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Radio Silence

Posted on December 6th, 2007 by Matt Brattin

I’m sitting in my hotel room in Malta for the long weekend before finals and I decided it’s simply been too long, so I need to make a new post. I know I’ve said in the past that I haven’t had a lot of free time lately, but this time instead of simply repeating myself, I’m going to do my best to document just what it is that has been keeping me so busy lately. I want to put into context what I do on a daily basis here while taking on Term 1 of my MBA at ESADE. So without further adieu, here is my version of “A Day In The Life Of A First-Year ESADE MBA Student”:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

5:45am
“Buenos Dias!!” comes on the radio…my favorite thing to wake up to every morning…at least it’s better than an actual alarm sound, I can’t stand those. Slowly roll out of bed, grab my phone off the charger, turn off the alarm, walk out the room and close door behind me – don’t want to disturb my wife’s sleep.

Stagger to the shower, take a quick one, jump out, put my contacts in and now I’m about ready to rock and roll.

6:10am
Made it to the kitchen, take my vitamins, put the water on for coffee, pour me some cereal and eat quickly while the water begins to boil. By the time the water is ready, my cereal is done, pour the water in the French press and wait for my first dose of caffiene to help jump-start my day.

6:20am
Bring my nice, warm coffee into the living area, sit down at the table and fire up my laptop. Begin checking emails, send responses to two classmates who sent messages around 1:00am. Begin reading requirements for this week’s marketing PowerPoint presentation and report. Receive a few emails from team mates filling in parts of the report…look at the clock and wonder how it is already 7:00am!

7:15am
Drop my dishes off into the sink and scurry into the computer room to change. Quickly suit up in my business casual attire (what I normally wear, why not?) and survey the room to ensure I haven’t forgotten anything. Brush my teeth, kiss my wife good bye and head out into the daily unknown.

7:35am
Walking down into the subway, I fiddle with my mp3 player and pass the accordian playing hooligan and give him a nod. Hear the train as I’m inputting my pass and jam down the stairs just in time to see the tail of the train taking off into the tunnel – next train in 3minutes 43seconds…I can wait.

7:55am
Subway arrives at the Maria Cristina stop and it’s a mad dash to the ground level. I reach the cold Barcelona air and see it is still dark outside and the Christmas lights at el Corte Ingles are still on. I walk across the street to my bus stop and wait while nodding my head to the Jason Mraz tunes in my headphones. 63 bus arrives after an 8 minute wait and I squeeze on amidst the morning mob.

8:15am
Arrive at ESADE, made decent time, and immediately head down to Planta A to get my morning café con leche y un agua grande. Remember there is a quiz in finance, so head back in the building to meet with the secret finance study society for some last minute cramming.

8:55am
Head still spinning after trying to get to the bottom of what is expected to be prepared for the quiz, but it seemed somewhat unanimous that we needed to determine the cause of the financial need of our customer based on their pro forma financial statements – no biggie.

9:05am
Sitting in class, realize we are in the wrong room for the morning session and half of us have to pack up our things and move one room down the hall. Relocate to the other room and begin some new financial discussion…taking notes…sorta…also sorta taking a look at my marketing while IM’ing my wife about the light bulb we need to replace in the kitchen.

10:30am
Much needed coffee break, step outside, order another café con leche and chat with classmates for about three minutes. Head back into the class where we are finally given our quiz. It was a true or false plus explanation in reference to what caused the financial need in company XYZ…I think I got it. Were given five minutes to write our answers, then we jumped right back into class where we worked on quite a few new problems.

1:00pm
Lunch time! Walk outside to the Carpa and jump in line to order my bocadillo de pollo con queso. Pay for my meal and sit down with some classmates to chat and relax for a few minutes. One of the finance professors approaches me and asks to speak with me after I finish eating…interesting.

1:15pm
Sit down with finance teacher and discuss a comment I made during class. Basically in order to determine the total cost of taking on new debt, we were shown in class to multiply the total initial principle balance by the interest rate, then divide the principle by the number of years the loan will be repaid over, then add that product to the interest calculation to get the total one year cost of taking this new loan. After covering this, I had pointed out that if you actually work this out using an amortization schedule, the application of principle and interest isn’t so simple. When I didn’t push my statement, out of fear I was just confusing people and helping no one, she explained she was disappointed and had wanted me to help her explain the concept to the class. I guess I missed the que, so for future reference I was encouraged to participate more – I can do that.

2:00pm
Run back upstairs and settle in for back to back Organizational Behavior sessions to compensate for cancelled classes earlier in the term. We had an excellent guest speaker from the Harvard Business Review who told us about his experiences working with the UN. The second leg had us watching a video about unique working environments designed to assist employees in expressing their creativity, looked fun.

5:30pm
Class is now over, and since Spanish was cancelled due to the marathon OB sessions it’s straight to work with my marketing team to bust out our report and presentation. One member had to leave for a meeting at 6, so we had to work fast to get the most out of her.

