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Said (Oxford) Class of 2015 Calling all applicants!

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Re: Said (Oxford) Class of 2015 Calling all applicants! [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2014, 06:38
kyleweb wrote:
absmba wrote:
Invited for interview!
Anyone care to share their interview experience? I need all advice I can get.


I really enjoyed the interview process - although was surprised at how short it was (30mis on the dot).

The interview was fairly standard that you'd expect and focused around my broad experience, why I want to do an MBA and why I feel now is the right time for me and finally what I would contribute to Oxford. We then talked around specific parts of my experience which turned into a bit more of a debate style session (in an enjoyable way). For example we talked around why the public are nervous about anonymous information being shared as part of a big data initiative but happy to share so much on facebook. This is definitely very specific to my role and where I want to go by the way so wasnt trying to trip me up :)

The interviewer had read my pack in detail so I'd just say make sure you have refreshed yourself on it all (as it has probably been a while since you wrote it) and have examples to back up any of your answers to the standard questions.

Mine ended in an offer so hope that you are as succesful!

Good luck.


Thanks for sharing Kyleweb and congratulations on the offer. Hopefully I will be meeting you in person come this September!
interview feedback has been consistent thus far. The standard why MBA why Oxford and why you questions. These are already touched on in the application process so are we expected to reiterate our answers or come up with more reasons? I would personally chose to reaffirm what I've already said but you never know.

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Looking to Trinity term [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2014, 01:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Looking to Trinity term
The second term at Oxford is over. These days I am reviewing lessons as we have four examinations in April – Corporate Finance, Asset Pricing, Econometrics, and Economics. After the exams, my last term here, Trinity, will begin. For the last term, we can choose five elective courses, or four courses plus a thesis. It took me several weeks to finally make a decision. I enjoy my days at Said Business School so I chose five elective courses.

Last week I received two mails inviting me to the end of course ceremony and farewell dinner on 5th July. I am permitted to bring up to two guests to the ceremony and the dinner. I am not sure whether my parents will come, so I am thinking of some alternative guests. These days I wonder about graduation, and what I will do after graduation. Many of my classmates go home during Christmas and Easter vacations, but for me it’s been eight months away from home!

Since I started, I have introduced the MFE programme to students at Tsinghua University. Some have already got admitted. I feel I am making a difference in their lives! Eight months have passed but I still feel I am living the dream. I remember receiving emails last year saying “eight weeks to go”, “seven weeks to go”, and at last “one more week to go.” I still can’t believe I have been here for this long. I have studied new concepts, made friends and experienced culture. I will cherish the last three months I have in Oxford.
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Re: Said (Oxford) Class of 2015 Calling all applicants! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2014, 18:28
Hi,

I am new to this forum and applying to SBS round 5.
I was trying to find Reference letter questions for Said.
Can someone throw more light on it. I just want to make sure my the refrees I choose will be able to answer those questions.

Thanks.

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A transatlantic love affair [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2014, 03:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: A transatlantic love affair
There is something about these long-haul flights that makes me want to write my blog. I am on a transatlantic flight from San Francisco to London; at the end of a two-week MBA trek in the Silicon Valley. And this is where I had fallen in love. But, before I go on about this story I need to update you on another win by Oxford.

Two weeks ago the Oxford-Cambridge boat race was held on the banks of the Thames in London. This 100-year-old-plus sporting event started off with all the fanfare that accompanies it every year. With droves of supporters from Oxford and Cambridge and everywhere in between lining the banks, under the trees, on terraces and balconies, every pub on the route was over flowing with the different shades of blue with signs saying: “Which blue are you?” painted everywhere. My classmate Strom Uru was in the main boat wearing the Oxford blues. This Olympic medallist from New Zealand trained for six-seven hours a day, six days a week to earn his place on the blues team. To do all this on top of a rigorous MBA programme is truly phenomenal. My good mate CK Raine once asked Strom; “How do you get out of bed at 4am every morning to train for hours and hours in this weather?!” Strom’s answer was; “All I focus on is getting one leg into my tracksuit, then the rest just seems to follow”. Truly inspirational.

Now back to the race, the race starts, the crowds start cheering amongst the television cameras jostling for space and you have a very loud helicopter doing the coverage from above that’s adding to the noise. By the time the boats cross the finish line; the Oxford blues are 11 boats length ahead of Cambridge and manage their biggest victory since 1970. Like I said, Oxford plays to win!

The love story: As part of the MBA programme here at Saïd, the students can go on MBA treks to various parts of the world depending on their interests. This gives us the chance to explore businesses and career opportunities in a different geographical location.

I have always been enamoured by the start-up scene in San Francisco Bay area and wanted to explore the region. So I chose to go on the Silicon Valley trek, along with 29 other students from the business school. This student-organised trek included in its itinerary some of the leading venture capital firms in the US, start-up accelerators, investment banks, big technology companies and budding start-ups.

The minute I saw the ups and downs of the streets of San Francisco, I fell in love with the city. The trams, the cafés, Union Square, City Hall, the coast line, the parks and most importantly the SUNSHINE. As we went to visit the various firms, the young workforce, the laid-back work culture, the denims and black t-shirts all added to the charm of the city. The experiences in the valley were many, interesting, insightful and fun all at the same time. We got to hear from Greylock Partners on how they invested in Instagram just before it was taken over by Facebook. We heard from one of the earliest employees at Facebook about how the company had evolved. We had the opportunity to check-out the volleyball courts and sleeping pods in Google. We visited a start-up from New Zealand that had just set-up shop in the US. All these scoops and much more, have been the key take aways from the last two weeks.

I am sure that my other classmates returning from their treks in Nairobi, Toronto, NY, Dubai and LA had an awesome time. And I hope that you all had a very nice Easter weekend.

