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  • The Green Knight: 2008/12 - 2009/01
    happened but my feeling is that this series is one that I will re read over and over again Now I can t wait for the remaining movies to come out So here I am with lots of transition in my life but the family and friends I love are constant They are the rocks that anchor me and the stars by which I set my course Thank you all Pictures from the graduation ball and my first days at Poken can be found in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 03 1 comment Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels graduation imd Poken 2008 12 08 And I m Off No time to rest no time to reflect today was my first day on the job It was hectic unstructured and wonderfully exciting everything life at a startup should be I ve been through all of this before yet I feel somehow displaced The same stuff is happening that used to happen at R7 or at Antmachine but I feel like I am viewing it all through several lenses marketing strategy HR and of course group dynamics As events unfold in front of me neurons are firing relating them back to theories models and my own practical experience This isn t to say that I have all the answers just that I have a more structured yet intuitive approach to processing this professional sensory data than I used to Thanks IMD As I sat at lunch struggling to keep up with the Swiss French being spoken by our CEO and a potential business partner I woefully remenisced about the good times at R7 We played a game in which we were awarded points for sneaking in undetected The Big Lebowski references during client meetings Just as I had this thought and resigned myself to the fact that people here probably didn t get The Big Lebowski Hotel California by The Gypsy Kings began over the restaurant s speakers While many of my readers may have no idea what in God s holy name I am blathering about those who know and love TBL will appreciate it Eight year olds Dude Posted by Bryan Hassin at 14 38 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Poken The Big Lebowski 2008 12 07 New Job I have accepted a position as Product Manager for Poken The company is based here in Lausanne and has created a small key chain like hardware product that connects people on online social networks facebook linkedin etc after they have connected touched their hardware devices together in real life The goal is to bring a physical real world interface to online social networking The current marketing strategy is aimed at teens with the prospect of moving to professionals replacing the business card soon The company has three ways to make money 1 Sell the devices at a margin directly to the users 2 Let major companies purchase the devices and give them away to users as branded toys and 3 Online advertising at the website that users use to manage their connections The company has 2M of funding and is launching the product in stores in Switzerland right now I will be the Product Manager collecting information from the target audience creating a coherent product development roadmap and managing the software and hardware development teams to implement it at first evolving in 6 months to either a COO role or a general manager of North America as the product expands to markets outside of Europe As many of you know I agonized over this decision because as with most decisions there are both pros and cons The good International the position is based in Lausanne will require travel around the world and involves managing global operations manufacturing in China software developers in Switzerland and Romania sales and marketing throughout Europe initially and soon elsewhere Hardware this will be a chance for me to broaden my software only experience to include hardware as well Growth The company has a lot of momentum Evidence Poken made the front page of digg com this morning and I will have the opportunity to participate in its growth Challenge Developing an innovation development process and prioritization methodology that is responsive enough to market feedback that will come very quickly once the product is being used by thousands or millions of people is an exciting order The bad Social Value I came to IMD to prepare myself better to help change the world I m not sure this company really satisfies that criterion Risk Companies at this stage statistically usually fail and I would be accepting below market value compensation along with that risk after a year of paying tuition and not earning a salary Distance This would keep me thousands of miles away from friends and family in the US I would own all of the US business partner relationships which should create many opportunities for travel but I would still be based far away After much soul searching I decided that this was an opportunity I just couldn t pass up I should have a chance to practice a lot of what I have learned at IMD and gain experience in ways that will prepare me to contribute even more to addressing the global energy challenge Will Poken make me feel like I am somehow making the world a better place for the needy kids I held in Kenya No not directly But will I continue to keep them in mind as I work and network and keep my ear to the ground for opportunities that will Absolutely Thankyou to EVERYone who has supported me throughout my career search It isn t over it will be an ongoing process of course but you have all helped me through a significant career milestone I won t let you down and I ll prove

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  • The Green Knight: 2008/11 - 2008/12
    to Pinterest Labels Beethoven classical music electives Global Strategy imd Leonidas Kavakos LPO Managing Change Maury Peiperl 2008 11 10 Back in Lausanne My few days in NoVA were absolutely wonderful The leaves were vibrant hues of red orange and yellow and the weather was a sunny 60 degrees F In addition to interviewing with a great company I took some time to eat the types of food we don t really have in Switzerland BBQ and lots of things with jalapenos Best of all though I spent some time with friends and loved ones which was an excellent shot in the arm before this last home stretch Pictures of my time in the DC area are in my facebook album Today marked the start of electives My lineup was Global Strategy in the morning and Managing Change in the afternoon It was interesting to be back in class again in groups of 20 40 instead of 4 5 It felt familiar almost nostalgic as we moved from reporting to executives to participating in case discussion Today I also received the worst grade I have received on any assignment all year on a paper I wrote for our Leadership stream a few weeks ago In fact it may be enough to knock me out of contention for a Distinction in Leadership at graduation Although my first reaction to it was defensive I have now poured carefully over the feedback and I recognize that my grader has made some excellent suggestions Here nearly at the end of a very intense year I have learned a great deal but I still have so much more to learn I will always have more to learn Recognizing that doing my best and still seeking to learn and improve future performance will always be part of my professional life and my experience here at IMD has helped me practice it Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 04 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels electives Global Strategy imd leadership Managing Change 2008 11 06 Positive Energy Yesterday I spent all day interviewing with Positive Energy a startup software company that helps residential energy users consume less electricity natural gas and other forms of energy It s one of the few opportunities I ve found that would really marry my passions for addressing the global energy challenge and innovating game changing software Before the interviews even started I had a good omen The major tenant of the building where PE is located is Sparta Inc where my father spent much of his professional career designing LASER based optical guidance systems I haven t thought about Sparta in a long time and seeing its familiar logo slightly adapted from when he worked there in the 80s warmed my heart The interviews themselves went well I had discussions with the CEO VP of Product to whom I would report program process manager product managers for different products and lead software engineer The software engineer had his chocolate lab with him and he joined us for the interview which I considered to be another great omen Furthermore PE s offices are within walking distance of the original Red Hot Blue one of my favorite BBQ joints of all time even though now it s been overcommercialized and franchised around the country The VP of Product took me out to lunch there which further fostered the good feeling I have about this company The questions that came my way were very diverse experiential design thought exercises brain teasers and other funky out there conversation catalysts My impression after a very full day is that A the company is really trying to hit it out of the park and significantly affect energy demand B the team is smart high end and C it seems like a good fit where my participation could create value for both the company and for myself Hopefully they will see things the same way Even if they don t however I m glad to know that such companies exist As I ve blogged before I think the solution to the global energy challenge has to be one that also makes good business sense otherwise it just won t be sustainable And speaking of the global energy challenge Gore et al have already offered up a public challenge to the Obama administration US carbon neutrality in 10 years I love it Nearly impossible worthwhile challenges have always inspired me and I view the energy challenge as very synonymous with the space race of the 60s Why reduce energy consumption streamline transmission and produce energy from renewable sources Why does Rice play Texas We choose to achieve a carbon neutral energy infrastructure within a decade and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard The stakes are higher in this challenge and I am committed to doing what I can to help ensure victory Posted by Bryan Hassin at 11 43 1 comment Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels alternative energy career services Positive Energy Obama Washington DC is on fire This town is ablaze with excitement after Obama s victory last night I was too jet lagged to stay awake for all the returns but he was ahead when I nodded off Mom woke me up just after midnight for his victory speech which was inspiring I like John McCain although I liked him a lot more before he changed positions for this election and I respect the hell out of his endurance as a POW Palin kind of freaked me out though and I really think Obama sends the best signal worldwide about a change in stance for the US I m happy for the Obama victory and I hope he can live up ot the great expectations we all have for him I also hope that he will deliver on campaign promises about energy

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  • The Green Knight: 2008/10 - 2008/11
    definitely IMD level and it serves three meals a day I don t have to tell you how much I would take advantage of that benefit I had five interviews during the day four with product managers and one with a software engineer They were all very different some focusing on product design some on software technology challenges some on strategy and management and some on analytical brain teasers Most of my interviewers were from different countries they all seemed very sharp and best of all I never really felt like I was being interviewed Instead we had very engaging discussions about interesting and challenging problems There was no right answer to any of the questions I was asked all day just mutually participatory discussions many of which left me feeling really excited It really felt like the discussions Alex or others and I would frequently have about the future of products technologies and consumer behaviors Sometimes those discussions would be about near term ideas and sometimes they were a little more science fiction y Google seems like one of the few organizations with so much talent resources users that it can take real steps toward making the sci fi ideas reality At the end of the interviews I was informed that I had accessed the secret bonus round and would have two more interviews with Product Management Directors Although I characterized Italians as lazy to one of them who turned out to be Italian himself despite having a very German sounding name I thoroughly enjoyed those discussions as well I stumbled a few times throughout the day For example some of my interviewers challenged me about my stated objective of helping to change the world of energy and how on earth working at Google would accomplish that My responses weren t terribly eloquent or convincing there shame on me for not preparing better Still after seven interviews I finished the day at 7 PM feeling very positive These really felt like my kind of people In my experience there s a certain kind of magic that comes from a great team Someone starts a discussion with an idea others critique it react to it and add their own ideas The level of frenetic excitement rises until everyone decides that the idea has to be pursued and then they all get down to business This was the type of entropy I felt in my discussions all day which was a very positive sign In many ways yesterday was like my IMD interview day I came in not really knowing what to expect The day was set up to simulate some of the daily challenges encountered by the position for which I was interviewing I had great enlightening discussions with a bunch of really smart diverse people I left still thinking about the discussions and generating new ideas that I wished I had brought up during the interviews but feeling energized able to visualize myself contributing to and benefiting from such an environment and hoping they felt the same way Oh right and I had an awesome lunch So we shall see After the interviews I met up with a friend of mine in Zurich for dinner