IE Business School Online Masters
Atul Tannan Atul Tannan
A master’s degree in business is not just a degree; it is a brand that you are associated with for the rest of your life. The network you create, insights you get from the faculty, team assignments and the case methods, are a constructive way to learn and expand your professional mindset. I am excited to be a part of the IE Business School brand.

I was born in India, raised in New York and am now working in Germany in the field of Sales - Business development at a leading Steel Company, which I helped setup in Germany. I look after developing the sales channel for our product around the world and building customer/supplier relations. I hold a bachelors degree in Accounting and Economics from The City University of New York.

During the next few months I will be sharing my first hand experience as a Global MBA 2011 student. Stay tuned to my blog to vicariously live the IE experience!!

Atul Tannan
August 24, 2011
GMBA’s at Harvard

Wow – what a week it was. It was the last week of school before IE closed for vacation. During the week we had our forums going, a test in Finance, a presentation to be made and presented in front of the class for Entrepreneurship, e-mails from our respective jobs and cases to read for the classes at Harvard. Basically it was a boot camp to teach time management. (We still managed somehow to find time for beers every night … how about that for time management?  🙂 ). I am sure by now most of you would’ve guessed that we compromised on our sleep..and…Yes you’re right.

The lectures at Harvard were given by very influential professors. We covered a wide array of topics from innovations in public/private infrastructure, urbanization in the developing countries, green energy, transportation, U.S cities in global context to developing cities and public organizations. My personal favorite was the lecture by Professor Alan Altshuler. In the lecture we spoke about how U.S cities are different compared to cities around the world and why this causes the U.S to consume more oil. The U.S cities are different in terms of their density patterns compared to other cities. For example:

City Population Density
Seoul 19.7 million 10,120/km²
Mumbai 20.4 million 26,250/km²
Mexico City 18.7 million 7,300/km²
Sao Paolo 20.2 million 5,300/km²
New York 21.3 million 1,890/km²

What does this tell us?… It tells us that people in the U.S cities live further apart compared to other cities, have to travel longer and that’s why the fuel consumption is so high.  Another interesting point was that every day in the news we hear China is growing at 9% – 10% and it’s soon going to leave the U.S behind. Well look at it in this way… GNI per capita income of a person in the U.S is $46,350 (2009) and China’s is $3650. So let’s be bullish for China and bearish for the U.S. If we assume that China grows at 10% then 10% of $3650 is $365. If we suppose that the U.S growth rate is 1% then 1% of $46,350 is $463. In other words the absolute gap stays more or less the same.

I would say overall the trip was amazing for three reasons: 1) It was the Harvard University 2) It was a chance to see many of fellow GMBA classmates whom I see only online and 3) Informative lectures by professors.

The GMBA train continues its journey. After Boston it’s taking a small break and in about one and half week the IE-GMBA journey will resume once again.

Atul Tannan
July 18, 2011
Contracts: What’s your opinion?

What is a contract?

“A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties with mutual obligations, which may or may not have elements in writing. Contracts can also be formed orally (parol contracts). The remedy at law for breach of contract is usually “damages” or monetary compensation.” (Wikipedia)

This is the legal term. But I’ve heard from many seasoned businessmen say that their best business contracts have been mainly verbal. Some of the best business relationships have forged through trust and not by signing contracts. At the same time many people work ONLY with contracts but know how to smartly manipulate them.

What do you guys think about this? I am sure many of you must have great experiences to share over this topic. Feel free to post your thoughts.

Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

P.S – The GMBA train is still going as fast. The train will be taking a stop at the Harvard University next week. I will share my experience after I come back from Boston.

Atul Tannan
June 20, 2011
IE still throwing surprises

It’s remarkable how even after 9 months into the program IE still manages to throw surprises at you. I had never thought that an online program could have the same level of involvement felt by full time, on campus students.  A perfect example that “wow-ed” me is from last week. Mr. Carlon Ghosn – CEO of Renault and Nissan came on IE’s campus and gave a lecture. IE’s team was kind enough to broadcast this live on the internet so students like me sitting in different countries could benefit from the wise words of Mr. Ghosn. Not only were we able to listen to the lecture but we were also able to ask questions live through Twitter. IE-Team made a channel on Twitter where we could ask questions and some of these questions were asked to Mr. Ghosn.

