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Oxford (Said) MBA Admission and Related Blogs!

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Joined: 19 Feb 2015
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Concentration: Marketing, Technology
GRE 1: 320 Q159 V161
GPA: 3.49
WE: Sales (Advertising and PR)
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New post 20 Sep 2015, 07:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Keeping an Open Mind
I have now spent two weeks in the UK and have been loving every minute of it. Sure I miss home and probably need to call my family more often, but the time I’ve spent here has been incredible. In the past two weeks I have visited the pub C.S Lewis, JRR Tolkien (and the rest of the Inklings spent every Tuesday) at least 5 times. I have spent countless hours with my classmates and have started to get past the initial greetings portion of any new relationship. I spent 3 days in London including a wonderful date with the cute flight attendant. We went to one of the oldest pubs in London and to an amazing tapas restaurant in central London. After 3 years of DC “tapas” this was phenomenal as a full meal for two was less than $40 and the food was incredible, fast, and beautiful. The date went nicely and we are scheduling another (for those interested).

I also had a chance to attend an gathering of LGBT leaders, both under 30’s who are shaping the consulting, financial, and legal realm and senior executives of BP, HSBC, Credit Suisse, and Forbes, Inc. Finally I spent a day helping canvass for London mayoral candidate Syed Kamal (if anyone is interested in meeting & helping out with the race let me know!). It was awesome to notice the similarities and vast differences in campaign tactics and techniques in the UK vs USA.

What has been truly amazing is the mental transformation I have been going through as I continue to seek an open mind. Let me tell you, it is hard! However, one instance gives me hope that I can keep growing in this capacity. I am going to be vulnerable here so please forgive me my failings.

After bussing back up from London late one night, Matt and I went to the housing complex right behind the business school where a large crew of our Indian classmates were still having a party (it lasted 9 hours in total). We joined for the last 2 hours and for whatever reason I was expecting to walk into a very-foreign environment, one where Matt and I were the only white guys. To be disappointingly honest my gut reaction was one of semi-superiority. “I’m coming from the states”; “I have had some amazing experience;s”; “I have a unique perspective.” … yada yada … prejudiced BS that was coming from somewhere inside of me.

HOW WRONG I WAS and how glad that I am aware of it now and also feel comfortable enough with my classmates to share this vulnerability.

I met amazing people that night who come from highly successful and remarkable backgrounds; but at the end of the day we are all, above everything else, human. Regardless of country, race, gender, sexuality, religion, creed, or any other barrier. We are homo sapiens. And beyond that, what we share in common unites us. Nothing made this more clear than 2 key items.

The first was the power of dance regardless of music and culture. We all danced to Indian music and Hip Hop alike and shared a connection in the dance that help shatter my ridiculous, pretty-naive mentality. The second was the connections we shared in growing up as evidenced by the loud group of 15 people singing the theme songs from Ducktails, Tailspin, and The Lion King.

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The biggest lesson I learned in the past two weeks was the continual need for me to have an open mind, as free from pre-conceived notions as possible and baring that a constant recognition that in the end, we are all human. The things that divide us are as consequential as someone having blond hair or red hair, right handed or left handed. We can choose to make a hullabaloo about them, but in all semblance of the reality that at our core, we are all the children of the stars and our differences are utterly immaterial. With so much that connects us, being biased based at what divides us is a waste of time.

I hope that my candid expression of ridiculous thoughts will be taken in the spirit they were written, one of humility and in a place of growing understanding. To my Indian friends in particular reading this I sincerely apologize for any absurd thoughts I have had and hope you will forgive me in the future as I continue to fail (although hopefully with far less frequency and obviousness.)

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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New post 20 Sep 2015, 18:02
FROM mybjourney - Current Student: Lets do this!
The day for which countdown begun 290 days back (literally), is now hardly 11 hours away! I’m going to take a moment to let that sink in.

I moved in to my accommodation at Rewley Abbey Court last night and my flatmate and I are happy with the location of my flat. The view from our bedrooms is of the magnificent school campus, and on the other side our living room makes for a nice hangout place with the Castle Mill stream flowing by. It feels good to have a nice cozy place to come back to at the end of the day.

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I took some time out from my unpacking to meet a few batchmates and also grab a quick dinner with some of them at a joint closeby. From the looks of it, I have a fantastic batch with a great mix of people, almost everyone I met so far has been warm and welcoming. It was great to finally have faces to all the names I had been interacting with over social media in the past.I was quickly filled in with stories of the previous evening’s invasion of the the Turf Tavern by the batchmates (a rite of passage for the incoming MBA class, I gather). This evening I also got a chance to attend the introductory session on the Oxford Women Leadership (OWL) community by the outgoing chairpersons and a co-founding alumna. The room was abuzz with women (and a decent representation from the men as well) from diverse backgrounds. There is so much to learn from each person and her story –  one thing I am incredibly proud of for being in an international cohort.

I went for dinner to Jericho Tavern with an alumnus who also happens to be a senior from my undergrad college. It was interesting to hear about his experience of the program and the university as a whole. One thing that I strongly agreed with him was on making a conscious effort to explore the university and get involved with activities outside of the business school that interest me.

While walking back towards my accommodation, I was mentioning to him about how awed I am of the place and intend to make the most of the time that I have here. He patiently heard me out and what he said to me in the end left me thinking about it for long. He told me – exactly in a year from today, you will look back and realise how it would seem like it was only yesterday that it all began, yet you will find a completely different person in you.

If the first day is any indication of the times to come, I can assuredly say that this is going to be a phenominal year. Said Business School, Class of 2016 – let’s do this!

