Archive for February, 2010

Memories from International Night

February 28th, 2010 by under Events, General. No Comments.

The International Week culminated with the International Night and Food Festival on February 25. However, the sights, sounds, and savors from the event still seem to linger around and tend to take me back repeatedly to the awesome night.

There was food from more than 12 countries and the passport-the ticket to the gala event, allowed the holder to visit the stall and absorb the offerings from 6 countries. Each table had a unique character, not just in terms of the food and setup but also for the students staffing the table, students who adorned their traditional attires, putting up their best to ensure that the guests left with sweet memories and came back for more.

A fashion show followed the wining and dining. Students from all parts of the globe displayed their traditional ethnic attires, bringing in some element of fun at times, keeping the audience on their toes. The star-attraction of the fashion show was a super cute and adorable little girl, daughter of Tetsuya Morito-second year MBA, wearing a kimono!

Some awesome dance and song performances followed, the audience clapping and clamoring for more. Suddenly, a short-bald Asian man in his shorts and wearing boxing gloves climbed up the stage. He introduced himself as a master of Muay Thai – Thai Kick Boxing. He choreographed some scenes from the fight with help from his students. In addition, he allowed some volunteers from the audience to come on stage and try their hand (legs actually) while he held the protective cushion. The winner was the 5-year-old son of Feras Hameedadd-a first year MBA, who got the master on his knees with just one kick!

The grand finale of the event was the Chinese Lion Dance that heightened the tempo of the place and Van Munching Hall was echoing with the beats of drums, the audience adding on to the excitement by their non-stop clapping and shouting.

The evening was truly a journey across cultures. In that brief period, the atrium of the Van Munching Hall was no less than an absolute representation of the globe, with people from every corner, however remote it may be, coming together under a common roof, demonstrating their pride and yet humbly sharing their values with the entire community. I believe that evening will always remind me of these two wonderful years at school and will remain an important milestone in my journey of life.


International Week – 2010

February 23rd, 2010 by under Events. No Comments.

Diversity lends itself in various forms – ethnicity, religion, culture, language, age, culture, work-experience, background, etc., and I now firmly believe that a B-School is the place where it all comes together, a place where you can experience it in the most concentrated form. I cannot think of any other place other than a B School that can bring together people from such diverse backgrounds, all under one roof, and provide a crash course in understanding most, if not all, of the various forms in which diversity prevails.

With global trade and free flow of goods and services across international frontiers being the norm, comes the need to be able to understand and appreciate the nuances of working with the people from different countries and conducting businesses in those countries. Additionally, this knowledge provides the invaluable opportunity to learn from the perspectives that such differences offer and to lead life in a better way.

The University of Maryland is recognized for and ranks high in the diversity of the students and the Smith school has led the way in maintaining a healthy ratio of international students to make the MBA experience more valuable for the entire class. The various student clubs such as the International Club, the Asian MBA Association, offer such platforms where students from various countries come together to share and learn, outside of the class. This interaction further cements the long lasting ties that form naturally in school, regardless of the nationality, native language or customs and beliefs.

This week, the International MBA Association in collaboration with the Asian MBA Association are organizing the International Week, an annual event, where participants get a sneak-peek into the life of people from different cultures through an immersive experience over a period of 3 days. Starting today, the attendees of the event will be able to embark on a journey that offers insights into the etiquette, economics, and entrées of many of the countries that form an integral part of the community at Smith.

This year’s International week, organized with support from the Center for Business Education and Research (CIBER) at the Smith school, consists of an International Etiquette Night, an Economic Forum Night and an International Night and Food Festival.

On February 23, participants will be able to engage in an interactive and informative fun event where they will learn the nuances of some of the cultures, such as the proper way to hold a chopstick or how to drink with Korean executives. On February 24, Professor Carmen M. Reinhart, professor of Economics and Director of the Center for International Economics, and Professor Gurdip Bakshi, Dean’s Professor of Finance and a Fellow of the FDIC Center for Financial Research who was awarded a competitive grant to study recovery under default, will offer insights on the emerging market economies.

The third and final day of the event, promises to be the most attractive and fun filled, with the students showing off the traditional dresses from their country on the ramp, displaying their talents while the audience indulges in the food from the various countries. This year’s event will also witness performances by professional Chinese Lion dancers and see the Muay Thai – Thai Kick Boxing, live on stage.

International Week - 2010

Well, I think I have written a lot about the event, and I should go and get ready for the 3-day journey across cultures, languages, and international boundaries, all under one roof. I am excited and really look forward to the three nights of non-stop fun, action and pure indulgence. Will keep you all posted!


A second "mini" winter break!

February 14th, 2010 by under General. No Comments.

Blame it on the global climate change or whatever but the weather on the east coast has recently been acting crazy. There have been two major snowstorms within a week, and life has come to a standstill, literally. Thanks to the more than 55 inches of record-breaking snow the state has witnessed, the houses have seen their residents cuddling up in front of television sets for every single day for the past more than one week.

The state of Maryland has witnessed the highest snow in its history. The storm warnings left the people running for stocking supplies and many of the major stores such as Costco, Giant, and Safeway, all ran out of the necessary commodities such as milk and bread, the day before the storm was to hit the state. People got restless and tempers soared at some places.  The storm in way managed to wreak havoc both outside, weather and traffic wise and inside, peace wise.

The more than three feet of snow left thousands without power and heat for hours, and some even for days. The governor had declared a state emergency. The conditions were so bad that even the vehicles clearing up the major roads and highways were called off for the driver’s safety.

That I love snow is one thing, but being snowed in for days at a stretch without being able to even go out is something I am not very fond of.  Each day I waited for information on the status of the school for the next day, and ended up receiving the same news. The school ended up being closed for the entire week, making it a second mini winter break for us.

Initially, I felt very good about the school being closed, but then being inside the house, for so many days was getting on my nerves. There was a lot that I could have done, given that there was no school, yet I felt so lazy that I ended up doing nothing. I did go out to play in the snow, but the excitement died out soon. All I did over the week were sleep, eat, watch movies and sleep some more.

Now that the storm has passed, and the sun has come out, I am really looking forward to attending school this coming Monday. We will have to make up for the classes that were canceled over the past week, given the extreme conditions, by going to school over the next few weekends. However, having stayed at home over the forced second break, I will be happy to go to school, which as such will soon get over and I will be left with precious memories of all that I did and all that happened to me over these two awesome years.