Kingston / Pre MBA Sessions

. Friday, May 8, 2009

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. 

Kingston is a beautiful place. There is a rustic setting that is endearing. I have always been a sucker for a rustic setting, but I have seen nothing quite like Kingston. It is beautiful. I had fixed up an apartment close to campus. Kingston also has a great number of restaurants. Food is not a problem at all here. Someone from my batch told me that Kingston has the highest number of restaurants per person in Canada. I have not yet got an internet connection. Hence, the posts are irregular. Hopefully that should be taken care of in another week or two. 

We started with our Pre-MBA courses this week. I had not originally signed up for these courses and had requested the program management team if I could be fitted into this session. I guess, a couple of guys backed out of these sessions in the last minute and I was fitted into these sessions. We had sessions on Mathematics and Spreadsheet Skills for Business Analysis, Finance and Accounting. 

Mathematics and Spreadsheet Skills for Business Analysis: 
Overall, I guess, most of the class had fairly similar views about the session. The Professor, Jeff McGill, is a senior professor in QSB. The first part of the day was spent on basic math. (Quite literally. very basic math was covered, right from addition rules). The second part of the day was mostly spent on  MS Excel. In my opinion, the concentration could have been more on MS Excel. Since most of the participant will definitely have some math background, it really is redundant to get back to high school math (especially, since GMAT requires a certain degree of mastery on the same. The MS Excel coverage was more useful as it juxtaposed what we know with real business cases. I would have personally liked to spend more time on Excel. That said, there was a great deal of relevance of what we 'knew' and how it was applicable in business. The class pretty much (re)introduced me to how numbers are viewed in real business, which was pretty cool.

The finance course was conducted by Professor Louis Lagnon. The professor was flambouyant and had a wonderful sense of humor, which made the class even more interesting. Having no finance background, I realize what a huge mistake I have done in not taking the finance and accounting workbook seriously. This weekend is a study weekend for me, and I am hoping to cover most of the topics in the workbook. I would highly recommend the finance course. Some basic terminologies that, I believe, will drive the year, was introduced succintly. After the class was over, we had a small discussion with the professor about his take on the current economic scenario and a lot of other things. It is these talks, that will be the take away of this program, I am sure. Experts can give an opinion on current affairs that can inspire us to think in a holistic manner, and that is something I am looking forward to.

The course was taken by Professor John Moore, another expert in the field of accounting. He had a dry sense of humour which was accentuated by the fact that the timing was invariably unpredictable and he always managed to keep a straight face. The session was informative as we went through some basic accounting models and learnt to analyze a Financial Statement. We all were given our first group exercise (the word team has been intentionally left out as that doesnt start off till Monday). :) It was a small 15 minute exercise where we were given the balance sheet of two auto majors and had to compare their performance. 

What is really interesting is, we ger real balance sheets, and as a part of the exercise, we got an opportunity to witness the trend over the last 3 years. Clearly, this fuels the interest to understand why the performance is as listed, and that will be the part that most people might do after class. Now, aren't these the information that are ever so handy in the many social networking events that we will attend in the future. 

My batch is extremely eclectic, with so much of diversity in the class. To consider about 65% of the batch enrolled for the Pre-MBA is exciting, as come this Monday, and the diversity is going to get just better. From my interaction, I am 100% sure, I have taken the right decision.

Btw, the class met up on thursday to watch the hockey match between Vancouver and Chicago in a local pub called 'The Iron Duke'. While we lost the game, we all did have a great time watching the game and later after the game. Nearly 70% of the Pre-MBA set and some guys who did not enroll in the Pre MBA but have moved into Kingston this week also came. 

More to come...