Cinematic Copenhagen: An extracurricular activity worth the effort of getting off your comfortable couch
Cinematic Copenhagen offers cosy, impressive and romantic cinemas to fill you up with energy for the MBA work week.
I sold my TV around fifteen years ago and have not watched any TV ever since. I must admit that I do miss it a few times a year, usually during Oscar night or Olympics weeks…however I always find sports channel at the gym, use the “no TV” excuse to have a fun night at a friend’s place for Oscar night and watch news when I travel.
BUT, I do love watching movies - on a big screen, preferably in comfortable clothes and ideally with some drink or snack. I love being pulled into the sound and color in a way that you can never experience at home, even with the best and biggest TV. Of course, there is nothing wrong with watching Star Wars on a laptop or a phone, but I truly believe that seeing something cinematic blown up big for the eyes to literally feast on is a unique, worthwhile experience.
Luckily, Copenhagen offers many rainy days when going to movies sounds like a good idea. I sincerely appreciate the diversity of cinema theatres in the city, where one can dive into the particular atmosphere even before the lights are off and the movie starts.
My absolute favorite for watching a quality movie is Grand Teatret in Mikkel Bryggers Gade, a small side street off Strøget. This cinema takes you back in time to 1923 when it originally opened. It always offers a nice selection of movies, often different from what other cinemas are showing - more independent movies rather than mainstream. Classy and somewhat old-fashioned, with a mostly local crowd, this historical cinema has charming café, which serves small dishes and excellent coffee. Be aware: no pop-corn is sold, which only adds to the sophisticated atmosphere.
Another “hyggelig” and stylish cinema for true movie lovers is Empire Bio. This is the best cinema to go on a date, since it offers comfortable seats with extra leg room and even double seats in the last row for couples. The cinema is located in a hip Nørrebro neighbourhood and is surrounded by lots of trendy cafes and restaurants, so you can always grab a great local beer before the movie or enjoy a high-quality tasty meal with delicious wine after.
In case you want to catch a blockbuster or “special effects” movie, there is no better choice of movie theatre than Imperial near Vesterport station. This cinema is huge! It is the largest in Northern Europe with over 1000 seats and often hosts special events and premiers, however the lobby is well organised and therefore queues for pop-corn and soda are never long (perhaps there is MBA learning here on how to remove barriers and make your products easily available…?). The sound in this cinema is incredible, the screen quality is amazing, and the reclining seats are extremely comfortable. Sit in the middle for the best experience, on account of the shape of the cinema.
Of course, Copenhagen offers many more options in which to watch a good movie alone, with friends or your significant other. Going to a cinema creates memories and brings out emotions, it gives opportunity to relax and rewind but encourages focus and attention at the same time. It turns watching a movie into an event, something a little more special than clicking on “play-next-episode” function on streaming service. Watching media can be extremely passive and being a full-time MBA student with six hours of classroom studies every day, to say nothing of the homework required, already makes you less energetic than usual. Physically going to a special place makes it a much more active experience, allows you to be inspired and can contribute to filling you up with energy to tackle the intensive MBA week ahead.
6 days ago0
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Settling into your new MBA hood: Frederiksberg
MBAs enjoying a break on the Råvarebygningen terrace against the backdrop of Frederiksberg Have.
When I started my MBA journey, I made the decision early to live in the dorms rather than searching for roommates and my own place. The dorms are located in a kommune or municipality next door to Copenhagen proper called Frederiksberg, a.k.a. FRB.
Living in FRB has some pretty nice perks. The Copenhagen MBA dorms are right next door to the MBA Building Ravarebygningen, which makes the morning commute to class pretty smooth. Ha! But convenience aside, FRB offers some wonderful areas to enjoy when we’re not busy studying.
Directly in front of the dorms and the MBA building is a big park called Frederiksberg Have/Frederiksberg Garden. The day after I moved into the dorms, I donned my tennis shoes to go for an exploratory run in the park. We moved into the dorms in September, so summer weather was still lingering in Denmark. In the summer, the park is full of big, old, leafy trees, grass, and flowers. It made for a nice, peaceful run.
The Danes love to be outside in the summer so there were people with their families and dogs milling around. The charm and tranquility of the park immediately confirmed how I envisioned myself unwinding every day after class. However, nothing prepared me for stumbling upon a picturesque palace in the middle of this park. I stopped in my tracks and Instagram’d the moment. I was pretty distracted on my first run. There’s even a zoo in the middle of the park, and the elephants are on display for park-goers for free!
Even now, in wintertime, when the weather is cold and a little gray, the park is a great source of peace and enjoyment for me. My recommendation for enjoying a Northern Winter, and managing your stress during the MBA, is to get some very warm clothes and go outside whenever you can. You’ll notice that the Danes are not easily turned off by the weather and will go outside all year round, though everyone agrees that summer is the best. LOL.
Another of my favorite things about living in the dorms is the close access to grocery stores, metro station, and a yummy pizza restaurant (La Tradizionale). There’s also a shopping center close by, Frederiksberg Centret, in case you need some snappy new clothes. The center also has cafes and is next door to the CBS main campus, so within a 10-minute walk from the dorms, you have everything you could want.
