From the monthly archives:

May 2010

One of the two books I attempted to read on my break between the Spring and Summer Terms in my part-time MBA studies was The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It is really a great read, though I have to admit I haven’t finished it yet. Not everything in the book is really applicable, or even practical, but I did find a lot of gems of practical wisdom scattered all throughout the book.

Some of Ferriss’ ideas were just reminders and reinforcers of  something I had known before, such as Parkinson’s Law or Pareto Principle. Still it was interesting to see their application in his own, often radical and obnoxious ways. But there were quite a few things that I had not had any idea about, e.g. the business of Virtual Assistants. We all know, of course, about outsourcing of production and services in general. But I did not know about this particular outsourcing niche, and how relatively affordable it could be.  

If you have not heard about Tim Ferriss, as I had not heard anything about him till I serendipitously stumbled upon his book The 4-Hour Workweek review, you might find him very controversial and often obnoxious, as I mentioned before. This is part of his self-marketing strategy, so I don’t really care much about it. But the things I learned from the book are well-worth overlooking the author’s abrasive self-promotion and narcissism. 

For me personally some of his ideas got validated because I had the situations where the same principles were playing out in my life either before or shortly after I read about them in Tim Ferriss’  book, or I got confirmation from other sources that I consider no “less reputalbe” than Ferriss, like my professors in MBA courses :-) .  As a matter of fact, I will be referring to his book and some of his ideas in my future planned posts, as they are related to my personal and educational MBA experience.

Regardless of the impression he may leave on some, or many, Tim Ferriss is a great author and remarkable marketer, which is confirmed by the fact that The 4-Hour Workweek has been a New York Times, WSJ and BusinessWeek #1 bestseller. If you have not read this book, go grab it from Amazon or your local library. It will be good for you to explore the new perspectives, regardless whether you end up in the Ferriss’ haters camp or his fans.

Tim Ferriss’ blog is also very popular and informative. I periodically stop by to read his updates. Go check it out to get the pre-taste of his style and philosophy which is laid out in more detail in his book.


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Tonight I had my second class that I am taking in this Summer Term at part-time MBA program at GWSB. I have been looking forward to this course and it seems that my high expectations will be met in this class. I have long been interested in marketing and I really expect to learn a lot from the course. Professor is very knowledgeable and explains concepts very clearly. That’s a big plus.

Frankly, pretty much all of the professors I have had so far during my first year of MBA program at George Washington University have been very good in terms of knowing their subject matter cold. However, not all of them were equally good in the department of teaching.


That’s why I cannot stop raving about ratemyprofessors.com  . After the first module in fall and my less than idyllic experience with Financial Accounting, I have always been checking out ratings of professors on that website before signing up for any of my classes. So far it proved to be very helpful. I actually had to re-arrange some of my classes or postpone taking at least one class to later time when it will be taught by another professor on a couple of occasions after checking the ratings. And I managed to steer clear from the classes where the instructor was TBA at the time of my sign up. This flexibility of selecting even your core courses is a great benefit of a part-time MBA at GWSB which I came to appreciate greatly.

As for Marketing, we have five business cases to work on in the course of the remaining five weeks of the class, so it is going to be quite intensive reading/writing term. Especially because my other class in Business and Public Policy is also heavy on write ups. In both classes we have been arbitrarily assigned to groups by the instructors, and almost all cases we work on will be group projects.

I have “tough love” with group projects. If everyone in the group is pulling their share, it’s mostly fun. But with even one free-rider in the group it can turn into the major source of frustration. I had both types of experience in my MBA program and had a post about group projects. That one explains why I am in “love-hate” relationship with group projects. You can not look up your group mates on some sort of ratemyclassmates.com, and even if you could, having arbitrary group assignments would make it useless. Well, I will have to live with that and make do with whoever comes my way. I guess I am not all sugar myself for some of my classmates either :-)

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Updated July 31, 2011. Overtime I posted my wrtie-ups for case analyses in this class in Business School Cases section of the blog. Today I placed a final case analysis from the class on Soda Tax Issues.

I had the first class in my summer term tonight: Business and Public Policy. I can tell from the class that it is going to be quite interesting. Some of the concepts that we were exposed to in the class went against the grain of the widely held beliefs by free market proponents. So in a way they challenge the very core of the MBA education which was originally designed to mint corporate management/leadership material. I actually find this very refreshing. During the class we were shown a short preview of “The Corporation” documentary. Instead of just unequivocally supporting “everything capitalist” this movie makes you think about the issues of corporate America from a different perspective.


