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Oxford (Said) MBA Admission and Related Blogs!

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Concentration: Marketing, Technology
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New post 24 Jan 2016, 18:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Exams, or don’t sweat the small stuff
So sorry for the hiatus, term was finished but now I’m back. To all those who are reading this while applying or trying to decide on accepting or not feel free to reach out. I’ve chatted with about a dozen admits or prospective students and I’m always happy to chat. – Now to the blog post itself!

Oxford is richly filled with history, I have no reason to doubt its veracity except that legend grows here faster than moss. One such legend states that a student wore a suit of armor to an exam and was promptly escorted out of the exam schools with a distinction (highest grade) and a fine. A distinction because instead of wearing sub-fusc the typical Oxonian dress he had worn full-fusc the suit of armor; a fine because he failed to wear the traditional broadsword at his hip. We love our legends and I’d like to think that they are true but if not they at least can inspire future generations.

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Two weeks ago we had our first set of Exams inside the exam school. We had two over 3 days and the amount of time put in at the library in preparation was absurd (for my tastes). The concern that people had with getting a distinction was so palatable that I had to bring a plate of cookies to get the taste out of my mouth! At Oxford individual class grades are not reported, in fact the only thing that is reported is a simple Fail / Pass / Distinction mark.

Now I have parents who would love me just a smidgen more if I got a distinction, however I looked out at all the stress of the exam prep and realized that all I needed to do was simply pass the exams which wasn’t too difficult. Instead I spent the rest of my time trying to help de-stress the rest of our class. This is because one lesson I learned in the past year is to Not Sweat The Small Stuff (and it’s all small stuff). So I made cookies, provided some comic relief, and most importantly listened to the legend of the brave knight who pushed the boundaries of sub-fusc.

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At this point in the story I have to tell you that after a decade of fencing I have a hate/hate relationship with trousers. My booty tends to push beyond the barriers of the physics of pants causing a rip in the fabric of space-time … or just my trousers. During Michaelmas term my tuxedo trousers ripped completely beyond repair … twice.

Facing this lack of supportive sub-fusc; the legend of full-fusc; and the stress on our class for the final exams, I had an idea. While I didn’t have access to a full suit of armor (you were really hoping this was going there … me too!) I did have access to the rule-book for sub-fusc and an Amazon Prime account. So on the day of the exam I strode into the noble halls where generations of Oxonians have quivered in fear of poor performance in full Scottish kilt-fusc!

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Yep, As a man with quite hairy legs I skipped in a skirt down the aisles of desks, passed the invigilators who keep a watchful eye on us to prevent cheating and took my seat. Everyone I talked to before and those who saw me walk by the invigilator (and her shocked reaction) relaxed and had a chuckle.

You see a simple black kilt is now acceptable dress for sub-fusc and I had decided to not sweat the small stuff. Now my story will not go down in the annals of history as a legend but I was able to bring smiles to suffering students and prove that I wasn’t going to sweat the small stuff.

As we start the next term in full-swing tomorrow I can’t help but keep that image in my mind and hope that whenever I come across something so inconsequential to the big picture that I can easily dismiss it with the mental image of that day.

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New post 05 Feb 2016, 16:02
FROM mybjourney - Current Student: HT: Week 1 and 2
Hilary Term has only started and we can feel the heat already. The two weeks have been packed with activities and submissions, giving a peek into what will follow for the next 10 weeks.

Week 1 kick started with an introductory lecture on Entrepreneurship at Nelson Mandela Lecture Hall. Professor Hellman ‘s lectures and sessions delightful to attend and this one was a good antidote of sort for us still hungover from post exam holiday. We were introduced to frameworks and tools that assist in devising an effective business plan and inculcate an entrepreneurial mindset.

As part of Hilary Term course we are required to do an Entrepreneurship Project (EP) in a group where we work on a business idea and prepare a complete business plan and market strategy. The plan will be pitched to a panel of venture capitalists and industry experts invited from outside the school towards the end of the term. My groupmates and I are excited about our idea and on our first round of presentations we received encouraging response from Oxford based startup incubator that offered to support us should we plan to pursue our idea later on! Many groups in the past have gone ahead with their EP and have started their own ventures, and while our primary objective from this project is to learn and assimilate the nuances of entrepreneurship, we are open to the idea of our project materialising to something more concrete in future.

On Monday we also had an award ceremony to acknowledge and celebrate top GOTO projects. Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford (GOTO) is an integrated module in our course where students work on complex global challenges being faced today and how we as business students can help address them. My group focused on the water draught problem in California and the impact it had on the almond farming in the region, which during the course of our project we unearthed was made far more complex due to various politico-economic factors and players in the entire ecosystem. I was delighted to find out that our project was recognised in the Top 10, for which we were awarded certificates of appreciation in the ceremony!

Week 1 and 2 also ascertained why I am grateful for being here – for having the opportunity to meet and interact with wonderful people from various backgrounds. Last Wednesday I attended a session on Self-Care and Leadership by Dr. Kurt April, where he talked about managing stress and maintaining a healthy mental and physical lifestyle which one tends to sideline in one’s daily race to always being on the top of things. I find these sessions extremely helpful during the MBA when one is inundated with multiple tasks and it is not unusual to often feel stressed out and overwhelmed. I also went for two formal dinners in each week, one at my own college GTC where I invited a classmate whom I had not spoken with much last term. We both were planning since last term to hang out for and finally took to the formal dinner for spending some good time. The other was with a good friend from the batch at Keble College and a mathematics DPhil scholar, also a third generation Indian. Interesting conversations ensued on politics, religion, Indian diaspora and philosophy.

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Keble College was established in 1870, originally constituted only for men until 1979 when it opened doors for women. The college’s distinctive red-bricked Neo-Gothic architecture is much talked about still, with the background story that its architect William Butterfield was heavily criticised for the presumably ‘ugly’ campus and non adherence to Oxford traditions. Hard to believe that a campus this magnificent was held controversial! Also a little note for the benefit of those interested- Keble dinner hall holds formal dinners all week long, while at my college GTC it is only twice a week which makes it comparatively harder to secure a reservation.

Week 2 came full force with lectures including 2 new electives, assignments, presentations and job interviews packed throughout the schedule. The two electives I chose for this term are Corporate Valuation and Strategy & Innovation. Both the courses, albeit demanding, are challenging and have excellent faculty teaching us. S&I had us reading 100+ pages and submitting our first assignment even before the first class, which was on how technologies emerge and evolve with growing markets. I am excited about this course and hope to keep pace with the extensive reading involved. The reason for taking Corporate Valuation was to get a deeper dive into Finance that I am rather petrified of. I hope that by the end of this term, I will be at a pedestal where I don’t dork around whenever drops the F bombs in conversations.

