Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace

February ~15, 2017

One small place that you should visit a guide, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace is so rich in its history you will be missing out so much if you just go to look at it.

This is the Sultan’s view while he listens to his people.
On the right of the palace are these structures.
As they didn’t have paint then, they put cloth (like a canvas) on ceilings, and to get the color gold on the design, they put… gold on it.
There’s a meaning to these statues. Sorry, I forgot. 😦
Right in the middle is where the Sultan sits, and on the veranda on his left and right (where we are standing), are his concubines, if I remember correctly.
These pillars have been standing for hundreds of years. And they are made of wood. Impressive, eh?

Vidya India

February ~20, 2017

One of the visits I probably would never forget is the visit to Bangalore’s Vidya. It’s a chance to see how young women in India struggle, what motivates them and how hard they work.

They struggle with the cultural imposition to women. Their hands are tied. But one thing drives them – their families. Their kids. For example, learning English is a priority because they wanted to talk to their kids in English. Most Indians DO NOT speak English. The people we meet are not at the bottom of the pyramid, and with 1.2billion people, there’s a lot of them. But far more numerous are the ones who struggle on a daily basis.

Vidya is about helping these young women help themselves. And I can’t think of a better way to do it.

Akshaya Patra

February ~20, 2017

One of the “company” visits we had was to Akshaya Patra, which is a food kitchen. Only this food kitchen feeds millions of people, is ISO certified and follows kaizen (continuous improvement).

They are a good example of how a not-for-profit organization (they operate from donations and government subsidies) can apply business concepts and succeed!

The entrance. We had to wear hair net and face mask for our visit, which is pretty standard.
This is a sample meal – the one they fed us come in containers similar to the ones I saw being loaded for delivery.
Right outside. 😦 I doubt that it is their trash, it’s just sad how people throw trash wherever.

Indian Food

February 2017

Before flying to India, we were advised of the following:

  1. Don’t eat street food.
  2. Only drink bottled water (don’t wash your teeth with tap water, even).
  3. Avoid anything that had contact unfiltered water – like freshly washed, peeled fruits, ice, etc.

I broke rules 1 and 2. Oopsie.

The traditional Indian ice cream – Kulfi.
Of course I tried the traditional flavor – Matka. Boy, was it good!
Off the street there’s this hollow shells that they pierce with their hands to put some stuff on

They then serve this in one small bowl made of dried leaves and some soup. This is probably the spiciest thing I’ve tried in India.

Outside (at the ground floor of the building to the left) Chancery Pavilion is a small restaurant that was hands down our group’s favorite.
They have this drink – lassi, that I think is homemade yogurt with ice cream and nuts.
And only Indian meal I can tolerate – Butter Paneer Masala. Nomnomnom.

This is one pretty cute bread. I didn’t buy it though. I have long learned that pretty =/= delicious.
Now this one is really good!
and I love Indian coffee! The put LOTS AND LOTS OF MILK on it.



Bangalore Fort

February 15, 2017

This was an interesting visit. Apparently, the Bangalore Fort is a pretty tricky one – there are seven (?) layers, and they are formed like a maze. So you don’t know if you’re supposed to turn left or right, and the odds of anyone getting all seven correctly is pretty low.

The gates also have spikes on them – mainly to scare off elephants charging the doors. And these gates aren’t really the entrances – there’s a small door on the side, that curves through the other side, so that enemies will not see what’s on the other side of the curve.

Overall, if you just go to the place, there’s pretty much nothing there but walls. So please get a guide, and have a bit more appreciation of the place.

Bonus – there’s a not-for-kids shape in this side of the wall:

Flying to India

February 12, 2017

It takes TEN HOURS to fly to India. TEN HOURS. It’s my longest flight to date! I’m still not sure if I hate it or if I’m excited.

Quick tips

  1. Take the bag tag and attach it to all your bags. Once you go through baggage screening, they have to stamp these bag tags.
  2. Prepare for a very personal body scan. It was very professionally done, with the girls having a covered area. But still, it was the most personal scan I ever had.
  3. Arrange for car transport if you are arriving at night. Even priced at a premium, it’s probably worth it.

So. Here’s how my flight went:

We met at around 10am (Narita Terminal 2) to board our flight.

Hello, Airplane. Please don’t crash.
Since I’m haven’t done any long haul flights, this is my first time being given so many meals. and snacks. I finally get a taste of the often joked about plane peanuts! (Yes, I’m that shallow)

It wasn’t such a long flight. Maybe because I loved watching Now You See Me and Kimi No Nawa. I took a nap in between, then proceed to randomly watch videos. Yeah, I loved all those nine-ish hours.

Hello, Delhi! Hello, India! I’m here!!!

