Wednesday, October 31, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #166] Follow-up

Just a little more detail about my US trip for those who want to see me.

I will be in Miami from 16-21 Feb.  I'll be staying with my parents in SoBe.  Rankows, I would like to make sure I see you while I am there!

I will be in New York 22 Feb - 02 Mar.  So New Yorkers, make suse I see you in that time span.  David/Todd, I was thinking of shacking up with you boys on the weekends - Schnookums has already agreed to host me in the week - that OK?

And apropos of nothing, go out and buy this month's National Geographic.  I subscribe to it, so get it every month, but this month there is an article about memory that is, literally and not the slang, awesome.

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK

http://www.friendster.com/shaunism
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[The Life of Shaun #165] New flatmate!

Mary Keany moved in tonight, two days late, in true Mary Keany style.  And in true Murphy's Law style, the lift was broken, so we had to trudge her six suitcases up to the third (fourth in Yankee) floor.  But neveryoumind, she is here, 1/6th unpacked, and it's great to have her here.

In other news, I've had a productive day of travel planning; I bought a weekend package in Istanbul for the end of January (better hope that bubbling little war thing with Iraq doesn't go anywhere...) and I've reserved flights for my trip back to America in Feb - a week in Miami with my family, including two new niece(s)/nephew(s) by then, and then I am going to be in New York for a week working from Morgan Stanley's 1 New York Plaza building.  Cool they are are letting me do that so I can spend a week in each rather than half - that will be nice.

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know I have company again - the bachelor nights were great, but I am happy to have more life at home.

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK

http://www.friendster.com/shaunism
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Thursday, October 25, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #164] Empty

Natasha and Chris moved out yesterday and it definitely feels a little empty here at Rosebery Court.  It really was such an odd feeling saying good-bye as Natasha left in the morning.  It's like we had this "moving to London" experience, and now it's just life.  That's not a bad thing at all - we're both in great places right now and have exciting years ahead of us.  But that experience is definitely over and it's not easy to let go of it.  Still, what a fantastic 2+ years it's been, and it's always good to leave the party while everyone's still having a good time.

But it is sad to come home to a flat without them.

I will enjoy a few days of bachelor life while I have it and look forward to Mary Keany moving in on Sunday and bringing some more life into the flat.  I am excited about sharing "my London" with her and to be a part of her experience moving here, and seeing how that is from an old hat perspective.  I'm also gonna do my best to have her secondment become a relocation.

That's the news from this side of the pond - hope all is well where you are.

xo,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK

http://www.friendster.com/shaunism
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Friday, October 19, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #163] Shaun in print!

I had my first quotes in a major British newspaper today! (My first was quote in a major newspaper ever was my recommendation of Pongsri Thai in New York - that one had a picture as well!) A classmate of mine, Ajay, was asked to give a quick interview to the Times about doing well on the GMAT; he demurred and recommended me, so I had a quick five-minute chat this Monday and my [slightly transcribed] quotes were printed today - article follows below!

I am dropping Mandarin. It's. Just. So. Hard! If I had more time to study, that'd be fine, but I just don't have the time to give it. I can't do both it and German and I really want to continue with German, so Mandarin's going by the wayside. Still, I gave it the college try! So a few fun nights with my friend Lottie, £90 donated to continuing education - not so bad in the long run.

Had drinks with some old classmates tonight as well as some of the new class. I am sure every class likes to think they are special, but I see how they all interact with each other and how we all did and do - it's not the same. Perhaps they just need more drinks. And Poland - that did us all well.

My trainer at work leaves back to New York tomorrow morning so I am officially independent now - look for a falling MS stock price soon!

Cheers,
Shaun


Times Online Logo 222 x 25

From The Times
October 18, 2007

How to... handle the GMAT

It will come as no surprise that the Boy Scouts' motto provides the answer to doing well on the GMAT: be prepared

Carly Chynoweth

Top business schools consider a number of factors when assessing MBA candidates, including references, work experience and undergraduate results. Many also want to know how applicants score in the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Here's how to approach it:

1. Understand it. The GMAT has three parts: analytical; quantitative; and qualitative. The first is two essay-style questions while the others are multiple choice. They are also computer adaptive, so if you're doing well the questions get harder and if you're struggling they get easier.

2. Do it while university is fresh in your mind. If you are recent graduate who plans to do an MBA soon, it's worth sitting the GMAT now, says Judy Phair, a vice-president of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which runs the GMAT. The score is valid for five years and you'll have the advantage of doing it while your brain is in test-taking mode.