That’s all for now, I hope to write as and when I am able to steal some rare ‘me time’. Also I have been receiving a lot of requests from prospective applicants and new admits to write more on the admissions process, which I will cover in coming week. Off to a conference now at Pembroke College on Women in Boardroom and diversity at workplace!

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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 14 Feb 2016, 17:02
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FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Rankings Rundown
So sorry that I’ve been absent for the past few weeks – its been a busy term! – A few things have happened that I want to touch on that my readers may find relevant. The biggest one is that (as many of you know) the FT posted its MBA rankings and SBS fell a few slots. Now I could get into a long rant about the methodology; how 47% is based on Salary 3-years out while only 4% is based on “Aims Achieved.” Or how INSEAD helped to develop the FT rankings in the first place and they happen to be #1 this year. But that doesn’t help anyone. Instead I’ve taken the past few weeks to look at and think about the accuracy of the ranking, its relevance, and what changes can (and are) being made to improve the school itself (regardless of rankings) in the long-term.

First of all, I think that the rankings are more-or-less accurate if you are an MBA recruiter looking to slot Management Consulting or Finance candidates. We should probably be in the late-teens, but there is a lot to be said about our 1-year program (which starts late) and its ability to prepare our students for in those fields in the short-time frame that we have. This is a problem which can be fixed and in looking at the program for the next 2-3 years it will be addressed very quickly with a handful of initiatives designed to give students who know they want to do Finance or Consulting the tools they need to network, recruit, interview, and get placed at top firms. We already started this shift with our year, the first to offer a summer internship for credit which allows partnerships with Deloitte and Accenture (and many finance roles I know little about) which can parlay into jobs following the MBA.

Second, as you may have guessed from the first part, I think that rankings are largely irrelevant. Really only Finance and Consulting recruiters care about MBA rankings. Tech, the next biggest recruiter, doesn’t really and the one that does (Amazon) just hired like 10-15 people from SBS. For all fields, when you move to your second job (typically within 2-3 years post-MBA) the recruiter doesn’t care about your MBA ranking but the brand recognition of your institution. In our case Oxford University carries significant weight. In the long-run, it shouldn’t have to; SBS should be able to stand on its own, but it is an undeniable fact that the school and students enrolled or incoming should lean into. We are a part of the broader University of Oxford – an institution 220 years older than the founding of the Aztec empire, 350 years older than the Gutenberg printing press, and only 42 years younger than the Greek Orthodox church which split from the Roman Catholic church in 1054. We are backed by amazing colleges rich with history, scholarships, and alumni networks that other business schools can only dream about – incoming students lean into your college network.

Third, other schools are focused on building huge alumni bases and top salaries in a play for the rankings and to make up for what Oxford has and they lack. They recruit students who are sponsored by their consulting firms in large numbers and often they lack the ethnic, cultural, or gender diversity let alone the diversity of industry we have at SBS. In my section we have your standard 3Ms of an MBA (Mormon/Military, Male, McKinsey) but we also have leaders from Teach For America (a huge feeder into Google and other large Tech firms), master’s students in Data & Analytics, Mechanical Engineers, high-fashion experts, social entrepreneurs who built schools in Africa, and quite possibly a handful future Heads of State. SBS chooses to (potentially) sacrifice the rankings in favor of a more diverse student population and I feel that the discussion, and our global network is far superior to other schools because of it.

Lastly, we are in the process of rapidly changing things but that takes time. We are going to on-board students differently, we have tapped a new careers director (announcement forthcoming) and are now looking at a replacement for the MBA director role that was vacated this past week. We have quadrupled the number of marketing electives this year and are poised to propel a new generation of digital-first marketers into Brand Manager roles at major firms. We hired a new careers lead for Social Impact and are looking at hiring another for Technology as well.

Each day as class Rep I sit in one meeting or another with faculty or administration; day-in day-out I see how the sausage is made. Has the school messed up in a few areas? Definitely although they may not admit it. Do the operations and communications need tuning and improvement? Absolutely, which is just one reason why Dina Dommett was hired 9 months ago and you can see the improvement she has been. Does the school know where their challenges lay and how they are going to address them? Mostly (and where they aren’t its more because of bandwidth, not institutional inertia). Is this a perfect school? No. Is HBS? Wharton? Kellogg? LBS? – In talking with my friends at those schools they have similar complaints across the board. Can we be a much better school? Yes, and I have complete confidence in the long-term value of an Oxford MBA from SBS. This degree is going to be immensely valuable – despite what the FT rankings might lead you to believe.

 

As always if you want to talk about any of this reach out to me (a few incoming students already have) – email: blog@davidbbaker.com and I’ll get to you as soon as I finish a couple of assignments!

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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 28 Feb 2016, 16:01
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FROM mybjourney - Current Student: Pause. Breathe. Resume.
6 weeks down Hilary and I am convinced why they call it Hell-ary. The term is a constant assault on the senses. As I write this post, my planner stares at me with reminders of  9 assignments that turn in the next four weeks. No longer can I use stunts from my undergrad days where I dunk in copious amount of caffeine a night before the deadline to pull an all nighter and manage to turn in my submissions on time.

We got our marks for three core courses from Michaelmas, including the GOTO module. Pleased to find out that I managed a distinction in two. Unless you’re someone who’s rigorously aiming for the Dean’s list, a reasonable amount of effort and preparation will ensure a decent performance in the subjects. Oxford average is around 62, and while reaching the distinction mark of 70 needs extra hard work, 50 or less means below the passing threshold. Keeping consistent with the course work and submissions is good enough to keep one afloat. One classmate put it brilliantly for me over dinner, this program is like a treadmill – you need to keep up with the pace else it doesn’t take much to fall off the grid.

The course is intense, the and there are just so many interesting events and activities happening all the time in the school and outside, that it is impossible not to fret on what you’re missing out on at any given moment. It is easy to slip into the abyss of being at a place and wanting to be at 5 other places that you’d rather be. FOMO is a real thing.

I often find myself in situations where it gets overwhelming for me to prioritise my tasks and plan my schedule. I have begun to relentlessly use a pocket dairy for jotting down every single thing that I need to do and calendar to block time for any activity that I know is happening around me. Going back to them every now and then helps me plan my day ahead and also reflect on what all I have done.

All said and done, it is essential to keep reminding oneself that there is much more to this one year at the city of dreaming spires than worrying about exams and assignments and jobs and unending social events. When the stress seems to be piling up and you see yourself slowly yielding to the pressure, pause and focus on the moment you are in and not the ones you’re missing. Realise that you cannot do everything and every one around you is scrambling through the same , if you look beyond their apparent comfortably floating selves.

I make it a point to take one hour out every Sunday for my yoga sessions, where I am able to switch off from all the chaos around me and declutter my head. It helps me to bring my focus back to the moment I am in and concentrate on breath, which is a liberating feeling.

Find that one activity, whatever it may be, that helps you to pause breathe and recharge before you get back for the next lecture….or assignment…..or a bop!

