Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Surviving the Schulich MBA

1. At your graduation ceremony take a safety pin along. They will not provide you one as "officially" the pin can tear up the rented robe (you get to the cap)
2. Account for a lot of extra expenses - trips, dinners, graduation ceremony - $20 for the grad photo, $54 for the graduation ceremony, $108 for the formals, an insane amount for the deerhurst
3. Wireless routers are needed in the residential houses. Its better if you carry one as stuff is generally expensive in Canada
4. As soon as you land, (Schulich India) - apply for an OCWP - you are eligible for it as you have spent 6 months as a York university student already.
5. Study really well in the first year so that you get good grades and are eligible for a host of scholarships from the school.
6. If you are attending a cocktail networking event, be prepared not to eat / drink anything. (There is hardly stuff anyway) Focus on meeting people. We know that they know that its all hogwash but you gotta do it.
7. Staying in the Assiniboine Residences has benefits and perils
I. Benefits
a. We have a Santa delivering presents all the year round in the way of people moving out and leaving stuff that they no longer need in the ground floor. Be patient and soon you will chance upon - printers, lamps, chairs, microwaves and other surprises. Remember, it would be your turn to play Santa when you move out!
b. You get to see a lot of people, which is otherwise a rarity in that part of town
II. Perils
a. Frequent disturbances from people pulling the fire alarm - trust me you cannot sleep through the alarm (its an offence as well)
b. You do not get much credit in the way of tax rebate as the university housing is supposed to be subsidized ( in reality however its not so compared to the options available around it)
8. Even if the meeting rooms are booked, try some of the smaller class rooms on the second and third floors. they are usually unoccupied and open. If someone comes in, be assertive!
9. There is a combination of TTC transport that can take you from Pearson airport to York University - make sure you either have a token or 3 dollars in change for the TTC fare. The public transport stop is at the lower levels of the pearson airport. You can either take the 58A to Lawrence west and from there take the North Bound to Downsview or take the 196 to Kipling station, travel east bound to st george, change trains and then take the north bound to Downsview
10. Restaurants are way overpriced at York Lanes but you cant help and treat yourself occasionally. I dont have much idea about non veg but there are decent options for vegetarians - try the paneer wrap at Indian Flavours, the 2 veggie combo as Pagoda, Subway and the 5$ basket at KFC. There is a vegetarian plate at Jimmy the Greek which I think is the best value for money. While I personally like Mangia Mangia there have been a lot of raised eyebrows about its health standards. If you do not mind spending $5, then you may want to check out the Indian buffet options at Islington Steet. For an all inclusive cost of about $15 you can have really good food.
11. Beverages at Timothys in the college is Overpriced and I would rush to the Tim Hortons in the Seneca building for a quick sip. While the muffins and the cookies at Timothy's also are expensive, I would highly recommend it as they are fresh and delightful
12. Before the actual winter sets in, there is a decent sale on winter wear. Make use of this - you will need the extra layers of clothes.
13. If you are someone who looks forward to buy electronics on the cheap, wait for the boxing day sale. Otherwise I dont find the prices very attractive round the year.
14. There are a couple of options for groceries near the university - Food Cents (which is at a 10 minute walking distance) and No Frills (which is about 20 minutes away walking or about 8 minutes by TTC). If you do go to Islington, then you can also plan to shop at the Indian Bazaar where you will get more indian things than an actual store in India.
15. For haircut again there are a couple of options - at the University Mall (near Food cents) where the hair cut ranges from $14 to $20 and at Islington where it costs about $10 (do not forget to add $5 if you are going solely for a haircut to Islington which i think is a waste of time then)
16. Dont think twice while spending the $300 worth of print credit. Most of the students end up with a credit balance that expires just at the end of the final term (before you realize it)
17. The library is a great place for reading magazines and journals, utilize this facility well as I believe this is one of the best plus points of the school
18. There are a couple of clubs at York University which organize screening of Indian films and "significant" cricket matches - keep an eye out for it
19. Join the Schulich Connect Yahoo Groups. This is the unofficial site for selling and buying household stuff and books at schulich
20. Internet speeds are great at the residences however do not go overbound and download too much stuff. Your connection is monitored even if you believe it aint and illegal downloads attract special attention.
21. Make sure you have a nice portfolio bag and a good suit with you as you would need them for attending interviews
22. As soon as you land, apply for a credit card and try and get your driving license. You will need to deposit money for the credit card - $750 for a $600 limit credit card - and then maintain good credit as this credit history will result in a good credit score when you apply for a loan. Similarly when you apply for a driving license early on and let time pass, when you actually go ahead to get insurance, this cost will be lesser. Carry a letter from your RTO (Regional transport authority, the people who issue your driving license in India) that you have been driving with a valid passport for "X" number of years and have not been involved in any accidents . This letter will help you skip a step in between when applying for your driving license in Canada.
23. Canada's Wonderland is a great place to visit. Plan to go there in the summers as it is closed during the winters and its hours of operations are also shorter for the short duration it is open in the winters. Look out for offers here as well as they do come by.
24. When buying electronics there is no point doing price comparison between Future Shop and Best Buy as Best Buy bought over Future Shop quite a while back. The other significant brick and mortar shop is "the Source" which is quite useless when it comes to competitive pricing. You may want to explore this site called tiger direct or ITxchange where you can generally get good deals on computers
25. During the winters, due to the heaters, the air inside the rooms tends to become very dry. You may want to consider purchasing a humidifier.
26. A trip to Walmart requires you to take the VIVA Orange transportation service which costs $3.5 one way (or 2.6 if you take a 10 pass ticket). However if you can finish your work at walmart quickly, then you can use the same ticket to head back within 2 hours.