Thank you for visiting my MBA blog!

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It’s been about two months since I officially finished MBA school, but it seems many are still interested in Rotman MBA and my journey (unless you’re a marketer trying to sell something through blog searches), so thank you so much for coming!

Just as how much help and support I received from my school and I learned from my classmates, it’s my hope to continue to support and provide help to prospective students, just the way I was given help and advice by existing students at that time when I had no idea how MBA worked and if I can even get in.

I welcome any questions through my LinkedIn as well as official email at joshua.oh16@rotman.utoronto.ca. If you’re also pretty chill, you can even facebook message me, while you’ll have to look me up as I don’t want to publicly disclose my Facebook account here.

The best way to search, of course is to take advantage of various services and info sessions that our admission services provide. I will occasionally drop by this blog and continue to provide support!

-JOSH JONGMU OH

What the end of MBA means

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So the last day of MBA took place a few weeks ago, concluded by a course ‘Catastrophic Failures in Organizations.’ To be honest, the last day felt like any other ordinary day. I went into the classroom, sat down in my usual spot, checked facebook a bit until the class starts, then the lecture. ‘I never was a woohoo we did it kind of energetic person since I was a kid to be honest’ but it does feel weird how much stuff I’ve gone through past two years.

I grew up enjoying drawing cartoons, moved to Canada in grade 7, liked music and arts, did well in math and graphic arts, not so much in science, went university, struggled my way through undergrad electrical engineering and after 5 years, I just finished my MBA. Time passed and the moments I experienced one by one, even though I did go through them, feels like fiction that never happened or someone else’s as I only feel present.

I screwed up and didn’t really spend my time at university to the fullest, so prior to joining Rotman, here were a few things I decided I would do once I’m in school. All these are basically quite opposite of what I used to do in undergrad

 

1. Sit in front of class.

I used to sit at the end and back of the class with my hoodies on (sometimes you see these creepy dudes in class that’s doing their own thing in darkness in the corner of the room…that’s me), and didn’t get to pay much attention in undergrad class. So what I did is I sat in front of the class all the time mostly. It didn’t matter if I had friends to sit with, felt awkward, it was just something I promised myself to do. Of course, at first I felt intimidated by how close I was to the prof, but eventually I enjoyed it. I could see lectures upfront, my concentration was to the max, I could hear well, I could see well (bad eyesight). This experiential trial helped me to not be bound by proximity and distantiation, and be able to more freely understand and engage spacing anywhere I go basically (sounds weird).

2. Raise hands and ask questions when I feel like it.

As soon as you got to this second point, you might be thinking, “owkay this guy spent 100k to learn how to raise hands and sit in front of class…?” well again, I never ever raised my hand at all during undergrad, didn’t ask a single question. So in my 1st year, I was extremely frustrated sitting in front of the class and also asking a question. Initially, it took me several minutes formulating how I can ask a question that does not look make me absurd. Frustration of my voice being heard by others all looking at me. This took practices, but eventually, I started to ask questions whenever I feel like it and when I want to know, or want to share something. Professors encouraged me to practice your skills as much as possible in a safe class setting and that’s what I exactly did. This might be a very simple thing, but coming from Korea and being a king of introverts, this skill feels invaluable to me now. Here’s an example . The video is in Korean, but basically President Obama gave a talk at G20 Press Conference in 2010, and afterwards accepted questions from Korean Press, except there wasn’t a single one, a room filled with awkward silence. The scenes shown are completely different in North American universities and conferences from my understanding and everyone is taught to ask questions when in need since youth.

In this sense, homogeneous culture is a double edged sword; unity synergetically brings potential intrinsic energy, but at the same time, any outliers or out-of-norm is seen as peculiar, weird, or even as a disruptor in a society. Silent gun effect kills innovation and great ideas. Have courage and ask questions. That way, you get to clarify any doubts without creating rooms for risks and extra time spent to later communicate on that.

3. Attend as many events as possible.

Indeed, I attended many workshops and talks in first year, but not so much in 2nd year due to job search and studies. Depending on how you value your time, networking and hearing others’ opnions may come as valuable, or waste of time or even make you feel dirty according to professor Casciaro at Rotman School of Management. I only got to understand the power of networking when I started to structure my thoughts more in 2nd year. How can you explain a concept of networking to kids? It is because I believe even kids have better understanding of networking these days. Put it this way. You want to go to Japan, let’s say, but need a friend or guide there. You remember that you have this Japanese classmate you met a few years ago, had a chat about international studies life, had coffee and he/she went back. So you send him/her an email about your visit, he/she gladly responds and am happy to show you around. Another very simple example might be that you might need help with drawing something, and you remember this person you chatted in classroom when you had nothing to do, and even that creates a connection point that allows you to contact the person and a higher success rate than simply when you contact out of blue.

