Monday, 11 October 2010

Day 1 in Auckland: BA Training course & The Langham (11th October 2010)

After an ongoing battle to get myself on a training course for my role as a Business Analyst (BA) in the last year, I'm finally now approved to go on the Business Systems Analysis course conducted by Software Education and will be spending the week in Auckland for the 5-day long course. Great, I can now put more concept and context to my day-to-day tasks! It has been very challenging and a steep learning curve for me since I decided to step into the BA role, with most of my experience learnt on the job, watching what other senior analysts do and plenty of self trial and error. I'm hoping that the course will help speed up the process of me becoming a good (and confident) BA!!

Was up at 5am to get ready for my 6.30am flight. I hardly slept last night - in fact, I hardly slept last week, having worked 6 long days straight on a project doing testing and every time I closed my eyes, all I see are lines and lines of codes (... A.X = B.X where B.X is not null...). Argh! I'm just SO tired and having also worked in WOW the week before, it felt as if I haven't stopped working for the last 11 days. I’m in dire need of a holiday...I'm utterly burnt out from stress! Can't wait till next weekend when Jono and I get away to Melbourne for the weekend - yay!

What's up with the weather?! It was 6 degrees in Wellington when I left and arriving in Auckland, the weather was grey and a mere 12 degrees. Brr...I arrived in Auckland around 7.30am and upon collecting my luggage, caught a taxi at the taxi stand to the company-preferred hotel, The Langham, where I would be staying for the next 4 nights. Took us 45 minutes to get from the airport to the hotel due to the traffic – gee, how do Aucklanders cope with daily traffic like this?? It's like in Malaysia, where the stressful day begins behind the wheel…

A quick check-in to collect my keys and dropped off my luggage at the reception and off I was again to my course that was held at University of Otago Auckland Centre on 385 Queen St, conveniently located just a block away from the hotel :) As the name implied, the Business Systems Analysis course is a course on the fundamental skills and knowledge for business and systems analyst. Cost $2990 (plus gst), the course runs at the venue from 9am-5pm and included morning and afternoon tea as well as lunch over the 5 days. I was greeted by a friendly Japanese-American instructor, Ellan Young, as I entered the training room and proceeded to find my seat and introduced myself to the other participants of the course. There were 9 students who came from various organisations in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington (just me), and most of us were originally from another country (so many different accents!). For once, this was a course that DID NOT require a computer – instead, we had a thick binder full of notes, templates, references etc. on our tables where we would be working through. I had a feeling that the course would do without the computer. After all, we are here to learn concepts and techniques for analysis, not so much how particular software works so pen and paper would suffice :) Sure feels weird without a computer handy but I reckon it’s a good thing – we would be checking our emails while half-heartedly listening to the instructor if we had computers!

Day one of the course was mostly discussing the role of the BA and the lingo used in the field. Lots of information to absorb and there were plenty of opportunities where the class shared ideas, experiences and bombard the instructor with questions. Ellan was a brilliant instructor, so full of life (she’s so excited and chirpy – I need to find out what happy drugs she’s on…) and also very experienced in her field, providing us with many real-life examples from her previous jobs. I must say, I’m really enjoying the course :)

Class ended around 4.30pm and we were sent home with several articles to read. Thankfully my baby showed me how to use the Internet tethering function on my phone last night so I was able to access the Internet on my Mac via my phone (Jono is SO awesome!!). And I love my iPhone – it's just brilliant and smart :) There was Internet available at the hotel but at a cost of $10/hour which was way too expensive for my liking.

Now, a bit more about this hotel I’m staying in. The Langham, with its polished and lavish interior, and magnificent lighted chandeliers, giving it such grandeur that on entry you know everything would be expensive (of course it would be – it’s a 5-star hotel!). You can tell that this was a posh hotel just watching the guests that were gathered in the lobby – businessmen/women in expensive tailored suits talking away on the mobile phones, flight attendants from Emirates and even Kiwi actor Temuera Morrison. Not a place I would normally find myself staying in unless it was for some special occasion. My Classic Room, with all the basic amenities of a typical hotel room, was the cheapest room type in the hotel, cost $132 (plus gst) a night! Thank god my office is paying for everything…The hotel itself was huge (as I discovered when I did a tiki tour on my own) with leisure facilities including a fitness centre, heated swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi, restaurants, bars, ballrooms, meeting/conference rooms and their own luxurious Chuan Spa. Oh, and the customer service was top notch from their multinational staff. Well-worthy of the 5-star rating!

Around 6.15pm, I headed to SBF Brasserie for dinner. The staff were friendly and courteous, addressing me as 'Ms Tan' each time they came to my table which gave a personal touch (they had a hotel guest list and looked up my name when I walked in to request a table) yet at the same time, made me felt rather important with the formal address. I had a glass of pinot gris ($14 for a glass) with my lemon roasted chicken risotto with lemon and thyme oil (cost $27.50) from their a la carte menu while reading of the articles. The risotto was divine and nicely washed down with my wine – tummy very happy :) Photos taken of the hotel here.

God, I wouldn't put myself on an early morning flight next time if I still have to be working my brain a full day - just too tiring! Back to my room around 7.30pm to unpack, got into my comfy bedwear, did more reading and was in bed by 9pm. Yawn, need sleep…eyes shutting…


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