St. Petersburg, Day 2: White nights, Big City

Russia White Nights

Photo from my iPhone - 10:45 p.m.

One of the more interesting things about St. Petersburg is that during the months of June and July, the days are so long that it appears that the sun doesn’t even set!  The picture to the right was taken at 10:45 p.m. as I headed out to meet up with some classmates who were watching the World Cup match at the Tinkoff Brew Pub.

The 10:45 picture doesn’t even really do the scene justice; even though the foreground is pretty dark, I purposely left the picture as-is to give the feel of the skyline.  Around the Philadelphia area of the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., I would estimate that an 8- 8:30 p.m. sky would be equivalent.

As the game progressed around me (I couldn’t care less about soccer!), it was extremely difficult to keep track of time.  The brew pub was relatively dark  due to having the windows blocked off.  It wasn’t quite a movie theater level of darkness… when you looked at the windows, you could still see small cracks of the light filtering through.  Imagine my surprise when the crew decided to leave at 1:30 and it still wasn’t dark outside!

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Respite? I wish.

I’ve just finished my final exams for Duke CCMBA Term 3. Total time: 10.8 hours on statistics, 8.2 hours for marketing, 4.9 hours sobbing quietly at my desk about not having studied more.

As the program has six terms, in a sane universe this would mean I’m half-way done with my MBA. Sadly, I’m not even done with Term 3 yet. And anyway the end of Term 3, officially April 7th, isn’t really the half-way point.

First, I have the Delhi Culture Dash video to produce. My team has succeeded mightily with a divide-and-conquer approach, so for each the three projects that remain in Term 3 (two, technically, being term 4 projects due before term 4 officially starts), we have one project author and one reviewer. I volunteered for the video project when the entire team thought it was due April 6th. It’s actually due Thursday. I’m guessing this is another 10 hours of work. Good thing I have all that time to do it, otherwise I’d continue sobbing at my desk.

Second, Term 6 will really be two terms. During the residency we have four classes, then after the residency we have two 6-week distance periods, with two sets of finals.

Third, the chronological midpoint of the program is actually April 11th.[1] So, really, we’re almost there, though I suspect the psychological midpoint will be April 25th, when we leave Shanghai. Or maybe December 12th, the day before the thing ends.

Sorry about that. I may have spent too much time doing statistics this weekend. I will now retire to the pub, with The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, which I need to finish reading (for Global Markets and Institutions) before next week.

[1] The program officially started with Term 1 pre-reading on 8 August 2009; our last final exam is due 13 December 2010; that’s 492 days; so 246 days after August 8th is April 11th. QED. If you use the first day of the London residency, August 15th, as the starting point, the midpoint is April 14th.

This post is reprinted with permission from the author.  You can follow David’s journey through the Duke CCMBA program and the rest of his daily life at The Daily Parker.