Name: neener
School: USC Marshall School of Business
Status: Employed...finally
E-mail: Click here!
Reason for blogging: I'm incredibly self-absorbed.
I'm listening to...
::"Stay Beautiful," The Last Goodnight
::"Spaceman," The Killers
::"Green Light," John Legend
::"Superstar," Lupe Fiasco

I'm watching...
::The Office

I'm reading...
::Taiwan, A Political History, by Denny Roy
::The Devil and Miss Prym, by Paulo Coehlo

I've just seen...
::Slumdog Millionaire
::I Love You, Man
::The Reader
06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003
07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003
08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003
09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003
10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003
11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
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02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
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06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
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07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
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11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
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10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011
10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011
12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012
Saturday, September 27, 2003
The Sunshine After the Rain  
Thursday was a horrible day. We started off with strategy class, where we talked about our Intel case and in doing so, learned that we had totally missed key points when we were doing our strategy assignment, and then we had to pick up the results of our accounting exam, which was graded in record time. Our professor posted the solutions to the midterm the night before, and some students actually looked at them and tried to figure out which problems they had missed. I was not one of those students. No way. I figure I'm going to need some time to recover from the trauma of getting back my score; the last thing I need to do is inflict myself with evidence of my stupidity before I'm ready. I got my score and was able to breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn't one of the students who would have to "have a talk" with the professor. Phew.

On Friday, I decided that after enduring the pain that was midterms, I deserved some good ol' TLC. I booked myself a pedicure (my first ever), and had my feet exfoliated and massaged. It felt GOOOOD. My feet look better than they have in years. (It certainly helps to have manual dexterity when you apply nail polish, I've noticed.) Later that night, I went to Hermosa Beach for a fellow classmate's birthday party at Sangria, a restaurant that turns into a nightclub after-hours. It was fun, but it was also a bit weird since I haven't been dancing with guy friends in a really long time. I usually go clubbing with my girlfriends, and we end up dancing with each other and trying to avoid the grubby paws of the gross guys we find in clubs, so although it was strange having guys in our party, it was strange in a nice, "what a pleasant surprise" way. I'm in the midst of trying to get my photos together, so I hope to get some photos from the birthday party up soon. Just in case you get the wrong idea when you see the pictures, there was some drunken debauchery, but I, being the photographer, merely witnessed it and was in no way part of it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
And I Thought the Massacre Was Over..  
Boy, was I wrong. Would someone please remind me that the bed is my enemy? It's like a black hole. Once I crawl in, I can't get out! I went to bed last night around 11:00 PM for a one-hour nap. After all, I needed to do some mad cramming for my accounting midterm. Somehow, my alarm clock did not work. I woke up at 6:00 AM this morning and rushed to school, cursing traffic all the way, just so that I could take my accounting exam cold. Since I hadn't studied for it, it should come as no surprise that the exam kicked my butt. Thoroughly. Sometimes I feel like I'm life's punching bag. After that demeaning experience, it was back for more abuse as our microeconomics professor gave us back the results of our midterm. Does it never end? I know I stated that my goal was to get an A- average, but I'm thinking at this point that I just want avoid academic probation. Is that too much to ask? Tomorrow, it's strategy class, where we'll be discussing Intel and finding out how badly we did on our individual assignments (i.e., evaluate Intel). I'll be so glad when the weekend is here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Taking Procrastination to a Whole New Level  
I don't know how I do it...but I do. I told myself that I would get my individual strategy assignment done on time, but knowing me, that just was not going to happen. The strategy project was due today in class, and I actually read the case on Sunday night (pretty good, huh?). However, I just could not get started on it. I managed to scrawl notes all over the case and amass a rather bedraggled pile of notebook paper with more notes written on it, but I could not organize my thoughts in a coherent manner, let alone provide them in the format asked for by the prof. I started typing and making diagrams in the wee hours of the morning. I worked on it, went to Starbucks for some chai latte where I worked on it some more, went to school and headed to the library where I worked on it some more, and then worked on it during a Career Resource Center (CRC) workshop I stupidly signed up for. Then I worked on it some more and printed it out at 3:50 PM, just in time for class at 4:10. What can I say? I'm good. I'm the Queen of Procrastination. Respect it.

All the case readings in Strategy are slowly changing my life. I can't look at a computer ad ("Intel Inside..dum-dum-dum-dum!"), drive by a Wal-Mart, or play Nintendo without thinking about "competitive advantage" and "sustainability." What is happening to me?

