Monday, September 28, 2015

"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” (?)

Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, has said “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.”

There is a sense of history when one thinks about the United Nations today. In an ever changing world order it has become increasingly important to address issued of governance and management in regards on their impact in the decision making process to reach goals in an effective and efficient way.

So, is information really liberating? Will information set you free? Will it take the blinds of your eyes? 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Things you should know before taking the GMAT

1. What if I take the test more than once? Twice. 
 Will schools average my scores?  
No. I'm not aware of a single school that still averages GMAT scores. They just take your higher score into consideration 
 2. Do schools use sub-scores? 
Yes.  In fact, your math sub-score is critically important.  Admissions officers are terrified of admitting candidates who will bomb out because they can't handle the math-intensive courses. So getting an acceptable math score is important. The verbal sub-score isn't quite as critical, and applicants who speak English as a second language are often given extra leeway for low verbal scores.
3. What about the AWA score—the essay?  Do schools use it?  
Almost never.  Adding the essay to the GMAT has been a total failure.
4. If the essays are so unimportant, is it okay to skip them? 
 Definitely not.  It's true that schools place virtually no weight on your AWA score when making the admissions decision, but ignoring the essays completely—as some unwise test takers have done—makes the applicant look lazy.  Write the essays.  If nothing else, it's a good way to warm up for the two parts of the exam that matter dearly.
5. Is it easier to improve in math or verbal?  
Most GMAT prep students who take a class improve more in math than they do in verbal. The concepts in math are more concrete and the answer choices are less ambiguous. I though I was better in verbal and (Surprise, surprise) did better in math. 
6. What is an acceptable GMAT score? 
It varies from school to school and candidate to candidate. Applicants from overrepresented work backgrounds—such as banking or consulting—need higher GMAT scores, while candidates from underrepresented work backgrounds can be admitted with significantly lower numbers. Regardless of a candidate's work background, however, being admitted to a top-tier program with a score below 600 is almost impossible.
7. How much can I improve on the GMAT? 
The GMAT curriculum can be mastered completely. The people who write the exam aren't robots with superhuman brain power. They're ordinary worker bees who follow prescribed formulas to write predictable test questions. If I can master it, you can master it.
8. What do you score on the GMAT? 710
9. What is your personal favourite section and least favourite section of the GMAT?
Reading comprehension.
11. When should I take the test? 
At least 31 days before your first application deadline. There is now a 30-day waiting period between test administrations for people who want to take the test more than once. Schedule your test early enough to take it multiple times and still make your deadline. I would strongly recommend two months before the deadline. 
12. Any suggestions for test day? 
 Arrive super early.  Sneak Skittles in your pants pocket.  
13. Should I use GMASS, the Graduate Management Admissions Search Service?
  Yes, checking the GMASS box at or on your computer on test day will allow schools to recruit you based on your GMAT score and self-reported GPA.
14. Should I elect to send my scores every time I take the test?
 Yes. The fee you pay to take the exam includes sending your scores to five schools. Beyond that, you can send scores to more programs at a cost of $25 per school. (Outrageous.)  There is no advantage in holding off on sending your GMAT transcript until you get the score you wants. Schools will use only your highest score anyway, so don't wait until you've taken the test many times and then be forced to pay $25 per school. Send your scores with every test.
15. Does the GMAT 'measure' anything?  
Apparently not.  No one claims that the GMAT is an intelligence test or that it measures any kind of aptitude or potential.  In fact, the Graduate Management Admissions Counsel is so lawyered up on this issue that it invests more energy clarifying what the test doesn't do than explaining what it does.  The only justification ever given for administering the test is that there is a slight correlation (median correlation = 0.51) between GMAT scores and first-year grades in business school.  (Shockingly, the study conducted to find that modest correlation was paid for and conducted by the very people who write the test.) There is apparently no correlation whatsoever between a student's GMAT score and his or her second-year grades.  Go figure.
16. They take my picture at the test center as part of the security process. Is it true that schools can pull up that picture on the Internet?  
Yep, and they often do.  That "security" picture is made available to schools (for some stupid reason), so don't be caught wearing your "Legalize It!" T-shirt and flipping off the camera.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to prepare for Business School

Where should I apply? And to how many programmes? 

DO apply to your dream school, even if it is a stretch. This is your only chance, don't leave yourself with any regrets. 
DO apply to at least four schools of varying levels of competitiveness to maximise chances of success. 
DON'T apply to more than six schools. This is an intense and time-consuming process. Applying to too many schools leads to burn-out and diminishing returns. 
DON'T rely on rumour and others' opinions when deciding where to apply (including rankings such as The Economist's). Engage in first-hand research by visiting schools, and speaking with current students and alumni. Only you can decide which school is the right fit for your personality and goals.

