Okay. This post has been long overdue. I am glad I got around to writing it.
After a wonderful 2 years at Tuck, I graduated in June. The last few weeks of the Tuck experience were a fitting end to the time I spent at Hanover. I take with me fond memories of a place where the warmth of people made up for the cold weather.
The month of May was spent hitting golf balls at the driving range and kayaking down Connecticut river. Evenings were spent having dinner with friends - trying desperately to compress time as all of us knew we would graduate before we knew it.
June consisted of Disorientation like it can only happen at Tuck. I loved the cruise on Lake Champlain. Tuck Investiture was fittingly held in a hockey arena. Graduation was a grand affair - typical Ivy League I am told.
In the last couple of months, I travelled to India and returned to New York. Since this blog was all about my Tuck experience, I believe this should be the last post on the blog. I had a great time at Tuck and look forward to being a Tuckie for life.
A few prospective students have written to me asking about my Tuck experience. I believe the blog captures it better than what I can write in a single email to any person. I loved the time I spent at Tuck. I achieved my professional goals, became a better person and had the fortune of interacting with a set of incredily talented people at Tuck. If I had to go back in time and revisit the decision of choosing a business school, I would make the same decision in a heartbeat.
I haven't posted for a really long time - Apologies in case you have checked recently but haven't found an update.
It is Spring in New England. The sun is out, weather is warm and I am enjoying it thoroughly.
When the Tuck Outdoors Club sent out a mail asking if I wanted to hike 'The 50', I signed up without thinking twice. I had learnt about 'Overconfidence Bias' in my Managerial Decision Making course - but fell prey to it without knowing it.
Then, a couple of weeks ago I went on a hike to Mount Cube. A 6.6 mile hike and I was tired at the end of it (I wasn't about to drop dead but just tired). I figured a 50 mile hike was not something I could do and dropped off thelist the next day. After the Mount Cube hike, a bunch of us went to Ben & Jerry's for some ice cream (to compensate for all the calories burnt!). That was a perfect ending to a gorgeous day.
Over the last few weeks, I have been training to do a 10K run. The run is scheduled to be held a week from now. In my last couple of runs, I have been able to do the distance but my timing is way off. I want to finish the run in under 1 hour. While folks who have been running might scoff at my target, considering it is my first 10K run, I have kept my aspirations modest.
Occasionally, I go out to the driving range and hit some balls. Next week onwards, I plan to go to the golf course regularly. The objective is to hit the course 3-4 times before I leave Hanover.
The other day the firm I am going to work for asked me to send in an interesting line about myself. When I quizzed a couple of my first year study group members about this, they agreed that 'I have a Snickers problem' is the most appropriate. I LOVE SNICKERS!!!
I spent some time in April making a list of 50 things I want to do by the time I am 50. P also made her list. I got the inspiration to make that list from Kanishka. When you get a chance look around his blog - especially a post on his exploits working in a tough region of India.
Just over a month and I will be graduating from Tuck. I have mixed feelings about leaving school and Hanover. While I am looking forward to getting back to work & life outside this happy bubble, I don't like the feeling of these 2 years coming to an end. But then again, C'est la Vie!
Yesterday, I spent the morning at the Thetford Volunteer Fire Department and helped them inventory the items on their new rescue truck. After our work was done, the captain gave us a nice iron-on patch and took us for a spin around the town on a fire truck!! While I am all of 27 years old, sitting in a fire truck still gave me a kick. The volunteering was part of Day-of-Service organized by the Tuck Volunteers.
Winter term has been fun. I love my courses. Managerial Decision Making is an excellent course about how we make decisions and how to avoid errors in decision making. Moneyball & Into Thin Air are prescribed reading for the course. I am taking quite a few 'soft' courses. They have led me to think hard about what I am and what I stand for. Self-awareness is a vital aspect of leadership and I believe I have become a better person now.
I have also been attending lunches with visting executives. I am continuously surprised by the variety of jobs my classmates are taking up after they graduate. At one of the lunches where we were hosting a speaker for the real estate class, people around the table had signed up for jobs with Tramell Crow, Starwood Capital and Hines. Before I came to Tuck, I didn't know real estate was an industry that attracted graduates from top business schools. Across top Indian B-schools, I will be surprised if you find ANYBODY taking up a job in this sector. I am sure this will change over the next few years as the likes of Tishman Speyer, Starwood and Tramell Crow make their presence felt.
I can't believe that my Tuck experience will be over in 4 months time :( . While I am looking forward to starting off on my full-time job, I am truly sad that I will have to leave this beautiful school & town and go back to the big bad world.
Heated seats, January thaw & my trip back from India
I left India for Tuck on Jan 5th. In my quest to get a cheap ticket in peak season, I booked myself on Gulf Air with an itinerary that involved multiple stop overs. My return journey consisted of Mumbai-Bahrain, Bahrain-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Philadelphia, Philadelphia-Boston. So, I stepped on board the plane in Mumbai with the knowledge that I had a long journey ahead of me. But, I had no idea I would finally arrive at my home only on 7th night.
