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

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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.

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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10 Things I wish I Knew Before Starting MBA

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We signed up for MBA for many reasons and no matter what our goals are, we obviously want to spend great two years (or three) during MBA (it is a lot of investment after all!).

After one year of MBA, I’ve experienced success, but also numerous failures. Certainly, I said to myself many times that I would be more diligent and successful than undergrad days, but things didn’t work out smoothly all the time whether it’s because of me or many external factors.

While I do not regret…(ok I do regret a bit here and there)…mostly how I made choices in my 1st year MBA, below are top 10 things which I wish I knew before starting my 1st year that would have made my life perhaps easier or me a better person. The list is intended for prospective MBAs of any schools (especially if you’re coming from gmatclub.com), but some could be Rotman MBA-specific, which I indicated separately.

It’s totally a personal opinion of course and some might disagree, but oh well.

I WISH…

1. I spent more time travelling and meeting friends and families.

A lot of homework. group work. case competitions. drinking. networking. resume building. Sometimes I’m not even sure how my 1st year passed by. Preparing for MBA studies is important, but do make sure you spend some quality time with your buddies and families.

Suggestion: Visit a different country. Get drunk (you will be anyway, but like more relaxed I guess). Go to a cottage with a family. You will have less time to do these especially if you will be moving to a new place for MBA.


2. I practiced how to use an Excel, especially pivot tables, and creating charts.

I never knew how important to be able to play around with data efficiently. Regardless of your educational or professional background, knowing basic excel will help you a lot with homework and most especially for hunting internships.

Suggestion: Take a basic excel course online, or borrow excel books from libraries. Learn how to create basic pivot tables and be familiarized with manipulating data. There are prep courses on excel too by school too.


3. I knew that I’m not the best (duh)

I was #1 in my highschool calculus class, but as soon as I started undergrad engineering, I was in bottom 10 of the class (uh…would be a lie if I did study a lot). The point is, wherever new places you go, there are people better than you, or I should say people who are more knowledgeable and wiser in certain areas. World is wide and there are always people who come from different experiences which you can’t comprehend or understand. Confidence and arrogance are two different things.

Suggestion: Share what you’re best at, and learn what you’re missing.  Most importantly, don’t try to become that person. Be who you are and let geniuses pass. You are not that genius and you can be a genius of your own.


4. I did not undermine my classmates’ opinions because my major/professional experience is more related to a certain task.

Related to #3. Besides various technical and soft skills, what I am learning the most, is humility. Just because I come from a certain industry does not 100% mean my ideas are accurate in that area and in fact, I was surprised to see that often my classmates and buddies are a lot more thoughtful, and knowledgeable in my areas and brought great insights during group work and competitions. As Chinese president Xi Jinping said, you have to really become a blank, whitepaper to be able to see things from a new perspective and appreciate others’ opinions.

Suggestion: Don’t kill your classmates/teams’ ideas just because you think it might seem outdated or ‘out of context to the situation’. Try to see if there are ways to incorporate them into the situation and if not, sincerely appreciate and see a workaround, not just pretending to listen while your eyes are onto something else.


5. I had found my own ways to relieve stress sooner.

First term MBA (Fall 2014) was extremely tough for me that I completely neglected exercising and mostly lived off poutines (Canadian) and hot dogs every night. As a result, I quickly gained back at least 8-10kg by December. Eventually, I started hitting a gym again in January, but I wish I realized sooner and continued to do so since starting MBA and then I would’ve been in a top shape right now.


6. I joined a lot of clubs (Rotman MBA-specific possibly).

Of course, club signup fees aren’t cheap and your time should be spent on things that you’re only interested in. However, you don’t get that club’s specific info sessions/workshops/interviews if you are not in the clubs. In fact, I sometimes heard about a certain event or workshops from my classmates, but I wasn’t a part of that club, so I signed up for it and it was worth it for sure.

Suggestion: If you have a doubt during clubs fair going ‘hmmm should I sign up for this…?’, just do it anyway. More information is better in my personal opinion.


7. I started looking for off-campus internship opportunities starting September.

While MBA does have career centres to help support with your internship opportunities, most likely you will be one of hundreds of students fighting for that one position and in the end, you might even be out of hands to play and applying to positions that you might not be interested in. That is of course not to say I don’t like my current internship as I am where I want to be fortunately, but I could’ve been way more efficient with my time allocation and don’t go to every single job session which some of them I just felt peer pressured because others are going.