Being 32, and having owned my own home, I was hesitant to live in the dorms like an 18-year old again. However, the positive experiences and benefits have far outweighed any doubts I had. Not only is the area ridiculously beautiful, but I am close to my classmates and feel like I have a community to support me during the MBA journey. I think that this is the best benefit of all.
1 week ago0
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The MBA’s guide to Copenhagen
Wonderful Copenhagen naturally inspires you to explore every nook and cranny, and while Danes respect your space and privacy, they also tend to offer a helping hand when needed.
Making a move to a city far removed from yours is never an easy decision - apparently. Yet, when I received the phone call confirming my admission to Copenhagen Business School and requesting my response, it was a resounding ‘Yes’ from me. The process of getting the student visa was definitely not easy, but with the right mix of some really good Google research results, a lot of help from the CBS admissions team, as well as guidance from alumni, I packed my bags and took off for Copenhagen. A note for future Copenhagen MBA students from India though: the Danish Embassy asks for a standard three months processing time, so it’s always a wiser idea to apply for your student visa early.
India is quite a chaotic country – how could it not be with a population of 1.4 billion people? So, for little old me, the move to a country like Denmark is quite a culture shock. The respect for pedestrians and fellow drivers is still astounding for me to see. Another pleasant surprise is the wonderfully maintained and timely public transportation. I’ve only ever used a cab in Denmark once in these last five months – on the day I arrived – and that was only because I was too tiny to cart four bags (more than half my size) to the dorms. Most Danes in Denmark prefer to buy a bicycle to ride to work, school, grocery shopping etc. But for people like me who are unpracticed in the art of getting so much exercise, there is also a system of travel cards (called Rejeskort), issued to people who want to travel by the bus, the metro and the S-trains (the local trains in Denmark). It is super easy to obtain them; you just need to go to any major train station like Norreport and pay for them, and you can recharge them at any metro or S-train station.
One of the first things I had to do after moving to Denmark was to register myself with the community and receive my resident permit. This is a straightforward and easy process that requires no more of you than filling out a form online. Afterwards, you can either go to the International House or to the Kommune (the Municipality) to finish the process and voila, the residence permit card is issued to you via post. As a holder, you gain access to the online portal used by every Dane for all facilities like health care, banking etc. Amazingly, you also get sent a health card displaying the name and contact details of your own personal go-to doctor. In other words: You are assigned your own doctor! If you ever needed to win over your family members about your move to Denmark, tell them about this and they’ll be putty in your hands!
Finding my feet around the city wasn’t really as hard as I thought it would be. The city naturally inspires you to explore every nook and cranny. Google maps has been my best friend from the day I set foot in Denmark, but my dependence on it has decreased the more I’ve explored of this wonderful city. I prefer to walk around and explore all the wonderful architecture that you see everywhere. Before it closed, Papiroen was my own favorite weekend foodie dream. Situated right next to Nyhavn, it was this huge warehouse full of food stalls from different countries and you were guaranteed good company even from strangers. It’s a big pity that it closed but I know that my options are endless with other great places like Torvehallerne and Frida’s Bodega to fill up the empty space. You’d actually need more than a year to visit each and every restaurant, pub and lounge throughout the city.
Add to that, the people here are absolutely lovely to spend time with. I have found that I love the Danes because they give you your space and privacy but are also very open to giving you a helping hand. If you’re lost in the street, just walk up to the nearest person and ask for help. They will actually take the time out to understand your problem and assist you as much as they can. There is also a huge sense of equality here between men and women, which is absolutely wonderful to experience yourself.
Pro tip: if you really want to bond well with a local, go to a pub regardless of whether you drink or not! The Danes love their drink and you learn some amazing dice games that are super fun.
There is also a huge sense of trust in this country. I remember watching a video in which a group of people decided to test the concept of honesty in different countries. They dropped some money on the streets and recorded what people did when they found it. However, when they tried to do this in Denmark, they failed because anyone who spotted them dropping money would run after them to return it instantly. I honestly thought that this had to be a spam video until I witnessed it myself. I once lost my bag in Papiroen during their final closing party. I was heartbroken because I was convinced that I would never get it back. But lo and behold! When I went back the next day, they had my bag and absolutely nothing was misplaced inside.
If you see a baby in a stroller placed outside a restaurant, don’t freak out! That baby’s parents are sitting inside that restaurant in direct line of sight of their baby. It’s part of the norm here for parents to leave their babies outside in order to build their immune system. And they are only comfortable doing so because they are confident that their baby is absolutely safe. I can’t think of any better way to express the level of trust that the citizens of Denmark have towards each other.
I initially came to Copenhagen because I wanted to explore the world. It was also an easy decision to make because of the more relaxed visa laws towards Indians. But now, I find myself wishing to stay put in Denmark because it is honestly one of the best and warmest (and I don’t mean in terms of heat) places that you could go to. Does it have its drawbacks? Sure! No place is perfect. But for me, Denmark’s good side far outweighs the bad and that’s all that matters to me. And I can guarantee you that you will fall in love with this country as well after really experiencing the kind of life you get to live here.
