Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sleepless in Kingston
The academic session is in full flow.The Professors at their best- sharing knowledge,giving real examples and making us analyze a lot of case studies. The students seem to be enjoying this drill.!

But then life is really hectic these days.We have 2-3 team based assignments that needs to be submitted every week. Class presentations are required to be given by every team. Team meetings are held everyday that last for atleast 2 hrs.

At the end of a hectic day, when you feel that you need some rest, you realize that there is a lot of stuff that needs to be done. So, how do you manage that.Cut down on your sleep, stay late to make sure that you complete the tasks.The result of all this: You can see quite a few people in the class who fall asleep.

The classes are interesting but then a few of the students are so tired that they just can't help it. They fall asleep.The professors do understand that the classes are long and our concentration span is decreasing.So, to make the class interesting, they play a lot of funny videos,dilbert strips and share jokes with us. It helps in most of the cases. The students get active again !

A few of the extremely popular ones are this.: and this
BTW, do have a look at this one too !

Monday, May 29, 2006

The best "over all" experience

A recent Queen's-commissioned Environics poll of 400 Canadian business leaders shows that 78 % would choose a candidate with an MBA over one without an MBA if other factors were equal.
"Every few years a chorus on the sidelines seems to pipe up and question the value of an MBA, so we put the question directly to those that really matter - business leaders," said David Saunders, Dean of Queen's School of Business and Chair of the Canadian Federation of Business School Deans. "When you ask Canadian executives about who they prefer to recruit, their answer is loud and clear: 'we'll take the MBA.'"

Here's some other findings the extensive poll uncovered:
*Queen's ranks first in providing students the "best overall experience," and Queen's shares top spot for "best full-time MBA program in Canada."

*While U.S. business schools are often touted as the gold standard of business education, three quarters (76 per cent) of senior executives believe Canadian business schools are "just as good" as US schools.

Candid Confession

It is a challenge for me to get used to the Canadian system of education. I am returning to books after 6 yrs and am finding it tough. In addition to that, there is a sudden shift from the Indian education system that I was used to. This change process is not as smooth as I had thought it to be. The sooner I adopt and embrace the change, the better it will be for me.

The key here is not to get psyched. Keeping cool is really important. Deadlines, Expectations rise and if one thinks a li’l bit about the consequences or things at stake, one just tends to build pressure around self. Self talking, motivating self is the key here.

Yesterday night, I did take some time out to call my folks back home in India. It felt great talking to them. I had been wanting to call them for a long time but the assignments left no time for anything else.

I somehow get a feeling that I am running at my maximum output. Is that productive output? Is that the best way to approach this situation? I am still trying to figure out what works and what does not work for me?

BTW,Venu,a classmate of mine has shared a few words of wisdom given by Chander Dutta on Entrepreneur spirit. ( From the Kingston Ventures Tour)
C. Dutta started CANCOIL in 1983. He is Mechanical Engineer with and MBA

  • Difference between working in big business and as an entreprenuer .
    Big business-> good vision but lack of spirit.
    In entrepreneurship -> lacks business acumen but full of spirit.
  • While Entrepreneur chases his dreams, business professionals chase others dreams
  • If you are working for a company and wants be an entrepreneur, you have to unlearn corporate ways of doing things and relearn doing in entrepreneurial way.
  • Entrepreneurs survive on low moment of inertia
  • To be successful entrepreneur , one has to have high level of self confidence, and get a lot of support from family.
  • Always think positive, the best way to drown is to stop swimming. So keep swimming till the end.
  • Be yourself but change yourself according to surroundings.
  • Remember that there is nothing like working hard. You either work or don't..
  • Stress is a symptom of fear of failure. So, if you are getting stressed, remember this line.
  • Worry accomplishes nothing
  • An Entrepreneur
    -is driven by ethical greed
    - has spirit to persist and is patient for results
    - should have strong moral support from his family
    - is a smart fool.
  • Knowledge comes in the way of entrepreneurs. As one grows more experienced and informed he/she tends to rely less on gut feel and more on experience.You make decision based on confidence.
  • Adapting to culture: You should become a part of where you have chosen to be. Expand your learning. Cultivate relationships. Package yourself according to the situation.
  • Remember, stick to the good old factors of product differentiation: Product, Price, Quality and relationship

Friday, May 26, 2006

Kingston Study Ventures Tour

( The team in front of the car - Just before the tour began)

Prerna, alumni from the batch of 2006 had written about the Kingston Ventures Tour in her blog last year and I was eager to experience the day. Today, the 26th of May, we had out Kingston Ventures Tour.

Kingston Ventures Tour is an idea which a group of retired executives living in Kingston (or RELIKS as they call themselves) came up with. Each of the teams were handed a map, a van and asked to visit 3 companies in Kingston. We were expected to meet the President/CEO of these companies, talk to them, get to know about the entrepreneur challenges that they faced and at the end of the day make a 90 second elevator pitch.

The day was fun. We visited three companies.
Transformix - Met the President, a wonderful lady who talked about an innovative strategy that was given as input to her last year by the MBA students. She talked passionately about her company and introduced us to her team of engineers (she calls them "geeks".)

Kingston Software Factory: For Entrepreneurs, who want to transform their ideas into world market products, KSF is the catalyst for IT innovation. It was very interesting talking to the President about the dot com scenario and the Google ad revenue generation model. If I get some time, during stage 4 of the program, I will definitely take up an assignment for them.

Cancoil Thermal Corporation: is one of North America’s fastest growing manufacturers of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Ventilation systems and OEM coils. The CEO of the company, an Indian immigrant talked about his entrepreneur journey. He talked about his passion for starting something new, his definition of work, his struggle, his tips. He had loads of experience and one just felt like continuously listening to him. Unfortunately, we had less time in hand and could stay at his place for only a couple of hours.