I reached Bahrain on time and we were immediately told that our flight to Frankfurt was delayed by over 8 hours due to technical difficulties. Gulf Air got us transit visas, booked us in a hotel in the city and sent us off to get a good night's sleep. The process was extremely efficient and I was in bed within a couple of hours. Next morning, we returned to the airport to find out our flight had been delayed a further couple of hours. Out of curiosity I started my computer to check whether I could send out e-mails to family and friends letting them know of the delay. Bahrain Airport not only has WiFi - but it is by far the cheapest WiFi I have found in an airport. A whole hour of access cost me just $0.36. After I sent out emails and had my breakfast, we boarded the plane. We were stuck on the tarmac for a couple of hours because one person who was supposed to be on the flight did not board and his luggage had to be taken off the aircraft.
Once we got to Frankfurt, the whole rigamarole of transit visa, hotel booking, tranfer to hotel was repeated. Except, the whole process took much longer than it did in Bahrain. The hotel room wasn't as nice as the one in Bahrain and the food was horrible (carrots & peas for dinner!!)
Finally, after going through Philly and Boston, I was home by midnight. For all the horror stories I had heard about US Airways and the immigration staff in Philly, I did not face any delays or problems at all. My friend was there to pick me up from the Dartmouth Coach drop off point and prevented me from having an attack of hypothermia.
While I am happy to be back at Tuck, Hanover is COLD. I was born and raised in a city where the minimum temperature was about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. At Hanover, NH on many days in the winter the mercury dips going below zero. In case you are still wondering, I am no fan of the cold.
A couple of things make the winter bearable. Heated car seats are on the top of my list followed closely by the January thaw. After a walk to my car when every bone of my body is cold, the heated seats feel like heaven. I am told remote start is an even better feature, by my 2003 VW Jetta doesn't have a remote start!
The January thaw is another nice concession that nature has made to people like me. A few days in Winter, (like today!), the cold takes a break. The temperature outside is almost 50. Though the sky is cloudy and it is raining, I prefer this to a day when the sun is out and the temperature is 5 below.
My courses in the Winter term are an interesting mix. I am taking Managerial Decision Making (a course that is already proving to be a good investment), Futures & Options, Leadership Out Of The Box, Managing Strategic Business Relationships, Game Theory, Selling & Sales Leadership. Some of the courses may not seem to be directly relevant given my plan to join an investment bank as a trader - but my idea behind pursuing an MBA is to get a holistic education as against a finance education. I will talk more about the courses as the term goes forward. The plan for the next few weeks is to have a good time in the winter and focus on internalizing what I learn.
As life becomes progressively more hectic, blogging has taken a back seat. I hope to write more often once I am back in Hanover in early January.
For the last month, I have been in Mumbai. I continue to intern at the private equity firm where I worked for part of my summer. The pace of activity in the industry has definitely quickened. New firms are popping up everywhere. Valuations are beginning to appear stretched.
I believe that a lot of money that was to be made from multiple expansion has disappeared thanks to the valuations. So, it will take a lot more effort than in the past to achieve an IRR of 20% plus. Many say that a 20% plus IRR is being greedy especially with long rates continuing to remain low. India continues to be an emerging market and the attendant risks need compensation.
Real estate in India is a very exciting market to be in. As action shifts to tier II cities, many more people can thank real estate for their wealth. The legal risk in the industry is probably second to none. Anybody watching the Mumbai mill land development saga will vouch for that. I would love to work in the industry at some point in the future.
During this visit to India, I also spent some time in Ahmedabad and Kolkata (visiting the business school festivals of the IIMs) and squeezed in visits to Bangalore and Delhi. Some India trip this has been :-D
The frenzy continues....
I had no idea second year would be so much work. I had assumed I could take a breather and focus on the finer things in life. Well, from the look of it, I was completely wrong!!
One week for the term to finish, and I can't wait for the week to be over. Friday evening, I leave take the Virgin Atlantic flight out of Boston. But, in the next 5 days, there are so many things to do to formally finish the term.
First up, I have the Investments exam on Tuesday morning. Before that, we need to make a presentation on our Investments project tomorrow. Since the person you are presenting to is Ken French, you need to be sure to weigh each word you say. Say risk instead of volatility and you are in a spot!! On Tuesday morning, our project for Corporate Restructuring is also due. And on Tuesday afternoon, I need to submit our Argus model for the Real Estate class. Somewhere in between, I need to put together some information about the Private Equity Industry in India. And I forgot to mention that classes are still in progress :-).
The past few weeks have been fun and busy. Last week I attended the Tuck Vegas party. The party was fun and I focussed on spending time & faux chips on playing the extremely low IQ "Wheel Of Fortune". I skipped the Beach party last night and instead went to a friend's 30th birthday party. I took him a few bottles of Colt 45 and he was very appreciative of my thoughfulness.
