Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A tribute to the Alma mater

Echoes of my mind: I still remember….all of us huddled up in the forum…coming from every nook and cranny of this rock….each with his or her own unique set of culture, ideas, opinions and diverse experiences….coming to this magical place of 'Cranfield'….a school which stands right in the middle of…. nowhere, well, so does Hogwarts! It seems like yesterday and now its all gone…faded into the ether...just as the snap of a finger would change the world around us….take away all that we cherished yet leave behind something much more valuable...our rich experience…our shared diversity….our common goals...those memorable moments...the list goes on, the bonds go further.

It began with our orienteers inducting us to this boot camp course in October... a few of us being pre-inducted with the Pre-MBA hurricane session. The immortal lyrics and music which reminds me of those 'early days of hatching' is ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow-Patrol.... and the words were "If I lay here ...If I just lay here ...Would you lie with me and just forget the world"...that is what our orienteers left us with...their parting thoughts. And yes, each one of us started this seemingly never-ending journey with big dreams and high hopes... we forgot all about the rest of the world and built up our haven here in Cranfield.

Yes this journey has come to an end... a tiring yet most rewarding journey of my lifetime. And what has it made us......enhanced our self-confidence....made us more aware of all that's happening in the world of business....and above all given us the ability to walk the talk and get the audience's buy-in even though you might be the least knowledgeable in that area....let alone the two-by two's , the models and the jargons. The year passed by.......we had come with our tinnie winnie differences... had our rough patches...bad politics... team and downs....But u know what...that was not what Cranfield was was doing much more than you had ever imagined was going beyond the impossible….. believing in what you do. In the has formed this intangible strong bond with our alma mater 'Cranfield' and we are all so proud to be part of this rich lineage.

The “year of everything”: from WACs to late night parties at it Tough Guy, the marathon...or the Canterburry tales.... the Capstone conference to put the icing on the was bountiful in its offerings; all up to the individual in how much they could take in...what else they could offer to the world…. in the same 24 hours-a-day existence which held fewer achievements prior the MBA.... it was running against time and being the winner every time. If you have read 'Snapshots from Hell' by Peter Robinson might be as scared as the author who, being a poet in the world of statisticians, investment bankers et al, wondered whether we have spent our £26K down the drain or not....for he said "Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here."

But perhaps at the end of the course, looking back and ruminating on those happy days, you would say as he did "If you forget everything else you learn here, remember this. All business is modelled on the structure of the doughnut shop. There are two real jobs in the doughnut shop--the guys who make the doughnuts and the guys who sell the doughnuts. Everything else is overhead!"

What has this magical place done to us friends? It has made us realise once again the uniqueness of our own small capabilities. This risk-free environment has dared us to do all that had been undoable…and perhaps never even imagined in our craziest dreams. It is one of those milestones in life where we would stop every time as each one of us gets lost in our own busy world. May be we will not even take few months to forget all our theories, two-by-twos and models …but what we will always carry with us this indomitable fire that Cranfield has rekindled once again in each one of us….which is sure to make us go far ….far ….and leave our significant impression in the different facets of the business world…carry with us the ‘Cranfield’ name to every corner of the world and make this family of ours…of the bright and the talented…larger and larger for years to come.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hats off to Colin Javens and Sportsman dinner

May be it would have been another busy day in the life of a MBA but we left our impression on this 23th of May,2007 and made this day so special with our 3rd Cranfield Sportsman Dinner at the historical venue of Lord's Cricket Ground.When Colin came and presented to us at Cranfield, he touched our souls with his inspiring story of courage and determination and what really a person can achieve..inspite of all hurdles in a single life. Today was so special for this MBA year of ours because we chose to steal time from our busy selfish lives and do a bit for a noble cause.It was amazing how we managed to raise £37K on one night from our auction and raffles in aid of Colin Javen's Spinal research team.While most of us were busy building up our career,pursuing our ambitions.....looking out for new job switch...this one guy in our batch Martin Bursik worked relentlessly to make this night a success. For all the selfless efforts of Martin and our Sportsman committe, this was a night of bliss and inner satisfaction that our tiny efforts could create a ripple in the water....making this school in the small village of Bedford..out of nowwhere to be immortal in the hearts of people for times to come.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What the MBA is making of us....

