All posts by lmperin

The post about perpetuity

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

The TMMBA is starting to pay off for me.

It all started during a Finance class. We were doing a valuation exercise that required us to understand the concept of “perpetuity”. Next day, at work, I was in a meeting with some executives that were doing a “back of the envelope” valuation calculation. One of them suggested that they should add “that thing that relates to the going concern… eternuity? longevity?”.

“Perpetuity?”, I volunteered.

“Yeah! That thing. Do you know how to do it?”

I did. After that, I’ve done a few valuations and just ended up moving from Marketing to Finance. Which ended up being a good thing, given that my final grade on Finance is 4.0 and I’d be lucky to get a 3.2 on Marketing.

Time Management

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

The TMMBA can be very demanding in terms of time. It’s very likely that you have a job (I think you must have one to apply, although keeping one is harder and harder these days), and hopefully, you have a life.

When I started the TMMBA, I had a wife and one son. Now I have two. Sons, I mean, I still have just one wife, although keeping one is harder and harder these days.

I should not forget: having a baby during the TMMBA is madness. Therefore, saving time is very important. Here are some tips:

  • - Pre-reads: yep, they’re useful. You read before the class, you’ll understand more of the class, and you’ll need less effort to catch up later. The challenge is to make time for them. I get to work early and read for about 30-45 minutes, it serves me well.
  • - Amazon Fresh: It will save you some time, it has good stuff, it is sort of local, but some items are a little more expensive than Safeway, especially the “fresh” ones. Safeway is good for online groceries, too. The good thing about Amazon Fresh is that you don’t need to be present to receive your groceries. You can also purchase some Amazon.com items and have them delivered with your groceries (the service is called Amazon Now).
  • Get out of Facebook: I like it, but it takes too much time. Some people are still going to be friends with you even if they don’t say so in Facebook.
  • Comcast DVR: You’ll skip the commercials. But really, if you have time to watch TV, why are you looking for time saving tips?

Dialogue

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

This is a rip-off from a Brazilian writer named Luis Fernando Verissimo. He is describing a couple’s whole life using a dialogue. My first attempt at translating and adapting it is below:

– Shall we dance?
– Thank you.
– Do you come here often?
– I do.
– Are we dating?
– You need to talk to my father…
– I did already, now we just need to set the date.
– July 26th?
– Right.
– Don’t forget the rings…
– Do you love me?
– I do.
– I do.
– I can’t believe it, we are married. It all happened so fast!
– Were you nervous?
– I was not. Was it good?
– It was.
– I’m pregnant.
– It’s a boy!
– Looks like you!
– Where are you going?
– The baby is crying.
– Come here…
– Sweetie?
– Hmm?
– I’m pregnant again!
– It’s a girl!
– What’s up with you?
– Why?
– You seem distant…
– It’s my job…
– You’re having an affair!
– That’s silly.
– Yes, it is. Do you forgive me?
– Come here…
– Not here… the kids…
– Junior left, he had a date.
– Did you talk to him about…
– Yes, he knows exactly what to do.
– What? Did you tell him?
– No, he knew better than I did. This generation knows everything. I just had to teach him how to use the wrench.
– What!?
– Oh, do you mean… I thought it was the car. And what about Liz?
– It’s getting serious…
– With the software engineer?
– Yep, by the way…
– They are living together! I knew it!
– She’s going to the hospital.
– Already?!
– They’ve got twins!
– You know… you’re a cool grandma…
– Who would’ve known?
– Come here…
– Not here… the kids…
– What kids?
– The twins… Liz left them here.
– Aw.
– What?
– I feel a pressure in my chest.
– You have to take care of yourself. You’re in the dangerous age.
– Already!?
– Liz is pregnant again.
– Twins again? That software engineer must be using the binary system.
– Must Junior’s band use our garage? This is hell.
– And the name of the band? Terror and Ecstasy?
– They’re going to wake up the twins.
– Aw.
– What? Your heart again?
– Don’t worry. Hey, this ballad they’re playing… I sort of like it.
– Shall we dance?
– No way! Don’t you remember what happened last time?

Mother’s Day

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

When you join the TMMBA, you need a constant reminder that you need to plan ahead. If you don’t, it bites you back. The current example: we have a class on Saturday where we will learn something about the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC), and we have to prepare two cases for Monday. In between, there is Mother’s Day. Most people in our groups have mothers (or children), and that becomes a little problematic. To add up, we also have a final paper for Global Management due on Monday and a Macroeconomy exam due on Thursday, plus everything I’m essentially forgetting about, such as the pre-reads.

If we detected the problem a month ago, we could have try to learn the subject on our own, or maybe we could have asked for an extension. Now we are in the risk zone. Come to think about it, the class this Saturday is about risk. It all makes sense now: in the TMMBA, you have learnings that you can apply directly to your life. It just may not be in the way you expected.

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

Given my current title of “Business Planning Manager”, you would probably think that I like to plan things. And, in the TMMBA, you need to plan. This quarter is curiously the opposite of our last quarter: we have a lot of deliverables in the beginning, followed by a long hiatus of deliverables.
Knowing that may make the difference between cruising or being very stressed.