 

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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 16 Apr 2016, 13:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Digital Empire State of Mind – The NYC Elective
This week I had an elective in NYC getting an incredible look into the entire digital media landscape. From brands like L’Oreal, The Met, and New York City Hall to publishers like Mashable and the New York Times to agencies like WPP and FCB. Having worked ont he technology side at Google I knew some of this but listening to how each company and each segment of the industry is looking at the future of marketing I had a couple of insights and several great quotes. While you can’t distill an experience like this into a blog post, for those who couldn’t make it on the trip or those who may look to do it in the future (I highly recommend it btw) here are the top 10 things I learned about the Future of Marketing.Image

1. “Big Data is like sex in High School. Everyone is talking about it but no one is really doing it. Those that are doing it, definitely aren’t good at it.” – We have moved past the era of “big data” and into the era of insight, however not everyone is there yet.

2. Customer data is infinitely more valuable than the product you are selling them that grants you this data. An insurance company is looking at giving away free insurance in order to get customer data they can sell instead because quality consumer data commands that much value.

3. Mashable (the tech publisher) is on the verge of a massive shift into a data company. They have a new product called Velocity that crawls the web and can predict the lifespan of a newscycle, how many people would share a piece of content, and what themes are reflected in the data zeitgeist. They are automatically helping provide insight not into customer data but into the media we all consume.

4. Native advertising is on the rise, even at the last bastion of journalism, the New York Times. It looks and feels like a news article with only a small disclaimer letting you know its been bought and paid for. While it feels slimy, native advertising is helping fund the work of 11,000 journalists and letting them do good work that needs to be done. While I have many issues with native advertising, it may be worth looking at early soap operas as a comparison point. After all, soap operas were content funded by soap companies.

5. “Advertising is made by creative people who hate business … approved by business people who hate creativity … and watched by ordinary people who hate advertising.” – No single quote has summed up the difficulty and friction in marketing and advertising better.

6. In order for great ad campaigns to happen the people in the room have to be empowered to say YES, not just be able to say no, because the greatest risk of all is taking no risk at all. Far too many brand managers focus on small incremental wins which are mediocre but safe. They treat these wins like buying an IBM – No body every got fired for buying an IBM after all. Brand managers need to be empowered by CMOs to say yes if the CMO isn’t making the call herself.

7. Ads can no longer simply sell their product, in today’s fragmented media landscape ads have to sell themselves as well by adding value. Ads add value by enlightening, entertaining, educating, engaging, or simply giving. Ads like “Like a Girl“, “Shadow Wifi“, “Get Rid of Cable” and “Colorblind“.

8. Great ads provide value because they tell a story. We heard two great quotes on storytelling that are worth sharing and keeping close to your heart as you present, work in marketing, or even as you communicate in your daily life.

“If history was taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

“Storytelling will die when the world is perfect.”

9. There are 3 questions all ad-men should make: 1. Would the idea move you? 2. Would it make a difference in the world (on any scale)? 3. Would it change people’s behavior? – If an ad can do these three things then fund it because it can be a great ad. If it doesn’t, go back to the whiteboard and keep trying.

10. “You can’t Science your way to Magic” – There is a struggle between the use of massive data to improve performance one optimization at a time vs using powerful creative that resonates with everyone. When you see Dove’s Inner Beauty campaign that wasn’t a result of “Science” but because of great storytelling and powerful, even magical creative. Its not something you can perfect in a lab, but something that takes a bit of time and appetite for risk to pull off. You can start on a smaller scale and work up to something that big to hedge your risk, but at the end of the day you can’t science your way to magic no mater how hard you try.

This trip was a wonderful experience as not only did we visit these companies we met with Alumni, spent time with MBAs, and had the chance to go to the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race dinner where we heard from New York Times columnist and Oxonian Nicholas Cristoff. He gave a stirring speech with a handful of gems, but the biggest take away was that no-matter where we go as Oxonians we will inevitably hear someone say “me too, what college are you from?” As Oxonians we have won the educational and alumni network lottery and with that comes a great responsibility. We get to have amazing experiences like this trip that almost no-one else can get to do and that is worth reflecting on.

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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 Apr 2016, 21:01
FROM FarhanC - Current Student: Exams, Interview, and Quitting!!!!
After an amazing trip to Spain and France, coming back to Oxford I had lots to look forward to. I will be interviewing with 3 target companies and had 2 exams within 2 weeks of vacation. I was really thankful for the peer lecture by a student for Technology and Operations. Some of my friends tried helping me for business finance as I was occupied with a presentation I had to submit to a prospective employer a day before business finance exam. I am hoping for the best after the exams.

The careers team helps us with aligning our mock interviews before real interviews. These interviews are helpful as we get practice by industry experts. I am looking forward to my Mock interviews next week.

96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE
Taking mindfulness practice further, I along with a couple of friends are quitting smoking. Three of us decided to not smoke and keep a tab on each other. I have also downloaded an app that would help me quit smoking http://smokefreediary.com . I am thankful that I am in a company which will help me curb down on my harmful addiction. I have 340 classmates with varied expertise and motivations. I just had to find few with common goals. It is not difficult to find like-minded and diverse people. Although an oxymoron this statement will be understood by all Oxonians. I remember before coming to Oxford, I had a discussion with one of my future classmates that this year is going to be a year of change. This year is definitely a life changing experience.
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 17 Apr 2016, 21:01
FROM FarhanC - Current Student: 10 Things I learned from Digital Elective in New York
“This elective will be most relevant to learn innovative methodologies in digital marketing in a place which is the origin for major marketing companies.”

This was the crux of my application for the New York city digital elective held by Saïd Business school for Oxford MBA 2015-16. Let me jump right in with ten hashtags that sum up my learning from the elective and measures the outcomes of this elective against my initial expectations.

#digitaltransformation
CDO at New York’s mayor’s office spoke about digital transformation that has helped parents and children in New York for a smooth Pre-K admission process. The arduous process of downloading, printing and faxing application forms was solved by building a simple app.
From NYC’s CDO to The MET’s CDO who gave us tips on using Instagram and a personal tour of The MET which helped us understand how digital transformation can be used to ensure a museum’s vision of making 5000 years of art available for everyone to enjoy and experience.

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#techwilldrivemedia
All major media companies that we visited from Mashable to New York Times are working on having a unique stack. Mashable gave us a glimpse of Velocity that blew our minds. The New York Times R&D lab that has DELTA which visualizes reader activity in real time impressed us more than the view from The New York Times window. Just to give you a glimpse of the view.



#Newwaystoengage
Engaging customers at a particular touch point such as a store front, end of a remote control, the fine print of a newspaper or the blaring sounds of radio is a thing of past. Companies expect marketers to think beyond touch points and engage customers in new and innovative ways. #BORNANDMADE from Carol Daughter was one of the engagement campaigns that we understood at L’oreal’s New York’s office.

