Archive | Hard skill courses RSS feed for this section

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)


Days in Mannheim Business School

26 Nov

Strategy without implementation is a day-dream; Implementation without strategy is a nightmare. More I read about it, more I feel.  Setting up a strategy and implementing those sounds real easy but is it that simple? I wonder if this was so easy, every product in the market would have been a success story.  A good marketing strategy can make a brand and people would line for hours to buy the products. And sometime a product from a top brand with huge marketing fails. What could be the reasons? If I combine my knowledge of strategy with marketing, I would say… it depends :-). All that matter is successful implementation of a good strategy.

I neither studied nor worked in finance before. Financial statements to me were just sheet with revenue and profit. But the same tabular sheet now makes a lot sense to me. The financial statement speaks up everything about the company.  Group case studies helped me understand key financial concepts.

Macroeconomics is a good subject and open economy is interesting topic. The funny examples from our Professor made me understand this complex topic better. I can now explain benefits behind the open economy. It’s interesting to understand how a part of an economic can be made more competitive by just adjusting the exchange and interest rates and vice versa. The professor had so much knowledge, ask him a topic and he has an interesting example/story to tell you. Just listen to the meaning behind the story and you under the topic.

“Leadership talk” with a top leader from a leading customer product company was so interesting. He had so much knowledge, such a clear strategy and understanding. He had solution for every possible leadership challenges – cross culture, motivation. You name it and he has an experience to share.

This is the beginning, more to follow ….

-Bikram Shrestha-

Mannheim MBA 2013

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,


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,


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,


2 subjects, a hike and a marathon race

25 May

Its been an eventful, packed past 2 weeks. My previous post was on the eve of our International Marketing course. The course was 5 packed days of an individual case-study, a group case-study and a computer-based simulation game on entering a new market. The thing with case-studies is, in my opinion that one needs to definitely read between the lines before one can develop one’s line of thinking and come up with meaningful recommendations. Grasping the intricacies of a case is like discovering new layers to a good book after each subsequent read. The cases were focused on deeper concepts like re-branding, market-entry into a new continent, pricing a new medical invention- the worst nightmare for a  marketer and the like. Via healthy class discussions, the course sharpened my interest in brands and what makes them tick. Here’s hoping to apply these concepts soon in the real world.

I had a guilt-free hike on the Saturday after the course, having had a good previous week especially since our team did a neat job during the market-entry simulation and more importantly, we had tonnes of fun! We visited the area called ‘Bad Dürkheim’, which is the spa-capital this side of the world. We hiked to a local monastery and enjoyed amazing views of the surrounding forest area over a glass of local wine. Post the hike, we had lunch at the world’s largest wine-barrel, that now houses a restaurant. Our lunch was authentic German food accompanied by a music from a local  musician and performances from our very own in-house guitar player. The highlights of the afternoon were  good food, good music, good views and awesome company, can’t complain 🙂

The previous week was the course on Strategic Leadership, which focused on our personal leadership styles and how we could develop ourselves to become future strategic leaders. Strategic Leadership, in a broad sense, ‘is a person’s ability to anticipate, envision, maintain flexibility, think strategically, and work with others to initiate changes that will create a viable future for the organization’. Examples of strategic leaders are Herb Kelleher from Southwest Airlines and Anne Mulcahy, the former CEO of Xerox Corporation. A key insight from the course was the emphasis on Authentic Leadership, that focused on being yourself, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and adapting your leadership style accordingly. This emphasis on being authentic ensures that you come across as a whole lot more believable which creates trust and you stand a better chance of building a long-term relationship with your employees. 

And finally, this past weekend, 21st May 2011 was The Mannheim-Marathon. 18 of us from MBS participated in various runs; the full marathon (42 km), the half-marathon (21 km), the duo-marathon and the team-marathon (4 participants). I participated in the team-marathon and our team completed 42 km in 3 hours and 43 minutes, pretty awesome, if I may say so myself. The best part, was that the Marathon began at 6.30 p.m. and we completed our run at 10.30 p.m. So it  was quite the party on the roads! Post the run, we went to our favorite watering hole, lol and celebrated. 