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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New post 27 Sep 2015, 14:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: MBA Launch begins – A Year of Opportunity (MT -2)
This week has been intense and honestly felt like a month. We have had many parties and pub nights, LONG lectures filled with all 340 of us; some terrible sessions and some astoundingly amazing ones including Sue … Sue Tonks and Simon Bucknell. Simon’s session on executive presence was by far my favorite and I gained a lot of lessons from his time with our class. The biggest lesson is that story-telling is a missed opportunity in business and that is one reason it is so successful.

When Simon told us this, it resonated with something a McKinsey partner told me at an event a couple of weeks ago in London. The partner said “Strategy is differentiation.” Think about that for a minute. Strategy is differentiation. Perfect strategy is doing something that your competitors in the space aren’t doing instead of merely copying their tactics. Strategy is about taking the opportunities that everyone else misses.

I firmly believe that this is a fundamental axiom of business, that being different from your competition gives you a strategic advantage and because of this I am starting to think about what differentiates us as a class from our competitors. What opportunities are in front of us that we could miss if we aren’t careful? As I spent the week thinking about our class in action each day and wondering what opportunities we have I realized our biggest one.

On Monday we were told that Derek Walker the director of our careers center is quitting. We will be without a careers director for some time and while there will be coverage from department leads, this is a potential set-back for many of us. For others it is a crisis. IImage
f DC has taught me anything useful it is to never waste a good crisis. I chose to see this “crisis” as an opportunity for us to define our class. We have a choice to either compete with our classmates for jobs or to support each other in getting the best job for us and for those in the class. I believe that just as storytelling is a missed opportunity in business, supporting each other’s ambition is a missed opportunity for MBA students. If we can support each other and put all competition aside we will end up a much strong class because of it, both now and long-term.

Let us not be like HBS, Wharton & LBS and draw our long-knives ready to cut down our competition for a limited number of SBS slots for key employers. This *may* help someone get the initial offer more than their classmates (no guarantee) but it does a disservice to them in the long-run. Instead Supportive Ambition, helping each other prepare for case interviews even if there is only 1 slot for SBS, is what can set us apart. Why? Not because I believe in some utopian existence, but because I believe it provides the most value, long term.

How? If you are short-term greedy and focus on getting yourself the top slot you might get it, but you miss an opportunity to build close relationships with your future peers in the industry. If you instead work with a group to prepare for the same role then the odds of you getting the role goes up (more applied practice) and there is always a possibility with these employers that they open up space beyond their target for each school.

Lets pretend for a moment that you help your classmates and don’t get the job. Would you rather that job go to someone you don’t know from LBS, someone you have have been competing against at SBS, or the buddy you spent 20 hours working on interview prep with? Which is best for the lifetime value of your network?

This strategy is also backed-up not just by hypothetical situations, but also by John Nash whom we should be discussing this year. His work on group dynamics and game theory prove that the best outcome for us is to do what is best for *both* ourselves and the class as a whole. If you don’t know who John Nash is or haven’t seen A Beautiful Mind then at least watch this short clip and realize that Supportive Ambition is an opportunity for all of us to finish this year in an astounding way. I hope that each of us continues the power of this first week and supports each other. I know that I am willing to talk with anyone looking at marketing roles as I craft my personal brand and story.



 

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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New post 04 Oct 2015, 18:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Vulnerability – MBA Launch Week 2 (MT-1)
This week as an MBA was focused on setting the stage for our year here at the Oxford MBA. We started the week with GOTO (Global Opportunities & Threats at Oxford) a module designed to get us thinking about global scale challenges and how diversely we can start to define them let alone solve them. From the 60M displaced migrants globally, to the shortage and scarcity of water, to the impact of big data on privacy & cybersecurity. This module provides the context for our classes in the broader world and looks like it will be the highlight of our year.

We spent a day hearing from the careers department about various career paths that we can take from our MBA and I got some 1:1 time with a sector advisor to talk through my story and where in marketing I want to end up down the line. We started our lectures in Analytics (really just statistics), Business Finance, and the “Global Rules of the Game” which really was about building coalitions and working within the global legal frameworks of the EU, UN, and US governments, coalitions, and NGOs (I felt right at home).

Lastly this week (and the subject for today’s post) was our days spent looking beyond Money, Blue-chip firms, and Fame at what really drives us. What gets us out of bed in the morning. What our passion truly is and how in looking at our own diverse narratives we can find those things which motivate us. It also was a lesson in unconscious bias and the dangers that lurk there. In talking with our class it received mixed reviews, but for me it was the most powerful session we have had in the past two weeks. Coming from Google my manager and our leadership team focused a lot on similar aspects so much of this wasn’t new, as such it made me truly think about where I stood in the world and what motivated me each day.

Ultimately I came to terms with the fact that “I don’t know” what motivates me. And that that is okay. I’m still looking for my mission, my cause, my quixotic quest. I am definitely motivated by many things (I don’t think anyone who gets into the OxfordMBA program isn’t) but my true motivation eludes me. I spent this week getting to a space in which I am okay with that fact for now.

What is so phenomenal about our program are the people. I said this in an earlier post but after meeting so many of my classmates this is absolutely the truth. I say this because had it not been for a handful of my classmates I would have had a completely lousy week. But we have gotten to know each other well enough that I felt comfortable enough to be vulnerable with a handful, letting them know that I needed help.

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It is an incredibly difficult thing to do, ask for help, but in doing so I was able to forge closer relationships with people whom I now know will always have my back. I made myself vulnerable to my classmates in a program known generally for its competitive nature. Instead of using my weakness against me classmates have helped me become stronger.