It is important to take the GMAT exam seriously as this is one aspect of the application that is very much within your control. In a sea of highly qualified candidates, the GMAT is an important screening tool  
DO take a class in order to prepare rigorously, with an established study schedule and practice exams in a realistic environment. One basic key to success is familiarity— with question type and the computer-adapted format. 
DO plan to take the exam more than once. Fewer nerves and more experience often lead to a higher score the second time around. 
DON'T cancel a score, no matter how badly you think you have done. Immediately afterwards you are given the option of not submitting the test. But schools will evaluate your highest score, so don't worry about a low score weighing you down. In any case, it will provide valuable information about your testing strengths and weaknesses. And you may be surprised that a score is not as low as you expected. 
DON'T wait until the last minute to take your GMAT. Take care of it early in the year, before you have to juggle the other aspects of the application. Leave time for two rounds of studying and testing. 
DO consider the alternative GRE test. Because the GRE isn't reported in class profiles and isn't a factor in b-school rankings, if you struggle with the GMAT but have good grades and other strong credentials, submitting a GRE may make it easier for a school to “take a chance” on you. If you do well on GMAT, submit it. But if you are a poor test-taker, the GRE may be the way to go.

References (letters of recommendation) 
DO try your best to secure professional references. An academic reference will not be able to answer the most common recommendation questions. Schools are really looking for insight into your professional performance. 
DO  use references from your current and most recent jobs. The most recent insights help create a picture of you as you currently are. The admissions committee is not as concerned with how you behaved eight years ago. 
DON'T secure a reference from a bigwig who hardly knows you. Make sure your referee can comment on you in a meaningful way.
DO prepare your referees and manage them closely. The references are a small test of your management abilities. If you cannot ensure that your referee submits on time, or follows other directions, what does this say about your skills as a manager?

-- to be updated.

The interviews 
As with all aspects of this process, it is important to prep for the interviews. The subject matter of the interview will be you, and you will be expected to be the polished expert. 
DO  practise out loud, rather than just mentally preparing answers. You can have mock interviews with a friend or even speak to yourself in the mirror. 
DON'T opt to interview on campus if you will perform better off campus. Set yourself up for success, by choosing the environment where you will be most relaxed. 
DO  follow up with a thank-you note, via e-mail or post. 
Many schools are friendly towards re-applicants; if you approach the process correctly, a re-applicant can feel cautiously optimistic. 
DO be sure to highlight how you have progressed since your previous application. Demonstrate professional and personal advancements. Help the admissions committee to understand how you have evolved and become a better applicant since your last attempt. 
DON'T completely overhaul your application. Some schools ask you to submit an entirely new application, but too much change can signal that you are not being honest. 
DO apply to new schools in addition to the old ones. If you were unsuccessful the first time, it may be because you applied to the wrong set of schools. 

 Ps. Practice makes perfect!

Don't forget to comment about your experience on the road to grad school!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Open letter to my boss

Dear Boss,

Do you listen to yourself when you scream? I guess you don’t.
Do you see the faces people make when you talk that way? I guess you don't.
Do you notice how people stare? I guess you don’t.
Do you hear how people talk behind your back? I guess you don’t.

Truth is, you don’t see nor care to understand their point. It's not even the fact that you are the most disorganised person I have ever met, or that your worktable is an utter mess; it’s that you don’t really see around.

In the end, I've learned that people will avoid working with you at all costs if you don’t have the personality to achieve a consensus in the daily office live. Therefore you can’t complain why people go their own way to get things done, right?

Be a nice human, whoever you are. Chances are someday, someday you will be a boss, a mom/dad, caretaker or trainer and will be responsible for how someone turns out.

Please don’t be that, math teacher that made me hate math forever. Nobody want a tactless bitch.

Be considerate.

Be patient.

Be tactful.

