A foreigner's MBA (and related) adventures in the "Big Apple"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sleeping pill

It’s almost 2 am in the morning and I can’t sleep. I thought that maybe some writing could help me out. First I thought about reading some stuff about calls and puts…that would definitely work… but that is more than I can take now. Sweet November with Keanu and Charlize is on now and that was my second option … and I guess that it would have also worked. But I have finally decided to write something.

Today it’s been a fun day. Recap: (a) I have asked a pretty intelligent question about multiple regression during the stats class (I can’t believe it yet….); (b) firms & markets class is over (and the final exam is coming next Monday); (c) I have been able to schedule an informational with a guy at a big media conglomerate; (d) I have attended a very interesting panel on film producing and financing; (e) I have had a very nice dinner with a friend who is visiting from London (and I have tasted the buffalo shrimps and some Alaskan crab fish claws for the first time); and (f) I have drunk my first cosmopolitan in NY (and it has reminded me of big fun days with my buddies a few months ago when we were kind of mad about this drink).

The next big point is the apartment you already know about…..yeeeeeeeeessssss!!! There is an apartment…sorry, not an apartment but the apartment! After a long and tiring search my two future flat mates and myself have been able to find an affordable nice place. We have reached an agreement with both the landlord and the broker and we will be meeting on Sunday to close the deal. Three nice bedrooms, amazing living room, recently refurbished, good location in the East Village and only 15 minute-walk from school. The opening party will definitely become one of the year’s events (being modest…..) if we don’t face any last moment problems with landlord and/or NYU housing ….

Before going to bed (this writing thing seems to work), some philosophy. The other day a friend and I commented on a very important topic: smooching (yep, I learnt the word recently and I had to use it). Why are NY girls so concerned about smooching in public? Open minded for some “other” stuff but so strict about smooching in a club. When it first happened to me I thought I had just met a shy girl. However, many guys (non-Americans, mainly) have gone through the same stuff. It’s weird, at least in the country where I come from. Is kind of funny if you think about it, though. It’s like behaving “properly” in front of people you don’t know at all. It reminded me of a Pride & Prejudice kind of society…. From now on, maybe we should refer to things such as “I got acquainted with her yesterday”. It’s not about romance and stuff. It’s just, I don’t know….weird, isn’t it?


Friday, November 24, 2006


Corn and shrimp soup, turkey and its stuffing, apple pie…damn, I am so full right now that I cannot sleep. Maybe typing some words will help me out a little bit. I have just celebrated my first Thanksgiving. Nothing special to be mentioned, though. I have just gone out for dinner with a couple of friends to a place down in Bleecker St. The food was great and although none of us was particularly hungry it was kind of mandatory to have the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

The city has been really quiet all day and still remains so. A lot of people are out of town, most of the stores, shops and restaurants are closed and, in addition to that, it’s been raining all day. New York is not New York today. It’s a little bit of a ghost city. It has reminded me a lot of New Year’s day three years ago when I came over for Christmas holidays with two friends. It was my very first time in New York and, after the craziness of the previous days, walking around the empty pavements of Broadway and 5th Avenue on January 1st morning felt weird.

No party tonight. Time to take some rest. I will appreciate it tomorrow since I am planning to go shopping to Soho and the Village to take advantage of the so called Black Friday. Apparently I may be able to find good deals… I went out yesterday and it was a great night out. Following a tasty dinner – which included 3 bottles of red wine for the 7 of us and that’s why by the time we left the place I was pretty tipsy – at an Argentinean restaurant located in the Lower East Side (I must highlight that for the first time in weeks we had a majority of girls – good fun and pretty ones, actually – in the group) we headed to the East Village where beers, tequila shots and spirits helped us to stick around until around 4 am. Very good fun, a little flirting among everybody and unfinished stories (i.e. do not know their end by now)…There were suggestions for an after party but that will be next time. Anyway, we will be resuming our night out schedule tomorrow and also on Saturday. It’s easy to predict already: I will be trashed on Monday, as usual.

The turkey and the apple pie are not complaining that much now so I guess it’s time to go to bed. Ah, Thanksgiving…. Ciao

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The “other” search

I am not gonna speak about the job search. That’s a tough one, needless to say. However, I am now fully involved in another search: the apartment search. I won’t say it’s tougher but it’s damn hard.

As I have already pointed out in some other posts, I am fed up with my on-campus housing. Leaving in a small room, having breakfast and dinner on my desk or just on my feet is not the best thing. It’s even worse when you stop and think about the fact that you’re spending 1600 a month in rent.

I guess my previous years immediately before coming to NY have an influence. I used to share an apartment with friends and the time that I had was just awesome. Leaving just by myself is not feasible: first because I already lived on my own for 6 months three years ago and in the end I did not enjoy it that much (although it’s clear that it has its perks); and secondly, because I can’t afford it.

The search is already undergoing. The new “Friends apartment” (as some of my friends used to call it following one of my favorite series) may be a reality soon. Today I have visited four apartments, two in Soho and two in the East Village. All of them were pretty good but the ones in the East Village were far better, fully refurbished, with a nice living room to fit a couch, table, big tv, etc and with rooms big enough for a queen bed and a desk. Price: less than 1600 a piece – including utilities, cable and internet – for each of the three of us who are thinking about moving in together.

