Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Blog

After much deliberation, I have decided to transfer this blog over to Wordpress. It has more functionality and in particular it has a WP7 app. The new blog will also be linked to my Tumblr, where I'll be uploading pictures (since it has unlimited picture storage). I feel like I'm making this very complicated, but I guess that's what I do best. Thanks for reading/viewing. :D

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011

I’m going to be experimenting with my camera a lot throughout the summer. I can’t decide if I should post them here or on my new Tumblr. (Thoughts on Tumblr as a photo blog? Any other websites I should consider using? I am trying to establish a photo blog for when I go to Hong Kong and want it to be easily accessible, nicely organized, etc.)

Anywhere, here are a couple from today. The original and then a filtered version.

2011-05-20 Flowers 0032011-05-20 Flowers 003 (Filtered)

 

2011-05-20 Flowers 0162011-05-20 Flowers 016 (Filtered)

(Click for full size)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Year Gone By...

Two years ago, we were still staring down those cramped hallways of PHHS trying to figure out where the hell life is taking us. It's pretty crazy how quickly time has passed as I can now say that I am halfway through my college experience, the proclaimed "best time of your life." These last two years have, to put it in a very clich├ęd manner, passed by in the blink of an eye. Yet, it amazes me every time I think about my growth as an individual. Change happens, but I think the change in my outlook on life and how I go about achieving my goals is well beyond what I could have expected.

I always say that going into college, I was certain that I wanted to be a finance major and working financial services. To be perfectly honest, however, I did not know nearly enough about anything going on in the world coming out of high school to be so certain. I think it was always just about putting myself in a position where I have to work hard to achieve a potential high reward. That and the fact that working with money meant working with numbers. I was so naive to think that understanding these two things meant I would put myself on a path to success and happiness. False. The path to success, for me at least, is to maintain curious and apply what I learn to understand how everything in the world fits in together. Being curious pushes me to look beyond the surface and learn the theory behind why or how something happens. I think that is going to be key to whether I succeed or fail. If I were in the position to offer anyone advice right now, I believe that I would say to read the newspaper every day to see what is going on around the world and find a specific sector that you find particularly interesting. Then analyze how other events throughout the world impact what you're interested in and tie everything together.

Beyond having this better understanding of what I am pursuing, I have found that my relationship with myself and with other people have changed significantly. While it is something I need to continue to work on, I undoubtedly feel more confident about myself. I think this again stems from better understanding the things that are happening around the world, but simply practicing to more assertive and carrying myself in a confident manner has carried me a long way. At the end of the day, having that confidence to feel like you know what you're talking about and that you will not screw up the task at hand is so important. This is something I did not have at all just barely two years ago. One thing in particular I really do need to work on still is to be able to formulate strong opinions about things. It takes me a little while to put together the facts and present an opinion. That's going to have to change as I start working and need to make an input.

And then there's the whole deal of my relationship with other people. College has brought out the independent, self-sustaining part of me. I was never one to rely on other people, but I was always very hesitant to do things without other people's approval. I've grown into the mentality of if I have the ability to do this myself, who gives a shit what other people think. There are many things that are nice to do in groups, but my new mantra is that the ability to work in teams will get you nowhere if you cannot work with yourself.

As I grew into myself and understood better who I am, my relationship with BC got better as well. For the better part of the last two years, I found myself picking apart every flaw of that institution and the people. At some point this year, something clicked and I made peace with it. I found a routine for myself if and when I didn't want to be bothered. For one thing, I have concluded that taking classes with friends is a bad idea. It becomes a burden and a distraction. Most importantly, I figured out a way to live with a large group of people. It's not preferable, but I can deal with it. And being able to deal with it, in addition to them realizing that I just like to do my own thing, made my relationship with my suitemates significantly better as the year came to a close. After a tumultuous relationship with Vincenzo during the first semester this year, I think we ended up even closer by the end of the year. It's funny how relationships progress, and I'm glad that mine with BC and the people there is better now.

