I have an admission to make. I’ve been using my car to make the 2-mile trek to the north side of campus, driving from my residence at Rita Atkinson to the Pangea parking structure. It’s only a 25-minute walk, but I’m guilty of allowing myself to run late, then having to take my car out of necessity. You could call it a defense mechanism.
But I bucked the trend yesterday, deciding that I’ll put forth a stronger effort to reduce the dependence on my car. As we all should. The eco-friendliest way to get from one place to another is to bike or walk. And for those longer distances, public transportation (bus, light rail), or carpooling are the way to go. But if you MUST take your own car, you should follow some simple rules to make sure you’re maximizing your vehicle’s gas mileage capabilities.
- Slow Down. FuelEconomy.gov reports that aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by up to 33 percent at highway speeds. Another fuel waster is the accelerating and hard braking that occurs at traffic lights around town. Be mindful of the road ahead. There’s no need to accelerate up to the speed limit, just to slam on your brakes at the next red light 0.5 miles down the road.
- Stay in Shape. Make sure to get oil changed at the appropriate mileage markers. Keep your tires inflated to the settings in your car’s manual. Use the right grade motor oil. Replace your air filter. These ‘common sense’ reminders can add up: neglecting them could reduce your gas mileage up to 10%.
- Lose the Weight. Is your trunk full of unnecessary baggage? That added weight can be a drag to your vehicle’s overall gas mileage. I’m guilty of driving around with goodwill donations in my trunk for weeks at a time. It’s great that I drive a hybrid and all (self-promotion), but I’m placing a mileage ceiling on my Camry’s mileage, preventing my car from obtaining it’s optimal output. Try to avoid luggage on the hood of your car as well. This causes wind resistance and impacts your fuel economy.
As is true with most other environmentally-sound habits, improving your car’s gas mileage saves you money. So by taking care of your car, you can be putting extra dollars in your wallet, and feel good about doing your part for the environment.
Our first set of tests as MBA students are over and done with. How are we all feeling? Not great, but who are we kidding, some of us haven’t had a timed exam other than the GMAT in the last 5-10 years. We kind of forgot how to study properly for such large tests. But of course, we live and we learn, hopefully changing our habits and doing it differently. That is the story of why I am here at Rady School of Management. I thought I wanted to be in Finance, but boy was I wrong. Although I do enjoy Finance in some respects, I don’t think it is something I can do for the next 30-40 years of my life.
Now back to what I have learned while I have been here. I cannot help but preach about the culture at Rady. I have learned a lot about different cultures and different aspects of business. I am very excited to work with every one of my classmates and learn as much as I can about who they are and where they have been both in business and the world.
My study break is over, back to Accounting and Managerial Economics. I will be writing as often as I can about a plethora of subjects (hopefully). My next post should be about whether my club RadyCOMM has been accepted and likely about Net Impact (another great club)!
As you can see in the picture, I had quite the time partying when I wasn’t studying.
Fall quarter has some excellent Career Expositions, and they just happen to fall the week leading up to my first round of MBA midterms – excellent. Despite the unfavorable schedule, I decided to make a 2-day trip to the NSHMBA Conference & Career Expo in Anaheim. Many fellow students also attended, some seeking full-time opportunities, others trying to lock down a strong internship for next summer. Personally, I wasn’t looking for either – but I love the networking opportunity that a national career fair such as NSHMBA provides. In the end , I was able to make some professional connections with potential employers, chat with fellow-MBA’s from around the country, and stock up on free give-a-ways from the endless array of sponsor booths. Here were some of the favorites:
- Ally – free coffee bar (chocolate-covered oreos were my favorite)
- SaraLee – free samples of Aidells sausage (I overdosed on the ‘chicken & apple’ flavor)
- DeVry – gave away flash drives (didn’t these things used to be expensive??)