#Buzzwords
Native advertising, Programmatic Buying, DBM, UGC Widgets, CPL, CPM, CPE, Value Proposition, agile marketing, and I could go on. I learned and understood many new words that are used in the digital marketing context.

#datadatadata
Customer data is valuable but without context, marketers cannot use this data to gather the insight which is relevant for marketing strategies.
The equation to remember from our visit to WPP’s office:
DATA + CONTEXT = INSIGHT
To further authenticate this belief at FCB’s office we heard “Data is only as good as what you do with it.”

#KPI’s
As we interacted with agencies and some of the potential clients for these agencies, we witnessed a disconnect for KPI’s in digital. What should be measured? How many parameters are enough? Agencies are continuously educating clients. Clients are trying to understand their consumer behavior online which is very erratic. The sweet spot of measurements is still undefined but everybody loves numbers.

#lookwithin
“Internal change that organization has to go through to get to external change is more difficult”. Although I heard this quote at Interbrand’s office while learning more about FEDEX office origin, I also witnessed the significance of this quote while visiting The MET. All digital strategies would require more internal alignment to achieve external digital goals.

#onceuponatime
Storytelling does not belong to a brand or a marketer. In today’s digital world Brand is co-owned by the users and they tell your stories online. Companies have to think of different ways to tell stories. User created content, Native advertising, Story Mining are different ways in which stories can be told or obtained. A brand needs to understand it’s once upon a time.

#integration
How important is it to integrate the stories on different platforms? At one end we learned about how marketing team has started calling themselves as Integrated Marketing and at the other end of spectrum we heard creative saying every story should be unique irrespective of the platform. Integration might kill the story. A balance of integration and story telling is what digital platforms need today

#Humangoals
FCB creative team summed it up very well for us. “Today everything is more exciting because you can dream bigger.” With technology we should remember the human goals and the most important rule for marketer should be that “Work is authentic to the brand”

96 Normal 0 false false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE
These 10 takeaways were from the talks and interactions with various companies. There is a whole list of takeaways because of the amazing company of Oxford MBA’s, Our Professors and also the support staff. It’s the community that enhances any learning and I am glad that I am part of such an amazing community.
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New post 26 Apr 2016, 12:01
FROM Whiplasher - Current Student: Thoughts on Uber’s Surge Pricing
A few weeks ago, the following tweet popped up in my timeline.

thanks @Uber_Mumbai for showing me what #daylightrobbery means!I know I have a choice not to use it! Please RT #psa pic.twitter.com/llyqsggIxT

— Swathi Rishi (@Swathirishi) June 15, 2015

By now, everyone is probably familiar with the mechanics of Uber’s ‘surge pricing’. When the demand for taxis increases, the price of a taxi ride spikes. The company claims that higher prices encourage more drivers to get on the road. It also rations taxi usage by ensuring that only those who really need the taxi immediately and are thus willing to pay higher prices, continue to use it while others wait for the demand and supply to balance each other out.

The economic principles behind surge pricing are widely accepted by economists, which begs the following question – why don’t more companies adopt this pricing model to boost revenue? The answer as Megan Mcardle points out is that raising prices during periods of high demand is usually very unpopular with consumers who feel like they are being exploited. This is reflected in the sentiment behind the tweet at the top of this post. This negatively impacts the reputation of the brand and thus companies will usually forgo the short term boost in revenue in order to prevent the long term loss of reputation. Uber itself has faced tremendous criticism when it has (automatically) raised prices during natural disasters or emergencies.

So why does Uber unabashedly continue to persist with its aggressive surge pricing algorithm? I believe that one of the reasons is that its business model enables it to use it as a competitive advantage. Uber is a platform business, with taxi drivers on one side of the platform and taxi riders on the other. Most businesses fight over customers, but platform businesses have to fight over the suppliers (taxi drivers) as well. As Ben Thompson points out in this brilliant article, the fight over drivers is much more consequential than the one over riders, as having more drivers will enable Uber to lower the average wait time for a rider, which will attract riders to the service. The wait time is of course directly related to the number of available taxis on the road, which explains the mad rush to sign up drivers.

So how do you get drivers to sign up, especially when they have a choice between competing services? Like most other humans, drivers too will choose the company that they think will enable them to earn the most. Now read the tweet at the top of this post one last time, but this time, put yourself in a taxi driver’s shoes. Would you prefer to work for a company that paid you a base rate that remained constant at all times or one that gets raised aggressively during periods of high demand? The choice should be apparent, which explains why Ola was forced to abandon its initial stable pricing model and introduce peak pricing earlier this year.

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FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: From Texas to London
When I was in 8th grade I moved from Utah to Texas mid-year and in my class (English) I walked into the class taking a test. My teacher handed me the book The Outsiders and told me to read it rather than take the test with the class. I love reading and when everyone had finished I was still reading along lost in the book. I was brought back to reality by my teacher’s voice saying “David, put your book up.”

I raised my book in the air.

“David, put your book up!” she said again more forcefully

I raised my book higher in the air, stretching my arm all the way up.

“David, don’t be a smart alec, put your book under your chair, now!”

I out my book underneath my chair and (stupidly) asked “Why didn’t you ask that in the first place?” As it turns out, in the South “put it up” means “put it away.”

At 13 years old, I had moved to basically a foreign country. I faced my first frustrations with new dialects and over the next 4 years would come to learn an entirely new culture which included; playing High School Football, southern dating, abstinence-only education, and Baptist Rock concerts. This was my first taste at a new culture outside of my Utah bubble and it took me this long to realize that despite my embarrassment that day, I have been hooked on experiencing new cultures.

I moved to DC and dove into a city with Southern efficiency and Northern hospitality. I lived in San Francisco and had my mind changed forever by my first visit to the Castro. I moved to Ann Arbor and got a feel for Big 10 college football in the Big House. Finally when choosing my MBA program I picked Oxford because it would be an amazing experience in a new culture. Both British culture and Oxford prestigious culture and it has been amazing.

That’s why I’m not surprised when I visited the States again recently that I felt the need to keep moving forward and keep pushing to explore other cultures. This is one of the biggest reasons why I am looking forward to working in London this summer and possibly ending up working in London and travelling across Europe when I am able.

Being able to experience new customs, new cultures, to try new street food, see new sights, hear new stories, make new embarrassing mistakes, and see more earth is a key goal of mine. Its why I’m focusing my job search on London and really shifting my goals in life to be able to take advantage of travel whenever I can.

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New post 29 May 2016, 13:01
FROM Whiplasher - Current Student: Latest Updates
It’s been a really long time since I last posted but I promise to post more regularly (at least once a month) from now. I began the Oxford Comma once I began my MBA at the Said School of Business, Oxford. My main motivation was to provide the information that I had found missing when I was an applicant and I also wanted to improve my writing. However, once I left, there wasn’t anything I could add to the blog and more than a year has passed since I last posted.

