Thursday, August 31, 2006

London orientation

So, finally the MBA has started. Technically, I don't think it starts till October, these first 4 weeks will contain mainly introductions, preparations, skill development, leadership training and team building, which is good, because it gives us time to get to know each other and learn how to work together before we get busy.

Stephen, Patxi and Karlitos have already described the orientation so I just want to mention the parts that most impressed me:

- the lecture by strategy professor Costas Markides on "Ten things I wish I knew when I did my MBA" (he holds an MBA from Harvard Business School). There was lots of useful advice and many many occasions for laughter. I can't wait to attend his classes

- the international citizens game. As Patxi mentioned, the "German engineer" (who is actually a philosopher) was hilarious and I think I owe the bottle of champagne I won to him (all of us Germans won a bottle of champagne each, a very generous gift, given that we are for the first time 10 Germans in the class). There were lots of memorable and funny presentations from the regional groups, there was Spanish flamenco, Canadian singing, British umbrella handling advice and an introduction into Japanese greeting and drinking habits (see picture).

- numerous drink receptions. I enjoyed meeting lots of classmates. As Patxi mentioned, the class is very diverse and some have very interesting and unusual backgrounds, so that is definitely a plus.

- We were told however, that diversity is also a major predictor in the study group so I am also a little bit relieved that our study group is not that diverse. The countries covered in my study group are India, US, Egypt, UK, Germany, Spain and Russia. Probably, for a US school that would count as very diverse, but if you look at it at a map all countries except India/US are within a small circle of the globe and could all be considered relatively Westernized.

- The streams: yes, I'm in Stream A, which I'm very happy about, because somehow I always ended up in stream or class a, in primary school, in grammar school, and any other places I've been after that, so I had a feeling I would end up in Stream A and that's what I did. In terms of fellow bloggers I have Moe and VJ in my stream, and lots of people I had met at the pub crawl, so I am very happy with my stream.

Today there was no highlight, the day was dedicated to career services information, and to be honest I can see how it is helpful for some, but if you are a sponsored candidate or know exactly what you're looking for, the general information sessions ("what color is your parachute?") are not very useful. So I tried to sit through the day patiently.

Tomorrow will be more fun as I signed up for the Volunteering Day. I will have to get up at 7am where I could actually have had the day off instead, but I'm happy to volunteer and spend a day out in the fresh air.

I have the impression I won't be blogging as much as I used to over the next weeks, even though every day gives enough material to write five posts. But there's not much time now. Holiday is over.


Patxi said...

One bottle EACH?

That is generous indeed. I thought it was only one bottle per group, enough to toast and cellebrate together. :o

And do not shy away from the spotlight, your part of the performance was brilliant.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that the "10 things I wish I knew" speak was hilarious and to the point. You know, I did not report on that because I was sure someone else would* ;)

* One of the ten things "he wish he knew " was what "social loafing" means. For the wider audience, check out the link on wikipedia.

Marina said...

Sounds awesome! 4 whole weeks of "orientation" though??

Anonymous said...

could u please write more on the ten things
i enjoy reading your blog
keep writing


angie said...

Marina, yeah, 4 weeks of orientation (more or less), it's a bit too much for my liking as well.

Hi narasimhan, glad you like it. The ten things the professor wished he had known were:
1. To be aware of social loafing (freeriders who don't contribute and use others)
2. To know that outfoxing fellow students or professors doesn't get you far
3. To have taken more time to prepare cases and to talk more in class
4. To listen to his classmates, especially those with difficult accents
5. Not to be focused on only one job ("McKinsey and only McKinsey")
6. To know that learning was not the objective
7. To have taken the time to enjoy the city
8. To have known that 99% of companies he applied to would reject him
9. There is a difference between "customers" and "students"
10. He wish he had known just how lucky he was to be given such opportunity

When you write it down like this it's less interesting, the stories he told around these points were simply great and entertaining.