Pre-term reading list for business school students (FT recommends)

Pre-term reading list for business school students compiled by Financial Times. Notably, the list includes works of fiction because

“Most business books are either a basic rehashing of things we’ve already seen before, or exceptionally specific that only interest a narrow audience. In addition, most aspiring MBAs probably read too many non-fiction books and not enough material that really makes you think.” – JP Eggers, vice dean of MBA programmes at NYU’s Stern School of Business


Here is the reading list:

Rising Strong and Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (on “the value of having tried and failed as opposed to never trying at all.”)

How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen, Karen Dillon and James Allworth

Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers by Robert Jackall (the book “highlights how all the topics studied in an MBA involve ethical choices and have ethical implications”), and

Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood (“raises dozens of corporate ethical issues around control, innovation and corporate culture.”)

and finally,

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (on the costs and rewards of success.)

for more details see here The MBA summer reading list: Academics and students select the best books to tackle before the start of term” (FT, 25 July 2018)

#SummerRead in Preparation for a New Academic Year

This is not a #read but a #listen – a great Freakonomics Radio episode is called “A Conversation With PepsiCo C.E.O. Indra Nooyi (Ep. 316 Update).

Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi is an Indian American business executive and served as the Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue, for 12 years from 2006-2018.[3][4]  She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women.[5] In 2014, she was ranked at number 13 on the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,[6] and was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015.

The last presentation of the year

The 9am-6pm schedule finally came to an end with the most exciting subject – Consulting. As an MBA student, one develops insights into various business areas like marketing, finance, HR, strategy, operations and technology. With this newly-acquired treasure of knowledge, we undertook our first consulting project from Ricoh consulting, a leader in the worldwide print industry, to provide an innovative solution for the future of teaching and learning in the higher education market. Each group developed their project for different countries like USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand wherein Ricoh has its offerings.

It was interesting to gain insights how Ricoh USA and Canada (our group’s challenge) has evolved from an exclusive “goods industry” providing printing solutions to a “service-industry” to enhance businesses document management from admissions to mail to cloud platforms, provide business analytics enabling higher education organizations to create and grade their tests and lately also allowing businesses to interact through webinars. However stupendous the company’s profile was, our challenge grew massively as the only solution was to innovate in the volatile North American higher education market.

The hours of research, rehearsals were all paid off when our presentations were applauded, and we ended the day celebrating with one another. Check out the last day’s experience here 🙂

A big thank you to our supportive tutor and Head of School of Management – Dr. Niran Subramaniam who endlessly encouraged us to acquire consulting skills, assisted us throughout our research and very positively appreciated each team’s proposal.


Batch of 2017-2018


Study trip 2017-2018 to Finland and Sweden. Part 2-Stockholm

Stockholm is the bustling capital of Sweden. The country is famous for its public welfare and immigration-friendly policies. With diverse pool of talent and global citizens, Sweden is ought to-be the next Silicon Valley of the world.  Sweden is a host of successful companies like IKEA, Ericson, H&M, Skype and Spotify. Swedish lifestyle is all about ‘Lagom’ which means just right, not too much or too little but moderation.

why sweden

Day 4

After a busy schedule in Helsinki, we had some time to rest for the first morning in Stockholm and had our first company visit in the afternoon. We sprang at the touristic opportunity and sprawled to the old market of Stockholm, Gamla Stan. We were lucky to catch a glimpse of the changing of the guards and explored around the Royal Palace. The cobbled streets with a backdrop of water lakes was one of the pleasant feeling to experience early in the morning.



Company visit # 1: SUP 46

As the company name denotes, SUP = start-up, 46=country code of Sweden! SUP 46 is Europe’s leading start-up hub located in central Stockholm and it is a non-profit organization. This company is an incubator, it provides members office-space and management trainings. The office space is also open for the public. Upon our visit, we got to experience the VR technology being used in E-commerce, the paradigm tech shift subtly suggested from E-commerce to V-commerce.  SUP 46 helps entrepreneurs connect with potential business partners for collaboration and has lately begun awarding the phenomenal innovators each year towards their contribution to the economy.

