Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Will current university system survive in 10 years?

I am always a big fan about thinking how to make everything works better and differently. And I am a firm believer that different things always mean good. For example,I fully support both Hilary and Obama even though I am not a democrat. Why? Because they will both make a historical moment in the American history, either the first female president or the first black president. Well, back to the topic, will current university system be able to survive in next 10 years?

I had experienced both university system in China and in US. And I see there are a few critical problems:

1. Customer vs. Student.

University is the only place where I won't be treated fully as a valuable customer like in any other business after I paid a hefty amount of money. Forget elementary school or high school or even undergraduate study since most of them it's your parent paying the cost. Graduate study would be the most appropriate segment to look at . As an MBA student, had you ever experienced the same customer service as with other business? Yes, professors are professors but also remind you it's my tuition fee paying part of their salary.

2. One-for-all vs. customization

We all experienced that kind of student life: sitting in a class with at least 10+ students, no matter case-based or lecture-based environment. Everyone prays for a good professor. If I am paying the same amount of money, why I can't get the same professor as the others in a different section? I have no interest to learn six sigma then why I still need to pay for the class? There aren't enough professors or professors have limited time. How about this? Everyone can select the professor he or she wants for certain course. The more student a professor have, the higher salary that professor would get without increasing the $ student pay for. If Professor A isn't as good as Professor B, why they should receive the same salary? Tenure may be great for academic research but sucks for any job. Babson MBAs, you know what I am talking about.

3. Niche, Niche, Niche, with Internet.

Everyone is different so is every professor, even for professors teaching the same course. Tom maybe great in teaching Macroeconomics of developed nations while John may be great in developing nations. Instead of compromise, why can't I either select the professor I prefer or just learn the best part of each? It's both good for the professors since generally people doing the best in the field they enjoy the most and for students since we can get the best of breed. With Internet, it's very possible. Both Tom and John could publish their podcast or video clips etc or skype-based class. It won't let many professors lost their job. Rather, it will give every professor an opportunity to develop a best niche to focus on. How about teaching marketing classs for Chinese MBA students who want to sell enterprise software in Canada? How about teaching finance for students who prefer professors previous had worked in public accounting firms? Just like Internet itself, variety is the beauty.

It may sound disruptive but I don't think there is anything in the world could avoid change. No way.

Just posted this idea to Ignite Boston! organized by O'Reilly Media. See how it goes.


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online publishing with zoho

I used to use notepad/gedit of my windows/linux desktop to write down random thoughts but after using Zoho, It's awesome to replace them since I will never lost my sparkles when laptop crash or running out of juice.

But it's so hard to switch. I mean, the switch cost is really high. But after lost a nice paragraph for my executive summary again, I will never back to desktop writing anymore...I swear.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I learned two very interesting perspectives recently:

1. About viral  marketing. Our BCAP advisor Bala Iyer pointed out a very interesting fact: why the general population is willing to help an unknown brand to be successful?Because this makes them feel more achievable. How can you say you make a big achievement by making Toyota more famous since it's already a well-know brand? What if you told us you helped Myspace to become popular?

2. Why not pay professors based on their popularity or student's feedback? I see this is a conflicts with the tenure system. Personally I feel school is the only place that I paid a lot of money but wou

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Total Cost - Buy a used car

1997 Toyota Camry LE - 4 Cyl - Color Gray - $4000

Date: 2007-05-07, 4:28PM EDT


4 cylinders,

with Power Steering,

Anti Lock Brakes,

Power Door Locks,

Power Windows,

AM/FM Stereo Radio,

Cassette Player,

Trip Odometer,


Air Conditioning,

Tilt Steering Wheel,

Cruise Control,

Tinted Glass,

Dual Air Bags,

ABS Brakes.

Cloth Upholstery,

Center Arm Rest Fold Down

rear Seat Child-Proof Locks

Cup Holder(s) ,

Power Mirrors.


Brand New Brakes (3 months)- Timing Belt done at 115k,

4 new tires less than 15 miles.


This vehicle only has 133k miles.


Total Cost (In order):

Full inspection at Clair Toyota service Center $98
Car $4,000
Insurance:$333 ($677 due)
sales tax: $0 (arranged as a gift)
RMV Registration: $111 (Plate, Gift $, registration fee)
MA inspectation: $29


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Steps-Buy Used Car

1. Open the front roof of engine
    - check the frame. Any accident sign?
    - check the transmission oil. Use a napkin to clean the oil at the bottom of the stick then put the stick back to oil again then take out to see the color of the oil
    - check the engine oil

2. Turn the front wheel right and left
    - go under the car to check any rust and oil leaking
    - for old car, pay attention to the CV Boot to see if it worn out

3. Check the power window and mirror if applicable

4. Drive around, check if there is any noise/sound when you hit brake/accelerator, turn right/left, reverse etc

5. Ask for:
    - when changed timing belt (it's expensive to replace one!)
    - when changed the tire
    - any work on Brake recently

6. Take to a full service center of the manufacture. Pay for a full inspection and ask the technician list top problems to fix. Either have the owner fixed at his cost or ask him deducting the price then you will fix it by yourself later.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

CV-Joint and CV-Boot

This is an amazing learning opportunity when you decided to buy a used car and... it's your first car! Thought is not directly Babson related but it happens right now when I am still with Babson so I will post the story here anyway.

I got a 1997 Toyota Camry checked today with M's help. 133K. One-owner. No problem. But you know what, M found there is a CV boot leak at the front left wheel. So what the heck is CV boot and is it serious? Read one...


Wow. I guess I may pretend to be a semi-expert to fool someone now...haha

And if you read this post from boston.craigslist.org, it reinforced the importance of cv joint/boot:

White, 5sp, 141,000 miles, aluminum wheels, no rust, good condition inside and out. Front wheel drive only; prior to sale, rear wheel drivetrain and a problematic transmission coupling will be disconnected (alternatively, buyer may elect to repair). Reliable 2.2L engine runs well; brakes, front CV joints, tires and alternator are all new within past year. Photos available upon request. Email or call 617 959 4667. $2500 OBO.

A side not: How to understand a VIN? http://www.vinguard.org/vin.htm

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