Saturday, December 30, 2006

Moved back

Now moved back again to blogger. Lost some comments - all of them, actually. But this seems to be easier to manage, and I seem to be having more time to write... How could that be?

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Business Week's top MBA programs

The 2006 BW ranking is out some time ago - I was just told by my former classmate. Duke is back to top 10! :)

Here are the top 30 in the U.S.

1 University of Chicago

2 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

3 Northwestern University (Kellogg)

4 Harvard University

5 University of Michigan (Ross)

6 Stanford University

7 MIT (Sloan)

8 UC Berkeley (Haas)

9 Duke University (Fuqua)

10 Columbia University

11 Dartmouth (Tuck)

12 UCLA (Anderson)

13 Cornell University (Johnson)

14 NYU (Stern)

15 University of Virginia (Darden)

16 Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

17 UNC - Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)

18 Indiana University (Kelley)

19 Yale University

20 Texas - Austin

21 University of Southern California (Marshall)

22 Georgetown University (McDonough)

23 Emory University (Goizueta)

24 Purdue University (Krannert)

25 University of Maryland (Smith)

26 University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)

27 Washington University (Olin)

28 Rochester (Simon)

29 Michigan State University (Broad)

30 Vanderbilt University (Owen)

... and top 10 non-U.S.

1 Queens University

2 Western Ontario (Ivey)

3 Toronto (Rotman)


5 London Business School




9 York (Schulich)

10 HEC - Montreal

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Saturday, December 16, 2006


There are many Yahoo! fantasy footballers with "[TT]" in their team names, including some of the best teams (i.e. top 50). Well, TT stands for Team Talk. It's a website forum where "experts" in fantasy football share their opinions. The rest, like me, would just try to digest these opinions and get the best out of it.

Teamtalk was created with the intention of providing a comfortable place for people with a common interest in Fantasy Football, Primarily (but not exclusively) Yahoo Fantasy Football and Football itself to meet, exchange ideas, share information and enjoy each other's company.

It has two types of memberships: regular and Elite. As an Elite member (which I'm not), you can get the access to the TT Elite forum, estimate team points using BBC stats, plan ahead with access to simple YFF schedules, and many more.

The rest of the forums are pretty similar to what people throw in YFF, except TT manages the forum much better. This includes fixture information, team news, suspensions & injuries, etc.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Busy Indonesia

What a busy few weeks has it been in Indonesia. First there is AA Gym, a famous religious leader who ate his own words and married his second wife. Well, he just got more famous, especially among the husbands.

Then Yahya Zaini and Maria Eva. The earlier one is the head of the biggest political party's religious affair committee. The latter one is simply a bitch, who sings, fucks, and holds evidence, such as movies from cell phone camera, for ransom.

Earlier, it was the kid who died of, presumably, some wrestling actions. Smackdown, or smekdon, as people call it.

And even earlier than that (I can't remember more than this), was Bush's visit. Yes, that freakin' arrogant Dubya. It took billions of rupiah for the Indonesian government to prepare for his visit - safety, traffic detour, and thousands of policemen.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

The machine

Nemanja Vidic has been one of the instrumental players in Manchester United's excellent defense this season. Here's what I found somewhere on the net:

Guns don't kill people. Nemanja Vidic kills People.

Nemanja Vidic does not sleep. He waits.

The chief export of Nemanja Vidic is Pain.

Nemanja Vidic doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

When Nemanja Vidic does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.

In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Nemanja Vidic could use to kill you - including the room itself.

Nemanja Vidic once ate a whole cake before his friends could tell him there was a stripper in it.

There are no races, only countries of people Nemanja Vidic has beaten to different shades of black and blue.

The grass is always greener on the other side, unless Nemanja Vidic has been there. In that case the grass is most likely soaked in blood and tears.

For some, the left testicle is larger than the right one. For Nemanja Vidic, each testicle is larger than the other one.

Nemanja Vidic grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage.

Nemanja Vidic once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. It made him blink.

