On Travel: The Duality of Cities

I think cities are one of the most interesting places in the world to travel to.  To the average person, that’s a pretty obvious statement.  “Cities are where the interesting thing happen,” one might think.  But for me, traveling to cities is more than simply a function of having more activities to keep a trip interesting.  If that were the case, I’d rather stay home where I know where all the interesting activities are taking place rather than travel across to some distant place only to realize that I’m not at all aware of the social scene there.

No, traveling to cities is great because they present for me the greatest juxtaposition of humanity.  On one hand we have the towering skyscrapers that hang over many downtowns and skylines.  On the other there is the slums, the skid rows, the unmentionables.  In between those extremes there is everything, from small suburb within a city type areas to centres where culture and art flourish.

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Resurrection! Less than a month to graduation…

Desertscape of the UAE

A Return to Civilization

Less than one month to graduation, and I think it’s time to finally resurrect this blog.  Back to Basics is being resurrected as “Reframing the Framework” v2 (Reframing the Framework was also the name of my blog on the USC Marshall School of Business Admissions Blog).  I’m particularly excited as I think this avenue is going to give me an outlet to express thoughts that are not necessarily related to business school or USC.  Guess I’m back to blogging about my existentialist thoughts, philosophical ramblings, random travels, and the like.  Looking forward to being back!

Pseudo-VCing in the world of Health Technology

I’ve been participating in some of the reviews for applications to present at the Health Data Initiative Forum on June 9 sponsored by the Institute of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.  I gotta say, it is a lot of fun being the evaluator and hearing some really passionate entrepreneurs describe their health technology projects.

Many of the apps/teams/projects being presented are early-stage ideas, ones that are in the prototyping phase (but past the “just an idea” phase).  It’s actually been incredibly interesting watching the teams pitch their prototypes and apps on how to improve public health.  Many of the projects are awesome and impactful – but sadly I’ve got no money to invest in these projects.  In fact, I don’t think the government should play the role of an investor – this is tax-payer money after all and should be used somewhat conservatively.  However, the one thing the Department can do is help connect the projects with the right people to make things happen.  For example, we can make connections between app developers, government agencies, and industry players where some of their apps can be supported or be distributed to more users.

So what do I personally  look for when reviewing the pitches?

  1. Does the project fulfill a demonstrated need and provide a tangible benefit to users?
  2. Are customers better off after utilizing your project?
  3. Sustainability and scalability – does the project have potential beyond your prototype or beta-test base?
  4. How far along are you – are you just an idea or did you make something?
I’m not the only one reviewing these pitches, and the final decision is still forthcoming, but I gotta say that I’ve been loving the experience.  There is nothing more exciting than working on growing the healthcare technology industry and I can’t wait for the Health Data Initiative Forum on June 9; hope to see you there!
Ah, looks like it’s waitlist only now…  IMO, still worth it.

Reflections on Georgetown McDonough School of Business

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business admit weekend.  Quick and easy to get to by bus, the Hariri building on Georgetown’s campus is beautiful.  It was great seeing how the light streamed in through the ceiling on Friday (but not on gloomy.. gloomy Saturday).  I had a great time with the admitted and current students.  Enough about the building though – I’m sure the most people are more interest in the take-ways from the weekend… So here we go.

1.  Location Location Location:

One thing that kept being emphasized over the weekend was Georgetown’s location in Washington, D.C.  While as a current resident of D.C. this point didn’t really hit home for me, I know that for the other folks from out of town it was definitely a cool part of the school.  Stepping back and thinking about it though, it is incredibly cool that during a class on Brazil, for example, the ambassador to and from Brazil can waltz in through the door and talk about the issues first-hand to students.  Other cool things include the fact that the Fed and the Treasury Department are literally down the road.  Reading up on finance or fiscal policy?  Stroll down the road and talk to the folks setting the policy!  Combine that with a string of star speakers including President Obama, you’ve got an awesome extra-curricular lecture series that can really augment the academics.

2. Business + Public Policy:

The aspect that kept being reinforced throughout the school was the importance of public policy in business.  This shouldn’t come as any surprise given the fact that Georgetown is based in Washington, D.C.  It’s really interesting that McDonough introduces public policy and its importance to businesses and business decisions inside it’s classes and clubs.  I don’t know if there are other business schools that focus on the role that government plays in the private sector. The business and public policy global residency is another great part of the program, allowing students to really engage and get some real-world experience in this area.  McDonough School of Business really takes this seriously and it shows.

3. An undercurrent of finance…?

While not explicitly stated in any of their material, by students, or by their programs, I got a feeling that a lot of people coming out of Georgetown went into finance.  Whether this is correct or incorrect, I don’t know, but there were definitely little things that led to this perception for me.  Firstly, my interviewer was focused on the finance track and wanted to go into that area.  Secondly, the mock class was a finance cast study class.  Thirdly, a lot of the career information I received was related to banking.  I thought that was a very interesting feeling that I got out of the weekend.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Good food, great company, and definitely educational.  Thanks to Kelly Wilson & everyone at the Admissions Office for planning an awesome weekend!