During the lecture Mr. Ghosn explained his opinion on why the world won’t be running out of oil, gave his opinion over why Google’s car still has hurdles to overcome, gave us details on Nissan’s electric car called leaf, and explained why zero emission is so important? He also gave us his input on other upcoming countries besides BRIC and my favorite was his explanation that it is not completely true when countries say they’ll be stopping their reliance on nuclear energy. Overall, it was a very insightful lecture for MBA students; we learnt that while being innovative you could still be socially and environmentally responsible, understood the type of market research Nissan did before launching the product, got an insight over the market share Nissan is looking to achieve with “Leaf”, putting all of these things together one can say that Nissan has a first mover advantage in this type of market space for sure.

All of this sounds simple but how COOL is it that while sitting in a totally different country I attended the same lecture as the students in Madrid, heard the Q&A session and even got to ask questions at the same time. This is the difference between IE’s online program VS other programs.

I hope that in the next 6 months till graduation IE provides us with many other opportunities like this. I would love to hear more industrial tycoons give students more insight into their fields. However, looking at the bearish market these days, I doubt many CEO’s would like to come in front of Q&A sessions  🙂

Atul Tannan
June 13, 2011
Mind of a GMBA Student

Atul Tannan
May 24, 2011
Term 1 ends : Halfway through GMBA

(Dedicated to our Financial Management class)

Tempus Fugit: it feels like we just boarded the IE-GMBA train yesterday but in reality we are already the GMBA seniors.  Forums, Videoconferences, team meetings, case studies, powerpoint presentations have become a habit now as much as reading the news and watching TV!. As Jim Rohn said “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

True to these words, we have persevered and have reached term 2.

What will be special about Term 2?

To begin with, we all had to leave our old teams as new teams were formed for Term 2. A third course (Entrepreneurship – a separate team is formed for this class depending on the student’s interest) has been introduced in addition to other two courses ( Financial Management and Operations Management ). Yes, it will be a lot of work but most of the people in the class are looking forward for especially the Entrepreneurship class. Here we will get to work on our business idea and create a business plan with the help of our professor and team mates. Given that IE is reputed for its focus on entrepreneurship, this is one of the main reasons the Entrepreneurs joined the GMBA. So far it has been fun with very interesting case discussions and hopefully it’ll only get better.

Formula for Term 2:

A full time job + 3 courses + 2 teams + 2 * Team meetings + 2 * Video conferences + 3 * forum discussions + A business plan = Term 2

Atul Tannan
April 18, 2011
GMBA experience in Shanghai

Interesting Fact: People do not speak Mandarin or Cantonese in Shanghai. They speak Shanghainese. Shanghainese is a dialect of Wu, an ancient branch of Chinese that is a distinct language from Mandarin. In fact, Shanghainese is only about 50 percent intelligible to Mandarin speakers.

This made things relatively easy for us because even if we spoke Chinese, we would only be able to catch 50% of it. 🙂

On a more serious note, when I say Shanghai: City of the future, I mean every word of it. This was evident from the time you get off at the sleek Pudong International Airport to the time you enter the high speed train, Maglev, which is better than most trains in any western country (at least the one’s I have seen).  This thought was reinforced when you entered the downtown with futuristic looking building and multi-level highways with as many as 4 different levels on top of one another. Shanghai felt like a city of imagination.  It was remarkable to see the quality of infrastructure and the speed of life. Moreover, the feeling of safety in the city even at 4 am was amazing, something that the local residents and alumni living in Shanghai also vouched for. You need to be traveling in the IE-GMBA Train to be able to cope with this city. Living in America and Germany I always had a different image of China. Shanghai proved me wrong.

It was more interesting to visit Shanghai while studying Economic Environment and Country Analysis class. We took classes at China’s largest college: Fudan University. Lectures were given by professors representing IE, local speakers and Fudan University’s professors discussed many important parts of China’s economy during this class and analysed deeper issues such as: Chinese currency pegged against the U.S dollar / overheating of the Chinese economy/ future plans of the government for China/ obstacles of doing business in China/ understanding the culture and etc. We also had a chance to visit one of the worlds six Nokia Siemens factory and Chint Electric ($2 billion group).

Yes, it was a hectic week with many sleepless nights after attending a whole day of classes, company visits, networking events, we had to come back and study for our online sessions and cases which were ongoing. It is impossible to tell you about all the experiences in one blog entry….. But the overall experience was brobdingnagian(yes, it’s a real word), the knowledge gained and understanding of a new culture will remain with us forever.

On that note, I wish you all a Happy Easter. Enjoy your vacation and come back ready to hear more experiences on the IE-GMBA train.

Atul Tannan
March 5, 2011
Teamwork beyond distance

“Teamwork divides the task and doubles the success.”