overlooking the city at night beautiful and drinks at a cigar bar by the train station Zurich seems like a really nice town that has the amenities that come with a major urban area very international airport and accomplished arts for example without many of the drawbacks high crime for example It s certainly not a cheap place to live but it also has one of the highest quality of life rankings in the world Again we shall see Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 06 50 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels career services google software 2008 10 24 Buffett and Google My train for Zurich departs in 1 5 hours and I m as ready as I ll ever be for a full day of interviews at Google Guess who just performed at Google HQ yesterday If that s not an omen I don t know what is Posted by Bryan Hassin at 00 46 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels google Jimmy Buffett 2008 10 23 Solar powered Clothing Tuesday marked the end of Phase III of our ICP The presentation went well and it felt great to move on to our fourth and final phase Before that begins next week however we had the rest of this week off for recruiting activities I didn t waste any time and less than one hour after our presentation I was at the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL At the invitation of Carole Grätzel Rice PhD in Physical Chemistry and her husband Michael I toured the lab and learned all about Dye Sensitized Solar Cells DSC It is absolutely amazing what they are doing I watched in awe as they showed elementary school children how to power a fan by shining a lamp onto layers of raspberry puree and pencil shavings This simple process is at the heart of DSC and its implications are tremendous 1 It doesn t use silicon so is impervious to price fluctuations and raw material shortages due to the semiconductor industry 2 The photovoltaic medium is essentially an ink that can be printed on many different materials This means that no longer are solar cells relegated to big ugly heavy panels Instead they can be integrated into the windows of your house transparently the body of your car or the fabric of your clothing 3 The fabrication process is cheap and can leverage the skill scale of major printers 4 The cells perform well in diffuse light so you don t need huge arrays in areas with massive illumination they work in the rest of the world Can you imagine the possibilities Mobile wireless power wherever you go Self powered houses office buildings and vehicles Cars sitting in parking lots all day becoming net energy suppliers That s all still out there a bit but it s not as far off as you might think One of the companies that licences the lab s patents is G24 Innovations and they are already proving the concept Very exciting This is the type of game changing technology I want to be part of Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 13 41 1 comment Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels alternative energy EPFL ICP Rice 2008 10 21 GE O G I feel good about the GE O G interviews yesterday The people I met with were smart motivated and were working on intersting impactful challenges The company clearly has the potential for major impact on the world s energy supply and carbon footprint Furthermore it is part of a corporation that also is doing more and more work in wind water and solar as Alex commented on my last post The real question here will be fit How does an entrepreneurial software executive work within the context of a huge bureaucratic heavy industry company How does he A create value and B not go insane The answer is non obvious but after yesterday s discussions I am optimistic The best matches for my skills and experience seem to be in product management managing the interface between engineering marketing and strategy to make sure the company is building products that serve customer needs and support the company s direction strategic marketing helping a company that is used to clients coming to it to place orders modernize and be more proactive about market segmentation and accordingly segmented sales processes sales operations management working with the globally distributed sales force to create processes and systems to support them for greater communication and efficiency We shall see they should be in touch within a week or so with feedback If nothing else I finished Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets on the trip so on to The Prisoner of Azkaban Posted by Bryan Hassin at 05 35 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels alternative energy career services GE Energy Harry Potter 2008 10 19 Bella Firenze I m checked in at my hotel in Florence If this if four stars as advertised at hotels com then my middle name isn t Guido Oh well no worries it s a fine place to hang my hat and lay my head for a night It s not far from the airport or from GE O G HQ far northwest of il centro Needless to say this isn t exactly the Florence I remember from when I lived here as a student It looks like there should be time after my interviews tomorrow however for a quick trip into town before my late evening flight back to Geneva Gelato Bistecca alla Fiorentina Chianti All of the above Only time will tell I m off to dream golden dreams of how I will help GE change the world of energy then hopefully convey said dreams to them tomorrow Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 12 2 comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Florence GE Energy Italy 2008 10 18 Running in Cold Weather I just went for a run along the lake and for the first time since the early spring it was cold enough to necessitate that I wear my long sleeve UnderArmour Cold Gear The cold air felt good in my lungs and the crunching sound of fallen leaves beneath my feet was so loud that I had to turn up the volume of my MP3 player Although I m definitely a warm weather person running in the cold always reminds me of late season football practice in Virginia and brings back some great nostalgia Posted by Bryan Hassin at 05 19 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels cold weather running The Career Search Progresses It was another productive week for my career search My plans with GE Energy were solidified and I will fly to Florence tomorrow evening for interviews on Monday I m not really sure which position s they have in mind I think it s more of a let s get to know you and then if we like you we ll see where we have a good fit for your skills experience and interests My network has been helpful with GE Energy a Rice alum in their Houston office helped me understand their product solution offering one of my interviewers is an IMD alum and two of my current classmates have worked at GE and helped me prepare for questions I am likely to receive I had my third if you include my first fit interview with a recruiter phone interview with Google this week and it went well This one was less about my experience and more about how I think I had to design another product and work through a few brain teasers On Thursday I received the news that I had passed and an invitation to interview onsite at their Zurich office According to one of my contacts in Google whom I know through the Rice alumni network the economic slowdown has raised the hiring bar and making it to the onsite interview is even harder than it used to be so I am particularly honored to have made it this far The interview should be next week The founder CEO of Poken IMD alum and I met again and I remain very enthusiastic about the company They have big world changing ideas cool opportunities for a product manager COO and a fun corporate culture The CEO is becoming overstretched between product management business development investor relations etc and is looking for someone to share the load Given that my background is in managing innovative teams of software engineers and working with the marketing and strategy interfaces to ensure that the product vision is headed in the right direction the role would be a great fit I also had a first interview yesterday with Positive Energy a Washington DC based startup that builds software to help residential power customers consume less energy They just closed a major funding round already have some customers and have a smart team in place The VP of Product has a marketing background and is looking for someone to manage the more technical side of their software product Even though the company is only 20 people strong right now they have a couple of TJ alumni on board so once again this really drives home the importance of the network This last opportunity came may way through CleanTechies a cool new site for techies looking to help the environment I m doing some side blogging there about how technology can be used to help address the global energy challenge So things are moving along with a few very appealing opportunities and I m continuing to add more to the pipeline I m long overdue for a Board update so will write one soon and post it here Posted by Bryan Hassin at 02 52 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels career services CleanTechies GE Energy google imd Poken Positive Energy Rice 2008 10 17 Reading Throughout this year at IMD I ve done something that I used to love to do but haven t done in a long time read books I used to be quite the bookworm but somewhere along the way I guess I decided that I just didn t have time for reading During this year of intense study however I ve turned back to reading as a great portable convenient way to balance out my life There hasn t been too much time for reading this year Sleep usually wins out in the prioritization battle but I ve managed to finish a few books outside of the many books articles and cases required for classes and projects Harry Potter e La Pietra Filosofale the first Harry Potter book in Italian The His Dark Materials trilogy The Golden Compass The Subtle Knife The Amber Spyglass an epic fantasy sci fi series inspired by the work of John Milton Three Cups of Tea the tale of one man s quest to change the world by building schools in rural Pakistan In the interest of full disclosure I listen to some of the books in audio form so that I can multitask during my cardio but I don t think that s cheating it s just being efficient Next up on my list The rest of the Harry Potter books in anticipation of the movie release November The Catcher in the Rye which somehow I ve made it almost 30 years without reading Tolkien s major works in chronological order The Silmarillion The Hobbit The Lord of the Rings Myriad business related books and articles I ve accumulated over the year but haven t yet had the chance to read Any other recommendations Posted by Bryan Hassin at 15 58 1 comment Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd reading 2008 10 12 Happy Rice Day Happy Rice Day to all To commemorate the occasion I had dinner last night with 12 Rice alumni friends in the area We sat around fondue pots in the private room of a local restaurant exchanging stories for hours As in Kenya everyone was amazed at how many Rice connections there were in the area and as in Kenya some of the people discovered they lived less than a mile apart I had a productive weekend working on our ICP my career search and catching up on reading The weather was gorgeous so I even got some beach volleyball in It wasn t exactly warm but it felt great to be out in the sun and the sand Posted by Bryan Hassin at 09 34 1 comment Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Rice volleyball 2008 10 09 Some Good News Monday I interviewed with Google for their Product Manager position It sounds really cool basically an internal entrepreneur general manager with all the capital and smart people you could want to help make great ideas a reality The people I know who are or have been Google PMs are really smart so I m honored even to be considered My performance in the interview was OK I suggested some product innovations Google might consider and was quickly shown that Google had already invented or acquired many of them Oops someone needs to do his homework better next time I thought the open ended question though in which I was asked to design a product went well In fact if Google doesn t hire me I may consider starting up a company to develop that product By the end of the interview I felt energized and excited which is a great sign for me I felt the same way after the IMD interview and I think it is indicative of a good fit I don t know if my interviewer was as energized by my ideas as I was but he was at least satisfied enough to move me on to the next round which will be another similar interview with another Google PM This was just a first interview in a process renowned for many interviews up to 16 but it still felt great to receive the thumbs up today from the recruiter It s not the only good news I received this week either Yesterday I was asked to come to Florence for a second interview with

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  • The Green Knight: 2008/09 - 2008/10
