Friday, July 29, 2005

Career focus

With the excitement building as the big day approaches before setting off to business school (although worry is starting to creep over me with regard to progress on my passport renewal and how best to move my stuff in the UK by cargo to California), career options have come into focus once again.

Over the last 6 months or so, I've been considering and researching careers in international development, but it wasn't until I initially went through GSB's impressive career section on this area earlier this week that I really started to realise how many potential opportunities lie out there - evidence of dozens of students over the years successfully placed on internships and onto full time positions with the exact firms I'd expressed interest in. Consulting is still my main career desire directly after b-school, but international development has recently risen to consideration mainly because I can currently relate to it more since I've been here in Tanzania, where the big thing in the news is always "poverty reduction this..", " a new plan for economic development that..." not to mention the recent make poverty history campaign, which means that development agencies have come under a lot of focus and there should be load of work coming up with the increase aid pledges. When people ask me here so what are you going to do immediately after your MBA and I answer that I'd like to work for Bain or McKinsey, they look mystified. But when I tell them I may want to work for the United Nations Development Programme, or the World Bank, they can completely understand the logic in the choice and the impact I could make. My desire and what I wrote on my essays was that I would like go into consulting to get the widest business experience and then go into international development when I've professionally matured. However, I am now formulating a plan to test the water by combining my interest for pursuing the global management program (GMP) certificate, in which I can go on the Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX) 4 week internship abroad next summer, by hopefully landing a stint at an NGO at some exotic country. It still leaves me time to intern fully at a consulting firm if all is successful on that front, and by this time next year I should have an idea as to whether international development is for me or not (at least get some experience and relevant contacts for the future) - at the moment it certainly feels that I should wait and build up further experience before trying to land a high impact international development job.

Then there is of course, the chance of starting my own business, a choice everyone can universally relate to here in Africa and in the west, but during my exposure to more than my fair share of young entrepreneurs here in Tanzania, I'm starting to realise that not many of my entrepreneur friends are living the lifestyle I want to live toward the end of my 20s. More importantly, the environment for a start-up here in Tanzania is just not conducive or ideal- bongo land inefficiency is such a pain, not to mention huge barriers of entry in everything apart from say advertising. I would certainly have little chance with a hi-tech venture, maybe if the opportunity arose in the bay area, but plans for a start-up in Tanzania are certainly in the long term, when hopefully efficiency and infrastructure would have improved or I become more patient with age!

What about investment banking? At the moment this is one of the areas that I've least researched but I have been having a growing desire to learn more about - the attraction being the short term financial gain at the expense of long hours before burning out- who knows, I shall certainly consider taking a summer internship in this area instead of consulting should my further research lead me down this avenue and the opportunity arise.

Did I mention private equity? This offers the best financial rewards (as I recently read in an economist article), yet I currently know very little about, and I hear is very competitive to get into especially without prior experience... This is where my current work experience at the stock exchange here in Tanzania may show employers that I’m interested, but maybe probably not enough for me to be competitive against other applicants for full time jobs without an internship.
Last, and I’m sure not least is the extremely valuable advice I got from the North America/Commercial Director at my last employer to go into Product Marketing- again I currently know very little about this, the advice given to me was that I should strongly consider this area if I still wanted to make use of my engineering and tech skills and get the most out of the general management education at Stanford, it was also that an area that is looking increasing promising and important in countries such as the UK (should I want to return there).

What's clear is that my career interests are still at the stage of expanding, and I'm sure they'll mushroom once I get to business school. I'll certainly need to join quite a few professionally related students clubs to feed my career interests (so far, I reckon consulting, investment, Finance equity/investment, Africa business, hi-tech just to name a few…). I still have yet to take the career leader online self assessment that the career management centre are recommending on doing. When I last took this type of test in high school I came out with something being 95% suited to Engineering, so I do value these sorts of tests.
To date, I'm satisfied with the career research I've done on management consulting (already bought a case study preparation book and a guide to the top firms), recently I've been having a look at MBA consulting track, it has some helpful advice about preparation whilst at business school.
My aim is to reach this level of research on the other career interests (International development, investment banking, Product Marketing and a little on private equity)- there’s clearly a lot to be done here and a methodical and organised approach to manage all these career interests is definitely needed.
All this presents me with another challenge- How do I structure my resume for the resume book due in the autumn quarter, and another action to start on prior to enrolment, when this book goes out to the full gamut of MBA recruiting firms across a variety of sectors? Conventional wisdom states you should structure ones resume focusing on the career area one is interested- but what if you have many and are not firmed up on them!!?- I will carefully need to think about my resume to focus on achievements and transferable skills that appeal to a broad recruiting audience- and then later tailor resumes for specific companies that I apply directly to. Oh lord…

Monday, July 25, 2005

Safer Airport Runways...