This week, we are studying the various Challenges of Strategic HRM via a mix of lectures, case-studies, debates and guest speakers. More posts on the other side of the lecture!

Till later,


Coming up – International Marketing

9 May

As I write this post, its already the 2nd week of May and the eve of the 4th course this term- International Marketing. I am currently reading up on the various entry strategies that companies could adopt when going global with a local flavor- glocal, as someone real smart coined it. I really want to coin at least one such Marketing/ Strategy terminology over the coming years; for e.g. long-tail, best practice, viral marketing and my current fave- ‘Twinternship’.  ‘Twinternship’ is when a ‘twintern’ would intern for a firm and work for its social-media team; read ==> Update the Facebook and Twitter profiles of the company, among others, to generate a buzz around the company and its products. Sehr interessant, oder?

Anyways, I digress. In the past weeks, we have had the ‘States and Markets’ course, which touched upon theories on inequality, growth, globalization  and their relationships. We also learnt some applications of Game theory and the various aspects of implementation of policies, along with issues faced in policy creation and implementation and the relationship between the State and the market, keeping the larger picture in mind. As in most courses, we were treated to insights into the German economic and socio-political system and the linkages between the two, which is something I really find very interesting. So, time permitting, I really would like to brush up on German and Indian history and Economics sometime in the near future. Then, some of us also were part of the ‘European Taxation’ course, where we learnt about the principles of dual taxation, guiding principles of international taxation concerning inbound and outbound investments and tax-planning strategies for cross-border investments.

Also, with spring already underway, its time for 3 key sporting events in our events-calendar; the  Marathon and the inter-school Rowing and Football competitions. The Marathon, for me, is just to prove to myself that I can run approx. 10 kms. in a little more than an hour. The Rowing and the Football, is where I’ll be cheering for MBS, unless I get to do a Glee and play on the teams, haha. So, if you are around Mannheim and see a bunch of MBS-students running along the river, you’d know why!

And in other news, the class will be going on a hike to a local monastery over the weekend, followed by lunch at a traditional German restaurant. So, in the interest of hiking with a clear conscience, I’d better get back to preparing for tomorrow’s International Marketing class, where a mixture of group case-studies, computer-based simulations and an individual case-assignment promises to lead to some definite Brandstorming.

Till later,


A little bit of everything

26 Apr

The past 2 weeks have had a little bit of everything. Like I mentioned in the previous post, we had the Career Fair from 11-13th April, which has  led to some very interesting leads. I have my fingers crossed and hope to have my post-MBA journey charted out in its logical time. We also had the 1st Alumni Round-table, which was a semi-formal gathering of several of our alumni working currently in Germany and the full-time MBA class and the Program Management, Career Services and Alumni Relations teams. It was a fantastic event that have us an opportunity to have relaxed talks with the alumni over some awesome appetizers and drinks. 

Then we had several Workshops to help us approach Term3 and the career-search better. Note that I say career-search and not job-search. To me, the MBA is the ideal time to reevaluate your aspirations, skills and talents and narrow down better the type of career that you are meant for. Career-found, job-search is a piece of cake. We also had the monthly Stammtisch, where we reconnected with those of our classmates who were away in Terms1 and 2 on exchange-programs. My MCT; we spent the weekend in the company of a bunch of adorable kids. It was our day out, as part of the Social Project which was a great success Details coming soon!

Also, Term3 Classes began last Sunday with Cross Cultural Management. Here, we learnt insights into why people from different cultures behaved the way they did, depending on the historical experiences and social contexts that they were a part of. For e.g. Indians are more conscious of ‘saving face’ and tend to avoid confrontations. An agenda and structure is critical to the German way of life. The hierarchy is respected heavily in the French context. Considering there were at least 10 different nationalities in class, it was a true cross-cultural experience.  The weekend ended with the beginning of the Easter weekend.