    that it is the job of these recruiters to assess fit not just worthiness and hence it is better to know that the fit isn t there earlier in the process rather than later it is still hard not to feel rejected I had many peers with whom to commiserate as each company took just a few applicants to the next level This year has taught me a great deal about failure My prior attitude was one of avoiding failure at all costs I was obsessed with winning each and every battle I undertook perhaps to the point of avoiding some battles that offered low likelihood of success But there is much to learn from failure and these cases are no exception Both Shell and BT have offered to share feedback from the interviews with us next week This will help me understand why there wasn t a fit so I can focus my career search better Furthermore I look forward to learning the strong and weak points of how I came across so I can build them into subsequent interviews with companies for which there is a better fit Speaking of which I also talked with three product managers at Google this week and that position sounds like an excellent fit with both my skills and experience The recruiting process is daunting with up to 16 interview and some of them very technical but then so is the process for attaining most positions worth having Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 39 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels career services failure 2008 09 17 Blues BBQ Football and Cool Weather I have fond memories of this time of year in Virginia As the weather would cool and it would feel more like autumn I would be consumed by the excitement of heading back to school and the football season The weekend ritual was wonderful Friday night high school football under the friday night lights Saturday morning drag myself out of bed tend wounds from the previous night and watch game films with the rest of the team at school Saturday afternoon chores and homework Saturday night date or night out with the guys Sunday excursion to the orginal Red Hot Blue BBQ in Roslyn with Mom and Nick listening to great blues in the car Those were great times And although I m missing out on the football and BBQ here in Lausanne the weather is definitely cool and I have Buddy Guy playing in the background as I work on my career search Life is good Yesterday was my interview with Shell although it was less of an interview and more of an assessment They re less gung ho about renewables than I would have hoped but I think there may still be a fit I ll find out this evening whether or not I ve been invited to the second round which will be a much more intense group assessment Today I m talking with Google practicing for Thursday s case interview with British Telecom and discussing opportunities in Italy with IMD s corporate development staff And probably playing some ping pong too Posted by Bryan Hassin at 02 51 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels alternative energy career services imd 2008 09 15 Interviews Day 1 of interviews is over and it went pretty well Before I left my apartment in the morning I was listening to Bob Dylan s discography The superb quality of his decades of poetry is the subject of another entire post but this morning I just had him on for background music When it came to All Along the Watchtower I was inspired to swap out Dylan for the Jimi Hendrix rendition Oh yeah that was just what I needed to start the morning off right It took me back to middle school days working out with my brother Nick when we had just discovered a different kind of poetry the electric kind that came out of Jimi s guitar It put an extra spring in my step as did the crisp clear autumn weather en route to campus My scheduled interview with the MTS group an Italian heating system manufacturer that is going green went well and there could be a fit there I met GE Energy at the career fair and they were interested enough in my profile to schedule an ad hoc interview It went well and we identified some positions where there could be a fit It was not all sunshine and rainbows however After talking with the Amazon rep it seems that the position I had identified there was not a great match for me They clearly thought likewise as they declined to interview me encouraging me to email a CV and cover letter Perhaps that s what they told everyone who wasn t a German speaker looking for supply chain positions for which they definitely were interviewing but I m less enthused about the opportunity with them regardless Tomorrow I interview with Shell hoping to learn about their commitment to sustainability and demonstrate to them my capacity achievement and relationships Then it is time to focus on off campus recruiting for a couple of days before my interview with British Telecom Bring it on Posted by Bryan Hassin at 15 41 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels alternative energy Bob Dylan career services imd Jimi Hendrix 2008 09 14 Fall Has Arrived It s 50 degrees F it s raining and leaves are strewn along the ground Fall has definitively arrived and I think my days of beach volleyball here in Lausanne are numbered Good thing I have a trip to Houston where the beach volleyball season extends from March to December coming up in a week Speaking of Houston it seems that all of my friends there

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  • The Green Knight: 2008/08 - 2008/09
    golds count 3 silvers 2 and bronzes 1 With all of China s golds it has led this scoring system throughout the games At last however the US is catching up With 29 golds 34 silvers and 32 bronzes it has 187 points China with 46 golds 15 silvers and 22 bronzes still leads with 190 points We ll see what the next three days hold in store for the final tally This morning the US demonstrated its beach dominance with a gold in men s beach volleyball to accompany yesterday s gold for the women In indoor the women have already advanced to the finals while the men are ahead of Russia 1 0 right now in the semifinals Hopefully we ll have some more volleyball medals soon Meanwhile this afternoon I will be focused on the women s long jump finals where Rice alum Funmi Jimoh will be competing She had a good jump in the qualifiers hopefully she can dig in for an even better one today Go USA and go Rice Posted by Bryan Hassin at 01 01 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Olympics Rice volleyball 2008 08 21 Swiss Dairy Last night was fantastic The entrepreneurs behind my spring startup project deskNet took my group out for a celebration dinner This was something we intended to do back in May when the project finished but final exams Kenya and vacation interfered It was nice to take a break though as this way they could update us on their progress It seems that we really added some value as they are now running an operation much more focused on a specific strategy They picked us up at IMD and drove us about an hour up into the mountains When it became clear that the only signs of life for miles around were evergreen trees and cattle we came upon a dairy farm that doubled as an out of the way restaurant La Bréguette Apparently others were in on the secret as the rows of tables inside the farm house were packed We settled down to a delicious meal of escargots cold meats fondue and incredible desserts Cream cheese and chocolate were made there at the dairy so were prominently featured throughout the menu Add a little OK a lot Swiss white wine and great conversation and we found ourselves back at IMD after midnight The crisp night air and bright stars up in the mountains were really refreshing Switzerland is not a bad place to live I wish the deskNET team all the best and I look forward to following their success Today has been a great day for USA volleyball Misty May and Kerri Walsh won their second consecutive Olympic gold in beach volleyball their 108th consecutive match win while the indoor women s team advanced to the gold medal match Tomorrow it s time for the men to show that they can keep up Posted by Bryan Hassin at 01 44 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Olympics Sobees startup Switzerland USA volleyball 2008 08 17 Michael Phelps As I was heading to bed last night I couldn t decide whether or not to get up at 4 58 AM to watch Phelps go for his 8th gold of the Olympics Having played a few hours of beach volleyball yesterday I was pretty tired and actually fell asleep while trying to decide whether or not to get up and reset my alarm clock for 4 57 AM I guess my decision was made for me Oh well I would see the results of his race on the Internet as soon as I woke up anyway Then in the middle of the night I woke up inexplicably I glanced over at the alarm clock it read 4 57 AM This was clearly fate intervening so blurry eyed I turned on Zattoo found a channel that was showing aquatics and tuned in just as the 4x100MR was about to start I m glad I did what a race Things didn t start out too well for the US and the BBC commentator remarked several times that he didn t think we were performing well enough to fend off the strong Australians in the anchor leg In fact we had slipped to third place when Phelps dove in for the third leg 100m later we were in first and Jason Lezak wasn t about to give it up 8 gold medals and 7 world records in 9 days Michael Phelps what a machine Sure he s genetically predisposed to swimming but it takes much more than that to accomplish what he has Years of focused intense practice discipline to maintain perfect form even when exhausted mental toughness to push harder even when there is nothing left heart to persevere even when unthinkable success has already been achieved What I love most about his feat is that some of his golds came from team events His fate rested not just in his hands but also in the hands of others who wouldn t share the media attention glory or financial reward Yet they all rallied around him and dug down deep Jason Lezak especially to make it happen I m glad I woke up to watch I was inspired by the drive dedication and teamwork of those representing the USA Posted by Bryan Hassin at 03 27 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Michael Phelps Olympics 2008 08 16 CSR We wrapped up this week with another case on Corporate Social Responsibility Once again there was a great deal of debate Was the company genuine about providing environmental benefit Or was it just looking to improve its image and hence its returns If the latter did it matter so long as the environmental benefit was realized What is the purpose of a business Should it try to satisfy all the stakeholders Or should it focus on profits a focus for which it is very efficient and rely on its government to regulate it Or should its consumers suppliers and employees market regulate it by not buying from selling to or working for it unless it acts in good interest These are tough questions and I don t have an optimal answer worked out in my head yet I continue to wrestle with the question of what is the best model I love the double and triple bottom line ideas but even they are problematic how do you measure social and environmental benefit when weighing against easily measurable financial benefit My inclination is to regard with skepticism unsustainable businesses that just kick off some money to CSR Businesses that grow out of inherently sustainable ideas however are something else When sustainability goes along with profitability instead of detracting from it then we ve got something that really works But can every business be independently sustainable If not how can we ensure that those that aren t sustainable are balanced by surpluses from those that are These questions have some impact on my job search as well I sent in my first two applications yesterday to GE Energy Their renewables segment is growing by leaps and bounds and I m interested to learn more about it Furthermore such a large global corporation could be an excellent platform on which to work toward my goal of helping to change the world Or it could be bureaucratic inefficient and stymying at every turn We ll see While working on industry company research and cover letters I have been making my way through my music collection in alphabetical order by artist AC DC Air Supply Alice in Chains and Anne Murray were last week I just finished B B King yesterday and am now listening to all of the Beatles albums in chronological order Such good music And the weather is gorgeous today so I ll have to take a break from career strategy for some beach volley later on Oh and one more thing Michael Phelps is a hoss I m waking up at 4 AM tomorrow to watch him hopefully go 8 8 in Olympic golds What an inspiration Posted by Bryan Hassin at 06 12 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels CSR imd music volleyball 2008 08 12 Ethics Is a company s chief allegiance to its shareholders or should it also be held accountable by other stakeholders including employees the community and the environment Should ethics be defined by the net social value of consequences to actions fundamental rights of individuals social contracts or predefined virtues How important are values in an organization and if they are important how can they be defined and maintained How should a company interact with NGOs that oppose it especially when they re right These are the questions we are wrestling with in our Ethics Social Responsibility class The discussions led by professor Michael Yaziji have been scinitllating and heated just what you d expect from a debate in such a diverse environment My favorite question for contemplation so far has been You are the CEO of a pharma company with the option to save hundreds of thousands of lives This option will necessarily come at significant long term shareholder expense What do you do After much clarification of the question and the assumptions it was clear that there was no win win situation You either saved lives and lost money or didn t and made money There was much debate Obviously everyone wanted to save the lives but did we have the right Or were we obliged to run the company in the best interests of the shareholders Many student responses relied on passing the buck to the owners put it up for a vote and comply with the result I don t buy that however To me this question of whether or not to save lives is similar to a question of whether or not to save money Hear me out before you condemn me for that statement If you choose not to save money you are effectively losing money If you choose not to save lives you are effectively killing When I frame the question that way my course of action is apparent I will save the lives It distills down to the same question faced by Nazi officers do I kill because I have been ordered to do so by my shareholders fuhrer Or do I adhere first to my own principles I am a principled human first and a CEO after I may be fired for my decision but what good is being CEO if you can t live with yourself My goal would be to communicate upfront the values that would drive my decision making in such a situation transparency and honesty with the shareholders Hopefully that would help ensure that I work for a company with similar values It seems like a theoretical academic question except that it was part of a case