6:00pm
Get up to shake my legs and grab a snack after the intense 30 minute dash to get things in line so that we can finish up marketing as quickly as possible. Settle back down five minutes later and begin working on the PowerPoint while my lone remaining teammate works on our report.

7:30pm
I have the template built for the presentation and our lost member returns for a quick look over on our progress and gives feedback on the PowerPoint. I take note of the recommendations and bid her farewell, as she had a flight to catch to NY in the morning, so we opted to let her go on her way to get ready. Have some quick discussions about the report and stick it on my flash drive to take home and polish up.

7:45pm
We are tired, so we decide to head our separate ways and my teammate agrees to forward his slides to me as soon as he’s done. We head out and I catch a bus around 8pm…got out very early today, so I’m excited! Catch the subway and make my way up to the apartment around 8:30pm – quite early indeed!

8:30pm
In more comfortable clothes, I quickly go to work on replacing the light in the kitchen. Easier said than done, I put it off until after dinner, as Blanca had it just about ready by the time I arrived (she’s so super!). Sit down for another excellent meal and enjoy some conversation while we catch up with eachother on our days.

8:50pm
Head back in the kitchen to tackle the busted flourscent bulb and completely disassemble the unit, see the problem was with a connector, correct the issue, reinstall the new bulb and walla! We have light again! Content with my work, Blanca and I celebrate with a glass of cava as I settle in for a long night with marketing.

9:00pm
I decide to take on the report first, as this is the basis for the presentation. Having to cope with correcting non-native English spelling and grammar issues takes time, but the content is quite good, so I do my best to utilize everything we have. Formatting takes some time, but it will all be worth it in the end. Received my team mate’s slides via email, take a look, and try to pick up the pace so I can add my part to the package.

10:30pm
Finally, the report looks good, so I’m ready to move on to the presentation. I’ve learned a lot about PowerPoint this term (did I mention these reports and presentations are weekly events in marketing? Yeah…they are…and this is just one of my eight classes, so I was lucky this was all I had for the day to complete!). I start transferring content, but decide I don’t like some of the designs I had created, so I changed it. After working this out, I have all the content down and decide to give it a test run…still lots to do…

11:30pm
I realized that when I changed the template, my team mate still had the old one, so I had to transfer and edit his content for continuity. From here, I now start to add the bells and whistles to the presentation, so I get creative with the first slide and realize I have 14 more to edit, so I cut it out after I realize my vision is a little beyond my means at this point. Blanca is now getting ready for bed, so I’m trying to get things wrapped up quickly. Finally, after much more tweaking, proofing, and previewing, I have what I feel is a solid package and do a last run-through, show it to Blanca, and make my final tweeks.

12:15am
Final drafts complete, I finally send it off to my team mates at a quarter past midnight. Even though it was sent, I open the sent email and view attachments just to make double sure I was ok with what I sent. Content with the end result, I construct a to-do list for the morning which includes the following:

  • Add finishing touches on marketing paper and presentation before class at 9am
  • Write 150 word essay for Spanish about the movie “Volver”
  • Run through Investment Banking flash cards to prep for interviews next month
  • Read and write summaries for OB articles
  • Edit group paper for Econ
  • Write final thread for Geopolitics

12:35am
Flip the top down on my laptop and call it a day. Go brush my teeth, put on something more comfortable and finally hit the hay. Talk with Blanca about meeting for lunch the next day to get her paperwork so she can apply for her residence card and finally dose off around 1am.

5:45am
“Buenos dias!”

3 Responses to “Radio Silence”

  1. Ansel Adams Says:

    At this rate, I imagine you’ll live for another four or five years, then run out of whatever propels you and wither away… or not. You are amazing. My life’s like a still picture next to yours. How was Volver, by the way? Have you seen any other Almodovar films?

  2. Matt Brattin Says:

    Mr. Adams, I am not sure what the pace of my life will be like post-MBA, but I feel like the MBA is like boot camp for the future leaders of corporate America, so I don’t know what the pace will be like for me 4-5 years down the road, but hopefully not like this every day! Once in a while is fine, but nearly seven days a week as it nearly is now probably will leave me, as you say, withered and useless in five years’ time.

    Volver was pretty good, my first Almodovar film, my only problem was keeping all the characters straight and trying to figure out some of the backstory while watching in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. I would definitely watch more of his movies though.

  3. Robbie Amaro Says:

    I am so proud of how hard you are working, welcome to the club! I would highly recommend iced americanos from Starbucks. There’s nothing like two shots of espressons to get you going at 10 PM and still let you hit the hay by 2AM.

    Did I tell you that working at Citi has become a lot more tolerable? They gave me a laptop, so I can now work 24/7 from the comfort of my home. Talk about work/life balance.

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