Saturday, September 24, 2011

End of Week -2 at Oxford

Yes you read that right! We just ended week -2 (negative two). Oxford (being Oxford) has its very own calender! Next week is Week -1 and the upper week (when we are confirmed as students of the school via matriculation is Week 0 and then 1,2,3 (i'm sure you get the drift).

There have been so many activities already that it'll be tough to cover everything. The easiest way to do this would be to cover the week chronologically so here goes....

Monday & Tuesday
First day at SBS. Had breakfast with my roomies at the YHA (Matan and Martin) a few weird looks as we were all suited up (got some baked beans on my tie!). We were scheduled to have Boot Camps for careers in Management Consulting and Finance over the course of the week. These boot camps sort of provide a fantastic overview to careers in both sectors and enable students focus on their areas of interest during their job search. This is especially important as being in a 1 year program mean you'll need to start applying for jobs almost immediately.

We made the 2 minute trip to SBS....greeted by a sea of smiling faces in black and white. Handshakes everywhere.....necks bent.....ears people tried to make out each other's names in the chaos. 150+ nervous MBA students meeting each other for the first time. Thankfully we had a pretty active facebook group, making it easier to recognize some people. The sound of Derek's (Director of Careers) horn (yes horn....very effective I might add) interrupted our uneasy conversations....'please  proceed to the hall' he said.He introduced the sector consultants, who took over and took us through two days of  CV and Cover Letter prep, interview tips and nuances, and a good overview of the management consulting business space.

Both sessions ended about 6pm and most of us retired to what is likely to be the 'default pub' for our class....THE OXFORD RETREAT!


We had a free day and Matan and I decided to use it to sort out all our admin stuff. At this point we had moved into our Flat at the RAC. We had to get our University ID card from the college, open our bank accounts, register with the police, register with the NHS, and buy essential items for the house. In the evening, we all headed to another pub called 'The Jericho Tavern' for a party which went on till four apparently (I escaped at about 1am....Matan didn't).

Thursday and Friday
We had the finance bootcamps on Thursday and Friday. I had been contacted by the careers team the week before with a request to make a presentation to the bootcamp, along with about four other people about my life in Finance. I agreed to it and saw myself ushered on stage, immediately wondering why i agreed to it. With what seemed like thousands of eyes on me, I fiddled with the microphone and drank a lot of water....making sure i was well positioned in between the other speakers. Why? I didn't want to be the first to speak! I think the secret to presentations however is familiarity. The stronger your familiarity with the subject you are speaking about, the easier it is to improvise....a key attribute of a good presentation. Thankfully, I was talking about my personal experiences so I think I did quite well.

On Saturday we had the 'Oxford Pursuit'.....a seven year old Oxford MBA tradition (gasp! an Oxford tradition that's not centuries old?). It basically involves being randomly split into groups of six and provided with a map, and 15 questions about the city of Oxford. The questions required physical examination of a lot of buildings and a lot of detective work. It was a good, although tiring experience and though we didn't win, i learnt a lot about the city.

Feeding is my biggest problem here.Practically living on bread and butter.....I might need emergency cooking classes! One thing that's also clear from my week here is that focus and prioritization is absolutely critical. There's just too much going on....too much stuff to do. There's always a party, or a meeting, or something and school hasn't even started. So I think it is essential that I streamline my goals and identify specific activities that would help me achieve them.

OBNs (Oxford Business Networks) are student run organisations that focus on particular areas of interest. After my talk on private equity, i've been encouraged to run for the chairmanship of the private equity OBN by a few classmates. I had previously considered it but was torn between the PE OBN and the Strategic Focus on Africa group, which is an SIG (Strategic Interest Group). I have decided to run for the PE OBN although I know it would be a tonne of work! So help me God....

P.S This post is so long because I'm not sure when next I'll have the time to post.....mad times!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Arrival in Oxford...

Tired....Dead tired! I suspect those are words i'll use frequently over the course of the year. It's just the second day and i'm starting to realise how intense it is. Ok let me start from the beginning;

Landed at Heathrow at about 5pm and headed straight for the Central Bus station at the airport to take a bus to Oxford (return ticket costs 26 pounds). The bus ride was smooth (a little over an hour) and came with free i was able catch highlights of the Man U-Chelsea game (What a miss by Torres!) on my ipad. Knew before hand that my flat at the RAC wouldn't be ready so i had booked a room at 
Pretty cheap at about 30 pounds a night and its right next to SBS but you'll probably have to share with four other people. I was lucky to get my flat the very next day so i've moved in. Here are a few pictures of my flat

My Room

Sparsely furnished living room


I must say i'm very happy with the flat. There are tons of admin stuff left to do....for example, every student has to have his/her laptop registered with the college to enable you have internet access. Had to escape from the Management Consulting bootcamp (more on this later) and walk all of 30 minutes to get to my college site (Green Templeton) to get an appointment for later in the day and then walk all the way back to SBS to have my picture taken for the profile book and then back again to have the laptop configured before heading home (via Tesco to pick up some groceries. My flatmate (who is a very nice dude from Israel) and I would need to go shopping for basic stuff like microwave ovens and other appliances not included in the flat. Of course I need to open a bank account, register with the police and NHS (all Oxford students are covered by the NHS) and do other stuff i'm sure will come up over the course of the week.

The weather's been surprisingly pleasant by the way so long may it continue!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Two weeks to go!

Here's a list of administrative tasks I had to do before heading out to Oxford.....

  1. Confirm by email if you will be accepting the offer - Done
  1. Pay your 15% non-refundable deposit - Done (Came to £5,445)
  1. Submit your Offer Acceptance Form - Done
  1. Supply your Financial Guarantee documentation - Done
  2.  College placement - Done (Green Templeton College - GTC)
  1. Confirm acceptance of your college place - Done
  1. Secure your accommodation – college/private - Done via GTC (Rewlew Abbey Court)
  1. Obtain a visa - Phew.....Done, after three nerve wracking weeks
  1. Return your Student Contract to generate your University Card - Done (Had to return a hard copy of this as per school regulations)
  1. Pay the balance of your fees - Done.....I now qualify for bankruptcy protection
  2. Register via student self-service - Done
So its official! I'm enrolled at Oxford! Six kings, 48 Nobel prize winners, 26 UK prime ministers, 7 current holders of the Order of Merit, 12 saints, 20 archbishops, 18 cardinals, 1 pope and one Bayo Babalola.....