After visiting all these diverse companies, we got back to our team room and started the brainstorming. We prepared a 90 second
elevator speech.I was the spokesperson from my team. I did manage to give a 90 second elevator speech ( was quite nervous speaking in front of a huge audience) but a team that had lots of creativity and humor in their speech walked away with the trophy. Parameters for decision making: Value, creativity and delivery.

It was an awesome experience and we had a great day. It ended with a wine and cheese session.

MBast grad pitches $410-million vision to bring wind farm to Kingston

Samit Sharma's (MBAst 2002) company, Gaia Power was born out of his New Venture Project, which won the 2002 MBAst New Ventures Competition. Learn more about whas he's done since to help bring a staggering wind farm project to the region... Go to this site and scroll down two pages to article entitled "They Have Seen the Wind" (article is on pages 22 & 23).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

India, a topic in B schools !
Consulting firm Bain decided to expand their office in India this year. They went to IIMA and audio-podcasted their info session to all the shortlisted students so that they have an idea of what to expect when they join the firm their info session.This was one of the articles discussed in the class the other day by one of the student groups ( Nah, none of the folks in the team were from India!).

Its a common thing now.Every time there is a case discussion, two countries that are often discussed are India and China.Gone are days when a discussion about India in a business school classroom would typically only highlight a typical third-world country’s problems like overpopulation or poverty. Now, discussions also include opportunities like investments in India, building entrepreneurial ventures, and a whole host of discussions on the keys to India’s economic success. and of course India's core competence in 'IT Outsourcing' !!

An interesting article in ET as Brand India evolves in MBA classes world wide.!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The time for “pure” IT consulting

You'll notice that a few of the companies worldwide call their software engineers as "consultants". The scope and definition keeps changing.

Business Standard carries out an excellent article on this here.

A few observations from the article:

-At one end of the domain of consultancy are the strategy consultants such as McKinsey, Bain & Co and Booz Allen Hamilton who are considered the intellectual elite of the discipline. At the other end, even a routine bit of customising that takes place while installing an ERP solution can pass off as a consultancy input. A global software services leader such as Accenture, because of its origins in consulting, tends to adopt a broad definition. Accenture was born when the consulting practice of accounting firm Arthur Andersen broke away and its technical implementation capabilities were acquired later.

-Indian players which have a degree of consulting capabilities are Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Satyam and Cognizant. As with their overall capabilities, the big three (Infosys, Wipro and TCS) have similar consulting capabilities, though they are not in the league of IBM and Accenture

-Infosys is most able to compete with global consulting leaders in process consulting and its Indian competitors in technical consulting. By making Infosys Consulting, led by Stephen Pratt, a separate subsidiary, it shows it wants to be taken seriously as a global consulting and IT services firm.

-TCS has been doing consulting work for a long time but formed TCS Global Consulting only in 2004.Consulting for TCS, it is indicated (not officially announced) at $65 million out of a total topline of $2.7 billion. For Infosys, it is $32 million, out of a topline of $2.15 billion. For Wipro Technologies, it is $25 million out of a topline of $1.8 bi

-Indian companies have made a name for themselves by creating a unique value proposition by reducing costs through process innovation and attention to quality.Today, consulting is seen as a must-do for the country’s leading software firms in moving up the value chain and keep growing. The Indian software effort still remains largely confined to the maintenance and development space, where it is globally the most competitive

-Right now the amount of consulting done by leading Indian IT firms is quite small. What’s worse, it is difficult to get a precise measure of whatever there is on the ground.
the idea of consulting itself is quite “fungible” — its scope and content can change according to what you want it to be.

Monday, May 22, 2006

One of the popular Prof for this term is Dr Clinton Free ( He is a Rhodes Scholar and has been on the faculties at Oxford University, St Bonaventure University and the University of Guangzhou.).
A highly qualified professor, he has a talent to make the class interesting and fun.
So far in his classes,
- We have watched funny videos being played.
-Cartoon strips that make fun of accountants.
- Discussion about Australia and cricket.
-A case study to solve the break even units of the nearby Pita Pit shop.
-A Boomerang as a prize to the folks who cracked the case !
Here are a few interesting slides from his class.

Why should different teams give presentation/teach to the class !
Teaching Strategies and Retention

Lecture 5%
Reading 10%
Audio-Visual 15%
Demonstration 30%
Discussion Groups 50%
Practice by doing 75%
Teaching Others 90%

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A novice gives his expert comments

This is strange !!

The true identity of a man who was mistakenly interviewed on BBC News 24 has been revealed.Guy Goma, a graduate from the Congo, appeared on the news channel in place of an IT expert after a mix-up.Watch the video here and read the article here

Wondering what are the subjects being taught to us in Stage 1 .
The stage 1 is called the Management Fundamentals stage. and the subjects are

  • Career Advantage Program Module 1
  • Business Strategy - Part 1
  • Financial Accounting - Part 1
  • Management Accounting
  • Micro-Economics
  • Macro-Economics
  • Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour
  • Business Statistical Models
In this stage, we develop a general knowledge of the core disciplines of management.
More details about the schedule and subjects is available here

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Suits - Powerful, Authoritative and Sexy

( Larry Rosen with program director Shannon Goodspeed )

On May 20th, we had Larry Rosen, the Chairman & CEO, Harry Rosen Inc,Canada's premiere men's wear retailer take a 2 hr session for us on how to dress well for success !As promised, here are the key learnings from the talk given by Larry .

There are different work environments but there are some general rules for business wear.
"Men look powerful, authoritative and sexy with a suit on",states Larry.

Malcolm Gladwell in the book Blink states that people take a decision, form an impression in a blink/seconds. ! So, ensure that you dress well.

Buying a suit
If you don't have much money to invest on a wardrobe, the first suit that you buy should be a Navy blue or a Black suit. This should be of mid weight wool (9 ounces).Should one buy a 2 button or 3 button suit. ? It hardly matters. What is important is the fit. However, the younger men opt for the 2 button style.