As I look at our class and the year ahead of us I hope personally to continue making myself real and vulnerable with each and every one of you. I hope that members of the class who are reading this know that I am happy to be a listening ear; a friend who will help in times of need; a part of your support here during our year abroad. In the coming weeks I want to talk more about opening up to others (hopefully with more examples from my own life), but in all reality it is late and I have an Analytics class in a few hours. More to come next week.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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New post 10 Oct 2015, 05:01
FROM mybjourney - Current Student: Launched, and ready to go.
Today was the last day of our three-week Launch, that ended on a high note with a drinks and dance reception. The class decided to shift the party outside of the school, while I excused myself to some quiet time in my room. As I reflect on the three weeks gone, my mind is getting overwhelmed trying to register all that I have experienced so far – met 350 future friends from 57 countries on the first day; interacted with an Olympic silver medalist (Said alumni); spent an evening with Dinosaurs; attended live Oxford Union debate (bucketlist item checked off); mastered an African hymn (also shamelessly sang the same outside the Oxford Union at midnight yesterday!); discussed the complexity of Brazilian indirect taxes with a stranger over dinner; pitched a business idea to the American Ambassador to UK; learnt punting from a high school student at Oxford; pondered over how a group of business students can help make a significant social impact– and many more.

My motivation behind joining an MBA program was much beyond the academics and recruitment. The idea was to spend a year on introspection and self-development, to push my boundaries to learn something new each day and to get a broader perspective of life. Three weeks of the Launch, apart from acclimatising us to the course, staff and the place also taught us to introspect and reflect. A few activities during the Launch made us sit back and think about why we do what we do, why are we here and what we hope to achieve. These are questions my mind often wonders about, or rather, wanders around. It would be unfair to say that I have found my answers already (as a classmate rightly joked about at the end of one such session “ I find it hard to talk to myself!”), but I did find the sessions extremely useful in identifying and understanding my personality to be able to leverage my strengths and work on my weaknesses going forward.

If the Launch is any bit an indication of how the coming year is going to shape up, I am excited to be here. Dean Tufano on the first day mentioned that joining Oxford was a choice we made for ourselves, and I am glad I came here. But I also strongly agree with what Dr. Kurt April pointed out to us during discussion on Leading from own Diverse Narrative – that it is a privilege to be here among the brightest and most talented minds from all across the world. Coming from a developing economy with an experience level below average in the class, I find it intellectually exciting to look through the narratives of others from the other end of the telescope that I am accustomed to. What strikes me the most about my batch is, regardless of the personal accomplishments, the humility and enthusiasm with which each one of them comes with to learn and share.

Before coming to Oxford, there was one thing every body I spoke to from the school had to say to me, which is that time runs at lightening speed here and before you know it is over. It has been three weeks since I came here, which essentially means that about 6% of the year is over. That really does hit hard, doesn’t it?

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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New post 11 Oct 2015, 15:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: National Coming Out Day & Oxford
Today, October 11th is National Coming Out day. It is an annual event designed to encourage people to tell their families, friends and coworkers that they are gay. Coming out is the most impactful thing to advance LGBT rights globally and I wanted to take time with today’s post to call attention to this.

When I applied and during my interview I was concerned about being Out during my Oxford MBA. Oxford is filled with high-church transitions including wearing formal-wear to take exams, eat certain dinners, and it trends more conservative. It also is home to Oscar Wilde and many other LGBT writers, embraced Rachel Maddow, and has a college known as the Queer College (Wadham) that flies the rainbow flag each February.

Personally I was concerned that with 40-50% of the class coming from countries where homosexuality is illegal there would be tension with my classmates and that I might be the only one. I am proud to say that that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In the past month I have had a dozen people from India and various countries in the Middle East and Africa send me a quick message or pull me aside to let me know that they are supportive. About 2-3% of the class is LGB and so far this year has destroyed my concerns about being out.

This weekend I was in Chicago for an LGBT MBA conference and when people heard I was from Oxford they echoed my original fears. I am glad that I was able to picture my classmates and their support and let them know that the students are strong allies across the board.

I am grateful to be in an environment where I don’t have to worry about being authentically David and if any prospective students are reading this and want to know more, please reach out to me. I’m happy to chat. David.Baker@mba2015.sbs.oxford.edu

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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New post 20 Oct 2015, 15:02
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: A Day In The Life at Oxford MBA
AHHHHHH I didn’t write a post for this week!

As you might imagine life has been a little crazy now that term has started. One thing I can say for certain is that this program is intense. If you worry about FOMO (that’s Fear of Missing Out for the uninitiated) then maybe Oxford isn’t the place for you. There is SO much going on each day that it makes deciding on classwork, networking, recruiting, and personal development look like a cake-walk. Let me walk you through my week.

This past week I had the chance to go fencing again and signed up for the club with my eye on making the team. I met one of my heroes John Amaechi, the first openly gay NBA player to come out. I met with the administration on improving LGBT efforts at the school and had a 1:1 session with an industry advisor who helped me structure my interview answers better.

I met with my fellow student council to talk through key issues and how to work together to help make the school a better place and I got the chance to hear Eric Cantor speak to the university about the 2016 elections. All of this was just Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.

On Thursday my classes doubled-down and after a 9-hour day at the school I met with a prospective employer for a coffee chat, worked with the administration to fix a pressing issue for my section, and went fencing again. Friday was just as bad with IT issues, double rounds of classes again, a phone screen with a recruiter and then drinks with my section and then the broader MBA class at the Oxford Union.

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Its no surprise that I almost missed the formal Matriculation ceremony at 8am the next morning. Had I slept through it I would have had a tough time attending classes and graduating! After the ceremony we had two major parties I had to choose from. Naturally I chose both!

Sunday was more relaxing with services at Christ Church Cathedral (Its beautiful, go when you get the chance!) and brunch with a few friends before heading to the library and trying to get ahead of my reading for the week.