There’s so much to learn and the subjects are so interesting that there’s the real danger of being overwhelmed. It’s like having a lot of top models fighting for your attention. Really stressful. Trust me, I know! Therefore, you need to plan and prioritize in order to get the best out of some quarters. The second quarter is one of them. Tips?

  • Assign a planner to your team.
  • Use Agilix Backpack to help you download updates from Blackboard.
  • Synchronize the TMMBA calendar with Outlook.

And, most importantly, keep going to the Keg after every class!

And so the quarter ends…

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

As Plato would say (as I remember from playing Magic, the Gathering), all things must come to an end. And that includes our quarter.

There’s no real vacation between quarters. Really, don’t count on it. What happens is that you don’t go to class a couple Mondays (or Wednesdays, if that’s your thing), but between the last Saturday of Q1 and the first Saturday of Q2 there are two weeks, just like “normal” times.

And there are a lot of pre-reads and homework between quarters. Honest. A lot. You even have to watch a movie.

At the end of the quarter, the summary is:
– Accounting was great, and a welcome surprise. I can decently read a company report now.
– Microeconomy was interesting, but a little shorter than expected, so it felt a little incomplete.
– Statistics was good. Not very interesting by itself, but I can see it being used in other courses.
– Strategy was “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. If the last class was the first, it would make much more sense.
– Team building was great. I used a lot of it on my current job and it paid off.

So far, still very much worth it.

The Keg

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

My team, Espectro, has been tasked with the important responsibility of keeping the tradition of having a drink at the Keg after class. We have been going there regularly since the second week, and now we have more and more regulars joining us, especially after the accounting test.

I have to admit that I’ve learned way more at The Keg than I learned in class. This could sound like I should start reconsidering my investments, after all, The Keg offers free nachos if you go with six or more people. Maybe it is because I have been spending a lot of time there, too.

If you are negotiating the MBA schedule with your significant other(s), this is the best advice you will get: tell him/her/them that on Mondays (or Wednesdays, if that’s your section) class goes until midnight. It’s not going to be a lie.

The Semiahmoo Experience

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

The MBA kicks off with an intensive orientation week. Ours was to the Semiahmoo resort. We had our first classes on Team Buiding, Accounting, Microeconomy, Statistics and “Presentation Techniques”, and, most importantly, we got to hang out with each other.

I was very impressed with how great the professors were. I had high expectations, and my expectations were exceeded by far. I really learned a lot in the first week, but we barely get to see the resort – the schedule is packed. When we were not having classes, we were studying for the next class. Well, most of the time. My group was pretty good at hitting the bar at night and we got to know each other way better. And it helped a lot.

On the last evening, we had an impromptu Karaoke “competition” – it was not part of the program. We had a rather large number of people (mostly engineers) trying to hook up a computer to the Semiahmoo bar sound system, while another rather large group of people (again, mostly engineers) was trying to find a way of getting free karaoke songs on YouTube. It worked. One of the other bloggers (don’t know if I can tell who it was) sang “Landslide” beautifully. And a Microsoft colleague sang a song from the Phantom of The Opera quite professionally.

All in all, a good end for such a good start.

Before the first class…

Lucas Perin, TMMBA student

Make no mistake: the TMMBA starts at the welcome reception. Before the reception we had to fill some questionnaires that would help sort us into groups. At the reception, we had our picture taken for the yearbook, and then the program director and a former student tried to tell us how hard the program was. And we got a bag quite full of books and pre-read materials.

In summary, the TMMBA depends very much on the pre-reads. It is a good program that covers a lot of material. It is well-recognized. And it is short. The catch is that you will have to read a lot of material before the classes, between quarters and even before the program starts.

We got assigned to read the whole material of the “Team Building” class (some HBR articles), an entire book and a couple chapters from another book for “Financial Reporting & Analysis” (fancy name for accounting), some material for Microeconomics, the “Blue Ocean Strategy” book and some chapters for Statistics. To do that, we had about six weeks.

We then got to meet our groups. We are assigned to a group of about five students for the whole length of the program. Apparently the questionnaire works – my group is a very good fit for me.

After the reception, time to get started. Most people will tell you that doing the pre-reads (in particular, the Accounting pre-read) helps tremendously on being successful in the program. I did. Time will tell.

First things first . . .

Lucas Perin, TMMBA student

In the first post, we are usually supposed to talk a little about ourselves. But hey, if you wanted to know more about me, you would probably be stalking me in Facebook. So I am guessing that the reason for having a reader (hi mom!) is because you want to know more about the TMMBA. Is it hard? Is it good? Is it worth it? Let’s see how much I can help. And for quick answers to those questions, my answers in the middle of the first quarter would be: “not that much”, “oh yes” and “I still don’t know”.

It may be helpful to know that the MBA starts “for real” on the day of the welcome reception, usually in mid-November, not on the day of the first class. In later posts, I’ll detail some parts of the experience before (and after) the first class.