I was so excited! Then our group had some issues with the confusion in the line for the eTV (electronic Tourist Visa). Basically we went to the wrong line. Honestly, these people weren’t so helpful. But moving on!

We finally got into Bangalore! (I think this is a Bangalore picture)

It was a really, really, long flight. We got in our hotel at around 2am! O.O


GNP: Mental Health in India

February 2017

For our Global Network Project, our team selected White Swan – a not for profit organization with a mission to be the leading knowledge provider on mental health.

Technically, they aren’t our clients. Our client is their consulting firm, Center of Gravity. So we basically had two clients – the firm Center of Gravity and White Swan.

It was an amazing experience where we were exposed to how big an issue mental health is – not just in India but across the world. I never would look at it the same, and I gained a new awareness of another aspect of humanity.

Our Visit to NIMHANS

The White Swan Office is right next to the NIMHANS Museum so we decided to walk around.

The entrance is free, so just walk in anytime during operating hours.
Inside is the history of NIMHANS and how it has grown through the decades.
They also have some tools used years and years ago related to the field.

Our Visit to Center of Gravity

Of course, we visited the office of our main client, Center of Gravity. It’s such an amazing human-centric firm, with a business style that is shaped by its head. I doubt any other firm can copy Rajesh. He’s a refreshing consultant who’s depth of thinking astounds me.

The entrance to Center of Gravity.

Global Network Project

As part of our MBA curriculum, we had the opportunity to partner with one of the GNAM member schools (GNAM is Global Network for Advanced Management) for a project, which is credited as an elective in our education. Our partner was University of British Columbia (UBC) Sauder Business School. The program is for two weeks, though we also had virtual meetings starting around October.

For the Tokyo students, we had the option of going to Bangalore, India OR stay in Tokyo for the two week program. Of course, I chose India.

It starts with a lot of online meeting in anticipation for the two week immersion.

October – December.

Group assignments. We start meeting each other for the first time online. We also attend some workshops on handling virtual meetings, etc.

Projects. There are a couple of projects lined up, thanks to the amazing professors. We get to share our preference and projects will be assigned.

Client Meeting. We act as consultants and officially meet our “clients” via online conference. Since our project is in India, of course our clients are generally Indians. We had to set the scope of the project, deliverables, timeline, etc.


Last minute preparation. Continuous team meetings, client touchpoints, visa application, etc.


Fieldwork! We went to Bangalore for the project, and stayed there for two weeks. Of course, the entire thing culminated with a client presentation at the end of those two weeks.


Postmortem. Basically we shared what we learned with the rest of the class, and had reflections on what happened.



Overall it was an amazing experience, and was easily the highlight of my MBA… up to that point. Who’d have thought that the school had more in store?



Bengaluru’s Flower Market

~February 15, 2017

As part of “Getting to Know Bengaluru” day, we went to the market to see a very unique market – a teeming flower market. I’ve seen flower markets before, but not those that are sewn (yes, sewn!) together in meters and meters of continuous rows, but also to this scale.

*This tour was organized as part of the Global Network Project of our school, so I don’t know any of the logistics aside from “be at the hotel lobby at 1pm”.

Look at this, for example:

They sew each flower individually, and then one guy measures it and thus completes one “pile”.
They do these by groups of flowers – of course, by design.
Another group of ladies, another pile of flowers.
This is pretty special. This is not done on a per flower basis. This is on a PER PETAL basis. Where is it used? Weddings of course!
That’s him with the rose petals.
Piles and piles of flowers. Obsolescence rate? Probably less than a couple of days.


Chancery Suite – We Were Upgraded!

Early 2017

Ok, so this is not really such a big story. But I LOVED it. It’s my first time to be upgraded to a SUITE, and I just want to share the pictures.

So I come in right? Exhausted, and in a I’m-forcing-myself-to-be-happy mood. I booked a small room with two beds. I come in and saw this.

The smart girl that I am, my gut reaction was – there’s no bed?! Oh, GRRRRRRR – wait, there’s a room.

Whoa. We have a room! Wait, is that – is that a LA-Z BOY!

Oh shoot it is! And the bathroom!

It’s bigger than my unit back home! and there’s a huge glass where you can see the bedroom. For reasons.

PS, to my huge disappointment, the jaccuzzi does NOT work. But I’m still happy. Haha.

Well, since I’m done going gaga, here’s a decent picture of the living area:

And the kitchen. Behind it is the small CR (yes, we have two!)

Well that’s it. Haha. I wouldn’t recommend the hotel, honestly. We had far too much problems with it. It wasn’t clean, there was theft, etc etc. I just wanted to share my first suite experience, coz yes, it’s all about me. ^___^