Sunday, October 29, 2006

Week 3 Michaelmas

Another busy week. Its a repeating theme...I am wondering whether I am a glutton for punishment; I am actually enjoying it.

This week in addition to handing in 2 (yes 2) assignments I also managed to do/attend the following:

Trip to Deutsche bank in London
An opportunity to meet a load of OBA (Oxford Business Alumni). It was a great to actually meet people who had gone through this MBA & come out the other side. They gave some great insights into what they did then, what they do now and what they should have done at SBS. The coach ride down was also good fun.

Left to right: Subrata, Puneet, Tass, Me, Janis, Saheel, Kevin and Kara

Presentation from Dominic Casserely, UK MD of McKinsey.
This was a fascinating presention on his vision for companies in 2020. It was also followed by an select informal dinner where he continued on with his question/answer session.

Other presentations
From IBM, Diamond and Mark Precious, formerly of UBS equity research.

Hertford Guest Night
Another black tie dinner at Hertford college. Actually this was the first formal dinner that Namiko had managed to attend. It was a great night.

Namiko with Pawan and Shoko
Pre-Halloween party
This was held at St Hughs college and turned out to be a mainly MBA event. It was great to have the time to speak with MBAers who I hadn't really seen since the induction week.

Erm, some people dressed up!

Faryal with Janis and Tass

In addition to the lectures, group work, assignments, and parties, I need to decide which elective modules to take next term. Actually SBS has a great systems where the lectures actually come and market their subjects. We all sit in a very large lecture theatre while they try and convince us why we should take their's.

The list is as follows (from which I need to choose 2)

1. Organisational Analysis II: Developing effective organisations
2. Finance II: Technology and Innovation Strategy
3. Macro Economics
4. Strategy II
5. Marketing, culture and society

I need to decide by Friday 3rd Nov and have only managed to narrow it down to Finance II, Macro Economics and Strategy II. Well, I suppose that I still have a few days to think about it.

Thats it, another week bites the dust. Next week will be the half way point of Michaelmas term. Its going so fast...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Week 2 Michaelmas

Week 2 passed well and everything seemed that little bit simpler. Don't get me wrong, there is no let up in the work load (actually, I think that it has actually increased), it is just that we all seem to better understand what is expected of us.

The weekly (and now bi-weekly) submission of assigments has now formed its own routine and the team that I am in is working well. Actually testament to this fact is the result from our first assignment (which we got back today...we scored well!

In addition to the academic activities last week, there were many other events:

Meet the Principal
An informal dinner meeting between 10 Hertford Freshers, the Hertford College Principal and his wife. A really pleasant evening talking with mostly non MBA students. It really gives another perspective on things and I enjoyed it very much.

Meet the Sector Consultant
A slighlty harrowing meeting where the Sector Consultant I had chosen, proceeded to rip apart the details of my CV; which was probably the best thing that could have happened. I walked out of the meeting with many pointers which should (I hope) improve the way my CV reads and thus improve my prospects of getting an interview.
Bye-the-way, a Sector Consultant is someone who has been sucessfull in their relative field (be that banking, consulting, industry etc) and decided to give some of their time so as to help us in our quest for good jobs. Its a great system SBS employs.

Freshers Dinner
A formal dinner in Hall (with gowns) with MCR (graduate) students and faculty. A great excuse to meet yet more non MBA students and have a night of good food and good conversation.

And this week (yesterday to be more precise), I attended a talk by Steve Wozniak...the inventor of the Apple 1 and 2 and the original 1/3 shareholder of Apple computers. He was here promoting his book and it was a fascinating hour as he took us through his life.

Steve Wozniak (Right)

And to close this post, I have to mention that I also managed to get to London last night to meet with 9 Oxford Business Alumni (OBA). It was kindly hosted by Deutche Bank and several of us attended to hear them talk about their experiences whilst getting their MBA as well as those post MBA. It gave me quite a lot to think about, especially that of job choice and the recruitment process.

Right, its back to the books. I have another Strategy assignment due at the end of the week...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Week 1 Michaelmas and Matriculation

What a week!
They weren't kidding when they said that it would be a lot of work. To explain a little further; from Monday to Friday, I would wake up at 7 (normally with a book on my chest), start working (through breakfast) at 7.20 and then work through until midnight (having time off for lunch and dinner on some days). Its an amazing pace.
The lecturers are extremely tallented and can seem to make even the most dry of subjects into an involving discussion.
You will be happy to hear that the assignment (mentioned in the last post) was completed and submitted on Friday, thus giving us the weekend to enjoy Matriculation and catch up on other work.

