From the monthly archives:

September 2010

I have started a new section on my blog, Business School Cases, where I am going to post either drafts of my contribution to the group papers (since I don’t have the exclusive rights to those final documents) or final versions of my business case assignments where I was the sole author. These papers are intended to help the readers  jump start their own thought process, give them some ideas and reference points, and may be show some different approaches that may have not been considered in their own preparation of the cases.


So far I have accumulated quite a few of those written assignments, but it is going to take a while to put them up on the blog. Eventually I will have that section up to date, unless I get overwhelmed with my current business school assignments ;-). For starters, I put up the case I worked on in my Business and Public Policy class in the summer semester: Toyota Recalls and Public Relations Management Crisis.

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I know that everyone who watches TV has already seen this FedEx MBA commercial long ago. But I hardly watch any TV, which has been especially true ever since I started my part-time MBA program at GWU a year ago. I found this video (dated ~ 2005-06) on YouTube incidentally just recently and I think it’s a great addition to my favorite MBA jokes list that I posted back in January.


Speaking of  TV watching habits. Do you remember even some 15 years ago the educators on all levels were clamoring about students not reading enough books, newspapers, and other printed media?  The culprit of this unfortunate trend was TV. Kids were watching too much TV at the time. Guess what? My professor in Business and Public Policy class this summer was frequently expressing his disappointment with the fact that nowadays students (college and grad) don’t even watch TV for news and information. Now the culprit is internet, of course. The idea is that internet has way too many biased and unverified sources of information, especially bloggers of all kinds and shapes (yours truly is one of them), so that TV with more stringent framework for collecting and verifying their information and sources is appearing now as the lesser of the evils.

I would not be surprised, if in a few years the public outcry is that the students use their smart phones and other mobile devices for getting information from the internet, instead of the standard notebooks or netbooks. The stance could be that they rob themselves of the richness of the established internet technologies not available or not as effectively rendered through the mobile devices due to their size/technology or whatever other conceivable constraints. The funny thing is not even how the standards change over time, but how rapidly it’s all happening.

So, for those of you who, like myself, don’t watch TV and may have missed this commercial from four years ago, here is the video. If not for the internet, we would never have a chance to enjoy this great clip from the dinosaur TV era :-)

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Image courtesy of http://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/willy-peter_schaub/windowslivewriter/vstsrangerspositioningtherangersandproje_c852/clipart_of_16334_sm_2.jpg

Group project puzzle

“I hate group projects. They send you paper at 10.30 PM and expect you to be able to do something with it.”  This is not from me. This is a quote from my daughter, who is at high school, last night around midnight. Apparently she was tasked with tying down, formatting and editing the individual work pieces for the group assignment. The assignment was due next morning. To her credit, she was able to do her job before the deadline.

When I heard this comment and saw her frustration it immediately rang a bell for me. I have held my share of grudges against some (thankfully, few) group assignments while in part-time MBA program. I also have heard quite a lot of complaining about group projects from some of my acquaintances. More on this in my post from the Spring term of MBA at GWU. It seems to be a universal “plague”. There is often (again, thankfully, not always) someone who is slacking back and not pulling their share of the group project fairly.


The only thing I am wondering now, what are the real comments on group projects from those slackers. Are they also complaining, or rejoicing that in the group assignment they can hide behind their  classmates  and let their groupmates clean the mess after them? This is the reason I think that it is important to have written peer evaluation at the end of the project. Some, but not all, of my professors in classes with group projects implemented this practice. I personally found it as a helpful checks and balances mechanism. I guess not everyone would agree with me on that.

As for my daughter, the only advice I had for her was to get ready, because more of those group projects are coming to her in college and beyond. :-)

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Last week I eventually received my textbook for Financial Markets class. I already mentioned this book before: Financial Management: Theory & Practice

So I spend my whole weekend reading assigned passages, including the ones for the last class as I did not have the book in time for it. The book is not overly complicated so far, I hope it will stay that way. I was also solving some of the problems from the end of chapters and playing with my new financial calculator, which also came by mail just before the weekend. Our professor recommended a few possible models of calculators: HP 10B, HP 17B, HP 19B, TI BA. From my search online, HP 10B was the cheapest of these models and this is what I chose. I don’t really have a comparison base for financial calculators, but for me it seems quite reasonabe given the price. I am not planning to do extensive work in Financial Management after MBA, but for the purposes of the class it seems adequate.

Overall it seems much more fun than the Financial Accounting. The concepts of Financial Management are more related to real life economic and business events and their extrapolation to Financial Markets, than the dry accounting practice of moving assets between liability and assets columns. I already like the subject, just wish I had more time to absorb all the material. But as the experience shows, there is not going to be enough time for me to leisurely coast through the book. Therefore I am going back to reading again, to utilize whatever little time I have.

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Consulting Panel, Consulting Interview Hints

September 9, 2010
consultants

Wednesday class in Consultative Processes was very interesting. First we had a panel of four consultants currently working for some of the very well known and not so widely known consulting companies: Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PWC), Deloitte, North Highland, Grant Thornton. In spite of the fact that the image of a consultant sometimes is more readily associated […]

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The McKinsey Mind Quotes

September 7, 2010

I am almost done with the book – The McKinsey Mind. It has been a quite enlightening read and made me think about how my present company measures on the scale. We could use quite a few ideas to improve some of our processes, I will leave it at that. But it’s not a discouragement. […]

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McKinsey Mind – Lessons from McKinsey & Co

September 3, 2010

I mentioned before that McKinsey Mind is the required text for my Consultative Processes course. I started to read it after the first class and I cannot get my hands off of it. I am half way through now. I plan to read it twice, as was suggested by the authors. One time – straight […]

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Consultative Processes – Intro to Consulting Business

September 1, 2010

Today I had the first class in my elective course – Consultative Processes. From the syllabus and the first class it became obvious that the class is going to be very writing-intensive and group work oriented. We will have to submit three individually prepared cases from Harvard Business Publications. And there will be two group […]

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