Sunday, May 27, 2007

Week 5 Trinity

Consolidation Week take 2. Yes, these trips are lovely and a wonderful part of my MBA but they do play havoc with my assignment schedule. This week was therefore one of concentration and deadlines.

That is not to say that nothing else happened. On Thursday, Jonathan Black (Ex-Booz Allen Hamilton) and I held a case study workshop for the undergraduate consulting club. This is where we were to explain what consulting companies look for in recruits and the techniques to tackle the business cases which one must 'crack' during the interview. We were only expecting about 10 people to show up, however it seems that there is quite an appetite among the undergrads for these jobs and we had over 30 attend. Having recently gone through the process of getting a job it was interesting to relive my experiences and reminded me how much I had learnt.

On Saturday Namiko and I went down to the river to witness the summer eights rowing (a bumps race). I would have loved to have taken part however, with the training for the MBAT as well as the assignment requirements for this term, I couldn't find the time. Never-the-less, we were there to cheer on the Hertford College crews who all did very well this year.

The photo below is the men's first division in which it seemed like Teddy Hall was about to be bumped. By some stroke of magic, they escaped....very exciting.

On Saturday night Namiko and I joined Akiko and Andrea at Allan and Haruyo's place for dinner. Over the course of the MBA we have got fairly close to the other 2 couples and it would now appear that all 3 of us will move to London towards the end of the year.
Allan's cake

And finally for this week's post, on Friday Namiko had her 20 week scan which revealed a healthy baby boy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Week 4 Trinity & MBAT

Last night I returned from the MBA Tournament held by HEC in Paris. I had an amazing time!
To those that have been reading this blog/done an MBA in Europe, MBAT is where all the top business schools get together for a four day sports competition.
About 90 of us started on Thursday morning at 5am, catching the 08.12 Eurostar. We were in Paris by lunch time and proceeded to invade Monmatre. The remainder of the schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday: Travel, Hotel Check-in, Opening Party at HEC
  • Friday: Sports during the day followed by a barbeque/party at HEC
  • Saturday: Sports during the day followed by dinner and a party in Paris
  • Sunday: Sports finals followed by the closing ceremony and journey home
As a whole Oxford did very very well, winning the recreational sports category and coming second in team sports. We came 5th in the individual sports and so finished 4th as an overall result.

Some personal highlights for me were:
  • Winning the rowing (I am a very proud captain!) with the Cambridge crew getting 3rd place (which is retribution for them beating us during the varsity day last month)
  • Playing rugby (7s) and coming second (we lost to London Business School on a very wet Sunday morning)...I ache all over,
  • Playing ultimate frisbee (we came 2nd) and
  • Being a quarterfinalist at petanque...we was robbed
In addition to the sports, there were also the parties, helped along with the rugby beer pong, compulsory left-handed drinking (punishable by the fine of completing your beverage), a ban on pointing and using the words "drink", "drinking" & "drunk" (all punishable by the fine of completing your beverage).

All that went admit that it is a weekend that we will not forget in a long time and added a new dimension to the whole MBA experience. We met new people from different schools and got to know our own colleagues even better.
Just before the big event
The rowing squad
Basic rule of rowing: the winning cox always gets wet...Sorry Robin
Us beating London Business School's 2nd TeamThe Oxford MBA rugby squadThere was some other good news this week; the company operating the SCP (summer consulting project) that we really wanted accepted our pitch and offered us the positions. Kaysa, Mark, Swapandeep and I will therefore be spending the two months over the summer at the Diamond Trading Company (part of the De Beers group) in London. We really are very excited about it.
So that is it. Week 4 of Trinity 2007 sent to the history books...What a week.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Week 3 Trinity

Consolidation Week. Taking a few days off to go to Texas may have been great fun, but it certainly did not help with keeping me up to date with the assignments! So guess what I have been doing this week....