Originally published in the FT on the 22 April 2014
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When there is a will, there is a way [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2014, 01:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: When there is a will, there is a way
The stars were twinkling. The Milky Way vaguely shone in the direction of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s summit, seemingly out of reach but where we were supposed to ascend to in a few days.

We laid on a big rock, trembling in the cold.

“What were you doing ten years ago?”

We questioned ourselves, as we have always been doing in life.

Someone said, “Who would ever think ten years ago, that we would one day be staring at the starry sky on Kilimanjaro?”

Indeed. In life we question and we search long and hard for answers. We questioned why we wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, why we quitted our jobs to go back to school, what we’re doing the Oxford MBA for. We questioned our present and we tried to look long and hard at the murky future. There will never be a clear crystal ball filled with the right choices, yet we mustn’t be afraid to search. Sometimes we have answers; often, we do not. Most of the time we only have a vague sense of direction, much like how the stars illuminate the night skies but not direct.

Like most of the best things in life, this story started with chances and random encounters. A person had a random idea one day, mentioned it and soon a group was formed to have this exotic experience during the Easter break. If anyone ever tells you that an MBA is a life-changing experience, it is always because of the people you meet. As clichéd as it seems, you meet people who provokes your thoughts, innovates your ideas, motivate your inner desires, or resonate the beliefs that you had not dared to think of or share, in the past. For me, a person who does not have any prior trekking experience, who does not exercise regularly, and with a history of anemia, a trek to Kilimanjaro seemed impossible, but the marvelous people I met unleashed the unlimited possibilities in my life. And there during my MBA time, I joined four like-minded MBA friends to attempt my greatest challenge in life.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s highest free-standing mountain, at 5,895m above sea level. Among the world’s Seven Summits (highest seven mountains on each of the seven continents), it is considered a ‘non-technical’ one and the easiest to conquer. Yet statistically, the average success rate of conquering the summit is around 50%. The thought and basic skills of climbing over cliffs and high places, and 4-6 hours of daily trekking were both challenging to a first-time trekker like me, what more the dangers of AMS (Acute mountain sickness) and remaining physically fit for mountaineering over the six-day trek.

Throughout the trek, the scenery was diverse and interesting. The first day we went through a rain forest, the second day we trekked over a volcanic-like landscape filled with lava rocks of gradient colours. We passed through scenic valleys filled with native Kilimanjaro flora and fauna. Yet, no matter how beautiful the scenery is, life requires you to move ahead. If even one member slowed down, the whole team might not be able to make to the daily changing camp sites before sunset.

Through the hard trek, we had to motivate ourselves to keep going. Pulling from our shared experiences in Hilary Term, we recalled MBA theories of how to set the team’s trekking pace by the bottleneck, how to streamline an operation, how to make an effective trekking team, etc. In team, the trek was always full of fun. We shared our tears and joys, but sometimes we walked in silence. We each walked our own path but we all knew we were not walking alone.

But the greatest challenges remained personal. Before summit day, we rested at our final camp site (Barafu at 4,600m above sea level) for around four hours before we set off to the summit at midnight. The sky was clear, the stars shone in the night and the distant man-made lights twinkled in the land far below us. We were all in good shape – at least for the first hour. After a short while, I started to feel dizzy and was persistently short of breath. I inhaled every second, made one small step for every three breaths, and rested for every ten steps. Breathing had never been so difficult for me. To my surprise, the thought of giving up never appeared in my mind, even in such a challenging situation. The only voice in my head was saying, “Come on, you can do it” with every small step I could muster. The rest of my energy was devoted to trying to breath and following the guidance from the local guides.

After nine hours of sheer willpower and judicious help from the guides, I finally made to Stella Point on Mount Kilimanjaro, 5,685m above sea level. It was an amazing sight. Never had I viewed the world at such a height, and never had I thought that I could make this height.

In life, there might be many occasions when we doubt our capabilities or our motivations or even just a fear of the unknown. This trip taught me that if you persist, things might turn out differently. When I descended from Kilimanjaro, I kept thinking why I was doing this crazy trek in the first place. Sometimes one might not have a reason for doing it before, but the experience would gradually shape out the reason for you. Like everyone else, I do have my limitations, but I now know I have always been stronger than I thought. When there is a will, life provides you with a way.

I might not have a definite answer for my post-MBA path and other aspects of life, but now, I think I can just about manage to find my way.

Descending to the final Gate to check in at the last stop of the trek, a purplish bumper sticker on the wall of the park rangers’ office smiled at me, “Not all who wander are lost”.

 

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Spring Doctoral Conference [#permalink]

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New post 29 Apr 2014, 08:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Spring Doctoral Conference
A few weeks ago, Saïd Business School hosted its fourth annual Doctoral Conference. This conference aims to showcase and celebrate the work of our DPhil community and to facilitate the exchange of ideas between students and faculty members. Organised by Prof Thomas Noe (Director of the DPhil Programme), Dr Felix Reed-Tsochas (Associate Dean of Research), and Prof Peter Tufano (Dean of the School), it hosted lively presentations from 10 doctoral students at different stages in their studies.

The event was a clear reflection of the variety of research carried out at Saïd Business School, with topics ranging from frugal innovation to customer engagement with microblogs, from social stratification to Islamic entrepreneurship, from additive manufacturing to currency risk, or from Schumpeterian views of innovation to the importance of outliers in project management.

The award to the best presentation was for Nicholas Sabin, who introduced us to his research in microfinance. Previously working as a Kiva fellow in Sierra Leone, he has done very interesting fieldwork in this country for his DPhil, where he has mixed qualitative and network data with quantitative analysis. Nick told us about the use of social collateral in microfinance through group lending, and how the group’s structure is related to the economic performance of the loans. While prior work has suggested that the more socially connected, the more likely the group will repay its loan, he showed that the relation is actually an inverted U-shape. First, economic performance of the loan improves as cohesion increases, but there is a point where the fact of the borrowers being too close to each other actually makes default more likely.