discussion involving a pharma company and its marketing of AIDS drugs in South Africa What are your thoughts on such a dilemma Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 14 3 comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels ethics imd Out of Town Visitors On Sunday I had lunch with Will a family friend who swung through town during his summer travels Will is one of the most brilliant accomplished people I know and it was great to spend some time with him He is a Jefferson Scholar at UVA where he just finished his second year Three of his friends also Jefferson Scholars joined us at a little creperie along the lake for a couple of hours of great conversation and food These kids were bright worldy multicultural and nice an outstanding example of what America can produce Last night I had dinner with Nathalie a former housemate of mine in Houston She is Swiss and was in town spending time with her family Dinner also on the lake was very nice Chantrelles are in season and it was great to catch up with Nathalie Two years ago she helped start up a renewable fuels trading company that is growing and doing very well Meanwhile this week s class focus on ethics and social responsibility has been very interesting already It has been very philosophical so far with background readings on Kantian ethics rights and social justice I ll post a more detailed update later in the week Posted by Bryan Hassin at 03 40 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels ethics imd 2008 08 09 Italian Volleyball While I m working on my career strategy all day I have some olympic coverage going on in the background Because NBC won t broadcast online to viewers outside the US I have to be creative with my choice of media Fortunately I found a web service called Zattoo that shows many international channels online Right now I am watching USA beach volleyball on an Italian channel che bella Posted by Bryan Hassin at 09 42 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Olympics volleyball 2008 08 08 The Olympics Have Begun As we finished our last day of Stakeholder Managment today our breaks were consumed by watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics Everyone cheered as countries represented in our class marched in What fun I can t wait for the competitive rivalries to start once the events get going I was proud to learn that Rice is well represented in the Olympics we have eight athletes and coaches representing their countries Additionally Rice s president is there at the opening ceremony Go Rice and Go USA Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 12 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Olympics Rice 2008 08 06 Career Strategy Update Objective and Industries Following is another email that I just sent my Career Board today First let me elaborate a little on my objective Change the world through business leadership because I know it sounds cheesy The premise is pretty simple governments and NGOs are just some of the parties that can address some of the major challenges the world faces today In a capitalist society and in a global market driven economy I believe very strongly in the power of the business to address them as well When I look back at the world changing developments of recent history many most of them have come from private industry Furthermore my professional experience is in business so if I want to change the world and I do it makes sense for me to focus on this area A company like Exxon Mobil for example has a profound ability to change the world As one of the world s largest energy producers and global employers everything it does or doesn t do has serious consequences for the world s energy environmental and social challenges It has the power to change the world for the better or for the worse Consequently it is crucial that Exxon Mobil s leadership get it right I am not so presumptuous as to contend that I have all the answers about what is right or that I am qualified to take over as CEO of Exxon Mobil tomorrow However I consider it my duty to give it my best shot Thus my strategy is as follows 1 Identify industries that have the greatest potential to change the world 2 Match those industries with my interests and background About which industries am I most passionate To which industries can I offer the most value with my own skills and experience For example I believe biotechnology can be a world changing industry but it is not a great match with background 3 Learn more about my target industries with industry analyses analyst reports and conversations with contacts in those industries Validate my understanding of the industries and what I would bring to each one Study the business system s of each industry and identify the specific activities that are most interesting and or offer the greatest opportunity to change the world 4 Identify and target specific companies that are most interesting within each targeted business activity Criteria include innovation financial performance market performance quality of work life quality of leadership opportunities for learning mentorship and geographic location travel 5 Market myself to targeted companies by networking on campus recruiting and unsolicited applications I am currently in steps 3 and 4 depending on the industry I have also subsumed my nanotechnology interest under green energy and commercial space operations The more I learned about nanotechnology the more I confirmed that my interests in it were almost exclusively insomuch as it relates to these other two industries My status for each of my remaining three target industries is as follows Green Energy Step 4 The sub industries that interest me most are Renewables solar wind tidal geothermal technology development e g nanotechnology thin film solar cells device manufacturing e g wind turbine manufacturing operations e g wind farm development Distribution technology development e g nanotechnology high efficiency transmission lines or high capacitance residential power storage Vestas world s largest wind turbine manufacturer and AES a power generator developer that includes renewables in its portfolio recruit on campus for their leadership development programs Shell which has more green energy in its offering than it used to also recruits here but I just don t get a great vibe from them in terms of fit In Step 4 I am identifying all of the other companies to target as well Technology Step 3 I am most

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  • The Green Knight: 2008/07 - 2008/08
    of La Morra on the valley s northwest ridge One of the aspects of Toscana I always loved was how its hills were a patchwork of different colors and textures Here in Piemonte every parcel is planted with vines so they have a more uniform color and texture However the color is a beautiful rich green and the texture is a consistent horizontal striation made by the rows of vines on steep slopes Grapes are all harvested by hand here because machines couldn t handle the grade so there isn t much to complain about The enoteche in the castles of Barolo and Grinzane Cavour serve as the official tasting destinations for local varietals What could be better than sipping on great wine in old castles with such beautiful vistas in all directions La dolce vita We stopped in the city of Asti for dinner settling on a restaurant with many local specialties on the menu a nice wine list and no English speaking staff We weren t disappointed Our waitress offered to select antipasti for us then we just chose first courses thinking we would have a light meal But oh were we wrong The waitress brought plate after plate of antipasti so delicious would couldn t help but finish it By the time my risotto with hazelnuts in a moscato cream sauce arrived I could barely touch it If that s the worst problem I have though life is good Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 22 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Asti Barolo castles Piemonte wine 2008 07 19 In Italia After a long beautiful drive along the Mediterranean coast we arrived tonight at our B B just outside of Asti in Piemonte Our home for the next few days is Villa Sampaguita a charming estate owned and operated by two ex pats They served us a multi course dinner upon our arrival Everything in it was grown and made here at the villa including the several vintages of Barbera d Asti that we drank Our hosts are gracious the grounds are beautiful and we are prepared to take on the wines and castles of Piemonte after a good night s sleep Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 13 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Asti Italy Piemonte wine 2008 07 18 Last Day in France Today was a travel day We began with a poolside breakfast then toured Chateau Figeac in the St Emilion AOC We were part of a larger group here but our guide was excellent We finished with a tasting of the Chateau Figeac St Emilion 1988 84 which was still as youthful as the day it was bottled very impressive We then spent the rest of the day on the road en route to Marseille About half of this time was spent in traffic once we had already entered the city For dinner we returned to Le Miramar where Cox and I had dined two weeks before Once again we all had the Bouillabaise and once again we were not disappointed All though the FIVB beach volley world series is going on here right now we won t have a chance to stop in for a match before we depart for Italy Oh well maybe next time Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 44 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Bordeaux Marseille St Emilion wine 2008 07 17 Sauternes Today we departed from the usual Bordeaux tasting plan by spending the day in Sauternes We began at first growth Chateau Guiraud where our private tour was an excellent introduction to the Sauternes making process In contrast with most Medoc tours this one was much more informal and it was clear that the chateau wasn t really set up for guests This was A OK with us as we were able to poke around all we wanted and have all of our questions answered We finished the tour with a six vintage vertical tasting of the Chateau Guiraud Sauternes 1996 unrated 1998 89 2000 90 2001 96 2002 89 and 2003 95 what a way to start the day The complexities and differences between each vintage were astounding Guiraud uses exclusively the natural yeast on the berries which when combined with the varying levels of sugar each year makes for radically different fermentation durations each year They also vary the proportion of semillion to sauvignon blanc depending on the quality of each varietal each season Accordingly the differences in style taste nose and body between many of the vintages were tremendous I was also amazed by how rich and dark Sauternes become as they age The 1996 with the same varietal composition as the 2003 would not have been recognizable as the same wine After six glasses of wine and no breakfast we really needed some lunch to sober up We found a little restaurant near the town center and sat out on a terrace overlooking the vineyards The food was wonderful and we took a nap in the car afterward Refreshed and ready to go we then made our way to the legendary Chateau d Yquem the only Bordeaux winery to receive the Premier Cru Superieur designation in the classification of 1855 The Yquem tour was in French and was shared with three other small groups so I acted as translator for the rest of our motley crew Unfortunately our guide really really loved the sound of his voice and went on and and on motivating us to zone out and discuss on our own Apparently Yquem uses exactly the same vinification process as Guiraud and all the other first growths so the question was raised What distinguishes Yquem to make it Superieur The answer was typically French terroir It was not just the quality of the terroir though which is shared by the other first growths Yquem is the largest land owner in Sauternes by far and their parcels are spread throughout the region This gives them significant soil variety enabling them to choose the best grapes from different vineyards each year So if the year is hot and dry they can favor grapes from vineyards that do better in hot dry weather If the year is cool and moist they can favor grapes that thrive in such an environment The proof is in the pudding or rather in the Sauternes We tasted the Chateau d Yquem Sauternes 2004 97 and it was delicious It was clearly very young but showed layer after layer of balanced complexity Given the bottles of Yquem from the early 1800s lying around and I thought 1996 was dark which are apparently still very drinkable these wines are seriously built to last So although the tour was much longer than it needed to be the estate and the wine were beautiful We then wound our way through Bordeaux to St Emilion where we would stay the night Our B B was a gorgeous chateau just outside of the city It sat on a large property that included several windmills one of which could be climbed for breathtaking views of the area After some walking around the local vineyards a refreshing dip in the chateau s pool and dinner in St Emilion we slept very very well Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 41 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Bordeaux Sauternes wine 2008 07 16 Margaux Ron wasn t feeling too well this morning so we skipped our first appointment at Chateau Palmer We did manage to make our afternoon appointment at Chateau Margaux though and I am certainly glad that we did The estate was beautiful and again our guide was very knowledgeable This time we shared the visit with a group of four Germans and tasted the 2004 vintage of their first label 93 at the end It was young and tight but you could tell that there was a world of complexity waiting to come out over the next decades For dinner we met the John Natalye clan and many of their friends in the architecture community at a restaurant in Saintes Dinner was delicious and was followed by a tour of Charlotte s another Houston friend of ours through John and Natalye new house in Saintes To be accurate it wasn t a new house per se rather the renovation of four