Good to see us all back at the school. Some of us looked really colourful with their smiles and energy rejuvenated after having a good break with family and friends at home. After the enchanting sessions of Microeconomics with John Glen and Sean Rickard in the first term we the novices had already started speaking in the so called 'economics jargon'. Looking at the FT and beginning to relate to the economic upheavals around the world made me wonder sometimes.....was so much really happening all this while around me which I was ignorant of..or has it really begun now? Perhaps this is the biggest satisfaction, the learning that we are experiencing every moment and being able to realise the bigger picture...where there is no disconnection between me, the country, the society and the world as a whole. The synergy which the different subjects lead to, be it Marketing,MicroeconomicsAccounts,Operations,Statistics,Organisational Behavioural... and more to come in this term is a point of awareness where the holistic picture is incomplete without its different ingredient colours.
The course began with some enthralling lectures in Finance by Lance -where all of us the so called' financially challenged' ones and even the maestros were put on alert...we realised that this term would force us to be comfortable playing with numbers whether we liked it or not. Joe Nellis' Macroeconomics lecture -'Circular Flow Of Income' was fascinating, we are all looking forward to being mesmerised once again by the effects of Macro combined with our acquired awareness of Micro. The pressure has already begun to build up as ususual, MBA s never have enough time.. but you see we are expert in stealing time.. so we still manage to chill out at the Socials with the 'Karaoke nite', the rugby practice, the ATK challenge, the NUS business plan, football, cricket.....oops.. perhaps the list is endless.

Friday, December 29, 2006

My birthday in a lone campus at Cranfield

Hey its my bday today. I am celebrating it far away from home in the Cranfield campus.But yet,I dont feel so sad..cos I'm fulfiling one of my big dreams in life..that's being an MBA and I think all of us are 25% MBA already after our first term. The campus seems pretty deserted without the heart of SOM i.e we busy 'MBAs'.Most of the people have gone home,some have been on tours to different places just to come back refreshed to begin one more term of hard work and fun. One term has passed by..we are richer with so much knowledge and insight..the doors and windows of our mind have been opened to let us see the world in a new perspective. I feel as if I have suddenly become so much aware of all that's happening around me in the world and can relate to it much more trully justifies my blog awakening in its process.

Couple of old friends and family called up to give me wishes for the day.Surprisingly,many of my batchmates called up and sent me wishes..James,Jason,Bikram,Charles and Tosin to name a few.Spent the afternoon cooking an Indian lunch and had it with Bikram,went out for a drink with Jason to the socials in the evening. Though the day lacked its lustre and colour as all other years..but perhaps there was an inner fulfilment which filled my heart..the gift which I had given myself this year...i.e the decision to do an MBA and be at Cranfield..which marked my 29th b'day and made it so special.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stress,well-being and the confusion with Cows

The week started off as usual with the French classes.Gradually the language classes are becoming tougher as people are finding difficulty with the french phonetics..its getting funnier also with the desperation of MBAs from different end of the world trying their tryst with 'French'.In our stressful lives dawned in the 'Stress & well being session' where we were prescribed the tricks of the trade..namely meditation,exercise for a balanced healthy life...but alas..where is the time for a MBA...the day is only 24 hrs and he has too much to do.Tuesday evening was marked by the advent of IBM global business services in campus.They caught the attention of the Cranfield MBAs ,being a very approachable management consultant firm,we had a captivating presentation from them and they dispersed into rooms where they represented their different service lines.

Wednesday morning saw us hovering near the pigeon-holes awaiting the arrival of the SDS group report case study.Finally it arrived 'Cows and confusion' as Sean named it.The rest of the week found us on our toes trying to untangle the mystery behind this confusion with our knowledge of 'Regression' and simulation model put in place.As usual the 'Thursday' acted as a relief with the MBA band practice gearing we are getting ready to hit the christmas ball with our first band performance,followed by the Las vegas night at the socials.It was an enthralling experience as the MBAs dressed as 'gangsters and molls' gambled around the
tables of Poker, Blackjack, Craps and Roulette..winning & losing their fake money.The weekend found us chilling out-few of us gathered in for parties and went for 'Casino Royale'-the new 007 movie at MK after being inspired by the Las vegas nite,there were some tennis and football games around the shed off our anxieties and getting us ready for another very busy week.

Campus being hit by the 'WAC'

It was a dreadful week..and there was active preparation as we were gearing ready..with our seat belts get set go for the storm.. the first Economics WAC and there it came with a bang...'Tea,Toast & tenacity'..indeed the name quite appropriate as it challenged our strength and tenaciousness in its real sense.The case study was handed out Monday morning at 11.00 am and then everyone was rushing around the school...making their preparations..first doing their individual analysis,then team meeting..followed by stream dump presentation.Finally we were all ready for the hardest part..that was to write down the report that we had an information overflow.And with the deadline being immovable as ever ..fixed at Tues 2pm,it was all the more horrible.

