I would like to welcome the class of 2013 (wow I feel old already) to Manchester and hope you have an amazing 18 months as I did. For those of you who I never met, I was one of the wacky Americans from the class of 2011 who developed a love for rugby, beer and Manchester. And while you are hoping the weather will get better, it most likely won’t, but you develop a sincere respect for sunlight when it does happen.
I just wanted to give an update on my life since I finished with classes earlier this year. Still no job. Scratch that, still no career. And yes there is a huge difference. I honestly was bartending before I started my MBA and now that I have graduated, I was starting to think that I made a huge mistake, that my new found premium education was actually preventing me from getting the jobs I want. Was I suddenly overqualified for what I wanted to do? Quite the contrary, the reason I do not have a career right now is because I have standards. Standards I couldn’t dream of having before I started my education at MBS.
So after some serious deliberation, I’ve stopped applying for every random job that I may be qualified for and have developed a succinct set of criteria for what my future career must be and here are the criteria:
1.) Live and work in a metropolitan area with a gay rugby team. (I blame Manchester for my rugby obsession and for those of you interested in checking it out, please check out http://www.villagespartans.co.uk)
2.) Work in a job that I enjoy and offers work/life balance (I suggest you avoid consulting jobs if you want a work/life balance). Enjoying work means:
a.) Working among people I generally like
b.) Some physical movement
c.) Daily variety in work tasks
d.) Working for a company/product that I can believe in
3.) A salary from which I can live comfortably, which means
a.) Ability to live and afford rent within the said metropolitan area
b.) Being able to afford a new car if decent public transport does not exist
c.) Ability to buy foods and products I like (i.e. Shop at Whole Foods)
d.) Ability to pay back my student loans and the Bank of Mom and Dad
So needless to say I definitely have standards and the good news is that there is hope that I will be having interviews soon for two jobs that fit that criteria and hopefully declare me employed just in time for the FT rankings. The first job is with Kobrand, one of the largest family-owned wine and spirit distributors in the world, where I would be an Associate Brand Manager. That job is based in New York and I have a feeling there will be some free samples, so I’ll be a happy boy.
The other job is with Google as a community manager, which is essentially a social media expert/brand manager and that job is based in DC. Both jobs would be amazing and both interviews were attained through NETWORKING. That’s right boys and girls, if MBS hasn’t drilled it into your head yet, meet and schmooze with as many people as possible. The Google job was referred to me through a friend of my boyfriend’s who happens to work there. Now, by networking, I don’t mean you should date everyone you meet, but if you happen to be dating a great guy and they have a friend working at a great company, you best be making that happen. This all happened late last week/early this week, so I don’t have any updates yet, but once I get employed, I promise to let everyone know. I wish the class of 2013 all the best and feel free to get in contact with me if you have any questions about the city. If you have Accounting questions, then I suggest you find someone else, but if you want to know where to drink, I’m your man. Good luck!
Well, reality set in that I had graduated and was jobless, so I had to move home to focus on the job search, but I am very much regretting it. I have made such amazing friends in Manchester that I am very sad to leave. This one picture is from the famous Canal street on a lovely Sunday afternoon, where I had a leisurely lunch to recover from my huge hangover from my going away party the night before.
The night before, I had invited all my friends from rugby and my class to come join me for one night out. However, one of my rugby friends decided to be a proper teammate and buy we some ridiculously large shots, which I quickly drank since I am still unemployed and have to get it when I can. After a nice speech telling everyone how much I loved them and walking around hugging everyone as I cried, I ended up leaving my going away party even before some of my guests showed up to pass out in my bed. But from what I was told, I throw a great party, just unfortunate that I could not be there.
The next day, I spent with some of my closer friends and I tempered my alcohol drinking so that I would remember the day/night. One of my best friends from the rugby team presented me with a going away present, including a card that was signed by my teammates, with lovely comments such as “You will be missed” .
This picture to the right was taken at a bar called Molly House , which is in the village. It’s a nice change from the typical gay bars, with exposed brick work, no Britney playing and a relaxed atmosphere.
So the night eventually ended as my friends slowly left for their “jobs”, a word I was still not used to. It was time for me to prepare for my return to the homeland. I was very sad to go, but as I am writing this, doing laundry, I remember some of the reasons why I missed the US and also why I will miss the UK.