4. Join clubs and become execs

Indeed, I worked as representatives, participated in workshops, organized events, and met many people. It felt so interesting because I didn’t do these at all during undergraduate, so I made sure I do these.

5. Running

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Perhaps one of my lifetime accomplishments along with weightloss success in 2014, but I participated in four running events: two 10ks, one half, and lastly, the full marathon which I successfully completed. I’ve been doing cross country running since highschool and enjoy running, but was never a good one to be honest. What I enjoy about running is the moment when you surpass your limits. that was what I felt when I finished my first half and when I finally finished a full marathon which was extremely challenging and I couldn’t use my left arm for four months somehow. How’s this really related to MBA you might ask? the thing is it does or it doesn’t. MBA is a great tool that will accelerate your career and help growth personal and professionally and MBA made me understand how important consistency and taking care of good health is. I’ve seen moments of happiness as well as sadness, just the ones I sometimes witnessed throughout my life and it makes me realize how fortunate I am to have chances to accomplish things as there are others that just can’t due to their circumstances. I was lucky to enter Rotman and I am glad that I learned to appreciate life. I guess what I want to say is, whether you want to do MBA or open your own startups or go corporate or whatever, remember to appreciate your surroundings and your opportunities. Don’t become blinded by small things-assignments, relationships, money, stresses- that distract you from your goals; time is precious.

6. Trip to China

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I was involved in a research project last year and had a chance to travel to China. While research opportunities and learning were incredible, it was the trip to China itself that involved Beijing, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong so exciting. I’ve travelled many places – Japan, India, various US states, various Canadian cities, and every time I visit new places I learn something new (kind of cliche I know). I have many Chinese friends, hear about news about China all the time, and I was curious to find out what makes China so special in many ways and this travel did inspire me and learn a few things the same way I did when I was in Japan and India in particular. That is world is very big, there are always some things going on and we think differently.

7. Once again learn about humility

As mentioned in previous blog postings, I learned how there are so many smart, energetic, and enthusiastic smart people wherever I go. It was the case when I first started studying as an engineering student. It was also the case when I started working as a consultant in the US. It was again, the case when I started studying at Rotman. I recently learned a new phrase called ‘paralysis by analysis’ from business intelligence class I took. Basically, overabundance of data and misdirectioned analysis gets you nowhere and while that is why hypothesis-driven deductive approach is often necessary in consulting to design proper scope, I also sometimes realize that sometimes not knowing is better than knowing and interestingly, this applies to many parts of our lives including studies, sports, relationships, and fast food unfortunately. The point is, overeducation and overabundance of information makes you overconfident and sometimes even arrogant. It is without a doubt that there are social hierarchies perhaps by wealth, job positions, place of living etc, but as you have more power, you need to learn to become more humble and appreciate that you have such opportunity to influence others and make others’ lives better. I’ve witnessed throughout MBA and work that greed and power makes you more attracted to even more greed! It’s like Anakin Skywalker getting owned by dark side and Peter Parker not understanding the responsibility that comes from power when losing his uncle (ok I know I’m looking forward to reboot Homecoming as well). More successful you become, more cautious your steps should be and try to keep checking your inner self if you’re perhaps doing something unethical.

 

 

At this point, you – prospective MBA students or any audience – might think, ” what is this man? this stuff you all learn from kindergarten and you’re telling me you went MBA and paid $100k+ time for this kind of stuff?” Of course I made a few proud professional accomplishments such as certifications, jobs and stuff but they are results that I accomplished by getting insights from learning things such as the ones I mentioned above and have no intention to bore you with what kind of stuff I achieved in MBA to put on LinkedIn. Keep asking yourself what you really want to get out of, what accomplishments you want to make and be goal-oriented. Two years is such long time to just to get over with to put three letters, “MBA” to LinkedIn and you might as well find how you want to maximize this opportunity.