Understand why people tick, and why they are that way.
Most importantly, LISTEN.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The land of Zapata has once again become a beacon of hope in the middle of the arid desert of corruption which today controls politics as usual in Washington, Mexico City, Ottawa and beyond.
Mexico is rising above to a government that they have been a salve of for decades; the land of Zapata has finally woken up.
Mexico has had a rough patch, a hard and long 4 years of fighting the odds. We turned our head when we heard about a new drug leader, a new politician or a new bill; because we are just used to waiting because the problem is there not here with the people.
Since 2011, every year Mexico has been convulsed by an important social explosion in favor of the transformation of our corrupt political system. Four years of protests, marches and movements and seeds of concientization topped by the cold case of Ayotzinapa: 43 missing students since the 29 of September.
The last sexenium (2006-2012) was widely advertised as the “war against drugs” pushing the agenda of security as priority for the country by ex-president Felipe Calderon. The result was dreadful and all the world was an observer of how Mexican politics changed once again and how Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign for president started climbing the newspapers and television channels. We all knew this presidency was strategically planned and bought years ago.
In 2012, Pena Nieto won the elections and turned the national agenda focus point to the much needed reforms in energy in education known as the Pact of Mexico.
Ayotzinapa is what is getting the worlds heads to turn to the government we are facing, to the poor jobs they have done in their duties and the sorrow and scared people of Mexico. Ayotzinapa is, like in many other cases, the tip of the iceberg.
How did we get to this broken state?
 The Swiss/Mexican community is organizing a demonstration in Geneva in front of the United Nations December 14th.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

25 dreaming

Twenty-five is when things start to change, begin to turn over -- the slow march toward the machine of life. I recall my dad telling me how important it was to mark the end of my University years. He took my hand and told me smiling: „after this, the years will kind of blend, you will remember your 18th birthday because you had that epic party; but after – you start collecting little goals and accomplishments".

I remember thinking well that sucks, I would like to remember each and every year, what if I don’t accomplish anything that year? You just forget?

Yes, you forget or maybe I am just learn to not give a fuck. They do blend.
Yes, I am not at my dream job, not even close. But I tell myself I have a solid plan. A plan I developed when I was 16 in English class and still in the Educare bubble.

24 was definitely the year it all fell apart. Reality crash, bad decisions, you name it. It all happened at once. Thank God its over. So I am definitely not scared of 25 and I am rather a happy-scared-excited

Gone are the awkward days of my teenage years. And all of a sudden everyone seems to tell me that I am now a quarter century old and to remind me how important it is the decisions I will do this year.

Here is a list of things you should know at 25:

·         Your parents are awesome brave people.

·         You should know how to choose friends, and to be conscious only the good ones survived. I have friends I call that are my family.

·         You should have learned by now that you can’t do it all by yourself. Let people help you.

·         Even if you don’t get along with that aunt that lives close by, it important to make an effort.

·         Have a plan. Chances are it won’t work out the first time, but it’s important to have a picture of where you’re headed.

·         It’s ok feeling lonely. It’s ok wanting someone to love.

·         Financial planning sucks. But it will save you lots of headaches and “surprise” costs and in the end you will be grateful you spend that extra hour doing your taxes.

·         You should know how to make a house or apartment your home.

·         You should know how to cook at least 5 meals. Maybe some canapés for the next dinner party would be great too. We all love someone who can cook.

·         Know what kind or worker or boss you want to be. I dated a workaholic guy and I still don’t get why these people prefer to meet a deadline than have a nice dinner out while all the co-workers are long gone. The line between working for a living and living for a job is there for a reason. Know what kind or worker or boss you want to be.

·         Random acts of kindness are awesome and will make you feel great. Helping the old lady pack the groceries in a bag will take you two minutes and will make the lady’s day. Do it.

·         Take care of your body. I juuust joined the gym and I keep thinking to myself I would be so hot if I had done it 10 years ago.

·         Eat healthy. Simple.

·         You should know that those Friday night drinks are what keeps you from going crazy and are just as important as the weekends you choose to stay in with a glass of wine.

·         Dreams are key to get there. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I am not the only one.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Working in Switzerland

 You will probably find easily a job in Switzerland, faster than you ever thought, and better paid than you ever expected, however not everything is as perfect as you planned.

The life in the land with one of the worlds highest GDPs isn’t bad at all, with a minimum full time salary (living alone), I can still save a little and have travelled more than I had ever. Plus, pretty picture perfect Switzerland will offer beautiful lakes to go swim in summer and the coolest view ever from the top of mountains to go ski in winter.

 There is a price to pay. Some things to consider:

 1. The panorama is very Swiss and true of everything good you heard of; however the population is a wide range of different cultures.

 2. If you a foreigner- Finding an apartment is hard and takes time. Consider a month or two. They will ask for you migration papers, papers of the time you left your country and when you got to Switzerland, working contract, etc..

 3. If you are a Swiss citizen- things might get easier, but it’s still hard and time consuming. Swiss people trust more to live amongst their own.

4. Swiss hate germans and germans think swiss people are “cute“. And if you think they are the same, think again.

 5. Switzerland has a population of 7 million 997, including 1’864’699 immigrants. That’s a lot.

 6. 10’000-25’000 is the number of Asylum seekers that Switzerland hosts per year. Mostly from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sri Lanka according to KKF OCA.

