, strong tackling, plus reports have said that this guy has the finishing skills which Paddy sometimes lacked.

Defence is ok for now with Sol having successfully guided the raw talent of Toure, and if the same can be done for Senderos, then the Center half position can be safe for the next 5 years or so. Left back sees Clichy backing up Cole very well (too bad for us they were both injured leaving us with the other French "C" defender). Right back Lauren is a hard worker who quietly goes about doing his job efficiently, and Eboue looks a capable successor. Don't forget we have Hoyte waiting on the wings and it looks like if we have all of them fit, then defence should be sorted. I have to admit that at times this season, our defence has been let down by the poor cover received from midfield. Lets hope that Diaby can add more badly needed steel to the side.

Finally, our problem position (since Seaman retired) seems to be Lehmann's in the short term. Though he is ok, to me he has a mental problem and I would like to see a younger goalkeeper be groomed to take over (sorry but Almunia, Taylor, Shaaban & Stack dont cut the mustard). Perhaps Cassilas can join us to complete my dream team for Arsenal heading to the impressive Emirates Stadium.

well.. we can dream, can't we?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Strike Two

18th of January has come and gone, and as expected, I received the DING from Harvard. I guess I saw that one coming, having not receiving an interview invite by December, and also after the Wharton result. Oh well, I guess I have to move on to other options. Right now, I'm still delaying the Columbia application as I haven't had the time to sit down to focus on the essays. Will do so perhaps during the Chinese New Year holidays. Also LBS is due in mid February so I'll have to get that application done soon too.

Actually, I'm sort of dragging my feet with these as things are moving so quickly at work. There is even a possibility of me postponing my MBA aspiration. (Perhaps a change in the blog name may become necessary). Right now, we(together with my management team) have successfully turned around our company, and after some old heads left, there were doubts whether management could continue getting jobs in the future. In fact the last couple of months were particularly stressful as we went up against a new competitor (made up of many ex-employees). I am proud to say that despite everything, we managed to win a major project, and my frequent trips to Singapore these past months(and riding on the crowded MRT) was worth the effort. Actually, some of our key people even resigned late last year as they believed the "stories" about our company not getting any more work, but we somehow managed to convince them to stay. It gave me the greatest satisfaction to see their relieved faces when we learnt that our competitor (who had been recruiting aggressively from our technicians base) began firing the technicians they hired only 2 months back, after receiving news yesterday that they lost the job.

Anyway, enough about work and back to my future plans, the INSEAD option looks promising as I can be finished with school within a year. Also LBS's option of 15 months appeals to me too. Perhaps I'm jumping the gun here, but I wonder if INSEAD will consider deferring me to January intake (if by chance I'm accepted). Those who have experience in this "deferral business" please give my your feedback ok.

Finally, I can happily say that things are starting to look up in 2006. Firstly the news about the contract we won means it's the first major contract won where I was the main driver involved in bidding from the start to the finish. Secondly, Arsenal are back to our best thrashing a woeful Middlesborough team 7-0, Thierry Henry has stated that he will stay at Arsenal, and we have bought 2 exciting young players (one of whom is dubbed the new Vieira).

And that's not counting the news on Theo Walcott signing (which is expected to be completed today), which sees the most expensive and exciting 16 year old come to Arsenal (and snub Cheslki), and provides us with someone who can perhaps take over the baton from Henry when he eventually retires.

2006.... you gotta love it!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Delhi belly

Just returned from a nice holiday in India and overall we had a fairly good time. As the title suggests - I fell ill to the famous delhi belly which reputedly strikes 30% to 70% of travellers to India (according to Lonely Planet - i still don't get the wide range as 30% is very different from 70%).

On the other hand, the first half of the trip was in Gujarat, so we mainly had vegetarian food. Being vegetarian for 4 days was kinda cool, though it did leave me craving for a nice juicy steak towards the end of the trip. I wasn't able to enjoy much of the nice Moghul food in Delhi and Agra as my stomach never completely recovered.

New Year's eve was spent in Agra and it was very nice to see the Taj Mahal. I have to admit it was one of the most impressive sights I have ever seen, and the "wow factor" was certainly up there alongside the Colosseum & the Angkor Wat temple. The weather ranged from mild in Surat (Gujarat) to cold in Delhi, and other than the heavy fog, I had no complaints.

I also realized one thing during the trip, which was that India was a shopper's paradise for women, but for men, it was a bit boring. I only bought a (nice) cashmere sweater out of necessity to keep myself warm. My missus on the other hand .... let me just say that i'm glad she was quite good at bargaining/haggling prices with vendors.

Wanted to post some pictures online, but haven't gotten around to doing so yet. maybe over the weekend.

till then... adios!