adjoining houses into a single one It was beautiful and we celebrated with cognac from 1964 We also had some Richard Hennessy cognac Hennessy s ultra premium brand which was soft smooth and spicy It was a wonderful way to wrap up our last night in around Cognac Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 26 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Bordeaux Cognac wine 2008 07 15 Pauillac It took us a little longer than anticipated to make our way into Bordeaux this morning but that was OK since Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou in St Julien where we had our first appointment had decided to cancel all of its tastings this week This left us with plenty of time to meander around Pauillac and have a leisurely lunch on the banks of the river Gironde before our afternoon appointment at Chateau Lynch Bages The Lynch Bages tour was very nice it was just for us and the guide was very knowledgeable The estate has saved its original winemaking equipment in a sort of museum which made comparisons with its modern equipment very easy Lynch Bages produces 500k bottles each year I had no idea they were that large and we tasted the 2004 vintage of its first rated 89 by the Wine Spectator and second unrated labels Dinner was lovely John and Natalye had us over to their house also in St Sauvent and cooked us some fresh local fare They bought an old farmhouse 20 years ago and restored it to habitability As with the hotel I really love the juxtaposition of antiquity and modernity I ll have to keep these ideas in mind for when I have my castle some day Good food good wine and good company in the French countryside this was exactly the kind of vacation I needed Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 06 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Bordeaux Cognac wine 2008 07 14 Arrival in Cognac Today was mostly spent traveling We had an EARLY train 4 30 AM to the Geneva airport a flight to Bordeaux a bus to the Bordeaux train station a train to Saintes and a taxi to St Sauvent just outside of Cognac Saintes was really charming and sleepy so sleepy that the taxi stand at the train station didn t have any taxis just a list of the cell phone numbers of the five taxi drivers in town We didn t really know what to expect at our hotel as we had never seen it before but we were very pleased upon arrival The hotel is called the Design Hotel Francs Garcons and is a very cool juxtaposition of modernity and history A local architect and his restauranteur wife restored a crumbling decrepit building and transformed it into a luxurious boutique hotel They enlisted the numerous ex pat architects who have houses in the area to help Each architect took ownership of a room There are only seven and lent it his her particular style Our friends from Rice John Casbarian Class of 69 and Associate Dean of Architecture and Natalye Appel Class of 80 former masters of Lovett College recommended the hotel to us and were two of the architects who participated Natalye designed the bar and John did one of the rooms the very room where we stayed Suffice to say that the hotel was beautiful and I would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone looking for a few days of getaway in the French countryside We asked Florence the proprieter for a lunch recommendation Given how many restaurants were closed for Bastille Day we were told we would have to head back into Saintes if we wanted any chic cuisine However there was a restaurant down the road with simple food which sounded A OK to us We wandered down the farm roads in the beautiful weather and popped into the restaurant where the cuisine was anything but simple It was fresh delicious and innovative I can t wait to see what constitutes chic cuisine After our late lunch our travel companions Ron and Kathleen Moore arrived I know Ron through the Wine Committee of the Petroleum Club of Houston and we were excited to share this trip with them We walked around the 12th century church just outside our hotel window wandered around farms and vineyards and finally returned to the hotel for dinner Florence offered to prepare dinner for us as well as for John Natalye Claudia elder daughter Dana elder daughter s friend and Julia younger daughter since everything was closed for Bastille Day That turned out to be fortunate for us because Florence s cooking was incredible Muscles oysters fresh tomatoes fish pizzas beef homemade ice cream great local wines not a bad opening dinner The best part was catching up with the John and Natalye family Claudia who was 10 when she moved into Lovett my senior year is now headed to Rice herself Julia who was only 2 is now a young lady Time flies At Rice the master of each college announces the names of graduating seniors at Commencement At Lovett we traditionally announce the college president s name first and then the rest of the seniors in alphabetical order As I had been the previous year s president at Lovett my name was to be announced first in 2001 As John had never been a college master before these were to be the first graduating names he had ever announced Hence I was to be the first name he ever announced at Commencement He took this task seriously and consulted with me about the exact pronunciation of my name rehearsing for a full week before the ceremony When the time finally came Bryan Guido Hassin President of Lovett College came off his tongue as if he had known me for years He showed all of the other graduates the same courtesy As I had most of my family in town I really appreciated that When I finished my master s degree the woman announcing graduates butchered my name horribly just not quite the same So it was wonderful catching up with Ron and Kathleen and the John Natalye clan As we re so close to Cognac we finished the evening with some fine XO while the Bastille Day fireworks were going off Now that it is finally dark which only happened about 11 PM we are turning in to rest up before a big day of wine tasting Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 52 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Bordeaux Cognac wine 2008 07 13 Living in Lausanne I haven t posted in awhile This is not because I have been under major deadline pressure my traditional reason for latent posts Rather it is because I spent the last week just living a normal life in Lausanne There hasn t been anything too extraordinary to report the weather has been beautiful and just poking around Lausanne has been blissful This is really a nice place to live even if it took me six months to discover it Although I ve been meeting friends classmates for drinks in the evenings How novel I have been working throughout the days on my career strategy With the academic portion of IMD behind us it is now time to turn our attentions toward life after IMD As we approach such weighty decisions we are encouraged to call upon the skills we have developed in the business world This means viewing ourselves as products and each conducting a thorough product specification market analysis and targeted market campaign I am taking it a step further and running my search like a business I am the CEO of the business and thus I call upon a board of directors for help My board consists of one VC one pilot two consultants two entrepreneurs three CXOs a banker a doctor and a lawyer spread around the US and Australia The role of this board is to help me bounce around career ideas audit my strategy and hold me accountable to my objectives and process I will keep my readers updated on my career strategy as it develops and will hope to have good news to report by the end of the year Posted by Bryan Hassin at 01 21 2 comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels career services Lausanne 2008 07 09 2000 My musical odyssey has now entered the new millenium as I just wrapped up 2000 The late 90 s didn t have much to recommend them Good thing they re mostly a blur of engineering problem sets and sleepless nights anyway I d hate to think I had missed something The power of musical association remains strong Listening to the top songs of 2000 was like heading back in time to the summer of my first entreprenerial endeavor cofounding a software company with two other Rice computer science majors The decision to leave my comfort zone at UUNET where I had

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  • The Green Knight: 2008/06 - 2008/07
    Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Kenya Rice 2008 06 27 Wildlife Day Today was awesome We left the camp early in the morning and trekked back to Nairobi for meetings at the offices which are more like a zoo of the Kenya Wildlife Service We met with the KWS director the head of KWS s Rangers which are paramilitary poacher fighters and the founder of the Save the Elephants NGO all fascinating We then visited the on site orphanage for abandoned animals lions hyenas leopards and all kinds of birds The ostrich reached over its fence and stole the book of a hapless child As it tried to eat the book one of the keepers ran in to take it away from him The ostrich did NOT like this and attacked the keeper who had to flee the pen He then ran around the outside of the pen As the ostrich followed him still trying to peck at him another keeper snuck in and removed the book That s teamwork This was the second ostrich incident we witnessed While visiting geothermal energy plants on Thursday we saw an ostrich in a field next to the road He was standing by himself and kind of dancing We pulled forward and then it became clear why he was dancing there was a female ostrich about 100 meters away As we watched he then ran to her and voila we witnessed ostrich sex Even though it lasted less than two minutes most of us were inspired by the wacky moves and doing the ostrich is sure to happen the next time we are on the dance floor The best part of the orphanage was the cheetah pen The keepers let us in to play with the big cats and they were so fun just like housecats except that they can run 70 mph and rip your head off They were very sweet though and purred loudly while we scratched under their chins I completely forgot that I am allergic to cats until I started sneezing while baiting one cheetah with her chew toy The afternoon featured a visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust an orphanage for baby elephants and rhinos We met with Dame Daphne Sheldrick about the work they do and then played with the elephants themselves I almost fell over during my first elephant contact I reached out to say hello to a baby 600 lbs who responded by reaching out a muddy funky feeling trunk to probe my neck While there was nothing threatening about it it was a very unfamiliar feeling that caused me to take a step back on uneven rocky terrain Once I regained my composure I greeted the elephant as we had been instructed to do by blowing into its trunk At that point it lost interest in me was it my breath My favorite part of the trip so far though occurred before we even met the elephants just as we were entering the orphanage There was a rhino scratching her neck on a stone by the entrance This was my first time so close to a rhino maybe 15 feet away I was struck by how dinosaur like she was like a creature from another time Assuming she was part of the show we stopped to take pictures She noticed us stopped scratching and began trotting over toward us at which point the elephant keepers yelled at us to run WHOA Wild rhino charging after us It was like the running of the bulls but without a fence to climb over for safety She didn t seem malicious I think she just wanted to say hi or to play so I was torn between going with the class and holding my ground to say hi Still a wild rhino could kill a human pretty easily by playing so I listened to the keepers and followed the rest of the class The keepers corralled the rhino who it turns out visits daily to pay her respects to a rhino orphan who resides there Being chased by a rhino was a real rush though She was so huge and powerful what a great fullback she would have made Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 18 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Kenya Full Day in Naivasha Thursday began with a jog around the premises and along the local roads with Bevan Kiwi and Rich American Around the premises accidentally included through the latrine runoff area This required deft maneuvering to avoid stepping in human waste I m not sure I succeeded Running along the roads was an experience too All the children on their ways to school were pretty fascinated with us but the cattle and goats we had to keep dodging didn t pay us much heed Between the high emissions vehicles on the road and the high altitude almost one mile above sea level I found myself much more winded than I should have been for our pace Thursday s program featured a full day of exploration of Lake Naivasha s industry and ecosystem We began the day by meeting with the VP of Finance and Administration of Homegrown Ltd a huge floriculture company specializing in roses exporting hundreds of millions each year A few things struck me about our morning with Homegrown First Lake Naivasha the source of water for the entire local flower industry is changing It is drying up and its water is becoming more polluted While this is partially due to natural cycles it is mostly attributed to man Homegrown and other florists in the Lake Naivasha Growers Group surprised me with their recognition of culpability and their proactivity in addressing the issue despite no government requirement to do so For example they have planted local shrubs along the banks to slow runoff and filter the water that enters the lake Second Homegrown is committed to reducing its environmental impact through elimination of chemical based pesticides However the need to reduce rose eating pests remains To strike this balance Homegrown founded another company DuduTech Dudu means insect in Swahili which develops pesticides by using naturally occurring insects that prey on the pests This includes predatory insects parasitic bugs and a host of other approaches that all have the same objective neutralize the