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Our time at the MBA World Summit 2015 in Barcelona

31 Mar

Time at the Mannheim MBA seems to fly by – events, courses and mixing around with batch mates. So when I first heard of the MBA World Summit, I did not pay a lot of attention to it. But enough to apply. Through the process, as I read on I became more and more intrigued by the concept and what was in store. Fortunately two Mannheimers – Ferencz and me – got to represent MBS at the global stage.

Started last year, this years’ summit already went from 62 students (2500 applicants across 20 business schools) to 100 students (3000 applicants across 85 business schools). We were glad to be one of the select few.

The first night in Barcelona was a cocktail reception where we all met together for the first time. Lot of introductions, greetings and in a few cases seeing familiar faces from other schools as well. This did well to break the ice for Day 2 – which was when we were all put to action, the reason why the whole thing came together in the first place.MBA World Summit Day 1.2

Company presentations, Student Laboratory Sessions (SLS – where students select what to discuss during a session and tailor it to their needs) and Interviews – it was all happening one after the other. We were spoilt for choice and yet worked to our bone – the essence of any good business proposition.

We got to interact with the company representatives of GoodGame Studios, Deutsche Bank, Bertelsmann and Merck. And the Student Laboratory Sessions were amazing. I particularly enjoyed conducting my own on “Crowd Sourcing” in business where we had a wonderful exchange of ideas with every attendee. Another one on Game Theory in the morning introduced me of a few new ways to look at some strategy problems.

Any mention of the program is also incomplete without mentioning the beauty of the IESE Campus in Barcelona and the friendliness of all on campus. Thank you for having us there.

The interactions between the students, the crew and company representatives spilled over to the dinner at a fantastic Tapas restaurant. And then onto the third day which focused on strengthening these bonds in the informal setting of city tours, lazy beach lunches and clubbing. The Barcelona experience is always incomplete without the clubs and of course the Gin & Tonic!MBA World Summit Day 1.3

And so before we knew it – the Summit came to an end. Just like that. Morning greetings over coffee, saying goodbyes and promises to visit other campuses. Back in Mannheim, the value of the Summit begins to sink in and I am so glad to have made friends from all over within this short span.

Thank you to QX Crew and we hope to always send a Mannheimer in the future as well!

– Vikram Gupta, Mannheim Full-Time MBA Class of 2015 –

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Sports & MBA ?!

12 Dec

I wish I could write this blog as a plan on what to expect from joining the Mannheim MBA program but the truth is that it is the unexpected that is the only certainty in the program, and trust me, that is a great thing! While there is obvious apprehension prior to commencing the program, leaving the professional world and embarking on a highly challenging journey, this feeling is soon put to bed once you understand that your teammates and soon to be lifelong friends all find themselves in the same situation. The mentality of all ‘being in it together’ is one that definitely lends itself to bringing the class close together from the very first meeting.
I’m writing this post three months into the program and looking back I really can’t understand where the time has gone. There has been induction, classes, exams, late night study sessions, projects, and the always entertaining group assignments! While I could give a run-down of the academic portion of the program it’s important to also describe another critical aspect of the program and that is the out of class experiences that are critical to our development as business leaders in a culturally diverse world. Two of these areas I would like to shed some light on is the social and sporting aspects on the program.
The question that is often posed to international managers is how to integrate a culturally diverse team? After three months of the MBA and being in a class that registers twenty three different nationalities out of sixty students, I think we may have discovered the formula and that includes equal parts sport, and as President Obama would describe it, equal parts ‘Beer Diplomacy’. You may question how important sports are during an MBA program but we quickly got this answer during the official introduction with Mannheim’s Business School President when he stated that our degree could only be guaranteed if we retained the Rowing Cup that last year’s group finally won after a long six year draught! To this point I still don’t know if it was a joke, but what is apparent is that the team is not taking any chances and we are all training like our graduation depends on it!
soccerOn the football field we have created a team that includes players from Europe, North American, South America, Asia, and Australia. After several days of arguing the true meaning of ‘football’ after lots of persuading of the American’s we are training hard for the annual indoor tournament held in Leipzig. What we have found really interesting in the team is that local sports from other cultures can come in very handy on the football field. We have an Indian that is using his cricket skills effectively as our goalie, and the American’s use their ‘American’ football skills to great effect in a defensive role. Again, no matter what the result, the training has continued to bond our group closer.The second part of the cultural journey is what can only be arguably the most fun part…. and that involves some beer drinking. While the cultural sensitivity and cultural diversity classes are extremely important, it is really amazing how an incredibly diverse group can find common interests and very lively conversation over a local German Bier or Glühwein! As a group we have taken trips to a variety of cities including Berlin, Heidelberg, Neustadt, Strasbourg, and Frankfurt, just to name a few. The traveling not only allows us to experience German culture first-hand (and practice our somewhat limited Deutsch skills) but it is a great way to get to know the cultures of our teammates, what makes them tick, and how they view the world.