Mehmet Ihsan Canayaz was given the best extended abstract award by a committee of Saïd Business School faculty members. Mehmet presented a working paper on the revolving door of Washington that links employees moving between public and private jobs to excess corporate returns. A fine-grained analysis of years in which ‘revolvers’ move in and out of their jobs provides empirical support to the hypothesis that public officials use their power in government to favour their future corporate employers. Mehmet also presented an economic mechanism that explains the excess performance of revolvers’ future corporate employers using the allocation of government contracts. This paper is the first to study the value of ‘hidden’ connections between revolvers and US public firms.

The day ended with a dinner at the School, which was yet another opportunity for our research community to learn about each other’s work and be aware of the connections between what might seem very different areas of focus.
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Re: Said (Oxford) Class of 2015 Calling all applicants! [#permalink]

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New post 24 May 2014, 07:52
Hello to everyone on this thread and congratulations to those who were admitted! I am a current MBA student and was active on this site until I began the program. I have had a few private messages asking me to detail my experiences at Oxford. Hence I have been maintaining a blog that prospective and incoming students may find useful. I typically update it once every two weeks.

You can find the latest post at http://oxonian2013mba.wordpress.com/201 ... -week-one/
_________________

My Oxford MBA 2013-2014 blog - http://oxonian2013mba.wordpress.com/

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How to get active in Oxford University sport clubs [#permalink]

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New post 27 May 2014, 01:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: How to get active in Oxford University sport clubs
How To Get Active In Oxford University Sport Clubs

 

When reporting from Sochi earlier this year, Mashable reporter Kurt Wagner remarked, ‘The Olympic Village has long been identified as a place overflowing with sexual tension, considering it brings together mostly young, fit, stressed out athletes from all over the world in one place;’ in order words, it was just like Oxford. Joking aside, all EMBA students are actually incredibly fit, because we are over-achievers in all aspects of life. Joking aside, there are over 100 sport clubs in Oxford to get us in shape, so the only question you have to ask yourself is how many you have time to get involved in!

 

Finding Your Sport

If there is a particular sport you are passionate about and you are still trying to decide which college to choose (see my earlier post; How To Choose Your Oxford College, LINK = http://programmes.sbsblogs.co.uk/2014/04/08/how-to-choose-your-oxford-college/), it might be worth having a look at the athletic credentials of each college to see which one is excelling in your area. This means you can really make the most of your college experience. If team sports aren’t your thing, several colleges have onsite gyms and many of those that don’t include a free membership to the run-down Oxford University Sport Centre on Iffley Road, just outside central Oxford. Either of those two scenarios might also be factors to consider when deciding which college to choose. For a complete overview of what university sport clubs there are, take a look here: http://www.sport.ox.ac.uk/student-sport/

 

Signing Up

Once you have found the club(s) you’re interested in, 1) pay the membership fee (the details are usually on their website) to show some commitment; 2) sign up to their newsletter and join their forums to be kept updated on practise dates, upcoming races, etc.; 3) email the main contact(s) listed on the website to introduce yourself, explain you’re a part time student (so they know you won’t attend very frequently), disclose your actual experience level (e.g. personal bests etc.) and ask if that’s okay – usually there is an A team (faster) and a B team (slower), and double check they got your money and have been added to the lists, etc.

 

Attending Practice

I started plotting which club met when to figure out how I could fit that around my EMBA schedule. Many clubs meet during the day, making it impossible for us to attend weekdays as we are at the school 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Some run sessions late evenings, which we can make, and most have sessions and races on weekends, which we have no excuse to not attend. I make sure I arrive at least one day before our module starts and stay one day extra, just to get in as many practice sessions as possible. E.g. when arriving on a Sunday, I would go for a run 10 a.m. with OUCCC, followed by an afternoon with OUTC, swim at 1 p.m. and then cycling at 5.30 p.m.

 

Social Activities

Being a member of a club is another opportunity for you to get to know more people outside your college and the business school. I have even listed my sport clubs on my LinkedIn profile to be discoverable by past and future members, all in the name of networking. As I’m writing this I’m on the train home from having attended the annual Oxford University Polo Club dinner, a great opportunity to get to know some people off the pitch.

 

Getting The Kit

Once you have started to get in to things I strongly encourage you to kit yourself out with the official gear from your club; most of the things can be bought here: http://www.ousportshop.com/. Other items will be sold direct via your club. It’s amazing what wearing branded Oxford clothes does for performance and sense of pride. More people will cheer you and randomers will strike up conversations to share their stories about when they used to compete for their university back in the 70s. But don’t be the prick that gets the clothes without being a member, never shows up for practice and never races for the school.

 

Competing For Oxford University

There are competitive races/games for all skill levels throughout the year, from fun runs to the prestigious inter-university (referred to as ‘varsity’) events. The top athletes gain the status of ‘Blue’, which comes from the annual boat race, where Oxford ties dark blue ribbons to its boat and Cambridge light blue to theirs. Personally I’m nowhere near that level; we have to remember we are up against 21 year olds that practice their sport 5-6 days a week. That said, I recently raced for Oxford University in a triathlon and apart from the individual winners, the university with the most number of participants also got a prize, so in that sense I was able to contribute to Oxford’s victory just by taking part!

 

 
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: Said (Oxford) Class of 2015 Calling all applicants! [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2014, 02:08
Whiplasher wrote:
Hello to everyone on this thread and congratulations to those who were admitted! I am a current MBA student and was active on this site until I began the program. I have had a few private messages asking me to detail my experiences at Oxford. Hence I have been maintaining a blog that prospective and incoming students may find useful. I typically update it once every two weeks.

You can find the latest post at http://oxonian2013mba.wordpress.com/201 ... -week-one/



Thank you for this link!