pests without introducing chemicals into the environment Cool stuff Finally however I don t see how the model for this industry is sustainable at all In a country nay on a continent where poverty is rampant thousands of prime agricultural hectares are being used for flowers instead of food crops The flowers and small amount of food crops that actually are produced are exported immediately Time from harvest to European retailer shelves is 48 hours which incurs huge environmental costs for refrigeration and transportation Local labor is employed and treated very fairly it seems but the vast majority of profit is captured by the company owners which are largely foreign I can t blame the owners for their choices because the economics clearly support them but there has to be a better way Local companies using the land for production of locally distributed food would result in Europeans not having roses for their dining tables but millions fewer hungry Africans Lunch was held at a beautiful lakeside conservation center where Sykes monkeys threw feces at Max Russian narrowly missing me After lunch we visited a geothermal plant and learned about Kenya s plans to increase its use of this cheap renewable source of energy to meet rising demand This reminded me of 7th grade science class in which we were divided into energy groups Each group represented a specific energy source and was tasked with making a music video to teach the rest of the class about it One group had geothermal and set its song to Su su sudio by Genesis Ge ge geotherm My group had oil and we set our video to Right Said Fred s I m Too Sexy For My Shirt I m Too Sexy For My Oil We called ourselves Nerds With Attitudes and obviously we were Good times We closed the day with a walking safari on Crescent Island This was pretty amazing The animals though wild are used to the presence of humans so you can get much closer to them without scaring them than in other wild areas We saw and walked among wildebeest zebra gazelle impala and giraffe The giraffe were my favorite they ran so gracefully We also saw hippos but did NOT walk among them as that would be a sure way to be trampled The shoes I wore were on their last legs and I have already ordered a replacement pair It s a good thing too since I don t think there was a single square foot on the entire island that didn t feature a helpful serving of animal poop That was the main obstacle to really running wild with the animals And so my day concluded just as it had begun running through poop Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 30 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels alternative energy imd Kenya Back From the Land of Hippos We have returned from Lake Naivasha which was an experience to say the least We arrived on Wednesday at Crayfish Camp which would be our home for the next two days Crayfish Camp was just that a camp We showed up with laptop cases and rollerbags only to find to the shock and dismay of most of us that our rooms were actually small tents around a bonfire area Each tent barely had enough room for luggage not to mention sleeping area for two There were communal outdoor toilets and showers and there was naturally no Internet If our Nairobi hotel was basic this was something far far beyond You could see the jaws drop of several students as they immediately began scrambling to find some alternative accommodations out of their own pockets Many of the rest of us understood that the situation was what it was and we were determined to make the best of it I haven t been camping since Boy Scouts campouts in high school Before that I have many fond memories of camping out in a tent with my mom in our back yard telling ghost stories and bonding Although I would have rather gone camping under different circumstances I m not sure my business casual wardrobe was terribly appropriate for example I was still encouraged that this experience would be fun My tentmate Yan Dongao had a similarly positive attitude and we got along in our cramped space just fine Besides there were several dogs to play with at the campsite and we were very close to a major hippo area so I was excited about the prospect of making contact Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 09 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Kenya 2008 06 24 I Thought Kenya Would Be Hot My Czech classmate and I began today with a 6 AM swim in the hotel pool It s winter here Southern hemisphere and Nairobi is about 1400 meters above sea level so it s actually quite chilly with highs only around 65 degrees F The air this morning was quite cool and the water even cooler so the swim was invigorating to say the least There probably isn t much point in me continuing to brush my teeth with bottled water either given the amount of pool water I swallowed We then spent the morning with Kenya s largest retailer Nakumatt which is planning for expansion into the rest of East Africa The afternoon was finance focused with the Chairman of the Nairobi Stock Exchange also an IMD alum and the CEO of Safaricom which just completed the most successful IPO in Kenya s history In the evening we mingled and networked with other IMD alumni in the area Many of my classmates headed out to a local club I on the other hand am turning in early as I will be getting up early for a run before we depart for our two days in Lake Naivasha Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 09 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Kenya 2008 06 23 Case Studies and Beer in Kenya Today began with something we thought we had left behind in our past a case study It was about two local entrepreneurs the discussion was lead by the Dean of Nairobi s Strathmore Business School and one of the protagonists came to provide his personal account In the afternoon we met with the general management of East Africa Brewing Ltd a beer spirits company so large that it contributes almost 50 of the Kenyan government s revenue in taxes every year The management team all locally educated was incredibly sharp we grilled them about their strategy finance and operations but they answered beautifully This meeting also included tours of both the glass bottle manufacturing plant and the brewery Now I know why Guinness tastes different here it is brewed here with local ingredients and the recipe is adjusted for local tastes That s too bad but at least I can say that I drank Kenyan beer without having to resort to the very light Tusker also brewed by EABL that seems to be the national icon Pictures are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 15 55 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Kenya 2008 06 22 Povera Italia Today s theme was entrepreneurship which naturally kept me very interested We met with all kinds of Kenyan entrepreneurs from locals pulling themselves up out of poverty to ex pats riding the wave of growth to battered women establishing financial independence to members of the Diaspora making their prodigal returns It was interesting to see how different Kenya s entrepreneurial environment is than that of the US but it was equally interesting to see how so many Kenyans found ways to succeed anyway We were given dinner off tonight so after a run in a downtown park a few of us followed a tip to a local restaurant for some Kenyan cuisine After walking through some very sketchy areas we found the place which was definitely not much more than a hole in the wall just what we were looking for This hole in the wall happened to serve Guinness which somehow tastes different here and was showing the Italy Spain soccer match The chicken Zaire was very good as was the conversation We returned to the hotel to watch the end of the soccer match Although Italy lost it was still a worthwhile viewing experience as I had the opportunity to teach everyone about real football and how it was ever so superior to soccer I m not sure they were convinced so I may just have to keep spreading the good word Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 37 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Kenya 2008 06 21 First Full Day in Nairobi Today was a busy Saturday packed with meetings with the Swiss ambassador to Kenya the executive director of Climate Network Africa and the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of Kenya s Diaspora We were also due to meet with the Prime Minister Minister of Trade and former Minister of Finance but they had to cancel at the last minute due to the death and funeral of another minister Each of the meetings was very interesting although I didn t like the one with Climate Network Africa The presenter was full of climate change blame for the US Europe didn t offer any constructive solutions and demanded reparations for the damage that would surely come to the African environment I found this unproductive for several reasons First her supporting data were misleading She drew facts and figures from several years ago when the US and Europe were way ahead of everyone in carbon emissions Don t get me wrong the US and Europe are still way ahead but the gap is closing a little and the trends which show developing nations like China overtaking them in the future reveal that the problem must be addressed globally not just in a few countries She also used exclusively per capita carbon emissions statistics which are irrelevant The environment doesn t care how many people are producing the emissions it just cares that they are being produced By her logic the US could become a better global citizen just by increasing its fertility rate instead of reducing its emissions Second she was all problem and no solution Yes we all know that the industrialized countries have been the greatest emitters but it is unproductive to rehash this over and over and over again Yes we screwed up No we didn t know the consequences industrialization would have until recently but yes we accept responsibility for it Now let s stop playing the blame game and all work together to find a solution Finally her antagonistic The West is evil presentation isn t likely to motivate any action I ve blogged before about how a large organization exhibits a collective subconscious that behaves in a very irrational human way Attacking developed countries is likely to induce defensiveness not action A collaborative approach would be much more constructive Her presentation did motivate me however to think about a topic I often ponder what IS the solution Specifically she motivated me to think about it in an African context Africa has huge open spaces with significant sun exposure so one idea might be to develop solar and wind farms there In addition to generating renewable energy this would create jobs on a continent that has major population growth and poverty In fact Africa could become a hotbed of renewable energy generation producing even more than its current No pun intended needs and exporting the surplus around the world The problem with such a plan is two fold First these renewable energy technologies are expensive and the political climate in Africa is somewhat volatile Investing in such projects is therefore risky Furthermore to export power or even to distribute it around such a huge continent would require major advances in transmission technology Current power lines are very lossy losing a significant percentage of the power transmitted over them over long distances This is especially important for centralized solar and wind which A are usually located far away from power consumers in areas with the least obstruction of their power sources and B are bursty we can t control when the sun will shine or the wind will blow More efficient transmission and storage for that matter technology would allow areas that need power regardless of weather conditions there to draw energy from areas where the sun is shining or wind is blowing around the world This problem of energy transmission and storage is the main theme addressed by the vision of Nobel laureate and Rice professor Dr Richard Smalley His proposed solution naturally uses nanotechnology his principal area of research As I am no great nanotechnologist this leads me to the fundamental question that drove me to IMD and that still drives me today what can business leaders do to address this energy environment challenge We can certainly enforce responsible energy usage within our companies but that won t be enough It will barely make a dent in consumption and won t address any other social issues To effect more profound change business leaders will need to invest either by starting up new ventures or by launching initiatives within their own companies in R D of renewable technologies reducing renewable production costs and increasing efficiency R D of energy transmission and storage technologies and development of renewable operations in places like Africa These are just my initial ideas What ideas do you have How can business leaders change the world for the better The answer to this question will significantly impact my thinking about how to shape my career post IMD Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 40 2 comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels alternative energy imd Kenya 2008 06 20 I m in Kenya The day began ealier than usual we all met at IMD at 4 45 AM to take a bus to the airport Air travel was smooth and before we knew it we landed in Nairobi To avoid evening traffic which is abysmal we had two meetings there at the airport The first with Swiss International Air Kenya was about the challenges of doing business in Kenya The second with Kenya s Airport Authority was about achieving their strategy of becoming the dominant East African network of airports As we arrived at our hotel our anxiety levels rose The rooms are basic to say the least but that s probably healthy for a bunch of coddled MBA students As we sat down for dinner our apprehensions eased the food was delicious and plentiful and the hotel staff was incredibly gracious If any anxiety was left at all the gin and tonic forced it out Yes I do believe G Ts will be my drink of choice here Even though our altitude is high enough for mosquitos not to be much a risk a little quinine