If reading that exhausted you, then I suggest working on some stamina because that was my week last week with this one looking to be just as amazing, fun, exhilarating and exhausting. This week isn’t inspirational but I hope I was able to give you a glance behind what a week in the life of an Oxford MBA is like. And I hope you forgive me for being so late!

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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New post 22 Oct 2015, 23:22
FROM FarhanC - Current Student: Oxford Callling!!!!!
This is a scene exactly a year back

Wife: Why are you applying to only ISB?
Me : It's nearby, cost-effective, 1 year and it would be easy to fly down from Hyderabad
Wife: Just to be close to me, you are not applying elsewhere.
Me : Yeah and then there is money too.
Wife: We will figure that out, you apply to Oxford, Harvard.
Me: So these are the names you know that every relative uses and you have seen them in Bollywood movies
Wife: With a sly smile, but aren't they good, they are so famous.
Me: Harvard No!!!, It's a 2 year MBA. Oxford, I don't know if I have that kind of profile
Wife: You have a year start working on that stuff

Fast forward a year:

I was driving and got a text, I usually don't see any text while driving but that day I was expecting the result. Stopped the car, read the text from a fellow GmatClub buddy, he said check your email now.

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I checked my email.

Dear Farhan  
It is my pleasure to confirm the decision of the MBA Admissions Committee to offer you a place on the 2015-2016 MBA program

I didnt even finish reading the entire email, I read this line and called her. She was much more ecstatic than I was. She reminded me of this conversation a year back. All that moping after the ISB ding last year and after INSEAD ding last month, everything is nullified now.

Next post, I will write my application experience to Oxford.

Cheers

P.S Soon I will migrate to a different blog :)
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Cheers
Farhan

My Blog - Student for Life ( Oxford MBA)

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New post 22 Oct 2015, 23:22
FROM FarhanC - Current Student: Matriculation and Reflection!!!!
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It's been more than a month at Oxford, but I officially became a part of Oxford on saturday. In his speech during matriculation Vice-Chancellor said "The ceremony of matriculation is both solemn and important representing as it does the moment at which each of you is admitted to be a member at University of Oxford"

Having heard many speeches at Said and Oxford Union, these words reminded me what I have gained by coming to Oxford.

Some flashback from other speeches.

Íngrid Betancourt - "Despite all the differences the only way to resolve problems is through words."

Dominic Barton - "Some leaders talk all the time, best leaders ask questions"

It's superb how much importance these leaders give to listening, words and questions.

So coming back to words, let me try to engage the poet in me to reflect on the speed of my MBA course. (Rhymes beware, Iambic pentameter lost!!!!)

List of "things to do" keeps on piling up,
Time flies leaps and bounds, it will never take one step
The to do list becomes never ending,
The calendar reminder gives me a sting.

You need to run, you need to row,
You need to make the time go slow
Staying aloof, making friends,
Drinking games that just don't end.

Do those pre-read, Get that CP (Class Participation)
Remember careers session, prepare that CV
Make those goals, prioritise your life here,
I have had 2 weeks of those talks and now I am scared.

Honestly, Its been a whirlwind but it's been fun. I have met loads of interesting people and I am keen on listening to their stories.

I have been a part of Peer support program which was an amazing learning & listening experience. First time in my life I have stood for an election, being an apolitical person this taught me a lot about people and behaviour.(I lost :)) but I am looking forward to being more involved in the activities at school.

There are 340 plus students in our batch, it's a plethora of emotions, thoughts, noise and ideas. I just hope by august end next year, I will evolve and grow into a better version of myself.
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New post 01 Nov 2015, 09:02
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: The Importance of Perspective
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On Monday I tried out for the Oxford University Fencing Team and while biking across a bridge I caught sight of Magdalen college’s dreaming spires and it hit me. I was fencing again … at a club next to the track where the 4-minute mile was broken … in a town older than the Aztec empire … while studying at the greatest university on the planet. No matter how anything else goes in my life, “I am at Oxford.”

With that reminder came two key insights:

First is that I gained the perspective that I needed to have as I go through job rejections, internal school issues, and intense study session and that I need to constantly remind myself about this perspective.

Second, I realized that with the privilege that I have been given by nature of studying at Oxford comes a great responsibility. Next week I’ll address the responsibility portion but this week I want to focus on how I plan on maintaining this perspective.

As you saw from my post two weeks ago, things at Oxford can get very busy. Almost everything here is focused around learning and expanding your mind, usually over drinks, and always amidst some of the greatest minds around. Church is no exception to this and Church is quickly becoming the avenue I use to maintain this perspective.

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There are over 150 pubs in Oxford and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were even more churches. Each college has a church some grand, some cozy and in keeping with my goals for the year I have been to a handful of services already this term. My favorite by far is the Sung Eucharist at Christ Church. Their cathedral is beautiful, the choir angelic, the organ inspiring, and the service is motivating. What offers a continual reminder of perspective is that the preacher is a theologian, an academic and a believer in making the sermons start in real life and apply scripture to it.

For instance a few weeks ago he opened the sermon with a run-down about how a Management Consultancy pointed out the importance of a shared mission at a firm, from the librarians, cafeteria staff, janitors, and other employees all the way up to the CEO. It was a lesson in leadership development that touched upon the mission of the Church. It was another lesson (in my already filled schedule) that, because it was coming from a completely different angle re-energized me and served as a reminder to focus on the bigger picture.

So far, this same experience has repeated itself at services across the university and it is one way that I am going to maintain my perspective each week. I invite any who read this blog to come to services with me or at least take advantage of what this city has to offer in order to maintain the perspective that “I’m at Oxford.” For future students reading this, consider this just another reason why Oxford is quite possibly the best global program to get your MBA. Stay tuned for next week when I talk about the responsibility that this perspective demands and how I hope to meet it.

