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Its starting to rain examination results!

23 Nov

Now that its been around 4-5 weeks; more or less, since we took our 4 exams this term – Decision Analysis, Marketing Fundamentals, Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting, its now time for the examination results. We got our Decision Analysis results today; fingers crossed and hoping that we all did all-right.

In other news, its getting colder with every passing day; in fact, even as I type this post, I can hear the mercury dropping; haha. In fact, there are forecasts that it may, in fact, start to snow this weekend, here in Mannheim. I, sure am looking forward to the snow-flakes landing on my head. However, it appears that snow, this early is unheard of; I just hope that we (humanity) have not messed up the environment beyond repair. Sigh!

And now that we are getting deeper into Corporate Finance, I can visualize myself applying some of the Investment-valuation techniques (Net present value, Internal rate of return, Payback method, etc.) to future investment decisions. I wonder, what if I had applied some of these techniques to certain decisions, during my previous job. Would it have altered my decision? Probably not; but it would have surely added more value to my decision-approach and been a useful tool to more easily convince the team to make certain investments.

Tomorrow is German class, and I continue to wrestle with the Konjunktiv-II case , although I may  be getting my own back. We also have a presentation to make; my 3rd presentation in German- this one is on ‘Stuttgart 21’– the hugely debated topic in Germany at this moment. Its primarily a cost-benefit analysis on modernization of the current train-station and its infrastructure in Stuttgart vs. the costs involved; both monetary and otherwise (environmental, cultural, etc.) and whether the costs justify the benefits.

Our Social project; read https://blog.mannheim-mba.com/category/the-social-project/ for more, is getting underway. Most teams have a clearer idea of what they’d be doing and we can’t wait to get started. Watch this space for more on the various Social projects undertaken by the Full-time MBA Class of 2011.

Bis bald (till later,)

Anita

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The week gone by: Classes, trainings, new people, fun!

21 Nov

Monday; 16.11.10- Corporate Finance- Lecture 1: This week, we started with the 5th subject of Term1. We now have the fundamentals of Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting firmly in our heads. So it is time to apply our knowledge to gain insights into the major financial decisions firms are faced with and into the methods and tools that firms use to solve these problems. So, it is quite a journey into the world of Capital Budgeting, financial statement analysis, the valuation of securities, working capital Management as well as financing and capital structure decisions. The teaching methodology is a combination of in-class lectures and group-sessions, where we work through case-studies of companies. Last week, we walked through the case of a specialty consumer products company that was subject to a takeover a few years back and whether or not it managed to achieve its financial, social and product-related objectives as per its mission statement.

Wednesday was the start of the final subject in Term1- Economics. The basic message, delivered in various modes was that ‘An open economy has unparalleled benefits’. Quotas, barriers to trade, may have their place to protect fledgling industries and the like; however these are tricky measures to implement. The human mind is a strange one, and once you give someone a benefit, its hard to take it away. The in-class discussion made me ponder about the former license raj in India, the prevailing quota-system in several sectors and the current debate against opening up Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). For sure, India is doing admirably well in the world; but we still have a lot of ground to cover before we can be proud of an inclusive economy.

Wednesday was also the day of German classes. This time, we had to wrestle with the Subjunctive (Konjunktiv-II). It is used to denote politeness, a suggestion/a recommendation and hypothetical situations. For e.g.’ If I were born in Alaska, I would drink hot chocolate all day long. ‘ Now, when I was learning English, I hardly remember studying this in Grammar-class. For sure, Ms. Jacinta would not be pleased were she reading this post, but honestly, I don’t remember. Initially, I used to take ages to form a half-decent sentence in German. You see, there was a reason why. I had to consider the following: The case of the sentence, the gender of the nouns in question, the endings for the adjectives and whether or not I had to use Singular/ Plural. The end-result was that by the time I had the sentence formed, the other person had already moved on to the next topic. And then it dawned on me, I just had to start speaking. So my advice to all those of you who are studying German is to ‘Just start speaking the language‘. Try and get the grammar right over time. Till then, as long as you make yourself understood, you shouldn’t be worrying.

Which reminds me of the 2 Soft-skill courses we had these past weeks- one on Networking and the other on helping us write better CVs. Both of these were absolutely essential and I can safely say that I can now network better and position myself better in the competitive world. The bottom-line in both these workshops, was to just be yourself, not underplay your achievements, be aware of where you might need help and voice yourself in a firm, confident and professional manner. Simple things, but its nice to be reminded of them, every once in a while.