 

Last thing I want to say is, that MBA will provide many, many opportunities, but you must understand it is indeed masters level studies, so there will be predicaments, you will be tired and time-sensitive stresses and tiredness will 100% come to you, so get ready. However, such barriers need to be overcome by looking for right opportunities and you must seek them out as MBAs will transfer mandatory knowledge based on courses, but not all the time and many great, exciting opportunities typically need to be researched by checking club events, newsletters and professors; competitions, study tours, speaker events, networking are kind of things you will never come across if you only go to classes and go back home. Otherwise, you might become disappointed by MBA and walk away with bitterness questioning the value of your investment. Be diligent and become used to fighting laziness and you will succeed.

 

While my MBA journey is done here, I have received many questions and thankful responses from my posts that I will continue to have this blog remained although I’m not sure if the school will keep this. Nonetheless, I am planning to create a new integrated blog that talks about my job, hobbies, exercises, etc so stay tuned which will be posted here. Over the past two years, over 6700+ views accumulated by 3200 visitors from all over the world either from gmatclub, wordpress, whatever. As long as my journey helped you making decisions with Rotman MBA as well as life itself, then I think my blogs were perfectly worth it. Thanks.

 

-Josh

6 Must-have mobile gadgets for tech enthusiasts

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Actually, the initial title of this work was ‘6 must have mobile gadgets for graduate students’, but it turns out they really aren’t so. Thus, I made some generalizations. To be honest, I should just call them as my favorite gadgets that I enjoyed using during my two years of grad studies. With the end of grad school reaching, I am planning to create my own dedicated website that discusses hobbies, businesses, and technology. Meanwhile, please have a look at my recent work about my favorite gadgets which I created for fun.

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2 months away from finishing MBA

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Sorry about late post! It’s already been more than two months since my last post. I’ve been busy. I can’t believe I have less than two months away from graduating from school. Here’s what I’ve been up to

1. Job search

I am still actively looking for a job. I’ve had a few interviews, and a lot of rejections. I’m used to it since undergrad, so I just got to keep tailoring my CV, be confident and cross fingers.

2. Workout

I’ll be honest. I actually injured myself about four months ago and couldn’t workout properly until recently. I feel so weak now.

3. Classes

I’ve been taking courses I want for my second year. This term, I’m taking technology strategy and catastrophic failures in organizations. I’ve always been a fan of disaster movies that discuss ‘what if’ scenarios. We are so used to everyday life that sometimes I think we are unaware what kind of unimaginable shift is approaching. In that sense, the course taught me about biases, examples, and ways to deal with such failures.

 

I noticed that 2nd year definitely feels slower. I think it’s probably because I already took intensive courses as well as a summer course that took significant amount of burden off my shoulders this term so that I can specifically focus on job search and certifications.

I actually have been receiving a number of questions from prospective rotman buddies and that is why I’m thinking of making a podcast or seriously discuss about my journey at Rotman in a few weeks. Remember that Rotman accepts candidates as late as May, meaning you can still take GMAT, and still go for it if you think now’s good time for career shifting or studying.

See you guys soon.

 

Interested in Rotman?

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So finally half of 2nd year MBA is done, and I just said hi to Rotman forum on gmatclub.com, but I was like I might as well say the same stuff here as well.

Greetings, everyone. This is Josh, class of 2016 and currently in my 2nd year Rotman MBA student. I just finished my Fall term and just wanted to say hi. gmatclub helped me tremendously with my gmat and understanding more about MBAs in overall.
Congratulations to everyone who got in, and congratulations to those who are considering MBA as well even if it might not be Rotman.
In terms of school experiences, there are abundant resources to get you familiarized with Rotman.
1. Student blogs
Yes, we have current student blogs who write their school experiences and I have one too, which was featured on gmatclub as well.
http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/Degrees/MastersPrograms/MBAPrograms/FullTimeMBA/StudentLife/StudentBlogs.aspx

2. Ambassadors
Many current MBA students have volunteered their time to help incoming students with advice about Rotman and MBA.
http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/sitecore-facultybio/wizards.aspx
You can sort by field of interest and send them an email for questions.

I am considering of doing a podcast on this lol.

If you have any questions, I’m also more than happy to answer them by email or through my blog.

Cheers,
Josh

What I’ve been up to

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I don’t believe it.

2nd year MBA is already almost half way there!

Compared to 1st year, 2nd year goes real, real fast and I need to find a job too.

Let’s just go over how my 2nd year looks like so far.

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  1. Gym

Nope. I paid for this membership (part of tuition fee) and I’m making such a great use of it. It’s just that now that I’m only taking three classes this term,  I come to school less often, which is pity (excuses excuses excuses).