- Intel – another practical gift: a power strip for cell phones as a usb plug-in
- Home Depot – another cell phone gadget: a speaker set for your smartphone
Life Technologies was the consensus “Best Water Bottle.” And I also saw a sponsor with a shoe-shine booth – and rumor has it they were giving 3-minute massages as well. But when it came down to it, the best sponsor give-aways ended up being the sponsored parties. Diageo had the hands-down best party, and unfortunately I wasn’t there. I did have a blast at the Anaheim Ducks’ home-opener, however, and the good guys won with a 1-0 defeat of their in-state rivals, the San Jose Sharks.
The Rady Career Fair is scheduled for this Tuesday, and it presents more realistic opportunities for those looking to remain in the San Diego area for their internships next summer. And as alluded to earlier, midterms just happen to be scheduled for this Wednesday and Thursday. All those time-management skills I’ve mentioned in previous posts will surely be tested this week! Between the Recruit@Rady career fair, other clubs and weekly meetings, and cramming for my tests, I’m sure I’ll be re-living some of those late-nights at The College of New Jersey (the ones in the library, not Katmandu). But as I’ve also touched upon in previous blogs, the hectic schedule around tests is also fun and challenging. It’s a practical real-world setting – it’s not as if the world slows down when your life gets busy!
I’m human – I have a lot of pet peeves. But nothing bothers me more than when I’m at the convenience store and the person in front me accepts a single-use plastic bag to carry out their pack of gum. Or maybe it’s an energy drink and a cliff bar. Or a bag of chips and bottled water (don’t get me started). Herein lays the problem: too many people are used to answering the question, “Paper or plastic?” Consumers need to start asking themselves if they need a bag at all; and if the answer is ‘yes,’ we need to start planning ahead.
The Worldwatch Institute claims Americans throw out 100 billion plastic bags per year (less than 1 percent of which get recycled) – but at what cost? Shopping bags represent a tiny expense for retailers, and they are typically offered to consumers free of charge. While the short-term financial impact of plastic bag pollution may seem small, the long-term environmental effect is crippling. Never mind the estimated 12 million barrels of oil necessary to produce the aforementioned 100 billion bags (NYTimes). Plastic bags can take anywhere between 20 – 1000 years to breakdown, often releasing harmful toxins in the process. As a society, we need to change the way we think. Reduce – Reuse - RETHINK – Recycle. That’s right, recycling should be a last resort.
So what can you do? Plan ahead when you go shopping – Target, Express, Trader Joe’s – wherever you are going to need to carry something out with you. Have a bag than you can reuse at those different places. That bag you have from your most recent Gap purchase? Go put it in your car – right now – the next time you’re in need of a bag, you’ll have one at your disposal. For grocery shopping, invest in durable, canvas-type bags (click here for tips). If you’re feeling bold, share these tips with strangers when you see them being wasteful with plastic bags at the check-out counter. If they ask you what your problem is, you can kindly reply, “Oh nothing really, just trying to save the world.”
In the news: Many states (including CA) legislature in place to ban or reduce the use of plastic bags. My favorite? Washington D.C. started charging consumers 5 cents per plastic bag they needed at check-out last year. That might be the only way to get consumers’ attention.
“We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, or the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death. But within all this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live: courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or adrift. We decide what is important and what is trivial in life. We decide that what makes us significant is either what we do or what we refuse to do. But no matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. And as we decide and choose, so are our lives formed. In the end, forming our own destiny is what ambition is about.” – Joseph Epstein
Thank you Steve Jobs for choosing to make a difference.
Spirits were high at the Rady School of Management this Thursday afternoon. The Full-time 2013’s had just completed their second full-week of classes, and we emerged from the second week with much more confidence than the first. The 3-day weekend that lay ahead seemed ripe for leisurely activities, as some mid-week rain had been replaced with a sunny forecast that seemed likely to stick around for some time (surfers and beach-goers rejoice). A decent amount of Rady students are attending a Yacht Party on Friday night being thrown by sdyoungpros.com. And for the sports fans like myself, the weekend has three deciding games in MLB’s divisional round, Week 5 NFL action, and apparently the NHL season has begun (right, Danny?).
Although there seem to be enough social events to occupy one’s entire weekend, it’d be short-sighted for an MBA to give in to such temptation. Next weekend, a decent number of Rady students are making the 2-day trip to Anaheim for the NSHMBA Career Expo. We return just in time to crunch for midterms, all of which will be completed within a short two weeks. And for the FT 2013’s, we have a case to present in Quantitative Analysis this week, as well as our first graded assignment in Accounting.