And finally we had the privilege of attending the annual ‘Mannheim Business Forum’ on Friday. This time, the President of a leading international company elaborated on their journey in the world market during the past hundred years or so. What stayed with me:

  • Successful companies are those where the company’s core values and its culture are embedded into every employee’s DNA and are not just a fancy page on the company’s website.
  • Successful companies are those where consistency is key and where the oft-used ‘Customer delight’ is a reality that is lived every single day.
  • Where integrity is of paramount importance and is never compromised upon
  • Where innovation is critical to get ahead of competition and all employees are encouraged to be entrepreneurial
  • And finally, where ‘common sense’ rules.

As I continue on this journey with MBS, I continue to be amazed at the wealth of opportunities in the world; only if one would look for them and the sheer variety of things that we, as humanity offer to the world.

Post the session, we had a great networking session, where we met several of our alumni and employees of the company. Post the conference, some of us hopped into the local bar, where it was loads of fun, as always. Some of the classmates had exercised their vocal chords the day before at the local Irish pub; I think they were preparing for the next Social event of the class – ‘Karaoke night‘, although they deny it, haha. The ‘Karaoke event’  takes place in a week, so I suppose I should get back to some more singing practice, haha and also prepare for our Corporate Finance lecture tomorrow.

Wishing you a great week ahead!

Ciao,

Anita

4 Nov

The Marketing exam went off rather well and at the end, there was a major sense of surprise that we were, indeed 3 subjects down the lane of the MBA. Time flies and how!

So, post the exams we had our German classes (Level 3). In Level 3, the focus is on the current happenings in the world of business with an emphasis on the German economy. The current major topic is the ‘Hartz IV Reformen’ – The German welfare reforms. As most reforms go, there are both sides to the coin and the German media is agog with discussions and debates on Hartz IV. The lecture comprised of readings on the events leading up to the reforms and the economical changes that swept Germany post the 2006 Football World Cup. Post class, partying took on several forms; bar-hopping, movie-hopping and also golfing in the corridor; all in preparation of the Subject no. 4 starting on Thursday

Day 1 of Managerial Accounting started off bright, early and cloudy. Mannheim is experiencing Autumn 2010 and is doing its very best to attain shades of yellow, red and brown. We started to walk through the measurement of costs for different types of costobjects (products, services, organizational units, etc.), the use of cost information for decision-making and the implications of cost allocations. As in all subjects, the work is a mixture of group-work, individual participation and an exam at the end of the course. Also, studying a subject keeping in mind the practical implications of the same is a great way to learn a subject. So, each time we think Managerial Accounting, we think not just in terms of formulae, but also in terms of the movie-studio that tried to use costing to cover its profits and the ice-cream parlor that showed losses due to a bad accountant who clearly did not take Managerial Accounting classes with our professor. 😀

An interesting thing we learn in almost every class is that there may not always be a right answer, just as there is ‘ No true cost’. Also, the answer to a lot of questions is usually ‘It depends’. So, apart from the subject matter that we learn in class, what the MBA will also equip us with is to sift through the unclear stuff a lot better and arrive at the best answer for a particualr sitation rather than the perfect one. Just can’t wait!

Oh and tomorrow, is ‘Diwali’- the festival of lights in India. We have a reasonably large Indian represenration in class and we plan to make some Indian sweets and distribute them in class tomorrow.

So, this evening, cooking beckons. I’ll tell you tomorrow how that experiment turned out.

Till later,

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? :)

17 Oct

Ich kann ziemlich gut Deutsch; that roughly translates to ‘I can speak reasonably good German’. Or so I thought 🙂

Day3, week1, Sept 15th, 18.30 h.- In walked 2 German professors with a stack of German examination papers, intending to gauge our level of the language. The past 2 days had whizzed past me, to the point that I had not even opened the ‘Teach yourself German Grammar’ book from Mumbai. Full-blown panic started to set in.

The test lasted for an hour and comprised of all my ‘bette-noires’; tonnes of Konjunktiv, Passiv and Modal Verben, a short-essay and a Reading comprehension. It took me 10 minutes to orient myself, but managed to get the hang of the paper. An hour later, panic-attack-averted :), I had managed to qualify for Level3 of the weekly German classes, offered by Mannheim Business School for the non-German-speaking students. Level1 is for absolute beginners, Level2 for someone who has completed A1/A2 levels and level3 for those who have completed at least B2. Me, I have a PwD (Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch International) 🙂 and am comfortable speaking but rather rusty.

Level1 and Level2 concentrate on the basics of the language, structural foundations, Grammar, sentence formations and small-medium reading comprehensions. Level3 has a focus on business-German in a working environment.

I am currently 3 classes old; and have braved the elements to reach class at 7 a.m. every Wednesday. We chose to have classes in the morning, since in the evenings, we usually have group-work to do or assignments to prepare for. Mornings are when we are fresher and that helps in learning a new language; always 🙂

But trust me, it’s totally worth it! Or as they say, ‘Es lohnt sich!’