Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

Monday Quick Links

March 22, 2010
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Of course the big news of the day is the passage of comprehensive health care reform by Congress and the Obama administration. CNN Money has an article up this morning addressing the impact of the bill on small businesses.

Business Week also takes a closer look at how the legislation impacts both the insurance and pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries. In particular, biotech/pharma scored a big victory in establishing 12-year patent protections for their products. The bill is also expected to introduce millions of new customers to the insurance market through a federal mandate to purchase insurance.

And in the short run, US stocks are up this morning on reaction to the bills’ passage.

In an exceedingly rare event, yields on bonds issued by Berkshire Hathaway fell below yields on US Treasuries. Bloomberg outlines the story, which essentially says investors now trust Warren Buffett more than they do Barack Obama to pay back their debt. The US’ AAA credit rating is also in danger.


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Spring Break Around the Corner

March 11, 2010
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It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a chance to update the blog! A quick review of what’s kept me from my blogging duties:

  • Planning and Control Systems midterm and kick off to our capstone project, ITEC
  • New Firm Finance midterm
  • 5 days in San Francisco including an interview at the company where I interned this summer: Genentech
  • New Firm Finance presentation
  • Supply Chain Practicum mid-point presentation
  • Investments midterm (probably one of the top 3 most difficult tests I’ve ever taken in my life)

Whew, I get a little worn out just looking what I’ve been through the last 10-12 days or so. But the reward is near because our Spring Break starts this weekend. We won’t be back in class until March 22nd. On the bright side, no class! On the not so bright side, no rest for the weary because I’ll be working on a research paper for our Practicum presentation in April.

However, after making it through this gauntlet, I know I’ll have more time for blogging in the near future, and I’m excited about some of the content I’ll have lined up before we graduate in May. Please keep checking back to see what I have in store!

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Monday Quick Links

February 1, 2010
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Onto another week of business, economic and tech-related happenings:

Barack Obama introduced his federal budget today, which included a record $1.56 T deficit. Most of the added debt resulted from stimulus spending last year to boost the economic recovery.

– More good news for the US economy as manufacturing expanded faster than at any point since 2004. Here’s hoping the jobs situation begins to recover next.

Citigroup is planning to sell off its private equity investment division. President Obama has begun to apply pressure on the financial industry to separate depository institutions from proprietary trading units to blunt risk in the system.

– Exxon Mobil reported a 23% slide in quarterly profit compared to last year. However, the energy giant still topped analysts expectations.

And Toyota has outlined a fix for the faulty gas pedals that caused them to recall millions of cars around the world.


November 25, 2009

Life is definitely moving in fast forward at this point. I now have less than 4 weeks left in my grand European adventure. Last weekend, a group of 8 of us headed to Amsterdam for a 3-day vacation to tour the city and check out the sites. Instead of giving a blow-by-blow of the trip though (which included trips to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank House and the Heineken experience, as well as lots of walking around the downtown area)… I thought I would instead share my impressions in relation to other cities I’ve lived in or visited. Amsterdam seemed to me an amalgamation of many other places.

Copenhagen: Obviously, Amsterdam is a European city, and like CPH has an intense focus on bike culture. I thought Copenhagen had many bikes, but Amsterdam takes the cake. But unlike Copenhagen, the bikes literally own the road. There aren’t as many designated bike lanes and so the bikes just kind of come and go as they please. I think every single person on the trip had a near death experience from stepping onto narrow streets into oncoming bike traffic. Big no no in Amsterdam. Also like Copenhagen, Amsterdam’s beautiful canals line the inner core of the city. They were stunning and yielded a number of great photos.

Beautiful city

San Francisco: I loved Amsterdam’s multiculturalism, and it definitely reminded me of San Francisco and the Bay Area. The city is more heterogeneous than Copenhagen, and it shows in the diversity of food (which was simply awesome), the shops that line the streets, and the sea of faces, both tourist and local, from all over the world. I heard many languages spoken: American, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, Indian, etc.

I Amsterdam

Portland: Like Amsterdam, Portland has the cold, wet winters and a fascination with bike lanes. But Portland is also the first city in America to open a legal cannabis dispensary here marijuana can be openly obtained and consumed on the premises. Of course, Amsterdam is world famous for its coffeeshops where any person over 18 can enter the store, purchase marijuana and smoke it right there in the store. Walking around the city, it was impossible not to notice the scent of weed wafting around from time to time. But on the surface, the Dutch don’t seem to mind, and in fact are taking measures to further regulate how the coffeeshops are run. Considering the desperate economic times in many American states, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the trend spread through more American cities (SF and Oakland, here’s looking at you).

More canals

In any event, it was a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable weekend in one of Europe’s finest cities. Highly recommended for other tourists.