won t hurt Pictures so far are on facebook I will close with a valuable piece of advice I learned from Lisa our expedition organizer Don t come between a hippo and the water We may see hippos during our camping trip at Lake Navasha I m so excited Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 47 1 comment Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd Kenya 2008 06 18 1997 As my chronological journey through American popular music has taken me through 1997 the year I graduated from high school I have stirred up many memories of my first semester at Rice University This was the year that Puff Daddy Sean Puffy Combs etc came up with the formula of old pop hit increased base line spoken rapped lyrics contemporary hit Master P also entered the scene that year On the Rice football team we had a Master P of our own that was the nickname of Michael Perry halfback Master P was one of our three thousand yard rushers that season along with Chad Nelson quarterback and Benji Wood who started ahead of me at fullback It was a heck of a first semester Football was awesome I will never forget running out of the tunnel to the thunderous applause of 55 000 fans at our season opener against Air Force Or our first away game against Tulane at the Superdome in New Orleans Or barely losing to the University of Texas and Heisman winner Ricky Williams John Heisman for whom the trophy is named actually used to coach at Rice The semester was about more than football of course It was also about romance roadtrips San Antonio Dallas and New Orleans making lifelong friends hard courses and no sleep Although it wasn t really about partying for me I could still hear the songs of 1997 through the walls while I was trying to study or sleep and the memories they incite are great ones Posted by Bryan Hassin at 13 49 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels 1997 football music Rice Sigh Just when it seemed that we were back in the CWS tournament up 5 0 in the top of the 7th with our ace closer on the mound it all came crashing down 1 run in the bottom of the 7th another in the 8th and then four in the 9th to lose to LSU Oh well as the old saying goes I may not have been at the College World Series this year but neither was the University of Texas Now it s time to look ahead to better times and Rice football begins in just over two months Posted by Bryan Hassin at 01 00 2 comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels baseball Rice 2008 06 17 Queen and Careers Yesterday morning we had a Leadership class focused on careers and the characteristics that drive motivate us Based on a survey we were divided into five groups those who were looking for freedom balance security interesting challenge and advancement accomplishment Of course most of us were motivated by several of these but we broke into groups based upon our highest scores We then put together presentations about what we need from our supervisors companies and families as well as which socio economic factors might affect the value of our careers for each type It surprised me that my highest score was in freedom not in accomplishment Accomplishment was a very close second followed by balance as a close third Interesting challenge was a distant fourth and security was hardly represented at all As our freedom group sat down to work we felt free to turn on some music Queen s I Want To Break Free At the same time the accomplishment group was listening to Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie During Q A after the accomplishment group s presentation someone asked if they related to the Queen song I Want It All and I Want It Now The answer was yes and lord knows I can relate While I am disappointed that the other groups didn t independently come up with Queen anthems I am glad to have had three Queen songs stuck in my head all day Slightly less insipiring is Looking For Freedom by David Hasselhoff which we played at the beginning of our presentation to get the class clapping The music video featured scenes from Knight Rider how can you beat that Posted by Bryan Hassin at 04 27 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd leadership Queen 2008 06 15 Rice Not Representin Ouch Rice s debut game in this year s College World Series was abysmal a 17 5 loss to Fresno State We went through seven pitchers and gave up three home runs Only late in the game did we mount any offense at all and by then it was too little too late Oh well as one announcer put it perhaps Rice was trying to get all of its bad play out of the way in the opening game this way we ll play top notch baseball all the way through the finals I hope that s the case It was a good weekend for Bulldogs as Georgia upset the 1 Miami Hurricanes I m sure my brother who played baseball at Trinity University and is finishing his PhD in marine biology at the University of Miami is hurting now as much as I am For both of our sakes I wish both the Canes and the Owls good luck in their losers bracket games this Monday and Tuesday respectively Go Rice Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 09 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels baseball College World Series Rice 2008 06 14 Mock Interviews Yesterday we received our final grades for the Building Blocks academic portion of our year here at IMD I did very well overall but I am most proud of the improvment I deomonstrated in the areas where I came in with the least background As I have written before I certainly don t know it all if I did what would be the point in sacrificing 200k for an MBA The best that I can do is identify my areas for greatest improvement and those of greatest interest and work hard to develop them Although grading is only one imperfect way of measuring competency it indicates that I have improved significantly in my weaker areas and exceled in those that I think are critical for my future career This gives me confidence not only in my skills today but also in my ability to improve and grow constantly throughout the rest of my life which will be crucial for my effectiveness over time Today we continued in the Career Services vein by practicing our interviewing and networking skills with IMD alumni We were given the opportunity for one of three types of interviews industry consulting or finance I chose industry and thoroughly enjoyed the experience The feedback I received from my interviewer was very helpful The areas for improvement such as making better use of silence diplomatically put are all areas I can improve with practice and preparation and the entire session was videotaped so I will have the chance to review my performance next week The day finished with a party on the restaurant patio There I met many other interesting successful diverse alumni and had a great time to boot Several of our professors came too and it was fun to party with them now that grades were out of the way Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 08 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels career services imd 2008 06 13 Luxury Disillusionment Today was the official start of on campus recruiting Several companies made presentations throughout the day about who they were what they did what positions they offered and why we should work for them Most of the companies participating in on campus recruiting this year are outside of my target industries technology energy space exploration sports and wine very focused I know so I will spend the majority of my job search pursuing opportunities off campus However I was intrigued by two luxury brand conglomerates that presented today one because it owned several wine brands and one because we studied one if its major acquisitions in Strategy I was curious to find out if these companies were really just about luxury and image or if they had more substance to them Did they offer anything of value to society or did they really just exist to fulfill the desires of the upper class I asked the presenters questions about environmental and social responsibility but was disappointed in the responses I m sure their PR departments have good arguments but the fact that their recruiters didn t know them indicated something about the cultures of these two companies More pointedly it indicated that they weren t places where I wanted to begin the next phase of my career and mission to change the world for the better I think this is the real benefit of on campus company presentations not helping you decide which companies DO interest you rather learning enough about industries you don t know well to decide firmly that they do NOT interest you That is helpful to the students and to the recruiting companies Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 07 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels career services imd 2008 06 11 Simulation Today we finished a three day business simulation Each study group represented a company bringing new products into a new international market In a turn based simulated universe we competed against each other to position our products make marketing decisions optimize our supply chains and work within the constraints of international regulatory uncertainty My team did not finish in the top 3 We made a key supply chain planning error in Q3 and another blunder in Q5 The key learning comes not from the errors we made but from the group dynamics and processes that allowed them to occur As many of you know I am extremely achievement oriented so not winning doesn t sit well with me However this year has been a lesson in embracing failure for the associated opportunities to learn It is better to learn these lessons in a simulated universe than in a real one where profits jobs or even human lives might be on the line Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 48 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels failure imd 2008 06 08 Africa Another day with no homework another day of watching movies about Africa This time I watched Shooting Dogs and Hotel Rwanda both about the genocide of Tutsi Rwandans in 1994 It s amazing the hurt sub Saharan Africa has endured and not just by the evil white oppressors but by their own countrymen I suppose that s part of the issue the countries are arbitrary boundaries that cramp warring tribes together Whenever one tribe is in power it commits atrocities against the others When the others are in power they want revenge The tit for tat cycle continues indefinitely and I have no idea how it could be broken Our Discovery Expedition to Kenya in two weeks will be very interesting and I look forward to it In more upbeat news Rice earned its spot in this year s College World Series with a win over Texas A M tonight Go Rice Posted by Bryan Hassin at 16 32 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels baseball imd Kenya Rice Movie Night and Day What a day yesterday I didn t leave my apartment at all but not because I was studying I spent most of the day watching movies one of my favorite pastimes In preparation for our Discovery Expedition to Kenya I watched two assigned films Darwin s Nightmare and The Last King of Scotland Darwin s Nightmare is a documentary about the fishing industry in Tanzania where foreigners smuggle arms in and export fish out while the locals starve Not pleasant No less pleasant were some of the scenes in The Last King of Scotland in which Forest Whitaker brilliantly plays brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin The plot was very similar to that of Playing God which I regard as one of the worst movies ever made The two movies have another connection Playing God stars David Duchovny while The Last King of Scotland stars his x files costar Gillian Anderson Gillian wins this round hers was a good movie and I m glad I finally saw it To lighten things up I also watched Dan in Real Life There wasn t much to this romantic comedy but it was a refreshing way to wrap up the movie day Then it was on to more important things like watching Rice beat Texas A M 9 6 Another victory today will secure the Owls third consecutive trip to the CWS I wish I could be there for the games but since I can t thank goodness for the Internet Posted by Bryan Hassin at 05 35 4 comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels baseball Kenya Rice The Last King of Scotland 2008 06 07 Mid 90s Although I leaned on Mozart for my exams I still had a chance to continue my chronological exploration of American popular music last week I ve made my way through 1996 now almost through the end of high school for me Ace of Base Coolio Sheryl Crow Melissa Etheridge The Cranberries Snoop and Dre

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  • The Green Knight: 2008/05 - 2008/06