Soon several us are going to be off to our exchange partner schools, therefore leaving our teammates for three months but the sports and socializing means that coming back together is something that we are all looking forward to with the assurance that the bonds we have developed on the playing field, in the bars, and on the road, will not be strained by distance. With the development of a ‘Culture and Sports’ club we have plans to try several new global sports, visit a variety of sporting events throughout Europe, and obviously part-take in some healthy competition during the World Cup.

-Geoffrey Mason-

Mannheim MBA Class of 2014

Applying the MBA to real life

31 May

It will be two years this September to the MBA and I must say that I have been applying the MBA to my post-MBA life rather often; both consciously and sub-consciously. The application has been in terms of all kinds of knowledge garnered during that amazing year – both in terms of core, hard courses and “soft” skills.

In my job as a purchaser / product manager, the most useful core courses that I have been frequently applying are Marketing, Consumer Behavior and Supply chain operations. Courses like Decision Analysis, I used a lot more in the in-between time post the MBA and before starting the new job.

Then there are the courses like Organizational Behavior, Change management and negotiation and the soft-skill courses like Team-work, inter-cultural management and the like (focusing on people skills). These have been invaluable ever since I learnt about them. I definitely would consider honing my skills in these three areas over the coming years. They are extremely practical and IMHO, a must-have in every person’s kit.

And finally, I have always felt that whoever termed “Soft” skills as being “soft „certainly did a huge disservice to them. These skills are anything but “soft”. Internalizing them takes longer than one would think. So you know Kotter’s 8-step change management model. However, perfecting it is an art in itself and definitely one that needs practice every single day. It’s what one of my favorite professors always said – “Real application of soft-skills is like The difference between ‘ savoir-faire’ (know-how) and ‘savoir-être’ (application of the knowledge appropriately).”

In other news, I am looking forward to the Summer-party in MBS in July. I really do hope that the weather gets better by then, but either ways it promises to be a great evening at the good ol’ EO! 🙂 Looking forward to catching up with my friends from my batch and hearing everyone’s stories.

I also hope to run into some of you from the current class. Good luck with running the last mile and make the most of Term4. In less than 4 months, you will enter the world of alumni – unbelievable how soon time flies!

And finally, I wish those of you currently in the application stages, all the very best!

Have a great weekend!

Best regards,

Anita (Class of 2011)

A company visit

18 Mar

One hour in a bus! That’s how long it took to travel around the BASF plant in Ludwigshafen.

The trip to the largest chemical companies in the world, BASF, is just a walk across the bridge from MBS. Covering the entire expanse of landscape across the Rhine from Mannheim, the facility is the largest chemical plant in the world. True to its name, BASF is a powerhouse in the chemical field with products in almost every industry known to man! Their international associations and open innovation techniques are a source of information to most companies that want to achieve a truly ‘global architecture’.

The information session opened our eyes to the history, changes in the industry and challenges that the chemical industry faces in light of recent developments. Additionally the in-house consulting team and the HR provided us with insights on the exciting work along with the opportunities at BASF.

The beautiful sight of first snow along with a pretty long game of snow-fight with the amazing 2013 cohort made the perfect ending to the eventful day!

1,78,000+ employees in over 100 locations with a turnover of 58 billion USD..Three numbers that constantly remind me about the size of the BASF world.

– Anoop Thampy –
Mannheim MBA Class of 2013

Term 1 Highlights

7 Jan

Decision Analysis Class

scenario analysis

Football – Time to score

Football

The dream team 😉

Football Team

Surrounding

Man

 

Countdown to the end of Term4!

17 Aug

and the MBA! I can’t reiterate enough how surreal it all is; I remember with vivid clarity our first day;  13.09.2010. And to think that we are already done with writing half our Thesis and are in the process of reviewing it and reworking it ==> Its like Buzz Lightyear on steroids, lol. Anyways, for now, we are all completely immersed in understanding customer requirements, company needs, research needs and putting them all together.