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New post 02 Nov 2015, 05:02
FROM FarhanC - Current Student: The Path of Evolution
Albert Camus said “At 30 a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures-be what he is. And, above all, accept these things.” Albert Camus the Nobel laureate also propagated “absurdity”.
I am 30, at Oxford I am encountering my defects and qualities, I have no idea how far I will go; the possibilities are endless. I cannot foretell my failures; I believe I have increased my risk appetite so I will fail and rise again. I remember telling my wife certain interactions and she suggested this topic to me, so here I am on the path of evolution. Like always she sets me right.
It was one of the toughest decisions of my life to do an MBA, the endless hours of balancing GMAT and work, giving up on socializing and the toughest of all to be in a long distance relationship. “Is it worth it?” that’s the obvious question. The only satisfactory answer that I get to that question “I learnt something new today”. So far, the learning through peers has been simply amazing. Although, in my last post I spoke about class participation, I think my class is just fine. There are people from such diverse background. One of the most interesting discussions was during Leadership lecture, where we started with a case study and ended up discussing purpose and impact.
Case studies, group assignments, job applications, sports, workshops and social events these are some aspects of MBA that I am balancing right now. Besides this there are current MP’s visiting oxford to discuss policies with students? The head of McKinsey comes to the business school to give the final message. There are so many things happening around that we have lost track on. I am learning something new everyday.
So what’s my path of evolution at 30? It consists of crawling, walking, running and going forward. Keep on finding my defects, improving them, not worrying to much about future failures but being aware about it and above all challenge the status quo.
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New post 05 Nov 2015, 16:02
FROM FarhanC - Current Student: The Path of Evolution
Albert Camus said “At 30 a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures-be what he is. And, above all, accept these things.”
I am 30, at Oxford I am encountering my defects and qualities, I have no idea how far I will go; the possibilities are endless. I cannot foretell my failures; I believe I have increased my risk appetite so I will fail and rise again. At 30, I am at the path of evolution.

It was one of the toughest decisions of my life to do an MBA, the endless hours of balancing GMAT and work, giving up on socializing and the toughest of all being in a long distance relationship. “Is it worth it?” The only satisfactory answer that I get-“I learnt something new today”. So far, learning through peers has been simply amazing. Last week, in a Leadership fundamental class, our class was discussing a case about Nordstorm. As a retailer, I was fascinated by different perspective about a leading US retailer. During the course of lecture, we had a very healthy debate on the impact and purpose of retail and FMCG giants. We had a spectrum of views on the definition of Impact and Purpose. The professor was so fascinated by the discussion, he asked us to carry on the discussion and later focus on the Nordstorm case study. That’s facilitative learning.

For our team assignments last week, I worked with a specialist from a major oil company, an entrepreneur, an advisor from big 4 and a digital media specialist. I learnt something new working with them. I am glad that I am working well with my teams and able to contribute to peer learning. 

Beyond the business school, over the weekend I am visiting retail stores and trying to understand from retail staff how the UK market works.  It gets easier to connect the dots when I look backwards now. During my time as a retailer, I remember staff feedback regarding merchandising, visuals and making the retail environment more customer-centric. These feedbacks formed the core of improvement agenda for retail businesses.

So what’s my path of evolution at 30? Sorry Albert Camus, my path still consists of crawling, walking, running and going forward. I will work on finding my defects, improving them, not worrying too much about future failures but being aware about them and above all challenge the status quo.

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New post 08 Nov 2015, 08:02
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: The Perspective of Privilege
The Oxford MBA is a World Class Business School, embedded within a World Class University, tackling World Scale challenges. In order to get in, students need to have a high GMAT score, several years of experience, be leaders in their own right already, and bring with them something special to help tackle global issues. Everyone here in the program has an amazing story to to tell and a background of success.

Students will leave the Oxford MBA with the brand of the school behind them providing even more to their pedigree. This privilege comes with a responsibility and its that responsibility I want to talk about today.

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at I don’t mean to do is preach or to imply that this responsibility is all we need to focus on to the exclusion of all else. These nuns prove that to be the case.

For me the responsibility we have is to our community. That can be our local community around us or the global community that we are all a part of.

So far our class has participated in a ball to donate to four charities, has a team growing mustaches for prostate cancer awareness, as well as helping to aid the local homeless. We also have a Launchpad for global social enterprises, companies that focus on Social Impact, & Sustainability along-side the profit bottom-line.

These are all small ways that we are giving back to the community that we are privileged to be a part of. I hope that over the course of our year here and our career entirely, we will continue to give generously of our time, money, and efforts. Because with great privilege comes great responsibility.Image

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New post 09 Nov 2015, 17:02
FROM mybjourney - Current Student: Matriculation and Week 1.
Time is running at a lightening speed here. I now realize that when seniors said the year will go by really fast, they meant it quite literally. Each day is packed with a bagful of activities, all of which need to be fitted around the seven hours of classroom lectures. And the classes have only just begun!

340 of us from 2015-16 batch, with 31% female representation, come from 54 different nationalities. This diversity makes up for a very enriching experience in the class and I am enjoying getting to know others from up close. Last week we were divided into 4 sections, and I’m in section B which I must mention is an extremely dynamic and energectic bunch. Each section is further broken down into study groups of 5 students each. My study group has (apart from ofcourse me, a Techie from India), a Financial Analyst from Michigan US, a Copywriter from Canada, a Finance major from Kenya and an entrepreneur from Australia. That’s quite an impressive mix, and I think I am youngest in the group.