The second suit that you buy for your self should be a basic navy (if you have bought a black
one earlier ) or a gray colored one.

The third suit could be a gray one or a navy with stripes. The fourth could be a mid blue color one.

Remember, the objective is to build a ward robe without making a big hole in your pocket. The above suit colors are the primary ones. You can get a variety of looks by trying different options (changing the shirts)

Maintenance of the suit
Do not wear suit on 2 consecutive days. Give at least a day’s break so that the suit gets back to life. Dry clean them as little as possible;chemicals decrease their life of suits.
Do Iron them to avoid crease marks. Hang them when not using them. If you are traveling, avoid packing a suit. Wear it to the plane and hang it once you are in the aircraft. Remember, you want to take good care of it as ou want the suit to last long.

If you want to buy a blazer, go for a navy blue one. A gray trouser with that would look classy. The blazer is essentially a bridge between the suit and the business casual.

Business Casual
Business Casual needs to have a sports jacket. Remember, Business casual is not a weekend wear.

The first pair of shoes should be a black one. A brown one looks beautiful, imaginative and has elegance. Shine the shoes frequently. Their life increases. Which type of shoe (round,pointed) to buy hardly matters. What is important is the convenience.

Socks should match the trouser’s color and NOT the shoes.

Belt should match with the shoes’ color. So, if you are wearing a brown belt, you should have put on brown shoes.

Tie should be just touching the tip of your belt.

Larry recommends French cufflinks if you want to. However, if you are a frequent air traveler, you'll have to remove them every time you undergo security check.

A few more tips
Experiment with different colors of shirt. Color for men in shirts is what jewellery is to

It is okay to wear a checked shirt with a suit!

Fashion is important..but comfort is crucial. !!

The Dos and Don'ts of a good presentation

The "Strut you stuff" competition was a good learning. Teams were given 5 minutes to make a presentation. The slides were the same (8 slides of which they could choose just 5) for all teams.
How the teams made the presentation was the differentiator.

The team that won the contest easily stood out. I did not get a chance to watch them perform ( as we were outside the classroom waiting for our turn) but the buzz is that they used a lot of creativity in their presentation. Humor and Creativity are two stuff that can improve the quality of your presentation. The team that won used two Beer cans as props to illustrate the concept of a good résumé, cover letter .

Here are some tips that were shared by a classmate earlier.

Do’s and Don’ts of Presentations

1. Smile!
When audience members see a genuine and sincere smile, it makes them want to smile too. What could be better than looking out on an audience of happy, smiling people?

2. Move. Don’t hide behind your podium. Presentations can be scary, but the audience won’t eat you alive. This doesn’t mean you should pace furiously from one end of the stage to the other, but a little movement will help keep your audience awake.

3. Test your setup before the presentation. Can you see your visual aids, slides or overheads clearly from the back of the room? Is everything working as you had expected?

4. Present to the crowd. Consider your audience before your presentation. If your audience is a group of university students, leave your suit at home and make your presentation less formal. If your audience requires more formality, perhaps it’s best if you forget the animation. It’s unlikely that swirling text and funny noises will impress this crowd.

5. Don’t try to impress with jargon. Never speak above the crowd in hopes of impressing people. When you’re speaking in a language that doesn’t compute, they’ll tune out. The audience may also see you trying too hard to impress and you may come across as false or insincere.

6. Use a computer and multimedia projector. Professional presenters use a computer and projector, so why shouldn’t you? Overheads projectors are a little old-fashioned and printing those overhead slides is a nuisance. Get out of the comfort zone and try using new technology. If you’re worried about its reliability, bring your overheads as back-up.

7. Be yourself! Be honest, open and sincere. You’re best at being yourself, so let your true self show. People relate to honesty and expressiveness.

8. Update your slides for each presentation. Don’t use the same slides again and again. In the world of visual aids, fresh is good.

9. Place your company logo in the bottom right-hand corner of your slides. The eye looks naturally to the bottom right corner, so if you want your company’s name reinforced, place it there. While you’re at it, why not use corporate colors for your slides? Not only is it a double-whammy but it’s also a way to stay consistent with the use of color throughout the presentation.

10. Use light colors on a dark background and vice-versa. This seems obvious but it’s important to keep in mind. The easiest combinations to read are white or yellow bold text on a dark background.

11. Show a visual every one to three minutes. Using this guideline can help you stay on schedule during your presentation. In the planning stage, if you allocate a maximum of three minutes for each slide, it will help you stay on time during your actual presentation.

1. Forgetting to turn off your screen saver. Your presentation is going smoothly, and you’re taking a little extra time to explain each of your PowerPoint slides. You turn to look at the projection screen and, in horror, realize that the audience has been watching cute little tropical fish swim for the past five minutes. If you’re using a laptop for your presentation, be sure to turn off your screen saver before you begin.

2. Beeping laptop. If you usually present using a laptop, you’ve probably experienced the low-battery warning. It screams for attention and successfully irritates any well-intentioned audience. Bring an extension cord if you’re using a laptop and plug it in. This way you won’t have to worry about low batteries interrupting the flow of your presentation.

3. Speaking too quickly. It’s natural to speed up when feeling nervou s. But when you speak at record speeds, not only is it difficult for the audience to understand what you’re saying, but it’s a dead giveaway that you’re sweating bullets.

4. Overusing animation. Animation is great for capturing the audience’s attention and adding interest to any presentation, if used in moderation. However, when things are whirling, whizzing and zooming across the screen, they direct the people’s attention away from your message. They’ll be too busy trying to figure out how you got your visuals to do those amazing tricks.

5. Unexpected animation. Be sure to rehearse your animated presentation before you give it. This ensures the animation you’ve used is working properly and is appropriate for the audience. Don’t let any unexpected sights or sounds catch you off guard.