Now it's time to study for my accounting midterm tomorrow. Debits. Credits. T-accounts. Accounts receivable. Inventory. LIFO and FIFO. Accounting is hard. It's not so much that the math is difficult; it's just dealing with all these "what happens if someone recorded this transaction incorrectly?" problems. Correcting accounting errors is just tedious and tricky. Since b-school just seems to love "take-home" messages, here's my take-home message from accounting: When I run my own business, I'm hiring an accountant.

Saturday, September 20, 2003
Oh, the Carnage  
I haven't posted for a while because this past week was all about studying for the microeconomics midterm. I wasn't worried about the test so much as I was worried about the people who were studying nonstop. Why? Because of the accursed curve. I knew that these people were going to mess up the curve, thus forcing people like me, who "kind of" know the material, to get bad grades. (A helpful tip: If you get an economics text like mine, which is fairly unreadable, but the text comes with a study guide with exercises and problem sets, try using the study guide as your primary text and your textbook as the supplementary text, i.e., use the textbook if the study guide glosses over a concept.) After many failed attempts to wade through the text, I decided to go another route. I decided that I was going to take one for the team. I would be the martyr. I would do so poorly on the test that my fellow classmates would get a better grade. I am such a considerate classmate.

When the test actually came around, it was hard. The equations I had hurriedly memorized started to get muddled in my mind, and I found myself pressed for time as I tried to answer "definition" questions that were very tricky in terms of how the questions were worded. It didn't help that I had gotten very little sleep the night before.

After the test, everyone left the exam room complaining (which made me feel better). We had 4 hours before our next class, so what did we do? Some of us headed over to Margarita Jones, a local bar/restaurant, and another group headed over to the bar at the Radisson Hotel. Anyone who has read previous posts on this page should not be surprised. Alcohol plays a very large role in the MBA experience. I should mention that I did do my accounting homework BEFORE I headed over to Margarita Jones (pat myself on the back).

After accounting class, I headed home. When I got home, it was around 5:30 PM, and I decided to take a nap. I was awakened by the phone ringing, and when I looked at my alarm clock, it read, "7:45." The first thought that ran through my head was, "Oh no! I'm late for class! But why am I so tired? I don't think I can do this!" It took a while for me to register that it was 7:45 PM on the same day. If that isn't sad, pathetic, and indicative of how school has taken over my life, I don't know what is.

Today I had to help my brother move in to his dorm room at UC Riverside (UCR). It meant getting up at 6:00 AM, which is something I don't do on Saturdays. I haven't been around so many non-Marshall people in a while. I discovered the following things while at UCR:

1. A lot of people are retarded (so many inefficient people!).
2. Asian people are taking over the world (2 Asians for every non-Asian).
3. Young Asian girls tend to dress like skanks (I wanted to say to one girl, "Um, I think you forgot your clothes today. But you do have nice underwear.").
4. UCR has a pizza vending machine (they didn't have things like that in MY day).
5. UCR gives their students Microfridges (You know, those microwave/refrigerator combos that are the only appliances allowed in dorms. All the other schools I've been to made their students pay for theirs).

It was quite the educational experience. After heading back home, I conked out and slept from 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM. It felt soooo good.

Saturday, September 13, 2003
My First Game  
Today I volunteered at the Marshall tailgate party and attended my first ever USC football game. It was fun, but it was also really, really hot. It didn't help that the people in front of me were a bunch of tall undergrads who didn't save enough seats for their friends, which meant that they stood up the entire time, forcing me to stand up in order to see the field. So inconsiderate. We played the Hawaii Warriors, whom we trounced 61-32. When we reached halftime, the score was 31-6, so we decided to go home so that we could avoid traffic and study microeconomics. Are we nerds? Perhaps. Then again, our microeconomics midterm is next Friday, and very few people in the class understand what's going on. Most of us share the same thought: "I understood the supply and demand curves in Chapter 3. After that, ya totally lost me." I am going to attempt reading Chapters 6, 7, and 8 one more time. Here's hoping that I can stay awake.

Thursday, September 11, 2003
It's the Autumn Moon Festival  
Today is the Autumn Moon Festival. In case you don't know, Chinese people celebrate the Autumn Moon Festival every year by getting together with their families and sitting outside looking at the moon and eating "moon cake." There's a whole story behind it, but since I'm kind of iffy on Chinese mythology, I won't go into it. Today is also September 11, but you know all about that, so I won't go into that either.

