Summary of Lessons: Launch

I’m at the end of the Launch period of the MBA class (about 3 weeks) where we got to listen to multiple people- the academics, the thought leaders, the mavericks, and the geniuses. While all the sessions were quite thought-provoking, these are my favorite ones and here are the key takeaways from those sessions.

Prof. Peter Tufano (Dean): “Go on and explore, Oxford is an ocean of possibilities”

Mr. Kurt Russell (Board Member, Novartis and Associate Fellow, Oxford): a) “If you want to become a leader- listen, listen, listen!” b) “The most important advice I give to any leader is to find a mentor, if they don’t have one already”

‘Study Effectively’ by Olav Schewe: “Teaching somebody else is the best way to learn something”

‘Networking with Confidence’ by Sue Tonks: “Be genuinely interested in people and not a group hopper- meeting a fewer people and knowing them well is way better than collecting a hundred business cards”

‘Global Rules of the Game’ by Prof. Eric Thun and Prof. Mari Sako: a)My take-away: It is invariably the one important stakeholder you miss out on in the scheme of things that can bring your entire business down b) “Finding means of overcoming hurdles posed by the laws of the land should not be misconstrued as license to be unethical or immoral”

‘Meet the Marketing Faculty’ & ‘Faculty Insights: Marketing’ by Prof. Andrew Stephen and the faculty of the Department of marketing : a) “Marketing is at the centre of demand creation in today's’ world” b) “Marketing in the present day and in the future would be vastly different how it was about 10 years back. Theories of the past are not adequate to explain marketing in a digital world”

‘Entrepreneurship’ by Prof. Thomas Hellman: “Entrepreneurs are ever-optimists, don’t fear failure and are mostly found in pairs”

‘Future of Work’ by Nina Bjornstad, Country Manager Google for Work: “The best ideas and projects of the future will come from collaboration and not from individual brilliance, leaders of the future can’t survive without accepting this”

As the class hours increase, things are getting hectic. Teams, formed of diverse people, are putting their heads together to solve multiple cases. Most of the class is now past the Freshers’ flu (#itsanOxfordthing too) and sleeping faster (’cause illegal to ask people to not sleep- as one of our Profs. put it :) ). The night life is getting more active too. College dinners and activities for Freshers have kicked in. People who have never dared to enter the neighborhood pool are now aspiring rowers. Optimists have joined a 50 of the more than 300 clubs at Oxford and pessimists about 25. Everybody is a professional photographer now showing off their skills(including me :P)- but its the Oxford city and the camera- and not really the photographer- trust me on that!!(Even the picture of rubbish looks so romantic when clicked on my new DSLR). Its bikes all around in Oxford (For folks in India/Africa/SE Asia: Bike here refers to Bicycles and not Motorbikes) Most of us are overwhelmed at the opportunities on offer and unsure of what to pick and what not to. As for academics- Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Scientists, Bankers, Consultants, Entrepreneurs, Army officers, Athletes, Artists, PhDs in a past life and who have been out of college for long- are now neck deep in books and notes- getting back to first principle. No alternative to good old hard-work. Unfortunately even the ‘Smart Workers’ (which I thought I was, until I got here) have to work-hard for their MBA. Its fun nevertheless and enjoyable. All for good!!