Saturday, July 30, 2005

Women and MBA [versus children & family?]

I’ll go wherever you will go…
© The Calling

I’ve been trying to put down the thoughs about this subject for quite a long time, but I finally wouldn’t do it if so many people hadn’t asked me to (well, they actually didn’t know what I was going to write about so the blame is mine, of course ;)). And though I try to devote as much time as possible to my GMAT prep, I decided not to postpone my blog-activity further.

A number of people are interested in the question “what the meaning of life is” (yeah, I know, 48 ;)), but I guess, many women have an ultimate answer for this one – children. Most men won’t share this point of view, because they traditionally assign the meaning of life to career, power, or simply “good life”. And I’m sorry for those women who think that children are silly and annoying rascals (but yes, they can be, like anyone ;)).
I’m reading blogs of MBAs and future MBAs for some time now, and as I have spotted, approximately 1/2 of men have family (and/or children), while most women do not. Wives and girlfriends are easily following their partners, but if a girl wants to go for an MBA, she usually leaves her partner (or her partner leaves her). The only exception, I notice, are men, who have (or going to have) an MBA themselves. Seems really like you cannot eat the pie and have it. It’s a weight on my mind, even though I know the reason for their behavior. Correct me if I’m wrong (or maybe two-year full-time students are just a wrong sample? ;))
My mom used to say that the higher education a woman has, the fewer children she’s got. And – the higher you go, the higher standards you have for men whom you can marry :) I won’t try to refute the latter, but as for children… Well, it seems impossible to prepare, study and then work (to pay back the loan) – and have kids simultaneously. Kids are out of question for… 1-2-3… 5 or so years. Or not? Any success stories about husbands leaving everything and going with their wives or babies at lectures? ;) [Obviously joking. But there is only a part of joke in a joke: my family says that I already have 2 diplomas – my mom was going to have me while she was doing hers.]

I guess that is why there are fewer women in B-Schools that men, and not for any other reason: it's difficult to handle one or more 20-year-projects (bringing up a child) and do anything serious along.
Opened America, as usual ;)

[UPD: I've found an interesting article on about families and MBA]

Thursday, July 21, 2005

New GMATPrep tool and a cool T-Shirt

Good girls go to heaven…
© Meat Loaf

I’ve downloaded Limited Summer GMATPrep Software from this link Dave posted on his site. And it looks rather different than those I did a month ago (and math seemed a bit tough to me yesterday night – but maybe I was just exhausted?). It seems the test is going to be the same - since I'm going to take money-back version by Person Vue – that’s great to know in advance, many thanks to Dave.

One of these days I’ve seen the boy in a T-shirt which said: “Good boys go to heaven and bad boys go to London”. I want that T-shirt! ;) (better change ‘boys’ for ‘girls’ though)

UPD: Yes, I've bought myself this T-Shirt half a year later :)

Friday, July 15, 2005

A bit more about books

Who knows what could happen?..
© Avril Lavigne

Things tend to happen all at once. For example, you receive an offer from a business school and on the same very day you receive a job offer you always dreamed about. Or you schedule an appointment with a friend and at the same very place (city with millions of people, thousands of places to eat) you meet another friend of yours. I call this luck. I am fascinated with it.
As I have said, it’s a pity that the book Peopleware is not translated into Russian yet – I would like to do it, but – alas! – don’t have time. I live with that idea for about half a year, but after pronouncing it aloud (writing actually :) ) – is there someone above us listening to such things? – yesterday I came across an interesting publishing company: there are three men, who read books in English, liked them and thought it’s a pity, that people can’t read them in Russian (just like I did). And they came up to an idea to start a company, buy rights of translation and publish books. They have already published a couple of books and wrote some books of their own. So I sent an e-mail to them about the wonderful book of DeMarco and Lister and in two hours received a reply from one of their directors: at the same very time he was writing an ad ‘Offer-Us-A-Book’ for their site, encouraging people to come up with the books, that were not yet translated, but were worth it. And here came my letter (what a coincidence!).
So I gave him a copy of Peopleware and we agreed, that we’ll get in contact after he reads it (and decides whether it is worth publishing). Maybe I’ll even participate in the translation (that’s the thing I like), though I don’t know if I am reliable because of my GMAT-essay-transcripts-project-work-and-so-on :)

Enough of Peopleware, there’s another book I’d like to talk about. I’ve just finished Michael Dobbs Whispers of Betrayal. It’s a wonderful book, that I would advise for light-reading to anyone. It is funny and good (don’t believe in words that are written on the cover, the make it sound like some kind of thriller which it is not).
It is about good Army soldiers, that ‘were retired’ and decided that they want an apology from politicians (because they were politicians who forced those cutbacks in the Army). Soon this ‘matter of honour’ transformed into a kind of war, in which soldiers made fun out of politicians and politicians made fun out of themselves. The right book about broken lives and clever men. It is impossible to get a happy end in a book like this, but the author manages it somehow. I enjoyed the Whispers of Betrayal very-very much.
And I also know, what I will be reading next week ;) – Harry Potter comes out tomorrow, so… Voldemort beware! :))))

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Some useful links to DaRaverLA posts (GMAT & Essays)