3 weeks ago3
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Big Data! Welcome to The Buzzword (and Insightful) World!
By Huijue Ye
If you want to clarify the basic logic of data and be enlightened, then prepare to suffer while enjoying the class in Big Data.
Having been away from courses relating to mathematics and logical thinking for nearly a decade, I was surprised to find myself in a class covering data analytics and enjoying every minute of it during the fall of 2017.
I’ve worked in different companies in roles covering subjects as different as accounting to financial journalism and data analysis to consulting, so I already knew that I love both the quantitative and qualitative side of things and feel comfortable combining the two. However, there is always a stereotype to confront, which in this case was ‘How can a journalism veteran be data-driven? Are you sharp in analyzing data? Do you really like to understand more about it or follow another buzzword just because everyone is talking about it?’
The Analytics and Big Data course gave me more insights about where my abilities and passion lie. It is not a comprehensive guideline for everyone who wants to improve their career in data analysis and consulting – for once, you cannot accomplish this during a six-day course – but it can be a trigger for everyone who is enthusiastic about data-driven thinking to build up their curiosity and confidence.
As one of the first courses we encountered in the MBA, it had some challenges to overcome. People were not familiar with each other and some were still scared of the word ‘data’. In addition, the textbook contained tons of information that many of us could not digest overnight.
However, the lectures were…great fun, surprisingly!
Dolores Romero Molares is a good teacher who transformed even the most boring stuff into understandable concepts. The lectures mainly focused on different applications of data analysis such as regression, optimization and decision-making, and not about how to use Excel and make sure all the figures were right. Instead, she pushed us to write down the analytical sentences which revealed our understanding of the meaning behind those figures. She used the whiteboard quite often and spent time to write down complete sentences, explaining every key word, making it much easier for us students to grasp the key points.
The more effort we put towards understanding what she wrote down and the more we dove into her assigned readings, the more we got out from the lectures.
If you expect to learn only buzzwords so you can show off when someone else is talking about big data, you will not enjoy the class. But if you want to clarify the basic logic of data and be enlightened, then prepare to suffer while enjoying the work. Ha!
For me, the lectures helped connect the dots from what I learned in my previous job to what I want to focus on in my future career. Having worked in a similar industry for the past two years in China where everyone is throwing around the buzzwords, I understand more about the topic now, how important it will be in the near future, and why.
The lectures in Analytics and Big Data only touched upon Big Data trends a bit. For those of us who want to further their understanding of it, there is an elective focused on that later, which I definitely want to choose - must be another rewarding, bitter and sweeter, journey….
Oh right, last but not least, if you’re a big fan of football, you might have a common language with our teacher Dolores - other than data. Enough said.
1 month ago1
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The road to MBA: Working collaboratively
Talented individuals from a variety of backgrounds join forces to grow and learn together in the Copenhagen MBA.
Every business school has something that it highlights to the public. For The Copenhagen MBA, it advertises the three pillars of the program. What I like to point out in addition, though, is how easy it has been for me to work with everyone in the program. To give credit where credit is due, the administration really outdid themselves in selecting from the applicant pool for this year and as a result, I am surrounded by a wide variety of personalities and competencies every day. People come with their own perspectives and goals in life.
When brainstorming for my first blog in late 2017, I thought to myself how collaborative everyone has been and what a collaborative environment the program has created. During the first week back after our winter break, Poul, our program director gave a speech to the entire class at our New Year’s reception that focused on the importance of working collaboratively. I knew I was onto something…
Now rewind several weeks back: I was at home in California celebrating the holidays and enjoying a well-deserved winter break with my family and friends. Oh, how I had missed the sunshine…! Before moving on, I would just like to emphasize how important it is to pack a bottle or two of vitamin D when you move to Copenhagen. Aside from the lack of sunshine during the wintertime, the first thing I talk to others about are the people and what a cohesive bunch we have become.
Of course, people are willing to work together under the right conditions. The program starts by organising students in groups of four during lectures to promote discussion and group work. Additionally, the professors work closely with the administrators to ensure that we are regrouped with different individuals on a regular basis. The grading structure is also done in such a way that we are not graded on a curve. The end result is a class of students who are offering help to each other during exam preparations, since students are not in competition with each other, only with themselves. The program definitely promotes a collaborative learning environment.
Here is just one example to illustrate how awesome The Copenhagen MBA class of 2018 is…Coming onto the program, I already knew that the workload would be heavy. But as the rigor and speed of the classes, events, and career-building quickly started to manifest, we have come to the consensus that we must hold on closely to each other if we are to endure this one-year, super-fast-paced train ride. Someone suggested that we should split up all the course readings and create outlines, and a few took initiatives to organize this. The result? An awesome study tool for us, when we need it. Everyone was able to provide an outline of an assigned reading and share it onto an online platform which everyone had access to. Thus, these outlines would serve to provide a reference and reminder whenever we need it.