One of my future flat mates is now in London interviewing with investment banks but hopefully on Monday we will be able to start with the application process. That’s gonna be a tough battle too: credit check, social security number, guarantors….these are the things landlords request and we have none of them so paying upfront a number of months (as much as 6!)may be our only alternative…or may not even be sufficient. We’ll see. I just can’t stop thinking about moving into a real home. I guess my friends who may (hopefully) be visiting in the future will be willing to see a closed deal.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a big day in the US. Most of the people are out of town for a long weekend but I have decided to stay. Walking around, watching movies, catching up with a couple of courses….And of course going out tonight! I don’t know if I will be eating turkey for dinner but it will be good fun for sure.


Sunday, November 19, 2006


I’m not in the mood to write a lot tonight. It’s nearly 330 am, I’m tired, I’m around 90 bucks poorer than a few hours ago and I’m pissed off. It’s been my worst night in NY so far. I guess that I also have to account for shitty nights like this. Iit’s part of the story too, even if I don’t like it.

Before coming to NY my friends and I used to talk about the outfit to wear on a particular night before going out. You gotta know the rules and play the night-game according to them. Some indie nights are for t-shirts and sneakers whereas some posh nights are for shirts and shoes. I do not like wearing shoes in my leisure time but I do know that if I wanna make it into certain places I have to wear them. Same with the rest of my outfit. What you cannot do is playing any game with your own rules and trying to win always. Clubs’ regulations and bouncers are tough opponents and it must be said that, one way or another, most of the times – if not always – they do win.

Tonight was gonna be a great night out. We had not gone out yesterday, some friend’s friends were visiting….it was the kind of night where you do really want to have a great time. I was a little worried about expectations since it’s kind of a Murphy’s law that the higher the expectations the worse the outcome. And that is exactly what has happened tonight.

We have started with a great dinner at an Italian restaurant in Meatpacking. Before leaving the restaurant we just approached a group of girls who were celebrating a birthday to invite them to come over with us for a drink…very friendly and stuff but they wouldn’t give us the time. Fair enough. So far so good. The night had just started.

After a quick drink in a bar nearby we have headed over to a party close to the Plaza Hotel, in the surroundings of Central Park. The place looked great; pretty posh, though. And on owr way in problems just started. Some of my friends were not let in b/c they were wearing sneakers. Although we tried the persuade the bouncer he wouldn’t let them in. I kind of expected this problem, I had told my friends a few hours ago about wearing sneakers but they insisted on the fact that they were not sneakers….whatever…, they looked like that and you cannot argue with the bouncer whether your sneakers are or are not sneakers. In the end we all left the place not to leave a few of the guys on their own . Then a kind of pilgrimage around NY started, jumping from one place to another, taking cabs, wasting money and being more and more pissed off as time was going by.

After so much shit I have ended up having what a friend claimed to be NY’s best pizza….which was not by far. Just a few word to picture this moment, the very first one I have been so annoyed in NY. Well, it has taken me 4 months to be pissed off, though, so it’s not such a bad record. I just hope it will take at least another 4 months to replicate this moment.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Back in NY

It’s been a little bit more time than expected since the last post. I’d have loved to write a little earlier, still from Cali, but I had no time and I am writing, as it’s becoming usual in NY, once I have arrived at my place after partying a little bit. It’s almost 3 am and I’ve been at the birthday party of two friends in Meatpacking. The place was good, full of Sternies –mainly second years – with few people from “outside”. I have had the chance to meet a girl that reminded me a lot of Carrie Bradshaw. Yes, the real New Yorker thing…although she was from San Diego. She’s given me her phone number but, you know, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything in NY. The funny thing is that the situation has transported me for a few minutes to a Sex and the City episode. And now that I write about it I recall those Sundays with my buddies before coming to the US where, after having partied hard both on Friday and Saturday night, we devoted the whole day to watch Sex and the City episodes one after another with certain green, stimulant and relaxing stuff running through our veins.

The week has been tough, mainly b/c I have been tired most of the time. I arrived back in NY from LA on Monday at 6 am after a red-eye flight.

The trip to LA was great, by the way. Although Stern was not able to win the UCLA tournament we had a great time. The environment within the team was great, we had fun, we laughed at each other, we went out for dinner, we went out for drinks and I even had time to have a crush on a Massachusetts girl…just temporarily! On my way back, my pace was completely changed and until today I have not feel good at all.

Another week has gone by and the final exams are only a month away. However, thanksgiving break is just a few days far. I wanted to go on a trip but in the end I have decided to stay in NY to try to enjoy the city a little bit in the daylight, not just going out. I have been here for a few months and I have not had the chance yet to stroll around Central Park or to have a quiet walk around the Upper East Side or Soho. And it’s this kind of stuff what I want the most right now.

I am going to bed now. Fortunately tomorrow I have no events or presentations to attend so I will try to catch up a little bit with accounting and stats. I really need to do so.