After I graduated, I was looking for Product Management roles and I started a new blog to catalogue my experiences learning about the role. However, once I got a job, that blog started to be neglected as well. I intend to make more PM and career themes posts but I didn’t really want to maintain two separate blogs. In addition, I also wanted a blog to share my travel experiences and other musings.

Long story short, I plan to convert The Oxford Comma into my personal blog and make posts from all the aforementioned categories here. I have already merged all the posts from my PM blog into this blog. I plan to rename the blog name and domain accordingly.

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New post 29 May 2016, 17:01
FROM mybjourney - Current Student: Random admissions advice
I may have spoken to over 50+ Said applicants over the course of my year, through various channels. I’ve been assigned as mentor to two incoming students. A few classmates and I volunteered to do a Q&A panel with new admits at the Experience Weekends and I also got involved with the admissions office this April to hold a meet up with incoming students at Bangalore when I was in India for our career trek. My classmates and I have been asked nearly the same queries every time, and having being in the same position a year back, the anticipation is understandable and expected.

For the benefit of others who may still are probably still seeking out advice, I am posting a few things which have been most commonly asked a few thrown in from the back of my head. Feel free to write in the comments or reach out to me over Facebook / LinkedIn / Email if you need help with anything specific:

  • College selection: Every admit gets a college, sooner or later. Do not sweat if you are rejected from the college of your first choice. I am told this year the procedure is a bit different from last time. My batchmates were approached for their next preference, with suggestions on which colleges had spots for MBAs still left. This year upon rejection from first preferred college, the University puts you in a common pool and assigns you a college on their own. I cannot think of a reason for this change, apart from making the process tad easier for them operationally. However, be assured that once you are admitted to the B School, there is no way you will not end up in one of the colleges.
  • Which college to go for: While colleges make up for an important part of the Oxford experience, in my personal view choosing a college is not as much a crucial factor as it is for the undergrads. For an MBA the involvement with their college varies individually and thus their motivation for choosing their college. While a few may have showed up at their college only during matriculation formalities, there are many in my batch who are part of their college rowing teams or their college MCR ( Middle Common Room, for the postgrads ) committee. For the rest of colleges are a great way to interact with the wider Oxford community and get involved socially through formal dinners, bops, guest lectures etc.
Unless there is something absolutely specific you want out of your college, you cannot go wrong with your choice. If you fancy a Harry Potter / Tolkein -ish experience, choose one of the older colleges – Christ Church, Merton, Exeter, New College etc. GTC and St Hugh’s accept the maximum MBAs (120+ combined), while Regents Park has two MBAs this year. Go for Brasenose / St. Peters / Worchester or the likes if you prefer a college closer to  the B School or GTC which has an off site accommodation ( RAC ) right across the school. I chose GTC as I wanted to stay at RAC, and I go to the college about once or twice a week for my Yoga classes, for formal dinners and to use their library.

  • Books: At the beginning of each term, the professor of each subject uploads the reading list on the Weblearn portal. There are recommended books in addition to the cases and papers that one needs to pre-read in preparation for a class (mandatory for CPA subjects but recommended to read nevertheless to benefit from the class discussions). Not all students end up buying or studying from the books and manage with course slides and notes or refer to books in the libraries. However, towards the exam time it gets increasingly difficult to find a free book in the shelves. My college GTC’s library is well stocked up with management books and lends for three weeks ( Sainsbury library in the school lends for two days ).I had bought a few core books and referred them occasionally over the year and for my assignments. Happy to sell them to an incoming student for a discount. Feel free to contact me if interested.
  • Private accommodation: Good time to start looking is towards later half of June / beginning of July. It is suggested to try and take a private tour of the place before signing the lease, or ask someone to do it on your behalf. Many times the accommodation turns out different from what is expected / appears in the pictures and description. Your college should help you in securing a letter for tax exemption from the council. For incoming batch of 2016/17 – make use of the Google doc prepared by my batch and reach out to people already living in private accommodations for specific advice.
  • No, we don’t wear formals to classes every day. Only during the first few days of the Launch to feel business-y enough upon arrival. And on days when there is a company presentation right after class. And then of course, certain days when we find ourselves up for some #ItsAnOxfordThing experience and decide to dress up fancy to the class with prosecco for everyone.
  • If you are targeting Banking or Management Consulting jobs, be prepared to apply soon after arriving here as their recruitment cycles are usually quite early on in the year. It is good to have a Plan B in case you do not make the cut. For your own good, have an idea of what do you want to do with your life and how do you plan to use your time here to achieve that. It is fine if you are clueless yet, a lot of students figure out their calling over the year or even change their post MBA plans they had initially made for themselves. Make good use of the time here to look within and understand what do you really want to do.
  • For the Indians – there are plenty of Indian restaurants with decent Indian food ( for better food go to London / Wembley / Southall ) and stores with Indian groceries. Nearly every thing is available in Oxford. Tell your moms not to panic. Perhaps carry a pressure cooker if you will. But really, do not come to Oxford only to look for Indian food all the time, defeats the purpose of immersing yourself in an international experience. Else befriend the guy from Currydoor and Dosa Park opposite SBS. Or better learn how to cook.
  • MBATs are fun. A lot of fun. Try not to miss.
I’ll write more soon. For now, I am off to bed before it dawns upon me that fourth last week of my MBA course is barely 6 hours away. Yikes.

 

 

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FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Overcoming Obstacles at Oxford
Throughout the year, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how to motivate myself, stay motivated, and when faced with obstacles, overcome them. I’ve seen this lesson in almost every book I’ve read and I’ve seen it play over and over again throughout my lessons in and out of the MBA program. When I graduate from the Oxford MBA program I’ll have learned about Finance, Leadership, Responsible Business, Marketing Analytics, and so many more core academic lessons. I’ll have spent a year working as an elected representative of my class pushing for various changes and improvements to the school. I’ll have met amazing people who have become some of my best friends and one of my most influential networks moving forward in life. And I’ll have explored the magical place that is Oxford. I’m sad to see it go. However, the greatest lesson I’ll have learned has been the practice and ability to look at my challenge and know that there is a way around, through, over, or under it.

To that effect, here are 9 books I’ve read this year and the top-line quotes or lessons about using the obstacles life gives you to propel yourself forward. (10-min read time)

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday (90 Seconds)

Watching the English by Kate Fox (30 Seconds)

Drive by Daniel Pink (50 Seconds)

Give and Take by Adam M. Grant (60 Seconds)

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder By Nicholas Taleb (40 Seconds)

Autumn Lightning: The Education of an American Samurai by Dave Lowry (40 Seconds)

Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card (30 Seconds)

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card (10 Seconds)

The Road to Character by David Brooks (130 Seconds)



The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday (90 Seconds)

This book is the Number 1 book I read this year as it has had a profound impact on how I examined the world and challenges I faced. I encourage you to read the entire thing, but if you only have time for a few nuggets, here they are”

– “As it turns out, this is one thing all great men and women of history have in common. Like oxygen to a fire, obstacles became fuel for the blaze that was their ambition. Nothing could stop them, they were (and continue to be) impossible to discourage or contain. Every impediment only served to make the inferno within them burn with greater ferocity.”