It's funny how throughout everything I just wrote, I have been trying to talk a little bit about personal life (i.e. life outside of school and work) and it just hasn't worked. I guess that's the mode that I'm stuck in at this point. I think that this is a time to be working hard and setting myself up for a successful future, and that that success will naturally lead to a happy personal life. Anyway, I decided that there is no point for me to be dealing with people beyond what is necessary. It's really about keeping myself productive and not having distractions get in my way. I simply have one less thing to worry about compared to those who are so involved in others' businesses. I really don't care about who is hooking up with who and all the drama that is going on between certain people. It just isn't productive information and does not benefit me in anyway, so I just stay away from it. On a similar note, throughout high school and entering college, I felt so certain that if I had a girl friend, it would make life just so much better, happier. Over the past year or so, a lot of people around me have been pairing up and it's made me realized how much of a burden it seems to be. Why would I want to waste my time feeling obligated to someone else when that time could just as easily be spent on myself? I don't want to have to deal with pleasing someone or fitting myself around someone else's. It's just not what I need at this point. So please, please, please stop telling me to find a girlfriend. It's getting incredibly annoying and people need to understand my perspective. Thank you.

Bringing my sophomore year of college to a close, I came to realize that my life is pretty damn good. I have this tendency to drag myself down so that I can pull myself back up. Life does not come easily for me but when it's all said and done, I always find myself in a good place. After cleaning out my room for the past few days and suffering through bouts of nostalgia, I recalled all the times when I thought my life was going to shit. Yet, here I am doing pretty well for myself. I have a great internship for the summer doing exactly what I want to be doing on Wall St. I will be spending my fall semester in Hong Kong. I have money. I am in the best shape of my life. I have people around me who I want to have around. Things are going pretty well.

So, life, hit me with all you can. I will take you on. And I will win.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge

Let’s give this a try…

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Movies to Watch this Summer

This summer’s list of movies is so insanely impressive. I cannot wait!

  1. Thor
  2. Kung Fu Panda 2
  3. The Tree of Life
  4. X-Men: First Class
  5. Cars 2
  6. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  8. Captain America
  9. Cowboys & Aliens
  10. Moneyball

What’s the likelihood I actually watch all of these? I still have movies on this past year’s movie list that I haven’t had time to watch yet. Sad.

Oh, if anyone has any interest in watching a very very very good documentary, watch Inside Job. It was amazing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bullshitting.

All my interviewing and applying for jobs and scholarships and whatnot has made me such an expert bullshitter. It’s quite useful…

Kim Kao: so im writing an essay to apply for a scholarship
Kim Kao: for studying abroad
Kim Kao: and i have to write why im applying fo rth efunds
Kim Kao: and idk what to write
Kim Kao: likee
Kim Kao: uh...i want $$
Kim Kao: should i mention how my brother studied abroad
Kim Kao: so it would help my parents financially?
Kim Kao: ;x
Vincent: probably not
Kim Kao: guh
Kim Kao: idk waht else to sayyyyyyy
Vincent: having the additional funding will allow you to take greater advantage of your experience there. it opens up the opportunity to explore the country more and, in doing so, allows you to be more assimilated into the culture and gain a better understanding of the people.
Kim Kao: you. are. aewsome.
Vincent: LOL
Vincent: (clearly i've done a few too many applications like this)

Kim Kao: i totally just copied that
Kim Kao: :P
Vincent: hahaha
Vincent: you didn't even elaborate on it?
Kim Kao: NOPE
Kim Kao: sounds perfect to me :D

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011

The day college started, I began believing that once I achieve happiness in my career and am fulfilled in that sense, everything else should fall into place. Sticking to the “plan” has been nothing less than a grueling effort. I took some time away from it last year, hoping to give the “fun” stuff of college a shot, and came away unsatisfied. Through it all, I have yet to find out where I belong. Trying to be a college student just felt like a sad effort and terribly hypocritical as I criticize those who fall into that lifestyle. Yet, sitting here today, I continue to question myself if pushing myself to the max is worth it.