On Wednesday, we had our first accounting quiz. It was pretty stressful. The test itself wasn't very hard, but preparing for it drove me nuts. I didn't think our accounting professor would try any trick questions, but I couldn't be sure. Having to think about "how many points do I have to get to score an A?" and "there are 3 CPAs in the class who could totally mess up the curve" just added to the anxiety. I was so worried about it that I didn't do any homework for my other classes, a decision that is starting to haunt me. Anyway, I think I did ok. Not great, but ok.

On a lighter note, I went to a "Dress for Success" workshop. Some of the things I learned were: build up your wardrobe one piece at a time, find a good tailor because 90% of people will need to alter their business suit, and that there are three types of attire: business professional, business casual "classic," and business casual "smart." Some of the info they provided was just common sense (don't show all your bling-bling on an interview and don't wear tons of perfume). Some of the other stuff was just extraneous stuff (the end of your suit sleeve should hit your thumb knuckle). While I did learn some new things, I think that the workshop was is not essential for people raised in the United States who have had work experience in a regular business-y office. However, if you were raised outside the United States or have never had a business-y job (e.g., software engineer whose daily wear consists of t-shirt and shorts), you should probably attend. In my personal opinion, I don't think you're going to get dinged that much for having a sleeve that's a 1/2-in too long or too short, but I tell you what will get you dinged: B.O. That's right. Body odor. I know this may be a foreign concept to some of you, but people, buy deodorant and use it. It can only work FOR you, never against you. Please. Buy some now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
We Are Family  
I had to call a bunch of alumni to see if they would be interested in participating in an event that we are hosting at Marshall. I was a bit worried that I would be received like a telemarketer (i.e., with annoyance), but everyone that I talked to was very nice and interested in the event. Although they may have answered the phone with a wary tone, they were very warm once I told them that I was a first-year at Marshall. It really brought home the fact that Marshall really emphasizes teamwork and giving back to the school. And it certainly makes me feel good knowing that the alumni are out there and happy to help current Marshall students.

I have an accounting quiz tomorrow. I'm starting to freak out about revenue and expense accounts. I better study now.

Sunday, September 07, 2003
Good Eats  
Today a bunch of Marshall students got together for some good dim sum in Monterey Park at a well-known restaurant called Ocean Star. It was very fun. Not everyone appreciated the "phoenix claw" (chicken feet) dish. Oh well, more for me, right?

Another interesting thing that happened today was that I made into the ranks of people who have received that fraudulent email about some businessman in Africa whose funds are tied up because of civil war or something and requests that I send my bank account number to the sender so that I can help this poor businessman access his money in return for a percentage of the money. I always get a kick out of getting really famous e-mail hoaxes. I'm weird that way.

It's Like Being in a Cult  
As an aside...On Friday, I went to a Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) get-together at a place called Beauty Bar Los Angeles. The place is essentially a bar with a feminine twist: they offer manicures, henna tattoos, and tarot card readings. Many women in my class were there, getting their martinis and manicures. Unfortunately, since I don't do anything daintily, my manicured nails are already looking a bit bedraggled.

Back to what I was saying about being in a cult. Yesterday I attended a Marshall tailgate party for the USC vs. BYU football game. The students had been boasting that the Marshall tailgate parties are the best at the school, and after going, I would have to concur. It was the biggest tailgate I saw on campus today, and there is plenty of food, beer, and music. There were tons of people there, from current Marshall students, to alumni, to even undergraduates. I was amazed by the sheer number of people dressed in USC colors that were swarming about campus, and even more amazed by the number of babies dressed in USC gear. I'm telling you, they are brainwashed from an early age. I met an alumnus who proudly told me that his kids hadn't "missed a single home game since they were two months old!" I'm telling you...the fanaticism of USC people is scary. Coming from a liberal arts college that is in Division III (by the way, we are tops in our Division), I must say that going to a football game at a Division I school is very, very different. At Williams, the marching band wore matching jackets and consisted of maybe 40 or so people. No one cared if they performed or not. At USC, the band is gynormous, and they have fancy uniforms. They perform twice on campus before heading to the stadium, and people actually gather and wait for them to arrive. It's like watching an episode of The X-Files when a bunch of abductees gather together to await the arrival of a UFO (except the USC people have a lot more fun than the abductees). When they finally arrive at their designated performance areas, people cheer and bounce to the beat and sing along (they know every word of the "Fight On" song) and do the whole "finger forming a V" waving thing. It was a little disturbing. And yet, it was fun at the same time.