Nemanja Vidic played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

In a 50-50 challenge, Nemanja Vidic would win 150-nil.

Nemanja Vidic does not "style" his hair. It lays perfectly in place out of sheer terror.

Nemanja Vidic recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. We know this beverage as Red Bull.

Nemanja Vidic puts the "laughter" in "manslaughter".

Nemanja Vidic once roundhouse kicked Bruce Lee, breaking him in half. The result was Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

Nemanja Vidic hates The Beatles; two to go.

Nemanja Vidic crossed the road. Nobody has ever dared question his motives.

When Nemanja Vidic exercises, the machine gets stronger.

Nemanja Vidic's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Nemanja Vidic beat the hair off Chuck Norris' chest.

Nemanja Vidic died ten years ago, but the Grim Reaper can't get up the courage to tell him.

Nemanja Vidic doesn't close players down, they are drawn to his legs by the force of gravity.

When Nemanja Vidic Runs he stays still the Earth moves under his feet like a treadmill

One of the new quadrants caught on fire last week after Nemanja fixed it a glare.

Stupid tackles don't break peoples legs, Nemanja Vidic does.

Nemaja Vidic once woke up in a foul mood. The result was the Yugoslav wars.

Fergie didn't drop Darren Fletcher, Nemanja Vidic dropped Darren Fletcher.

Nemanja Vidic doesn't mark players, he permanently stamps them.

Nemanja Vidic once turned up for training late - Fergie fined the rest of the team for being early.

Nemanja Vidic doesn't head the ball away, the ball heads the other way.

Wes Brown isn't injured - Nemanja Vidic mistook him for a jaffa cake.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Car drivers with bikers' mind

China's economy has been booming. The number of private cars and taxis has also increased, slowly replacing bicycles - although there's no question that there are still loads of bicycles in China. China has become a great place for business. Perhaps to be specific, hospital or traffic-accident emergency service business.

My experience spending three days in Shanghai was horrible, both for taxi-ride and crossing the streets. I don't know what the statistics is for traffic-related accidents in China, but I would imagine it's relatively quite high. Most people disobey traffic signs and, even worse, traffic lights when turning. Not only the car drivers, but also the bicycle riders too. I suspect the change of transportation means (from bicycles to cars) are not followed by the mind and attitudes.

Sounds of car horns and bicycle bells are continuous throughout the day. It seems that the drivers/riders assume the other 'parties' (i.e. other cars or bicycles for car drivers, and other bicycles and pedestrians for the bicycle riders) have been warned by such sound that they must give way.

Looking right and left before crossing the street is not enough. It must be a constant check until you reach the other side of the street. Riding a taxi is as stressful. Make sure the taxi has good seat belts and something for you to hold on.

If I live in Shanghai, I could become an alcoholic in my first month just because the high stress level...

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

MBA wannabes

Getting into top MBA program is pretty tough, or perhaps time-consuming is a more correct word. Applicants must take GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), which may take months to prepare. Another test for international students are TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language); this also takes some time to prepare. In addition to these tests, applicants must submit their GPA(s), which may be difficult to get in some countries. Then there comes the essays and interview.

I've been helping a few of these applicants, especially in giving my opinions to their essays. Some started well (i.e. good story, structured, good English), some others were hopeless, especially those with bad English. Despite that, the very first thing before getting into this messy journey of MBA application is the decision to get an MBA. Some people are very clear why they want an MBA. And as usual, some others don't. For those who really want it, it's no longer a dream - it's become their goal. (BTW, the difference between dream and goal is merely a date - that the date exists and is reasonable).

Last week I met with several to-be-applicants in Jakarta to share my experience at Duke. Pretty impressive pool of young men and women. I probably can tell, barely from getting the idea how prepared and how knowledgable they are about MBA, who has higher chance to getting into top-ranked schools. Yeah, right. Now I can read palms too...

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nissan Serena


The New NISSAN Serena symbolizes first class travel on the road. The distinctive wide boxy exterior, the mark of today's flagship MPVs (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) such as the NISSAN Elgrand is evident in the new Serena as well.