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Winnie Byanyima and her advice on how to end with income ine [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2014, 06:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Winnie Byanyima and her advice on how to end with income inequality and tax avoidance in Africa.
Last Saturday I attended the Oxford Africa Conference that was organised by several of my classmates. With a focus on ‘African Transformations’ I had heard that the schedule for the day was oriented towards African politics, economics and culture, therefore I looked forward to a quite interesting day. The fact is that interesting comes just too short to describe the event.

After learning about the challenges of African writers that live in the Diaspora, I attended a talk by Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International. Winnie talked about two issues: growing inequality and tax avoidance in Africa. She gave detailed facts and figures about

these problems, making clear that there are plenty of financial resources in Africa that could be used to solve urgent social needs but are being taken away from the system by large multinational companies. She mentioned that the money lost through tax avoidance is as high as $63bn USD and that the wealth of the richest men in the continent is larger than the GDP of several African countries. The question is: how to solve these problems? According to Mme. Byanyima, all stakeholders involved should behave differently in order to solve them. Governments should elaborate laws that prevent tax avoidance and that ensure that gains from production and trade

result in prosperity for all (an example of this is the Ghana petroleum revenue act). They should also see themselves as duty-bearers. Citizens should claim for better education, services and for the benefits they are entitled to as taxpayers. Finally, multinational companies should act responsibly and respect the basic rights of people, without taking advantage of every loophole in the system and doing things that are not allowed in countries with tougher regulations.

I was lucky enough to ask Winnie for examples of companies that were setting the pace for others and she explained that Oxfam uses a scorecard to assess the performance of companies, based on seven social and environmental impact indicators. She mentioned that Oxfam is constantly pushing and succeeding in making multinational companies more diligent in ensuring the respect for human and land rights across their supply chains. Finally, she put forward Unilever as an example where top management had made considerable efforts to ensure social and environmental responsibility across its Africa operations. This would be proof that it is not impossible for large companies to take a more responsible approach in their way of conducting business in the continent.

To sum up, there is no easy solution to end tax avoidance or income inequality in Africa (and probably in other parts of the world). However, we must be conscious that the solution requires the commitment and change in behavior of multiple actors, being the respect to basic human rights

the cornerstone of the process.
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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China and Africa: an evolving and promising relationship. [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2014, 06:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: China and Africa: an evolving and promising relationship.
One of the reasons I came to Oxford was to learn from a diversity of cultures. So far I have learnt by having friends from many countries and in a lecture about finance in emerging markets. But I had no idea of how business was done in other regions, like Africa, let alone knowing the relationship between Africa and China, which will have great impact in the future of the world economy.

After listening to Winnie Byanyima from Oxfam International at the Oxford Africa Conference, I attended a session where three researchers/experts in trade and relationships between Africa and China engaged in a rich conversation that was moderated by Prof. Eric Thun, Lecturer in Chinese Business in Saïd Business School. The sessions comprised several topics that went from macroeconomic to political aspects to microlevel perceptions of this bilateral relationship.

The panel agreed that the Africa-China relationship has shifted from commodity-based and state-level focus to multi-stakeholder and multi-actor. The levels of interaction include state, city, company and micro (individual). Firstly, the state-level relationship portrays an “ideal” scenario, based on the experience of China roughly 30 years ago, when it took measures to attract foreign investment, such as the creation of special economic zones. Secondly, at the city and company levels, there exist interests that may differ from the state level, adding layers of complexity to the relationship. Finally, and what caught my attention, were the perceptions of China at the micro level. Each expert shared their experience based on the time spent in one of three countries: Cameroon, Lesotho and South Africa. There existed the view of the Chinese entrepreneur, who used their skills for trading goods in small shops; local people usually had a positive perspective of them, since they eased their lives by bringing goods closer to their home. There also existed a positive perception of the Chinese in that they provide employment through factories or other productive activities (although not always legal ones). In contrast, the panelists also found negative perceptions associated with China, such as low product quality (sometimes using terms such as “toxic”) and to some extent a xenophobic feeling.

Regardless of the level of interaction, both parties would be better off by finding ways of creating more value through cooperative approaches. By expanding and deepening their relations in terms of skills building and training, for example, they would benefit not only their middle and long term relationships but also those with other trade partners.
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Summertime [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jun 2014, 06:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Summertime
Summertime

(if you want to hear Norah Jones’ version of Summertime while reading this, please click here)

We can now find tasty and cheap strawberries in the supermarket, which is the best sign summer has arrived in Oxford. The long days – we have daylight until 10pm – and good weather – averaging 21 C –also suggest that the academic year is coming to a close. Among the not so positive are the noisy teenagers arriving to improve their English for a few weeks, but that is the small price you pay for living in a place like Oxford; plus, I did the same when I was their age! Summer at the business school also means MBA students are frantic with their final examinations, looking for jobs, or planting the seeds of their new start-ups. But what do us doctoral students do at this time of the year?

Some of us use these coming months to do fieldwork. In my case, I have been interviewing organisations in the social finance sector here in the UK, most of them in London but also some in Oxford. Other colleagues are doing their data collection in more exotic places: Ezequiel is going to Brazil to study the outsourcing of R&D activities; Alysia is heading to my hometown Barcelona to learn about how the emergence of 3-D printing is challenging current supply chain structures; and Deborah is travelling to New York to do research on the evolution of accounting in the United States.

Summer is also when many academic conferences take place, so many of us are travelling to these events to present our papers. For example, I will fly to Rotterdam in the Netherlands for the EGOS Colloquium and others will go to the massive Academy of Management Meeting, which this year is being held in Philadelphia. These conferences are a great chance to share our research ideas and meet people from around the world interested in similar topics. For those close to the end of their DPhil, it is also the perfect venue to have job market interviews and leverage the networks they have been building in the previous years.