One of the core concepts that the Global MBA is built upon is Teamwork.

Each week we work in our allotted teams which are comprised of 6 to 7 individuals.  The challenge to compromise with your team mates increases because we work online rather than in person. IE makes it even tougher by making sure each team is diverse, with people living all around the world in many different time zones. So how do we make it work?? Well this is the challenge; this is what IE teaches us. In a real business situation it is rare to come across a time when people are free to sit down and discuss things with you. You will have to chase them, work around the clock, adjust your timings to a different time zone with only one thing in mind… completion of the project.

I am convinced IE’s grueling yet effective method will prepare us to lead and assimilate into all different kind of teams once we complete the GMBA!!

On a more exciting note, next week we will be going to Shanghai. Stay tuned as this GMBA train turns into a high speed rail and goes across continents to “Shanghai”.

Atul Tannan
February 20, 2011
What’s different about Online-GMBA ?

All glory comes from daring to begin.”  — Ware. Eugene F.

Before talking about the courses and weekly schedule of an online MBA, I’d like to share with you how the online course works:

The most important components of the online classes are: A) Online Forum Discussions  B) Being able to watch the lecture again if needed and C) Working around the Globe with an intellectual team.

Online Discussions – When one takes a normal class, one comes prepared for that day’s agenda and is able to answer questions that the teacher asks; it’s an on the spot thing. The biggest advantage of an online discussion is that everyone gets the time to THINK, read, scour the internet and then compile well-thought out answers. This not only raises the level of discussions but also allows the students to learn from each other’s perspective.

In Marketing, our teacher posted YouTube videos, advertisements and even launches of new products to teach using real examples from the world.  As a working professional it gives one the time to imagine that situation in real life and share real life examples with rest of the students. By end of the week you’ve soaked and memorized every bit of information regarding that principle with plenty of examples taken from the real world, books and internet.

In Accounting we were able to bring in different companies’ balance sheets and study them in detail. In a normal class you would not be able to do this. Here we were able to post a link from the internet right away and ask the teacher and the class questions regarding that particular balance sheet. Another member would repeat this process using a different balance sheet. Again, this method gives you time to understand, interpret and make a suitable judgment on the case at hand.

This process is very practical as it uses real life examples and gives the student enough time to prepare, just as it would be required in a real life situation. You can imagine the quality of the discussion when a diverse group from around the world is in discussion using the IE platform.

The next most important part of the GMBA course is Teamwork.

Stay tuned to find out about what it is like for students from different cities to work together over the internet across different time zones and meet deadlines for projects 🙂 …. coming up next week!!

Atul Tannan
February 4, 2011
Global MBA Journey Begins

Welcome to the transition between the 2nd stop and the 3rd stop of the IE-Global MBA knowledge train.

After a gruesome week of writing the final paper for Strategy, studying for the Cost Accounting quiz and many sleepless nights,  today our 2nd module finally ended. From tomorrow the third module begins for which we have to read 4 chapters and a few exercises for the FIRST SESSION. That’s right… IE has sworn to give us something to read for the next 318 days, 7632 hours  and 457925 minutes till our graduation on Dec 19th.

But let me backtrack a little here using the IE-Online method.

I am sure all IE-students are familiar with this interface. Let me take you back to “Past”,  to the first stop on this IE-GMBA journey .

In September 2010, the GMBA-train started from the opening session at Madrid. There were a total of 64 travelers from 33 different nationalities (felt like a U.N. conference). All of us were excited, a bit nervous but very keen to imbibe the vast amounts of knowledge IE had to offer us. We all knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we also had no idea how hard it was going to be 🙂

The first week was aimed at getting to know each other. All of us were divided into Period 1 and Period 2 groups which were further segmented into different teams. We attended interesting workshops such as negotiation techniques (I wish they gave us more of this class), coaching, networking, teamwork techniques and career development. We would start at 9 am and finish workshops, classes (Financial Accounting and Marketing Management), socialize, have a beer, get back to our rooms, do homework, prepare for the next day and go to bed around 12:00 – 1:00 am. That’s when I realized .. H*ly C*ap… this MBA is not going to be easy. But let me stress, not even a minute of these classes was boring.

Anyway, since this post is getting a bit long now,  I’ll sign off  as this IE-GMBA train covers everything from snowy fields and rocky mountains to hot desert (until it arrives at its final destination – Graduation day)…. This train will share experiences of the people traveling on this journey.

Stay Tuned!!!!

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