Sunday, June 03, 2007

Week 6 Trinity

After a relatively quiet week last week, this one was full of activity.

Work related:
On Monday our real estate class ventured to Bicester Village (an outlet shopping mall about 25 minutes outside Oxford) for a tour and case study discussion. Recently we had completed an assignment on Value Retail (the owner of Bicester) and were thus able to enter into an interesting discussion about the origins of the idea and subsequent financing decisions with our hosts. It was an interesting visit to a highly successful real estate project.

On Thursday, and during our Business in China class, we had a conference call with Buddy Ye, CEO of wangyou and 2002 Oxford MBA. He talked about the starting up of an internet company in China and the paradox of the fact that it is a UGC (user generated content) website yet needs to be censored so as to comply with the Chinese authorities. Buddy talked about his use of radio stations (71, in which they broadcast the most popular UGC of the week) and the other off-line methods he has/is currently using to promote the site. So far, and since inception in 2005, his site now has 9 million users with a plan to be the no.1 social networking site in China. Unfortunately the company's financials do not look positive, so the question is "will they make it"? It seems that from what we know, even odds are about the best that one would get with that bet.

The Parties:
This week was my birthday and with the help of some lovely friends I managed to celebrate it on three consecutive nights.

On Wednesday night, Mark, Swapandeep, Simon and I invited 22 people to dinner at Hertford College. We had been meaning to do it for a while, but had not got around to arranging it. We started with a pint (or two) in the Kings Arms Pub before moving to hall for dinner. Following not a bad meal, the Hertford boys introduced our guests to sconcing (a tradition at Hertford and used as a drinking game) before escorting them to Hertford Bar for yet more drinks. The evening finished in Merton Bar and many people were not well on Thursday...sorry chaps.
Xing, Andrew Taylor, Renee and I at HertfordOur guests outside Hertford Hall
Thursday night was a quiet one with a couple of us going to the Head of the River for a couple of drinks and then carrying on in one Hertford College's kitchens after closing time. What I was not expecting was that whilst I was in the kitchen a large number of friends had gathered downstairs to surprise me at the turn of midnight (my birthday). It really was a lovely surprise and I was quite touched by the number of people that came out to celebrate with me.
My cake
Swapandeep helping me eat my cake Friday night was the Great Gatsby Ball at Templeton College. This was a massive summer party held in the college grounds and fully paid for by Templeton. During the meal (Templeton has the best college food in Oxford), all of the people in the Marquee (about 10 tables) sung me a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday' before demanding a speech (which I gave). I realised that in a very short space of time I had made some really good friends that I will miss when the course ends. Anyway, following the meal we all moved to another location on the grounds so as to partake in a lot of dancing and even more drinking. It was a fabulous party with many of us staying until the bitter end. Many people were also not well on Saturday.Esther and Arash in the MarqueeAllan, Andrea and IAshish and Mihkel getting down Those that made it to the bitter endOn Sunday I attended Satyenda's son, Aryan's forth birthday. It was great fun with many of the MBA's (and their families) turning up. I then moved to the business school for a barbecue party and some croquet. It was a nice end to the week.
Satyenda and AryanBrian, Founder and President of the Said Business School Barbecue societyAbhishek, Shariq and Naser, the croquet hustlers
And finally, as those that have been reading this blog will know, I have received a number of job offers recently (as have many of my friends) and have thus been deciding which one to accept. In the end I had narrowed the decision down to offers from two consulting companies, McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company. After much thought and discussion, I have chosen McKinsey and will join their London office this year. Prior to starting at Oxford I had decided that consultancy was what I wanted to do when I left and so am really excited that I now have this opportunity. I can't wait to start!

So, I thoroughly enjoyed this week, it is hard to believe that tomorrow marks the beginning of the penultimate week of my Oxford MBA lectures. Where has the time gone?

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