All of us struggled in to put in the report with its added word restriction in place.At 11pm in the night some pizzas were arranged to comfort the suffering souls.As the night progressed,almost everyone was awake ..struggling to put in their thoughts together..some in rooms,some at the forum...together,hoping that would reduce the anxiety somewhat.Next morning there was this 'WAC run' where everyone hurried to the SOM to print their final copies and hand it over to grad admin.Finally the pain was over and we all met with swollen eyes from lack of the socials to celebrate its passing away.The rest of the week was the so called 'reading week' but ironically there were lots to read but no time for it.We had a few back-to back sessions from the careers office for CV writing and learning the art of schmoozing,followed by personal development.On thursday evening,we went to the Networking party at the Loreal London office.It was an ideal platform for the new students to be introduced to the Cranfield alumni and it was a wonderful evening where we shared the experiences of our past years during their MBA at Cranfield,also came to know about the companies they were working in at present and could gauge how and which way we could direct our career search.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Halloween,Operations simulation

The pressure is building up.On Tuesday,we had a marvellous presentation session by Stephen Carver.He mesmerised the audience with his charismatic presentation skills.We wondered how often we are unaware of our body movements while we present and how much our body movements,expressions conveyed even when we did not use words.Our first assignment 'OB Individual report' was due on Thursday 4pm.Everyone was busy pondering over the irritating yellow papers...getting their Quoits ready before the report.We celebrated Halloween on Thursday night we .Our stream reps Robin Duxfield & Wei had arranged the evening in a wonderful way at the socials.The whole place was marvellously decorated with pumpkin lanterns and everyone came dressed up in their halloween masks.

We could hardly recognise one another behind skeleton masks,witch attires and mummy dress es as we drank 'Blood of the witches'.On Friday morning we gathered at the Sports hall for the OM simulation.Poeple were shivering in cold while they struggled to make electronic circuits-the 'Standard',the 'Premier' and 'Dual' breadboard chips where we simulated the Operations of an electronics factory-made our product according to the customer's orders and delivered in time.There was one team which simulated the manufacturing model and the other which audited them.The results were declared and then the teams combined together to come up with the learnings from the exercise and then implement the best model and repeat the exercise.It was indeed a great experience as we could put in practice the theoretical models and could see their effects in reality..gave a lot of practical learning.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yearbook,AT Kearney & Diwali(16-20th Oct)

The second week of the MBA kicked off. Even before we have realised,another week has whizzed by us.It began with the presentation from AT Kearney about the Global prize business case competition.We were asked to register in teams of four before Wednesday if we were interested in the business challenge.During the evening ,we spent some time with Bill Tribe,one of the last year Cranfield alumni who has joined ATK post MBA.He briefed us with few pros & cons of getting into a consulting job-the tough hurdles of innumerable case interviews,personal interviews & final partner interviews.He suggested that we should do our bit of research and preparation before we faced the interviews.There was a Loreal briefing about the business challenge simulation game which we could register for in teams of three.On Wednesday we were all very excited and eager to register for the ATK case comepetition before the deadline(as only the first 15 teams would be registered in).

However due to some technical snags on the ATK site,we finally registered quite late by sending e-mails to them.Gladly they accepted to register all the teams who had signed in (although the no exceeded 15) to compensate for the fault on their behalf.There was a time management session that evening by one of our alumni,Robin Hilton.Most of us found it difficult to manage their time and to cope up with the MBA pressure that was building up.We got some valuable tips as to how to control our time,we would have to implement them in our day-to-day working to sail safely thru this year.The yearbook deadline was drawing nearer.We spent sleepless nights on our yearbook page one last time before we submitted them to the Careers on Friday the 20th.The weekend social was the special occasion of celebrating the Indian festival of lights 'Diwali'. All (Indians & non-Indians) were dressed in colourful Indian attire to grace the event.The skit 'MBA Ramayana' from the Hindu epics stole the show with Peter,Ian & Silvana acting as Rama,Ravana & Sita respectively.We marvelled at the innovative script which related the mythology story to our MBA jargons of market share,Boston matrix.It was followed by the Bollywood cocktail where a group of us danced to the rappy Bolywood number sung by AmitK,SJ & myself.Finally some mouthwatering hot Indian snacks followed and everyone hit the dance floor to conclude another busiest week of the course.The weekend saw us hovering over all our reading for the coming week,with occasional games of Football & Tennis.