"It's important to be a student of this game (Cricket). That's when you can actually learn and get better. Learning never stops"
- Sachin Tendulkar
14,000 runs in International Cricket, almost a 100 centuries, and the title of one of the game's greatest batsman. And this is how the 'Little Master' views his involvement in the game - as a student.
I think that is what makes anyone great in their field - a desire to be a student, rather than a 'self proclaimed, and backed by others' expert.
"It's important to be a student of this game (Cricket). That's when you can actually learn and get better. Learning never stops"
Owe this post to a wonderful conversation I had over tea yesterday. Thank You for this brilliant perspective MG.
"Often one is faced with an opportunity to move out of one's comfort zone and embark up on a new and exciting venture. Most people refuse to move out of their comfort zone, simply because of the risk that it throws up on you. One way to look at this situation in perspective is to quantify the immediate risk (in dollar amount, or any other unit possible) and amortize this figure over the course of your career or your life.
Investment (Risk): CAD 100,000 (Economic Cost)
My professional career post MBA - 30 years
Per year investment: 3333 CAD
That is not as bad a risk as one would think it is. I am not even considering the change in work quality, exposure and awareness, career growth, and the joy of doing what you really wanted to do all your life! "
I recently read this really good article by Susan Cramm in HBR blog on '8 things execs hate about IT. This article highlights the key issues we learn about in any IT strategy course in a business school.
I cant believe that it is November so soon. Time has flown and we have only 47 days before the core subjects are done with. It has been an experience I will never forget.
Week 6 - Module 3 - Accounting, Microeconomics, Business Decision Modelling, Organizational Behavior, Pitch Workshop,
Despite the long title, the last week was quite managable. Either that, or I am getting used to the rigor. :) Well, truth be told, the last week was relatively easy on assignments (only 1 due last week). So, here is the summary of the week that flew by:
As an MBA applicant, I approached a lot of students from different schools for their insight. A few people who are considering Queen's for 2010 have approached me with some questions too. I reckoned, it would be great to have a F.A.Q page, and mark it as a perma-link. As always, this is a link that will be updated regularly.
Module 2 - Statistics, Economics, Kingston Venture, Career Support, Personal Coaching, Exams, Elections, Clubs
The title pretty much sums it up. I have not updated my blog last couple of week, and have been feeling rather guilty about that. Anyway, I reckoned, it would be better if I wrote a summary of the entire module in this blog.
Today was the graduation day for the batch of 2009. Many students had come with their parents, friends and significant members of their families. It was really nice to meet people I have just spoken to. The pride in the eyes of their parents was the standout feature of the afternoon. Somehow, that got a lot of us motivated, as same time next year, we will be here. :)
Anyway, on behalf of the batch of 2010, I would like to congratulate the batch of 2009.
"Hearty Congratulations to the batch of 2009. All the best and hope you guys soar the heights you are meant to. "
At the cost of repeating myself, I have to start my post with "What a week!!!" If week one was getting to know each other and team work, week two has only one word to describe it - Intense!!! 3 team assignments and 1 individual assignment followed by a presentation on Saturday was not what we expected in week 2. But that is exactly what was in store for us.
Leadership was taken by Dr. Bill Blake. The course was very interesting and engaged in answering what is leadership, its importance, the role of a leader, the ethical aspects of leadership, international and multigenerational leadership among many other topics. The class involved a lot of discussions, and case studies from HBR, Ivey and a few others. There was this particular quote about leadership that I particularly liked.
"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he (she) wants to do it" - Dwight D. Eisenhower
The course, while light in many aspects, was interesting in one particular aspect. The huge thought process differences that exists between the east and the west. That is the biggest advantage of an international MBA, in my opinion.
The role of a General Manager was taken by Professor Peter Richardson. Professor Richardson is an authority in strategic management and had an extremely easy way of teaching a rather interesting subject. Unlike what it seems, 'The Role of a General Manager' is more of a strategy paper. We were introduced to basic concepts in strategy, something I really enjoyed. the entire week was spent in going through many cases, coming up with organization size up, vision, missions, strategic objectives, action items, Porter's 5 forces, PEST analysis and many other frameworks, which we had to eventually use for a team assignment . The thing with 2 out of 4 assignments were that the topics were given in the afternoon of the submission day. Imagine getting an assignment topic at 1 pm and having to 12 am in the night! With classes from 8:30 to 4:30, things were not exactly easy. But to be honest, when you submit that assignment and then walk back home at 12:30, the sense of accomplishment is really addictive! (Hope we dont get
I guess, for most teams, the honeymoon period is over. Most teams have understood how individual members of their teams work, and that is a great thing. One of the advantages of having such an intense first week is the insight gained by teams on how to work together on a common task. How to split tasks, take ownership and trust each other mutually. The cultural nuances of different work cultures is something I am learning as the days go by. As I mentioned earlier, that is one of the key motivators for me to do this course - the ability to understand how "high performance" teams work, when they are stressed 24X7!
On the party end, the entire class (almost) celebrated a friend's birthday on Saturday and then went to a local disc (Name to be updated soon). It was a great evening, and by the time we left, none of us looked like they had a stressful week! :) Thats the beauty of this batch! Work hard... Party harder! :) I hope the momentum is maintained during the more stressful months of Aug /Sept / Oct.
Tangentially, for one of the assignments on leadership, we got a chance to interview the CEO of KEDCO (Mr. Jeff Garrah). His thoughts on leadership were really insightful, frank and practical. Kingston is a lovely place in that sense. The local leaders are easily accessible, and all you need to do is send them an email with your requirement. We have not received the grades for the assignment, but the talk was really something that cannot be evaluated! :)
Gotta crash now! :)
Appleseed's recount of Week 2 - 2009
Bizgirl's recount of Week 2 - 2010
Nathalie's Recount (in French) of her MBA experience
The week 1 of my MBA program is over and what a week it has been. There are so many things that I am not sure if I shall be able to do justice to every event that has occurred this week.