Company visit # 2: Amplify Accelerator Program

Stockholm is the world’s growing-capital in the music industry, Spotify is just one example. industry. Music is going digital and this gives an opportunity to innovations in music.  We experienced a very hospitable welcome at Amplify. The company’s objective is to combine investors with entrepreneurs of the music-tech We interacted with few entrepreneurs who discussed their business model with us. Stagecast was one which uses phone to enhance a live interaction platform.

Company visit # 3: KMH Royal College of Music

Our next stop was at KMH Royal College of Music where we enjoyed some live orchestra performance, explored the innovation technologies and instruments being used to create music.


music group

In the evening, we shopped around at the biggest mall of Scandinavia – Mall of Scandinavia enjoying their abstractly styled architecture.


Day 5

 Company visit # 1: Kista Science city

To gain an insight into the buzzing innovation of Smart city, we headed on the last day to experience an upcoming smart city projects in Kista Science city. Kista Science city is a non-profit organization funded by the government. Currently they are committed towards urbanization and developing innovation which help the residents of Stockholm. They conduct ideathons, seminars, roundtables and events to strengthen innovation.


Relishing Swedish ‘Fika’ – tea and sweet before the presentation



We experienced the not-so-boring 5G bike and autonomous bus.

Company visit # 2: Impact Hub

Impact Hub is a start-up hub which connects curious minds to global social businesses. They attract entrepreneurial action which benefits the community.  United Nations 17 sustainable development goals for 2030 are embedded in their business model. Here, we experienced a vibrant community working with a collaborative mindset towards global welfare.



Firstly, I express sincere gratitude to our program director – Olga Kravets for giving us an excellent opportunity to see innovation with fresh pairs of eyes in the Nordic start-up tech industry.

I am extremely thankful to our tutor, Dr. Hari for being an excellent source of information before/during/after the study trip ; Michelle for her excellent support throughout the trip. Heartfelt gratitude to our organizers – Jake and Tingting who planned and wonderfully executed the study trip that we would always cherish!

-Sakeynay (Sammy), Batch of 2017-2018


Study trip 2017-2018 to Finland and Sweden. Part 1-Helsinki

In today’s technological environment, while studying business management it is imperative to understand how tech-businesses were born and the answer was ‘start-ups’. To gain an insight into start-ups, we visited Finland and Sweden.


Finland has become an innovation ecosystem by attracting the maximum funding for start-ups for the sixth time in the entire Europe and its capital city-Helsinki hosts the world famous start-up event – SLUSH which attracts entrepreneurs worldwide. It is the home of major companies like Nokia, Rovio and Supercell.


Source : Nokia Bell Labs, Helsinki (2018)

Day 1

Company visit # 1: Start-up Sauna

The day began with a visit to Start-Up Sauna, it is home to young entrepreneurs who are students. It is not unusual in Helsinki for students to start their own business during school as Finnish culture inculcates a true sportsmanship spirit of perseverance – ‘Sisu’ from an early life. Start-up Sauna offers mentorship and coaching programs in form of accelerator programs which enables entrepreneurs to have space to work from, connects them with other entrepreneur as great business flourish when they collaborate.



Company visit # 2: Aalto ventures

Aalto ventures offers accelerator program and their business model is to co-create entrepreneurship. I was rather amazed during their presentation as they had an element of panel which comprised of their current Aalto students and mentor who amicably shared their experiences whilst answered the panel’s questions. One of the student remarked how most entrepreneurs look for solutions even before they figure out the problem.


Company visit # 3: xEdu

Post lunch, we visited X-Edu, this company runs accelerator programs for Edtech. Education is forecasted to be one of the leading industries by 2030 and with use of technology there will be new future in learning. xEdu not only offers mentorship and coaching programs, but also real-life testing environment for new business in the education sector.


Company visit # 4: Inventure

Inventure is one of the leading venture capital firm in the Nordics which has invested substantially into the growing start-up industry and we were fortunate to gain current insights from the investment experts regarding how they invest and the future trends of the market.


The day ended with a scrumptious dinner at Ravintola Kuu Restaurant where we enjoyed Finnish cuisine!