6. Using too many bullets and fonts. Keep it simple by using only a few bullets and a maximum of two fonts per slide. If you get too many fonts and bullets, the design becomes cluttered and the information more difficult to read.

7. Forgetting to delete all guidelines. If you’re using PowerPoint, there’s nothing worse than a slide that appears as "Click to add title." Of course the audience will forgive you, but it certainly won’t help you look like a pro.

8. Using a font that’s too small. The smaller the font, the more difficult it will be for the audience members at the back of the room to read your information.

9. Placing too many words on a slide. Keep the information in your presentation concise. The words that appear on the slide should spark the larger thought, not explain it. Follow the 7 x 7 rule, which limits the words on a visual to no more than seven words per line and a maximum of seven lines, for a total of 49 words or less per visual. Headings or titles should be kept to four words or less.

10. Using red lettering on your slides. Typically, red has negative connotations. It’s almost always interpreted as a warning sign or danger, and in business it symbolizes failure or financial loss.

11. Spelling is important. Probably one of the most embarrassing blunders is overlooking spelling errors on your slides. Don’t solely trust your spell-checker either. Your best bet is to review your slides and then ask someone else to look at them next.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


The clubs at Queen's MBAst are up and running. We have various clubs who are in full action these days. Knowledge is being shared, guest speakers are being invited, field trips are being organized..Name it and itz happening !. The Marketing club, finance club, consulting club ,Oil and Gas club, Bio Pharma club have the maximum participants.The discussion board at the student portals for these clubs are getting busier and itz great to see plans, vision being chalked out. Talk about team work and this is the best example of that.!

The workload is increasing and one can watch students working till the late hours on assignments and presentation at their offices in the school.So,it was time for the Energy Bar to get active. Energy bar is a concept that truly amazes me. If one is hungry and is working late and feels that convenience stores are too far away, one can just grab something from the ENERGY BAR at the student lounge! Everything's been set up and laid out in the student lounge along with the check off list on the fridge. The way the Energy Bar works is that one can grab anything he wants (Soda,chips,cookies,noodles etc) and just checks off the number of items that he took from the list.!The whole concept is based on needs,trust and faith.

The Fit to Lead program is another interesting feature at Queen's.Thursdays are dedicated to fitness. If we had stretching sessions (with music) in between the classes on one thursday, we had beach volleyball games today for the folks interested. A personal fitness assessment test has also been allocated for every student (for free!). I have my assesment assigned early next month.

The Dean Dr.David M. Saunders addressed the class today. He has a very interesting profile. He is currently the Chair of the Canadian Federation of Business School Deans, and a Board member of AACSB International and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).He is also the co-author of the world’s three largest selling negotiation textbooks. The best part of the talk was that he wanted us to ask questions.So, the student's talked about the growth and positioning of the MBAst program etc and he shared his views. An interesting information was that he was in India last year and has signed a deal with two leading Indian Business Schools this year - ISB and MDI.!!

A long weekend is coming soon. Monday is a holiday here. We have a Long Weekend Lunch planned tomorrow that is hosted by the school for the students. There is also a team based presentation contest 'Strut your stuff'.

The most interesting part for tommorow is that we will have Larry Rosen, the Chairman & CEO, Harry Rosen Inc,Canada's premiere men's wear retailer taking a 2 hr session for us on how to dress well for success !

Watch this space tomorrow for some fashion tips in the biz world !

Boom in advisory consulting jobs in India.
Read the post by Gautam here

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lessons Learnt..!!

If you don't do the pre reading, you can't participate in class discussions.
If you stay late to sit and study, you feel extremely sleepy and struggle to stay attentive in the class.
If you interact and do the “networking”, you don't get time to complete those assignments.
If you start working on the assignments, you realize that there is a lot to do.
The school provides each student free newspapers ( Financial Times, Globe and Mail) but you don't get a chance to go through them in detail.
There are so many things happening simultaneously that itz difficult to track things.

How do I feel?
Every day is like a mini battle. You wake up with certain goals and expectations in mind and go to bed analyzing how much of it you achieved that day and how much you could have done.! Sometimes I feel good, sometimes a bit overwhelmed. Some times the pressure gets on me and at other times, I enjoy the challenge.!

What I need?

-I need to strike the right balance.
-Working hard is not enough. Productivity is the key thing. If I spend a couple of
hours on something, I should have done
it well.
-I need to set internal deadlines. I should realize the value of every minute.
-Prioritizing things is very important. Planning is crucial.
-Staying organized is a big factor. Keep things organized. Be it your folder,work space, study table,Emails or your room.!
-Collaborating not competing will make you get the most out of your MBA program.You are in a class of smart people and work with them to maximize your learning.
-Good sleep is essential to keep you going all day.

The MBA program has started pushing me out of my "comfort zone". The pressure is building up each day. I need to keep my cool, set objectives and work towards them.

Blogging helps me relax ,feel good and stay focused.
So, this post. :)
More later..!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Today, there were no classes. Instead, we had a field trip.!

30 students from the MBAst center made a visit to the Advanced Solutions Innovation Centre of Bell Labs in Kanata, the heart of Ottawa's technology cluster.Bell is Canada's national leader in communications.The innovation centre is a collaborative venture between Bell Canada and its strategic partners, the Ottawa-based Wesley Clover companies that include Mitel (voice over IP), March Networks (video security over IP),NewHeights (converged voice, video and data software products that add value to IP PBXs) and Ubiquity (Session Initiation Protocol based communications software for fixed and mobile service providers).

Three Queen’s MBAst grads, currently working at Bell Canada (A program manager and 2 associate directors),showed us the center.We were split into 3 groups and after a quick introduction in the main boardroom,the groups were alternated with a presentation, demonstration of the solutions and the facilities and Bell offered.