7. People aren’t really racist, they have come a long way to acceptance in the idea that Switzerland is the best (most wanted) solution for a lot of people and they understand that. However you will rarely see different races in a gathering.

 8. There is, of course, corruption, but you will not see it everyday. (or it is very well hidden) People still get freaked out about stuff like a cell phone robbery or the fact that your bike is gone. Even though on buses and trams they seldom check for tickets, they will get one. And if the mineral water is outside the store, a Swiss person will always carry it though the store and pay in the cashier for what he took. Morals are high and respectful at all times.

9. You will get well paid (minimum salary is CHF. 3400 – 3500 before taxes and insurance) and rewarded with at least 20 days paid vacation plus National Holidays.

 10. You will also spend A LOT. On health Insurance, transport, taxes, food and rent, the last two being the highest.

10. Most Swiss people start working between 7 and 8 am and go home between 4-5 or 6 max.

 11. You don’t have to dress a certain way, doctor’s work in crocs and technicians and young people in jeans. However, they will get mad if you misspelled or forgot a coma and your work isn’t pitch perfect. Switzerland is the land of precision, remember that.

 12. If someone is in a suit, chances are they work in banking, government or an international company with HQ here.

 13. Yes people are closed and cold. But they are also straightforward and will tell you if you are doing something wrong, shady or just fucked up.

 14. If you arrive late to work people will give you “the look” and you will never do it again, but they respect illness and doctor appointments impressively (and people do take advantage of that).

15. Swiss people are very hard working, (time to eat is half an hour) and you will rarely see them chatting or taking time to get coffee or breakfast. Work is work.  As a result, as soon as they leave the office their personal life begins and they disconnect. They work for their vacations and pension.

 16. People go to the grocery store 3 – 4 times a week, eat healthy and go to the gym, hiking or practice a kind of sport or hobby.

 17. Switzerland is not build for cars; gas is expensive, so is parking, insurance and maintenance and traffic can be crazy in cities, considering that it’s a very small country.

 18. Yes, its true. You don’t have to prove your bank where your pay check comes from. The bank will only ask for you ID and an address.

 19. Bread and cheese are essential in every Swiss household and the Bäckerei (Bakery) in the corner of the street is a gift from heaven. Each and everyone of them. In fact, when it’s your birthday you have to bring breakfast or a crossaint to everyone in the office.

21. In general, people are very outdoorsy. Swiss people travel a lot. They like to go hiking, swimming in lakes, running, and of course, skiing.

22. And before you realize you have never seen so many opportunities together in such a little piece of land. And Switzerland is starting to grow on you.

                                                                                              Maybe, just maybe, taking a risk is worth it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall - Be a nice human-

be a nice human
As an ever-evolving student on life and relationships, here are a few things I have learned.

1. Invest in the people who invest in you. Choose wisely.

2. Don’t wait to tell people how you feel about them. Tell them now. And if you feel the same tomorrow, tell them tomorrow too.

3. In everything in life, all you have control over is how hard you tried and if you acted with grace and integrity. So take a risk, jump in with two feet, do whatever it takes to fight for what you want – so at the end, you know you tried your best. Conduct yourself with self-respect no matter how challenging the person or situation is – because the one thing nobody can ever take away from you is your dignity.

4. People become what you believe of them. See someone for the best of them, and they will rise up. See someone for the worst of them, and they will fall down to meet that expectation.

5. In love, there is a time to listen to your heart and a time to listen to your head. Be open to love, relish in the risk of it, but don’t be blind to the signs that tell you something is not fitting.

6. Any relationship – whether it be business, friendship, or romantic – that does not have an alignment of values has an inevitable expiry date.

7. Know when to walk away.  Know when to stay.

8. Spend more effort trying to get to the root of an issue, versus reacting to the symptoms. You will reach lasting results versus short-term Band-Aid effects.

9. Invalidating someone’s feelings because it’s not something that matters to you is belittling and dehumanizing. Allow people to feel. Encourage people to express. Embrace humaness. The uncomfortable conversations are the ones that build self-awareness and character.

10. If you approach with empathy and an intent to understand versus the need to prove wrong, you will always win.

11.  There is someone out there that will find you perfect just the way you are – your imperfections, wounds and quirks included. Work on yourself to be the best version of yourself you can be, keep an open heart and your intentions pure, and you will attract abundance and love.

12. “Be a nice human.” – Unknown.  Help, laugh, and don't be affraid. We all are.

13. When someone evokes negative emotions in you – before you assign blame, look inward. People can only trigger something that is already within you. The universe puts people in our path to test us, to trigger us, to give us opportunities to evolve past our old wounds, blockages and insecurities. If you can learn the lesson from these catalysts, you will evolve. Or, you can choose to keep repeating your karma.