I've been checking out my previous employer's website pretty regulary, and I was pleased to see they announced a sale of key technological product, Tarsier, from leveraging its military expertise in radar technology to be able to track Foriegn Object Debris (FOD) on airport runways. FOD costs the global avaition industry some $4 billion a year and a piece of FOD was a cause of the fatal Concorde crash in Paris in 2000.

I worked briefly for the Tarsier product team in helping to developing the concept of operations, so I feel proud that I was part of its success, having finally made their first sale at Vancouver Airport. Hopefully busy airports such as Heathrow and JFK will follow suit. The radar can detect up to the size of a large nail or golf ball on a vast runway surface.

Digital Divide in Tanzania (or not)?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been painfully trying to sign up our home to the sole broadband internet service provider in Tanzania (if you can call a standard rate of 64kbps and a top rate of 120kbps broadband!). The company is so inundated with new customers together with the fact it has a monopoly on the business that it can afford to maintain poor customer service for the mean time. Having been to their offices 3 times last week they seem to be very slowly coming around (well, even before installation, they will need do a site survey this week). I’m not too bothered, since being here I have gone online at my local internet café just down the road from home for about the equivalent of 50 cents (30 pence) an hour.
In light of my struggles to sign up to the internet, a few insights from a variety of sources on communications technology have caught my attention; Firstly, on BBC’s clickonline program, a feature was done on Tanzania where it outlined some astonishing facts; less than 1 in 10 Tanzanians have access to a fixed line and yet 97% have access to a mobile/cell phone! In fact there are 4 strong mobile phone operators in Tanzania with fierce competition leading to not only cheaper calls but excellent customer service- you won’t have trouble signing up to an operator in Tanzania, and for that matter you can make calls from the most remote areas of Tanzania- even on top Mt. Kilimanjaro at almost 20,000ft.
Secondly, my father has shared his experiences over the years of how he ditched the once state owned fixed line phone (now recently privatised) company due to poor service, lack of capital to upgrade old copper wire infrastructure to a more reliable “mobile fixed line” service. In other words, a cell phone service provider installed a fixed line which is really mobile phone receiver posing as a fixed line. Many have said that the apparent “digital divide” in Africa being perceived due to the difficulties in getting reliable high speed internet is not so important to the ordinary Tanzanian, as the mobile phone is winning over the PC. The trend is certainly clear, Tanzanians love and have adopted mobile phone technology, and it seen as a means of great economic development for the region. For instance fisherman can receive texts on the latest fish prices on different markets whilst still out on the Indian Ocean before deciding where to sell. And finally this morning, I was astonished read in the papers that an Israeli company is teaming up with a local Tanzanian company to trial and eventually deploy Wi-Max, which would enable mobile high speed internet across a wide area. I’m particularly astonished because, whilst in the west, the industries are grappling with the regulation of the new and potentially destructive technology- many companies view W-Max with disdain (not surprising given the amount they have invested in traditional fixed broadband communication technologies), it seems that here in Tanzania, we are about to leap-frog straight to the mobile high speed internet era- so much for fixed line broadband infrastructure for the future. Hooray for hi-tech in Tanzania… For more on Wi-Max connectivity potential in Africa- click here.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Postcard from Zanzibar- on the trail alone...


What do you do when your buddies abandon you on your travel plans? You go it alone. I went to Zanzibar (again!) for the long awaited full moon party weekend by myself for the first time, and it was surprisingly good. My friends gave me the classic excuse- “too much work to do…”. However, with no travel companions, it was not only great to go on my own schedule, but the best bit was the fact that I was forced to talk to people I’d never really talk to otherwise, I met so many different solo travellers; from a Japanese student to a Canadian accountant. I also had great time at the party chatting to a random bunch of people round a beach fire that I did not know and I ended up meeting one girl who lives 15 minutes away from Stanford in Palo Alto!
I used to think travelling by myself would be odd, but I’m now converted- something about the freedom to explore at your own will and not stressing about having to coordinate politely with others’ activities. Shout out to all the solo travellers out there!