And besides work, we had our final social event for the year last Friday.  This time, we decided to combine a fun-rowing session, MCT Olympics with some fun-games and a BBQ at the Bootshaus, Mannheim.  The weather that morning threatened to play spoil-sport but thankfully did not! 4 p.m. arrived with the right hint of blue in the sky, the right amount of green in the BBQ area and the perfect amount of enthusiasm 🙂

Between 4 and 5.30, around 10 of us went rowing along the Neckar. It was refreshing to be paddling downstream. Post the rowing session, we could not wait to get started on the BBQ. The others from the class had already started grilling meats and vegetables on the barbeque. To be honest, I suspect that the amazing aromas wafting through the late afternoon breeze made us row that much faster. The barbeque was a veritable treat to the eyes and the taste-buds;  there were sausages, several salads, pasta, crisps, beer, wine, soft-drinks and chocolate crumble.

Around 6.30 we started with the MCT Olympics. We divided the attendees into groups of 1 or more MCTs. A special mention must be made for MCT5, which was the only MCT that showed up in full strength. We began with the beer drinking game- Teams of 4 had to run a relay of 50 mt. and drink a glass of beer/ cola before passing the baton to their next team member. A lot of fun this one was!  Next, we played ‘The Chase game’ where,  we had two large teams of 11 people on either side and we had a referee holding a towel in the centre. The referee would call any number from 1-11 (pre-assigned internally in the teams) and the called number from each team had to come in the centre. The aim of the game is to pull the hanky and return to your side without getting tagged by the opposition. This was a real surprise, where no one wanted to stop playing. We played until 15 points. Finally we ended with the ‘Frisbee Golf’ and the ‘Mummy wrap’ games.  Of course, we took several  BBQ breaks,  to refresh our tired muscles, haha

The best part of this event was that everyone was involved in organizing it, in setting things up, participating sportingly and having fun! Thanks a ton to everyone for making the final social event of the Class of 2011 amongst the most memorable events!

Its unbelievable! Term4 has already started!

5 Jul

So, its been awhile since I updated my blog; that’s coz we have been really busy completing the last subject of term3 nd of the MBA course; ‘Corporate Mergers and Restructuring in Europe’. This was an absolutely engaging view of the history of mergers, the pros and cons of large enterprises and how seemingly successful people may have a thing or two to hide; read ‘getting ahead the fast way doesn’t guarantee long-term success’. The course was a mix of some great readings, lectures and group-work. The exam, in itself was among the most challenging ones in the MBA so far, but I am hoping that we have indeed saved our best for last 🙂

Post the exam, we went celebrating at Barillo’s the local Latin-American restaurant and bar. I can’t even begin to explain the unbelievable feeling of lightness with a tinge of sadness, lots of excitement and sheer disbelief that we’ve come so far. The evening was an absolute delight and you simply had to be there! Sigh! I am soooo going to miss everybody but I’ll save that for later. From Barillo’s we went bar-hopping until we reached home in the wee hours of Saturday. Among the best celebrations ever! The weekend whizzed by in further celebrations and some more research into the fields in which I’d like to work post the MBA.

27th June dawned bright and sunny after some 3 weeks of rain. The rains, of course, reminded me a lot of Mumbai, where its the monsoon right now. But I couldn’t help wishing for sunny days once again. We had our social project presentation last Monday, which went off pretty well, if I may say so myself 🙂 The rest of the week was spent in preparing ourselves for the Company Project, as part of our Master Thesis. My team (MCT) has the amazing opportunity to work on deriving a market-entry strategy for a German firm and we are extremely excited about it. The Master Thesis, in itself promises to be the best opportunity for me to apply concepts and models I learnt in various modules of the MBA to a real-life business case. Plus, i have never really been part of a Thesis-project, so am pretty excited about how it will all turn out. Fingers crossed.

Oh and last weekend, MBS went to WHU in Koblenz for the annual rowing contest. Our school did amazingly well although WHU won the trophy. We had an awesome attitude towards the sport; totally infectious, pure enthusiasm and a genuine love for the sport! And, our friend from class, he converted all us students into rowers and we are all amazed at how much one man’s passion can inspire so many others. On behalf of the entire class, we’d like to thank you, you know who you are 🙂 for your single-minded commitment! And The Class of 2012, if you are reading this, we sure hope you bring the trophy to MBS next year.