Suggestion: Start researching for off-campus opportunities right away. Try to go to event sessions and see when that company’s internship season starts and if they do hire interns. School is there to help, but won’t spoonfeed you

8. I took basic statistics course from MOOC or pre-program.

I assure you, statistics will play a role in various aspects of your MBA.

Suggestion: Take basic stats course from the internet or pre-program.


9. I took some global programs/language learnings in consideration.

MBA is a great place to consider global opportunities and you will soon find out that Canada or North America is not the only region you can work in. There are also so many international students that you can also start doing language exchanges even. Of course when things become easy, who cares about language exchanges and stuff, I know. However, use all the possible chances to learn something new when they are there for you.

Suggestion: Consider how your MBA can also give you a different aspect/opportunity with your life in terms of your location.


10. I attended more events in Toronto, both Rotman and outside Rotman.

Honestly, there is so much to do to visit everything all the time and you just want to go to bed. However, looking back my 1st year, which one would’ve given me a more long term memorable experience, going to a cultural event/festivals in Toronto downtown, or studying until 3-4am to solve that one more question which might be on the exam, or not.

Of course I’m not discouraging perfection and effort of studying. It’s just that after 9 years of undergrad electrical engineering + 6 years of work, I’m hitting 30 in less than 2 years and I start to think more often how I will best have fun and make that time meaningful. If what you are doing right now might be the last thing in your life (owkay now I’m getting too serious, bear with me for a sentence or two lol),  you might want to think if that is indeed a valuable way to spend your time: with books or with friends/families. There is no right answer. I’ll leave this to you.

Suggestion: yep open ended answer 🙂

I’m happy to answer any questions.

-Josh

more than half of summer passed

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I just realized that I actually didn’t write anything in my blog for past 2 months at least. So why not a quick update before I forget again lol.

Is summer as a MBA student any different from when you were in undergrad?

mmmm to be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me as I am from engineering co-op undergrad major with no concept of summer vacation, but it is definitely time when you can readjust your pacing and think about what you want to do. This could be my first and the last official long break in my twenties probably.

What have you been doing?

A picture it worth thousand words. here it goes.

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summer intensive course (2 wks of intensive lectures and hw entire day).  that’s one less course for me in 2015-2016.

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concert.

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chill w my favorite buddies

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lift without much cardio (recently started that as well)

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old school gaming out of nowhere

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broken chair

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eat

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broken tablet which got worse after A/S.

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summer internship at a startup

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let me just mention eat one more time

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visit different school

Youth Science Academy 2015 coming soon english

organizing youth science class

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ok more concert

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preparing to go to China for school research

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all of this in Toronto

Phew

I do think maybe I’m doing too much stuff, but at least it’s keeping me busy.

I honestly can’t believe that there are less than two months before I get to go back to school…and of course the fulltime job.  lot of thoughts, lot of thoughts.

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at least let me forget all about this today and think again tomorrow.

First Summer of MBA

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The following pictures perfectly describe what I’ve been up to these days. MBA is an extremely valuable tool in your career, no doubt, just that it is also a difficult process that requires devotion, time, and thoughts.

Past weeks have been about designing my fulltime job application plan, searching for internship leads, studying for certifications, and resting.

To those coming into Rotman this September, enjoy your summer, like really enjoy it before coming. You will miss it.

To my friends, enjoy to the fullest.

What Silicon Valley taught me

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It’s been awhile! Sorry about the late post. I have been very busy and been working on a variety of things. Term 2 is a particularly busy season for many reasons:

1. Interviews, interviews, interviews

Your summer internship is at stake.

2. Rearrangement of thoughts

It’s a new year. Term 1 burned me out a bit. I needed time to recharge myself.

But I have some interesting news to share. I was at Silicon Valley last week as a part of the school technology career trek, thanks to Rotman. Now about SF, I actually lived in Palo Alto for 3 months, and did get to go to Golden Gate Bridge, but never had a chance to properly look around SF. In many ways, this was an exciting opportunity and rearrange all the personal thoughts and about my career.

Day 1

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After arriving in SF, we Rotmanites gathered up and got on a bus tour of SF. As I never had a chance to try these kinds of buses before, it was awesome. Kinda chilly, but definitely worth it as well as the interesting audio guide, which was followed by meeting with alumnis for advices and networking.

Day 2

Our official day of the trek began with a tour of the famous Google.

Great campus although it might have been better if we visited during lunch time to see its liveliness.

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Google is one thing, but of course there is Mozilla Firefox. Greeted by such kind people, we had a great Q/A session. What really got me was the top floor with a great view. It was a feeling hard to describe. So wide, so clean, so…well I am not sure how to describe it. as if it opened my mind up literally.