Day 2

 Company visit # 1: Nokia Bell Labs

We began the day at Finland’s famous company Nokia. It was interesting to know how Nokia diversified their business post the market failure in the recent years. Under Nokia Bell Lans, the company fosters innovation through research and scientific development in the tech industry.


Company visit # 2: Spinverse

Spinverse is the Nordic leader of innovation consulting. They encourage open innovation and offers funding to established start-up companies with good ideas. Their current project is the Luxturrim5G project which is the future of 5G and connects the smart city. Currently, they are already experimenting smart city solutions in the Espoo region of Helsinki.

10nokia group


Then we took a break near Helsinki cathedral for lunch.

group cathedral

Company visit # 2: Maria01

Our next stop was at the largest hub of start-up in the city of Helsinki, Maria01. The government of Finland has supported the start-up ecosystem and donated a 130-year old hospital building which now pompously hosts upcoming start-ups of the region. The membership and rent for offices in this hub is 10 times relatively lesser than to the cost of starting a company in London or Berlin. We were introduced to few start-up companies like Sino track, Chaos architects.


Company visit # 3: Avanto Ventures program

This is a venture capital company based in Maria01 and offers funding to early start-up companies. They enable companies in innovating themselves internally and externally with the use of venture capital. A big thank you to the hosts for the welcoming ice-cream in the humid climate.


During the evening, we had some time for leisure. Some of us headed to experience the famous Finnish Sauna at Loyly Sauna while few of us visited the Helsinki City museum and were amazed how even in the museum they reminisced history with use of technology. We experienced the time machine through VR and one of the segment of the Lake badom  murders during 1960’s particularly caught my attention, click here to find out how!

Day 3

Company visit # 1: Microsoft Flux

At Microsoft Flux, we experienced how big multinational tech are supporting the ecosystem. At Flux, entrepreneurs have access to good network, Microsoft resources to set-up their businesses and co-working spaces to collaborate with one another.



Tour time: Helsinki District tour

To explore the designing culture of the Helsinki. From historical building turned, to the famous Alvar Alto vases which depict use of nature in design to exploring the famous comic character-Moomins, designed by Tove Jansson. We were amazed at the artistic abilities of this region in home décor, textiles and furniture.



Company visit # 2: Rovio

One cannot complete their visit in Finland without exploring it’s the booming gaming industry. Our last visit in Helsinki was at Rovio. Rovio is the developer of the famous game – Angry birds which has plenty of editions since the first release in 2009. At Rovio, we saw the transition of Angry birds into a first franchise and then a movie. What’s coming next has to be watched out!



Following the company visit, we headed to Stockholm to experience more innovations in the Nordic region !

-Sakeynay (Sammy), Batch of 2017-2018



I am ambition – I am AMBA

Today when I recall my decision to choose Royal Holloway over the various offers from MBA program, it reminds me the extensive research I had conducted with my consultant on the Q3 and worldwide ranking portals. As the next best career move, not only was it gratifying to graduate from University of London, but also to become a lifelong member of one the most prestigious MBA accreditation body – Association of MBAs (AMBA). AMBA is one of the three accreditation bodies for an MBA degree to be recognised worldwide. I was grateful to attend one such event of AMBA connect few weeks ago.

The event kick-started with an exciting ice-breaker game to answer 10 questions pertaining to the attendees at the event. From a moment of forcing a sociable smile at each other, to a moment when everyone acclimatised with one another to answer questions of the game. The energy in the room became so contagious that within 10 minutes everyone started networking around to ask if they were students from Brunel University, were the girl who graduated from Imperial or if they knew a person with the name initials ‘I. R.’. I was certain that I made the right choice to take out time from my study schedule to attend a fun-filled networking event as it’s highly unlikely to see suited professionals from different cultures to open within a matter of few minutes.

After the ice-breaker game, the guest speaker, Jessica Rockson, shared her journey as a police officer in London City to a becoming transformation coach by harnessing energy of leadership. It was interesting to understand how situational leadership can be and how important it was to stand back strong after a low moment experienced in day-to-day business operations. The key takeaway from her session was to adopt an attitude of “We always win”! It felt good to be able to participate with my classmate Vijay in the Q&A session conducted after her session.