The Bell Canada team indicated that they might be interested in having a few MBAst students working on assignments/projects for them. That would be a good learning experience.!
There are loads of assignments to be completed. Biz Stats looks like a toughie currently !

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Some miscellanous tips as shared by the MBAst batch of 2006 with us

Read cases first … textbooks second and supporting articles third.

Reading summaries prepared by the whole class helps!

More class discussion = more interesting class.

Creativity = the difference between a good presentation and an average one.

Laptops open in class is not a good idea.

Two 10 minute breaks for each 3 hour lecture seemed to work the best.

How you behave reflects on the program, the alumni and you!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The one thing that you'll desperately need in a B school is TIME.B-School life is a race against time.
You have so much to read,learn and experience that there are moments when you end up feeling completely lost.Is 24 hrs enough in a day or am I just bad at my time management skills.For the last few days, I have been trying desperately to figure this out ! The assignments submission, the class presentations are yet to start. I hope I'll be able to take a few minutes out of my schedule daily and post my thoughts.
BTW,we had elections in our class yesterday and the student council was formed.I was contesting for the Vice President's post but lost that one.The team elected is a good one.We have 3 women in the student council and I believe that they will do a good job.
Another interesting aspect about Queen's is the personal touch the MBA staff gives.All the students are required to meet Shannon Goodspeed, the program director. It is a 15-20 minute meeting where one could share his/her thoughts with the admission director.I had my turn yesterday and it was a nice interactive session.
Saturday looked very short today. Most of the time I was in my room trying to study.I like reading newspapers and I haven't read them in detail for the last one week. So, I gathered the papers of last week and having a good look at them now.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Queen's alumni named Canada's top analysts

Canada’s Top Analyst Awards were presented at an event in Toronto on May 3 — and several Queen’s School of Business graduates were among the winners.
The second annual Financial Post/Starmine awards measure analysts’ performance based on the return of their stock recommendations and the accuracy of their earnings estimates.
One of the evening’s biggest winners was Greg MacDonald, Queen’s MBA ’93, rated the top Large-Cap Stock Picker in Canada. An analyst with National Bank Financial, MacDonald was recognized for the success of his investment thesis that cable companies — not telecoms — were the smarter investment.

A veteran analyst in the telecom and cable sectors, MacDonald outlined this thesis in a report entitled “Economics of Broadband: Why Cable Has the Advantage.”
“Queen’s School of Business is pleased to sponsor this prestigious industry awards program for the second year running,” said Tom Anger, Executive Director of the Queen’s Executive Development Centre. “And, of course, we are always proud to see our alumni honoured.” Other QSB alumni to take home top analyst awards were Gordon Tait, BCom’79, with BMO Nesbitt Burns, and Patrick Tomalin, BCom’96, with Orion Securities, ranking seventh and tenth respectively, in the Large-Cap Stock Picker category. Cherilyn Radbourne, BCom’96, from RBC Capital Markets (now with Scotia Capital), took third place for Best Earnings Estimator. Using quantitative methods developed by StarMine, a leading provider of objective ratings of securities analysts, winners were judged on how stock picks performed and how accurately the analyst was able to predict earnings. This year’s Top Analyst Awards are based on performance of recommendations and estimates in the 2005 calendar year for Canadian companies.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Point 4 Club
Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Business Stats, Micro economics - The classes for the past few days have been very hectic. There have been moments in the class where I have done the reading and grasped what was taught at the session, and there have been days when I realized that I have a lot to catch up .
Today was thursday and there is some reading to be done for tommorow's class. But most of the students in the class today did not go back home to study after the session.Instead, we all met up at 'Lone Star Texas Grill' for the "Point 4" ritual.It was good fun.
Point 4 "club" was formed in the inaugural year of the MBA program when an instructor theorized that the most one could hope to improve one’s academic standing in the program by staying home to study versus going “out on the town” one night a week to socialize with fellow students is 0.4%. It has since become an integral social tradition of Queen’s MBA for Science & Technology, and the graduates stage frequent “Point Four” Club reunions in various locations throughout the world.There were a few pictures taken. I'll share them with you all soon.

I'll get back to books as I need to do some reading for a class tommorow morning.Good Night !

Monday, May 08, 2006

It is 10.30 PM here and am still in my office ( work desk at the Business School).Today was the first day of Finance class and I was expecting to see stars. The Balance sheet,Financial statement did scare me initially.There was an assignment to be done. Thanks to the help of my team mates, I was able to work on it. There is more reading to be done and I am hoping that the fear of Accounting will be out soon.I am yet to get a firm grip on the Q-T sheet !
The professor for the course is Prof. John Moore.Prof Moore is the the author of five accounting textbooks. He has conducted executive development seminars on financial tools for senior managers at Alcan, DuPont, Canon, Mitel, Shoppers Drug Mart, New Brunswick Power Corporation, Mountain Equipment Co-op, and Canada Post. He also works with members of senior management teams to integrate financial accounting concepts into strategic planning. A four-time winner of the MBA Teaching Excellence Award from Queen's University, he is also the recipient of the Silver Medal from CMA Canada and was made a Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada in 2004.

The best part about the class is that the professor adds humor to the class.!He was talking about how expense is related to revenues and said that the golf club is an expense for his teaching profession.He is an extremely experienced executive educator who is highly regarded in the accounting profession. I just hope that I make the best use of his teaching. Accounting did scare me on day one ! But the faculty made sure that it was not rocket science.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The MBAst batch of 2006 tricked us this Saturday. The director of the MBA program Shannon walked into the class and told us that every year before the academic classes begin, they conduct a diagnostic test to check the business acumen and knowledge of the incoming class. The same test would be conducted for us too. We took the test and as we started the test realized that the questions were tough.There were questions in quants, stats, finance and there was a case study too comparing the US and Canadian exchange rate !. We were tensed. One could notice tensed faces, anxious moments until the batch of 2006 (the last year's batch) walked into the class shouting that this was a joke!! He he !!They pulled a trick on us.!
To be honest, I too was quite tensed about the whole issue.