Putting myself through this has left me feeling disconnected to the world. I don’t give a shit about the people around me for the most part and the things they do with their lives would be a major distraction for me to pay any attention to. Strangely, I’ve found myself to be more of a free spirit. I want to do everything on my own, and not have to be held back by another person. I am obligated to care about only my own well-being. Even worse, I don’t feel happy spending time with most people anymore. It almost always seems like a waste of time. I don’t gain any marginal value from it, so why bother?

So anyway, back to the point of this rambling. My thoughts are that a fruitful, happy career will lead to good things in all other aspects. The people I mesh best with are those who have similar interests and have similar goals in mind as I do. It would behoove me to get myself into my desired position (investment banking analyst for me) and be around these people basically around the clock. And in turn, being around these people would result in being happy elsewhere.

It all comes down to this. When analyzing an investment, you have to look at your horizons; how long down the line do you expect this investment to be earning a return. In this case, I am working towards a successful future 20-, 30-, 60- or more years down the line in all aspects of life. This requires putting down the work and making this sacrifice.

I think this makes sense.

Just another explanation about why I do why I do. I get questioned about this a lot by pretty much everyone.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February 17, 2011

I’m sprinting a marathon.

 

 

 

 

 

Countdown to Spring Break: 16 Days.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 5 - Favorite form of exercise

This is an easy one: tennis!

Even though I’ve grown to enjoy running, it still bores me. I can only run for about half an hour at a time before I get really bored of it and I have to move onto something else.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 4 - Favorite television program

I’m really upset this show is going to end very soon and it seems like we’ve already met the mother. But, I guess it’s better to end the show strong rather than let it go stale.

I started watching Mr. Sunshine last night too. I think that show has some potential to be pretty good. Especially since Matthew Perry’s character reminds me of myself.

And of course, there’s Outsourced. Thoroughly hilarious.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 3 - A picture of what you wore today

Hah. I’ll update this later with what I wore yesterday. I do have a picture! I just don’t have time to upload anything. Boo. And yes, I do know I skipped a day. Oh well.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 1 - Introduce yourself

Shall I do my typical “30-second pitch” when I network?

Hi, Vincent Chao; sophomore at Boston College Carroll School of Management studying finance and math. I’m an incredibly hard worker trying to find my way into the competitive industry of investment banking. Along with ambition and desire, I believe I possess the skills and stamina to succeed in such a tough position. I wake up every morning seeking new challenges, and it is these challenges that drives me to put forward nothing but my best effort.

…anyway. I don’t really say that to people. Just something along those lines.

What else is there to say about myself that people do not already know? I literally like to put myself in the  worst position possible and find a way to get out of it. You know that labyrinth story with the Greek god (or …man?) used string to help guide him out? I would probably have purposely not used string just to see if I can get out on my own. It digs me into holes every once in a while, but each failure is a learning experience for me.

Speaking of getting out on my own... I’m a fairly independent person. I never expect much out of other people, at least in terms of needing someone to bail me out. To me, asking for help is shameful and will only do so if absolutely necessary. As such, it annoys me a lot when people expect things of me. I expect that you have already tried everything in your power to figure a problem out before asking me, or anyone else for that matter, for help. Also, I am a very fair person. If I request something of you, I will absolutely without a doubt return a favor of equal value. The same holds true the other way around.

Being at college has helped me to discover my independence. When I got to college, I came to realize that almost everyone travel in packs. Want to eat? Must find eight other people to eat with. Going to class? Text to world to see who is traveling towards the same area. It goes on and on with the scenarios. I came to realize the absurdity of this and how time consuming being a part of a pack is. Not to mention, relying on others tends to lead to disappointment. I’d rather decide my own fate and make my own decisions. And thus my independence from society was born.

People can easily describe me as antisocial or a loner. I don’t blame them. I enjoy spending a lot of time alone and doing my own thing. It’s much more liberating and less restricting. But don’t get me wrong. I very much enjoy the company of those I care about. Being with people I care about is using my time with purpose. There are those with whom spending time feels simply like a waste of my time and there are those with whom time spent feels productive. That’s how I distinguish who I care about and who I don’t care about.