Good things about the US: Tumble dryers, cheap gasoline (in comparison), driving on the RIGHT side of the road, Target, the availability of healthier foods, the weather.
Things I’ll miss about the UK: Cheaper/faster mobile communications, not having to worry about sales tax, the more liberal liquor laws, the pint that is actually larger than 16oz, rugby and my friends.
Off to go write more cover letters. Wish me luck!
Most likely it is the fact that I can easily be found on Facebook because of my last name, but I have had a few people contact me now after seeing my posts on here and I have to admit that I haven’t been as forthcoming with my entries as I was last year. But here goes…
So what’s going on in my life? A lot of stress/emotions/panic would be the best way to describe it. What happened to the past 18 months? I can’t believe I’m almost done and what am I going to do with my life? Where am I going to live?
Let’s start off with the good points. I have made some amazing friends in Manchester both inside and outside the classroom. If you come here, I highly suggest experiencing all the UK has to offer and don’t be one of those students that lives in the bubble that is Manchester Business School. The one thing that I am going to miss the most about this place is the great network of friends that I have established over the past 18 months.
Speaking of networking, make sure you do plenty of it! I’ve been applying to lots of jobs and haven’t been getting any responses. There are a lot of people out there graduating every year with MBA’s so the competition is fierce! I just applied to a position with Target in the United States and I am being referred by an American friend that works there. I met my Target friend through my rugby connections. Gay rugby is a bit of an international fraternity. They always try to help each other out. (They also want you to play with them once you move there, but I planned on doing that anyways).
So now the not so great parts. It’s International Business Project time and probably the busiest I’ve been since I’ve started. So much that I am worried my team will get upset with me for writing this blog instead of contacting people. My particular group will be traveling through Germany for about 10 days performing interviews and none of us speak German, so that should be interesting trying to get around the country. I had my first (and hopefully only) snap yesterday when the number of pushy emails just sent me over the edge, but things are all better now with the group. Well, I have to run, I have a conference call with my IB group.
Okay, so I know it has been a while since I last posted, but I just had to share some amazing news. I got an internship with L’Oreal in New York City! They are a very secretive company so I won’t discuss my remuneration. I’ll just say, “It’s worth it. ” I’ll be there for ten weeks during the summer and honestly would probably have never gotten this opportunity if I didn’t go to Manchester Business School.
You see, every year, our helpful career management services sends a CV book out to a number of major companies. Someone was contacted by McKinsey , a few have been contacted by American Express because of this and a good dozen of us were contacted by L’Oreal recently. Since I am one of the few MBS students with authorization to work in the United States, my information was sent to New York for a possible internship. I had a phone interview on Friday and was pleasantly surprised late last night with a phone call asking if I would like to come over for the summer. I am beyond ecstatic and overly nervous at the same time. Although I’ve always wanted this internship, if I do well, they will offer me a full time position. I just can’t believe where my life has gone in the past year. I went from being a bar manager at a Lebanese restaurant to jetsetting off to New York for the summer! If there is a job offer, you can guarantee I will let you know about it, but for now I must get back to my Business Research Project as I will be doing a lot of that this summer. Talk to you later!
I’ve noticed that it has been a month since my last post and since classes are starting tomorrow, I better let you all know about my adventures before classes and group projects once again consume me. (Fast forward a week later and classes have already consumed me. I am just getting back to writing this blog.) I know I promised to write more about rugby, but finals, subzero temperatures and the fact that I decided to explore a bit of Europe has left me with little new to say about the sport. I did buy “Rugby Union for Dummies” so that I could brush up on my knowledge, but after perusing through the book, it looks like I’m not that much of a dummy afterall. However, I did promise stories about the Spartans Christmas Dinner, but I’m afraid it was not as eventful as I was hoping. It started at 2pm, I went home around 2am. For an American, I can hang with the Brits pretty well. The only reason I went home from the massive pub crawl was because I ran out of money. I figured after spending £40 on just my personal beverages, I had enough for the evening. For those of you reading this blog and hoping to budget for your evenings, a pint of beer goes anywhere from £2 to £3.80 depending on the place and mixed drinks are a little bit more usually. Also, it is socially acceptable not to tip your bartender. I thought it would take me a while to get used to that since I worked in the service industry in the states for so long, but I quickly got over that.
