Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 3.22.06 AMAt 1.2 million square feet, the Amazon Fulfillment Center (FC) in Middletown, Delaware is the size of 21 football fields and employs roughly 2,500 full-time employees, swelling to almost 7,000 employees for the holiday season. Codified as PHL-7, it’s one of 75 Amazon shipping complexes spread across the US, but the only one in the northeast open to the public. Last Friday the Tech Club at Wharton arranged a tour of the Delaware FC to walk us through a product’s lifecycle in the center from when it arrives from a vendor to when it leaves for customer delivery.

Inside An Distribution Center On Cyber MondayPHL-7 is specifically for “small products”, while other centers focus on groceries (Amazon Fresh), products from Zappos (acquired by Amazon for $894.6 million in 2009), returned items, or large products like TVs and fridges. The building is divided into areas for “inbound” and “outbound”: the inbound shift begins at 7:00am with deliveries from vendors, while the outbound shift begins at 7:30am with customers’ orders. The average item in PHL-7 has a turnover of two days, but of course this depends on the customer demand for that product. A bottle of shampoo may be ordered within one hour of arriving at the FC, but some items stay much longer: a gigantic stuffed teddy bear has been sitting in PHL-7 for over six years!

photo 3(3) 2Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 3.23.56 AMWalking across the facility to begin the tour, the emphasis on procedure and transparency is striking. Whiteboards announce developments like “Recently filled 12k orders in one hour” and “New 3-step ladders placed in stow area”. Vending machines stocked with orange vests, yellow wrenches, and gray packing gloves don’t accept money but tell workers to “scan your badge” to get an item. We passed through endless corridors of tall cardboard boxes stuffed with toy dolls, silverware, and plastic painting trays and ducked under networks of whizzing conveyors belts before arriving in the “Receive” area, where our journey through an Amazon item’s lifecycle began. Read More

Last week’s exams marked the end of our first quarter at Wharton, a month and a half that flew by in a flurry of classes, extracurriculars, and social events. With so many exciting options, it was tempting to attend every industry info session, join every club, and meet every one of our 859 first-year classmates, all while grinding through the quantitive-heavy core classes. But inevitably our Type A personalities prevailed, and most of us reverted to our perfectionist undergraduate behaviors of studying constantly and stressing over grades despite Wharton’s grade non-disclosure policy. Throughout the quarter we found ourselves wondering, how will I have time for career recruiting with this courseload? Speaking of recruiting, what do I want to do with my life? Now that I’m so stressed about planning out my entire life, how can I study??

This rite of passage for all MBA first-years was perfectly captured by Stanford MBA student Shirzad Bozorgchami’s letter that has become a traditional gift from second-years to first-years just before midterm exams. Bozorgchami urges MBA’s to resist the impulse to achieve top grades in every course, to not judge themselves so harshly (we’ve been aggregated into an impossibly competitive crowd, after all), and to keep their original goals in perspective. Oftentimes, we’re so focused on the tiny minutia of academia, others’ opinions, and day-to-day tasks, we lose sight of our reasons for being here in the first place. In doing so we put ourselves through “unnecessary pain and hardship” – an affliction definitely not limited to the world of MBA’s.

With Q1 exams behind us, recruiting (primarily for consulting and investment banking) has kicked into full gear. The hallways are already full of Read More

Of all the footage I captured while filming Global Fusion Yoga in Indonesia, my favorite video hands-down was taken while diving with manta rays off the islands surrounding Bali. Growing up in Florida, I’ve been scuba diving since the age of 10, but swimming with these giant creatures has definitely been the highlight of my illustrious diving career. The stunning location of the dive site made the experience just that much cooler.

Lembongan Island is only a smooth thirty-minute boat ride from the touristy southern tip of Bali, but it feels miles away. Once the boat noses into the sandy bay, you have to hop off into shallow water, dig your flip flops out of the crate you put them in at departure, and collect your bag from the boat roof to walk off down the beach.

There’s a short strip of beachy restaurants and snack shops along the bay, but other than that, there isn’t much of a social epicenter. So my friend and I decided to rent moto scooters to explore the other beaches ringing the island. After covering the island in about two hours, we found ourselves overlooking a shallow bay used for seaweed farming, the farmers sloshing through ankle-deep water to collect giant baskets of seaweed and dump them in canoes.
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After living in Kigali, Rwanda for the past two and a half years, I can’t speak highly enough about the place. The lively culture, the friendly and innovative people, the delicious food… it’s pure paradise, and there’s no end to the adventures, opportunities, and passionfruit juice you’ll encounter. I could ramble for hours on the topic, but I’ve decided to compile my top reasons to live in Kigali to hopefully convince others to move to the land of a thousand hills (if you have any, feel free to add them in the comments below!):

73388_10100283781421565_528178866_n1. We play polo – with motorcycles. Without any horses around, we make do. Which means organizing weekend polo matches with required fancy dress (British speak for “costume”) atop your trusty metal and gasoline-powered steed. The moto jousting halftime show was discontinued due to dislocated shoulders, but other than that, it’s just a few scratches here and there. So grab a bottle of cold Primus and join us on the field!

IMG_5208 (1)a2. Whole Foods has nothing on Kimironko Market. Rwanda is essentially an organic food lover’s dream. All fruit and vegetables are organic, non-GMO, non-hormone, the whole shebang… simply because, it’s all local and natural! There’s nothing more satisfying than taking a Saturday morning trip to Kimironko market and buying the most delicious avocado, carrots, beets, and ginger that only $60 at Whole Foods could buy, and whipping up a frothy fruity cocktail. And if you’re a fellow carnivore, Germany Bakery at MTN Center always has organic ground beef, lamb sausages, and sirloin steaks for ridiculously cheap. Boom, roasted. As in, delicious roasted goat meat.