Apart from Technology and Operations which is for 1.5 hours, other lectures (Analytics, Strategy, Business Finance, Leadership) are 3.5 hours long with a 30 min break in between. This Week (MT W1*), we also has GOTO Design Thinking workshop where we outlined and discussed the water scarcity problem, which is the GOTO topic for us this year (read more about it here). I gather that Dean Tufano is quite passionate about GOTO and the aim for including this as a subject in the term is to get us thinking about adressing large scale problems concerning us globally.  I’ll confess that getting back to the classroom rigor after years is not an easy feat, I am absolutely relying on the coffee to make it through (bless them for giving 10 free drinks per week!).

The high point for the week for me was ofcourse the Matriculation ceremony yesterday. Matriculation refers to the ceremony which marks the formal induction to the University records. This is in contrast to India where the term loosely refers to completion of High School! It also got a bit funny after all the pictures from the ceremony put up on Facebook, where my friends back home confused it with graduation (“but you just went there, how come you’re wearing the graduation cap already?“).

Going by the ancient Oxford tradition, we are required to wear the academic dress for all our exams and other academic ceremonies. The attire is called the ‘sub-fusc’ – dark suit, white blouse, black skirt/ trousers, mortar board/ cap, black ribbon / bow tie, black socks and shoes – alongwith the graduate gown which is longer than the undergrad (commoner gown). By rule we are not supposed to wear our mortar boards on our heads until we have ‘earned the rights’ to do so upon graduation.

The matriculation ceremony in itself was no more than a 15 minute affair at the Sheldonian Theatre, where we were led to by Dr Gerald Myatt (the Dean of Degrees) from our college campus (Matriculation takes place with your college, not the entire MBA batch) after group and individual photographs. Till now we were affiliated to our colleges, by matriculating we became part of the University of Oxford. This goes back to the medieval tradition where Matriculation was an examination conducted for students to prove their worthiness for admission to the University. Those formally inducted had their details recorded in a register, which also tracked their progress over their courses. Over the years, once the colleges and departments began to conduct their own admission process and with external assessments, the examination was done away with but the Matriculation remained the formal University ceremony. It is mighty impressive to see a University so soaked in history and equally humbling to be a part of the same.

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My view of the Sheldonian

I found a video from 2012’s matriculation ceremony, which will give you an idea of what the ceremony is like.



What made this cermeony the most memorable and special for me is that my parents were around too, although they weren’t permitted to see the ceremony from the inside. And that my big brother also matriculated from Kellogg the same day (he studies masters in Computer Science)!. I couldn’t have been happier :)

ps: *MT W1 – Michaelmas Term Week 1.

Michaelmas, Hillary and Trinity terms here are more commonly reffered to as MT, HT and TT in Oxford lexicon.

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New post 15 Nov 2015, 19:02
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Careers and Networking
When you first start dating someone you only see their positive features and put aside their blemishes.  When you break up with them you only see their flaws. This scene from 500 days of summer captures this better than anything I could try to write this week so take 102 seconds and watch this clip.

My blog has had a pretty positive tone when it comes to those blemishes of the Oxford MBA. Partly, its because we just started dating, partly its because I try to have an optimistic attitude, and partly its because I have had faith that some of the issues were common to either the UK or B-schools in general. This weekend I had that faith rewarded.

I spent the weekend at London Business School at an LGBT MBA conference called EurOUT. There were ~100 LGBT MBA students from every European B-school and one of the questions I asked these other students was what they loved and didn’t love about their program. They had the same concerns I have heard in my role as Section Rep at Oxford with the largest concern being the Careers departments.

It was clear that for many schools getting employers onto campus was a matter of obtaining critical mass. Some schools compensate for this by concentrating students interested in a particular field, thus sacrificing diversity of background in classroom discussions. Other school (like Oxford) grow the student population to attract more employers. The downsides to both of these approaches is the same and it is universal at these school. The ratio of students to recruiters is too high to build the personal connections needed to really secure an interview.

I say this making a key assumption. I admit it is biased given my time in the networking capital of the world – Washington DC. I assume that any job you are going to get is going to happen because someone whom you know gave you the opportunity to show them what you know. This is a subtle difference between the cynical adage that only “Who you know” matters. Specifically “Who you know” can help you get an interview, but you only get past that stage because of “What you know.”

If we accept that assumption then a high student to recruiter ratio means that the events a careers department puts on *can* be helpful but the numbers don’t play to your favor. Instead I’d highly recommend attending a key conference for an interest/region/affiliation where recruiters will actively be looking for top LGBT talent.

Going to a conference and networking with recruiters puts you as an MBA in the driver’s seat. You have the control to talk to whom you want during the conference and during the career fair. For type-a MBAs this is critical. When you go to a conference you get the chance to have smaller discussions with recruiters who all of a sudden are competing for you. To use lessons from strategy you are flipping the dynamic between buyers & suppliers.

To get the most out of MBA conference recruiting I’d recommend a couple of tips:Image

  • Be clear & concise. – This one is rather obvious but approach recruiters with a key focused question in mind, a short elevator pitch about yourself, or a relevant insight. They are busy and if you waste their time they will know.
  • Be cognizant. – Be aware of how much time you are spending talking to a recruiter. Odds are there are others who want to talk to the recruiter you have backed up against their table or sign. If you have made your concise points, thank the recruiter and let them talk with others. If you hold them captive they will remember you, but not for the right reasons.
  • Exit gracefully – If you don’t know how to best exit a conversation my favorite is to say “Thank you so much for your time, I know you are busy so I’ll let you go so you can talk with others.” It gives them an opening to tell you they’d prefer talking with you or for them to exit the conversation. Alternatively you can always ask where the toilets are.
  • Be the Best – While the odds are more in your favor, do what you can to be the best amongst your fellow conference peers. Ask insightful questions that demonstrate you understand their business. Recognize challenges they face and ask about them. Recruiters see the dirty ins & outs of their company. They are the last ones who want to hear “I love everything your company does”
  • Be anything but bland – Yes you have to do the basics especially the “Thank you/follow-up” note. But the worst thing you can do is be generic and unrecognizable. If they gave you a good answer to your insightful question, then recognize that fact in the thank-you note.