But the real interesting stories this past month would be after finals when I finally got to do some traveling. After recovering from the drunken debauchery (that’s my new favorite word), I flew out the next day for Malaga, Spain. So the trip to Manchester airport is just a short cheap train ride from the city centre, but it’s not so short if you miss the train that you need to get on. So I had to wait for the next train and was stressing out a bit about making my flight. It was my first time flying the budget airline Easy Jet and from what I heard, they will close the gate on you in a heartbeat. So once I finally make it to the airport, I start to act like I’m on an episode of the Amazing Race. I’m running through the airport dragging my carry on along behind me. There are motorized walkways, but other people are taking up the passing space, so I decide to sprint alongside the moving walkway. After weaving in and out of people, I make it to my terminal and have no clue where departures are, so I asked a stranger, ran over, took off my metal and made it through security no problem. I even took a 4oz bottle of face scrub with me. It will be our little secret. After I finally make it through security, I find out that my flight is over half an hour late. So all the running for nothing. My legs were sore for days afterwards from that ordeal.
I finally make it to Malaga where I am staying with a friend of the family that I haven’t seen for over a decade, but we still keep in contact through Facebook. (If you aren’t on Facebook yet, suck it up and get on it, it’s the global standard) I find out that she doesn’t really live in Malaga, but in a resort town called Marbella about 45 minutes away. Either way it was nice to be somewhere warmer, although according to my friend, the temperature had just dropped drastically a couple of days before I got there. The next day, we went into town and visited all the small shops. We went to one store for our produce, one for our meats and then had some authentic Spanish tapas. Very yummy. The next day after that I decided to explore Malaga and I took the bus into town and started walking. When I get to a new town, that is normally how I accustom myself to my new environment, but since I only had one day to explore, the GPS on my mobile phone proved quite helpful. While I was in Malaga, I visited the Picasso museum, since Malaga is his birthplace. I saw some amazing paintings, but unfortunately no photos were allowed.
After three days in Spain, I flew back to Manchester to repack my bags and fly out the next day to Budapest, Hungary. How do I afford all this traveling you ask? Well, I again had a free place to stay. Last year, right before the real estate bubble bursts, I sold my house and took some of the profits for my first trip to Europe all by myself. My first stop was Berlin, where a met a guy named Igor that spoke six languages fluently and without an accent! I seriously thought he was British until he told me that he was born in Slovakia. Igor told me that he lived in Prague and I was like “Oh my God, I’m totally going to Prague next week!”. Okay, well maybe I didn’t say it with such a valley girl accent, but I was surprised to have met someone to show me around Prague a bit, but he told me that he wouldn’t have much time to hang out in Prague because he has friends visiting from Budapest that weekend. So that weekend in Prague, I meet Igor’s friend Peter and we do the whole, “If you’re ever on my side of the planet, you can always stay here” thing, both presuming that we would never see each other again. Fast forward a year later and I am living in England and calling my favor in!
I had an amazing time in Budapest despite the snow and sub-zero temperatures. While I was there, we visited this gorgeous coffee shop, then went to the outdoor Christmas markets, then went to a house party where I ended up meeting someone from Los Angeles. So random! The next day we did the tourist thing and went to the castle district, where there was some amazing architecture as well as this random man with a hunting bird letting you get your picture taken with it. That night we visited an original Turkish bath that had been renovated, but still retained some of the original architecture. I had no concept of geothermal springs. It was amazing and my skin was so soft afterwards. Unfortunately I had to leave the next day, so back to the airport I went.
I can see that this blog is turning into more of a novel, so I’ll try to be brief describing the rest of my break. I leave Budapest, miss my connection, get stranded in Amsterdam airport, have to fly to Liverpool because that is the only way I can get home and find out at 6 AM the next day that my flight for 8AM to Baltimore
had been cancelled. So I call British Airways and they can’t get me back to Baltimore, so I have to fly to Washington Dulles, but I get bumped up to business class (awesome!), but they lose my luggage and I can’t get it for five days (so not awesome). Then I rent a car and drive through rush hour holiday traffic to Baltimore and fly out the next day to Tennessee to visit my family, however my flight from Baltimore is oversold, so I volunteer for the next flight and actually make it to Tennessee only two hours later and $400 richer with Delta. Five days later after spending time with my family and my dog, I’m back to Manchester in time for New Years, where I go to a house party to see the fireworks, then go out clubbing way too late. Well that’s my break. I hope it was as exciting for you as if was for me. More interesting stories to come…
“The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment”, says the little white tag attached to my Yogi Tea Peach Detox tea bag. How true this is. While the rest of the class can provide you with lots of insight regarding our wonderful program and how amazing it is, there are probably a few of you out there that when moving to England might actually want to experience England outside of the business school. One of the aspects of MBS that attracted me here was how they are interested in seeing that you have a life outside of your MBA. Don’t get me wrong, I have met some amazing people in my class, but living abroad and experiencing a different culture firsthand was a major concern of mine.
