My life in a blog

IMBA Chinese Track student at The University of South Carolina, Moore Business School, I'm currently living in Columbia, SC and traveling all over the place

Check out my other blog: My life in pictures or better check out my Flickr account

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hard decision: study vs play vs sleep?!?!?!

Managing time at its highest... Let's take an example(any resemblances to reality are pure imagination). Say its a Monday, evening to be more precise, you spent some 5 hours from 1pm to 6pm at work talking and doing some research, spend the whole morning in class feeling a little sick with a cold. You get home, feel very tired because of a long weekend where you didn't do a whole lot of studying, feel like taking a nap and actually go for it and take it.
You wake up, around 8pm, eat something, then realize that there is so much to read for tomorrow that you don't know where to start from. Should you do the readings in Leadership where every day you have a quiz and class participation? Should you read for Operations Management where it seems to be a hard class? Should you prepare for Marketing to keep up with the professor? Hm... Tough decision. Say you start reading Leadership and then, half way through the reading, someone comes and tells you that the schedule has changed and there is no Leadership for tomorrow. Even more, there is a lot to read for Global Economics instead.
OMG!!! It's already 9pm, you have so many things in your head, what to do first???

Operations Management seems to be ranked number 1 as priority so you start this but realize 1 hour and a half later that it requires more time than you've thought. So what do you do?
Then you find out there are more important things to think about and your head start spinning again. What do you do?

This moral dilemma has a simple answer: always when in doubt whether you should study or not... GO PLAY THEN GO TO BED!

But as I said, it's a hypothetical example, this can never happen in reality... so go ahead and study, study, study.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

First IMBA soccer practice

Posted by Picasa From left to right Top:Alex, Adrian, Jeff, Joe, Zack; Bottom: Josh, Sarit, Anand, Hernan
Missing from the picture, but played, are: Angus, Josh, Andy and Kirch
Saturday August 27, 2006... a day that will make history! The first IMBA soccer practice for the Class of 2008-09. We met at the Hand Middle School field around 5:30 pm on a hot, sunny afternoon. There were a lot of people who showed up.
Given this was our first meeting and most of us are still out of shape, playing was not an easy deal, but we all had fun and we got back home happy that we all met.

This is a picture we took in the end, after some of the people went home. (Thanks to the nice lady with the dog who took this picture)
Also next time, we will be waiting for more people to join our team for another afternoon of fun!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

STEAUA: We are the CHAMPIONS!!!! (We're back in high life)

I feel soooo bad that I haven't updated my blog in a week now. There has been so many things that went on: FA final exam, grades reported back, parties (I will come back to this) and finally today one of the most amazing days in my recent history.

Why? Steaua, my favorite football club team, has qualified for the Champions League group stage. Why this might not mean anything to you, I will try to analyze the situation and explain it.

1) Steaua Bucuresti is a football club team founded in 1947. It's the most succesfull and popular football team from Romania and the first in Eastern Europe, to win the European Champions Cup in 1986, having also won the European Supercup in the 1987.

2) The UEFA Champions League (known colloquially as the European Champions Cup, changed in 1993) is an annual club football competition organisms by the UEFA for the most successful football clubs in Europe. It is one of the most prestigious club trophies in the sport. It has a global audience of more than 4 billion viewers in 227 countries.

The competition is basically opened to all the football clubs in Europe, which, at first they have to win their internal national league and then play some qualification rounds in order to get there. It's a long road especially if you come from a country which doesn't have the capabilities to invest tens of millions of dollars in this sport. Plus, the format of the competition is such that if you do bad this year, next year will be harder to get in and the situation is getting more complicated as years go by.

3) Steaua is the only Romanian team who has ever made it to the Champions League groups but that was 10 years ago. Since then, no other Romanian team made this performance. It was harder and harder for a Romania team to make it, but as of yesterday Steaua (by winning over Belgium's Standard Liege) has qualified again for the competition making history. I can't tell you in words what this really means: football is like a religion (you ditch your family, money, life, everything just to be there and cheer and live, people go nuts, go crazy on the street and would do anything just to see their idols). This qualification will bring huge advantages: more $$ for our team and country, more tourism, more sales is media and advertising, huge foreign coverage. The benefits can't really be quantified. Share the joy and happiness I felt yesterday by watching these moments after the game:

