Monday, November 21, 2011


Reading through my last post again, its clear those were the words of a sleep deprived man, driven over the edge by excess caffeine. I am happy to report that I am back within acceptable blood/caffeine levels after a weekend without any coffee! Its the beginning of week 7 and the end of term is within sights...scary stuff! The MBA is definitely all about choices...What do I mean?

Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford
This without doubt is one of the headline events at the school....leading practitioners within the technology space come together to discuss. Its a great opportunity for students to network with leading lights at firms like Google, Linkedin, Facebook etc. Some students even got to do what's called speed dating....a quick one on one meeting with one of the executives. But I decided to skip it and finalize my other assignments to free up space to study for exams. Although there are many potential benefits of sitting through the event, I feel that given my objectives, my time would be better spent at the library. Tough and potentially wrong choice but one that needed to be made. Meanwhile, another classmate is currently at the CBI conference in London, listening to David Cameron and the Turkish president give speeches....

Picking Electives for Next Term
We have to select two from six electives next term; Branding & Communications, Finance 2, Macroeconomics, Global Strategy, Rethinking Business and Strategy & Innovation. Now the question is, do I stick with what I am familiar with (Finance & Macroeconomics), specialise in finance, and deepen my knowledge of the subjects, or attempt to take on fresh knowledge with some of the other courses? After thinking long and hard, I decided to specialize in Finance and choose both electives. I figured that those two courses are most likely to improve my on the job skills. Thankfully, we have the option to audit (sit in on classes without taking examinations) an additional course, so I'll probably audit Branding & Communications.

Entrepreneurship Project
Here at Oxford, we're mandated to form teams of five to come up with a business idea and draw up a business plan for it during Hillary Term. There are loads of ideas to choose from as classmates and external bodies alike pitch their ideas to students. One of the great things about being in a school like Oxford is the interaction with other departments. Its arguably in this area that the benefits shine through as people come from different departments to pitch awesome sounding ideas to students. They'll most likely have invented something great and just need MBA students to draw up a plan to make it a viable business! Its tough to choose because of course, some of these ideas might eventually become full fledged companies! My instinct however is to do something different, something i've never done before...the easiest thing to do would be to do a finance related project, but in this case i would love to explore previously unchartered territories. So when I saw a classmate post the possibility of an EP in the sustainable solutions area (I'm being deliberately vague), I decided to explore the opportunity...lets see how that goes!

Having handed in the marketing assignment on time (Oxford are extremely strict about time limits. Any form of lateness leads to deductions....a classmate ran from the business school, assignment in hand at after printing his work at 11.50 am (with a 12 noon deadline).....I feared for him initially, but he clearly has the skills of a long distance runner as he made it to the High Street based Examination schools in 10 minutes), like good MBAs, we celebrated by heading to the swankiest joint in Oxford 'The Randolph Hotel' for a black tie celebration of a classmates's birthday...
Beginning of the night...looking all civilized

Later on....looking less than civilized...yes, the assignment was that difficult!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zombie Diaries....

Sitting in marketing class, listening to people talk about pricing Louis Vutton bags and asking myself...'Bayo, when last did you have a meal?'. To my horror, I realize I haven't had a meal in close to 24 hours! To make matters worse, I'm not even hungry! The assignment submission deadlines are here in full force with the marketing assignment (60% of total grade) due on Friday. Panic! Shock! as MBAs discover previously unexplored segments of the library....a friend even inundated me with tales of strange ticking sounds he heard in the library one night as he tried to figure out how to price curled metal. He'd either had too much coffee to drink or the library's haunted by the soul of some poor MBA who wakes up screaming 'Correlation! Covariance! Help me Tomo! I don't know double entry!'. And it gets worse....i project a dramatic increase in 'sleep rates' during class from next week.....won't the lecturer notice? MBA's are skilled in various facets of life....well disguised sleep should be a piece of cake....we should definately have a 'best sleeping technique in class' category at our annual Sylvester awards....I think i know already who would win this award! break over....back to trying to figure out how.....gasp! The lecturer's looking at me! I think she's going to ask me a question......Phew! False alarm....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Desi Girl! Desi Girl!

What on earth is Desi Girl? One sec....let me just google that.....Ok it means Indian girl. So why did I have that as the title of this post when I don't even know the meaning? Might be the fact that I'm sitting in the library, pumped full of coffee, reading cases, writing up assignments, and trying to keep my body going for another few weeks before the Christmas break. We have major reports in Economics, Marketing (2 reports), Financial Reporting and Finance due in a couple of weeks, asides spending time reading pre-assigned lecture notes and trying to catch up on formal dinners, Oxford Union debates, Private Equity OBN activities and a multitude of other stuff.

Anyway, enough of that....back to Desi Girl. We celebrated the Indian Diwali festival recently and I accepted to participate in a choreographed dance on stage with a group of friends (in keeping with my 'Just say yes' policy). This was a particularly brave decision as I am certain that Elephants dance with more rhythm and co-ordination than I do.....we were supposed to dance to this song (Desi Girl) which is by the way my new best song. So we rehearsed a little.....

Our great instructor

and finally performed...and I managed to escape with my credibility intact (I hope....)
The video of the performance is here by the way....

After the show....which featured performances from genuinely talented people and Ron's hilarious but politically incorrect jokes (I loved them anyway....comedic licence), we all retreated to some delicious food and awesome Indian music. Of course they played Desi girl again and you bet I was on that dance floor....digging it!
Private Equity OBN
Back to serious stuff....I was elected Chairman of the Private Equity OBN a couple of weeks ago and we've been busy trying to plan our activities for the year. We have put a team together (which I am very happy with) and also have the support of the absolutely awesome Prof Jenkinson. We had our first post election event during the last week when the managing director of a huge emerging markets focused fund came to speak at the school. The event went very well and I was quite happy with the turnout despite many competing events that night. I'm also busy trying to run the internal version of the VCIC (Venture Capital Investment Competition)....with the winning team going on to represent the school at the European finals in Barcelona next year.

Incoming Batch
It feels like just yesterday, sitting in what I now know as Seminar Room A (then it was just this big awesome room in this big awesome school), during the Open day/Interview Day in February listening to last year's MBA students speak about their experiences and wondering how awesome it would be to be in their shoes. Looks like the process has already started and there's an open day for potential incoming students scheduled for mid-November....looks like I'll find out how it feels to be on the other side!

Ok....battery low on my laptop....library shuts down in 10 minutes anyway! Time to go home and listen to Matan (my flatmate) talk about his weekend trip to Edinburg with about 20 of our classmates while I spent all weekend in the library (no I'm not jealous! not at all....)