Monday, 22 September 2008

The Last One (1)

The name of this post is exactly same as the last episode of my favorite TV series FRIENDS. They had two parts of the last episode. I have FRIENDS DVD collection that I have watched so many times that I could even repeat the dialogs of almost any of about 250 episodes. But I have seen 'The Last One' only once and not planning to see it again. For I am like most of the people who can't take it. I guess I won't be alone when I am saying that I can't take the end of the most beautiful things that ever happen to my life may it be a nice movie, a great book, close relationship or an Oxford MBA. I knew it is going to end even before it started and I was preparing for it for long. But still it is hard.

Today I submitted the Capstone individual assignment (along with five others of friends who are not in Oxford any more). This was the last of the last things associated with my MBA. I am leaving my room located between two of the Oxford's dreaming spires at a historic and beautiful ship street in an hour. Every night I used to come back to my room, I couldn't help but had a feeling of living in a fantasy land. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Knight or a Dragon pass bye on that street. So it is like waking up from the dream now.

Nonetheless, This is the second last post on this blog. Just like FRIENDS, there will be "The Last One (2)" that I will write when I will land on a job.

I take this opportunity to thank you all for being with me throughout the year. This no doubt was the Annus Mirabilis of my life. And it wouldn't have been this much fun without you all.

I guess I have already put enough goodbye fuss on the blog past few days. So as harder as it is, I will keep it short. I still have thousands of thoughts I would like to write and many close friends and dear moments I would like to mention. But will just borrow the lyrics of LeAnn Rimes

Sometimes the time comes along

When it's time

Time to move on

You'll still be there

In everything that I do

And wherever I go I'll remember you

Good Luck all and see you around!!!

Friday, 19 September 2008


  • Four Oxford MBAs can not connect Wii for their life
  • Eleven Oxford MBAs including a french guy took more than 10 mins to figure out which way to go for Eiffel tower at Paris Metro station
  • A type A could be very considerate and good friend
  • The more people try to hide a secret, the more it becomes obvious and exposed
  • working in team was the most difficult part of MBA for most of us
  • Almost quarter of MBA class mistook Radcliffe Camera for Bodleian Library
  • British food, if there is any, is a big joke
  • About 30-40 MBAs used to live in RAC and about 150 other MBAs knew the passcode to enter in RAC
  • I found a caterpillar in my Sambar at Halal Munch.... most people continued eating there after they heard it.....
  • I would like to know if any MBA read all, or at least 90%, of the cases given as 'essential reading'
  • On an average, an Oxford MBA printed 2500-3000 pages in a year
  • At Oxford-Cambridge varsity day, Marc Waychak, Oxford MBA, jumped into cold Thames at Cambridge for 70 quids bet. A Cambridge MBA jumped after him for free... just to keep the nose of 'the other place' up
  • No girl, born after I did, made it to my MBA class...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Here is some post MBA logistics.

I have one last Capstone assignment due which I need to start and finish by Monday. Four MBAs including myself have managed to get a temporary hours at the outskirts of Oxford to stay for some time while we continue our job search. Will shift there on Monday after submitting the assignment. I might apply for HSMP visa next week, which will mean that my passport will be gone for couple of months and I won't be able to travel. So won't be in India for Diwali I suppose.

Amazing how fast things change from certain to uncertain to certain and back again.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

End of Course Ceremony

Stephen Chambers, the outgoing MBA director felt last year that the farewell dinner is not enough to properly say goodbye to outgoing batch. So he came out with very Oxfordie way. End of course ceremony. We, for once and all, changed our black ties from last night to white ones, put our gowns on and gathered to say good bye. Very touching speeches from faculties and students made this ceremony memorable. All the year was revisited in that small tent on that sunny afternoon. Then every student was called on stage to shake hands with the dean and director of the program to symbolise the official and proper goodbye.

This very last official MBA event marked the end of the course.

Monday, 15 September 2008


I guess while I am writing about things that changed, it will be interesting to write about couple of things that did not change during this year...TT DN C

Still proud vegetarian. It is hard to survive at many places here if you are vegetarian. But so far I have managed to continue surviving without killing and intend to continue this for rest of my life. Live and let live....

Still not a party person. Oxford is certainly a town of parties. Great deal of people spend great deal of money on great deal of parties and consume great deal of liquor every week end. I tried hard through out the year. But still I am too dumb to understand the rational behind getting dressed and go to dark place and jump on floor with people you don't know. No offence to people who enjoy it. In fact I envy the people who can just throw away all the rationals for a while and just enjoy the beats. Guess just not my cup of tea.