I agree with the spacious claim, and it has decent safety features too. It is a good size minivan type of vehicle (don't compare with Alphard, though). Kids can "run" around inside, which now I think probably is not preferable. It fits three-four decent size bicycles with the last row folded. Another cool feature is the rotateable second-row seats.

Luxurious and modern? I'm not sure. It seems Nissan try to balance between costs and features. It's way behind what Toyota Wish has, not to mention the truly luxurious Honda Stream. The interior seems rigid, which I wish Nissan can do a much better job in designing it (they have many options for exterior accessories).

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A hazy nation

The haze in Malaysia, especially in KL where I can really experience, is pretty bad. Not only it disturbs vision, it also hurts eyes and, during the worse days, your respiratory system, i.e. it's difficult to breath. People get sick, schools cancel their outdoor activities, etc.

Most of the haze does come from Indonesia - some hotspots are also located in Malaysia. Interestingly, people in Jakarta don't get affected. Life goes on beautifully over there, as I went to Jakarta last month. I guess the government could've done better to prevent the fire at the first place - as we all know preventive is better than corrective actions.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006


Just came back from business plan meeting in Singapore, and realized that most Asians are sandbaggers. It's so obvious that some people sandbag so much that they can easily say yes when challenged for a new target without making sure it's the "right" target. They just know their sandbags are big enough.

This is a problem for those who want to do business the right way. Those trying to be transparent get scrutinized. But I believe that everyone builds his/her own reputation. If we can convince people (i.e. bosses) that we don't have anything to hide, or even show where we try to build contigencies, would then life be much easier and less stressful? Too naive?

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Fortune's Global 2006 Most Admired Companies

Which companies in the world have the best reputations? Among those surveyed, here's the top 10 global companies:
  1. General Electric
  2. Toyota Motor
  3. Procter & Gamble
  4. FedEx
  5. Johnson & Johnson
  6. Microsoft
  7. Dell
  8. Berkshire Hathaway
  9. Apple Computer
  10. Wal-Mart Stores
So it's GE again for the overall ranking as well as in the electronics industry. J&J is global's #5 and the leader in the pharmaceutical industry. And of course, Toyota leads the motor vehicle industry.

The leaders for most admired for managing talent:
1. Procter & Gamble
2. General Electric
3. Walgreen (really, Walgreen the stores?)

The most admired for innovation:
1. Apple Computer
2. Procter & Gamble
3. Walt Disney

It seems that P&G is a good place to work....

The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. Our survey partners at Hay Group started with the FORTUNE 1,000 -- the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue -- and the top foreign companies operating in the U.S. They sorted the companies by industry and selected the ten largest companies in each.

To create the 65 industry lists, Hay asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their own industry on eight criteria, from investment value to social responsibility. This year only the best are listed as most admired: A company's score must rank in the top half of its industry survey. Ranks for the rest of the contenders are available online only.

To create the top 20 and overall list of Most Admired Companies, Hay Group asked the 10,000 executives, directors, and securities analysts who had responded to the industry surveys to select the ten companies they admired most. They chose from a list made up of the companies that ranked among the top 25% in last year's survey, plus those that finished in the top 20% of their industry. Anyone could vote for any company in any industry. The difference in the voting rolls is why some results can seem anomalous -- for example, FedEx is one of the top ten Most Admired Companies but only second in its own industry.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

World Cup and Productivity

As most management articles and newspaper predicted productivity drop, I'm surprised to see the productivity at our production floor wasn't affected. Or at least it was able to hide behind other external factors. Or perhaps we're having these external factors (mostly due to quality of our raw and packaging materials) because of the productivity loss at the supplier sites?

