Awakened in the morning by the sunshine seep through the blind, surprising found my back was sweating. The spring has finally come!
Looked at my phone and it showed 9:00. Still remembered that's a big argument last night with my fellow Japanese course-mates about whether Japan action on the eastern countries in the second world war was an invasion or liberation. Also remembered everyone tried to helped one of Japanese friend to date a Thai girl by pouring lots of weird advices.
That's the fun of talking with people from different background and ideology, not merely at the level of weather, or football match result, but at the level that you can argue about the sensitive issues yet do not ruin the relationships.
After a one week spring vacation where I spent mine in Italy, the spring term started with the launching of 2 ambitious and demanding projects - UK Consulting Project (UKCP) and Merger & Acquisition Project (M&A). This term, except the guest speaker series, we don't have any sit in lectures, all 60 credits in this term are accounted on the two big projects. The school schedule specifies Monday and Thursday for UKCP whereas Tuesday and Wednesday for M&A. But it is all depends on the capability of the group members and the efficiency of the group work to determine how much time required for the projects.
So, what are these 2 projects about?
We have done the NfP project in the autumn term in 2012, this is the second real-client facing consulting project in our program, and the third one will be the International Business (IB) Project which will be the capstone of the MBA program in winter term next year.
I like how MBS designed the projects in the MBA program. There were series of lectures teaching us the "soft" and "hard" skill on consulting, followed by real life application in the NfP, where clients were generally more lenient as the projects are not-for-profit; then the UKCP which we are doing now, with both UK and international clients focus on UK markets, where the project budget is covered y client; and finally the IB with multinational companies looking for expanding business globally, which unavoidable required a higher budget. As you can guess, the more money the client spend on the budget, the more demanding the project will be.
We are now in the bidding stage for the projects. Each group can bid for a maximum of 3 projects and the companies will then shortlist 3 groups for interview. One group will then be selected to implement the project. There are wide range of project topics covered sales and marketing, HR, operation, supply chain, and so on. Some project briefs are quite vague where the project goal and required deliverable are not clearly stated. This added the difficulty to the project yet a challenge to investigate what really the client want.
The grade of the project is assessed by initial client meeting and negotiation, interim presentation, group report, final client presentation and 2 statistical business research assignment using the SPSS.
As said before, the quality of the team decide the quality of the work. The group members were assigned randomly by the MBA center. My team consisted of an Italian Consultant, a Japanese Asset Manager, an American Chinese Real Estate broker, an American Indian Business System Analyst and myself. Let's see how the team will gel.
Although there is no real-client facing in this project, the team has to analyse possible acquisitions for an acquiring company where both the acquisitions and acquiring companies are real. Therefore, the real-life and real-time data like company reports, analyst reports, current news and trends are the main sources for the analysis.
The project started with the valuation of the acquiring company which will due next weekend. Then the team has to rank at least 3 possible acquisitions, of course based on the merging synergy analysis. A negotiation for the acquisition will be carried out between the team with MBS faculty who will act as the manager of the acquisition companies. Finally the team will write a justification for their offer to acquire.
Since the analysis involve a lot of corporate finance and accounting analysis, the groups were formed with at least one of the group member is from finance background, who can lead the valuation task. My team, with 1 banker, 1 marketeer and 4 engineers seems to be a bit less diverse. But the project is really interesting and thought provoking, which I believe I will learn and enjoy the most in this term.