TTC Personal Management

Before I claim I changed for good, I must confess that there are people in my class who were better in personal management at the start of course then I am today. But overall I learned a great deal about time management, thinking of personal development, making relationship for future, and simply managing things in effective and less time consuming way. The time constraint had taught me to work effectively and define the priorities. Smart people will do everything possible to get the work done. But smartest one will identify the important things according to priority and will finish them in that order. Overall, I have improved a lot in past years in terms of personal management. But still long way to go.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Farewell Dinner

One last time the glasses were raised to honor the dream that we had lived for last twelve months. The friends we made, the tasks we accomplished, the fights we fought and forgot, the nights we enjoyed and every moment we spent around these dreaming spires. It was an elegant night. Beautiful tables embellished with glass cutlery, flowers, wines, star-lit like roof and all the MBAs with their friends and families in tux and night-gowns. Everyone was looking very familiar, very close and yet very distant. But all were at their best. Everyone knew they had earned an enormous amount of learning and achievements in past year and they had made friends all over the world. And yet everyone knew that hey have yet way to go and everyone wished if only they could have more time to know the most intriguing people sitting in that hall on that night. This Friday night was the most magical and sentimental night in Oxford. Unfortunately, it was the last night for those distinguished and utterly blessed group of people to be together. For it was the last dinner of Said Business School MBA class of 2007-2008. A Farewell Dinner.

Saturday, 13 September 2008


The last week of MBA was a Capstone Course. Four days of intensive program contained lectures, seminars, panel discussion and lots of group work. We had formed a team of seven for group. This team had all the close friends only. So we spend a lot of time arguing, fighting, laughing and playing. The course probably wasn't as qualitatively good as expected. But good chance to catch up with the class after summer. The course was concluded on Friday with the presentations by groups on what they worked upon. That was the very last time we sat in SBS as a student. Now only one assignment is left that is due on 22nd. But I guess yesterday was official end of my student life.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Portsmouth and Isle or Wight

Went to Portsmouth and Isle of Wight last week end. The primary reason was to spend time with close friends. And thatz what we did. Didn't spend much time on site seeing.... Just chill out....

Monday, 8 September 2008

TTC Geographically

By geography I mean two things. First is actual geography. I was thinking I have fair knowledge of geography. But this year opened my eyes. I didn't know part of Istanbul is in Europe and part in Asia, or Singapore is the south most point of Asia or many things like that. Well now I know better about both Europe and Asia. And now I know that I don't know many things yet.

But the primary motive of this post is the second meaning of geography. I mean the new meaning of geographical locations for me. Last year, for me HK was place of Jackie Chan and Dubai was for Mumbai underground exiles. Taiwan was a semiconductor manufacturing country and China was just a country that was like India but doing a lot better now. Even EU countries like France and Germany had no emotional attachment from me. US was a place where Indians go. But now everything is changed. Each of these countries now is associated with one or more faces of close friends. I know how they live, what they speak, how they eat and what they play. I can not imagine any single year when I will ever learn about so many different people from so many different places. And the best part is they are not just people. They are friends. This might sound niche and you would say any international student will experience the same. Well, yes and no. I mean yes, many get the same experience. But I am glad I did too. And I am sure not really many can make friends with so many diverse and still highly talented group of people. This is something I don't expect to happen again. And I am immensely grateful for the opportunity.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Completion of SCP

On Wednesday we gave a formal presentation to team of 10 from our sponsor company about our work. That officially marked the end of the SCP. I have already talked about it. So nothing more. Unfortunately one of our team Estel member Nilanjana couldn't join the presentation. So just three of us. Bdw Team ESTEL was the name of our team. Estel is the land of hope in Lord of the Rings. So Estel could meant hope. I used this word for team where were hoped to get the SCP at least in the second round after a hell-struggle in first round.

Here are some snaps in company. No photography allowed inside. So....

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

TTC Team Work

I already had very good experience of working in teams. This includes the experience of working as Magazine Secretary way back in college. I had to handle about ten teams of students and communicate with ten professors who were guiding the teams. This was one large team of about 140 students and it certainly taught me a lot. Same thing next year working as Cultural Secretary. Even in job I worked in virtual teams spread all over the world.