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2. Morning and evening class

One class is at 630pm and the other is at 7am…I’m not kidding. 7AM!!

which means I wake up at 530am, try to do my morning thingys (?), and come to class like a zombie…passionate zombie though as this is the class I’m actually learning from (network and digital strategy).

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Meanwhile, I’ve also been doing some job researches for gaming companies, fixing my resumes, do a few coffee chats. I really should start kicking.

The day my creativity died

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I think it was December 2006. Two years since I finished highschool, I was on my second Co-op (basically an internship except your work performance is graded by school) as a web developer. One day, we had a nice Christmas tree set up in the office. Excited, one of my senior coworkers said to me,

“hey josh, we need to start decorating. can you start putting these glass balls on the tree?”

Sure, it was an easy task. I grabbed one of the balls and stood in front of the tree, preparing to hang one. Except, that’s when my longest struggle started and I still remember how it felt like an eternity.

Where should I hang it?

For some reason, I just couldn’t move my muscle and put that glass ornament ball. The Christmas tree was right there with nothing, but a shining, yellow star on top of the tree. I recall that feeling, what I remember still, as ‘fear.’ I feared that wherever I put that ball on the tree would be a wrong location and I might be blamed for doing it wrong. It was as if, you have this pure, very plain, white blank paper waiting for me to be drawn on. Yet, I had no idea where to put my pen and start moving. In the end, I had to turn my head towards that senior and ask, “so, where do you want me to hang it?”

I still am not sure what exactly caused that pause, but at least I thought I was one of the most creative people back then (while the word ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’ are used so much these days without context), winning highschool design competitions and this and that. Higher education taught me how to think logistically and bring functional values to everyday problems in the efficient way as possible and I was trained to become how to apply solutions as fast as possible. My work was considered an ‘improvement’ as I was playing with existing resources.

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Eventually as I progressed through undergrad engineering, I often felt lack of motivation. I started to look for tangible, visible proofs over values and experiences. Maxwell’s equation didn’t feel any more than bunch of symbols I need to memorize to get my degree. You start looking for practical applications and what they will do, but perhaps recollecting senses and identify the core of surroundings could be as important. The day I tried to put that glass ball was the day when my creativity died, or perhaps when I started to become more obsessed with mediums over meanings.

Long story short, I want you to struggle and I want you to feel pain (owkay not physically but like agony and suffering from trying to overcome your current existential limit) as that is when your capacity and potential to bring subconscious value that couldn’t be found will be revealed at a higher chance.

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Clubs Fair…once again from last year…except that I’m on the other side of a table

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It was just about a year ago when I posted my excitement about attending the Rotman clubs fair and how I had no idea what each club was.

View my last year’s post here

and before realizing, I am now already a 2nd year and I am now where they were on the other side of the table!

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2nd years had a welcome-back brunch and had chances to catch up.

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There was a feeling of nostalgia when I was quietly walking inside the empty Desautels Hall. Sometimes there is so much excitement here and sometimes it’s quiet. So much time had been put into this by all the 2nd year students.

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and all of a sudden, the hall is jam packed.

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Some snacks we gave out as Rotman Health and Wellness club.

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At least in the present, you might be thinking what the value of clubs is, but perhaps after a few years, maybe 5 or 10, or even 20, when you recollect your memories from MBA, it is my hope that you have something to take away from and can say that you were very busy, but learned a lot through clubs.

Join the club.

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Officially a 2nd year student!

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Before realizing, 2nd year at Rotman is finally here. It’s only a first week, but here’s what’s different so far.

  1. Take courses that you want.

First year mandatory courses still come as extremely useful for an engineering student such as myself, but also very stressful at the same time. I am taking only courses that I want that will directly help me with a career I want.

2.  Fulltime job search pressure is on…!

Finally, it’s your first moment to shine and make a career transition or go for that great jobs that you want for a better future! (or to pay off the tuitions…). There are currently many jobs being posted on a career website, but it is also very important to do a personal search based on the LAMP list if you know what I mean.

3. More free time

It really depends on students. I intentially took two summer courses in summer and am planning to take two intensives during upcoming Winter, which means I’m taking…3…three fun courses this semester. But, that doesn’t mean that I can chill all I want (while I’m writing this blog post after a relaxing nap). I still have certifications to study for to qualify for jobs I want, take extra courses from MOOC and prepare for upcoming full marathon this October.

That’s about it so far. I took one class yesterday and it was very engaging and fun. I’m hoping that rest of the classes are as engaging and interactive.

I will end this post with a photo of a grilled pork chop I recently had to remind me to eat something nice when I’m stressed during school.

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