Don’t let my happy-go-lucky attitude fool you, though. I’m not implying that it is easy to work with others, but what I found valuable in this program is exactly that - having to find ways to settle the downsides. Putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation with others and come up with solutions together to overcome internal and external misalignments. The support structure is there; you just have to figure out how to cross the bridge with everyone without having it collapse on you.
1 month ago0
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My admissions journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Copenhagen MBA (and a sneak peak of the storm described below…)
by Ashok, guest blogger
How different is one admissions journey from the next? By admissions journey, I refer to the point when you start researching business schools to when you actually receive the offer. I dare say that my journey was a little different. It was a journey on a journey across oceans.
My first contact with Copenhagen Business School (CBS) was through a phone call with an admissions team member. The coziness in that conversation alone made me change my priorities and suddenly, CBS shot itself to the top of my list of schools.
Then came the application process itself, but by this time my job as a maritime officer took me away from the civilization to the deep blue seas. My job was to transport liquefied petroleum gas (LPG*) on large gas tanker ships, across different countries and continents. Immersed in my work and with no internet connection, I had very little chance to communicate with anyone, not even my family, let alone CBS’s staff. So I chose half-heartedly to just reflect on the essays and prepare with a feeling that, like all my previous attempts to get into business school, this one would not make it to its intended destination primarily due to the lack of communication from my end.
Bobbing on the Indian Ocean, I used to check the CBS website for more information on the application process itself whenever I found time and an internet connection. When I discovered the video essay element and the accompanying need for a stable internet connection – something which is almost impossible at sea - I almost gave up. Well. Almost!
After a few weeks, I received an email from CBS, inquiring about my progression and offering assistance. I explained my situation and managed to get a little more time to complete the process.
With renewed hopes, and now on my Trans-Pacific voyage lasting fifteen days between Japan and North America, I finally sat down to write the essays. Trans-Pacific voyages are bad in itself, but the North Pacific winter needs a special mention. The waves can tower as high as ten meters at times. Temperatures hover around zero, wind speed can reach up to 60 knots (110 km/hr) and literally everything around me is tossing and turning. Needless to say, I was finding it difficult to do my daily tasks, let alone complete the MBA essays. But somehow, I did!
The next hurdle en route to MBA was to somehow upload these essays and complete the video essays part. Once I arrived in a US port, I went out looking for a stable internet connection. After a few failed attempts, I finally uploaded my written essays using a Wi-Fi signal in a busy shopping mall.
But how could I complete an important video essay in a shopping mall? The limited time, the lack of personal space and the general difficulty of the situation took over and I couldn’t work up the nerve. The next best chance I had was after a twenty-day-return Trans-Pacific voyage to Japan. If the first voyage was a challenge, this one was at an entirely different level. Not only did we experience sub-zero temperatures, this time; a raging storm was waiting for us. A North Pacific winter storm is any sailor’s nightmare and here I was, facing my fears and living through hell! Life was literally getting more and more difficult. Generally, during those times, crew members are not assigned jobs on deck, however, our cargo was precious and inspecting it from time to time was unavoidable. During one of those outdoor inspections, a wave splash almost hit us. We were inches away from being hit on deck or perhaps thrown out into the sea. My colleague who accompanied me on deck and who has spent more at sea than me, later described the incident as the worst he had experienced. So severe was this storm that even the seasoned mariners started feeling sea-sick during the worst phase. The ship took minor hits but we were spared more serious damages and could continue on our voyage. Finally, when we made landfall at Japan, many of my crew members were looking forward to getting in touch with their loved ones to share the scary experiences that they had just gone through. I, on the other hand, had one more thing on my list. Time was disappearing fast, and I hadn’t finished the application process yet.
The Japanese, known for their meticulous planning and efficiency, kept our ship very busy in their waters, allowing me very little free time. My job became a priority again and naturally; the video essays took a back seat! When I finally got a chance to rent a Wi-Fi router with good bandwidth for 150 USD/day and had some time to spare, I somehow managed to complete the video essays, at 3AM in the morning, still wearing my work gear.
Luckily, I was invited for a telephone interview and managed to schedule an appointment. But my problems were far from over. My replacement didn’t arrive on time and I had to serve extra time, pushing me to reschedule the appointment. Constantly, I worried that my delaying things could mean that I, in the end, would not make it as far as the MBA classroom.
Finally, just a day after I again started walking on solid land, I completed the interview over telephone. From here, the journey was much easier. I was offered a position which I gladly accepted. In short, my MBA application journey was no less than a roller coaster ride courtesy of the Pacific Ocean. With the benefit of hindsight, it feels nice to reflect on those memories and the lessons learned. Despite facing a storm in the middle of a cold Pacific Ocean, despite feeling sea sick, not being able to eat or sleep even for a few hours, not one of my crew members backed away from working; in fact they offered to work extra when needed. Each and every one was taking care of the other. The real teamwork and camaraderie came out in the open. I could literally see that the worst of the times often brings the best out of people. I could see the crew going that extra mile when the situation needed to stay on top of their game. This was an important lesson for me. Many a times I was ready to give up in the face of technological and Mother Nature hurdles. Each time I somehow convinced myself to take just one more step towards completing the journey. And in the end, I think that is what matters most– to take that one extra step and to stay awake and alive throughout the journey, be it MBA or life!