So what do I do with all this time I save by separating productive social encounters and wasteful ones? I’m a self-diagnosed workaholic. I love learning and the best way to learn is to dedicate time towards it. Also, my OCD-ness and perfectionism force me to get every detail as correct as possible, and thus taking quite a bit of time. I’m never satisfied with “just getting it done.” If it’s getting done, it’s getting done right.

One last comment. Even though I absolutely love playing tennis, baseball is probably my favorite sport. The reason for this is that I love the statistics involved with everything in the sport. Everything is based on numbers and while, as Sterling always says, “it’s impossible to predict baseball” (which is true in that you do not know when what event is going to happen), it is a game that can almost be modeled using these numbers. Tennis on the other hand is less entertaining to watch, but is definitely more fun (for me) to play as it involves finding a way to not only outplay your opponent physically, but to outthink your opponent strategically.

And with that, I shall conclude my “introduction” about myself.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Another Blog Challenge!

Day 1 - Introduce yourself

Day 2 - A picture of you

Day 3 - A picture of what you wore today

Day 4 - Favorite television program

Day 5 - Favorite form of exercise

Day 6 - A picture of your handwriting

Day 7 - A moment

Day 8 - What you wanted to be as a child

Day 9 - Something you hate to be asked about.

Day 10 - Favorite song of the week

Day 11 - The person you miss the most

Day 12 - Your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush

Day 13 - A photo of you taken recently

Day 14 - Your day in great detail

Day 15 - Another moment

Day 16 - Something that upsets you

Day 17 - Your favorite song of the week

Day 18 - Someone that’s not in your state/country

Day 19 - Another picture of you

Day 20 - Name of your elementary school

Day 21 - A picture of you throughout highschool/middleschool

Day 22 - Links to all the websites/online profiles you have

Day 23 - List of all the places you’ve lived

Day 24 - A drawing you drew

Day 25 - Something you’re thinking of changing

Day 26 - An embarrassing moment

Day 27 - Screenshot you took

Day 28 - The recent text message you receive says

Day 29 - What you are looking forward to in the next month

Day 30 - Last moment

Again, I’m trying to be a more active blogger; both here and on my other blog (which has yet to get started). So, these things are always a good way to get going.

February 3, 2011

I’ve been getting really bored of life lately; even more so than normal. Having the opportunity to learn from some really great professors is awesome, but I hate this routine and the rigidity of everything. Despite my lack of time, I’m trying to think of ways to challenge myself further and stimulate some kind of interest. For example, taking an hour off a night from work to go to the gym has helped me get more energized. Another is to set aside a couple of hours a week to play tennis, particularly with a group of people as a social event. And most recently, I’ve issued myself a challenge of creating a stock overview and analysis report once a month. There needs to be more to life than going to classes day in and day out, repeating the same routine over and over again, and I need to convince myself of it.

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Taking four math classes and two finance courses in a semester is not really fun… I did not realize how much homework that would entail. I have really great professors though. I can say that 5 out of the 6 professors are very interesting and do not put me to sleep. At least that’s encouraging.

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It is so hard to believe how much snow we got over the past month or so. There are fifteen feet mounds of snow outside of my building. I’m at the point where I just groan when I look outside and see it snowing. No more “oh look at the snow, it’s so pretty.” This weather is actually making the whole 2012 end of the world bullshit more and more believable. It was actually hailing chunks of ice yesterday; big enough chunks that I had to brush them out of my hair. But then I saw this video…

Chunks of ice falling out of the sky? That can’t be good. Hope people parked their cars in their garage.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30, 2011

On losing after his loss against Ferrer in the Australian Open quarterfinal:

"This is one of the negative moments. That's part of the sport. If I am ready to accept both things the same then I will be able to come back and play my best tennis another time.”

