Sunday, November 30, 2008


I can't believe this incredible year is coming to a close so quickly. We had our Cabaret event, with incredible hilarious student skits, and some really great memories about the past year. Here are a few of the videos... including an incredibly funny Mac vs PC (or iNsead vs HBS) themed commercials...

iNsead vs. HBS - Language

iNsead vs. HBS - Out of the Box

iNsead vs. HBS - iTravel

It's Nine in the Afternoon Lip-Sync

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's in my Wallet?

Just got back from my trip to Geneva / London for a VC conference. You know you're from INSEAD when you can act as a one-man money changer! This is a real snapshot of what was in my wallet today: (top to bottom)

US Dollars, British Pounds, Swiss Francs, Cambodian Riels, Malaysian Ringgits, and Singapore Dollars. And that's just the currencies I used within the past 2 weeks...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Movie stars at the VC Conference in Geneva?

Not sure if the MBA has shortened my attention span, or if this conference is a bit too long-winded, but I'm typing this post out in the middle of the conference! Good thing wifi is free.

The funniest thing about this conference is that we have a host that looks/sounds like the manager from the Office (Steve Carrell's character), and he can't read people really well, which has lead to sadly hilarious problems, and there's a presenter that looks and sounds like Alan Alda...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Angkor Wat

From Angkor Wat

Blogging from the road... now in London Heathrow, on my way to Geneva. Just got back from a weekend at Siem Reap / Angkor Wat. It was an incredible experience, travelling with my classmates for a weekend. It was the first time I've been to a country where everything for tourists ran on USD. Restaurant prices were quoted in dollars, not the local currency. Anything that you buy, would be based on dollars. The only time you might receive local currency is if the price was like $4.50, then you'd receive local bills for change.

Cambodia is a poor country, if not one of the poorest in Asia, but you really see an entrepreneurial class developing. Our very nice boutique hotel was $56/night... and that was for a HUGE room. The basic room was $30/night. Meals at nice restaurants would be $5-7 per dish. The infrastructure is clearly developing, and seeing young kids selling things at the major temples is a bit disconcerting when they should be in school, but I had the impression that tourism was really a major force in developing the economy. A lot of Asian budget carriers are flying into Siem Reap, which really is a small town, and there's a hotel boom that's happening. And all the accessory things, like spas, restaurants, entertainment, are developing around this.

It's all an amazing change from the 70-80's, where the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnam war created a lot of trauma for the people living here. There are still landmines being cleared here, and you can see victims playing for these "landmine victims bands", playing traditional music for money. Even our guide was telling us stories about how he and his family used to survive in the jungle during the Khmer rouge era. It's amazing for me to think about his experience, from surviving in the jungle, to now, a grandfather, seeing his kids/grandkids grow up safely, earning a decent wage from being a tour guide, exposure to so many foreign tourists, and having very good English skills.

Would definitely recommend a visit to Angkor Wat/Siem Reap... friendly people, amazing history and temples, and your tourism dollars can go directly to improve the economy of this amazing country.

Photos are, as always, up on picasa.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Monsoon Ball 2008

From Monsoon Ball

I don't normally go to these types of events, but Monsoon Ball is the last big social event for our class, and I'm really glad that I went, because it was completely fun. They had rented a whole lobby of a hotel, there was an outside patio with snacks, 2 rooms with music, dancing, and lounging areas. Monsoon ball was a campus-wide ball, including staff, current students, and alumni that were visiting for Meeting in Asia Alumni event. The official dress code was "black tie", but national dress was highly encouraged. So, lacking a Chinese suit, and not wanting to sweat it out with a shirt, jacket and tie in the tropical heat, I went to the nearby touristy shops in Holland Village and found this great Chinese style jacket. best part: No ironing required! And, not too expensive, S$50, or about US$35

It was so much fun to see all my classmates dressed up for the evening, and the different hybrid national dresses, like seeing an English guy wear a Indian Kuta, or a Taiwanese girl wear a Chinese cheong saam, but made from Indian sari material.

Photos are posted at:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lots of upcoming trips

Hard to imagine that I'm almost done, but I've been a good student and haven't done too much travelling in the region, because I didn't want to miss my classes. But, now that I'm almost finished and planning to leave the region, I need to finish up my travelling. I'm excited, the following trips are coming up:

Nov 14-16: Cambodia / Angkor Wat
Nov 17-22: Geneva for a VC conference (courtesy of my summer internship VC firm)
Dec 5-7: Possible trip to New Delhi/Agra to see the Taj Mahal and meet up with my former collleagues from the US
Dec 22-28: Penang/KL (no, not my initials, but Kuala Lumpur)
sometime in January: Return back to the US