Having said that, I still find people who go to the movies/cinema on their own pretty strange- but I suppose you can’t know until you’ve tried it.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Time to get a move on…

In the backdrop of my last obsessive post on Zanzibar, I best bring things back in focus on making my preparations for Stanford.
I have one more month left until I make the final journey to California via the UK, and today signalled the day I should really shift up a gear in my preparations. Firstly, my whole family is having passports renewed, followed by the US visa process for mum and I. One snag is that virtually all Tanzanians are rushing do get their passport renewed before a government imposed deadline at the end of October (something about machine readable passports needed by then). As you can imagine, the immigration service is overwhelmed with applications and we have to pull a few strings to speed up the process. The US visa will only take one day, but my main concern is the potential delay the passport renewal process may create. 4 weeks to do it all? Fingers crossed- we are talking “bongo land” government efficiency here. On other things, I still have to finalise moving my stuff from the UK to the US and start creating a shopping list of things I need to purchase whilst I’m here in Africa and when I arrive in the US. I would like to minimise my shopping once I leave, and so envisage making a trip to IKEA and to the computer store to purchase a laptop and organiser (PDA) when I get to Palo Alto- it turns out my mum also needs one, so it’s convenient for her to get a good spec whilst out in the US.
I’m also finding myself being supplied with a steady stream of actions from Stanford to get on top of. The MBA Excel skills assessor, signing up for pre-term activities, reading up on accounting and economics fundamentals etc… I have had to set up Outlook on the home computer to track everything- and I thought I’d get a break from using office software whilst on holiday!
Pre-term is interesting, I am both shocked and impressed by the number of activities they have laid on- lots and lots of social activities which have to be pre-paid and booked. Having gone through them, I reckon I’ll be spending some around $400 ($600 if you include the International Pre-Enrolment Programme), which includes the $200 Outdoor Activity weekend right at the end. Well, I think I better sign up on e-bay and start saving some cash on books otherwise my summer spending will mushroom. I’m certainly not cutting back on the pre-term social activities, when else would one get the chance to have such a good time early on? It will be exciting and unforgettable, it kind of reminds me of “Freshers’ week” at British universities- I certainly didn’t skimp then, and I made a load of friends. For the outdoor activity weekend, I’m completely torn between the boat cruising trip on Lake Shasta and the White Water Rafting in the Gold Country- both appeal to me hugely; I would pay to do both if I had the choice! But hey, I bet these sort of difficult choices will come as standard whilst I begin the MBA- “you can do everything- just not all at the same time…”

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Is it time to invest in Paradise?

Two nights in Zanzibar and I am not only refreshed, but buzzing with excitement for what plans I have in store for the future of me and this island.
First I will let you into what I call paradise (if you get bored skip the italics);

You wake up in basic yet luxurious bungalow overlooking the beach and beyond it an intense contrast of ocean colour from emerald and to dark blue. The beach is pristine with a few and local fishermen and dhow boat builders minding their own simple lives. After an inclusive breakfast at the restaurant/bar on the beach (room rates were $40 a night for Tanzanian resident), you catch the small engine boat which ferries tourists to Nungwi, the village about 2 miles down the beach, half hour boat ride further beyond, one heads to the famous Mnemba Atoll, which has the best diving/snorkelling in all of Zanzibar and the island’s only super luxurious resort which has graced the likes of Tom Cruise, Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie. However, today is not a day for snorkelling or star spotting. At Nungwi, we get off and meet some locals that I’ve known since I first discovered the northern tip of Zanzibar some 2 years ago, I ask the same questions; “How’s life in paradise? Are the tourist numbers up and how is business?”, the answer is always the same, “Everything is Fresh!” in literal translation to Swahili.
You walk past the many souvenir shops and Internet cafés (which I resisted!) and venture 2 minutes walk inland into Nungwi village, where things take a totally different tone and the contrast is immense. From a tourist paradise, you are plunged into the real Africa, a very basic village with rundown looking mud houses and shops selling only the most basic of products. We ventured into the village for two reasons, my friend was after more locals in order to scout out for plots of land that may be going cheap. And secondly, I am after insect repellent (on mum’s advice). Malaria is still a big killer in Africa, especially Tanzania, where people still struggle to afford the most basic protection against mosquito bites such as nets and insecticide, I’m after a bit of a luxury item, “spray on” repellent. Eventually, I find one for $7.
Meanwhile my friend is smiling with the news that there is huge potential for buying plots of lands for the office of his advertising business and then sets about shooting video footage without upsetting the locals. We soon return onto the tourist trail and head for the beach restaurants for a bite before heading to Chole bar, a bar designed to look like a dhow boat that has run aground on the beach, it just looks like something out of Robinson Crusoe. The bar has an “upstairs” where a group can chill, which resembles the mast and rigging area of the boat directly above the bar area. I talk one of the locals working there into plugging in my mp3 player into the music system then started to play my pre-made 3 hour “Chill out Mix” as we watched boats sail by, beautiful people sunbathing with a steady order of cocktails delivered. For lunch we order the catch of fish- Red Snapper and Kingfish in a light coconut sauce and continued to chill. The perfect way to spend the rest of the afternoon…