– “Psychologists call it adversarial growth and post-traumatic growth. ‘That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger’ is not a cliché but fact.

The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”

– “No one is saying you can’t take a minute to think, Dammit, this sucks. By all means, vent. Exhale. Take stock. Just don’t take too long. Because you have to get back to work. Because each obstacle we overcome makes us stronger for the next one.”

Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behavior by Kate Fox (30 Seconds)

Kate Fox’s comprehensive guide is a critical read for anyone moving to the UK. The life lessons here have been instrumental in helping me remove my foot from my mouth on several occasions. This conversational point is especially poignant to remember:

“Participants in moaning rituals [people complaining about things] do not want to be given reasonable advice on how to solve their problems: they want to enjoy moaning about them. Reasonable advice is therefore, quite reasonably, forbidden.”

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (50 Seconds)

Dan Pink’s book about self-motivation is a great read for those who need a swift kick in the butt to motivate you to preserver, to learn how to have grit and find your purpose. This bit from Part 3 was especially helpful as I prepared for my Oxford MBA.

– “As you contemplate your purpose, begin with the big question: What’s your sentence? … then keep asking a small question.”

– “Here’s something you can do to keep yourself motivated. At the end of each day, ask yourself whether you were better today than you were yesterday. Did you do more? Did you do it well? … Reminding yourself that you don’t need to be a master by day three is the best way of ensuring you will be one by day three thousand. So before you go to sleep each night, ask yourself the small question: Was I a little better today than yesterday?”



Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M. Grant (60 Seconds)

Adam Grant’s book was a good read as I tried to focus on managing my energy. This section in Chapter 6 resonated with work my managers had done at Google.

“Seeing impact can reduce the burnout of givers and motivate others to give, some organizations have designed initiatives to connect employees to the impact of their products and services. … At Medtronic, employees across the company— from engineers to salespeople— pay visits to hospitals to see their medical technologies benefiting patients. “When they’re exhausted,” former Medtronic CEO Bill George told me, “it’s very important that they get out there and see procedures. They can see their impact on patients, which reminds them that they’re here to restore people to full life and health.” Medtronic also holds an annual party for the entire company, more than thirty thousand employees, at which six patients are invited to share their stories about how the company’s products have changed their lives. When they see for the first time how much their work can matter, many employees break down into tears.”

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder By Nicholas Taleb (40 Seconds)

This book by Nicholas Taleb works off the principle that there are three classifications of things. Fragile (things that break when pressure is applied), Resilient (Things that survive and adapt to pressure), Antifragile (Things that, when pressure is applied, grow). He uses the myth of the Hydra to explain AntiFragile because when a Hydra’s head is cut off – two grow back. Humans have the ability to be AntiFragile and this book relates back to The Obstacle is the Way discussed earlier. In a snippet, here is a key point.

“Consider how people train in weightlifting: the body overshoots in response to exposures and overprepares (up to the point of biological limit, of course). This is how bodies get stronger.”

Autumn Lightning: The Education of an American Samurai by Dave Lowry (40 Seconds)

This book by Sensei Dave Lowry details his training as a Samurai starting as an American kid in the 70’s while explaining the warrior culture of feudal Japan. One main theme throughout the book is that a true warrior dedicates himself to both taking live and giving life.

“The transformation of the sword in the bugeisha’s hands from a weapon that takes life to one that grants it is a long and arduous process. The process cannot even be attempted without an immersion into the fundamentals of swordsmanship that force an exponent to come face to face with an opponent often enough so that eventually, it is hoped by his sensei, he will come to face himself.”

Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card (30 Seconds)

Great lessons can be learned from fiction and this lesson on leadership from the main character Bean is key to high-level management of teams.

“If you give orders and explain nothing, you might get obedience, but you’ll get no creativity. If you tell them your purpose, then when your original plan is shown to be faulty, they’ll find another way to achieve your goal. Explaining to your men doesn’t weaken their respect for you, it proves your respect for them.”

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card (10 Seconds)

Another great fiction example from Orson Scott Card that lends itself well to the philosophy of Stoicism learned from The Obstacle is the Way.

“Obstacles? Men like you don’t have obstacles. Just stepping stones.”

The Road to Character by David Brooks (130 Seconds)

David Brook’s book is a profound anthologies of moral character that is worth a much deeper dive and is probably the number two book I’d recommend. The book ends with the final passage here which is a constant reminder to be better each day.

“The good news of this book is that it is okay to be flawed, since everyone is. Sin and limitation are woven through our lives. We are all stumblers, and the beauty and meaning of life are in the stumbling— in recognizing the stumbling and trying to become more graceful as the years go by.

The stumbler scuffs through life, a little off balance here and there, sometimes lurching, sometimes falling to her knees. But the stumbler faces her imperfect nature, her mistakes and weaknesses, with unvarnished honesty, with the opposite of squeamishness. She is sometimes ashamed of the perversities in her nature— the selfishness, the self-deceit, the occasional desire to put lower loves above higher ones.

But humility offers self-understanding. When we acknowledge that we screw up, and feel the gravity of our limitations, we find ourselves challenged and stretched with a serious foe to overcome and transcend.

The stumbler is made whole by this struggle. Each weakness becomes a chance to wage a campaign that organizes and gives meaning to life and makes you a better person. We lean on each other as we struggle against sin. We depend on each other for the forgiveness of sin. The stumbler has an outstretched arm, ready to receive and offer care. He is vulnerable enough to need affection and is generous enough to give affection at full volume. If we were without sin, we could be solitary Atlases, but the stumbler requires a community. His friends are there with conversation and advice. His ancestors have left him diverse models that he can emulate and measure himself by.

From the smallness of her own life, the stumbler commits herself to ideas and faiths that are nobler than any individual ever could be. She doesn’t always live up to her convictions or follow her resolutions. But she repents and is redeemed and tries again, a process that gives dignity to her failing. The victories follow the same arc: from defeat to recognition to redemption. Down into the valley of vision and then up into the highlands of attachment. The humble path to the beautiful life.

Each struggle leaves a residue. A person who has gone through these struggles seems more substantial and deep. And by a magic alchemy these victories turn weakness into joy. The stumbler doesn’t aim for joy. Joy is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.”

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New post 12 Jun 2016, 09:01
FROM Whiplasher - Current Student: My average work day at Freshdesk
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A question that one can always expect from a prospective Product Manager is – so what’s an average day like?  This post is my attempt at answering this question.