Its not just the assignments; it is the preparation for the MBA tournament (in Paris next week), preparation and execution of 'pitches' to companies where we want to do our summer consulting project and helping everyone who is currently interviewing with their preparations (for which it would take wild horses to stop me from doing). When you add jet lag into the mix, it makes for an "interesting" week. Actually, speaking of interviewing the class of 2007 seems to be doing very nicely when it comes to job offers at the moment. After what seemed like a slow start, a number of us are in the process of signing contracts for our dream jobs. There is certainly a lot to celebrate.

This week I did manage to attend a lecture by Stelios Haji Ioannou, founder of easy group, who held an unscripted Q&A session with us. It was interesting to hear how he set up his own airline by 28 years old and how he puts a lot of his success down to having a wealthy father who believed in him. There were certainly some (younger) members of the audience who stated their desire to be adopted by him.... Seriously though, being able to attend these types of talk and the proximity with which we are allowed to get to real live billionaires (that's pounds, not dollars chaps) is something that continues to amaze me.
On another note, I suppose that it is time to let the cat out of the bag with regards to something in my personal life. My lovely wife Namiko is expecting our first child (she is midterm as we speak). The reason I mention it is that I have just spent the whole day at the baby show in Birmingham's NEC surrounded by new and soon-to-be-new parents. Bedlam! At least Debbie & Mark (Sister & Brother-in-law) and Mum & Dad were there....

So I am still tired but Week 4 looks to be interesting. If I can just finish the last of the assignments due before Friday I am sure to have a fantastic time in France....

Monday, May 07, 2007

Week 2 Trinity & Moot Corp NASDAQ Challenge Winners!

Texas is incredible! I am now back in sunny Oxford having returned this morning from the global Moot Corp business plan competition held at the McComb School of business at the University of Texas at Austin. It was an amazing experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. Whilst we did not win the overall competition, we were the run-away winners of our division (the NASDAQ challenge) and so come home with a nice certificate, an even nicer cheque (each) and big smiles. Oh, and we walked away with the prestigious (yet unofficial) ‘award for the best celebration following winning’. We are very proud!

During our time there we managed to mingle with some people from other universities. Whilst many of them were taking it very (and I mean VERY) seriously, we did meet some kindred spirits who were just happy to be there (and who joined us in our nightly exploration of 6th Street in Austin). So Tom and Angie from Carnegie Mellon school of business (Tepper) I hope that you made it back safely.

The competition ran from Wednesday until Saturday evening with various rounds of presentations for the different categories. I must admit the organisers at McComb really did a great job of looking after us (from regular (free) bus services through to complementary alcohol…which is always nice!). The campus of the school is absolutely huge....although I realised that everything is big in Texas! It really was great trip.
The Moot Corp NASDAQ Challenge winning team
Tom and Angie from Carnegie Mellon joining us for a photo sessionOxford was definitely here (Esther)I couldn't resist taking a picture of thisWith Tammasat (Thailand) and their 'Power Prawns' business (don't ask!)The boys in Coyote Ugly (on 6th Street)Pete's dueling piano bar on 6th Street
Prior to going to Texas there were a couple of other activities:

Macquarie Bank presentation
This was a presentation from Macquarie designed to make us apply for their summer consulting project. Basically, part of our degree is the completing of a two-month consulting project at a company (there are options for people to do electives instead, but in the main people choose to do a project). On Monday it was Macquarie’s turn to tell us about what they wanted and thus invite us to make teams and apply for the project. My team is now set and we will now prepare our ‘pitch’.

Kevin Baughan
During our Media Strategies for a Networked World lecture this week, Kevin Baughan, Head of Technical Strategy, from Virgin Media came in to talk about the change in his industry (which is made up of fixed line phones, mobile phones, cable TV and broadband internet). There were various questions from the audience but the ones that I was interested in was Kevin’s opinion on whether community wifi or wmax would eventually replace the necessity for consumers to use standard mobile phones. He didn’t seem worried about it at all.

May Day
On Tuesday we all awoke at 4.30 so as to attend the May Day celebration in Magdalen college. Kitty (a Magdalen member) kindly sneaked us into the quad so that we could get the perfect view of the choir singing madrigals from the top of the tower.
All of us gathering in Magdalen College
The tower from which madrigals are sung
This really was an incredible week.