*-Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Propane), when cooled to minus 43 deg C, turns into liquid form and allows for easy and cost-effective transportation on ships tanks.
1 month ago0
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How old is ‘too old’ for business school?
“How old is too old for business school?”
My answer is “never”. I always knew that I wanted to continue my education. However, after my post-graduate degree I got into the Hospitality industry – an industry which you either love at first sight and stay forever or hate right away and leave very shortly. I was immediately sold and fascinated by the business. It was mutual – working in this industry took me to another country, introduced me to a number of international professionals and gave me the opportunity to work on some of the world’s best brands and projects. I always continued to study in between, attending short term courses and programmes at different universities, but never was I ready to drop work completely and go back to school for a year or two. My job was too interesting to stop.
When I finally took a pause and thought about it, I was 37. I looked deep inside myself and said to myself “If I am not doing it now, I will never do it”. And so I did, and a few months later I found myself sitting among the brilliant, kind and beautiful people that were to become my Copenhagen MBA classmates.
Funnily enough, I think I could not have picked a better time in my life to do this. I have 15 years of experience prior to doing my MBA and, hopefully, will have another 25 after graduation. And very often we perceive studies as something meant for young people only. Therefore, it is no wonder we have a workforce which is split between “young and clueless” but enthusiastic vs experienced but old-fashioned and “don’t-fix-what’s-not-broken” types. I can’t say I am in the first category anymore, but I do not want to become one of those in the latter category either. Of course, I could have enrolled in an Executive MBA, but I believe in being present in everything I do – whether it is work, family or study - so whilst balancing it all is absolutely possible, it would have been extremely exhausting… I think breathing in, taking a year off to discover and learn is the best gift I could give myself.
Being an elder student gives me multiple benefits – firstly, I know how to manage my energy and my time. I know that I cannot study all night before the exam anymore as I could in my twenties, hence I structure and prioritise my learnings well, which gives me a stress-free study experience.
Secondly, my experience gives me the opportunity to relate to many cases and problems we discuss in class, but I am still young enough not to be “set in my ways” of doing things and able to absorb the learnings. I notice that when you are a younger student with little experience, many concepts may sound too theoretical and too far-fetched, hence the gain is smaller.
Thirdly, I am less worried about employment after the MBA, since I am not perceiving the MBA as a “transformation experience” but rather as an important addition to my life experience and as an opportunity to catch up with the world outside of my industry and learn things I would have not have learnt otherwise. I do not have expectations and simply enjoy the experience, which makes me appreciate every class and every professor.
At last, this MBA actually made me feel much younger – I changed my suits to jeans, my car to a bike, my team of executives to dynamic people I am learning alongside. I have just thrown myself into it, forgetting about my age (and any other factors). I can already see that this experience gives me fresh ideas, expands my skill sets and helps me to become a role model for my future staff. I strongly recommend this experience to anyone. It is never too late for learning. After all, an investment in yourself is the best investment you can make in life.
2 months ago0
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Responsible leadership Copenhagen style
It’s been almost 3 months - wrapping up the 1st trimester in the Copenhagen MBA with my fellow classmates. How time flies… Perhaps, I wasn’t expecting the programme to be as intense and busy, but I enjoy the energy and dynamics of the class. It is my chance to meet many inspiring people - classmates, instructors and alumni. I find myself constantly learning and sharing new ideas with people, either older or younger than me every day.
To join the MBA I left my role as a project manager in a refinery construction site, and moved to Copenhagen to pursue the Full-time MBA. Every day, I feel more sure of my choice in pursuing the Copenhagen MBA compared to the other MBA programmes I was considering. After my MBA, I would like to continue my career in international projects as a fully-equipped project management professional and with good leadership skills.
As a female engineer in project management, I strongly feel the importance of responsible management. I believe that the sense of ethics in the business world stands mainly on fairness, self-respect and analytical thinking. Providing equal opportunity for any gender and race can foster a strong company culture built on trust and respect.
In the broad perspective, strategic leadership focused on sustainability plays an important role in creating and prevailing ethical business values. Responsible leadership is about considering the interests of all parties; not only shareholders, but all stakeholders; staff, clients, contractors, suppliers, natural resources, society and future generations. I am eager to hone in on the new skills I am learning - critical thinking, business strategy, and sustainability and to apply them in my career post MBA as a responsibile leader.
2 months ago0
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Getting Physical - Leadership Simulator trip in Sweden
The long awaited (and for many: dreaded) Sweden-trip was finally upon us the week after Easter. This was going to be the highlight of our Leadership Discovery Process, where we could demonstrate what we had learned during our MBA and get insights into our personal leadership style. We didn’t know a lot about the trip itself, or the content of it, as both teachers and alumni had been quite elusive with regards to specifics. Or as the LDP course outline states: “You must be prepared for anything. The surroundings will be unfamiliar. As in real life, it is all about planning for the unforeseen and reacting correctly when something unexpected happens.” Sounds like a commercial for some kind of Special Forces, right?