I’m so in love with the Nungwi & Kendwa area of Zanzibar, this is the 6th time I’ve revisited this area since I first arrived in 2003. Before then I had ignored the place as being too far off the beaten tourist trail to be worth looking at, most ordinary and unadventurous tourists would totally miss it, but some things are just worth any extra travel or hassle to get to.
After the rest of my trip, which can only be described as the most “chilled” ever, I can only reaffirm my intentions to make this a part of my life in the long term. Yes, I intend on buying a slice of paradise! Property is dirt-cheap for Tanzanians (expensive for foreigners, unless you can invest $200K in a business!), and small plots are supposedly abundant, so financially it should be a certainty, although of course I’ll need to do my due diligence first. My intentions go much further than just building a holiday home though, the plan is to develop a unique bed and breakfast that offers a more unique experience than anything else currently offered and to re-invest any profits into developing the local region. I would be buying a sustainable lifestyle paradise in a not for profit venture. I’m confident this will work for a variety of reasons:
• Tourism industry is booming and set to continue (numbers, doubling by 2010) whilst the perception of Africa in general as being a dangerous for tourist is vanishing. Hence, there is a projected long term source of tourist revenue and an opportunity to tap into source to sustain the venture.
• Young Zanzibarians seem to be the most friendly, trustworthy people I’ve ever met in Tanzania, which is very important so as I can employ them to manage the venture whilst I am away from Africa. I was amazed when I saw evidence of this when I was talking to a local shop keeper who explained to me how he was running deals with about 15 tourists from the west (mainly UK, US, Italy & Germany)- every so often, they would send him money (convenient as he is the only bank account holder in the area), and he would buy rice, beans, the all important mosquito protection for the people who need it (what an excellent way to donate to Africa- directly to region you are interested in). In return, the shopkeeper would arrange for the tourists to spend a few months teaching at the local schools, accommodation and other such favours, which brings me on to my next point…
• There is a huge trend in tourists in the west taking time off of their hectic and relatively less meaningful lives, by going to teach (or assist) abroad in community projects where they can make an impact, and I need not explain the evidence for this trend, for there are some of my friends who could be reading this that fit into that category and I know of plenty of others who would do the same thing. Not to mention the no. of requests I get from people at work in the UK and some friends in US to arrange some sort of “teaching or working holiday”. I myself, would love to do it!

So in the same manner, that some people are providing a visit under the knife (surgery or other operations) combined with a holiday, so that one returns back with a new face, kidney or tummy tuck, this venture would provide people the opportunity to visit paradise yet returning home having taught children or helped to build a school and hence, made a difference. All tourist revenue goes toward sustaining the local region.
What’s in it for me? Apart from the fulfilment of making a difference and investing my money in Africa early, my service would be to set up the venture (I’d then get a trusty local someone to manage the place), and of course I would request a room or two be kept free for me to return with friends for a two week break during my busy 9-5 western job (it would save me hotel money!), and eventually on a more permanent basis when I reach or near retirement. It’s lifestyle investment which would hopefully generate some high impact charity work that use the tourists themselves- The idea itself is not new and I know an American couple, for instance, who have set up orphanage using the same model, what keeps them going, is their love of children. My love of the area and the fact that I’ve returned here 6 times (7 next Friday for the full moon party), is enough to keep me motivated for life. So next weekend, I’m going to be asking the serious questions to assess the feasibility of this idea.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm off to Paradise...

I am off to Zanzibar (a.k.a Spice Island) for 2 nights to relax after an eventful morning at the stock exchange. The island has an exotic history not to mention just being a dreamy paradise.
Little did I know, Laura bush- US first lady, will be in Tanzania from this afternoon as part of her Africa tour to highlight the role of women and fighting Aids. She is apparently going to be visiting Zanzibar tomorrow as well.

