Archive for October, 2008

iGot an iPrize

October 16th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

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My MBA education has produced some fruits: an orange iPod nano 8GB. It’s certainly not a huge prize, nor does it even begin to make up for the salary I’ve given up to be at school. But it comes with an interesting story of marketing, packaging, and pure luck.

Yesterday was the final round of a marketing case competition, run by the Graduate Marketing Association and sponsored by Acuity Mobile. We were given a powerpoint template and a case to complete–develop a market entry strategy for Acuity Mobile’s new product, Aislecaster. I won’t get into what the product is, particularly because I’m not sure they want it posted on my blog. We started the project on the 2nd week of school, when we didn’t know….anything! Our team came together somewhat haphazardly, since we didn’t know much about each other, and even less about mobile communications.

It turned out we worked pretty well together. We challenged each other, and we spent a LONG time making sure the presentation was well structured to present a clear message. Once the initial presentation was turned in, we all felt DONE with the project. When we got an email saying we had moved on to the next round, we were somewhat annoyed (since we were in the middle of midterms, busy school schedule, etc.) So we didn’t do any additional work on the project, but instead just met to practice our presentation delivery skills. Once again, the feedback was honest (and direct), but we really improved.

At the competition yesterday, we were very worried. All of the other teams had some technical knowledge about mobile phones or some background in the technology & marketing arena. We had neither. But in the end, our team was picked by the heads of Acuity Mobile as the winner (out of 10 teams), and we were frankly quite surprised. Our market entry plan was simple, and we hadn’t explored the technical elements of it in great detail. In fact, we didn’t even know WHO the company should call to get the plan rolling. But the idea was unique among the other competitors, we present a strong (but brief) justification, and the presentation was “pretty”. The takeaway message: it’s all about getting a good idea and selling it well. All the research and technical knowledge in the world cannot make you an innovator.

Thank you, team TECHNINO, for making us a success!
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Weeding out or fertilizing?

October 8th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

hand-weeding.jpgThis week is almost over, at least the hard part of it. Yesterday we had midterm exams in the two most challenging classes of the semester (Corporate Finance & Data Models/Decisions) Both involve the logical application of formulas and numbers. And if you saw my GMAT score, you would know that the quantitative side was NOT my strength. If any of my classmates read this, they may resent this, but I must say that the tests were almost fun. There’s no real satisfaction in taking a test where you can understand all the questions immediately, apply the formulas, and get everything right. If you got 100% on that kind of test, you would be pleased with the grade, but not impressed with yourself.

These tests, on the other hand, were challenging to a new level. At the surface it seems unfair to expect students to apply their class learning beyond the types of problems presented in class (and that is exactly what the professors did). The questions were somewhat familiar, in that we could usually recognize the basic principle being applied, but HOW to solve them was challenging in most cases. So, perhaps I didn’t score so well on the test, but I did get to stretch myself. It was like a real life work situation. Normally you have some information to get your job done. But you rarely have ALL the information you need to complete a project or report. You have to do some inference, some extrapolation, and use some creativity.

So, in the end, this is a positive reflection on the education I’m receiving. I don’t want to finish every test and think “I knew all the answers”, because that would imply a formulaic exam. I want to be tested in my ability to analytically apply principles I have learned, without everything being handed to me on a platter.

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