Finally, some of us also do visiting stages at other universities. My colleague Farzana just came back from a 2-month visit at UC Berkeley, and I will go to Stanford in September for a few months. These visits are great opportunities to learn from world-class professors, to see how research communities work in other places, and to enhance our academic networks.

So, a lot is going on for us during summertime, but do not worry we will also find time to relax and enjoy the good weather. And to eat some of those delicious strawberries, of course!
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Tim Drager’s St Gallen write up [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2014, 05:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Tim Drager’s St Gallen write up
My take home message from this Spring’s 44th St. Gallen Symposium was that young people are now part of the global conversation. The conference, a Davos-like forum that brings 600 global ‘leaders of today’ as well as 200, aged 35 and younger, ‘leaders of tomorrow’ to Switzerland, was centred on the topic of the ‘Clash of Generations’.

The challenges discussed included climate change, health security, income inequality, intergenerational mobility, and web-privacy. After much debate there was overwhelming support for greater global commitment to tackle these problems. While traditionally the younger generation have voiced frustration with their limited ability to have impact in these broad challenges, at the conference it was clear that in many regards, old and young were on the same playing field. Beyond the typical college drop-out internet moguls were 20-something policy makers, hedge-fund managers, environmental activists, media personalities, academics – the list goes on – all engaging in conversation with the leaders of today, bringing fresh new ideas to these age-old debates.

It appears that my generation, having grown up with access to the Internet, and the new career dynamic of changing jobs and sectors regularly, feel less confined by traditional institutional barriers. The consensus among the young people was that through collective effort and a commitment to innovation, we can address these global problems. As start-up costs for scalable businesses have fallen dramatically and as global communication channels enable a powerful voice to be heard all over the world, youth have the unprecedented ability to affect the world around them. Rather than just talk about these challenges, young people around the world are taking action both locally and globally and changing the way we live.

I left the conference with a renewed faith in my generation’s ability to innovate and to influence and shape the global agenda and with an understanding that the leaders of today are as excited about our potential too.

 

 

Tim Drager (@timdrager) is currently finishing the Masters in Financial Economics. Spurred by the conversations and people he met at the Symposium, he, along with some peers from Oxford, have founded The Ventured Life (www.venturedlife.com) an online magazine that features the ‘innovation generation’ – young people around the world changing the way we live. Support the project on the website.
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The grand finalé [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jun 2014, 06:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: The grand finalé
The end of term is near and that nostalgic feeling engulfs us all. All of us have just finished attending the last class of the MBA and for many of us the last classroom situation for quite some time to come.

Trinity term draws to a close and many of us reminisced about the previous year; no one seemed to be able to comprehend where the days had gone. As we had the end of term barbecue on the lawns of the school, everyone was exchanging stories, taking selfies and talking excitedly about their summer plans.

As my friends look back at the year that swept past, I look back at the past few weeks and the flurry of activity that has been happening at Saïd Business School. The past month started off with celebrating a friend’s birthday in Paris (the perks of living a two-hour train ride away). And then it was back to assignments and group work for the last time in the MBA.

Once we got that out of the way, a bunch of students headed off to Geneva on a student-organised mini-career trek to check out the career opportunities there. I was part of a group that headed to Ireland to explore opportunities in the technology space. We visited Google and PayPal as both have their EU headquarters there. We also visited NDRC in Dublin, one of the premier accelerators in Europe. We were given a tour of their facilities, the kind of assistance that the entrepreneurs are offered as well as presentations by two of their budding entrepreneurs.

We have had a line-up of interesting speakers visit the school this term and my favourite was the visit by Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter and an associate fellow at Saïd Business School. The interactive session was interestingly spiced with Biz’s dry sense of humour. Giving us insights into how it all started and talking to us about his new book and his latest venture. And then there were the boat races known as the Summer Eights Regatta (the Oxford version of dashing cars) where all the colleges compete against each other for oars and spoons.

As I continue to share the experience of being in a class with awesome people; I would like to feature Samuel Willi in this blog. This gentleman gained my attention when I was planning to take part in the University of St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland.

One of my classmates suggested that I have a chat with Sam, as he was one of the organisers of the largest student-led symposium, the St.Gallen Symposium, in the world. That streak still runs in him as a couple of weeks ago he organised the largest student-led conference on Africa at Saïd.

I asked Sam what brings him to Oxford, he says it’s the fact that the MBA is a one-year programme, the presence of the Centre for African Studies, it is the university of choice for many Rhodes Scholars from Africa and also the close proximity to London, as London is the centre for many investment activities in Africa.

I asked him why this interest in Africa. Sam says that after working for a while in the emerging markets investment division at a Swiss banking major he went off to join a start-up micro finance venture in Ghana where his ties to Africa were cemented.

He even recollects that during one of his first trips to Africa, he fell so much in love with the continent that he ended by extending his trip thrice. I asked him if it is safe to assume if that is where he will eventfully end up after the MBA. He says yes, with a smile and that is one of the reasons he chose Oxford; to form the connections and prepare himself for a longer stint in Africa.

The Africa conference at Saïd Business School had some of the biggest names in business and politics from Africa; I was wondering how difficult it would have been to convince these distinguished personalities to come to a student-led conference. Sam admits that that was the easy part of the conference – having a name like the University of Oxford associated with the conference makes it easy to convince people.

I asked him about his biggest take away from the MBA; he says that he planned his whole MBA around the Africa conference. He said the friendships he formed at the business school would come a close second and the intellectuals he met in the wider university was also an important take away. He says in this sense an MBA in Oxford is not just about business it goes beyond that.

What else is happening Oxford – it’s the summer ball season here; everyone is getting dressed up and partying through the night. BNY Mellon award season at the business school, some of the our classmates have been awarded for leadership and showing community spirit, an award was also given to the best video about MBA life in Oxford; I highly recommend watching this humorous take on our student lives.