Let me first off say that I am born and raised American, although I am in the process of getting my Greek citizenship since my father is a born native of Greece. (Don’t tell the Greek students, but I’m not too big on Greece, just wanted to be part of the EU). So you might be thinking, “Will, you already speak English, how much of a cultural difference could it be”. Well I thought that same thing before I came over, but my views have changed.
The first few weeks were a bit hard for me, not really knowing anyone outside of the business school. I guess this blog is aimed more at the Americans because I’ve never lived outside of the US until I came here. I have traveled a lot, been to Berlin, Prague, Dublin, Greece (twice, but it was a free trip), Chile, Mexico, Canada and a number of Caribbean Islands. Even been to London before, so thought Manchester couldn’t be much different. Boy was I wrong. Manchester is such a cuturally diverse city, you forget sometimes that you are living in the UK. You are sorely reminded when you meet the random “Mancunian” and try to understand their accent. No, it’s not you losing your hearing from all those late nights out at the club, the Mancunian accent is thick, but not nearly as bad as a Skouse accent (those from Liverpool) and oddly enough a bit easier to understand than those from Edinburgh, Scotland. However, when you meet people from Glasgow, Scotland you’ll again tilt your head to the side wondering what they are saying.
There is also a huge Asian and Middle Eastern population. Less than a mile from the business school is the popular “curry mile” down Oxford Rd, the busiest bus route in all of the UK. Here you can find all kinds of restaurants from Lebanese to Indian. Inside the city centre, also very close to the business school is Chinatown, where you can find a variety of Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine. But I tend not to go out to eat much, but rather waste my disposable income (which I really have none since I’m a student) on the drinking side of Manchester. Early on in the term, I organized a brewery tour of a local Manchester Brewery, Hyde’s Brewery, where we got to more than sample every beer that they had available. Since Manchester is such a small city in contrast to most major American cities, you can normally always stumble home or just take a very short taxi ride back to your “flat”. That’s right guys, it’s a flat, not an apartment. For those prospective American students thinking of coming here, shoot me a message because I have started a spreadsheet of all the words that I have learned that have different meanings here.
Now back to the drinking. Besides being American, I should also put out that I’m gay and that Manchester is a very friendly and welcoming city for the budding homosexual. As the original backdrop for Queer as Folk and home to the second largest gay pride parade in the country, it’s definitely makes you feel at home. In an attempt to get to meet some people, I registered to volunteer at Manchester Gay Pride. Technically the whole event spans 10 days, however the main attractions happen during the “Big Weekend” where all of the “Village” (the gay area of town encompassing approximately 10 square blocks) is turned into one big gay pride festival. I met a few friends through this volunteering experience, but were it not for this volunteering experience, I would have never seen the booth for the Manchester Village Spartans Rugby Union Football Club.
When I went to the booth, I was immediately greeted by a friendly, not to mention, attractive member of the team that spoke to me about the team and when they practiced. Having not started the official MBA classes yet, I was worried about not having enough time. “Practice is on Wednesday nights and games are on Saturday”, said the beautiful man, so I figured that I could easily fit it into my schedule. Having a weekly session where I got to hit people would help with the stress of classes anyways. I gave my contact information to the guy at the booth after having a two minute conversation with him regarding whether his name was Wayne or Wade. I later found out that he was orignally from Liverpool, which is why I could only understand every other word. After a couple of weeks, I got a call from Drew, the recruitment manager for the team and he offered to pick me up to see my first real rugby game ever. As rugby itself is worthy of its own blog post, I will end for now and let you know how rugby has been going later on. We have our Spartans Christmas Dinner on Dec 14th after finals, so there should be some interesting stories to tell from that. Until then my future classmates…