Being in the business school, I see myself in need to talk about this part of the whole picture. Champions League is all about money, power and fame. UEFA Champions League is a highly profitable competition for the clubs that reach the group stage; it distributes part of the revenue obtained from television deals between these clubs. For example, the payments for the 2004/05 competition ranged from €3.8m (Sparta Prague - who didn't win a point) to €30.6 million (Liverpool who won the competition). UEFA estimates the amount of money to be given to the 32 participants of the 2005/06 group stage at €430 million. Clubs make additional money from ticket sales, corporate hospitality, merchandising, advertising and so on. For a team like Real Madrid or Manchester United who make millions of $ just from selling t-shirts, being in the Champions Leagues is a must in order to financially survive. For these clubs, the UEFA money is pocket change but for small clubs like Steaua, which has an estimated yearly budget of 8 million $, getting a pie of 4 million euros is huge.
Here is some data I found on the impact of a game played to the stock market:
The following table relates stock price variations the day of the champions league game followed by the result of the game after the markets have closed.

Date Variation Game Result

15-Sep-04 + 0.59% Olympique Lyonnais 2-2 away
19-Oct-04 +0.40% Sparta Prague 0-0 away
3-Nov-04 +0.84% Sparta Prague 4-1 home
23-Nov-04 +1.42% Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 home
8-Dec-04 + 0.91% Fenerbahce 0-3 away
23-Feb-05 -4.08% AC Milan 0-1 home
8-Mar-05 -1.40% AC Milan 0-1 away

This is just a day to day result. The conclusion is that a good run in the Champions League can help teams stay financially sound while early exits can spell trouble. Furthermore, unlike national leagues, the consequences of a bad result are immediate. If you lose a game and then draw one at the beginning of the season, it can be overcome, whereas a misstep in the Champions League can be fatal near term. What a business model...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First take-away quiz ever

In my entire college, high-school and middle school history I have never come across a take-away (to home) quiz. I hope I did a good job, because there was plenty of time to spend on it and I really want to gain some points that I lost on the other class quizzes.

It was an interesting experience for me, considering that all our quizzes in Romania are highly monitored by teachers and assistants so we can't cheat. What a difference!!!
Let me tell you about cheating a little. Below is just one of the new methods to cheat on quizzes and tests. In Romania, during college, we tried them all: cell phones, palm pilots, invisible ink, Bluetooth transmissions, audio emitters anything you can think of (I studied engineering, can you tell?).
Now, going back to business and thinking bizniz, this can be a very good business idea but it doesn't conform to the social and moral ethics; it might also be illegal. (darn!)

"How much did you get on question 1? Reply: I didn't do it yet!!! How did you do number 3?"

Speaking of cheating, check this out: Cheating Tables (they help you find innovative way to cheat your tests, friends, business partners, life and society). What a nice invention! How much do they cost?

It was a joke. :)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Quote of the Week

"I think everyone I know is very horny right now, to be totally honest :)"
this anonymous awesome girl I know


Sunday, August 13, 2006

How was your weekend???

These weekends... they should be recharging you with energy to make you get prepared for the upcoming week. I don't know about you, but most of my weekends wear me out of energy; I really like going out and partying until early hours of next morning, but I just have to find the right mood.
Anyways, the weekends wear me off completely and not to mention that I also have to do some homework or work on some other projects as well. This is not a relaxing weekend, no battery recharge... it's battery discharge, sleepless nights and some drinks.

This is my dream (angel) theoretical weekend:
1) Get off from school Friday; eat something and sleep for 2 hours
2) Wake up and do homework for next week until 8pm
3) 8:30pm gym or some other outdoor activity
4) 11:30 pm dreaming
5) Saturday morning - early studying 2 weekes ahead from 9:12 am to 9 pm (with a lunch break)
6) Go out hand have 2 drinks then come back by 11:34pm and dream about some girls
7) Sunday - wake up at 8am and work 3 or 4 weeks ahead

Wanna study??

This is my real weekend:
1) Go to Greenville on Friday; have fun; eat junk food; stay up late
2) Wake up late in the morning (11 am); eat more junk food; go shopping at the mall
3) Come home late, Walmart shopping, sleep
4) Sunday late wake up, some accounting stuff, some time i forget what i did and then sleep.

Wanna party?

Greenville pictures will be posted here:

So... coming back to the original question: How was YOUR weekend ?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


There was nothing really important about today's classes: we got back the results from the GL AIDS case and then had a discussion about Monsanto's "terminator" seeds; DA didn't bring too much happiness in our lives either, so time went by slower than in other days.