All the MBAs are contemplating their summer options – we have a choice of doing a strategic consulting project (SCP), internship, electives or a thesis. The SCP and internship are taking my classmates all over the world – Berlin, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Mexico, India, Myanmar, Colombia, Doha, Miami (yes a summer project in Miami!!) and of course London. So safe travels everyone.
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How to conquer the student discounts [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2014, 01:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: How to conquer the student discounts
When my fellow countryman Ingvar Kamprad, the IKEA founder, was asked by a journalist how he became so rich he explained that the difficulty wasn’t choosing which big investments to make but rather spotting all the tiny saving opportunities. So once you have decided to fork out the equivalent of someone’s decent annual salary on further education in Oxfordshire you can now turn your attention to making all those tiny savings. I’m getting pretty good at this and the good news is that you too, regardless of age, can soon qualify for student discounts. This is how:

 

Get the NUS Card

The University of Oxford student card seems to only really work in Oxford. The National Union of Students (NUS) on the other hand is a confederation of 600 students’ unions that represent seven million students across the UK. To you and I that translates into discount power. They issue a card called NUS Extra which is your key to access the serious student discounts. Once you have your business school or college email address you can buy their card. They won’t check which student union you belong to, so just pick Oxford Student Union. You will also be asked how long you want the card to be valid for, 1-3 years. If you plan to be in the UK beyond the duration of your programme, pick 3 years (it will cost you £32) to enjoy student prices long after your official graduation. Get your NUS Extra card here: https://cards.nusextra.co.uk/

 

Get your ISIC Card

For those of you that regularly scour beyond the British Isles the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) Card will be useful as it is recognised by 125,000 businesses in 130 countries. Depending on where you are based you might have to apply in person; some countries let you order online (cost: £12 per year). To apply you will need a) a passport photo, b) a scanned copy of your proof of full time student status (for example, your university card, a letter from your school, official enrolment letter, etc.) and c) a scanned copy of your proof of identity (for example your passport, national identity card, driving licence, etc.). Get the ISIC card here: http://www.isic.org/get-your-card/

 

Commence Discount Discovery

Once you’ve got all your ID cards sorted you need to find the discounters selling the items you’re already buying (otherwise you won’t really be saving, despite what you might try to convince yourself). Over the past few months I’ve developed a habit of asking every time I’m about to pay for something, ‘Do you do student discounts?’ as an ad hoc analogue way of discovering savings. Recognising that we all live our lives on our smartphones, you should also get the apps for the above cards to help you discover discounts on the go. In addition, I can also recommend: https://www.myunidays.com/ and http://www.studentbeans.com/; essential websites and apps for the really dedicated savers out there. If there is something in particular you plan to buy, try Googling itemname+student discount; you will be surprised what you get back. This is how I found a white tie formal dinner outfit for £210 instead of £399.

 

5 Top Savings

As stated in the previous paragraph, the secret is finding the discounts for the things you were already spending your money on. That means that my list of top savings will probably look somewhat different to yours. Perhaps you can share your best discount discoveries in the comment section below – spread the word!



Royal Opera House

Full price tickets for £10, selected performances

Spotify

50% off the premium subscription for 12 months

McDonald’s

Buy any meal and get a free McFlurry

Amazon

5-10% off selected product categories

Apple

Up to 15% off selected items

 

 

 
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Pivot [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2014, 05:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Pivot
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 Written by Valerie Diederichs

Pivot :: “A structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth” – Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

I came to Saïd Business School in September of last year with a clear plan and I made it through the first two terms on plan, but in April, I pivoted unexpectedly.  So what was my plan, and what happened?  Well, prior to starting the MBA I had been working as an engineer in motorsport, or more precisely an aerodynamicist with the Mercedes Formula 1 team for seven years.  I was fortunate to work with a fantastic group of people in a really exciting field of engineering that I loved, but I reached the point where I wanted to be involved in the ‘bigger picture’.  So I decided to leave, learn new skills, develop and hopefully come back to F1 in an operations role.  And yet, in April my career path pivoted and this summer I will be working very hard with three of my classmates to launch an Art rental service in London called SHUFFLE.

As part of the MBA,  Saïd Business School runs an Entrepreneurial Project in the March/April break.  The aim of this project is to learn about the entrepreneurial process, and devise a business plan to be pitched to a panel made up of School Advisors and outside investors and entrepreneurs.  The first piece of advice that we were given in the build-up was to choose our team wisely; a bad team with a great idea would fail, but a great team with a bad idea had a chance of succeeding.  With no plans to become an entrepreneur, I sought a like-minded team, a team whose strategy was to work dedicatedly during the day, learn from the process, and, importantly, still make it to the pub in the evenings.  I was lucky to find George Bell, Rachael Florence and Johannes Herpich.  George is from Sydney and previously worked as an Insolvency Practitioner for PwC.  Rachael is from San Francisco and has a Tech background; she was an IT product manager at Wells Fargo and founded her own start-up.  Johannes is from Berlin and was a German Naval Officer.

At this point we still had no business idea, but I was excited to be part of a fantastic team, with diverse backgrounds and complementary skill sets.  We scheduled our first meeting at the pub, in the hope that a couple of drinks would help the creativity flow.  Rachael our resident artist proposed developing a platform that connects artists with non-traditional spaces such as cafes and pop-up venues.  Many pivots later, SHUFFLE emerged, and today is envisaged as a two-sided platform that connects residential customers in London to Art they can rent for their walls.  We understand that Art is expensive, and owning Art locks you in.  Additionally Art can feel foreign, inaccessible or too serious.  So SHUFFLE is designed as somewhere customers can discover, develop and grow a love of Art without having to pay the sticker price.  For artists SHUFFLE will offer an additional channel to reach customers who currently may not be part of the ‘Art Scene’.