IMG_4981a3. Your going away party is a camping trip alongside zebras and buffalo with a whole roasted pig for dinner. When one of my best girlfriends announced she was moving back to the US (she returned to Rwanda about six months later – I’m telling you, this place is hard to leave), we planned an epic camping trip in Akagera Park. We purchased a whole pig (already slaughtered, thank you very much), packed up our trucks, and drove a couple hours east from Kigali. That night we roasted pig for ten hours, sang around the campfire, and watched wildebeest and zebras roam next to our tents. The fact that this is even an option for a weekend activity is pretty breathtaking.

IMG_42824. It’s sunny and 75 degrees every. Single. Day. Think of it as an endless summer. Without seasons to give us a sense of time, why do you think so many expats disappear to Rwanda for years on end? It’s like a dream you never want to wake up from.
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For the talent show at the end of our six week yoga teacher training program, my friends and I decided to create a Rishikesh version of the ever-so-popular Pharrell Williams “Happy” video.
I had such a blast filming these ladies in the Beatles ashram, alongside the Ganges River, and on the Laxman Jhula bridge. It’s good to know I’ll always have a fallback career as music video director/producer! A shame the video doesn’t convey how amazing the food is here, or how much cow poop there is everywhere, though. I hope you enjoy watching as much as we enjoyed creating this gem!

With my sister Elizabeth in Bali for a short visit, we decided to check out a few of the tourist must-do’s on the island, which naturally included the legendary cat poop coffee, or “kopi luwak” as it’s more appropriately known. Luwak refers to the animal, the Asian palm civet, that is responsible for the coffee, eating the ripe coffee berries at night and thus producing (a nice way of saying defecating) the beans which are collected by the farmers.

The practice originated in the early 18th century during the Dutch colonial era when the Dutch brought coffee to the island but forbade the locals from picking it for their own consumption. Curious to try this drink that brought so much wealth to the Dutch, the farmers sidestepped the law by collecting beans eaten by the luwak and grounding it to make their own coffee. The Dutch eventually got their hands on it and liked it so much, they began exporting it as a delicacy. Nowadays, one kilogram can cost $700! Lucky for us, one cup only cost $5. To be honest, I didn’t notice a big distinction between the kopi luwak and regular coffee, but I’m no coffee connoisseur so what do I know!
In between our coffee stop and the batik factory, we visited the Pura Puseh and Pura Desa temples in the town of Batuan, founded in “saka 944”, which is equivalent to 1022 BC. Although Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, the vast majority of Balinese are Read More

One of two videos shot in Bali for Global Fusion Yoga.

On the mystical island of Bali in southern Indonesia is a town shrouded in jungle mist and good karma. You can’t throw a purple spiky dragonfruit without hitting a yoga mat, and you’d be more likely to find a Wall Street banker than non-vegan food. “Om”-printed harem pants and blessed crystal necklaces are on display in every shop window, and the restaurants have names like “Namaste” and “Atman”. This is Ubud, the mecca of all yoga lovers. Throw in the annual Bali Spirit Festival, and the town had more dreadlocked and tattooed yogis than a Lululemon sale.


Global Fusion Yoga in the works!.

I came to Bali searching for some of the best yoga in Southeast Asia, and Ubud did not disappoint. Home to the yogi-world-famous Yoga Barn, Ubud fits the bill of the ultimate zen retreat: lush rice terraces overrun with waterfalls, jungles filled with monkeys, and endless amounts of local organic health foods. Luckily my trip coincided with the Bali Spirit Festival, a five-day event filled with yoga workshops and music performances. I caught the shuttle out to the grounds on opening day and excitedly asked how much a one-day pass would cost. When they told me “$145” I thought surely they were telling me in Indonesian rupiah, but unfortunately not. It costs a lot of money to be above the material world and achieve Spirit Festival nirvana, it seems. Needless to say, I did not attend, but opted for the free crafts area instead.

If you aren’t into yoga, there’s plenty more that Ubud has to offer. One afternoon I went to the Monkey Temple, which allows tourists to get up close and personal with Read More

When I was told the train from Surat Thani in southern Thailand to Bangkok could be very delayed, I brushed it off; the entire trip costs $34, and posed a chance to see the Thai countryside – it sounded like a great deal to me! A local travel agent on Koh Samui booked everything for me: a shared bus from the hostel to the port; a ferry from Koh Samui to the mainland; a bus from the port to Surat Thani train station; and an overnight second-class sleeper bunk. Once again, door-to-door the entire trip cost me $34, and would take 21 hours total. What’s the worst that could happen!

Although the train wasn’t scheduled to leave until 9:30pm, we were picked up at noon so we could catch the last ferry of the day; and so my journey began. The ferry to the mainland was the longest, but most beautiful, of all the ferries I had taken up to that point, but none of the hungover backpackers seemed to appreciate the large waves rolling along the coast. Once we made it to port, I snagged a front seat on the second floor of the 3 hour bus to Surat Thani station. Driving along the hectic Thai roads in that double-decker made me feel like I was riding the Knight Bus in Harry Potter, but luckily we didn’t have to magically squeeze through any alleys.

We arrived at Surat Thani train station around 6pm with several hours to kill. I set up camp in the station’s only coffee shop and passed the time with fellow travelers: an American girl whose month-long trip had been cut short by Read More