7:00 AM: The alarm goes off and I get out of bed half an hour later.

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Hit the gym to workout. I try to workout three times a week. If I’m not working out, I go out for a walk and get some physical activity before it gets really hot.

10:00 AM: Leave for work. I don’t have a car, so I call for an Uber or Ola (Ola is the Indian competitor to Uber. It isn’t as cheap as Uber, but the sedan class of cars have wifi, which allows me to check emails while I ride to work. I live around 5km (3 miles) and it usually takes me about 20 minutes to get to work.

10:30 AM – 12:00 AM: I reach work and grab a cup of tea and check my emails, Twitter, and check my to do list for the day. This is not the most productive time of the day for me, so I try to keep it for light/shallow work such as reviewing the roadmap, collecting metrics, making notes etc.

12:00 AM – 2:00 PM: At 12, my team has our daily standup where we talk about what we did yesterday and what we plan to do today. Along with the PMs and engineers, we also have the PMM and QA attend this meeting. The QA at Freshdesk is organised as a functional unit i.e there is one QA team across the company and involving them in the standup is a great way to ensure that there are no communication gaps. Post standup is usually a productive time for me and I try to avoid meetings and distractions.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: I have a late lunch. Most days, I will head over to our cafeteria for the (free) lunch, but there is a food court downstairs with additional options that I will head to once a week. After lunch,  a fellow PM and I go for a quick walk. On my return, I usually spend a few minutes reading the day’s newspaper.

3:00 PM – 5:00PM: I try to keep most meetings in this time period as most people in the office are usually present at this time. Most days I usually spend 1-2 hours in meetings.

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: This is another productive block of time for me, so I will use it for work that requires my full attention such as research, PRDs etc. Right now, I’m helping write the technical documentation for the APIs and the app framework.

7:30 PM: I spend the last few minutes of the day tying up loose ends and then I leave work at around 7:30 or so and I reach home by 8.

8:00 – 11:00 PM: At home, I cook dinner and relax. I will watch TV, play games, or do read interesting articles online. Occasionally (1 time a week), I will have a few small things from work to take care of, but most days are free.

11:00 PM: I turn off all screens at this time. I had pretty bad insomnia that improved after I  started limiting my caffeine and screen time, so I try to be disciplined about this. I will usually read a book until I feel sleepy. Right now I am reading “The hard thing about hard things” by Ben Horowitz and I will post my thoughts soon. I usually turn the lights off before 12.

Summary: I used to be really bad at answering the average day question when I first began working. This was because there was no average day – I was overloaded and did whatever came up. This resulted in me focussing a lot on what Cal Newport calls “shallow work” such as answering emails or solving support tickets. However, the deep work (research, PRDs) did not get enough attention. Recently, I have gotten better at recognising my productive times during the day and reserving them for work that adds the highest value.

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Location: United States
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New post 20 Jun 2016, 11:01
FROM Whiplasher - Current Student: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
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This highly influential bestseller was first published over 25 years ago. I had wanted to read this book for a long time and  I finally got around to it last month. While the book can be applied to both personal and professional goals, I read and interpreted it mostly from a professional viewpoint.

The following three goals, the first three in fact struck a chord with me and I have detailed them below

Be Proactive

I was a very reactive person early on in my career but I have learned from watching others and through experience to be more proactive. This chapter introduces the concept of circle of influence vs circle of concern. Reactive people waste time focussing on things that they cannot control (circle of concern) because it is easier to do. This is a bad habit that I occasionally fall into as well and I was reminded to stick to focussing on what I can control (circle of influence).

For example as a PM, it may be tempting to blame marketing, sales, or someone else for a missed deadline but that will achieve absolutely nothing other than alienating them. Focussing on being more efficient during scoping and development (circle of influence) would actually help in shipping features faster.

Begin with the end in mind

This chapter exhorts you to have a plan and work backwards with that plan in mind rather than mindlessly going about your daily life. For instance, rather than hope that you will be promoted to the next level after a few years at your current level, actively understand the skills that will be required and work towards acquiring them. (I did this as soon as I read this chapter and now I have a plan for the next phase of my career).

Put first things first

Having identified goals and the steps to take to achieve those goals, the third principle is about prioritising them. As a PM, there are a ton on things that you could work on. Deciding what is important is what isn’t is a decision that individuals must actively take in order to become effective. This chapter also asks a question that I found quite interesting – What is the one thing that you are not doing that you could do in your personal or professional life that would have the most positive impact? In my case, I decided that the answer was to read more books and become better at networking. I am an introvert and the second goal will not come naturally, but having identified it as critical, I have made a plan to get better at it.

I did not find any of the other principles as compelling as the first three. This book is not one to be read, it is to be applied. Therefore, I highly recommend that you reserve a complete weekend for it, one day to read and another to apply the teachings to help you become a more effective person.

 

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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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Posts: 100

Kudos [?]: 31 [0], given: 14

Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Technology
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GMAT 2: 710 Q49 V37
WE: Programming (Computer Software)
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New post 27 Jun 2016, 11:01
FROM Whiplasher - Current Student: Deep Work
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Cal Newport is a computer science professor at GeorgeTown University, author, blogger and is obsessed with productivity. He writes on this topic in his popular Study Hacks blog. I was introduced to him and his work after I read an article of his in the New York Times where he argued that passion was overrated in picking a career and that it would follow in time if you focus on achieving mastery.

Deep Work is his latest book and is a summarisation of many blog posts on the importance of focus in the workplace. For the uninitiated, deep work refers to activities performed in a distraction-free state that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. By contrast, shallow work refers to tasks that can easily performed while distracted i.e email, non essential meetings etc. So why then do so many spend so much time on shallow work? The answers are some of my favourite lines in the book – a) Deep work gets you promoted while shallow work keeps you from getting fired and b) Busyness is often used incorrectly as a proxy for productivity. The second one will sting those of us (myself included) who take pride in spending the day attending meeting and always being available through chat, email and phone throughout the day.

Part 1 of the book focusses on why deep work is valuable while the second part is spent on detailing ways to get more productive. As with the last book I blogged about, this is not a book to read and move on. It’s essential to put it into practice if you agree with it and hope to benefit from it. Cal argues that focus is a skill to be practised and will not come naturally to many of us who are used to multitask endlessly. Some tips for focussing on deep work are to avoid social media and to avoid working after you leave the workplace. The most intriguing one to me was the idea of embracing boredom. Cal argues that the constant switching of tasks at the slightest hint of boredom teaches your mind to never tolerate boredom. Hence he argues against checking your smartphone when you are in a queue at a store or eating alone, instead he advises that you learn to be bored. He is also a big fan of structure and recommends planning your workday in hourly blocks.