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New post 22 Nov 2015, 12:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Adapting to New Cultures
In the week leading up to my move to England I read the book “Watching the English.” It is an anthropologists look at English culture filled with lessons on everything from drinking, eating, tea, gardens, trains, drinking, friends, work, and drinking.

It was a great read to help get me into the mindset of the English before I embedded myself within their culture. It is a phenomenal read that I recommend to any ExPats here in the UK. What has struck me is how true it is, and sadly how much I have ignored its advice at times (only to my detriment).

The biggest advice I’ve ignored is the level of effort the English will go to avoid being impolite or confrontational in-person. For quick context if you are having a conversation with an Englishman and at the end he says “Oh by the way” as an American I’d assume that what comes next is trivial. To the English, this is the most important thing they wanted to say. In emails their politeness can come across as passive-aggressive and as a brash American it can be an interesting clash, but I am learning.

As an American attending the Oxford MBA I am a cultural minority. Sure, we make up 20% of the class but we work within the realities, biases, and cultural traits of 56 countries. Sometimes its hard because political beliefs, ways of communicating, and respect to hierarchy differ drastically. However I couldn’t be happier that I am surrounded by this diverse group of students. It is first-hand, intensive, immersion learning on how to work on a global scale. Its a unique feature that you can’t get at almost any other top MBA program, especially any in the states.

In almost every interview or recruiter conversation with firms in the states I have been asked some variation of “Why not an American program?” Honestly I am grateful for this conversation because it allows me to talk about my classmates and the diversity they bring to the classroom.

While I am still not perfect at adapting to other culture’s methods of communication I am learning and grateful for each chance I get.

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New post 29 Nov 2015, 18:02
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Sport at the Oxford MBA
http://blog.davidbbaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/12249800_10153820891439090_8007573611012789132_n.jpgWhen you think about an MBA program, usually the last thing you think of is professional collegiate sport. (Yes American’s I’m going to use the British Sport instead of the American Sports … Yes I do realize it makes me sound like Mitt Romney …. No, I don’t care … Cheerio!)

I don’t know how it is at US programs, but at Oxford, Sport is everywhere. Perhaps its because we are embedded within the wider university, but a large chunk of my classmates are representing Oxford as they fight against other schools.

In the US there is the NCAA, and in the UK its BUCS – British University & Colleges Sport. In our class of 340 students, easily 25% of the them are involved in a university sport. A lot of them row in teams of 8 for their college or for the wider university. If you remember the movie The Social Network really well you might recall that the Winklevoss twins ended up at a rowing regatta. They were rowing for Oxford and in fact were Oxford MBA students at the time.

We have 2 olympic swimmers, the head of the boathouse, half of the university hockey team, a university archer, a crew of table tennis players, and much much more. Myself? I fence Foil & Sabre for the University and this weekend had a “Quint” – a small tournament with 5 schools. It lets us pack most of our matches for a term into a single weekend instead of being on the road each week.

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I fenced against Cambridge (Beat them!), Warwick (Their fencers were just as hot as their infamous rowing team), and Nottingham (like the Sheriff). I’ll have at least two more of these next term before the big varsity rivalry match against Cambridge again on 12 March. Getting back into Fencing after so many years off has been exhaustingly exhilarating. I hadn’t thought about getting back into collegiate sport for my MBA, and especially not in a 12-month compressed intensive program. However it has been an energizing experience.

Not only am I more active to help fight off those MBA 15-pounds, I have another network of friends, another tie to the wider university, and more generally, more energy (if less time). As we have been learning about managing for energy not time this is an important experiential learning exercise that hopefully I’ll find a way to continue after I leave Oxford.

If you are thinking about coming to the Oxford MBA and used to play a sport in college, reach out because I’m certain we have an MBA involved on some level you could talk to.

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New post 06 Dec 2015, 20:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Balance & Peace During the Oxford MBA
Any MBA is an intense program, you uproot your life & routines at your job & hometown and purposefully put yourself into uncomfortable environments with people who all have a different perspective. It is painful the way a deep-tissue massage is painful. It hurts so good.

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However, just like any massage you need to take a break from the pressure. Weekends aren’t helpful unless you take-off and disconnect from the MBA program entirely and sometimes you need one of those weekends. At Oxford that might mean taking a trip to Bath to use their Roman Spas after your exams (Next week’s adventure!) or it might mean taking a cheap RyanAir flight to wherever is cheapest for a few days.

This term I have neglected this advice and it built up. I was getting homesick and stressed out and realized that I needed a mini-break. In looking at the options I found a cheap flight home to DC and realized that this weekend was my friend’s annual over-the-top christmas party and my old chorus’ holiday show. So I did what any crazy person would do, bought the ticket for 60 hours back in DC two nights before my flight.

I am so grateful that I did, even if it took away some time from my favorite class and time to study for my exam on Tuesday. I am already feeling more energized and invigorated for the week to come. You see I am the type of person to operate at 150% otherwise I’m start to get unhappy. I take on a lot of things that I make certain I get done but leave no time for anything else. A coach once told me that that’s how I’ll end up dying 50% early … I’ll work my heart to death.

This weekend was a practical & valuable lesson that I need to take care of myself if I as a leader am going to take care of others. It is up to me to discover the balance, slow down and in doing slow be better at the 150% of things I choose to do.

Another amazing part of this trip was that it served as a confirmation of what my old DC friends told me when I left and what I haven’t acknowledged as truth until now. When I needed a break and was feeling homesick I went to DC. I didn’t go to Utah where my Mom & Brothers are. I didn’t go to Dallas where my sister and one of my favorite nephews live. I didn’t go to some exotic location because I am an unrooted traveller on this planet. No, I went to DC to feel at home.

