Monday, June 8, 2009

Candy is Dandy

Life is exasperating. Sometimes I think I have it all figured out and as soon as I’m about to sit down for one second, take a deep breath and slow down- another curve ball is thrown my way. I then realize that, in truth, I have absolutely nothing figured out. Nothing at all.

But then again- there are always the simple and uncomplicated joys snuck in between the worry and angst to lessen the blows. In other words- there’s always candy.

Exams are over. I don't want to talk about it. Or them. A friend appropriately mentioned to me over a mojito Friday night, “I passed until ‘they’ tell me I failed.” That works.

What I do want to talk about is candy. I love candy. Who doesn't love candy?

Despite the fact that our finals are over, and we made it through to the other end the notoriously killer “First Year” of the MBA, we have ONE LAST hurdle. It’s kind of sad really. Even though we knew this week was coming- the intensive strategy seminar to finish off before summer- I’m fairly sure that everyone was a bit shaken when their alarms went off this morning. I know I was.

Last weekend was one extensive celebration. It started about five minutes after our final final on Friday (breakfast beers) and continued through Sunday night.

Then this morning, just like waking up for a 6 a.m. flight after a weekend in Vegas (anyone who has ever had the misfortune to face this ghastly catastrophe will feel my pain), a morning where our bodies could barely take it- we woke up to our blaring alarms, packed our pens and computers and dragged our weary asses back to school.

The weather dropped five degrees, the skies were grey to match our moods- and everyone slowly lugged themselves back into class to tackle this final week.

Then, when almost all hope seemed lost- they brought out the candy.

Our dreaded Global Strategy course is actually about candy. woohoo.

Here’s the deal:

We are broken into about 20-odd teams of five. Each team represents a key player in the confectionary industry (I’m Mars/Wrigley). After lectures and research on the company’s position in the industry- and an analysis of the business as a whole- we develop a strategy (M&A, Alliance, etc…) and negotiate with the other teams with which we would like to partner or acquire. This morning was the introduction and a brief glimpse into the industry, then a Lindt presentation by Spain’s Managing Director.

Lunch passed slowly as we all talked about summer plans and ate our bocadillos at unhurried paces. The day dragged on…

As we entered the second afternoon lecture…something totally unexpected happened:


 Haribo’s GM actually brought us candy! Good guy…

We walked into the room ready to endure the rest of the first day of the long week…and the desks were strewn with candy. It was like a carnival threw up during Halloween. Every color of the rainbow of gummies galore…bears and fruit shaped sugary goodness, marshmallows, long stringy things flavored with coca cola and lemon and covered in sour sugar, candies I had never even seen before were all over the place. Willy Wonka would have been proud.

Clearly things were looking up. We spent the rest of the afternoon half listening to the lecture and shoveling scrumptious treats into our mouths while eyeing the other tables making sure our competition didn't make off with better bags than ours. But as sophisticated and mature MBA students are expected to solve potential discrepancies, we came to mutual understandings and made a number of trades. 

Candy makes everything better. Candy, as Warren Buffet stated, “is Dandy.” Four days left.

If we get more candy, I’ll stop complaining. 

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