From the monthly archives:

August 2011

Today is the first day of my last year of part-time MBA program at GW School of Business (GWSB). Summer break, vacation are all history, and I did not even manage to put a short report on my Cancun vacation ;-( . Now it’s not likely I will have time for that. But before I get into the thick of my studies, I will keep you up to date on my Fall 2012 Term at GWU.

As of the end of my Summer term I had total of 36 credits towards 52.5 credits required for graduation. It leaves me with 16.5 more credits needed before the end of the school year. At my usual pace of 7.5 credits per Fall and Spring Term each, I will be short 1.5 credit by the end of Spring term. Graduate students at GWU, including MBAs, are allowed to participate in a “walk-through” graduation ceremony in May if they have no more than 9 credits left for Summer term. So in my case I will have to take one more short class in Summer to finish it all. And this is currently my plan.

At some point I had aspirations to make up for credit shortage by taking short-term international program during the winter break, but it does not seem feasible at this point. I still have a vague hope for the Spring break, if something comes up, but I am not betting on that.

For the Fall term I have total of four classes:

Database and Web Analytics

Risk Management for Projects

Conflict Management and Negotiations


Today I was supposed to have my first class for Database and Web Analytics, but professor was not able to make it to the class because of the cancellation for air travel caused by Hurricane Irene. Turned out our professor for this class lives in New Hampshire. So we had an online Elluminate Live session from Blackboard. I hope that professor is really good since the Business Schools engages him all the way from New England ;-).

All but Macroeconomics are elective classes, i.e. I chose them because they seemed really interesting to me. Conflict Management and Negotiations is the only class that is 3 credit and a full term long. It was highly recommended to me by one of my classmates last year. I looked at the syllabus and realized that it is going to be not only very interesting, but quite labor intensive too. A lot of negotiation simulations with written reports, all group assignments with required out of class negotiations. I am looking forward to it and hoping I am not going to get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work.

My next scheduled class this week is Risk Management on Wednesday. Will be glad to return to campus. Happy New MBA year to all!

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Cancun Vacation

August 11, 2011

in Side Notes,Travel

Barcelo Maya Resort Beach from the Sea

Barcelo Maya Resort Beach from the Sea

Barcelo Maya Palace Resort Pool

Barcelo Maya Palace Resort Pool

Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Pool

Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Pool

Cancun Riviera Maya Welcome Billboard

Cancun Riviera Maya Welcome Billboard

Sorry for not having any updates lately. I am enjoying my summer vacation with my family in Riviera Maya, Mexico.  Just to keep you in the loop I am going to a upload a few pictures. I promise to have more extended report on the resort and other Cancun adventures once I come back. For now it is enough to say that we are enjoying it thoroughly.

Updated on August 18, 2011: an article about not so nice experience with car rental company (America Car Rental/Caribbean Rent a Car) while on vacation in Mexico Riviera Maya.

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Just read in the news that as a part of the debt ceiling deal the Congress is getting away with the subsidized portion of Stafford loans for graduate students, which of course includes all MBAs. It means that the interest will be accruing on the total amount of the student loan while you are still in school. This measure will take effect on July 1, 2012 and will save about $22 billion over the next ten years, of which less than $5 billion will go to the deficit reduction, and the rest will be re-channeled to Pell Grants funding.

So for me personally it will have minimum negative effect, as I will only lose 5 months of subsidized  interest savings after the school, which is about $600 in interest. Since I am paying off my loan while in school, it means that the $600 which otherwise could go to the principle will be used for interest payment. Plus the interest on this $600 is another $200+  over 10 years.  It all adds up to about 5% of the total interest on my loans if paid on schedule.  I think I could live with that for the greater good of the country ;-).

However I am wondering how it will affect the incoming classes of MBA students, especially the full-timers who often deffer the payments until the end of the 6 months after school. For them it may mean almost $3.5K extra in interest total over the life of a 10 year loan. Seems like small peanuts for those who borrow in excess of $100K sometimes to fund their MBA degree. On the other hand tuition is also growing by about 4% annually. All things considered – the pinch is getting more painful. I wonder though if there will be other things in the deal that may affect MBA students, as we learn more details of the debt ceiling deal unfolding in the coming weeks.

I doubt this extra premium on MBA education will dissuade the determined ones. But it will definitely increase their debt burden and further deteriorate the MBA degree ROI, which is already being called into question by some.