Where's Nate?

living large in the four-oh-eight. wicked large.


go deep.

Some say Peyton Manning is a sell-out who seems to be in every other commercial during football season. I didn't see the whole episode, but this United Way promo from Saturday Night Live this past weekend is classic. Better, it sounds like, than the rest of the show.

spring? almost.

If only Ann Arbor were like this more often.

It's starting to feel a bit more spring-like around town. Which makes sense because the first day of the season was last week and the new Daylight Savings law (thanks, Congress!) means the sun doesn't set until almost 8:00pm. The golf course is thawing out and should open shortly, everyone (including yours truly) gets outside for a run, and the windows are being throw open to receive a fresh breeze.

As I move down the final weeks of my MBA career, I have a lot to look forward to. Paige is heading out this weekend, the first time she's been in Ann Arbor since the fall. I'm wrapping up my coursework and independent study project. We're enjoying nightly soirees in local watering holes with great friends. And, hopefully, we'll spend a few more weeks in Michigan under mild temperatures and sunny skies.

Spring is here. Almost. (50s and rainy by Friday.)


map-less in ann arbor.

Not a day of Winter B has gone by when I haven't said to myself, "Thank God, I'm not doing MAP again." A year ago, my team and I were living and breathing all things Cisco, trying to balance the expectations of our faculty advisors and our company sponsors, and doing it all without (much of) a net. This is not to say that I didn't get anything out of MAP or couldn't stand my team. Not at all. I'm just glad I don't have to do it again.

MAP has become a fundamental part of what it means to be a Ross MBA. It's about working on a team of people you may have never met before, with a company that has no idea of what to expect from you, all of this compounded by locations ranging from Bangalore to Dearborn. A MAP team is a dynamic and ever-changing microcosm of a corporation, with politics and divergent goals and expectations. I have a few friends who swear they'll never speak to their team again. But many others (including myself) welcomed the project as a chance to break out of the first-year sections and into the broader student community.

If this post seems a bit out of left-field, that's intentional. I really started to notice it this week, with the MBA1s off in every corner of the globe. Suddenly, we have a bit more elbow room around the student lounge and in the hallways. Those MBA1s who are around are chirping about "team dynamics" and not "team projects." And with less than six weeks to go, I'm getting a bit nostalgic.

It's a wonderful social experiment, this MAP. It's one of the things that makes Michigan, Michigan. I'm just happy to spend my weeks sitting in class and not crammed in some conference room for eight hours a day in Grand Rapids or Kansas City. Mmmmm, barbecue.


fire amaker.

More from the "Michigan Basketball is Mediocre" camp.

What a lousy, lousy team. If you need more proof, check out the score from tonight's NIT game against basketball powerhouse Florida State. Maybe Lloyd Carr and Tommy Amaker should switch places.


hoop dreams.

Tomorrow and Friday are two of my favorite days of the year. The opening round of March Madness is a glorious event and this year should prove to be no different. I plan on spending all day at BW3s with my buddy, Brian. We've already mapped out our meal strategy. (Wings, boneless wings, more wings.)

In a related story, Chapman sent this nugget along today. It pretty much sums up Michigan basketball. And it's sad to see how far this program has fallen since winning the tourney in 1989 and going to the Final Four with the Fab Five. Sigh.


spring arrives.

At least for a few days, Ann Arbor is basking in spring-like weather. It's been in the 50s and 60s and today it's sunny. Again. Perhaps that's the biggest shocker about the weather, given the fact that the state of Michigan often seems like it's under a constant uni-cloud. As if it weren't hard enough to concentrate on classes, now Mother Nature is daring me to start running and golfing again.

It won't last long, though. We're expected to drop back to the 30s in time for the weekend.

I started an interesting class last night, Growth of New Ventures (I think that's what it's called). Anyway, it's taught by a local VC/entrepreneur and it focuses on CEO decision-making. It seems like an ideal class to take down the home stretch.

In a very Middlebury-esque moment, a handful of classmates and I joined our Strategy prof for dinner at his home on Sunday night. That's certainly one thing I miss about my undergrad experience: getting to know faculty outside the classroom. This is not to say that Ross faculty are hard to track down. Rather, there's a different level of expectation regarding this kind of interaction. I'm just a little surprised it took until the final six weeks of my MBA career to dine at a professor's home.

(The leftovers were brilliant, by the way.)


more hot sauce.

Growing up in California, where nearly everyone lives no more than five minutes from a decent taqueria (and usually two lousy ones), I used to snicker at mainstream "Mexican Grills" like Chipotle. Even the Apple cafeteria in Infinite Loop made a mean burrito for a few bucks. It wasn't until I got to the jalapeno-starved 'burb of Ann Arbor before I began to realize what I had taken for granted for so long.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that people were lined up out the door and around the building when Chipotle opened the first franchise in town yesterday. And I was one of them.

OK, so maybe the burritos were free. But my buddy, Vivian, and I were there for the opening bell along with a hundred undergrads. We chowed down our cheap-itos with delight. And I'll probably go back again.

Trust me. In this town, Chipotle is the valedictorian of a remedial class.


home stretchin'.

Add another item to the long list of reasons why I'm ready to graduate: getting stuck in O'Hare. I'm sitting here in Chicago on the way home from Spring Break. My flight was super-delayed out of San Jose but it looks like I'll make my connection to Detroit. Because it, too, is super-delayed. Whatever. Paige and I are in the home stretch now, with only eight weeks to go before graduation.

To lift my spirits, I'm leafing through the megabytes of Hawaii pictures sent by fellow Kona-ites. For some reason, this one caught my eye. Probably because I'm about to set my arm on fire.

Actually, did I say "lift my spirits?" I meant, "pine for warm weather."


mahalo for spring break.

One of the peculiar things about Ross is the semester schedule. Because we start relatively early in January and get out before the end of April, our Spring Break arrives at the February-March divide. I just returned from a few amazing days in Kona, Hawaii, at the gorgeous family home of one of my classmates. Portions of every day were spent on the beach and I managed to grab a round of 18 and a few hours of surfing.

But mainly it was quality time relaxing in the sun with great friends. Perhaps the most interesting activity was the nightly dinner planning, which seemed to escalate in caliber in each successive day. (Remember, MBAs can't help but compete.) We ate gourmet fajitas, savory pork tenderloin, and seared ahi caught only a few hours before by some of the housemates. My dinner squad went the grilled scallop and shrimp route with a gazpacho appetizer. Yum.

It's hard to believe that I graduate in eight short weeks. It'll be an intense social experience, I'm sure, as the semester starts to wind down. And with all of the MBA1s trekking around the world on their MAPs, the MBA2s will finally have the place to ourselves again. Sort of.