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For the next six weeks we will be attempting to turn that vision into reality, and we are fortunate that the school supports our efforts.  The Oxford MBA is a 1year programme, and there are many options for the summer break, one of which  is the Summer Consulting Project  (SCP).  An SCP is an opportunity for a group of 3-4 students to work with a company and deliver on a brief specified by the company.  The launch of SHUFFLE has been approved by the School as an SCP, for which we will be developing a market entry strategy and website solution for SHUFFLE.  This offers us a perfect opportunity to put into practice everything we have learnt over the past 10 months and to build something truly exciting.

Today I proudly state my job title as entrepreneur, but will I still be an entrepreneur when we graduate in September?  I am realistically optimistic.  I understand that launching a business is tough, I know that there will be many more pivots in the journey ahead and preparing yourself for failure is wise, but at the same time if I learnt one thing in F1, it is the importance of working with a great team of talented and motivated individuals.  We will do everything we can to give SHUFFLE the best chance of succeeding, and as George says, “we are working to launch SHUFFLE every minute until we close it”.  So follow our progress over the summer and keep your fingers crossed for us!
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Striking Gold [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2014, 07:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Striking Gold
The Oxford MBA teaches us about the value of networks right from the pre-course. Good business leaders, we are told, become great by being able to effectively utilise their network.  Saïd Business School may be young (the definition of anything less than a hundred years old in Oxford), but it already has alumni in rising places.

The best indication of this came to me during the hunt for a Strategic Consulting Project. As someone with a commodities background, I knew I wanted to remain within the industry but gain experience to a new commodity class in order to expand my horizons. Using LinkedIn with the search words ‘Oxford MBA commodities’, I came across Amardeep Sharma, an alumnus from the Oxford MBA class of 2008-09. Amardeep’s profile showed him to be to be a Partner at , a fund investing in gold mining and trading with operations in Latin America. I sent Amardeep an invitation, detailing my interest in his industry, and received a reply within 3 hours to call him.

What followed was a phone call with someone who remembered his own SCP experience very fondly and was more than willing to commission a project on behalf of the fund. Amardeep wanted a team that would help review Sun Valley’s existing investments, from mines to market and help with cost and process minimisations on the way. Given Sun Valley’s strong and growing business, the fund was also interested in expanding within the Latin American region and was interested to have a feasibility study on future investments.

I immediately began searching for an SCP group, and found the first two members within a day: Siddharth Kant, a former banker with JP Morgan who had previous experience in commodities and future ambitions in trading, and Niraj Shah, who had experience with private equity, investment banking and infrastructure advisory. After a week, we found our final team member Renato Salazar, a Peruvian national who had experience of working in Latin America and other countries in the telecom sector.

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We are now in the early stages of the SCP and have immersed ourselves in the world of gold mining, gold refining and gold trading. Despite us all having experience in commodities, it is the first time we have been working with precious metals and it has been a great learning experience so far. Sun Valley Investments has already provided us with a wealth of contacts – gold refineries in India, trade financiers in Dubai and logistics providers in Colombia to aid us in our quest to provide the deliverables by the end of August. And our own MBA class has resources that can help; we were ably assisted by Xavier Waterstone, a former banker who had worked on gold mine financial models in the past.

Our project is based in sunny Oxford (for the moment!) but there are possibilities of a mine and refinery visit to Colombia or Peru in the upcoming weeks, something we all have our fingers crossed for!

We look forward to spending our summer working in an industry that continues to luster brightly in economic terms.
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Buongiorno! Greetings from Milan, Italy [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2014, 08:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Buongiorno! Greetings from Milan, Italy
Written by Jason Kang, Idropan SCP team.

My team and I arrived in Milan on 9th July 2014 excited to start our summer Strategic Consulting Project (SCP) with Idropan-dell’orto, a family-run business in the water purification and treatment industry.    I come from a consulting and family business background and have always been interested in the water resources industry.  When I heard about the opportunity to consult for Idropan, I immediately formed a team of interested individuals with diverse experiences and skill sets to work on this SCP.  My team includes Jason Salminen from the United States with prior experience in banking and supply chain management and Abhinav Jain from India, who started his own solar company.  Our diverse experiences and expertise coupled with our common interest in water resources technology seems to be a good fit for Idropan.

Idropan is a water purification and treatment technology company that was founded in 1969 by the parents of the current owners and directors of Idropan: Tullio and Mariella Servida.  Idropan has been at the forefront of water treatment technologies’ research and development and is constantly pushing the boundaries of existing technologies within the industry.  Over the past decade, Idropan has registered key patents for a new water purification solution, known in the market as the Plimmer-CDI (Capacitative Deionisation).  Idropan’s management is interested to develop and grow its business through successful commercialisation of its Plimmer-CDI product and is keen to know how best to position its business going forward.  Our SCP engagement with Idropan includes identifying and mapping the stakeholders and the dynamic technological environment that Idropan operates in, a financial valuation of the organisation, and understanding the business’s key strengths and capabilities in order to formulate a set of strategic initiatives for the business.  These deliverables should help Idropan navigate through a constantly evolving, competitive and innovative business ecosystem.

Having completed our first week at Idropan, we are thankful to Mariella and her team for being so accommodating and helpful in settling us in to this new city and company.  Milan is a beautiful city with plenty to see and do outside of work.  In our first week, we have already visited the Duomo di Milano, window shopped at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (one of the world’s oldest shopping malls) and had our first apertivo in Navigli.  And can I just add that the pasta, pizza and gelato italiano here are amazing.

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Following a fantastic start to our project, I am definitely looking forward to a great learning experience in Milan while taking the opportunity to explore more of Milan and Italy over the summer.  Our friends back at Oxford expect that we come back either looking fashionably more sophisticated or looking a few sizes larger.  I believe we could very well achieve both.