It might not be the first job after my MBA (it certainly might) but I now know that DC is home. That I have roots in DC. That when I am in DC I feel a little more at peace. Something about the insanity of that city resonates with my soul and I know that I’ll end up back in DC soon.

I have to catch my flight and actually do some studying for my exam on Tuesday so I’ll sign off and board my flight back to the UK where tomorrow I’ll be more rejuvenated and more centered at the Oxford MBA.

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New post 13 Dec 2015, 15:02
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Embracing my new culture
A few weeks ago I wrote about adapting to the English culture. In the past two weeks I’ve realized important lessons that are critical to success in the UK and likely useful back in the states as well. At their core, these lessons are to do with politeness and understanding the levels of politeness required to accomplish key tasks.

The first lesson took me a while to realize given my background in the Tech industry but should have been self-evident from my time in politics. If you want something done, don’t send an email talk to the person as directly as possible. If you can only give them a call then call them. If you can add video-chat like we had at the click of a button at Google, then do it. However if you really want to get something done, politely invade someone’s personal sense of space and time.

They cannot get upset with you as helping you is part of their job, but they also cannot ignore you because you are right there ready to have a polite, calm conversation with them. I re-iterate, have a polite conversation. You don’t deserve a solution, you are doing this in person to help speed up the process, eliminating back-and-forth that email creates. You being there in person is a gift to whomever you need something from as then they can quickly get it finished. Being there in person means they can’t ignore you but it also means they can complete the task and move on. In the past few weeks I’ve applied this dozens of times and in the UK especially it is critical. Relying on email slows things down, saying “Hiya, how’s your day going?” in person gets shit done.

The second lesson is to couch everything negative (and I mean EVERYTHING) in a polite shit-sandwich. Personally I prefer just the criticism straight-up so I know where to get better. Maybe its the East Coast blood in my veins (Mom & Granny were born in NYC) but this is the more effective way to couch things. A fantastic Brit articulate this to me in the clearest way possible with the following example. She told me, to deliver a critique simply say the following “The meal you cooked me was brilliant! … The-sex-was-shitI LOVE your kitchen.” Complete with saying the middle section fast and moving onto the 2nd compliment almost without taking a breath.

Since that moment I’ve begun to couch any criticism I have in a shit-sandwich only to see it eaten quite handily. Apparently this means I am becoming more british but I think that these lessons apply back in the states as well. Its an important lesson to learn and the Brits have definitely helped me internalize it!

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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New post 17 Jan 2016, 06:01
FROM mybjourney - Current Student: New year, new term
Michaelmas term officially got over on the 18th, by when a lot of classmates had already taken off for their christmas vacation. I too headed off to Edinburgh for a few days before Christmas with a small group of batchmates. We had an exciting time exploring the city and the highlands, and decided to visit again over the year when the temperature is more friendly. Needless to say, it was a much needed break for me – I used this opportunity to switch off, reflect on what the past three months meant to me and what I hoped to expect from the coming year.

After ringing in the new year from various corners of the world (mine was relatively quieter with brother at London), the batch started pouring back into Oxford for the revision week. We were done with Analytics exam in MT Week 9, but Business Finance and Technology- Operations exams were due for HT Week 0. Still hungover from the vacation, it was a challenge to get around Cash Flows, Asset Pricing, Process optimizations, 3Ms and what not. I decided to study in a small group – locked in a room in the school – where we split topic among ourselves and brainstormed together on concepts and past exam papers. This strategy personally worked well for me as there was a lot to learn from each other’s experiences and also ensured none of us slacked off with our pace.

We all braved our way through the two exams – dressed in the traditional subfusc, pink carnations this time for luck, wading our way through in swarms to the examination halls. I am pretty satisfied with my performance, although in hindsight I could have spent a little more time in Operations theory (was dreading Finance and spent most of my time on it).

On Friday, there Experience Weekend at Said for students with an admission offer for next batch. I along with 4 others from my batch got an opportunity to interact and share our experience with the offer holders, followed with one on one conversations in an informal setting. We were happy to talk to them about our experience and hopefully helped address most of their apprehensions about life after joining the program. I did not get to attend the Experience Weekend during my admission process due to work commitments, but I would highly encourage applicants to avail this opportunity to learn more about theschool and their people. Getting an MBA and choosing the school that is the right fit for one’s expectations from an MBA is a crucial decision, open days as these give a great chance to help make that informed selection.

HT Week 0 concluded with a formal dinner at Exeter College, with the dean, some members of the faculty and advisory along with potential incoming students and more batchmates. Formal dinners are an intrinsic part of the Oxford culture wherein members of the University dress up for attending dinner in a hall and masters cloaked in robes say grace (with an exception of few ‘non-religious colelges’) at the high table and others follow suit prior to eating. Dinners are great way to socialise outside of the business school and with the wider university community, something that makes studying at Oxford a unique experience.

A brief about Exeter – close to 800 years old, this is the fourth oldest college in the University and was an all-males institution until 1979. The college has one of the most beautifully designed chapel and also boasts of some of the most celebrated alumni, including the author J.R.R Tolkein and also J.K. Rowling as the honorary fellow. Each college is unique in its own way and has a distinct characteristic to it. The more I learn about these places, I feel priviledged and humbled to be walking down the same alleys that have centuries of history and grandeur to them.

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It’s late in the night and I should end my post here. The weather forecast hints at the possibility of mild snowfall tonight, I am excited!

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Re: Oxford (Said) MBA Admission and Related Blogs!   [#permalink] 17 Jan 2016, 06:01

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