    others in specific evaluation criteria The key is to understand those criteria instead of just taking the ranking at face value The FT ranking for example surveys MBA alumni and asks them questions such as from which schools they are most likely to recruit new MBA graduates possibly biasing the ranking toward larger schools As the rest of the major publications announce their rankings this year I will keep everyone updated Posted by Bryan Hassin at 10 06 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Financial Times imd ranking Alternative Energy An anonymous reader posted a comment on one of my previous blog entries asking Are there opportunities for MBAs in alternative energy My analysis indicates that there are There is a tremendous amount of investment in alternative energy right now and investment implies the need for finance entrepreneurship and management skills Alternative energy is also dependent on major deals and partnerships so deal brokering skills are important R D and innovation management are also key for many alternative energy companies Vestas Wind Energy recruits at IMD and I had the opportunity to bump into their CTO on campus We discussed how large alternative energy companies look for leaders to help them solve their major technological challenges an issue near and dear to my heart as well So yes anonymous reader I believe that there are many many opportunities for MBAs in the world of alternative energy Posted by Bryan Hassin at 07 17 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels alternative energy imd MBA 2008 05 12 Final MBAT Thoughts Although I complained a great deal about HEC s disorganization the weekend was still a blast Not to be a total geek but it felt a lot to me like Harry Potter s Triwizard tournament There were schools from all over Europe and participants from all over the world Each school had its own colors and culture and everywhere you went many languages were being spoken I am proud to have coached captained both of IMD s medal winning teams I wish I could take credit for the success but the real credit is due to my teammates who overcame long odds no time for practice and the temptation to blow off the tournament to frolic in Paris Many of them stepped up on a moment s notice without any preparation at all and helped us win through sheer determination Those who weren t playing helped through their cheering and support Now we are back in Lausanne and the work has piled up We have a big Strategy project due this week and many more deliverables next week but the memory of the MBAT is still fresh in our minds Although my voice is hoarse my arm and side rope burned and my middle finger numb not sure what I did to it during the tug of war I am honored to have represented IMD alongside such capable classmates Now back to the real world Posted by Bryan Hassin at 05 57 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels imd MBAT tug of war volleyball 2008 05 10 MBAT Day 3 Today didn t start out any better than yesterday Our indoor volleyball team which had never played together before was quickly eliminated by Oxford There was no time to dwell on it however as our beach volleyball pairs match also against Oxford started immediately afterward My partner Mario was still swimming at the time so his alternate Martin joined me on the court Martin and I had never played together but he did an excellent job of playing good consistent volleyball In contrast to the previous day s 4s the ref today was calling tight beach rules Considering Martin s inexperience with these rules and the large court size still configured for 4s we decided on a basic consistent let them make the mistakes strategy It worked we won very decisively and advanced to the next round It wasn t always pretty volleyball but it got the job done In the meantime basketball won its first game of the day despite our captain s early ejection and some of our swimmers were winning their heats so things were looking up Martin s and my next beach volleyball game was against IE In this game we gelled more as a team and were able to play a little more aggressively Martin continued to play very well and gave me some dime sets that I was able to put away hard 20 30 IMD supporters came out for the game and cheered us on which felt really great I m used to playing with maybe a few cheerleaders on the side having 20 30 yelling for us made a real difference We won another game after lunch where the food was again terrible to make it into the final three Naturally HEC was disorganized and no one could tell us exactly when these semifinals would be Plus what kind of tournament format has a final three instead of final four I didn t have time to stick around and argue as it was almost time for the Tug of War to begin Tug teams were composed of five men and three women Most of our men and all of our women had never tugged before Furthermore we were significantly undersized relative to the other teams that s what happens when you re the smallest school in the tourney Still I had tried over the preceding month to research best practices Do yourself a favor and read the training section at the Scottish Tug of War Association s website you won t be disappointed and teach them to our team during short breaks between classes IMD s maintenance staff was kind enough to provide some rope for practice However due to injuries and some of our tuggers taking off to spend the day in Paris four of our starting team had to be replaced at the last minute This lightened up our team even more and added the challenge of teaching our technique to half the team in just a few minutes Many thanks to Lucy Aoife Bevan and Sergei for stepping up So here it was the moment I had been waiting for Could we win with heart and technique instead of size I sure believed we could but now it was time to find out I sprinted across campus to the tug pitch where surprise surprise things were disorganized and running behind Our first tug was against Cambridge and started half an hour late The extra preparation time didn t help them as we won very quickly There s nothing quite like pulling with every muscle in your body while your oponent just a few feet from you and trying desperately to resist is drawn closer and closer to the mid line until you ve won What a rush I was told by the organizers that our next tug would be in 30 minutes which would give me just enough time to tug then sprint back to beach volleyball for the semis Unfortunately 30 minutes came and went and we were still no nearer to our next tug so I had to leave In the beach volleyball semifinals against ESADE Mario was available so he played with me instead of Martin We never quite got it together and lost 16 14 in a very even match While it was a disappointment to be sure Mario Martin and I were happy with taking home IMD s first medals of the tournament even if they were bronze Word came from our fans that IMD had won its second tug against Oxford and that its third would be starting soon Many thanks to Matt for captaining in my absence and to Joonwon for pulling in my stead Many thanks as well to Mathieu who gave me a ride back to the tug pitch saving me 10 minutes and arriving just in time for me to tug against HEC There may have been some latent frustration released against our hosts but whatever the motivation we beat them to advance to the finals against SDA Bocconi The final match against our hotel mates was a real battle They easily outweighed us and their technique was good to boot Moreover their captain could have been my evil twin We dug our heels in and tugged our hearts out In the end it wasn t enough After what seemed like an eternity of stalemate we began to lose traction and slide toward the midline I worked feverishly to stop the movement but my shoes slipped too and I as IMD s frontman was pulled over the midline So ended IMD s cinderella story and my long time unbeaten streak in tug of war My hat is off to Bocconi and Mike their captain as a worthy adversary Still we took silver our second medal of the tournament and proved that it wasn t the size of the team in the fight but the size of the fight in the team that mattered With sports competition behind us it was then time to celebrate with the closing BBQ on the lake As a Texan I was interested to see what the French called a BBQ We went back to the hotel to clean up and then returned to campus On our way we encountered a Manchester University student whose car had slid off the road into a ditch Fortunately it was a Fiat 500 so we got out and helped him lift it up out of the ditch and back onto the road While we didn t get a medal for it helping out a peer in need was probably the most rewarding feeling of the weekend The BBQ was sure enough just a cookout but I wasn t complaining It was a lot better than their cafeteria food and it was fun to wind down with all the other schools In true HEC fashion they ran out of beer an hour into the event But don t worry they told us there is still plenty of wine The fermented grape juice they were referring to was in giant boxes and was terrible Here we were in Paris France and they expected us to drink box wine Au contraire mon frere Pictures of beach volleyball tug of war and Fiat rescue are in my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 09 2 comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels ESADE IE IESE imd MBAT Oxford SDA Bocconi tug of war volleyball 2008 05 09 MBAT Day 2 The MBAT is off to a not so great start for IMD It began this morning when our men s soccer team finished its first game against host HEC with a 0 0 tie Within the first minutes Chilean Jani one of our best players was out with a pulled hamstring Czech Martin and Portuguese Pedro were also injured although they were able to continue playing As the day wore on things didn t improve we tied Oxford 0 0 and lost to Cambridge 3 0 Consequently we did not advance in the tournament and won t play again tomorrow As most of you know I m no great fan of soccer but I am a fan of my classmates who have been training hard for this tournament and I feel for their disappointment Our basketball team didn t fare any better Our captain Ziad who played professional basketball in Lebanon was stuck on a lost shuttle bus for two hours and missed our game While I suspect that the busdriver got lost due to a major payoff from RSM our opponent the more probable explanation is yet another failure of HEC organization In Ultimate Frisbee we did a little better besting our first opponent with a last second goal scored by Canadian Ian the team captain This goal came at a heavy cost though as the assist came from German Daniel who severley sprained his ankle on the play He was obviously missed in the next game which we lost 13 0 I only played in one sport today coed beach volleyball 4s My American ringer and I had both played beach 4s a great deal but French Olivier and Belarussian Sergei were new to the format We got off to a very slow start against IESE but finally settled down some Unfortunately it was too little too late We lost the first game 15 11 only to realize that that was the ONLY game Despite the schedule explicitly stating that we would play best of three the rules had been changed at the last minute to mandate single games to 15 with rally scoring I argued that if we were going to have a single elimination tournament with single games and rally scoring we should at least play to 21 or more Alas the decision had already been made They only had one sand court so were taking drastic measures to speed up the tournament Bravo HEC It was a rough start to the games but we live to fight another day After a 90 minute wait for a shuttle bus we headed back to the hotel and drank wine ate pizza played ping pong and relaxed all evening I m not going to lie I play to win and was disappointed in our performance including my own today However it s hard to dwell on that too much when drinking great wine with great people in great weather Tomorrow is indoor volleyball beach volleyball pairs and TUG OF WAR Pictures from today have now been added to my facebook album Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 47 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Cambridge HEC IESE imd MBAT Oxford volleyball 2008 05 08 MBAT Day 1 I missed morning class today and hopped on an early train to Paris to meet up with the ringer I imported for the MBAT coed volleyball events My adventure began around 7 30 AM at the train station where the official refused to sell me a ticket for the 8 03 TGV to Paris According to him there was a 7 03 train which I had already missed and a 9 03 train but nothing in between This was perplexing since the online schedule indicated that there was an 8 03 train Even more perplexing was the fact that an 8 03 TGV was showing as on time on the Departures board Weird After exhausting my French vacabulary arguing with him about the existence of such a train I finally gave in and bought a ticket for the 9 03 I did NOT want to waste an hour of Paris time hanging around the station so I decided to check out the platform where the phantom 8 03 would allegedly arrive Sure enough it came right on time I was a little nervous about hopping on board After all my ticket was for a different train and hey this wasn t Vietnam there were rules here What would happen if there weren t any seats for me Or the conductor didn t accept my ticket Would he throw me off the moving train I decided to be WILD AND CRAZY and climbed aboard taking the assigned seat I would have had on the 9 03 So much for my worries about competition for seats there wasn t another soul on board Perhaps this actually was a ghost train Oh well no matter it got me into Paris on time and the scenery on the way up was lovely Fields of bright yellow flowering canola abounded on both sides and the weather was beautiful After a four hour trip I arrived at Paris s Gare de Lyon Now it was time to find IMD s hotel which was supposed to be just South of the main city Two hours later partially due to Paris s slow late trains and partially due to the fact that the hotel was WAY out in BFE I checked in It turned out to be perfect timing though as my ringer was just arriving at the same time The rest of IMD wouldn t be arriving for another 4 5 hours so we passed the time with a leisurely lunch wine tasting out on the veranda by the pool SDA Bocconi and Cranfield were at our hotel as well so we met some of their students while we waited on my classmates Several vans of IMD students finally arrived and we were ready to head to HEC our host school campus for the official opening ceremonies Or were we We waited for the shuttle bus which was supposed to come to our hotel every hour for over two hours finally arriving just after the ceremonies ended Great logistical planning strike one HEC Our students led by Trinbagian Paul Holmes had lit a torch in Lausanne with the Olympic flame at the World Olympics Headquarters and transported it all the way to HEC and now did not have a chance to share it with the rest of the participants Oh well it was the thought that counted Except that apparently at the ceremonies HEC people brought their own torch and told everyone they had lit it in Lausanne and transported it themselves They were taking credit for our moves while we were standing around waiting on their poorly organized bus system Strike two HEC Oh well no problem at least they were about to serve us dinner Unfortunately dinner was terrible It was served in a cafeteria that would make even the worst elementary school lunch line look good The highlight of dinner was the HEC

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