I am, by nature, quite laidback and not into the whole cheering, "rah rah" thing, which is very big at my school. Lately I have been forced to be spirit-y and "go team!" and although I feel a bit dumb doing that, I've also come to think that it is a little fun to let yourself go and just scream at the top of your lungs for your school/team/whatever. Am I adapting, or am I slowly being sucked into the cult that is USC?

Friday, September 05, 2003
CRATs, CRUTs, and Q-Tips(?)  
We had to prepare a rough draft of our resume yesterday, so a bunch of us were talking about our previous work experiences before class. Two of my classmates, both of whom did some sort of financial planning, started talking to each other about CRATs, CRUTs, and Q-tips(sp?). It was like listening to two aliens conversing in another language. One person would spout off some gibberish, to which I could only respond with a "um, ok, whatever you say" nod, but the other person would start laughing and say, "Yes, I totally agree...the blah-blah-blah is the worst!" You get the picture. By the way, a CRAT is a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust. A CRUT is a Charitable Remainder UniTrust. I don't know what a Q-Tip is besides the usual cotton swab that is very useful for makeup and cleaning your ears (safety note: never stick the swab IN your ear canal, just around it. I don't wanna get sued.).

Today I have no classes, but does that mean I have a free day? NO WAY. After I go to the bank (my one errand), it is time for accounting. It is going to be a battle royale between me and my accounting book. That thing is so difficult to read, but I am determined to figure out which accounts I am supposed to debit or credit. I refuse to let it get the better of me!

TIP FOR MBAs: Once you get the various syllabi for your classes, take one hour to just input all of your assignments in your planner of choice (whether it be a calendar/task list on your computer, your PDA, or a good old notebook) in order of due date. There are just too many things to keep track of all at once, and it's too easy to forget an important assignment in the huge mass of things you have to do, especially if you are on a quarter-system and classes are really fast-paced. Trust me, the one hour you spend doing this will be worth it. It's way better than rummaging through five notebooks to find out what's due tomorrow or showing up to school and seeing the rest of your classmates slogging on an assignment you forgot.

Thursday, September 04, 2003
Busy, busy  
I like that Black-Eyed Peas song "Where is the Love." Not sure why. I guess I like it because it seems socially conscious and somewhat positive, which is a departure from the "angry" music I've been listening to lately.

Accounting is thoroughly kicking my butt. I tried doing homework for Chapter 3. I got every problem wrong. What a confidence booster. Those journal entries and income statements, man...

Monday, September 01, 2003
No Respite for the Shopaholic on Labor Day  
My school sent me an "Public Safety-Crime Alert" e-mail. Apparently, some robberies have taken place near school. The school told me to be careful about walking alone and not to walk around with my wallet sitting ostentatiously in my hand. Ah, the joys of studying in an urban environment.

Also, since it is Labor Day, I spent the day shopping, ignoring the fact that I should be on a student's budget. I bought two t-shirts that I absolutely love by BlackJack. They have cute little bunnies on them. One shirt says, "hey you make me throw up a little," which makes me think of one of my classmates who said that looks are not that important to her when it comes to guys: "As long as you don't make me vomit when I look at you, you're ok." The other says says, "it worries me how dumb you are." That is my personal motto! It's like the shirt read my mind! I also got a Roxy t-shirt and a flirty blouse-like thing.

I'm trying to expand my fashion horizons, since my wardrobe consists of old t-shirts I've had since high school, three pairs of jeans, and boring, ill-fitting work clothes. I figure that starting b-school is a bit like getting a new start in life, and a little self-reinvention is in order. Back when I was in school, I got in the habit of dressing in jeans all the time, and it always irritated me when people came up to me on the one day I would wear a skirt and ask, "Hey, what's the special occasion?" Geez. Why can't I wear a skirt if I feel like it? (Just because I've dressed like a boy up to now, people think they can make assumptions. Hmph. How dare they?) Now that I'm starting school with a fresh bunch of strangers who know nothing of my previous style (or lack thereof), I can start dressing with more feminine flair without dealing with annoying questions.

Before I forget, a big thank you to everyone who came to my b-day dinner, gave me presents, and/or called me with happy birthday wishes. I had an awesome birthday!

Time for me to log off, attack my business writing assignment, and inflict myself with the torture known as reading a business policy case. And, if I have time left over (ha ha ha), fun microeconomics and accounting homework!

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When I learn a new word, I'll put it here so you can learn too!

EBITAS (noun):
Abbreviation for "Earnings Before Income Tax, Amortization, and SGARA." Next week, find out what SGARA is.

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