A lovely set of boyz and gals, the batch of 2006 organized a transition dinner for us. Before that, they gave a wonderful presentation to us where they talked about what we could expect in the next 1 year. They shared their words of wisdom and talked about things we should watch out for." Make the most of your MBA experience. This is going to be one of the best years you will have" was what every one had to say.!

After the dinner, there was a scavenger hunt and that was followed by a set of games. At around 11 PM, there was a beer drinking competition between the batch of 06 and 07.This was followed by dance till the wee hours of the morning. The folks had great fun. Thank you batch of 2006!!
Here are some pics that say it all:


We all get 24 hrs in a day. Yet, some of us race ahead and are able to manage a lot of things and some of us struggle to get things completed.What is the differentiator here?
It is productivity. The MBA students will be in a tight situation in the next 1 year.
We will have lots of things to do in very less time.
So, one of the classes for the Career Advantage Program yesterday was the "Productivity Workshop". The class was conducted by a Queen's MBA alumni, Ann Gomez who is the founding president of Clear Concept Inc., a company that works with both corporate executives and professionals to enhance their workplace productivity.Ann's corporate background includes working for a management consulting firm and for a pharmaceutical company.

Based on inputs from Ann and my observations, here are some activities for me to improve on my Productivity

-Force yourself to take a decision.
-Use the "5 minute" thumb rule and act on the activity now.
-Plan and allocate your time.
-Disciplining oneself is the key to success.
-Put a deadline on your work everyday. That'll help you pace yourself.
-Identify the big rocks and pebbles in your life.
-Remind yourself of the goals everyday.
-Eat healthy.The body is like a machine.
-Allocate some room for flexibility in your schedule.
-Categorise and batch your activities: Classes,Job Search,Fitness,Blog, Council, Personal.
-Maintain a small diary to keep a list of activities.
-Avoid Multitasking.Research has shown that brain can concentrate on only one task at a time.
-Summarize what you have learnt each day.
-Meet deadlines. Your professional reputation depends on your ability to meet deadlines.
-Resist that temptation,desire and discipline yourself
-While writing emails, set the expectations, be clear and concise, use bulleted points, and use the "No scroll" rule.Write always in the active tense, avoid using red flag.
- In management consultancy, there is no tolerance for mistakes in the slide presentations.So, ensure that you take care of that.
-ABCs of Networking: Appropriate,Brief,Clear and compelling

Voice Mail Tips
-Structure your thougts
-Provide high level details only
-Minimize extraneous information
-Identify yourself: Leave contact information
-Speak Slowly
-Clearly State your request

Saturday, May 06, 2006

May 06. : Wine, Cheese and Gyaan
An interesting day. The Business Career Center (BCC) gave their presentation. They were total attention in the class. The BCC team discussed about what they would be offering us ( info session,guest speakers,networking chances,preperation of portfolio,resume building,) and answered a lot of questions for us.
A few insights provided:
- The MBA placements market would be good worldwide or atleast as good as last year.
-The consulting and finance recruitments would be strong.
- There are hopes of recovery in tech and telecom recruitment.
-There would be reluctance on the part of Bio Pharma companies in hiring MBA grads.

They also introduced a 'Mentorship' program where we could chose an alumni and work with him/her in planning and understanding the next phase of our career.The bottom line was that we need to understand BCC is a starting point, a partner who can only provide us opportunities. It is upto us to make best use of them.

The afternoon session was the most interesting one. We had the 'Alumni Panel' meet followed by the 'Wine and Cheese reception’. The alums were from the batch of 2000 to 2005.The alums gave us great tips. They came in from different fields. There were alums from the banking industry, management consultancy, air line industry and hi tech companies. The tips that they gave us were good. It was a eye opening session.

In a nutshell, herez what most of them spoke about:
-Try new experiences. Join clubs, take part in biz case competitions etc.
-Step out of your comfort zone. Every one is here to learn. This is a supportive enviornment.It does not matter how many errors you make if you finally get it right.
-Manage your time. You just have 24hrs in a day and there is truckloads of stuff to do.
-Set up your priorities. Is it grades or is it to do a lot of things.
-Know yourself. There lies the key to your success. Understand what is your learning style, preferred working style, best working hours, personal habits, friends are you most comfortable with, your HBDI and MBTI style and your networking style.
-You are a part of the Queen's MBAst Elite group and we owe a responsibility for that.
-Make use of the faculty. Understand concepts. Learn from it, appreciate it and understand how you can use that once you get back to work.
-Work hard on your job search. Make a list of companies that you feel you could add value to and do a resume assault!
-The stage 4 ( Final stage) of the program has a consulting project that one could opt for. It has 2 credits to it but is quite stressful too. You could opt for that.
-Think of the Business Care Center at Queen's as a starting point, one part of the partners.
-Go to point 4s.It'll help you get to know people, relax and network

There were a few Indian alumni too who had some valuable tips for us guyz.
Over a period of next one year, I have realized that it'll be a challenge to get a lot of things done .

BTW,It was great to see the guyz and girls from my class in business formals The folks looked really good. The french guy in the class even gave us some gyaan on what makes a good wine. A lot of folks took some pictures.
Here are a few from my camera. ( I had not set the date, so the date shown in the camera is incorrect!)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Case studies, discussions and brain storming sessions leave you exhausted.
Classes from 8.30 to 10.00 pm perhaps sap the energy out of you.
And your real self comes out.Thatz exactly what the Queen's Team Facilitator wanted.

