Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Five heads are better than one

One of the reasons that I chose my masters program is because there wasn't an individual thesis to do - quite frankly, I just didn't see myself spending months researching a topic and then reading 100 pages about it.  Instead, we have more of a final project, where we choose a company and spend a year doing a business analysis on them.  It's very labor-intensive, but has a lot more practical application for real-life scenarios, and as you all know, I am all about the practical side of things.

Last week in class, our program director announced our groups.  Leading up the announcement, I looked around the classroom and decided that there wasn't really anyone I would mind having in my group, with the exception of one guy.  (There always has to be that guy).

Well our guy thinks he is an expert on anything and everything. He claims he is an astrophysicist, yet he is unemployed. I believe his previous job was for Peugeot - and don't even get me started on the argument we got into about why so few French cars are sold abroad.  I wasn't thinking about who my audience was and basically said "Well duh, they are ugly and up until recently they were very basic and didn't even have any options like A/C, cruise control, or cup holders.  They were adapted to the needs of the French only, and not the rest of the world".

*Cue the stares of an entire classroom of French people"

But anyways, back to that guy.  He is constantly arguing with the professors, and he dominates any and all conversations he participates in during breaks and at lunch.  I have often thought that he should be a professor since he likes to hear himself talk so much.  Fin bref, I basically avoid him as often as I can.

And guess who I have in my group?

You got it - that guy

I came home that night and was talking to Chris about how unlucky it was and how I had a 1 in 30 chance to have him in my group, and C interrupted me and said "Well, actually if there are five per group, that means a 1 in 6 chance blah blah blah", and I was like "Okay whatever, I suck at math, but it sucks even more that I am going to have to work with him on a weekly basis for the next year!"

But so we all had lunch together as a group the next day, and of course Monsieur completely dominated the conversation, with no one else getting a word in edge-wise.  Monsieur has done a PhD, so he knows all about defending a thesis and he will so very graciously share his experience with us, ie tell us what to do.

The thing is though, the director made it extremely clear that we need to equally divide up the work, and that we also need to equally divide up our défense du projet into exactly ten minutes each.  Afterwards, we will have a 60-90 min grilling by a jury and each member needs to answer an equal number of questions, and if we don't, we will lose mega points. This is frustrating to me, because knowing that guy, I don't think he is going to be able to stop himself from interrupting us and shouting out answers.  So I'm worried this is going to be a long year....

All complaining aside, I did want to throw out there that we have to find our own business to work with. It needs to be a PME (petites et moyennes entreprises), with a chiffre d'affaires between 5-20 million and between 50-200 employees.  We will do a full analysis of the business's strategy and at the end, give 2 or 3 suggestions of where they could improve or expand.  So if any of you know of any businesses in the Paris area that fit the bill and who would like some free advice, please send me an email!



Blogger Animesh said...

Nooooo, not _that_ guy!!

As I was reading your "1 in 30 chance..." text, I was already thinking of the math issues, and then read what C said :). I guess the bro-ness does go deep.

Back to the guy, if you ever need a PhD-holder of your own to shut him up, count me in.

Finally, on the PME side; the company started as a spin-off of our research group has less than 50 people. Let me know if you need me to, and I will check with them.

November 29, 2012 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Bad luck, you may have to sit down and discuss his dominating behaviour. It's probably because he is lacking in self-confidence, especially as he is unemployed, and has a small dick.

Still, he sounds like he needs to read 'Groupwork 101'. Good luck with the research.

November 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Gwannel said...

Ugh, groupwork, I would rather do an individual thing (although of course groupwork is also a part of "real life"'', sticking woth the practical theme).

November 29, 2012 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Delana@dujour said...

I swear to god I was married to "that guy". And I was stuck with him for 24 years! Chin up

November 30, 2012 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

@animesh - Ha, I knew you would say that too!

@Sarah - I'm not even sure he would listen...

@Gwannel - I keep telling myself it's part of "real life" too - we'll see how long that lasts...

@Delana - I have no idea how you did it!

November 30, 2012 at 9:11 AM  

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