But still these teams are very different. They generally have different skill sets and expertise and there is some hierarchy in the team. On the contrary, working in MBA teams is very very different. For there is no hierarchy here, everyone is smart and many times egoistic, Everyone has their own way of doing things and the skill set might not vary a lot. This might result in either direction. If you could get along with it, you work in a team of some of the smartest and mot efficient people. The accumulative skill set, knowledge, experience and sheer brain power of such team could be astonishing and might create wonders. While if by any chance there is substantial difference in working style, you could spend hours and hours in pointless battle just to set the order within a team. Mountain goats are famous for fighting for hours to set the order. within the hurd. And this fight could be duet or even three or four goats at times. I am Capricorn by sun sign which is represented by goat. So even though unwillingly, I was involved in some of these battles. While other times I enjoyed the knowledgeable discussion and creative outcome from it.

Overall this experience enriched, if not changed, my understanding of team. I am more capable of working in team than I was before. And I have better understanding of when and why of people behaviour. I am still not able to handle certain situations as smoothly as I should. But at least theoretically I know how should act then.

By the way today is right time to talk about team as our team gave the presentation of our summer work. This is the team I worked the most with in my MBA. And today I could happily say that I liked it.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

TTC Academically

First on the list is must be my understanding of business and corporate world. I was below average of my MBA class in terms of understanding or the corporate world. And in a year I learned immensely about companies, people inside it, customers outside it and how theese comapanies work. There were few companies that I didn't even knew are existing last year this time. And today I not only know about them, but I also understand what is going terribly wrong or impressively well about them. Being a software developer, I knew comparatively less about some aspects of business such as marketing and finance. Enen nNow it will be stretch to say that I have mastered them. But I at least know what people mean why they talk about marketing of finance.

And the SCP we did this summer was the best opportunity to apply what we learned to reality. I am quite happy with the SCP and the work we did. And this just confirmed how much I would love to work as a consultant.

Now here I must confess that I did terribly wrong in the MBA program. I mean I still passed with good marks and all, but I know that I have made every mistake in the book. I managed time badly, misunderstood the concepts, skipped very essential readings, slept in classes, applied wrong concepts or right concepts at wrong places and many others. But I know from experience that making mistakes is the best way of learning (very expensive though… but still… the best). So I guess I could proudly say that I learned a lot in this program. And in future, when I will be required to work in real time scenarios, I would knowwhat NOT to do…. And that, as this MBA has taught me, is half work done.So I guess I am good to go :)

So my final comment will be I absolutely, perfectly, 100 % got what I wanted academically from this program.It has substantially enhanced my knowledge about this business world and has given me the new perspective to look at the corporate world.

Towards the Finish Line

Yesterday we took the prinout of the SCP report. That means the SCP is academically over. We still have to give the presentation to the company on Wednesday. but the major part seems to be done. With this 'done' thing the reality or greater 'done' that started an year back and the preparation for which started about five years back is becoming more and more tangible. This is almost end of August. September used to be very relaxing month in India. It generally is the time in India when schools / colleges are open since couple of months, so you are already settled with your new friends and new course. Monsoon is almost ending. The land is still ornately green, but the October heat hasn't arrived yet. You j enjoy the college festivals and cultural festivals like Ganesh-Utsav, or Paryshan (Jain). It is very settling month...

But when I will start this September, I will have no idea where and what I would be by the end of the month. This could be the most unsettled month in last 26 years. This is not a complain. In fact I am glad about this little uncertainly as I hope that it will hold a nice surprise for me. But to look at it in another way, the MBA is ending.

So what I want to do here it to look back at the things once again and see what this year really meant to me. I am going to write few TTC posts.... Things That Changed posts that will be the result of simple subtraction of me right now and me an year ago. This is more for me than for you so be patient!!!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


So here is the final yearbook we created. Actually it is a photobook rather than yearbook. but still good record of an Oxford year. Click on the image to see the same. Warning: The link is slow at times.

Sunday, 24 August 2008


From Monday summer electives are starting. People who have chosen electives over SCP have started to return to Oxford now. So great to see familiar faces again after two months of only a dozen people around. And so bad that when many people are here and have time to go around and enjoy last few days here, I am facing which could potentially be the busiest week of Summer. Nonetheless hope to work hard and..... well, I can't say party hard, as after a year of testing and retesting, I am finally convinced that I am not a party person no matter what.... So work hard and try to spend more time with fella Oxonians.

Thatz all for today.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Sines Refinery visit and Raksha-Bandhan

Monday brought us back to reality very fast. We realised the bad travel planning. The city Sines were the refinery is located is about 3 hours bus ride from Lisbon. I wasn't interested in car driving of six hours so we took a bus. The flight and all left us will only two hours of interview. Everything was so time to time that 15 mins delay in any event of the day and we will loose the flight. Fortunately everything including interview went very well and reached back to Oxford today morning. The Oxford rain today officially ended the little summer holiday we had. Now we have barely two weeks to finish rest of the interviews and write 15000 word reports and give presentation to the company. Looks like coming days are going to be the busiest days in Summer.

