Hello from Spain!

I am no longer Barcelona-bound…   I’ve finally arrived!  Indeed, I’ve been here for 10 days now and have already completed one full week of M-F, 9-6pm class at ESADE Business School.  Another class with the same schedule starts on Monday.  In addition to these two intensive courses, I’ll be taking three during the regular semester that runs from October to the week of Christmas.My transition has been an easy one so far.  Indeed, I’m better prepared with my Spanish skills than I would have thought I’d be.  The advantages growing up in LA and living in California nearly all of my life.  Additionally, I’ve subletted a room with 2 current ESADE students who are originally from the states.  Couple that with class instruction being in English, it is conceivably possible for me to get by speaking minimal Spanish.  Of course, that would kill n absolutely wonderful opportunity for me to develop my language skills.  Thus, I have purposely been out and about attempting to speak to locals, whether it be at restaurants or just on the streets.

I applaud the EWMBA program for having an exchange program, and for providing this opportunity for me to broaden my education experience.  Although only here for a semester, I can tell I will be opening myself to unforgettable experiences that will be invauable.  Additionally, I will be expanding my network to include people from all over the world..

Assuming my travel plans remain unchanged, and I stay outside of the states through the new year, this will be the longest period of time away from the US since I was three years old.  Indeed, I’ve done very limited international travel, and from the start was looking towards this opportunity to rectify that situation.  Prior to arriving in Barcelona, my fiance and I spent about 10 days traveling through France.  The absolutely unforgettable trip took us through several areas including the Bordeaux region, Lyon, as well as Avignon and Provence.

I’m already checking my calendar for an available weekend to head back, specifically to see Paris and Versailles, which we missed.  I also will try to return to Italy, the only European country I’d been to prior to this month.  Other than those locales, I have nothing set.  So if you have suggestions on where I must go, please suggest away!

Progression and Regression

Since I started my spending my Saturdays in Berkeley (and beautiful Santa Clara) in fall 2005, I’ve made some clear progress. I’ve gotten out of equity research and 3:30 a.m. wake-ups and into investor relations and more reasonable hours at Yahoo!. I’ve also gotten engaged, lost 10 pounds, been promoted, gained 20 pounds (for those keeping score at home, I’m up 10 pounds) and entered into a structured separation with my fiancee.

Wow, that was a rather personal tidbit to share in the introductory post. But may my personal challenges enlighten you–all too often we here in the EWMBA program intensely focus on managing the work/education balance and neglect to nurture our personal lives. Candlelight dinners go uneaten, cats go unfed, floors go unmopped–our victims are many.

To ease the tension and serve the purpose of this initial post, I’ll now add that I grew up in rural Ohio, studied communications at Northwestern, and gave up on my dream of becoming a penniless poet to attend business school. OK, back to the juicy stuff.

I can’t blame Haas for my current romantic situation (as my Facebook profile notes, “It’s complicated”). Basically, two working adults decided in their early thirties to go back to grad school and take on $200k in debt while cohabiting in a small studio apartment in a questionable neighborhood in San Francisco. What did we expect? As I learned in my real estate finance class last year, doors are valuable.

On the plus side, my beautiful regression into pseudo-bachelorhood finds me free to hang my Northwestern pennant on the wall and eat ice cream in bed (alas, I’ll likely regain that 10 pounds and then some). I’ve embraced suburban life in San Mateo, with its free laundry, infinite parking, and superb location, equidistant to Berkeley and Santa Clara.

I’m more focused on my studies than ever. I continue to learn as much from my peers as my professors (a compliment to my brilliant classmates, not a knock on the profs). And after I graduate in May, I’m confident that my Haas MBA (#2 in the WSJ, baby!) will help me earn a promotion and raise sufficient to get me a pad in San Francisco with doors and room for two people.

And a treadmill.