Over the past 2 days, 6 sets of strangers had been put in as a team.Through various exercises, activities,we were asked to get introduced to each other.After more than 2 days of rigrous classes,case studies, brain storming sessions, the different teams at Queen's MBA program have come out with a Mission statement for their team, the goals for their team and lastly the norms that they would follow in the team.All this was was formed after a consensus among the team members after taking inputs from everyone. For a year from now, we will work on assignments and presentations and the success of the team will determine the success of ours.
This two day Career Advantage Program was taught by an excellent faculty Shawna O'Grady,
BTW, each of us were allocated an office yesterday.How does the office look like?
Herez a picture.
A team room of the MBAst Student at the Queen's School of Business

A few learnings:
-You have two chances of building a strong team without communication: Slim and None
-When you think of confrontation,you shouldn't cringe
-Team work is a journey,not a destination
-3 common areas of conflict : Expectations,Equity,Exhaustion

Here is a picture of the Indians from the Queen's MBA st Class of 2007

The Global Manager

What are the qualities you'd want in a global manager?

Tharuma Raja, GM, Asia Pacific & Thought Leader – Leadership Consulting - Hay Group, says that the following points differentiate international managers from regular ones, and make them successful across geographies-

• The ability to dream big. Global leaders envision a future for the business and get others on the same page.
• The ability to predict changes on the business front and react proactively.
• The ability to deal with uncertainty and rapid change and take key calculated decisions quick and fast.
• Entrepreneurial thinking and drive.
• The drive to succeed in spite of adverse situations/ circumstances.
• Networking ability –professional and personal relationship to drive advantages for the organisation.

Read the complete article here:

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Working in teams can change the way you think.
Working in teams will teach you how to accept things.
Working in teams will help you achieve your goal.

The Queen's MBA program focuses a lot on team based learning. At the start of the program, students are allocated into teams, the criteria being gender, culture, age, education, GMAT, work ex and the HBDI results. These teams that one gets assigned to will function just as they would in the workplace – drawing on the diverse skills and experiences of all team members.

I got my team today. Our team comprises of six members. Over the next 12 months, this team will be my new family The team is expected to work on assignments and projects together. Dedicated Team Facilitators will work closely with us and assisting in the process of team building.

So how is my team.? Here is the profile.

M: Work Ex: 25 years.A first generation Canadian,with British parents,has a Metallurgical Engineering degree, earned his CMA degree,has integrated financial systems of new acquisition and is a fitness aficionado ( does a couple of triathlons each year.). He plans to lead a new venture, with an eye to taking a nanotech application to commercial success.

S: The only female in the group: Work ex: 2 years, A Canadian engineer who joined Accenture as a Business Consultant.She has been involved in several global software implementations for big US clients.For her last project, she has been splitting her time between Finland, the midwest USA and Brazil.Her passport is quickly running out of pages to stamp!

JL: Work ex: 9 years. Belongs to China and has majored in pharmaceutical sciences. Posseses excellent knowledge about Drug Administration line in Canada and China.

SP:Work ex: 4 years Lived in Denmark for 3 years before moving in to Canada 12 years ago. Of Indian origin,a Computer Engineer, his last post was as the Associate Director of a big Telecom company in Canada. BTW, he is a certified flight instructor !!

V: An Indian IT engineer, worked in UK for 4 years before coming to Queen's. April - May 2006 is very significant in his life as he got married in April and joined Queen's in May, two major developments in his life.

And the last one is me…And you know who I am.!!

Classes started today at 08.30 am today and got over at 10 pm. Pretty exhausting day!
We had some fun team building exercises where we got to know our team well. The class also took part in the 'Sub arctic survival situation’ test and learnt a few key lessons.

I have talked to a few of the alums and all of them have mentioned that the team based learning gets the best out of us.I hope I'll learn a lot from my team and at the same time contribute to it.

Before I sign off, here are a few learning’s from the day.
-Teams generate more ideas, define problems better.
-The team values should be to have respect for the team members and for the team approach.
-Trust is a key element in teams.
- The best way to learn from a failure in a team event is to reflect on our experiences and think how we could have performed better.

Itz a tough day ahead for us tommorow too. The 'High Performance Team' sessions go on from 08.30 am in the morning till 10.00 in the evening. I'll try getting a picture of my team tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day 1: Action Unlimited

It is around 12 am now.I am feeling sleepy. But then, I had such an eventful and exciting day today that I have to speak my heart out and blog about my first day of the MBA program.How do I feel? If I had to describe it in one word - Amazing!

As we walked back to our graduate residence,I asked Ashok,a classmate of mine how he felt about the day.This is what he had to say “The day started with a bang and ended with a boom!!

That very much sums up the day! So, how was the first day of my MBA for Science and Technology program?

At around 9 am, I walked into the atrium to be greeted by the Queen's Business school staff. We were given our name tags and asked to join the continental breakfast hosted for the MBAst students. Out there, I met about 56 students from 15 different countries who would be my classmates for a year! Wow !What diversity in the class. There are students from Canada, China, France, India,Pakistan,Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, USA, New Zealand etc !

For the past few weeks, we all had been watching and reading the profiles of the students on the MBAst portal.There used to be some interaction and discussions too. But now it was time for us to put faces to those names. And boy, we, for sure did have some fun getting the names right!.

Here is something that I got to tell you all! As we walked into the classroom, we saw that there were name tags placed in front of our seats. In front of our respective seats was a greeting card that wished us good luck for the year ahead.What caught my attention was that this was signed personally by the Queen's Business school staff!I think this was something really special.There are about 56 students and the staff signed on these cards for every student. Now, this is what you would call personalized care and attention!

The program manager Stacy Kelly talked about what we could do beyond academics. It appears that there is a lot for us to learn and explore beyond classrooms for us.We have the MBAst Clubs, the case competitions, the student executives, the MBA Games, the Queen's University Entrepreneurial Summit ( QUEST), the Athletics in the 'Fit to lead' program, the conferences, the Queen's club etc.With so much stuff being offered, I guess, I will have to sit and think about which one to join. My goal is stay active and make the best use of the clubs that I join.