The event ended by an informative session from Tariro Masukume, AMBA Membership manager highlighting the various benefits of being an AMBA member, AMBA  allows business school alumni to connect and share ideas, participate in free-webinars, give discount to its members on books and reputable journals like Wall Street Journal and to apply for the next better opportunity in the AMBA job bank.


Amongst the various business aspects, I am learning in the MBA program, it is imperate to understand that sometimes ambitions are realised by creating opportunities for one self, and very often excellent opportunities come through social networks and by collaborating with one another. I met various MBA alumni throughout the world and have able to widen my networks. A big thank you to my program director – Olga for encouraging us to give it a go for this event, it was an evening well-spent!



-Sakeynay (Sammy), Batch of 2017-2018

Final session for “Strategy, Technology & Operations” course – working on group projects (with Dr. H. Harindranath)


MBA Site Visit – DHL Supply Chain @ Heathrow Airport (with Dr Adrian Coronado)


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An insight into forecasting – Demand driven supply chain

An important attribute of an MBA graduate, is to ascertain the changing market trends. This skillset can be learnt by exploring the topic – forecasting. We were introduced to forecasting by Dave Food, former Business Development Director, Supply Chain of Oracle and currently the Strategic Director of Prophetic technology. Technology is disrupting the way businesses are functioning and one of the key processes which has demanded the processes to be dealt real-time is supply chain.

Adam Smith, the father of economics, proposed the theory of invisible hand which stated how supply and demand are conversely related, after attaining an equilibrium point. Well if my readers are thinking that’s how the session encapsulated us, well read on !


Mr Dave began the session by sharing his resume as the first slide of the presentation and captured our attention with his indefatigable persona. This resume was a ‘Wordle’, which is an image of key words capturing the entire space. Next, he got the class involved by asking our views about the below excerpt from the CEO of FedEx.



Not only was this an excellent way of stimulating our thoughts, but also an essential element for us to understand that knowledge is an integral element in Strategic value chain. By predicting the market requirements, only can one innovate and align its operations to the business goals. A typical business situation is when revenue plummets while business costs are kept minimal, whereas an innovative business situation can be attained when both revenues and costs are relatively higher.  To conclude the session, we got our forecasting right, by completing group real-time forecasting scenario to solve for Mr Dave’s company supply chain.


We are extremely grateful to Dr. Adrian Coronado for arranging this session which helped us in developing a new skillset. 🙂

Sight_2018_02_13_180301_783Sight_2018_02_13_180404_507-Sakeynay (Sammy), Batch of 2017-18

Experiencing the bright cultures of the world – Celebrating Chinese New Year@RHULMBA

The experience of an international culture started with an exciting celebration. This Chinese New Year is the year of dog. I was mesmerized to feel the bright red colours of celebration used in the Chinese culture, it made me realize how beautiful is the world is with such splendid colours to offer to the mankind.

The event began with savouring the traditional “Hot pot” (an authentic Chinese cuisine) with all our classmates and kind lectures who agreed to share a meal with us and welcome the new year together. What was truly exemplary that even the Chinese food didn’t only have a lot of variety but also various flavours and colours.
Each table was chirping with laughs and excitement to try new food, some trying to use chopsticks for the first time while some were tingling their taste buds with the spicy, buttery and different kinds of sauces. After dinner, we played the traditional game wishing everyone luck, wisdom and grace. We were given a red envelope with some currency they would be passed on as luck for the next year. We tried learning the sweet little messages written on the red envelopes in Mandarin language. We laughed at our peculiar pronunciations and felt warm wishes when we were given the good wishes red envelope.

It was indeed a great experience to explore different flavours of the world and to be a part of the Chinese culture. I thank all my Chinese friends who also made dinner seamless for non-natives and gave us an insight of the importance about traditions of this celebration and made this event successful.
A big thank you to our program Director – Dr. Olga Kravets who made this event possible and has given us all wonderful memories to cherish. I wish everyone a lucky, joyous and prosperous new year.
– Vijay Mali (Class representative), Batch of 2017-18