Sunday, February 25, 2007

Week Twentyone - MacroWAC

Let me be a bit more comprehensive - 1 presentation, 1 WAC and 1 disappointment. These all are discrete events.

Apart from the routine of classes and studies, this week started with our learning team's presentation on the report we submitted last week about IT systems and their benefit to a retail business. As a team, we did very well. Individually, of the 2 questions that came my way, I handled 1.5 - I am a bit disappointed in myself. Now we go on to choose individual suggestions and write more about them - individually.

We had the Macroeconomics Analysis & Business Environment WAC. This was fun - and I mean FUN. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. We were supposed to submit a report on the current macroeconomic state of a country of our choice (given some constraints), comment on issues facing it and come up with policy recommendations. I doubt if any of us would be considered qualified for this - most Chief Economic Advisors, Governors of Central Banks and such luminaries have multiple PhDs and years of study and teaching and practice under their belt. However, despite this obvious shortcoming, we dug up data on countries, looked at what can happen, analysed this (after all, we are MBA students, analysis is what we do!) and came up with some general some specific policy guidelines. I am proud to say that our reports should stand up to good and thorough scrutiny by the abovementioned luminaries, and am equally sure that the grades we get will be a bit of a disappointment. After all, there is only so much you can write in a given word limit!

The real disappointment came before the WAC, but concerned something that we had planned for after the WAC. It was to have included people from the MBA and MSc courses, I had done a fair amount of spadework, somebody else had put in more effort than all of us in preparation, and we had to call it off. We tried not to do so till the last possible minute. I felt miserable when I had to inform about the cancellation. But that is life. Have to take it and move on.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Week Twenty - Busy Bee

This has been one busy week! It started with the routine, and soon, free time was at a premium. Supply Chain Management - a report on how supply chain can afford companies strategic advantages. Who else? Dell! There are two companies who have made their money in managing their supply chain - one is the consummate channel - WalMart, the other is the consummate anti-channel - Dell. We looked at Dell in this report, but I am as fascinated by WalMart.

I had barely finished commenting on the Dell Direct model when we had to submit another beauty - the Managing Information Technology group report. This was done in learning teams, we looked at a retail operation and how IT systems can help this particular shop chain in bettering its performance. Let me be honest, I have always believed that IT is a tool, a very important tool, but only a tool. And I found that this particular tool has vast possibilities. We came up with suggestions that if properly implemented should contribute tremendously to the success of this operation.

Then came the tutorials and then came the cricket. And to top it off, another Desi Bollywood night. And this time, after the dancing, the eating and the dumb charades, we had our first official round of Antakshari. Work hard, play harder, it suddenly looks a lot easier to do than to say...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Week Nineteen - Assessment time

The last week was assessment time - an assessment of leadership potential and other issues. We used a lot of techniques, most of which have obscene costs, to come up with some very pertinent insights. I for one received feedback from friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues and ex-managers about my work. I also was assessed in a proper assessment centre, and will be given detailed feedback soon.

This was in the first half of the week, and the second half was amazing. Despite assurances from my local friends that we will not see snow again this year, it snowed on Wednesday and Thursday. 11 centimetres of pure white winter wonder. What to say - England swings like a pendulum. We of course made good use of the opportunity. Snowman, snowwoman, snowballs, snow fights, snow and more snow... And guess what? We were assessed on the snowmen too - the Cranfield Students Association held an impromptu competition. We didn’t win, I guess the criterion was the bigger the better! But hey! it was fun!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Week Eighteen - WAC - again

This time - Financial Management. We were set an assignment - look at a company's past performance, analyse the data to come to understand growth issues that it faces, and recommend financing strategies for funding growth. If it sounds daunting, it is. But it was fun too. We (me, my team, my stream, my course) worked on data that is easily available for most companies, some fairly reasonable assumptions and some of the theoretical knowledge gained in this course. The stream dump was very useful, particularly for me, and although everybody worked out the answers individually, they were remarkably well thought out.

But this is the end of the week. We started with the same routine, that by now you know by heart. This week had afternoon classes, one day had morning classes of Business Law. Other than the Finance WAC, this week was as routine as ever.