I'll be staying at the northern tip of Zanzibar, Nungwi- Kendwa area- the beaches are out of this world and the atmosphere so laid back, it's horizontal! No matter what anyone says- I deserve this and I consider this my treat for getting into Stanford (and for lots of work to come!). I've been so looking forward to returning to my favourite spot to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
Some photos can be seen on my links section (or just click here) from last years' charity expedition- then, it was a treat for a successful climb up Kilimanjaro.
My friend will also be shooting some video footage for a commercial his advertising business is producing for the local TV station which should provide some amusement. But I intend on just chilling, reading and having a few cocktails in the sunset. This is certaintly not my only trip, I expect to return atleast once more for the full moon party at the end of the month.

Monday, July 11, 2005

How cute...

Had my first morning at the stockbrokers today. My first impressions- what a quiet and cute little place. I had perceived lots of action, people buying and selling inflamed with the usual enthusiasm of Tanzanian salesmen; instead, it was actually the exchanges' day off. Trading days are Tuesday to Thursdays- I have to remind myself that this is a stock exchange of a poor developing country, not or anywhere near the NYSE or FTSE! The brokers are in the same building as the exchange so it’s just one flight of stairs up and you are there. The brokers were actually fairly busy with the unit trust sale, however, I was able to spend time just touring the place and talking to the managing director of the brokerage firm. There was certainly plenty of reading material to go through and discuss with the brokers. I’m now starting to get familiar with the history of the capital markets, the various structural reforms of the financial markets going etc... and the particular challenges that lie ahead. Rather than divulge what I’ve learnt today, I’ll wait a few weeks so I can summarise in more depth. Importantly, I’m confident that my experience will provide me with, at least, the financial accounting and economics preparation that the Stanford MBA require- I should get to beef up my excel skills too, although I do need to take that “MBA excel skills assessor” pretty soon.
I’m returning on Wednesday for a new bond issue and listing on the market, which should be livelier than things were today.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Leadership Development Platform- I want to develop and learn to use EQ…

I signed up to the leadership development platform, which is meant to kick off quite towards the end of first quarter. I never heard of this program whilst doing my research for the Stanford MBA, so I was a bit mystified of what exactly it entails. Since those wanting to sign up for the limited space on the program have to submit a qualifying statement addressing some leadership questions, I thought I best get moving (for once) given how much time I have off.
From a lot of the press out there regarding what can and can’t be taught in business schools, leadership is one of those things that certainly comes up time and time again- “MBA’s can’t be taught leadership skills that take experience to build up during a lifetime.” The program stresses experiential learning through bridge teams, labs with further support from faculty and coaches (coaches are 2nd year MBA students).
In preparing to write my qualification statement, I remembered my father’s stash of Harvard Business Review journals which I had browsed through in the past, one special issue on leadership in particularly that caught my attention, was an article on the concept of emotional intelligence (EQ)- the soft stuff of leadership which include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skill qualities that set apart the best leaders. Lots has been studied and written about EQ, and I’m somewhat fascinated yet sceptical of the concept, normally the best managers I have come across are, not surprisingly, ones who are just plainly, the nicest. But how far can you take EQ? Especially when there are tough decisions to be made? I made this one of the thrusts of my qualification statement. Anyway, with only 72 people able to make it on to the program that counts towards an organisational dynamics segment of the first year, I really hope I get on it as it sounds like a great opportunity to “experience” something that was not traditionally on a normal MBA program- I wonder what other business schools out there are doing something similar so early on the curriculum and can any other MBA bloggers out there comment?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

No place is immune... Pray for London

I am distressed by the events that took place in London yesterday. I cast myself back to 1998, I heard and felt an explosion from the very spot I wrote this blog post from. I suspected it was gas pipe explosion or something, little did I know that it was the US embassies (only a few miles away from me) under attack here in Tanzania & Kenya and what was the beginning of the war on terror. 7 years later it still goes on, the events remind us that no country is immune from terror attacks. My condolences go out to all those affected.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Some work experience organised- Capital Markets in Africa here I come…