To uphold the tradition I will not reveal too much of what we did in Sweden, a big part of the experience is not knowing what you are going to do. However, I will reveal that it may be beneficial to be on good terms with the Weather God during that week. Our class was not… So, at times, most of us were cold - pretty much soaked to the bone. BUT, this, at least for my part, made the trip so much more of an experience. One thing you learn during the LDP is that when in the Training Zone you learn - and this is something which resonates well with my long-standing mantra of “It’s outside the comfort zone you really live and learn”.
With contrasting moments both learnings and experiences make a lasting impact, and I can still remember many of the conversations and statements made during the week - I’m of course talking refering to the feedback-sessions. Which is something we did A LOT. Surprisingly, it quickly became a much sought after activity, and it is definitely something I will take with me into my future work life.
For those who think this sounds like a drag - it’s not. We had plenty of good times - sitting around the fire side, exhilarating activites and a very welcoming surprise in the end including enjoying some sunshone. Overall, the trip was a worthy ending to our LDP program - the course most surrounded in mysticism and perhaps some skepticism, during the year of the MBA depending on who you are as a student. I highly ecommend it with all my heart - and if you are a prospective/future student; absolutely look forward to it!!
7 months ago0
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Tips from a successful student: How I nailed the personal interview
The headline here is rather a big overstatement - at times where I desperately thread water and do my best just to keep my head above the water line, I couldn’t feel less like the successful student. However, the work load oscillates and when you have pulled through and written that 10-page assignment in just 2 days, life feels very good. In my point of view, life is all about the contrasts, and my oh my, does the MBA give us exactly that!
So, the personal interview..
It was last April, a couple of weeks after I had submitted my application, that the Admission Manager for the Programme, Thuli, replied with an email and asked if we could schedule a telephone call later that week. This was just an initial phone call to discuss my submission, as well as go-through a couple of details in my profile, but I still remember that my heart skipped a beat when I read the email. I got the impression that I had passed the initial screening and that it was now up to me to show that I deserved a spot in the year’s program.
The phone call was nothing to be scared of as Thuli was warm and welcoming, and we had a good conversation about my education, my motivations for doing an MBA, my future plans, and my stuttering. Nine out of ten times I “disclose” the stuttering in the beginning of a conversation with a new acquaintance , and this time was no exception. I do this to address the “elephant in the room” so to say, and this both lowers my stress level, and most often the other party’s as well. The phone call was brief, but enlightening, with regards to what I could expect in the coming year if I got in. I was also invited to the campus by Thuli, so that I could sit in on a lecture and meet the staff in person. I didn’t have the opportunity to do this myself, but those who did told me later that this just reassured them that they wanted to go for the Full-Time CBS Programme, and that it helped them to mentally prepare for the workload to come. Most of them also had their personal interview while visiting the campus in spring. This is highly recommended!
Following this, I got an email inviting me to the official personal interview the following week. It went by very fast and Gitte was just as warm and welcoming as Thuli. If I should give some specific advice it would be the same clichés as always; be yourself, be honest and sincere, show motivation and just relax. Like all interviews prepare briefly with some background information you think can be valuable, make an outline of what you would like to convey, but all in all keep it natural and conversation-like.
One final piece of advice though, be certain you are motivated for this. It is A LOT of hard work, to some points ridiculously difficult, but in the end you will reap the benefits of your hard work and get a pretty fancy degree on top of your former experience. And not to say the least, get some new life-long friends and a really valuable network.
Apropos ridiculously difficult, I still haven’t got my head around Miller & Modigliani 2nd preposition, and with the Corporate Finance exam in less than 16 hrs I better get to it. Sayonara!
10 months ago1
Permalinkmba copenhagen business school copenhagen mba mba life cbsmba mba business scandinavian leadership 1 year programme interview
Venture Capital Investment Competition begins …
Going to business school, we all assume we know a good business when we see it. Many of us go so far as to believe we have what it takes to spot the next instagram or airbnb. At the Venture Capital Investment Competition on February 5th, CBS’s Full-Time MBAs got to put our skills to the test and the competition was fierce.
The goal of the VCIC competition is to mock the VC process of selecting a start-up to invest in, pitching that investment to the managing partners of your VC firm (the judges), and then handling negotiations with the entrepreneur to seal the deal and make an investment.
The day began with Denmark’s finest pastries and a coffee truck to get the contestants, entrepreneurs and judges started for what was a long, grueling, and incredible day. Those of us participating had received packets of the start-ups information including business plans, financials, and other collateral just two days prior. We had then spent the 48 hours leading up to the competition researching industries, competitors, Linkedin profiles of board members, and pretty much any bit of information we could find to get a solid understanding of each start-up. By the time the competition day arrived we were ready to go with our decisions all but made.
After a round of pitches from the entrepreneurs, we finalized our questions for our round of due diligence. Due diligence consisted of 12minutes of Q and A between each team and each entrepreneur. After the Q and A you were then given feedback from the observing judges. This was an essential piece because you had to quickly pivot your due diligence questioning technique to adapt to the feedback.