Anyways. It was Raksha-Bandhan on Saturday. Traditional Indian ritual when sister ties a silk thread to her brother as a symbole of the ties between the two. Here is the lovely Rakhi my lovely sis sent me. Celebrating Indian event long after Diwali. I miss being there for Raksha-Bandhan. Thanks Anuja for the Rakhi. Miss you too!!!


Spent week end in Lisbon. I liked the city. Its very calm and warm. Less crowded and clean air to breath. And the Alfama area is just cool. This city center with cobble stoned path, lovely western Europian style yellow, pink, maroon houses, hastle-bustle blended with content lazyness of locals, the cute yellow electric tram and coffee houses and bars with tables laid out on streets. Very nice area. Apart from that we visited the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belem area and saw the tomb of Vasco Da Gama.

On Sunday we travelled a little to Sintra. The town much hyped as the one of the most romantic towns in Europe and the centre and the Palace is declared as world heritage site and all. To be honest, I found the town no better than Mahabaleshwar, the palace no better than Mastani Mahal in Kelkar museum and the castle no better than Raigad. In fact Raigad if far better. So kindda disappointed. however the Palácio Nacional da Pena, our last stop which we almost dropped was worth the visit. Here are few snaps:

Alfama, the Lisbon city centre

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Vasco Da Gama tomb

Palácio Nacional da Pena

Palácio Nacional da Sintra

Paris again

Thanks to weird visa rules, Paris was needed to be my port of Entry in Europe before I go to Portugal to interview refinery for the SCP. I had enough time to go to the city centre. I decided to visit Montmartre hill that I missed last time. Thanks Nilan for reminding. This is the hill that was once a work place of great creative minds like Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. I had my suitcase with me so decided not to climb all the way up and sat at a cool location with hill at one side and Paris at the other. I always wanted to draw a sketch in Paris. On the other hand I had Márquez's 'Love at the time of Cholera' in my bag, reading which at that hill would be another dream coming true.

What I ended up doing is to open my bag, took documents I need to read for my SCP and read them on the hill known as Sacred Heart of Paris. Why? Because that is what MBAs do......

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

South Killington Refinery visit

Things finally started to roll out for SCP. We had couple of telephonic interviews on Friday. And on Monday me and Raymond travelled four hours in train to South Killington, a very small village near York to visit and interview a process engineer in the refinery there. Well that was the first time I saw any refinery from inside. Pretty intimidating structure though we really didn't get a guided tour or even chance to walk around. The interview was pretty helpful.

Pranjal and Raymond are in Paris (probably in night club and drink when I am writing this :) ) right now. Tomorrow they will travel to Malava in Spain to interview a refinery there. Raymond will come back and I will travel to Paris on Friday morning and if everything goes well, then will join Pranjal in Lisbon on Friday evening. Hopefully I will get time to see around Lisbon on week end. We are interviewing on more refinery there. Will be back to Oxford on Monday late night.

It is so interesting that many friends are travelling so much around the world that no city seems to be too far or too foreign.

Here is for the SCP team:

Lets see what this SCP is about...!!!

Hmmm.... doesn't seem that easy.

Holly Molly... get help call a friend, 50-50, any lifeline will do...HELP!!!

umm.. yeah.. whatever.... letz atleast go to Europe... will see about SCP later.

Monday, 11 August 2008


On Saturday, we hired a car, stuffed it with an Indian, a Korean, a Taiwanese and an Iranian along with two umbrellas and four cameras and more importantly a GPS and drove to one more the most naturally beautiful places in England. Cotswold. Cotsworld itself is a huge area of 790 miles includes eye soothing landscapes, sprints, woods, birds and everything naturally beautiful and beautifully naturally. However we managed to visit only couple of limestone housed villages standing there since 14th century. They claim that these are England's most beautiful villages. I can't speak for whole England. But I guess it is true. The place was just lovely. Best place for families to spend a smooth, scenic, peaceful week end.

Loved It.

Ignore the legs... look at the place

Too tall people around

Our man Incheon here organized the trip, thanks to him

Lovely limestome houses row... thatz Incheon, Raymond and Behrad there...

Guess who just decided which holiday home to buy after getting job

Or alternatively checking if they need MBAs to run the canteen......

The snaps here have failed to capture the beauty of the place. Will check if others have good snaps and will upload again if they do.