Speaking of Matriculation (the official ceremony granting us access to Oxford University), I am including some photos. It was a very interesting event which included us having a roll-call in hall at 9am, followed by being ushered into the ceremony (which lasted 15 mins). Between the ceremony and our official photo shoot, and in true Oxford Tradition, piled into the Turf Tavern for a pint before standing for our official photo.

The Sheldonian Theatre crammed with new Oxford students just before we hear the welcoming address in Latin

The MBAs at Hertford. From left to right, me, Uzra, Takashi, Shoko, Brandon, Simon, Dexter, Mark, Pawan, Swapandeep

With Swapandeep and Mark just after having our Hertford Matriculation Photo taken.

And on the evening of Matriculation, Herford MCR (middle common room) hosted a ball for us and our guests. It really was an excellent evening with jugglers, belly dancers, sushi, face painting (yes, face painting), a disco and a live band. Not to mention; loads and loads of alcohol, the effects of which, I am still feeling today.

Namiko, Pawan and Mahima all looking very smart

Dexter, Me, Mahima, Pawan, Carson and Martin

All in all an exhausting week, followed by a fantastic weekend. And Week 2 starts in only 14 hours....

Monday, October 09, 2006

End of the First week

So the first week (or "week 0 of Michaelmas") has now passed, and most of us have made it through to the other side.
They weren't kidding when they said that it was going to be alot of work...Prior to all lectures there is compulsory reading and assignments which can certainly wreck a weekend.
Anyway, not to be put off, Namiko and I seemed to strike a nice balance between me working (and her meeting friends during that time) and quality time spent together. We even managed a nice walk through New College, which is not only extremely large, but also breath-takingly beautiful.
New College Namiko at the New College Inner wall My parents also made a flying visit, so I had the privilige of showing them around SBS before going to dinner at the Chiang Mai Kitchen for some delicious Thai food.

So that was the weekend. Today was the first actual day of lectures (Week 1 of Michaelmas) and we started with Strategy 1, during which we discovered the subject of our first assignment...which is due in by Sunday at 11pm (yes, 6 days time).

Well, back to the books. I am also attaching some photos of Hertford College (my college) OB Quad as taken on Saturday morning. It is also quite beautiful.

Hertford College OB Quad

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wow what a start

So this is day three of the MBA and most of us are already exhausted. We have had lectures on everything from OBN (student run Oxford Business Network) to Careers to IT (and everything in between). We have also had a talk from Kevin Sharer, CEO and Chairman of Amgen (the largest biotech company in the world), about what it means to be a CEO which was as entertaining as it was insightful. We have met, eat and talked with as many people as possible and I cannot but be impressed with the calibre of student this year. What a place to be.

A photo taken from the top of Said Business School's amphitheatre

Me pretending to make a valid point whilst having lunch in Hertford College hall. Andrea is next to me.
Brandon, Swapandeep and Dexter also at lunch in Hertford

The drinks reception with Namiko, Tass and me

My partner in crime, Pawan with his wife Mahima

The famous Takashi (middle) with Ashton

All photos are published with kind permission from Takashi, the unofficial MBA photographer

Sunday, October 01, 2006

It has begun

After all of the waiting this weekend it all started. Having moved into my room on Friday (which took about 5 hours in total) Namiko and I decided to join some other MBAs for a drink at the Living Room pub which was great fun and a great way to meet more people.
Saturday followed with the 'Oxford Pursuit Event' which involved a group of 4 of us racing around Oxford in-order to find the answers to a series of questions. The team members were Shree, Kian, Harpal and I but despite the 'high clabre' of the team we were unable to secure victory. Never-the-less, the activity fulfilled its purpose of encouraging us to meet people on the course. This mad dash was then followed by a reception which further encouraged us to mingle. It was a great event.
Not the winning team

Following the reception at SBS a group of us decided to go out for dinner before joining some others for a drink at Freuds in Jericho.

All in all it has been an amazing weekend. Now, if I could only remember everybody's name...thank god for name badges