Let’s try that again, this time you don’t care where I was. Action!

Where the hell have I been the last couple weeks?  Unsure.  Last I remember, I got off the plane from Shanghai…and then 4000 pages of Strategy reading and 100 Finance problem sets later, it’s Midnight going into the 4th (?) week of the term and I just finished the Finance mid-term.  30 minutes before the deadline.

Funny thing about said mid-term…I actually finished at 3 p.m. today.  Or so I thought, until I needed to actually write the answers into the Word document.  Forget that the business world runs on Excel spreadsheets, or PowerPoint when you need to ‘explain’ complex ideas to people who can’t understand or pay attention long enough to understand complex ideas.  There I was, 8 p.m., hand-calculated formulas and unformatted spreadsheets in hand, no closer to getting an SP than when I downloaded the exam.  Last Tuesday.

No kidding, it took me 2 hours to complete the exam while simultaneously studying (it was open-book, of course).  I took another 4 hours trying to format complicated math into Microsoft Word.  Equation editor looks pretty good when you are done, but I’m not sure it could be any more difficult to use.  Why Microsoft insists on having the formula real-size on screen when you are editing it makes no sense, other than they are masochists (as proven by the stupid Ribbon interface inflicted on the World).  Once you get to putting in a subscript, the cursor is so small that you actually lose it on screen.  And speaking of losing things, I was about to lose my temper if not for…

Jim Gaffigan.  The quote in the title above is from one of his stand-up comedy acts I was listening to while taming the Finance monster.  It’s funny, growing up I never listened to music when I studied (if I studied at all); now, I generally can’t work unless there is music playing.  Although, I have to be listening to music through headphones; outside noise is distracting enough where I can’t work.  But that’s an oddity to explore another day.

Since I’m already tired, I’m going to wrap this up by saying this is the worst exam I’ve taken so far at Fuqua.  Not because of the material mind you (Accounting still wins by a mile), just the extent to which the submission is torture to the student.  I’ve written a lot of technical documentation in my career (Remember statistical modeling?  You should see what a model write-up looks like at work), but I’ve never tried so hard to put the ‘square peg in the round hole’ like I did tonight.

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week

…so says the Spanish proverb.  I’m really starting to see the wisdom in this saying.

Even though Semester 1 has been complete for over a week now, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time reflecting on the past 10 weeks.  However, now that we’re just days away from starting Semester 2 in Dubai, one theme is starting to become more obvious to me:  procrastination.  It really shouldn’t be the surprise that it is to me, since this is now the second time (original post) I’m writing about this theme!

Since completing the CCL video, I’ve done everything I can to NOT do the pre-reading for Dubai.  Whether it’s rationalizing that my work background is in Economics and Decision Models, figuring that I can spend some time this week at lunch doing the reading, or just partying so hard last night that my whole body aches, I haven’t been putting the proper amount of time with my Semester 2 reading materials.  In fact, other than reading the syllabus for each class, I haven’t spent ANY time working.  Not good.

This evening, after loafing around the house all day recovering, I finally broke my procrastination streak by starting the Decision Models Excel exercises.  The first thing I can say is that it looks like Professor Sun takes the art of spreadsheet modeling very seriously.  I did a few exercises, then saw the answer key he provided; while I got the answers right, my spreadsheet design needs some improvement.

The other thing I can say is, the Microsoft ribbon interface sucks.  Every time I think Microsoft can’t disappoint me any more than it already has, I see something like this.  Stop moving the #@*#! buttons around on me depending on where I am in the spreadsheet!  “Context-sensitive” is really just another code-word for ‘chaos’.

I’ve spent my career building Excel spreadsheets, and yet when I use Excel 2007 it’s like I’ve never even used the program before.  So besides doing the pre-reading exercises and readings, it looks like I also need to get a book on this new version of Excel.  Awesome.

But that’s something I can handle tomorrow, when I do the Pro Forma Excel exercise.  Like I said, I’m really starting to see the wisdom in that saying.