-Rafael Nadal

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 26, 2011

Somehow or another, I've made it through twenty years of my life. As much as I like to complain about things going on in my life, everything has always seemed to fall into place and even if they don't initially, things come together eventually. I've never really suffered any setbacks and major failures. Over the past few weeks, this realization hit me and I've began to think about how I would react when I eventually fail to achieve something I try really hard to get. Just a thought... one that's kind of lingered over me recently. Regardless, I think I'll spend today celebrating making it thus far without facing adversity and that I'm actually pretty lucky.

Of course, thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes and thanks for putting up with me over the past two decades. As we get older and start facing different challenges, I'm certain that these bonds will be critical to each of us.

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Sent from my Windows Phone

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011

Wow it's been a really long time since I last blogged. I've been so busy the past couple of months and I don't see that coming to an end any time soon. I'll try to start blogging more again though now that I can blog right from my phone.

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So here's an update in how I'm doing professionally... It's pretty much the priority for me at thus point in my life so I've dedicated a lot of my time to these things.

I think I promised a post on how the Barclays Capital event I went to went. To make it quick and painless, I had a great time and met some really interesting, professional people. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get an interview or offer from them for this coming summer. I guess they were able to tell that I wasn't really that interested in finance and operations given that I was asking a good amount of questions on investment banking. No big deal. There are other opportunities out there that can potentially be a better fit fir me anyway.

That trip was the crazy weekend when I spent about 30 hours on a bus within three days or so. Good times. Everything turned out okay in the end.

A few weeks after that, I was interviews by a firm called Commonwealth Annuities. It's a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldman Sachs but is in the reinsurance business. That was my first time being subjected to a practically full day interview, having to meet with 6 people. I thought I did pretty well and was incited back for second rounds, which should take place sometime in the coming weeks. This would definitely offer a great opportunity. Entry level analysts at firms such as this usually do very similar tasks as analysts in investment banking do so this offers me a great opportunity to break myself in. Not to mention it's Goldman Sachs, which is my ultimate goal. I obviously hope to have several opportunities to choose from when the time comes, but I would definitely happy to land this one. I think one thing the interviewers liked about me was my honesty and enthusiasm. I was pretty straightforward with them about the fact that I'm not 100% sure I want to launch my career in insurance, but I was able to assure them that I will put my best foot forward, work hard, and use this as an opportunity to discover of this is where I want to be.

A few weeks later I interviewed for a Merrill Lynch position in private wealth management on the day I was heading home for winter vacation. This one went well ad well...but for some reason I can't get into contact with then anymore afterwards. Major fail. Oh well.

During break, I was able to go back and work for the company I worked for over the summer, Peregrine Acquisitions. As always, that was pretty fun. The culture there is just a lot of fun. It's relaxed but somehow or another I always learn from the job. Over the summer, I did a lot of work basically as the support staff. They would find me if there was side things that needed to be done. This time around, I was exposed a lot more to financial modeling and the actual projects. I appreciated that and I put in quite a bit of work trying to really understand everything. I love learning while on the job and it's so much more satisfying to be able to figure out something that is real and will actually be used than it is to figure out something on an exam. I love the challenge - it's what I thrive on - and I'm just looking for more as i go forward in my career.

During break, I also participated in an externship at Prudential Capital Group in NYC. That was a one day program where they basically gave us a one-day overview of what they do through presentations and case studies. I was amazed by how much i actually learned during that one day. The firm works on the buy-side and issues mezzanine debt and private placements. Very intriguing stuff and that's definitely another place I would not mind working at at all. One thing I realized there is how much fun financial firms can be to work at because all entry level people you're in contact with on a daily basis are at most three years out of college (a lot like at Peregrine). Even they're young, they're a lot more professional, mature, and overall interesting than the typical college student.

Since I returned to school, every night has been packed with networking events and information sessions for various internship opportunities. Oh recruiting season. Me and a couple of friends have been doing mad dashes around campus on a nightly basis trying to make these events. A few days ago, I also went to an "etiquette dinner." They spent the night teaching us how to eat in a professional setting. Very interesting stuff and will definitely come in handy. At least now I know what all those forks and knives are for. Next week is just going to be more of the same with several internship fairs coming up. Networking!

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So that's all for now. I'm going to post on other thoughts not related to my career soon.