In the past I have written about the trend especially in software firms towards open offices. Cal abhors this trend and cites research that shows that such environments made it hard to focus. This puts him at odds with those such as Steven Johnson, Facebook, Google who argue that multitasking and open offices encourage innovation. Cal suggests a compromise using a hub and spoke model for a perfect workplace. While offices need to have spaces where people regularly meet and exchange ideas (hubs), they also need private areas (spokes) to focus.

One of the critiques of the book is that the advice is much more applicable to those in academia than to those in management positions. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good advice in there and I plan to try out a few things that the book recommends and I will report back on my progress in a few months from now.

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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 Jul 2016, 06:01
FROM mybjourney - Current Student: Back to the real life
I barely remember taking decent rest in the last 60 hours. It’s been relentless with submissions, birthday celebration, exams, vacating the flat, meeting people before leaving and of course the GTC ball – well all had to be accommodated and were non negotiable. 

Hopped on to the flight to Mumbai and finally managed to grab some sleep, interspersed with a couple of movies that were too tempting to resist catching up on! 

After a day at Mumbai for induction with 11 other interns from International B schools, I am now I’m Bangalore (what are the odds that I’ll be back to the same city!) to join Aditya Birla’s e commerce firm which was launched 10 months back. 

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I’m excited and looking forward to the next two months of internship. However right now I’m still jet lagged and sleepy before a severe bout of Oxford withdrawal strikes me. 

Sigh. 

Hello, real life. 

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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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Expert advice for Oxford from Admissions Consultant blogs [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2016, 17:50
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University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2016-2017 application season:
Stage 1
Application due: September 9, 2016
Decision released: October 14, 2016
Stage 2
Application due: October 28, 2016
Decision released: December 9, 2016
Stage 3
Application due: January 6, 2017
Decision released: March 3, 2017
Stage 4
Application due: March 17, 2017
Decision released: April 28, 2017
Stage 5
Application due: May 5, 2017
Decision released: June 9, 2017
Stage 6
Application due: June 9, 2017
Decision released: July 7, 2017

Access to the online application form at Saïd will be open from August 1, 2016.  For more information, please visit the Oxford MBA admissions website.

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***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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Concentration: Marketing, Technology
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New post 26 Jul 2016, 16:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: London Daily
They say you get better at doing something by doing it. then doing it again … and again … and again, and you keep doing it until one day you look back at where you were and so see you’ve gotten better. Well I want to get better at writing and telling stories.

To that end I am going to combine a few pieces of advice and write up to 500 words each day. I’ll publish it here and if people read it and give me feedback on it, great. If not at least there is a public record to keep me to task if I fail to publish.

Years ago I read some advice on Lifehacker about how to be productive. It was your usual “not-reallly-about-productivity” advice but it included an anecdote from Jerry Seinfeld that has stayed in my head. The post discussed a conversation with the author and Jerry.

“He [Jerry] revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis

– My goal is to not break the chain.

I am a recent Graduate with a Master in Business Administration working in London as a digital strategy consultant. I have a lot of interests and a past that reflects that. My writing will be on whatever is pressing to me that day. It might be interesting to you, it might not be. Frankly I don’t care. I only care if I break the chain.

So with that in mind, stay tuned and tomorrow you’ll see your first Daily Dose of David.

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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 Jul 2016, 14:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: Best Friends
A best friend tells you when you are full of shit. She tells you ‘if you audition for American Idol, you’ll be on the blooper reel’. She also will support you when you insist on auditioning anyway.

A best friend will cheer you on when you need the encouragement to block out the haters, but he won’t simply tell you what you want to hear, he will challenge you to be better.

Over the course of my life I’ve been blessed with many best friends and they have been my rock and support. They are who I call when I’ve had a breakup, who I celebrate with when I get a promotion. They are the source of wisdom and perspective when I’ve faced difficult decisions like where to move or what new fields to look into. They help me refine the answer to the questions ‘Where am I going?’ and ‘What am I even doing with my life?’

Businesses don’t have best friends. They are surrounded on all sides by enemies so much so that they read books on war and military strategy in order to learn how to defend themselves against attack or go on the warpath themselves. I’ve spent my time on the MBA and before as an independent consultant trying to figure out why a company would hire a consulting firm.

At first I thought it was for liability protection, as in ‘if this plan fails we can blame it on the consultants and I can keep my job’. Then I thought it’s because they lack key capabilities. Both are true to an extent.

But as I’ve spent time in-house with a strategy consulting firm I think the reality is, businesses need a best friend. Someone who will tell them honestly that what they are planning is a bad idea, and if they still decide to go through with it will build a plan to succeed as best they can.

So now that I’m living in London, when I get asked the question moving forward ‘So what do you do’ I may just say that I’m business’ best friend, with all the good and bad that implies.

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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]

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New post 28 Jul 2016, 12:01
FROM Yudanashi - Current Student: London Calling
From the first time I watched Lindsay Lohan in the Parent Trap I’ve been fascinated with London. I’ve kept it under wraps for years but I’ve subtly expressed my love of London over the years. From wearing a union jack belt buckle I found in my step brother’s closet after he moved out (sorry Tommy), to my keep calm and carry on phone case that made me instant besties with a client, to my love affair with the BBC and their programming of Robot Wars as a kid to Doctor Who and Sherlock today, including sneaking off to watch Queer as Folk UK on my laptop at BYU.

So when I stepped off the plane in July 2014 to spend a week in London before meeting up with friends in Ireland I was giddy as could be. I hopped on the Tube and checked into my hotel near Buckingham Palace. I visited the British Museum, Soho, Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, and even popped up to Oxford.

That trip changed my life because I walked away from Oxford telling myself I’d be back someday and I did. I flew away from London’s Gatwick Airport headed to Dublin and I told myself that I had made it. This kid from Utah who had been kicked out of BYU, who had survived living in the middle of nowhere in Texas, whose Mom never graduated college had made it to London.

This past month I’ve woken up in ‘my London flat’, walked to the tube and chatted with Sunni my coffee guy, found a local pub, found about a dozen ways to work for when the tube breaks down. I have upped my wardrobe to fit in with the ‘London Style’. Spent Sunday’s having brunch with friends and exploring the city. I am so far from becoming a Londoner it isn’t even funny, but at the same time I am closer than I’ve ever been before.

London isn’t perfect but it has some of my favorite bits of every city. It is the political heart of the UK and (until recently) a lot of Europe in just the same way DC is. It is the financial heart like New York and has the theatre scene to back it up as well. It thrives on distinct neighborhoods just like Chicago with each one very proud of its heritage and even local football teams. It has a tech bubble in East London just like San Francisco, complete with areas I’d avoid as much as the Tenderloin.

London has parks and green spaces, public transportation with connections to 4 international airports for cheap flights to Europe. London, while it may have its risks post-brexit, represents a unique chance for me to live where I’ve dreamed of and experience the new cultures that it has to offer.

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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] 28 Jul 2016, 12:01

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