Monday, May 21, 2007

17th MBAT at HEC Paris

This is one event that every MBA must go for. The school was very supported, and even vido recorded the classes for the benefit of those who were going. Too bad the class was 'Operations Management', and I seriously doubt if anybody viewed that recording. Here is a quick summary:

Day 1:
We left for the three day event early morning. We took a bus from SBS to Waterloo Station in London, and caught the Eurostar to Paris. It was my first experience on this train, and I enjoyed it. We had a strong contingent, and created quite a bit of noise (to the anger of fellow passengers). Once we reached Paris, we did some sight seeing, and then headed to our hotel, which was more of a motel, and in the middle of nowhere. There was only one hotel next to the campus, and with so many B-schools there, I am sure its very difficult to get reservations there, unless you book much much much in advance. We went to the HEC campus in the evening for the opening ceremony, followed by drinks.

Day 2:
The sports got underway, and we started well. LBS had a stong contingent of close to 200 students, and a Booz Allen sponsored bus (loaded with booze). In the evening, I, along with some other classmates went to Paris, and had a great time. (that is minus the difficulty conversing with the people who refused to speak English). We thankfully had Prashant with us, who knew some French. Even I tried the French I had learnt for a couple of years in 1991-1992. :)

Day 3:
We did really well in Rugby, track & field, table tennis and rowing. In cricket, we did not do very well. In the evning we agin went to Paris, (the HEC campus was somewhere in the fields outside Paris). We did the touristy things, went to some churc, walked along the river, went to the Louvre, and then walked all the way to the Eiffel Tower. By the time we got there, it was already dark, and we got to see the shimmering tower, which was great. We then headed for some pub, where an evening of drinks and dance had been organised by the HEC people. We got back quite late.

Day 4:
It was raining early morning, and we played LBS in the men's rugby final. Although we lost, t was great to see so many classmates turned up for the match despite the partying the previous night, and the rain in the morning. We had the closing ceremony, after which we left for the train station, and took the Eurostar back to London.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day in Oxford

This not a distress call due to an assignment overload, but an account of the actual 'May Day' celebrations in Oxford.

This is another old Oxford tradition. I got to know about it only last night when some of my classmates circulated an email that there was some choir singing happening at Magdalen College.

So I woke up around 5 in the morning and cycled to Magdalen. where Kitty (our classmate at magdalen) let us in through the side gate. By the time the choir starte singing at 6 am, the place was packed. Kitty was a great host ... she even organised some snacks for us.

The crowds on the streets were quite big as well. There is an annual tradition that people jump into the river from the bridge next to the college. No matter how many barriers the cops put p, people still manage to jump. I am sure the students kept the tradition this time as well.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oxford - Cambridge Day

This year we initiated an annual sporting event with Cambridge. We hosted the MBA students from Judge Business school for a day of sports, and it turned out to be an exciting event.

With the exception of rowing, we comprehensively beat the Cambridge team in all other sports. After the games, we had organised some drinks followed by a long night at OXford pubs.

A big thanks to the organisers !!

Cricket World Cup

The ongoing Cricket World Cup in West Indies is turning out to be quite a disappointment for the Sub-continent, with both India and Pakistan performing miserably.

Australians are the favourites again, the only challengers may be South Africa this year. The only good thing for me is that I won't be wasting much time watching matches :) ha ha !!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Summer Consulting Project

The process for selecting the Summer Consulting Project (SCP) has been initiated. The SCP is Oxford's answer to the Internship programs at other 2-years B-schools. The difference here is that students work on a consulting assignment with companies as a team of 4 and not individually. The team is evaluated as a whole on the assignment, and the students are also expected to write a paper on the project.

The SCP is optional from this year, and the students in leiu of the SCP can opt for either two 'summer electives' or a thesis. The last option as per me is the worst unless you are supplementing that with an internship (another option at Oxford, which means you complete your MBA in 15 months). Students are becoming smarter, and doing this internship over the summers so that they still manage to complete the SCP in 12 months :) .

The project allocation process i very complicated. There is a Business Projects Office (BPO) that goes out to the companies for projects. These projects (with details) are put up on the BPO website where students have to show interest. Once there is decent interest, the companies come to school for a presentation, post which students have to form teams of four and pitch for the project, wherein you have to sell the experience and skill set of your team members, and convince the sponsoring company that your team is best equipped to do the project.

Will post more details over the coming weeks.......

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Private Equity Forum

One part of the MBA that I really enjoy is the opportunity to participate in 'forums' such as the one I attended today. This one was the annual 'Private Equity Forum'. Before coming for my MBA, I had never heard of this industry. Initially I was facinated with the way people were making huge money here. And now I want to be a part of it. Which obviously doesn't mean I will get a job in this industry, which as I understand it, is an uphill task. The professionals in private Equity have many years of experience as consultants with industry and functional experience, and are experts in M&A.

This is the third year this annual event was held. The panelists this year discussed very interesting topics:
  • Have Private Equity returns reached their peak?
  • How the PE philosophy differs from other investment funds?
  • Private Equity in emerging markets
  • Is the public image of Private Equity fair?

I especially enjoyed the discussion on Private Equity in Emerging Markets, as I see that an opportunity area. A number of big Private Equity firms are now entering emerging markets such as India and China.

At Oxford, an event to attend for sure.

EP finished

After burning a lot of midnight oil .... we finally wrapped up our Entrepreneurship Project. We had a great final presentation, which was lauded by the panel....... We were told that it was a 'distinction level' effort... The panel of venture capitalists not only liked our idea, but also the effort we had made to make a comprehensive business plan. The few questions that we did face were answered well. The remaining Q&A time was spent in discussing how we could increase the scope of the business.

A job well done !! We celebrated with a round of drinks at the Oxford Retreat.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter with Priya

Had a great Easter ... (I have never celebrated this festival earlier) . In India, we have 'Lohri', which marks the end of winter. This seems on similar lines :)

My Dad's cousin, who looks more like my cousin visited us in Oxford. She is a German, working in London. We were blessed with great weather and took the opportunity to visit Port meadow, that is very close to Castle Mill (the place where I stay)

After buying all the ingredients for cooking a great dinner, to our surprise, we were greeted with the first power cut at Castle Mill since I have arrived at Oxford. After waiting for a couple of hours, we had a candle light dinner with food from a Chinese Takeaway.

A great day nevertheless !!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Santa Barbara, California

Day 9 : Sunday
After leaving Vegas in the morning, we reached LA around 2 pm, had lunch and then dropped off Vandy at the LAX airport. We then headed to Hollywood
Day 10 : Monday
Went sight-seeing around Santa Barbara. Went to the Cliff road, the ranches on the outskirts
Day 11 : Tuesday
Took the scenic route to LA via the the Pacific Highway, which runs along the sea coast. It was a beautiful drive, and we stopped enroute at Malibu (where a number of Hollywood celebs have these awesome sea-facing properties). We also visited a nice place for meditation along the way. Took the evening flight back to London (which was close to 12 hours and totally left me exhausted).

Had a great trip overall !!