Before I left England, I talked about getting some work experience during my break here in Tanzania, especially to fill the in the times when I get bored in all the beach and sun. Well, I’ve finally managed to secure some form of work in the capital markets sector. I arranged this by targeting the leading law firm in Tanzania, where my sister works. After a discussion with one of the lawyers, it was suggested I pursue my needs with the largest brokerage firm in Tanzania. Basically, I would be given the opportunity to “work shadow” and assist some of the brokers in their dealings at the Dar Es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE). I just have to show up on Monday to meet the managing director of the firm and away I go. I’m hoping to negotiate 2-3 days a week of unpaid work if possible for the next month. So I’m pretty excited not only because of the relevance the experience would bring in preparation for business school, showing my motivation and interest for financial sector internships and jobs, but also of the novelty of capital markets in Tanzania.
The Capital Markets and Securities Act was only passed within the last decade, and the DSE was only set up in 1998. To date no more that 10 companies are listed on the exchange- nothing compared to the western markets of course- but we have to start somewhere and a start has been made nevertheless. Most of the major companies listed are ones that have been recently privatised and in order to facilitate and increase wider share ownership among the Tanzanian community whilst developing a savings culture, a unit trust (or fund)- called the Umoja trust, has been just been set up by the government exclusively for Tanzanian citizens offering a 30% discount during a sale period between May until the end of July this year- each unit costs equivalent of $0.10, which a minimum investment of about $3 required on current exchange rates. So most of the citizens can afford to invest although I doubt the really low earners, those who earn less than a dollar a day, will invest due to their lack of education and hence ability to understand what the trust really means. Now if only I could put some of that locked up UK pension I accumulated over the last 2 years into the scheme- in any case, I hope this will prompt other comparatively wealthy earning Tanzanians abroad to put some of their savings back into the country. The scheme certainly has the potential curb capital flight problems by providing an easy way to invest back into the country.
So far, I’m impressed by the transparency of the scheme considering how mindful of corruption one needs to be in sub-Saharan countries, and indeed most people are scared that their money will disappear down the drain. I was also afraid that the fund managers would be taking excessively large fees, but it is not so, one of the main benefits of the trust is the advantage gained through risk aggregation/pooling to reduce what would be high transaction costs for ordinary Tanzanians. It remains to be seen how competent the fund managers are, on paper they seem okay, although how wrong can you go in choosing a diversified portfolio from 10 listed companies (a majority are solid privatised companies such as tobacco and breweries)? Apparently interest in the trust seems pretty large following a wide marketing campaign across the country and I have to laud the governments’ efforts on pragmatically introducing capitalism to benefit all Tanzanians, not just to the wealthy and foreigners. I just hope the companies will perform well- another signal that Tanzania is on the path to positive development and a reinforcement of my goal to certainly consider returning here and putting my MBA skills to use. Let’s just pray for a good result at the G8 meetings this week in debt cancellation and the flow of more aid to Africa, which would greatly benefit Tanzania and put us firmly on the road to development and economic prosperity.

Monday, July 04, 2005

International Pre-Enrollment Program (IPEP)

I haven't even had a chance to relax for a weekend before I have to start organising my next move to California.
First off, my mum will be accompanying me and we are planning to spend 2 nights in San Francisco so that mum can chill, do some shopping and take in the sights (remember it's a long way for mum to come just to turn round after a couple of days). We will then head to Menlo Park, a few miles from Stanford, for another 2 nights, from there we will try and tour the university, do any final shopping before I move into Schwab Residential Centre on Sunday 28th August (if possible) before starting on the International pre-enrollment program (IPEP) the next day. Mum will then fly to philly to visit my sister before flying home afterwards.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I'm home and it's beautiful...

Home sweet home Tanzania! After what was a mammoth journey in the end, I left on Tuesday afternoon and got in on Friday morning. That is certainly the last time I attempt to go standby during the middle of the summer- but hey, I did get to see some family friends and parts of Zurich.
Weather is good, it's winter here so it about 70-80 F or 25-28 C.
Now I'm exciting about heading to Zanzibar for this festival this weekend- if I can. I'm afraid all the local hotels in stone town may be booked up. The flight over was absolutely full of tourists, and I'm sure a good portion of them will be heading to Zanzibar this weekend. The festival lasts a whole week so I can head for the climax next weekend if need be. Otherwise, I think it's time to just relax and soak in the chilled atmosphere as life here is going at a snails pace. This should be the last time I get such a long time off- and a appreciate proper summer holiday. Post MBA I will working myself to death. I'm a little cranky with my parents. Specifically, how little faith they have in the job market post MBA- they have already been pestering me whether I left QinetiQ, my previous employer, on good terms. However many times I try and explain to them that going back to QinetiQ would be a step backwards immediately post MBA they insist on "job security this...job security that". I'm like, "for god sakes please! This is not the same world you lived in when you had one job for life!", "Yes, I recognise there could be a recession. No I have not burnt my bridges with QinetiQ, and they would have me back!".
Anyway, I'm sure they mean it all in good faith. But some optimism on their part would be really appreciated.