And the journey begins

Today was a big day, for a number of reasons.

First Pitch

I’ve been working on a business idea for a few months now, and I pitched it for the first time tonight, at a meeting of the Entrepreneurship Interest Group at Judge Business School. It was really good to pitch it first to friends and peers, especially since they came from a wide variety of backgrounds and had some really interesting perspectives on it all.

Talking about it to them made me realize just how much work I have in front of me, but just how much I could really “change the world” if I’m successful in my quest. Their comments and feedback have sharpened my ideas; they found a few weaknesses in my thinking, but also reinforced a few key principles on which I had based my plans. Next steps are to really start talking to people more widely about this.

First Exam

Yes, it’s only the third week at Cambridge and we had our first exam today, in Business Statistics. I’m a bit of a bone-head… I didn’t realize the exam was open-book until about 5 minutes before it began! Luckily that meant I had studied harder than I probably needed to, which did make the exam seem a little easier than I had expected. Stats can be a bit rough, especially since a number of the things you’re taught in class (particularly how to do statistics calculations in Excel) can’t be examined, which does tend to confuse things a bit.

Speaker Series

I’m part of Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, which has a 500+ year tradition. There are currently five MBA students studying at Jesus this year, and we’re looking at creating stronger links between Jesus and Judge through a speaker series. (There are some tremendously successful Jesus alumni out in the world… we want current students to hear from them!) It’s early days, but we had two really positive meetings today with key people and things are starting to look like they’re coming together. More on this as it develops.

Term Project

As part of the MBA, this term we complete a “Cambridge Venture Project.” Done part-time over approximately 4 weeks, teams of five students (our study groups) work with local small businesses on challenges they’re facing, typically marketing-focused. We received information on our project late last week, and had our first group meeting today. Can’t really talk about it here, but it sounds like it’s going to be a very interesting (and international) project.

Things are about to get much, much busier… should be fun.

Cambridge MBA — Impressions and first speakers

It’s tough to believe that a week and a half of the MBA program has already gone by. It feels like it just started, but it also feels like I’ve known my classmates for ages.

For people interested in applying to the Cambridge MBA, please understand that as a one-year MBA (versus a two-year MBA) the program is rigorous. We typically have one class in the morning from 9–12:30, and another class in the afternoon from 2pm-5:30pm. The lunch break is quickly filled up by group meetings of all sorts, and the evenings are filled with great speakers, events, or other group meetings. We get on average about one afternoon a week off, but again, that’s quickly filled with group meetings.

Right now I’m involved with Jesus College Boat Club, Cambridge University Eco Racing Team (aka Solar Car Team), Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, Cambridge University Technology and Entrepreneurship Club, and a handful of Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) at Judge Business School. Those meetings, combined with study groups for classwork are what fill up the days.

The speakers we’ve had so far have been incredible. I hope to post more details about their talks soon. They include:

David Hibbert — Founder and former CEO of Abaqus (engineering software company)
Walter Gubert — Vice-Chairman, JPMorganChase
Bob Diamond — CEO BarclaysCapital, President Barclays Bank
Florian von Donnersmarck — Film Director (“Lives of Others”), won Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Oh, and it was his major motion picture debut!

It’s incredibly busy, with our first exam on Monday (Business Statistics) and our term’s consulting project starting up, but I do hope to post more soon.