The team that won the “Entrepreneur Award” (the entrepreneurs voted them the team they most liked working with) focused their due diligence session on learning what the entrepreneur was looking for from the VC. The final question they asked in each round was “What keeps you up at night?”. In the VC world, the relationship between a VC and the entrepreneur is essential and can ultimately be what makes or breaks a deal or even the company as a strong partnership can lead to essential collaboration.
The most challenging part was the partner meeting. The questions were deep, well thought, and delivered like rapid fire. It was brutal, but most of my classmates’ favorite part of the competition. The winning team truly excelled here, handling the judges questions and coming across strong while conceding necessary alterations to their term sheet. The judges were very impressed by both their technical skill in crafting and defending the terms, as well as their political maneuvering to keep the conversation going.
In the end, every team brought their A-game. Two teams made it to the negotiation round and Team K-Ventures won first place. They will be representing CBS at the regionals in Cranfield and we are sure they will do us proud.
The experience overall was amazing and I would highly recommend the program to all future MBA students whether they have an interest in VC work or not.
10 months ago0
Permalinkmba copenhagen business school copenhagen mba mba life cbsmba mba business scandinavian leadership scandinavian entrepreneur competition
Denmark Second? Definitely no!
Denmark is known for its work-life-balance lifestyle. This is well captured in the Danish buzzword hygge (literally means coziness). In festive seasons, it is not surprising to see every household consume tons of candles to create a warm atmosphere for friends and good ones.
But what strikes me most is not the coziness, but the dedication of the Danes - they seek depth rather than breadth; if they focus on one thing, they probably ace it: pastries, bricks, beer, hygge… and, sustainability.
Sustainability is a competitive edge for Danish corporations, partly because of the historical reason when the Danish government tried to address some societal challenges by engaging the private sector and institutionalizing “doing good” behavior. But more importantly, sustainability is a business opportunity, and many corporations have already moved from a do-no-harm, reactive mode to a more proactive approach.
I have come across an interesting HBR article about how to evaluate corporate strategy. The author articulates that strategy is a set of goals and major policies. Two factors matter when formulating these goals and policies: stakeholder and external environment. The article posits that the key to corporate success is to identify the important needs of different stakeholder groups and to establish some balance among them. In addition, the important test of a corporate strategy is whether the strategy is responding to the external changing environment – public policy, political and societal situations, market environment and so on
Engaging stakeholders and responding to externalities are simply the cornerstones of sustainability that offers one more lens to look at the business and the context in which business operates.
MBA students expect business schools to equip them with different tools to make sound business decisions, but I think it is equally important to understand the context– stakeholders and external environment– and to apply relevant tools. Sometimes the world moves too fast that the existing toolkit might not entirely work. So, it is more important to stay agile.
I think being in Denmark is already a good starting point to be in the “context”. The small-class setting enables us to connect with great and aspirational leaders in the business world and in public sector. Among them is a visionary politician, Ida Auken, Member of Parliament in Denmark, who gave us an inside scoop into the public agenda of sharing economy, the talk-of-the-town here in Denmark. Whenever I read about her blog “Welcome to 2030” I can’t help getting goose bumps.
In one of the group projects, my team has looked into a live case of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and interviewed some great industry experts in Denmark, including Sustainia, a think-tank partnering the UN Global Compact to advance the online communication about the global goals; and the leading biotech Novozymes awarded by the UN as the pioneer in integrating the SDGs into business strategies.
Denmark is simply a strategic location for you to reach out to these masterminds who are forward looking and taking sustainability to the next level. So, no more Denmark Second!
10 months ago0
Permalinkmba copenhagen business school copenhagen mba mba life cbsmba mba business scandinavian leadership scandinavian
MBA life in Copenhagen: A midwinter night’s tale
I come from a country that is renowned for its great weather, beautiful sunny days that are ideal for sundowners at the end of a hectic day. There was even a countrywide excitement when snow graced South Africa for the first time in history; it is, however, debatable whether that was snow, or more like a light version of hailstones. The point I am trying to make is that I don’t like the cold, even my six years in Amsterdam has not changed this fact. So, imagine the surprise of my friends when I decided to move to an even colder country to follow my MBA studies.
Now I could lie and say, Copenhagen is not that cold or that it has made me fall in love with the cold, but this would be stretching the element of truth a tad bit too much. However, what I can honestly say, is that I have come to respect and even apply the Danish society’s take on how to make lemonade from the weather lemons. This approach is known as Danish hygge - yes there is even a word for it. Hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.
During those cold and dark winter days, you will find houses and offices filled with candles to create this warm atmosphere. Even our MBA building had this cozy feel; we would walk in from the miserable weather, and be greeted by candlelight at the reception. One of our Indian colleagues would make some amazing Indian tea for the class, and those classmates that needed a caffeine kick to get them ready for their 9 am change management class would indulge in some spectacular coffee courtesy of our Italian colleague, who brought a fancy coffee machine for our kitchen.