Another interesting thing worth mentioning is the “Book Smart/Life Smart” classes. Shannon Goodspeed, the Director, would occasionally take some short sessions for us where she will give us tips that we don’t get to learn in books.This tips are what she has gathere over the years working for numerous organizations.BTW,she puzzled all of us today by asking a simple question - Do you know which side is usally the name plate tagged?The left hand side or the right hand side.? :)
Itz the right side !:)

The afternoon was spent setting up our laptops. Towards the evening, we were introduced to the 'Fit to Lead program’. An excellent concept, 'Fit to Lead' is about finding balance in our busy lifestyle. It is for us to make a 'choice', 'challenge' ourselves and bring in the desired 'change'. A personalized schedule will be provided to us by the trainer.We have free access to some of the best sports facilities in the town here (not just the university!!). The objective of this program, I believe, is to develop a life style during the duration for the course that will help us achieve a balance (Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual) for the rest of our life. The coordinator Ryan Stores talked about his theory -"Life is a Gift, open it each day" and surprised all of us by providing us with gifts - Queen's Tees, shorts, tracks, pull over !! Isn't that cool?

In the evening, the students, spouses, partners and kids headed for a Barbecue. There was some fine liquor and wine provided. The veggies were not disappointed too as there was some good stuff for them also.

We were a set of 56 people in the morning who hardly knew each other. Towards the evening, the class was mingling as if they knew each other quite well. There was laughter, noise, chats all around. Some of the students after that went for another round of drinks session at the nearby club. The Indians and the Chinese students got together for a "chai"(tea) session where they had a good discussion session on a variety of subjects.

I am tired now! I guess I have blogged enough and should go to bed. There is a tough day planned ahead for us tommorow.! The day for me was an amazing experience. I realized that there are some challenges for me ahead. There is also a lot to learn and there will be many opportunities coming my way. I just hope that in the year ahead, I make the best use of it.

As I sign off and hit my bed, here are a few words of wisdom that Shannon Goodspeed gave the MBAst students:
- Employ Leadership from within.
- Workload is challenging yet rewarding.
- Become adept at Time Management.
- Competetion is good but co-operation is better!.
- Participate in extra curricular activities.
- Stay positive and maintain your sense of humor.
- Embrace multi culturalism and all that it has to offer.

Good Night !!

Indian Blogger
Class of 2007

MBAst Class of 2007 statistics
Class Size: 56
Average GMAT: 660
Average Work Ex: 6 Yrs
Advanced Degrees (Phd,etc): 16% of class
Nationalities represented: 15 ( Includes Canada,China,France,India,Pakistan,Lebanon,Sierra Leone,Singapore,Trinidad and Tobago,USA,New Zealand etc)
50% of the class consists of International students
Age range varies from 23 yrs to 46 years

A random profile of the MBA students
-Served on Board of Directors of Orchestra Toronto
-Won Gold Medal at intracollege shot put competition
-Holds a Phd in Anatomy and cell biology
-Is a certified Management Accountant(CMA)
-Was a radio jockey for All India Radio
-Won 2nd place at American Helicopter Society Design Competition
-Was accreditation coordinator at 2003 world weightlifting championship
-Published a case study on “Fulcrum connection Business "
-Graduated #2 out of 577 Engineering grads at University
-Certified ski and snowboard instructor
-Reached Grade 10 ( Piano) of the royal conservatory of music (Canada)
-Won instruments systems and automation society (ISA) student award
-Co-wrote, codirected,and acted in amateur film called "A King's ransom"
-Is a lieutenant in the US Navy
-Climbed Toronto's CN Tower for charity
-Member of the Golden Key International society
-Holds a Phd in Neuroscience
-Speaks English, mandarin and Japanese fluently.
-A javelin throw champion at university
-Devised, introduced, and played Math games with elementary students
-1999 Pyrenees pelota championship

A new beginning

Itz about 06.30 am on May 02. A few hours from now, I would start the MBA program.
I am very excited,and all those who have mailed and called me to wish good luck-Thanks a ton.I'll get back in the evening and if am not tired, will write about the first day.

Herez how the program for the day looks like:
Tuesday,May 2
9:00 - 9:30-Continental Breakfast@ Atrium
9:30 - 9:45- Welcome/Introductions
9:45 - 10:00 - Staff Introductions
10:00 - 10:30-Program Overview
10:30 - 10:45-Registration Instructions
10:45 - 11:15 -Beyond Academics
11:15 - 11:30 -Book Smart/Life Smart
11:30 - 1:00 -Lunch provided
1:00 - 2:00 - Software Installation
2:00 - 4:00 -Technology & Laptops
4:15 - 4:30 - AMS Health Plan
4:30 - 5:00-Fit to Lead
5:00 - 6:00 - Free time
6:00 - 8:00- BBQ for Students with partners and children

Monday, May 01, 2006

Explore the University

I am still awe-struck by the beauty of the university. Even if one reads the prospectus of the University,one will not get an idea about how big and beautiful the campus is. The Ontario Lake is closeby. There are students of different nationalities all around here.There is a University Pub.A Physical education center has everything you could ask for(It has 8 squash courts!!).Graduate Club is a pub and restaurant, and has been the home of many “Point Four” evenings over the years. They have many events throughout the year, including live bands, jazz nights, open-mike nights, beer/wine tasting, martini nights, and sports events on their big-screen TV.Then therez Tim Hortons and Starbucks in the University area.An international center exists to help the foreign students.
In short,just name it and you have things here.

I went for a walk with Ashok and Sameer( two of my classmates) and we clicked a few pictures.

Here they go:
Queen's Library

JDUC Center

(My room is in the 4th Floor)

Coffee House at Ground Floor

Queen's Pub

The Lounge at JDUC