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Wow, ever since I hit Bangalore it has been non stop!  The weather here is much nicer than in Delhi – cool, breezy, not too humid. The hotel we’re staying at and doing our presentations and a few short classes is nice.  Not like the Hyatt but nice.  Here is a quick video of the view from my window!

We did our presentation on the 12th and it went really well.  Here is a picture of my team (Chris, Desi, Nick and I) before we got up and presented for an hour and a half!SANY0035  Everyone did really well on their presentations and there is an amazing sense of relief and accomplishment for having the projects DONE! 

Yesterday, we had a few lecturers in from TAPMI, which is a post-graduate business school here in Bangalore to speak about business in India.  A really neat part of the day was that the TAPMI panelists gave us a formal welcome in Indian custom: there was a lighting of a lamp ceremony that took place with several members of the session along with a nice small speech translated from Sanskrit and some beautiful music.  They explained that this was the Indian way of kicking off an “auspicious occasion”. I really liked it!  I wish I would have had my camera on for it but I’ll try and post a picture from someone else’s camera!

The main speaker of the day was Mr. Sharad Heda, CEO of Microland – Global Tech Support Business, and he spoke to us about IT in India.  Very engaging presentation and presenter.  Most of the discussion was on why India does so well in IT and outsourcing services – most of it I knew already but still had some interesting facts and figures. 

The second half of the day was traveling to Infosys for a quick presentation with one of their Senior VP’s and saw Bangalore for the first time outside of our hotel.  Wow.  What an eye opener.  I took some video from the bus on the way there just to capture a bit of what I saw. 

Unfortunately, my batteries ran out by the time we got to Infosys and I recorded a discussion our group had with one of the VP’s of Infosys. We took a short tour of the campus (80 acres!) with the program manager of training for the Bangalore campus – she was originally from Seattle and came to Infosys as an intern.  One of the few non-Indian people I saw at the company that day.  She must be pretty darn bright – she was a Fulbright Scholar!  Since I don’t have pictures, just imagine Microsoft’s campus in Washington or Google but with electrified fensing all around the joint and guards in military garb and AK-47s … seriously.

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It is hot and sticky.

There.  I said it.  I won’t complain about it anymore.

Got in to Delhi last night about 8:30pm and felt like I walked into a different place in the world.  Which, of course, I did. I was really worried about getting in by myself but frankly, I freaked out over nothing. My baggage came off the plane within 10 minutes of landing, no on e accosted me, I grabbed a luggage cart (free, by the way), pushed my cart outside and saw my driver waiting for me.  I wish I would have remembered his name – he was a very lovely young man who was very polite and personable. 

Some initial thoughts on Delhi:

  • It is hot and sticky – but I already mentioned that
  • There are guards with guns (like riffles) all over the airport and on the streets around the airport – I asked my driver about that and he said they were there to protect the airport.  More than police, less than army, he explained.
  • They drive on the opposite side of the road, with the drivers side being on the right – just like in the UK. 
  • Indians drive like maniacs.  Seriously. My driver was amazing just trying to stay out of everyone’s way.  This isn’t a stereotypical statement – my driver said the same thing. How a visitor could drive in this city is beyond me. And non-stop honking. He said no one ever keeps a car looking nice and just on the 20 minute drive to the hotel, we saw two accidents. 
  • When we pulled up to the hotel (the Hyatt Regency is really nice!), we had to pull up to a few men that opened the hood of the car and took a mirror to check the underside of the car. They were checking for bombs. Yikes.
  • I couldn’t go into the hotel until I went through a metal detector, my bags were scanned (they don’t let you take your own luggage into the hotel – I assume to scan them too) and I was wanded.  Kind of eye opening.
  • So far, everyone have been so polite and speak english quite well.
  • Saw many tents pitched along side the roads and so many people out walking, even on the busy streets with no sidewalks.  It was dark so it was hard to see but the neighborhoods didn’t look very affluent.
  • I saw these really cute little green and yellow cars everywhere- I think they are taxis.  I have to find out about those.

My evening at the Hyatt was restful and peaceful.  I slept well and woke up about 6am.  I did a little video of my first look outside my hotel window:

I’m off to my massage and to explore the hotel a bit!

I’m not even in India yet and already making friends! I bought an Acer netbook to take with me on the trip instead of lugging around my Dell but needed to load Microsoft Office apps on it. Of course, couldn’t find my CD anywhere so decided to download a trial version and then call Microsoft to get the registration key. After paying my $49 for support, I was almost instantaneously chatting with Babu, my very own Microsoft tech! He said he was able to help me and told me to click on a link he sent to me. It was a link to a site called Magic al Jelly Beans. Okay … I’m a little suspicious … I say, “hey Babu, you’re not sending me to a site that is going to load a bunch of stuff on my system and steal all my passwords, are you?”. He says “oh, no, Dina. I would never do that to you! Please trust me.” You know what they say about people who tell you to trust them, don’t you?