The amount of work that needs to get done could occupy your mind 24/7. And the year-round social scene in San Diego has been known to get the best of even the most-discipline people. Finding a healthy balance is the key to success. Each individual needs to discover their “sweet spot” – something the Yankees were unable to accomplish this past Thursday (sports reference). Having enough discipline to do work when more attractive alternatives present themselves, but also realizing the need to completely “shut down” every now and then – following that blueprint will lead to fewer weeks ending in a state-of-shock. And as far away as that whirlwind of Week One seems, I’m not looking to return there anytime soon!
If you’re looking for a business trend that has proven to be recession-proof during this most recent economic downswing, look no further than sustainable initiatives. More and more companies are realizing the benefits of conducting their operations from behind a “green” lens. An ever-increasing majority of the population has also begun to develop an environmental conscience. It has become apparent to people that a commitment to sustainability will equate to cost efficiency in both their business world and their personal lives. In my opinion, adopting eco-friendly habits in your everyday routine will equate to an increased awareness of sustainable opportunities from a business perspective. For that reason, I will begin posting weekly tips on improving your eco-awareness, providing simple steps you can take to minimize your carbon footprint.
Whether we’re brushing our teeth in the bathroom or washing dishes in the kitchen, many of us are aware of some obvious ways to reduce water consumption:
- Use cold water as often as possible
- Take short showers/long baths
- Don’t leave water running while shaving
- Wait to wash clothes/dishes until you have a full load
But there’s another step you can take after you’ve turned off the faucet that can equate to significant savings on your utility bill: when you turn off your sink water, face the faucet towards the ‘cold’ setting. When the spout is left on ‘hot,’ the water heater continues to work, causing an unnecessary drain on energy. If you’re ‘turned on’ by the convenience of having hot water available at your instant command, perhaps you should shift your priorities – be thankful you have running water in the first place!
The water heater can be a source of additional savings for those seeking to take their energy reduction to an advanced level. First, try lowering the temperature of your water heater – the hottest setting is typically ‘too hot’ to handle anyway (sorry, I had to). And if you’re heading out of town for at least a few days, consider turning off the water heater completely. But until you’re ready to take it to the extreme, do your best to be mindful at the sink. Use only the amount of water that is needed, and be conscious of the water heater by turning the faucet toward the ‘cold’ setting when you’re finished.
It’s hard to believe I’ve only been living in San Diego for a month, it feels as though I’ve had enough ‘firsts’ to last me a year. Like my first Taco Tuesday in La Jolla, my first Home Plate Happy Hour, and my first Rita BBQ. I’ve also met my MBA classmates for the first time. As recently as nine months ago, I would not have believed I’d be enrolled in a full-time MBA program. Or that I’d be living in Southern California. And never had I ever written a blog. I guess there’s a first time for everything.
Pre-term at the Rady School of Management began September 12th for the Full-time class of 2013. The two-week orientation proved to be an amazing vehicle, establishing a truly authentic camaraderie amongst an extremely diverse group of 57 students. I can’t say enough about my classmates – they’re such an amazing group of intelligent, driven individuals. It’s genuinely exciting to think about how much we’re going to accomplish over the next two years and beyond, and during Pre-Term, we were provided a glimpse of what those two years will entail. We were introduced to the Rady Careers team, and exposed to a schedule of limitless networking opportunities. We met our distinguished faculty for the Fall quarter, a passionate group that I’m eager to learn from. And we met the Full-time 2012’s, who were selfless with their time in ‘showing us the ropes’ and introducing the various student-run clubs and organizations.
With a full week of classes under my belt, I’m quickly learning the importance of budgeting my time. The MBA curriculum here is no joke, and you have to hit the ground running to keep up with the assignments. And that’s exactly the way it should be – the decision to attend business school is the welcoming of a challenge. A challenge I’ve gladly accepted, and a process I look forward to. Just three weeks in, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come to Rady. It just feels right.