Day 3

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Twitter, and various companies. It was all about meeting great new and old friends.

Day 4

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After ending the tour with EA, I visited my old friend at Apple and had dinner together.

As you probably might have noticed, my blogs are more about photos with descriptive feelings and facts than a lot of implications or in-depth thoughts. It is because I enjoy capturing moments and not everything needs to have a meaning and purpose. You just accept it as is.

I was confused and worried in many ways before the trip.

School is one thing, but it’s ok it’s all about the effort. But there is also personal relationships, situations, careers, and motivation to worry about.

Ever since joining Rotman, I haven’t regretted a single moment of it as it already has provided me with so many opportunities so far that I could not attain before, but even with effort, some things are just difficult to work out and personal relationships are such things.

What visiting SF taught me was not just about new startups, or tech bubbles, or great tech companies I could be a part of and be rich. It made me realize that while I am meddled with such small details and think negatively about my small problems, there are people on the other side who are all also equally and working harder to achieve their goals and survive in their own ways. World is wide and there are tons of opportunities. It brought me out of comfort zone once more and now I am more than certain that the thoughts and emotions that I feel are just temporary, a milestone in order to improve and grow more.

While I don’t want to bore you out reading all these cliche about self-enlightenment, I do want to leave you with one takeaway.

When in doubt, travel.

End of Term 1

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Perhaps known as the toughest term in the entire 2 years of Rotman MBA has ended (of course I heard it gets harder, but nonetheless).

It started with an excitement, and ended with a lot of learnings, enlightenments, and regrets.

I thought I will do a lot better than when I was an undergraduate with a fresh mind, and resolution, but I failed to overcome tiredness and anxiety that engulfed me during my term 1.  My completion of term 1 wouldn’t have been possible without the help of knowledgeable and helpful professors, scholars, TAs, and my good friends. Professors were always more than happy to reach out and help, even the stupidest questions. I wouldn’t call it stupidity, but there is only ignorance, and lack of knowledge. School is here to evaluate and execute all your ideas without failure other than GPA. You don’t need to feel bad here as we are all researchers, students, and experimenters who want to accomplish and make the world a better place no matter which paths we take.

What went well:

  • Not giving up

What didn’t go so well:

  • Failure to maintain physical wellness
  • Failure to study as hard and prepare as well as I hoped for.
  • Failure to manage time

After the end of the last exam, statistics, we were greeted by 2nd year students, pizzas, and beer. Beer tasted fresh, cold, and…bitter. Taste left with anxieties and regrets of the past four months. Feeling of uncertainty, and that maybe I could’ve tried harder and better made me feel uneasy. Surely, there is no such thing as a certainty in our lives, but because we always find rooms for improvements, that’s why there are uncertainties.

I don’t really want to end this blog post with an old-fashioned, predictable words such as ‘ but there’s always hope, things will get better. I will try harder next time and stuff.’ But I don’t really know how to end this post to be honest. Such a boring post to write about especially when it’s Christmas.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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Final week of 2014dy

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Final week of Term 1 Rotman is here. Frustrated? yes.

There was so much going on that I feel that I couldn’t use my time allotted appropriately (this blogging is an exception as I value keeping memories for my own good). Who knows, you just have to do your best.

Strategy, Finance, Accounting, and Statistics.

I will have to use my time as efficiently as possible in the next four days…plus 4 more days for personal training exam…oh man.

My blog Percentage of visitors by country

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First of all, thank you for all the interest in pursuing graduate studies in MBA as well as the Rotman School of Management. I have received a lot of feedback, questions and positive comments, and that gives me a motivation to continue recording my days, advice, and thoughts that can hopefully be passed down to the next generation of MBA students in the world as a whole. Past three months have taught me, and reassured me with certainty that MBA education brings significant benefits to everyone, whether hoping to understand more about how organization works as a whole, wants to learn how to assess your business position in industries, and also meet next generations of global leaders who will all become a part of, ultimately, making the world a greater place to live for everyone.

It’s Friday night, and this is a perfect time to run some stats summary on my blog visitors by country. While I won’t get into details, I was surprised to see blog visits also come from many other various countries other than Canada and the USA. Considering how Rotman brings competitive advantage and benefits to international MBA students, this makes sense (I won’t try to run hypothesis test on this. I was at school for more than 12 hours straight).

My point is, it’s happy to see that many people are visiting my blog, and I hope that the contents I bring hopefully can benefit you.