Anyway, being the renegade that I am, I went to the site. And it is a shareware site to find your reg keys for software! I am paying Microsoft $49 to direct me to a free shareware site to fix my problem! I thought that was hysterical! And of course, Babu didn’t understand why I thought this was so funny. But, within about 10 seconds I had a little window pop up with all my registration keys for all my loaded Microsoft applications! Hey, whatever works … I just hope that Microsoft sends the poor developers of Magical Jelly Beans a cut of my $49 fee. That’s only fair.

So Babu fixed my issue and then proceeds to ask me where I am located and he tells me he’s in Bangalore. I told Babu that I am going to be in Bangalore on Tuesday. Babu thought that was very fortuitous and would like to meet me there to show me around. I’ve got Babu hitting on me over chat! And I thought that was even funnier than getting charged for accessing shareware to find my registration key! So, I thanked him very much for the offer but I didn’t think my husband would be happy if I were to meet a strange man in Bangalore for a tour of city. Can someone sound dejected over a chat window? If you could, poor Babu did.

Fun adventures even before leaving my house! I’m on my way to India as I write – hanging out at SFO waiting for my plane to Chicago to take off! I can’t believe this trip is finally happening!

I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I posted!  I’m getting ready to head out on my last trip with St. Mary’s and the T-GEMBA program – leaving on Sunday for India! It has been a wild ride and a lot of work but I am so proud of myself and everyone in my class!  I’m journalling my trip and experiences so not to forget a minute!  I’ll also be posting pictures and video (if I can figure out how to do that) as well.  More will be coming!

I really meant to keep up with my blog! 

Here I am, working on my third class in the T-GEMBA program at St. Mary’s!  The honeymoon period is over and although there have been some hiccups along the way in the program, I’m still really glad I started!  My fellow classmates are great and the instructors have been really professional. Doing the classwork is challenging with work and family.  I don’t do anything other than work and study these days. 

Last month, we held our classes on the St. Mary’s campus in Moraga.  Normally, we stay at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center, which is pretty great.  Being on campus was a terrific experience – except for the dorm rooms.  We got a little spoiled working at the conference center and having nice, comfy rooms with all the amenities of a hotel.  We were literally in an empty dorm room with sheets for the bed that even convicts wouldn’t be forced to use!  But other than the totally crappy accommodations and food, it was a blast.  Just like being a college student again … including the late night partying! 

One of the really exciting parts of this program is the overseas travel!  I’m not a well traveled person (outside of the US, of course) and I am really looking forward to learning more about business and cultures in Europe. Our first module on doing business in Europe will be in November.  We’ll be traveling to Graz and Vienna in Austria, a day trip to Venice, Italy (molto bene!) and then spending time in Brussels, Antwerp and Bruge in Belgium.  In total, I will be gone 11 days.  Ponied up some miles and $$$ and flying business or first class both ways!  It will be fabulous!

Next class coming up is Statistics but first I have to finishing writing a paper for my last class on being a better manager.  Sheesh.  I hate writing papers.  You know someone hates writing papers if they are looking forward to doing their statistics homework!

Time flies when you’re having fun!  Here’s a recap of the last five months:

  • Resubmitted my application to UC Davis on April 4th without new GMAT scores.  Just couldn’t do it again.  I’m too old to waste time like that. 
  • Didn’t have a warm-fuzzy feeling about my chances so I researched more MBA programs.
  • I moved into our Corporate Development department in April and now working on acquisitions full-time.  Global domination coming up … need a global perspective.  And an MBA more than ever.
  • Found St. Mary’s College of California’s new Trans-global MBA program (http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/academics/schools/school-of-economics-and-business-administration/graduate-business/global-executive-mba.html)!  WOW!  A great school and a global focus.  And no GMAT required.  Gotta love private institutions!
  • Submitted my application and glowing references.  I’m in!!!! 

So, here I am.  Ready to start my MBA program at St. Mary’s on 6/11 at the age of 43.  It’s a totally intense program and I’m scared witless.  I finally have something to write about!  More details on the program to come.

Not even a “Dear John” letter from UC Davis … jeez.  How rude.

I haven’t checked in lately so I thought I’d do an update!  It is now 2008 and almost deja vu …. I’m back to studying for the GMAT again. I am planning on reapplying for UC Davis’ MBA program but will have to wait for the second round applications.  I was shooting to complete the GMAT before the first round; however, never got my act together over the holidays enough to even pick up my study books!  So I rescheduled it (for the third time) and have it booked for March 22nd! 

I’m actually not doing too badly.  It appears that whatever stuck in my head from last year’s studying is still there.  My fabulous friend, Wayne, is helping me out with the problems I don’t get. I buy him lunch and we work during our break. Cheapest tutor I could find – works for food, literally! 

The lion’s share of my application is still valid (even the essay questions are the same) so I’ll be updating my resume, updating my essays a bit and will have my application in by the deadline of April 4th.
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