That’s it from me, for now. I should get back to some more research for our Company Project.

Till later,

Anita

P.S: Funnily enough, one would imagine that post the courses, one would have a lot of free time. But a whole host of things seem to be calling out to me; job search, company project, parties, catching up with friends, reading fiction novels, doing some German-study and some much-needed spring cleaning in summer, lol

Countdown to Term4!

14 Jun

Sigh! As I write this post, we are already counting down to the end of term3. Last week was the 1st of the 3 final courses this term; Strategic Management of the Global Corporation. Through a mix of case-studies and lectures, this course was a consolidation of all things strategic and global until now. So, we covered things like entering international markets, cross-cultural analysis of countries and companies, assessing the cultural-fit of two entities, modes of entering new markets and among the most interesting aspects was the session on ‘ Strategies for emerging markets’. Coming from an emerging market myself, I find such sessions extremely interesting and also fascinating to notice the reactions from my friends when they hear that the ‘shampoo sachet’ for e.g. was a typical ‘Bottom of the pyramid’ invention. Post the exam on Friday, we attended our monthly ‘Stammtisch’, which had the largest turnout this term. Post an awesome Friday evening, we settled to enjoy the long weekend.

Today, we started with the second-last course this term- Production Operations, which covers concepts intended to make s Operations-management that much more efficient.  The week promises to be a relatively intense one, with lots of number-crunching, a case-study presentation and case-work during class along with lectures. And now I should get back to completing my reading for tomorrow.

till later,

Anita

A slice of the good life – Mannheim style!

14 Jun

So, the post-Leipzig high continues even in June. The pre-tournament euphoria continued well into the tournament and continues to pervade our classroom even 3 weeks after the tournament. 🙂

Our team- The MBS Five-Forces (A possible take on Porter’s five forces, but no one’s telling) did a fabulous job. We won 2 out of the 4 games we played and made it to the top 16 teams out of the 32 that played initially. There were great moments of recovery from being 2 goals down to being 4-2 in our favor.  There was awesome team-spirit displayed in the way we stood together even when we were a few goals down, in the way we played as a team and never considered selfish goals and in the way the cheering team screamed hoarse and we think even gave the opposing teams a complex, lol. And best of all, I am pretty sure that we were among the most diverse teams on the field that day.

Leipzig, in itself, is a fabulous city with amazing vibes and a character all of its own; the long walks through its lanes, the numerous rounds of coffee and drinks in its endearing cafes, the amazingly refreshing music, the divine food in its multi-cultural restaurants made our weekend that much more special. Leipzig was the perfect companion to us crazy bunch of singing, dancing, partying MBS-ites and we won’t be forgetting the amazing weekend anytime soon! A big thank you to everyone for a bunch of amazing memories! Viva Football! Viva MBS-Class of 2011! Viva MBS! 🙂

Till later,

Anita

P.S: Next is the Rowing Competition in July and the party-bus is already ready to vroom its way into Koblenz! 

MBS goes to Leipzig!

30 May

So, the past week, we completed our course on the Challenges of Strategic HRM; the crux of the lecture being that the strategic part of HRM is successful only when the functional line managers take an active interest in their team’s coaching and development needs and participate actively in mentoring them with HR playing the facilitator’s role. The role of HR needs to evolve into one where it permeates all sections of an organization and ensures that an organization’s competitive advantage is its People.

The weekend was spent in rowing practice for our upcoming rowing competition in July. We also walked around the local Stadtfest (City music festival) in Mannheim where a host of bands played all sorts of music; from the oldies to cover-versions of U2 and past German hit musicians. Today, we began with course no. 7 of Term3 – Global Information Management. The course covers the strategic part of Information Technology with an emphasis on implementation and managing information on a global level. It promises to be an interesting week ahead.

And finally, on the weekend, our class travels to Leipzig to participate in an inter-college football tournament. We have a fantastic team on hand that plays well as a team and that knows each other strengths and weaknesses. I am SO looking forward to cheering our team and having tonnnes of fun! Wish us tonnes of luck! 🙂

Which is what my year at MBS has had an abundance of; Fun. It sure has been one of the most intense, dynamic, demanding years of my life ever but totally balanced with ample fun, new experiences, new ideas and a bunch of the greatest people this side of the world! Couldn’t have asked for more.

till later,

Anita