I have to admit that for many “anti-corporate”, “anti-globalization”, “anti-everything” folks these concepts of criticizing, not just critically analyzing, capitalism in general and its American flavor in particular is nothing new. This is the “bread and butter” of their very existence. But for me, it is sort of fresh, and I am looking forward to learning more about the “dark side” of the modern corporations. I have seen first-hand a much darker side of the “anti-capitalist” society, so I would not subscribe to many of the views and policies that promote and instill overwhelming government control over business and public life in general. However there is undoubtedly a need for a rational checks and balances system in governing businesses and not letting them to run amuck on their insatiable quest for profits. Examples of that are abundant in recent history starting from Enrons, WorldComs and continuing with Countrywides and AIGs of more recent developments.

The present course is somewhat interconnected with the Business Ethics that I had in the Fall term of my MBA program. Albeit in Business Ethics we focused on individuals in the corporate environments and ethical challenges that they faced within their corporate functions. In Business and Public Policy the focus is on corporations and businesses themselves acting as a “person” and their interaction with the public and the government. I guess the focus of this present course has been tailored recently to meet the need for promoting corporate sustainability and responsibility ideas that are taking root in many revised MBA programs across the country and at George Washington School of Business in particular.

Anyways, I expect to be sharing a lot with you from this course in the next few weeks. If you are interested in the movie The Corporation, you can get it on DVD. There is also an option to download it for viewing on your computer. Or, you can watch it on YouTube for free:

Any way you choose it, I highly recommend this documentary.

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One day at the end of April I had a breakthrough, thanks to my MBA Entrepreneurship class. Not that the breakthrough had much bearing directly to the class, but it was definitely induced by the ideas I had been introduced to during the course.

One night on my way to GWSB I got a brilliant business idea. I don’t really understand the exact train of thought  how I arrived at it. But I was thinking about this blog and I realized that in spite of the fact that it was the end of April, and the last snow storm we had was more than two months before, I was still getting traffic from Google based on the searches related to that remarkable snow storm we had in February 2010.  It is really surprizing, but to this day I get at least 3-4, sometimes more visitors a day who come to my site from the search engine because of a few posts that I placed on my blog about those memorable Blizzard 2010 days:


So my idea was to produce some apparel, mainly t-shirts, sweat-shirts, hoodies and caps with snow storm related imprints. Something with insignia along the line: ‘Snow Storm 2010 Survivor‘. I was thinking that in addition to selling them online, I could also contract some street vendors in downtown DC, and souvenir shops around town to sell on consignment basis. Now that the tourist season is approaching, I thought those items could be in demand by tourists visiting Washington, DC. I was really excited about such a brilliant idea ;-)

Just to test the waters I went online that same night after class to see what, if anything, was available around this theme. I should not have been, but I still was completely smashed by my findings :-). Not only those t-shirts were already available, but I was really amazed by a true entrepreneurial zeal of those who did it. Some of the snowmageddon t-shirts were already available and marketed on February 8, 2010!!! Here is another article about Pensyllvania snow storm shirts offerings. This means they were offering it right in the middle or immediately in the wake of the double snow storm charge. That was really amazing how fast people can come up with ideas. D-a-a-a -h!  ;-)

Anyways, just wanted to share about my entrepreneurial idea fiasco. I often come up with some ideas, but some of them, like the one I shared here,  are very time-sensitive. And I still seem to be ‘a bit’ slow. Need to sharpen my entrepreneurial instincts :-)

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Human Capital Management – Efficiency and Monetary Motivation

May 7, 2010

In our Human Capital Management class professor showed us a great video from TED.com featuring Dan Pink’s presentation on relationship between different motivational factors  and human creativity and efficiency in solving problems.  Needless to say, Dan Pink is a very entertaining speaker. I enjoyed his talking very much. But even more fascinating for me was the […]

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MBA Exam Human Capital Management – Mimicking Law School

May 4, 2010

A week ago on Wednesday I encountered a somewhat new format for the final exam in my MBA pursuit. Usually, if it was not multiple choice, the exams  had a requirement to write a short answer.  If it was  a longer narrative required, then it was usually done through the final research paper or a case write up done […]

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My Part-Time MBA First Year is Over!

May 3, 2010

It’s official now. My actual last class of the first year in part-time MBA program at George Washingtonn University School of Business was on Wednesday last week. That week we had the final in-class presentation in Entrepreneurship class, and final written exam in Managing Human Capital. But I did not feel like reporting this milestone because I still […]

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