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Jason Kang
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Exploring cashless payments in Zambia [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2014, 07:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Exploring cashless payments in Zambia
By Tyler-Blair Sheppard, Zoona SCP team

My personal goal in coming to Oxford was to shift from engineering into the social entrepreneurship and impact field. Before beginning my MBA, I spent six years working in space flight operations at NASA as a flight controller for the International Space Station. However, it was in a side role as the engineering project manager for an impact focused agricultural export company in Rwanda that I found myself passionate about the ability of business to drive sustainable development. From that perspective, an MBA was a logical step to propel a career change. With groups such as the Skoll Centre and the school’s focus on social entrepreneurship, the Oxford MBA jumped out as the best option for me.

Among a number of options for summer course work at Oxford is the Strategic Consulting Project, which provides teams of 3-4 students the opportunity to work on real problems facing businesses and draft recommendations based on concepts learned during the MBA.  I was fortunate to get onto a team with a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences, from investment banking, to economics, and consulting. Our project has us working withZoona, a mobile money and cash transfer company, and Zambian Breweries, the largest brewery and beverage distributor in Zambia.

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Daniela Tsoneva, Akul Dayal, Jonathan Reader, Zoona agent, and Tyler-Blair Sheppard

The use of cash payments bears with it hidden costs to businesses; be it due to security, bank fees, cash-in-transit fees, insurance or the time value of money. In Zambia, the majority of day to day transactions are conducted on a cash basis. For businesses with wide distribution networks, such as beverage distributers, the acceptance and movement of cash introduces costs, which using a mobile money platform could potentially alleviate. For their clients, it provides flexibility of payments, and removes the security risk of lengthy trips to the bank with significant amounts of cash.

The specific task of our team is to quantify the cost of using cash payments within Zambian Breweries, in order to help Zoona correctly price a B2B electronic payment system for them and other FMCG distributers. This is a particularly exciting and timely project, as capturing high volumes of B2B transactions has eluded most mobile money systems to this point. If we are able to recommend a correct pricing system, the resulting streamlining of operations and cash flows could potentially be a huge benefit to Zambian businesses.

We landed in Lusaka eager to begin our work and were confronted with consecutive national holidays. Generally, I’m not one to complain about a holiday, but when facing a challenge, there was a sense among all of us that we wanted to get started and hit the ground running. Our first step was to break the problem down into manageable portions, applying concepts from our MBA operations, finance, and strategy coursework. Week one in Lusaka was spent gathering data to wrap our heads around the different aspects of the Zoona electronic transfer and payment process and how it integrates with the Zambian Breweries system. We spent several days in meetings with various Zambian Breweries directors, and arranging access to the key financial and operational documents we will need, followed by a day riding in delivery trucks to understand the variety of distribution channels and payment processes currently in use. After certain trends and patterns started to emerge from our observations and discussions, we sat down and begin to sift through our data.

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Jonathan Reader with Zoona agent

A little more than one week in, we’re at a point where we’ve verified parts of our initial hypothesis, invalidated others, and found that adequately pricing such a product likely requires incorporating intangible benefits beyond strictly the cost to Zambian Breweries of continuing to use cash. However, we have a lot more work to do to fully construct that argument, and to provide the analysis to back it up. This is the goal of our next 4 weeks in Zambia.

How this experience will influence my decision to stay the course with my original plan remains to be seen. What I can say is that our SCP has been an interesting and unique opportunity to work with a company in an exciting time period, in a market that has immense potential for growth.
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Addressing healthcare challenges in India [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2014, 02:00
FROM Oxford Admissions Blog: Addressing healthcare challenges in India
Written by Neena Veeraraghavan, Infosys SCP team.

Bangalore, a cosmopolitan city rich in culture and heritage; the land of emerging opportunities; the biggest technology hub in India, is the setting for our SCP with Infosys.  We are located a little away from the main city at the fantastic Infosys campus. As we enter the third week of our consulting project, we have enjoyed living and working in one of the finest office campuses across India; we’ve met thirty other students from Stanford, MIT, and other world class institutions, travelled to three different cities including Hyderabad and Goa, and tried out at least five different multi-cuisine food courts on campus.

The Strategic Consulting Project is a unique opportunity to partner with a company and work with them on a focused area, applying all our theoretical knowledge to the practical world, to gain valuable experience before stepping back into the corporate world. Combined with the Infosys InStep 2014 Internship Program, our team gained the best of both worlds. Our project is to help Infosys (a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions) design a robust business model to enter the healthcare space in India – using its technological leadership capabilities to address some of the paradoxes facing the sector such as over-spending and under-utilisation. While we work on solving the unique healthcare challenges in India, we also benefit from all the facilities available to Interns at Infosys, including exclusive meetings with the heads of various divisions, weekend trips with the other interns, safe accommodation, and use of all facilities provided to employees of the company.

Our team consists of four versatile, skilled individuals, each drawing on their own expertise to work on the business plan. Grace is a graduate medical student who is interested in improving patient care by adapting successful business models to create more efficient and cost-effective healthcare structures. Mark is a software developer and has excellent project management experience in enterprise level software; he is interested in applying his expert technical skills to improving healthcare delivery systems worldwide. Sindhura is a graduate in computer science and engineering and brings her programming and technical expertise to the team. I have worked as a marketing specialist in India and gained significant experience in brand management and marketing services. I am very excited to use my marketing expertise to further growth and development in the healthcare industry. Between us, we have four international case competition victories, including two in major healthcare competitions. During this project, the balance and intertwining of our respective fields will enable us to think strategically about technological and communications improvements in the field of healthcare.

As much as our project is about work, it is also about having fun and enjoying all that India has to offer. With business plan competitions already underway and other events like dance workshops and cultural excursions on the agenda, we are looking forward to sharing beautiful experiences that will last a life time. Learnings from collaborating with each other, diversity and team spirit have taken on a dynamic new meaning and with the start of this consulting project, we hope that the skills and learnings derived will truly be beneficial for us.
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Addressing healthcare challenges in India   [#permalink] 28 Jul 2014, 02:00

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