This being, said, today's post will move towards something more interesting and probably more important for our lives. It will be about TED!! Who is TED? Today I came across this video, which I had seen before, but I wanted to find out what this is all about. I will explain this to you.

If you wonder how it would be possible to live forever in heaven without being bored and thought that being able to speak with smart people and see cool things would be entertaining, I can tell you that TED is as close at it can gets to this dream. It's a place where one can speak with the most amazingly smartest people on the planet. This conference is the very pure essence of technology and design as you will see from a promotional video from the conference in 2006.

TED is a 4 day event in Monterey, CA which brings together just the freshest ideas from not only in the T, E and D but also in in Business, Science or Arts or any other subject that has something to show off. The best professors, the best speakers, the best ideas in every field that requires imagination... eveything is there in one place, one a year; THIS IS AMAZING!

The bad part is that in order to participate, you will need an invitation which might not be as hard to obtain but you will have to pay $4,400 to attend a conference. People say it is worth all the money in the world! WOW Hey if you just thought that you might want to attend the 2007 conference, please notice that it's already sold out :)
I am not going to tell you more about TED, please visit the website and you will not regret it. If you are a blog person, you can also check (the TED blog).

This is a little movie I posted today so you can get an understanding of what is going on over there. While this is very interesting, it is only one of the few things that happen in there. Check it out:

This technology basically tries to revolutionize the way we use devices and I think it will definitely change our way of living in the future. Amazing isn't it?

And, by the way, if you like this video check out this web site: It presents some of the guy's research innovations.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Micro and small business

Here we are again. New week, new thoughts!
We have just started a new class today, called GENT (Global entrepreneurship). Let me tell you from the start, that it sounds like a super interesting class.
Definition: An entrepreneur (a loanword from French) is a person who undertakes and operates a new enterprise or venture, and assumes some accountability for the inherent risks. (wiki)
Cool stuff:
1) We got to chose drinks at the beginning of the class (Some strange gingseng tea, water, Starbucks mocha, gatorade)

2) He gave us an awesome presentation on the world trend: micro and small businesses are getting their voice hearted more and more these days. The innovation comes from this area now.

3) We have to come up with a business idea in our 3 or 4 people groups; not only that, but during the last class, we will present our business idea to all of our class mates; they will be the one who will rank the business projects and the winners will actually get to have money back

1st place $500

2nd place $250
3rd place $125
4th place $75
5th place $50
... this says it all for class competition

4) We'll get to meet with one of the most prolific entrepreneurs that graduated from the IMBA program: Impressive product that sells now for some tens of thousands of $ and is a global business (actually, as global as it gets).

In the meantime, we have to think of a business proposal idea, so if you read this blog please support me by commenting on a innovative business idea that you think it can work. I would really appreciate it!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

DA Midterm and Mondavi again

We had DA test today... big thing, the midterm. Yesterday, everyone was studying so hard to try to do their best for the exam. We just had the longest exam in our short history at Moore: a little over 2 hours. Our professor, Dr. Philipoom (no picture) gave us an easier mid-term simulation than the actual thing this morning. Anyways, we are already half-way through the "hell week" and guess what, we are surviving, we are good.

Speaking of hell, we are done with Mondavi !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This news deserves a fully line and some page breaks!

Good job team!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Haier America

Yesterday, we had a guest speaker for our GSM class. Here is his picture (I didn't take it, but that's him). Mr. David Parks, Senior VP of Haier America, was debating with us a case that was talking actually of his company, Haier.

He is a very good speaker and was able to give us the story of how Haier America came to exist. We found out that Haier in South Carolina has a bandwidth of manufacturing that is three time greater than any other supplier in the US and how challenging is to work for a Chinese company in an international environment or how fun is to sign a contract with NBA and get free tickets to the all star game :). Haier's core competency are: the flexibility to adapt to the consumer's needs and the design of high quality products. Haier's overseas strategy was different than the one all other Chinese companies had: instead of going with cheap, low quality products and local staff and board targeting easy to penetrate world markets, Haier hired all local managers and started by promoting its products in one of the most important markets in the world, USA.
The class finished with a 30 minutes of Q&A.

What a way to debate a case, having the case subject in the class and talking to it!!! I wish all classes were like this!