Some running along the river, a barbecue at the park, Easter-Sunday mass, coffee with friends and a lot of reading; both the fictional and non-fictional (read- course material) kind have totally recharged me for the coming week. We start with ‘States and Markets’- the role that the Government can, should and does play in regulating/ controlling/ improving the markets. Promising!

Have a great week ahead!

Till later,


P.S: Its 22 degrees; God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.

Goodbye Term2!

27 Mar

As I write this post, I am sitting at a cafe, watching the world go by and thinking how fast time flies.

Term2 officially ended for most of us on 25th March.

For some of us, the last course of Term2 was Company Valuation. Here, the focus was on assessing the value of companies in the context of M&A, divestitures, initialpublic offerings evaluation of investment strategies. We learnt about alternative techniques to value companies and to apply these techniques to different real-world business situations.

For others, Consumer Behavior was our last course in Term2. The 5 days of the course were a whirlwind of understanding how consumers buy, what motivates them,  how they form attitudes towards brands, how brands can work around consumer behavior to position their products in the ideal space where they catch the consumer’s eyes and the like. The highlight was a challenging computer-based simulation, where we had to manage our own firm and brands in order to obtain the highest market share by giving the customers close to what they would like. Easier said than done, considering consumers change their minds so often and markets change even more often. After 5 hectic days of trying to get the formula right, we concluded that there is no formula. The trick is to keep your ear to the ground and read the consumer right and then be responsive in terms of all the 4Ps of Marketing. So, change the Product-design if you need to, give more value for the Price the consumer is paying, Place your product in the channels the consumer prefers to shop from and Promote the Product in a way that it connects to the customer.

Anyways, I came upon this other post I had written not so long ago – And I pretty much feel exactly the same, except that the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and its 15 degrees now.

We are now more than 6 months into our MBA and most of us are amazed at the speed with which the year is speeding by. Term3 starts in the 1st week of April and after a 2-weeks kick-off and initiation, we jump headlong into the final 7 subjects of the year before starting with our Company Project in Term4. We would also be implementing our social project in Term3 and look forward to bringing some cheer, joy and goodwill to the community of Mannheim.

As for our class, the exchange students return and all 58 of us will be back under one roof in April.  We look forward to reconnecting and creating a host of new memories.

For those of you who have been admitted into MBS, Congratulations and a very warm welcome.  For others who are in various stages of your application, I wish you all the very best.

I’ll be back with updates in Term3!

Till then, have a good one!


3, 2 1- Term3

6 Mar

My team, we stood 3rd in the Supply Chain and Operations simulation game. This was after we had topped the ranking for most of the week but we are not complaining. In our opinion, we managed our resources to the fullest of their potential with minimal capital-expenditures and making complete use of the parameter settings available to us. The top2 teams had made a substantial capital-expenditure investment, having a different approach to managing their operations. The bottom-line being; choose a strategy and having chosen it, stick by it. Constant changes in operational-strategy are clearly not going to make your P&L look good. Having said that, you need to put in a lot of thought into choosing the right strategy for your business. In a strangely philosophical manner, it all comes down to being yourself. Trying to be someone that you simply are not will reveal itself sooner or later.

Last weekend, apart from watching the nail-biting innings of India vs. England in cricket was also spent studying and completing 2 examinations; Supply Chain and Operations and Organizational Behavior and Change Management. We also went bowling as part of the monthly social event. This time, I had more than beginner’s luck; seems like I may have the beginnings of a bowling arm, haha.

Last week was the next elective on ‘Innovation Management’. This covered the entire process of innovation, starting with how new ideas get generated and the process of structuring them into sustainable innovative projects. Friday ended with the examination and the end of Term2 for some among us. They, now have almost a month to refresh themselves in time for Term3, starting in April. The rest of us have 1 or 2 more subjects to see us through- Company Valuation and Consumer Behavior and Market Research Techniques.

On the weather-side of things, the sun is out and it has been a gloriously warm 8-12 degrees Celsius since the past 2 weeks. I am not complaining.

o, while I soak up the sun and catch up on some reading for my next course, I hope you have a great weekend, wherever you may be!