Recently, I have often posted on specific topics (career, applications etc.), that I feel admits or applicants may not actually get a good feel for what life is like here. I do not intend to use this blog as a diary, as this would become quite repetitive, but it might be helpful to give an update on what life is like here in London once in a while. What have I been up to this weekend?
Saturday started off with our Cost Accounting midterm exam. They like to schedule our exams for Saturdays, apparently because there are not enough lecture theatres available during the week to accommodate all of us at once. The exam was hard and there was a lot of time pressure. I was happy though, because I find when exams are easy the results are much more unfair, because then professors subtract points for every little deviation from the ideal solution. On the other hand, in hard exams the normal distribution kicks in automatically and the professors do not need to force it onto the results. So I think it went well. Usually, I would head over to the Windsor, our closest pub, straight after the exam, but this time I had different plans.
MBAT is next week, and I realized that I need to buy new sports shoes! Some time last week, I started thinking about how old my Adidas running shoes actually were, and it hit me that I had bought them some time in 2001! It was shocking. Then I took a closer look at the shoes and was embarrassed I have been wearing them all the time, they were dirty and falling apart. Anyway, so I went with two classmates to a huge sports department store in the South of London, and bought new running shoes as well as football shoes, since I'm playing women's football at MBAT. I also helped my friend pick roller blades so we can go roller blading in Hyde Park together as soon as the weather gets better again. Then the other two checked out climbing equipment, since they are planning to climb Mont Blanc in June. We spent 2 or 3 hours there and only came back around 4pm.
Then, I went for a birthday party of a Croatian classmate. He lives with another Indian and one Turkish classmates of mine, and I hadn't spoken to them properly in months, since times have been hectic and we are in different streams, so I decided to go there and make sure I get to talk to catch up with some people, finally! They had nice Sangria and very good music - I even heard Rachid Taha at some point :-).
In the evening, most people headed over to school for the "SANZA (South Africa New Zealand Australia) - Party" hosted in the school, but I decided not to go. Instead, some of us went out for pizza close to Baker Street. After that , my day was still not over, instead I watched "the Goodfellas" on DVD with my husband. The film is okay, but I don't know why people (or should I say guys? ;-) ) rave about it. The guy seemed utterly stupid to me from the start and I was not surprised by how he ended. I think it would help some people to ask "why?" once in a while instead of being at awe about people who seem to have money that came from nowhere. Anyway, then I fell asleep :-).
I had to get up early today because my parents paid me a short visit. They came back from holiday in the US via London Heathrow and had about 6 hours between their flights, so they came into Paddington with the Heathrow Express and we met up. We walked towards Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill/Bayswater in the cold rain - welcome to London! We went to a nice Lebanese cafe - I think it is called Al fresco - and had hot tea to warm up and lovely hot mashed aubergine with chick peas and pita bread. Then we went for coffee and I brought them back to Paddington station. It was cold and rainy the whole time, but that was okay because I knew I had a lot of work to do for school. I'll be away for MBAT next week so I need to get everything done before we go to Paris.
First I had to do the Cost Accounting assignment on customer profitability due tomorrow morning. Despite the exam, we still have an assigment due Monday morning 9am. Luckily it was one of the easier ones, so it didn't take me too long. The previous ones have been a nightmare requiring a couple of hours of effort on a Sunday night, but this time luckily it was short. But that was offset by the nightmare that is our current Macroeconomics assignment. Because I missed one class and didn't do my reading at the beginning of the term, I missed all of the theory and formulas on capital accumulation, growth accounting, labour productivity and so on. Of course, the assignment covers exactly the topics I missed and consists of 8 questions requiring calculations, theory, application, everything. So I had to read a few chapters in our Macroeconomics book and did all the calculations, since this was the most straightforward part. I haven't answered the qualitative questions yet though, these will require some more thinking on my part.
Then I was hungry and went to Brick Lane in the East End with my husband. There was some Bangladeshi celebration going on and the streets were full of people and food stalls. We still decided to eat at our favourite place though - the Sweet and Spicy. We always order the same - Pilaw Rice, Karahi Gosht, Tarka Dal, Peshawari Nan (try this coconut bread if you haven't!!). Then we were stuffed and decided to walk to Moorgate instead of taking the tube at Aldgate East, thereby enjoying the stroll through the City.
Once home, I decided to do some more work, this time preparation for my internship though. I started reading "Options, Futures and other Derivatives" by John Hull. It is very well written and detailed, and I have high expectations to finally understand more than I currently understand in our Finance 2 class. I really need to prepare a little, because I believe I am one of the few people going into trading/structuring without any finance background and without any kind of quantitative background, so I have realized in recent weeks that it would help to get up to speed before I start.
(btw I have updated the post on impressions from the ibanking/finance job market, since the finance club has sent out and overview of who's going where. Not everyone filled it in, so again these are minimum estimates, but we have a great group of people going to the top ibanks and even quite a few people who landed jobs on the buy side, so things look great).
As you see now, after a few pages of the book I decided to call it a day though and thought I should write something here, because I probably won't till after the MBAT. I must say, living in London is very nice, and despite having to do some work for school on the weekends, it turns out there is still a lot of opportunity to explore London and socialize in between.