To say that the last 3 weeks were hectic would be an understatement. Time literally flew (aided considerably by a few visa related complications). Before I realized, I was on flight to Kingston. I took the British Airways flight from Mumbai to Toronto (via Heathrow). The first leg of the journey (Mumbai to Heathrow) was really comfortable, but the second leg (Heathrow to Toronto) was quite uncomfortable. That said, I am here.
My friend shared this extremely useful link that gives budget travel tips. The website's name is Dr.Voyageur. A must visit for international students who are planning to visit either the States or Canada.
The last few weeks were very hectic as I had officially resigned from my job, and had to pack my bags (and 8 years worth lugguage) and bring it back home. Needless to say, goodbyes are not really my speciality. But now that I am at home, I realised how much more work I have to do.
Good news after quite a bit of wait. I have received my loan sanctioned and have applied for my visa. Often, getting the loan documents in place can take much more time than you can imagine.
I receive my Web portal details about a month back. After playing around for a while, I think I have got a hang of quite a few features. Describing the layout is a Herculean task that I shall not embark upon. Instead what I shall do in this post is outline some of these features that I found interesting.
Quick Links: Shortcuts are provided to visit the School of Business web page, faculty profilethe campus bookstore, the library site, a page for online resources and the registrar's office.
The student rooster is some sort of a 'Introduce yourself' page where you fill in your personal / professional details and a short paragraph introducing yourself. The campus bookstore is a not-for-profit corporation that offers study material at the low price to Queen's students. So, in addition to the library, we can also buy second hand books from the bookstore, which is pretty cool.
page, the staff directory page, the student rooster, Administrative announcements: There were a few administrative announcements indicating the facebook community for the Queen's 2010 batch, Notebook requirements, etc. Similarly, there are also links for Course announcements and Career Announcements.
Tools: This consists of links to install network printers, upload and share files, share calenders, and access emails.
Fit To Lead Page: The Fit to lead page is a personal fitness guide tool. It has articles on healthy food habits, fitness tips, and something called a 'Cross trainer online fitness software' which I am yet to explore. I get a feeling that this page is something I will wanting to use quite regularly.
Team Room: The team room is a virtual room which basically lists your team members who are online, lists the assignments and discussions. We also can download IBM's 'Sametime' for instant messaging.
IT Support: The IT support page is extremely useful and has many articles how to set up many IT related infrastructure like Antivirus, network printer, usage guide of the web portal in addition to providing a host of downloads like Adobe Acrobat, Symantec Antivirus, MS Office patches, Java updates etc. Queen's is also a part of EduRoam which stands for Education Roam. This is a wireless network service that allows students, researchers, staff and faculty from Canadian educational institutions to securely access the Internet while visiting other partner universities. There are 10 partner universities, the names of which I shall update as soon as I get them. There are many other services like creating a personal webspace (of the format http://web.business.queensu.ca/graduate/userid), temporary renting of IT hardware infrastucture etc.
Exchange: The exchange link provides details on exchange programs, partner universities, the program details, and an online application for exchange applicants.
Courses: The courses link maintains a list of upcoming assignments, schedules etc for the coming 2 weeks. In addition, there is a Gartner Portal. The Gartner Portal gives us access to a lot of Gartner's research data. We can subscribe to topics of interest, and receive industry updates in our inbox as well. This would be something that most consulting candidates might take interest in, I guess. My current employers often share Gartner quadrants in our industry, and that is how I got introduced their research.
Email: The email web client is a Lotus Domino iNotes. As a Outlook user, the Lotus iNotes is something that I will have to get used to. A cursory glance indicates that the web client is considerably heavy and will need a laptop with good configuration.
I came across this rather fantastic assortion of articles that explain the current economic crisis in very lay man terms.
This is an update from Appleseed. Apparently, the class size has been increased this year from 75 to 100-110 and there might be two sections.
For more about this change, at this point refer Appleseed's Post.
While the class size is still considerably lesser than most other MBA programs, it will be interesting to see the diversity that is introduced this year. Needless to say, the first thing that came to most minds was the hope that the quality of intake is not compromised. I am sure, if anything, this will make the program even more competitive and intense. And there will be more experiences to share. This article in the star mentions that 3700 applicants applied to the Queen's MBA program. In such an intense competitive applicant pool, I am left with no doubt that the quality of entrants will be as high as ever.
One of the reasons why I preferred Queen's to other schools is its smaller class strength, which can be great when it comes to the 'MBA experience' and assistance when it comes to placements from the career cell of any school. The knowledge that people in the corporate cell know you, your personality, strengths and weaknesses has a calming effect on students. The flipside is the class strength can also affect placements and networking to an extent. Most alums I have spoken to have said allayed any fear, reiterating the strength of its alum base. With a size of 100, I think the program strength is definitely not small but thankfully not insanely large.
The competition during the placement season will definitely increase, but as Appleseed pointed out, this can also bring in more recruiters to campus. The MBA program teaches us to be flexible to situations, and I look at it as practicing what they preach.
The challenge will of course be in how this point is addressed:
- Finally, if the class could be split for teaching purposes, the class size could be lowered. Having 75 students in class is not a problem, but having two classes of 55 could create a more intimate setting. In order not to lose the community feeling that students enjoy at Queen's the administration will ensure that each student and team has the experience of working with all of the others. One way of doing this is to rotate one quarter of the teams between the two classrooms every second module.
One of the things I look to closely monitor in the program is how this change works out.