April 19, 2010

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

One Young World.

Have you heard or read about  this conference? It was dubbed the 'Young Davos' by many. Two months after I can clearly say it was a waste of time. What have we achieved by attending this conference? We passed resolutions, fair enough. But they were vague and had no teeth, and moreover, there is absolutely no way for us to actually enforce those resolutions where we live. We're not diplomats or politicians with power, not even powerful businessmen. We are young people with normal lives who compete in the race of life.

Seeing Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof and many, many others delivering stone piercing speeches was a great experience, not to mention honour! But the good motivation lasts a couple of months, maybe four at best. And then it dies, and once it dies, what have we got left? Nothing more than a gathering of people talking about this and that, with a lot of glitz and glam, but no results.

My internship journey (spoiler - bad ending)

Like the vast majority of my course mates, I have also embarked on the long and daunting journey of finding an internship for the summer of 2010. This cycle starts around September, when the application systems across all firms open, and companies and banks start their annual road shows. I have applied to numerous places, and got interviews all cross the board. Most of them got to the Assessment Centre stage, at which chances are supposedly 'high'. Didn't seem so to me - I got rejected from all of them post AC.

However, there is one case which puzzles me. My last Assessment Centre was with an Interdealer Broking Firm. Knowing it was my last chance, I prepared for it for weeks. On the day itself:

  • Arrived on time? Check.
  • Maintained a friendly attitude towards everyone? Check
  • Did well in the numericals? Check
  • Did well in the group exercise? Check
  • Did OK in the interview? Check

Before the day finished and I went home, one HR lady told me I was their favourite of the day, and they only gave me the last interview slot because they 'save the best for last'. Sounds good so far, no? I was told that within one week I'll get an answer on whether I got the job or not. Seeing as there were seven of us, only three of which were there for the internship, and who one of which told me he basically failed the numerical. The odds were fifty fifty. The next few days were restless, I was always near my mobile phone, expecting a phone call from HR telling me wither good or bad news.

Come Thursday morning (three days after the AC), I got an email from graduate recruitment. I got rejected. Oh no, I thought to myself, what have I done wrong to be rejected by email. This is worse than having your girlfriend break up with you using SMS. I immediately called them and asked for feedback. This was 8.30. The HR lady told me that the person that handles my application is not in the office, and will be back only on Monday. Talk about good life, Thursday morning, and she won't be back by Monday.

Monday morning, 10.30, I pick up the phone and dial. HR picks up, I introduce myself and ask for feedback. Feedback from HR:

  • Trading Simulation (numerical #1): 14/18, 'very good score'.
  • SHL (numerical #2): 98% (!!!) percentile, 'excellent score'.
  • Group Exercise: 'you did very well, might have been a little stressed, but performed well nevertheless'
  • Panel Interview: 'the interviewers were not sure whether you're suited more for trading or broking'

At this stage I paused listening and asked her 'what was it in the things I have said, that made them doubt my suitability?'. She said that since it wasn't her who interviewed me, she can't help me there. She added that they are 'very experienced' interviewers. Wow, experienced interviewers couldn't tell whether I'm suited for one job or another, that's talent right there.

Israel, the holy land and Easter

I flew back to home #1, Israel, to visit my family for Passover (Christian's Easter for Jews). Last time I've been to the place was 8 months ago, time sure flies when you're abroad. The large gaps between my visits allow me to see progress and changes this country is going through. It's developing very rapidly, in every visit I see a new shopping mall or a highway - it's a great achievement. Only a few days ago, whilst sitting in my grandmother's small orchard garden I smelled the smell of blossom from the orange trees, this is the definite smell of childhood for me. It sent me back years, all the way to kindergarten and primary school. Things have changed so much since. My primary school was situated in a kibbutz (an early form of settlement), and had no fences - practically we could go anywhere without anyone worrying something will happen. That type of freedom and security no longer exists today, it seems like the innocence has gone away.

To be continued...

January 09, 2010

Some thoughts (Happy New Year by the way)

Happy 2010 everyone! I hope the Economy will finally get back on track, it looks promising so far.

I'm currently sitting in a lobby of a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The temperature outside is 33 degrees Celsius. I am not supposed to be here - the bad weather condition back in the United Kingdom made it hard for the Brits to deal with the snow, ice and all, and as a result they cancelled many international flights, mine amongst them. British Airways representatives told me that it's 'the season' now, and the only next flight they are able to put me on will depart in no less than three days from the date of the flight I was supposed to be on originally. The funny thing is that the plane that was supposed to fly us back to London never actually left the UK, so BA had plenty of time to notify passengers on that flight that it was cancelled. But stupidity costs - instead they had to book expensive hotel rooms (all the cheap ones were already booked) for ~70 passengers, including cab and dining vouchers. Ouch.

The time I spent here made me think: is working hard to get into a good university, getting good grades, finding the ultimate job, and embarking on a successful career path worth all the time we have invested in it? Imagine each year of you life had a monetary value, with 18-28 being the most 'expensive' ones. It goes even deeper, each year's value is priced according to the time you have spent enjoying and taking care of yourself - for example laughing, sitting on the beach during sunset, playing volleyball, skiing, going on vacation with the wife, meeting new people, travelling, etc.  What would have a higher value: the traditional route of study, work and settle down, or the route many people in Brazil take - take every day as it comes without planning too much?

It's true you may not be 'successful' according to the norms of the western society, but if you're happy, healthy and have food to put on your plate every day, does it even matter? You will have much more time to accumulate experience which will result in a 'higher price' of your youth years if you were to use your time to do things such at the ones I mentioned above. The constraints on time imposed by routines such as going to high school, studying at uni and subsequently starting to work leave less time for you to accumulate 'value adding' experiences to your youth years. The word 'alegría' (happiness in Portuguese) is not identified with the elite socioeconomic layer here, it's how the poor define their life.

I would love to comment more on this, but I've got a plane to catch. Let's hope BAA will get their act together and I'll be able to expand this entry from my room tomorrow.


November 08, 2009

A night at the Roxbury

Having attended the local Roxbury, I can't help but feeling things have changed. The night wasn't brilliant, to say the least.

Sometime it makes me think whether my attributes are as good as they used to be, but then again - why bother with useless analysis.

As a result, I am starting a new strict personal regime. Results should be acknowledged by week 9, just in time for the end of term.

p.s If you have not understood anything I have written here - don't worry, it's meant to be that way.

September 26, 2009

HTC Leo / Touch HD2

Writing about web page http://ai.rs/2009/09/htc-leo/

HTC Leo. Although it hasn't been confirmed by HTC yet, it seems like it is due to launch on O2 soon (October).

I honestly can't wait to get my hands on this beauty: the new 1Ghz Qualcomm MSM 8260 processor coupled with the latest Manila TouchFlo 3D shell will most likely blow the iPhone away.


August 23, 2009

Hello World!

Welcome to my newly created blog!

Updates to follow soon.

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