3. Practice. "Every time I took a practice test my score got a little higher," says Shaun Coley, a recent graduate of Cass's MBA course, who scored 700. "And it allows you to get familiar with the exam," says Ben Baron, the head of graduate preparation programmes at Kaplan. "There shouldn't be any surprises on test day."

4. Structure your learning. Use practice tests to assess your strengths and weaknesses and tailor your preparation accordingly, Phair says. "It has to be intelligent practice," Baron says. "You have to understand all the components and you have to study the right things." Don't get so hung up on the maths part that you find yourself studying advanced algebra texts – the quantitative questions are about logic, analysis and problem-solving, so the underlying maths needed is quite basic.

5. Different strokes. Don't be put off if the first preparation book or course you look at doesn't suit your learning style. "I started preparing with one big company's approach and it didn't work for me," Coley says. "When I swapped to another one I found that it worked and I got better scores in the practice tests."

6. Take advantage of free things. The starting point is www.mba.com, says Matt Tillett, the MBA guide editor for Hobsons. It offers free GMATPrep software, which includes two practice tests, for download.

7. Consider paying for help. "The advantage of taking a course is that it will give you structure and make sure that you put all the hours in," Tillett says. "But make sure that it is a legitimate test-preparation company," Phair says. "If a company tells you that it has real, current GMAT questions it's either lying or breaking the law."

8. Get your timing right. Monitor how long you take on each question in the test. "You need to pace yourself because you can't go back to questions," Phair says. "And people who finish the exam tend to do better."

9. Be canny. If you don't know an answer, eliminate the clearly wrong answers then chose from what's left, Tillett says. Baron suggests that if it's a maths problem bothering you, try plugging in real numbers rather than jumping straight into algebra; alternatively, you can "backsolve" – where you work backwards from the answer choices available.

10. It's not the end of the world. If you're not happy with your results, you can resit the test – you can take it up to five times a year. Your three most recent valid scores are given on your report.

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--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK

http://www.friendster.com/shaunism
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #162] A check-in

An amazing amount of stuff is going on right now - it seems so odd that there's really nothing to tell.  Work is good, getting better; I have to admit the first few weeks I was wondering if I had made a mistake accepting this job, but the last three weeks have been good and I am enjoying it there a lot more.  We're out of the Lehman Brother's building with the gorgeous view and back in the HQ building Monday - sad about that.  My "trainer" leaves back to New York on Friday so I will be on my own soon - ack!

I cannot believe how difficult Mandarin is.  The grammar is easy as pie, but the pronunciation is impossible.  This is an actual sentence in Mandarin:  mà ma má má ma mà.  And the vocabulary is just not sticking;  after four weeks I still can't tell you how to say "very" off the top of my head.  In all fairness I haven't been studying, but in all fairness to that, I have no time!  Still, I am enjoying it, and it's great to know I will see my friend Lottie regularly.

German is fab, as German always is, though a bit slow for my preference.  But the others in the class haven't had it before, and seeing how much trouble I am having with Mandarin, I have sympathy for them.

So, all in all, super busy, but nothing to report on so much.  My eMailing's become slack since I can't check it at work and am sometimes not home till 22:00 (German nights).  But wanted to check in with everyone.

Oh!  Two trips on the books - and you know how much I love having trips to look forward to.  I bought myself a trip to Berlin at the end of November for my XX bday present to myself, going to Middlesbrough in December with some Cass classmates (for the same reason I went to Canberra and Cleveland...) and will be spending New Year's Eve in Lisboa.  Miami & New York come in February.  My friend Mary Keany, who's over here for work for 6-24 months, wants to do some travelling too, so I expect to get to Africa and the Middle East in 2008.  Yikes!  All these plans - I better make sure I do a good job at work and don't get laid off!

Apropos of nothing, some interesting things I learned watching a show on immigrants to Britain:
  • London is growing by 100,000 people a year (and this doesn't include the Home Counties)
  • As a group, Americans give the most to Britain financially; we pay £280/week in income taxes and NI contributions.  Canadians and South Africans come in after us.  The average British-born parasite pays £133.  Somalians pay the least, about £60, just down the ladder from Pakistanis.
  • Poles work the most hours per week, followed by the Yankees.  The British are surprisingly content with watching Maury Pauvich, Trisha and Jerry Springer in the afternoon.
My conclusion from this is that the UK should welcome any educated American who wants to come over with open arms.  And from the 180,000 of us here, they pretty much seem to be doing just that.

Oh!  Can everyone please send me their mailing addresses and phone numbers?  I need to update (ie, start) my Google address book.

I've gotten hooked on Coronation Street.  And my head hurts.

OK, off to Exmouth Market to meet Lottie for brunch and hair of the dog.  Hope all's well in your part of the world.

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK

http://www.friendster.com/shaunism
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