Wednesday, May 30, 2012

MBAT 2012

Camped in the library, looking at the sea of heads trying to figure out how to even begin to comprehend the amount of work that we would need to hand in over the next couple of weeks. The  beauty of the final term here at Oxford is that we get to pick electives that help build practical skills needed at our next jobs. With courses like Private Equity, Real Estate, Asset Management, Retailing, Negotiations, we've transitioned nicely from the academic focus of the first couple of terms to a hands on, real world focus. This also means that most courses are assessed via investment proposals, financial models and role plays as opposed to examinations. So after four days of bliss at HEC in Paris, most students have returned to looming deadlines and significant tests of time and people management skills. People management? Yes, we have very many electives to choose from and as such, it is unlikely that any two students have chosen the exact five same courses. The impact of this is that when students are put together to complete group work, they might have different deadlines and by extension, priorities. While one student wants to hand in his private equity group assignment as soon as possible so he can use the weekend to concentrate on his real estate assignment due the next week, his group member might want to work on his corporate valuation assignment now and save the private equity assignment for later. Anyway, I digress...

The MBA tournament in Paris was a wonderful collection of students from 13 of Europe's top business schools (LBS, Cambridge, Cranfield, IE, IESE, HEC, Insead, Manchester, RSM, Esade, Lancaster and Tias Nimbas) competing for top places in sports ranging from football to petanque. Naturally, the schools with two year programs and the hosts had a natural advantage as they could send larger contingents. Oxford put up a good showing, taking fourth place overall. We won rowing (naturally), silver medals in men's football, ultimate frisbee, handball and bronze in petanque, golf, climbing, badminton and salsa. Most importantly, we had the time of our lives, forged a stronger bond within the group and met other interesting MBAs from other great schools. At this point, surely only pictures can truly tell the story....enjoy!

Off the bus at HEC, Oxford MBAs are in town!
Go Blues!

My personal highpoint, scoring the winning goal against Esade to put us in the quarterfinals

War faces
The cox of the rowing boat is traditionally thrown into the water after a regatta win. Christine appears particularly pleased with that tradition
The victorious rowing team

The guys enjoying a welcome break from competitive sports

We were definitely the most colourful school....the dodge ball team


Tug of War

Some saw chocolate bars falling from the skies, while others saw an asteroid hurtling towards earth....that's the only rational explanation for this picture

Watch a video montage of the weekend here if you have 15 extra minutes....

*Snaps back to reality*. Logging into Capital IQ to look for cash rich businesses for our leveraged buyout assignment....take me back to Paris....somebody!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Payback for the Boat Race

On April 7th 2012, the 158th annual boat race between crews from the University of Cambridge and our very own crew at the University of Oxford held in London. It's a massive event, arguably one of the biggest and oldest inter-collegiate sporting events in the world (the first edition was held in 1829). 'The race came about because two friends from Harrow School, Charles Wordsworth of Christ Church College, Oxford, and Charles Merrivale of St. John’s, Cambridge, met during the vacation in Cambridge, where Wordsworth’s father was master of Trinity. Wordsworth went rowing on the Cam, and the two school fellows decided to set up a challenge. On February 10 1829 a meeting of CUBC requested Mr Snow of St John’s to write immediately to Mr Staniforth of Christ Church stating ‘that the University of Cambridge hereby challenge the University of Oxford to row a match at or near London, each in an eight-oared boat during the ensuing Easter vacation.' 

We had a couple of MBA students among the Oxford crew and were understandably gutted when Oxford lost the race when one of the rowers had his blade broken after a clash of oars. This was after the race was restarted (with Oxford in the clear lead) after a protester had dived in the water. The defeat (more appropriately, the manner of the defeat) left us seething and provided added motivation for the Oxbridge MBA games to hold a couple of weeks later. Every year, Oxford and Cambridge MBAs face off in a number of events to claim bragging rights for the year. The games were held in Oxford last year, so we had to get up at dawn and make the three hour journey to Cambridge....not that it made much difference to the results though. We won football (5-1), cricket (9 wickets), badminton (9-0), basketball (45-20), Table Tennis (6-1), Tennis doubles (6-0), foosball (2-1), and petanque (11-7), we lost in only one event (cross country) due to a manpower shortfall. 

We retained the plaque (Oxford also won last year's edition)

The basket ball team trying to look mean

SBS United!

It was a good weekend, filled with friendly banter with the guys from Judge. 

On another note, this blog won the clear admit best of blogging awards for 'most entertaining student blog' and best representation of student life. It also came second in the best overall blog category....with that award going to Jeremy Wilson's excellent blog. I remember stumbling upon the best of blogging awards a couple of years ago while doing MBA research, I couldn't have imagined back then that I would also be a recipient. Thanks to all that voted! 

We head to Paris tonight for the biggest sporting event of the MBA year.....the MBAT! Featuring all the top schools across Europe, it promises to be four days of non stop action, networking and partying, limited only by the knowledge that we all have tons of papers to complete right after the tournament....but we'll survive!

May the best team win!