The effect might be bigger in the European countries, countries that participate in the World Cup, or other countries with higher GDP. And, with some common favorites out before reaching semi-final (#1 team supported in Malaysia, btw, is England), even fewer people stayed at night to watch the later games.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

The New Manager's Handbook

A book by Morey Stettner. I bought 'just to make sure' I'm aware of all the possible challenges in the near future. The book is easy to read, but, really, is quite similar to other management or 'new manager' books around. Other books I've read, "Winning" and "Execution" also share similar values and learnings. The good thing about "The New Manager's Handbook" is that it is brief, concise, and easy to read, although at times I wish it provides more hands-on example.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Indcoup and Jakartass

I found these two very interesting blogs, Indcoup and Jakartass, most likely through comments and other blogs linked to Tiara Lestari's. I've been their regulars for some time now and enjoy their writings.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Tiara Lestari

By this time, most of Indonesians should've known Tiara Lestari, her pictures and posing for Playboy. Quite pretty, has Indonesian look, and, surprisingly writes very well in her blog, Tiara Lestari's Personal Journal.

Here's her "About Me" and picture from her blog:
"I am originally from Indonesia. Formerly residing in Singapore, I am now firmly back in my own beloved country. Modeling has been my passion and profession. My journey as a model has taken me to the cover of Playboy Magazine in a far away land and right in the center of a national controversy. It plunged me into depth of humility without prejudice or guilt. It guides me to see through changes, places and faces. Through it all, I understand that life itself is full of surprises that neither reason, nor logic can comprehend. It certainly has been a journey filled with joy and turbulence. It is a journey from sensuality to elegance. Welcome to my life."

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Follow-Ups and Culture of Accountability

Having an objective to "transform to high performance and process-based culture" really tells that something must be done to the culture at my work. It is right on the dot. First, I thought it was only that people don't manage their meetings effectively. Then, I thought it was that people just don't follow-up thoroughly. Furthermore, I concluded that people don't follow-up because there just no feeling of accountability around here. And lastly, I also found out that transparency and candor are also not practiced. It's just the exact opposite of what Jack Welch explains in his book "Winning".

Then we decided that this particular issue needs to have special attention. My kick-ass boss chose to be the owner of this strategy. We'll see how it goes, but we're moving to the right direction.

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Monday, February 27, 2006


Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measurements. We're in the midst of developing our OGSM, and aligning it to the regional's. I'm quite involved in this, and find it so MBA-related that I'm enjoying it so much. Not much to write, just a copy of an article I found on the internet. By the way, instead of SMART goals, we're using A-SMART goals - Aligned, Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound.

The OGSM is a strategic planning and management model designed to:

  1. Ensure that objectives are achieved;
  2. Improve thinking and planning;
  3. Integrate ideas and steps within the strategic plan;
  4. Facilitate the integration of strategic planning within an organization;
  5. Serve as objective criteria for decision making.

The goals must flow from the objectives, the strategies must flow from the goals. Measures must identify how the strategies achieve the stated goals.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Is KL (not) that safe?

I always thought that KL is a safe city. Not until a new expat at my work got beaten and robbed in his first couple of months in KL. Pretty bad. Unconscious for several hours until in the morning. He managed to drive by himself back to his place, and later was taken to the hospital. He needed several plastic surgeries.

What I thought was right. All articles I could find on the net claim KL is safe - from fairly safe to one of the safer cities in Southeast Asia. One even claims that violent crime is almost unheard of. However, some local colleagues do feel and complain about the increasing crimes in the city. One even said that he wouldn't walk by himself in the city center by himself today, as a comparison with what he'd done several years ago. I also got the feeling that some blame the increase in crimes to the increasing number of Indonesian workers in Malaysia. Yeah, right, blame in on the Indonesians when you have problems. What I think they fail to see is that when the city grows in population, it's harder to manage, and the crime will automatically go up as well. At least that's what I learned while playing Sim City.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Happy new year!

I spent the new year nicely at my balcony. The view included fireworks from several locations in KL. The biggest one was from the city center (most probably from the KLCC - I don't bother to check). The closest one was from SOULed OUT, a quite funky restaurant near my place. In fact, it's the closest restaurant if I don't count the condo's canteen.

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