...Doesn't live here anymore.
I'm sorry that's all there is to it...
© Roxette

I came across a very interesting blog of DaRaverLA. He's not there anymore, but he has some really valuable posts. I would like to provide links for them here, because I think they will be useful to anyone, who's starting the Journey (like I do):
1. GMAT Math tips
2. GMAT Verbal Tips
3. More GMAT Verbal Tips
4. Very good advice about writing application essays
5. Just a funny post about math in different business schools

Friday, July 08, 2005

Grief and sorrow

All we are is dust in the wind…
© The Doors

I was shocked to hear the news about terrorist attacks in London. Shocked, but not surprised… I feel awfully sorry for victims and their families, I feel sorry for people, who were stuck in transport and couldn’t get home, I feel sorry for relatives and friends, who lost nerves trying to get through the lines to hear anything from their beloved – in order to get sure everything is OK… And I feel sorry for the feeling of insecurity that many Londoners now have. I know this feeling, I live with it every day.
New York, London, Moscow… to be continued, I’m sure…
In today’s world, nobody anywhere can feel secure, because the most violent animal on Earth is MAN. I think, we made a mistake somewhere along the way, and it is considered normal to sell weapons to those, who are not ready for them (yes, that is illegal, but it happens everyday); or give ideas to the minds that are not ready and use those ideas for evil purposes. Let’s imagine, we had no money, but had just an equivalent of karma – like many forums and communities have now in the Internet: you express your ideas, you behave politely, you help others – you earn karma and people respect you. You become not ‘a man from the street’, you become ‘one of the top ones’. And now imagine, there would be some fast (cheat) equivalent for getting this karma (for example, kill a man - get his karma)… this will make all the system down. In our real world, money was supposed, perhaps, to be something like this karma – you work hard, you get it, you are able to exchange it for what you want. But they don’t show you are good, or you can be trusted, or anything… Like I said, we made mistake somewhere and we are now paying for it…
I think that it is important to live for the future (else: why go to the University if die tomorrow, yeah? Why spend the whole day at work, when the weather is so good?). But there is also a good advice to live every day like your last one. As I understand it: love your beloved today, when they are with you, alive, and not tomorrow, when they become a memory (it is easier to love and appreciate and feel sorry for a memory, I know), do the things you want to do today (go buy a pass to fitness center, begin to learn Italian, etc.), because you may not be able to do them tomorrow.
Every cloud has a silver lining, if you look hard for it, or so they say.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Books must read

I'm gonna get dressed for success...

© Roxette

I have a credit card now, I have registered for GMAT and I can order books from Amazon. So it’s time to talk about books :)

I’m a books worm – I love reading. Commuting to work for about 2 hours a day, I have time to read (what else to do in a tube?) – and I use this time :) I also read books before going to bed (not now, now I read GMAT textbooks and do GMAT problems…)

I read both in English and in Russian (cannot say I read in German, because it was just one book so far). I like fiction and I also like good business books – the latter I’m going to talk about.
I’m not going to tell you about books in UI-design and eXtremeProgramming – if you are an IT-professional, you may know more than I do. If not – then it won't be interesting to you.

I’d like to talk about finance books, project management books and the like. Any comments about these are welcomed – I’m going to spend some money at Amazon ;) Pre-MBA reading lists are also welcomed.

Let’s get it started… yeah…

Project Management

  • Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister, Peopleware – is a definitely ‘must read’ book.
  • Ed Sullivan, Under Pressure – is about project management in small and medium IT-company.
  • Edward Yourdon, Death March – great book. And I read exactly at the time of participating in some kind of ‘dead’ project. You will get to know how to survive in them without this book (you'll have to), but this book gives all the necessary guidelines in painless way.

General books (just for a start and if you think of becoming an entrepreneur one day)

  • Bill Gates, Business @ the speed of thought – this is a kind of book, that tells you: "What, you are still sitting on you a**? Go and grab that opportunity NOW!"
  • Jim Collins, From good to great – another good book about why ordinary companies become great and why others don’t
  • Jonas Ridderstrale & Kjell Nordström, Funky Business and Karaoke Capitalism – both books are short and extremely motivating

Finance books

I was advised to read David Bach, Smart Couples Finish Rich and Suze Orman, The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life, so this is where I’m going to start.

Fiction, but business-related

  • Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged - I wrote a post dedicated to this book here.
  • Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister, Deadline - a president of some country decides to make a great experiment: he launches a number of software projects to create rival products to software bestsellers. He also asks the manager to try different approaches with different teams (3 teams are working on one project in parallel) and see which one is better.
  • Eliyahu Goldratt & Jeff Cox, The Goal - This is a theory of constraints described in a captivating way. A manager of a plant tries to make his plant work. He has 3 months to make it profitable. Day-by-day, week-by-week... will he succeed?
  • Michael Ridpath, Final venture - this thriller combines four areas I am keen on: the hero is an MBA grad, works in a VC on the high tech and healthcare start-ups. Someone has killed his father-in-law and he needs to find the killer quickly or else the police is going to accuse him.
So, that was really a short list, but I think, it will grow larger (with your help too).