My only advice for anyone considering Copenhagen living, invest in a warm jacket, not a cute one but a warm and practical jacket. This is the one time where practicality trumps style. As the Danes say “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” even in Springtime.
10 months ago0
PermalinkMBA copenhagen business school copenhagen mba mba life weather cbsmba mba business scandinavian
The Task At Hand: Facing a Trump America
In a recent piece for the Financial Times’ MBA Blog, I spoke to the shocks of the recent inauguration of Mr. Trump in the U.S. and the vote for Brexit in the UK. These events are creating many setbacks to the strides we have taken recently in favour of human rights and combating climate change. But they are also catalysts for positive change for the individuals who are fired up and ready to go stand up for what matters most.
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
We fear regression, but there is much we can do.
I spoke with my classmates (representative of countries from all around the world), my professors, and visiting speakers and here is a little bit of inspiration to get you started.
For Employers / Employees:
· Recognise the power of business. Do not be ignorant to your own influence. There is no such thing as an a-political corporation in the polarised climate under which we are operating today. Every decision must be intentional.
· Create meaningful working class jobs. If your consumers are voting pro-nationalism, are they willing to pay a higher price for locally sourced products? Can you source your products or raw materials locally? Can you conduct market research to prove your case to investors? There may even be a risk management case to make for keeping the supply chain close for better transparency.
· Treat your employees with respect and invest in their development. Look at the most recently hired/promoted people at your company. Are they a diverse group? Are you promoting from within? If not, chances are good that some of your talent is falling through the cracks or not being developed. It may not be intentional, but you can become aware of it and take strides to be sure you are capitalizing on your best resource – your employees.
· If you have employees who may feel marginalised or unsafe in the current social climate sparked by the election, reach out and check-in with them. Do they feel safe in their commute to work? (This has been very relevant for many of my friends living in New York, so it is worth asking.) Is there anything you can do to help? Has the office climate changed at all for them? It is important that they are able to focus on doing a good job without feeling marginalised or harassed at work. Keep tabs on this. If handled with care, you will foster the establishment of a strong working environment and retain your talented minority (women included) workers.
· Look for business opportunities. What was the change you were hoping for? Is there a gap in products/services today and the products/services we need to achieve that change? Your next great venture may just be hidden in the void.
You will know best how these things must ultimately align with a clear business case appropriate for your company, but it is important to point out those business practices that shape our countries, our politics, and ultimately our societies.
· Divest from energy companies who are not investing in the future. Oil is booming right now with the recent elections, but the future will hold a diverse portfolio of energy sources. Companies who are only focused on fossil fuels are resisting innovation.
· Be an active voter in the companies you invest in. If you hold stocks in companies that are doing things that you do not support – underpaying workers, polluting, vocalising racist sentiment – use your voice as a shareholder to change things. Be active and let them know that as an owner you do not support the way they are operating the business. Chances are high, you are not alone. Get other investors involved.
· Invest in companies that are good for people, planet, and profit. There are many resources for those interested in impact investing. Read up and put your money where your values are.
On the personal side: invest in values you care about. Whatever they are, donate your time or money to the things that matter most. Create the world you want to live in and that you want your children to live in. Consider it a long-term investment.
The most important thing ultimately is to do something. So get out there, and be active.
Have some great ideas? Please add a comment below.
1 year ago2
Permalinkcbs mba business leadership trump brexit cbsmba values
Managing Sustainable Corporations - What’s the secret?
Managing sustainable corporations (MSC) is one of the core courses of the Copenhagen Fulltime-MBA programme. It is one of those courses which is extensive and theoretical and covers various dimensions of responsible management but without a book in sight.
The course may suggest that the students will walk through sustainable business development strategies and address the most talked about theme these days - ‘climate change’; but it hinges more on 'Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)’.
Sustainability is a subset of the broader CSR agenda which is a part of business strategy with social, ethical and economical responsibility towards the larger society. This is one of the first myth’s that’s clarified as the course starts and gradually builds up.
We had guest speakers from leading Danish corporations to Parliamentary leaders including leading NGO’s who shared more on evolving areas like sustainability reporting. These guest lectures and the case based teaching module adds a different flavour to our learning overall.
As the course comes to an end, we slide away from real time cases and experiences to make a connection between basic values such as integrity, courage, trust and the CSR agenda. Linking together the other courses in the programme - leadership, marketing; MSC focuses on the communication aspect and what its role can be in driving the CSR agenda in an organisation. In a complex globalised world like ours, we feel the need of having effective leadership at the helm.
The MSC coursework might leave some with grey areas in the underlying theme of responsible management. The course doesn’t serve itself on a platter and tells you what’s right and what’s not. It gives you the overarching framework to determine those decisions as a future leader yourself, outside of considering the shareholder’s interest but taking into view the bigger and greater stakeholder’s interest. The course structure and teaching pushes you to question your personal approach whilst solving the case studies.
Ultimately, there are no secret ingredients in running a socially responsible yet profitable business; it’s the basic value framework involving integrity, trust and courage
1 year ago0
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