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The 5 Guiding Principles of CBS

October 27, 2009
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I just ran across this video on the Facebook profile of one of my friends, and I thought it was worth sharing:

I recognize no less than four of those exchange students. Carolina (who starts the video), Edoardo, Grace, and Edward. Nice work guys.



October 26, 2009
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I’m happy to announce that I’ll have some company on this website pretty soon. Hal Lusk, another 2nd year MBA student from my class will be posting here from time to time here. Hal is a really sharp guy with a lot of interesting ideas, and he is going to make a fine edition to the blog. Knowing Hal, I’m sure his contributions will be thought-provoking and entertaining, and I’m looking forward to our interactions.

Welcome, Hal.

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My Residence

September 24, 2009
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A few days ago, I took an opportunity to briefly film the exterior and interior of my residence. Instead of attempting to describe further, I’ll let my narration and the videos do the talking. First the outside:

Then the inside:

Needless to say it’s been an experience in here so far.

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Summer Internship Overview

September 16, 2009
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Since my summer came to an end so quickly, I didn’t have much time to recap my summer internship experience. In lieu of writing out a long-winded response, I think this short video summarizing my time at Genentech will suffice:

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Introduction Week Highlights

August 27, 2009
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I’ve been a bit behind in updating the blog this past week because there has been another whirlwind of activity the last few days. Instead of covering every detail, here are a few highlights in no particular order:

Danish Culture and Economic System: We attended a one and a half hour lecture on several aspects of Danish culture on Tuesday morning. The most interesting takeaway from my perspective was the fact that the Danes have one of the lowest income inequality percentages in the world. In other words, they have a very large middle class where everyone shares the wealth. This happens because the Danes have tax rates well over 60%, resulting in a very strong federal government who manages everything from the education system to health care to public transportation.

And it’s highly effective. The subways are clean and run on time. The campus is beautiful, people are very happy with their health coverage. It’s a vastly different approach from America, and a highly enjoyable environment to live in.

Bicycles: One of those highly enjoyable activities is bike riding and walking everywhere. Because Copenhagen is such a small city, you can bike from end to end in under an hour and a half. I take my bike everywhere now: to campus, shopping, going out at night, dinners with friends. When I’m not riding, I walk. It’s a lifestyle I could certainly get into back in the States, but there are almost no truly bike friendly cities. It’s a shame too considering how much more exercise people get, and how much less damage they do to the environment in terms of carbon emissions.

The Campus and Schedule Nightmare: CBS has a wonderful campus. There are four main buildings, and they are architectural wonders in comparison to NC State’s all red-brick campus. Unfortunately, managing 15,000 students in four primary buildings makes for an administrative nightmare. The scheduling and class planning is extremely unorganized and creates a headache for a large portion of the students. Classes are scheduled on top of each other, and classrooms are constantly changing. Some people were dropped out of classes due to overbooking students in classes. It’s almost completely up to the student to find courses that fit their needs and their schedules. Many of the exchange students, including me, aren’t accustomed to this approach.

But it is pretty. Below is a picture of the interior of Solberg Plads:

The entrance of Solberg Plads

The entrance of Solberg Plads

Classes!: Next week I start my first classes. Even though I’m not taking all the classes I had originally intended to take due to scheduling conflicts, I’m excited. The schedule and approach to education is vastly different from America, and I’ll have more to say about that over the coming weeks.

Finally, after 10 days of meeting a few hundred people, absorbing a new culture, shopping for a new life, and running all over Copenhagen, I’m a bit exhausted. I tell people I talk to that 10 days has felt like 100 because of everything that’s happening. Tonight I’m learning Danish Folk Dancing, and tomorrow getting yet another tour of Copenhagen. It’s been a whirlwind so far, but I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

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Friday Afternoon Thoughts

August 21, 2009
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I finished my first “class” here in Denmark today, a Crash Course in the Danish language, basic vocabulary and conversational phrases. While Danish resembles English grammatically, mastering pronunciation is extremely difficult. There are three additional vowel sounds and the language isn’t spoken anything like it’s written, so it’s hard to gather phonetic clues from the words themselves. Nevertheless, it’s fun to go out and practice with friends and try to use some simple phrases with the locals. And it’s always fun to learn cool phrases in a foreign language, whether it’s Danish, French, German or Korean.

I’ve also had a chance to get to know more of the classmates here. While we’re a very diverse group in terms of age, background, and culture, we share a common desire: experiencing a culture different from our own and learning from each other. It’s almost surreal to think only 250 exchange students are here, and another 500 will arrive this weekend. And that’s on top of 14,000 local students who start classes with us next week.

The past 5 days have been intensely stimulating, trying to learn a new language, trying to learn everyone’s name, and trying to assimilate into a completely new environment. I’m looking forward to a break in the action this weekend before true orientation starts next week and classes the following.

As they would say here: Hej hej! Har en godt weekend.

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