Friday, November 10, 2006


The title of this post couldn’t be more self explanatory. Yes, as anticipated, I’m in California. I’m in the L.A. area, in particular in Seal Beach, a town in the Orange County, or, the O.C. so to say (right, the place where the tv series takes place).

I arrived yesterday after a pretty chaotic trip. At around 3 pm I was going mad waiting at the security check in Newark airport looking at my watch every single minute and wishing that the 330 pm Continental airlines flight did not depart on time. At 315 pm I was running across the terminal building. At 317 pm I arrived by the boarding gate, breathing uncomfortably, and asked a woman whether the gate was already closed. It was, actually, but due to a delay, fortunately. There was a 15 min delay….however, in the end, those 15 min turned out to be 3 hours. I made it in the end, though. By 10 pm local time I was in L.A. and my friend Carlos and his wife Vega – both just moved in LA – were waiting for me at the airport. I’m staying at their place in Seal Beach. They’re treating me great, actually! It’s great to see your friends after some time at the other side of the world…

Today has been great. It started pretty early after some good sleep and with an interview of the phone with the head of human resources of a very big media conglomerate located in Burbank. I tried to get a proper informational but it was not feasible in the end. However, the phone call was smooth and I was pretty happy to hear the “right” answers to most of the questions that I posed (e.g. internationals are hired, no previous media background required…).You know, I am in California and, in addition to having some fun, doing some work was necessary…

The day continued with a great tour around L.A. with Vega: financial district, El Pueblo, Great Market (guys, you gotta try Tamarindo, an amazing drink that I had never had before!!!), Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, Mullholand Drive, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive…. Lots of pics and a great feeling and emotion about being in L.A. Then back to Seal Beach where Carlos has joined us for dinner and then a couple of drinks in Gaslam…a place halfway between Seal Beach and Long Beach. What a place! It has reminded of the big bars that you see in some American movies, with two big bars, lots of people drinking and dancing and lots of chicks!! I was feeling like staying to mess around for a while but tomorrow is also gonna be a big day: Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Malibu, Venice…the beach day! And this stuff is definitely more important than just looking for a hook-up.

Tomorrow the remaining of the Stern soccer team is arriving from NY for the UCLA cup. I will join them late in the evening. At that point the second part of this trip will start. If somewhere in-between we manage to make it into a UCLA college party, then this trip’s “experience” will be complete!

Anyway, I’m going to bed now. I couldn’t help but listening to Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys while writing this post. I couldn’t think of anything more Californian…More stuff to follow soon!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post midterm blues

Hell, it’s been three weeks since the last post. I am sorry but life has been hectic in here. Midterms are now over and the pace is slightly slower although, unfortunately, work never ends.

The midterms are over and I am relieved. I can’t say I’m happy, though. I feel like I have worked quite a lot so far during this term but the exams were not that good. It’s not that I had Cs or stuff. Just Bs and B+s. The normal distribution system used to grade in the US is convenient for average workers and underperformers. It’s pretty easy to get a B. On the contrary, getting an A or a C is pretty tough. I have finally decided to strictly stick to some of my friends advice prior to coming to Stern and I am gonna focus on learning and experiencing. I don’t give a damn about the grades anymore. I am not gonna work as hard as I have just to have a slight possibility of getting an A. The MBA experience, as I said in one of my first posts, goes beyond the academics and time is valuable in terms of job search/networking and leisure.

Apart from that, life keeps going well. I have had the chance to party hard this last weekend. Three days in a row, including my first (probably not last) visit to Marquee, the fanciest club in town at the moment. It happened last Friday, following a dinner at a BOYB (bring your own beer) place in the west village with my study group to celebrate one’s birthday. Then we headed over to Marquee. Marquee’s policy is clear: you need the same number of guys and girls to get in (paying cover, of course). Since we didn’t meet the criterion (4&2) we had to buy a bottle for the six of us… and it reminded me of a similar experience that I had once at Pacha, Ibiza, with my buddies: $390 bucks on my credit card at the end of the night (tip included – the waiter did not work in London….only a few of you will understand this) or a balance of $65 each, which is not a bad deal taking into account that we paid no cover. The place is worth seeing: nice venue, great music and amazing chicks… As my friends would say in a nutshell: celebrities!!!!!

It’s almost 1 am and I still have to go through the video of today’s finance class since I didn’t understand a shit of what was going on. I really have to get this done today b/c tomorrow I am leaving NY for four days. Destination: L.A., California.

Yes, I have had to wait to get close to my 30s to make it to the west. I can’t wait. Stern soccer team is playing a tournament against other biz schools at UCLA (similar to what we did in Yale, New Haven, some weeks ago) as of Saturday morning. I am leaving a little earlier to try to network and to try to get a couple of informationals with two companies over there. For the first two nights I will stay at some Spanish friends’ place who just moved into the US last July: Long Beach sounds just great. On Friday I will join the rest of the team, which is flying from NY early in the morning.

So I’m finishing now. I will definitely try to write a post from California, just to state what it feels like to be there. I can already kind of feel it…and it feels really good!