Oh yeah, just over a week ago it was my birthday and three of us had a nice combined birthday party. While I enjoyed the party, the birthday seemed to just remind me that I am getting older :(. I perfunctorily thanked everybody who sent me a message for my birthday. Does anybody know why it is called a Happy Birthday ? While I have every reason to be happy with the way things are going in my life, why just be happy on that day ?
One of the nice parts about the Fall term in the second year has been the opportunity I have had to go out and see beautiful New England. For my birthday, a few friends and I went to Woodstock, VT, a picturesque town and had lunch. Earlier that day, we went to Simon and Pearce in Quechee to watch the artisans blow glass and make fine earthenware. The fall colors had faded but the countryside still looks beautiful.
Come Friday and I am off on a 7 week long break. 7 weeks in India. 4 cities (atleast). Back to work with a smart, warm and friendly bunch of people. Of course, the joys of Mumbai without the oppressing heat of summer!!
If you are in Mumbai, Bangalore or Ahmedabad and are interested in knowing more about Tuck, send me an email. Based upon how busy my schedule becomes, I am planning to meet up with a few interested people when I am in these cities. If you are not in these cities but are in India and would like to meet some Tuckies, let me know and I can pass on your info to my friends who will be visiting their families in other cities.
Long overdue update!!
This update has been due for a really long time - and has probably been the longest gap I have taken from blogging. Let me just say I have been really busy! While that is no excuse for not blogging, it helps me feel alright about not updating the blog. There are so many things to write about.
Private equity internship in India - Over the summer, after my internship in New York, I worked at a private equity firm in Mumbai for 4 weeks. The experience of working in a small firm is hugely different from that in a large firm. While the firm had almost $200 million under management, there were less than 10 people in all. The organization was super flat and I was able to sit in on the investment committee meetings every week. The Indian PE industry is exploding with some of the big American firms setting up shop (and many more waiting in the wings). I met up with some other students from US B schools either interning in India or looking for opportunities to work in the Indian financial services industry. Real estate/Private equity in India is beginning to look like the Silicon Valley in 1999. I will be back in Mumbai for a few weeks in December and am already looking forward to the experience.
Rest of India trip - The trip to India was a blast. Spent most of my time in Mumbai. Was able to squeeze in two weekend trips to Bangalore/Mangalore as well as a work related trip to Lucknow. I just wasn't able to get enough time in Bangalore. I long for those times when I could spend a carefree Sunday evening walking around Malleshwaram. Those times may never return!
4 weeks of Tuck - I returned to Tuck just over 4 weeks ago. I cannot believe it has been 4 weeks into my second year. A couple of weeks ago a T'05 told me that the second year will be the golden period of my life for a few years to come. I have accepted a job from my summer employer. I love the courses I am doing. I have a fantastic set of people as my classmates. The only problem is that I don't seem to have any way to get the clock to slow down.
This term I am doing a ton of non academic stuff. I am a student coordinator for the Alan Smith Visiting Executive Program. I am a teaching assistant for 2 courses - so I hold tutorial sessions after class hours. I am also a Study Group Leadership Fellow under the Leadership Development Program. I am learning golf, will be playing hockey and have done a couple of hikes already! The outdoors are beautiful at this time of the year.
My courses this term are just great. Real Estate has been an eye opener. The professor is just great and in almost every class we have the protagonist of the case speak in class. I am surprised by the strength of Tuck in this area. The real estate club has over 90 members. Considering that the total number of students across first and second year is less than 500, I take it as another sign that we are in a real estate bubble.
The Private Equity class has again beaten my expectations. The sheer quality & relevance of speakers is impressive. We have had entrepreneurs from successful companies, failed companies, general partners of VC's and PE firms as also limited partners all talking to the class. This is a class I strongly recommend to anybody with even a slight interest in the industry.
The high point of my 4 weeks at Tuck is a trip we did in September to Omaha, Nebraska to visit Warren Buffett. 50 Tuckies went down to Omaha to meet Warren Buffett. He spent almost 2 hours taking questions. Then he took us to Gorat's - his favorite steakhouse for lunch. People interested in getting his soundbytes as he got his bite took turns sitting on his table. Then we took pictures (5 at a time) with Mr. Buffett. After we had taken pictures, he just said 'I will see you later', waved his hand and drove off in his car (the license plate reads THRIFTY). His simplicity and perspicacity left everybody inspired.
Tomorrow is the Greener Ventures venture conference. I am participating in a sub-event where three teams spend the day drawing up a business plan to execute an assigned idea. The kicker is we are assigned a coach - the coach for our team built and sold a company worth hundreds of millions of dollars and runs his own venture fund. I am sure I will learn a lot by way of close interaction with him as we draw up the business plan.