Monday, July 11, 2005

Almost done!

Done with the last exam! I ended up not studying for the Corporate Finance final but was still prepared for it as we had a "mid-term" only three weeks ago (3/4 into the course) and I did quite a lot of work on the group projects.

With only the Marketing Project presentation left, I'll be done with the first half of the program in less than 20 hours. I can't wait to sleep in and spend money that I don't have!

My summer plan, so far, is to spend at least two weeks in Barcelona to learn Spanish at ESADE. While I'm there, I'll probably visit my friend Carla, a former HEC exchange student, at Majorca and spend a couple of crazy nights at Ibiza. After that I have to head back to Paris to look for an apartment and then return home to Montreal to see friends, restock on T-shirts, renew my passport... and beg my bank for more money.

Cramming again

The ride back to Paris was brutal. I left London at 2pm Paris time and arrived on campus at 8pm due to delays from the Eurostar and the SNCF, France's train network.

I'm cramming yet again for my projects and exams. I just spent the whole evening working on my part for my Marketing project meeting in a few hours. Although our presentation isn't until Tuesday, we have to submit the PPT file to our prof by the end of today. Otherwise I would have used the time to start studying for my Corporate Finance exam in the afternoon. I guess I'll have the lunch break for that or maybe I should take a nap...

Whatever. Two more days to go and the core phase will be over!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bad timing

I sure picked the wrong time to visit London. When I took yesterday's Eurostar train at 1pm, I noticed an unusual number of policemen at Gare du Nord. My brother had told me earlier that the tube wasn't running, but I had no idea until I stepped onto the train that London was attacked by terrorists.

The train was delayed for only 30 minutes. It was business as usual and I didn't notice any additional security measures on the train. I did see a couple of Eurostar staff walk along the wagons but they didn't ask for my ID or anything else.

Since public transportation was paralyzed, many people were waiting for cabs. Fortunately for me, my brother lives near St. Paul's, only a 30-minute walk from Waterloo station.

The streets were pretty much deserted last night. I'll see today if London is back to normal.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Too hot to handle

These past couple weeks were the toughest and it had nothing to do with the workload. It was a challenge I was unprepared for - coping with the heat in France.

I've gone through heatwaves before but always had air-conditioning or some other form of ventilation (paper fans don't count!). This wasn't the case on campus. We were over 50 students trapped in the sizzling classroom of Bat'Zet (short for Bâtiment des études, the Grande Ecole building). Since I didn't have a fan to bring to class, I had to be a bit creative.

During my three-hour Business Economics class, I kept myself somewhat cool clutching a cold, unopened can of Coke. When it became warm after forty minutes I tossed it out, stormed out of the classroom, and got another drink off the vending machine. In the end I went through four cans and must have looked ridiculous during my group presentation, as I talked about World Trade issues while holding a soft drink against my neck.

The situation at Expansiel, the MBA residence, wasn't much better. Although I lied on my bed for seven to eight hours each night, I don't think I got more than three hours of continuous sleep. I was sweating so much that even my sweat was sweating. But that was partly my fault as my windows shut were kept shut. It was between sleeping in a muggy room or fighting off flies all night.

Since I couldn't continue sleeping in these conditions, one of my classmates drove me to Velizy 2, a suburban mall near HEC, and I bought one of the few remaining fans at Darty. With my luck that same evening the weather went back to normal.