Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cite for Sore Eyes

According to Techvibes, Canada is a good place for budding entrepreneurs. It is true that Canada has a great social safety net which benefits not only startups but individuals, as well. In fact, I was just discussing this with my teammates on the car ride home from the National Film Board (NFB) yesterday.

While at the office yesterday, we had a meeting with the Marketing Manager to discuss the first draft of our marketing plan. Though she explained why some recommendations would not be feasible for the project, she was happy to see that we had developed several innovative ideas that the NFB has not yet used. Based on her feedback, we further refined our recommendations to make them more suitable for the film. But all in all, we got positive feedback, which we were happy to have received.

I have recently had many flashbacks to C2-MTL as a result of the news about Jonah Lehrer's Bob Dylan quote falsification. At C2-MTL, the fellow speaker was "called out" by Dr. Rex Jung due to his "scientific" ideas. But now that Lehrer has been accused of making up Bob Dylan quotes, his career might never be the same. Now my team can see why I insist on proper citations in our marketing plan!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Page Break

My teammates call me "chief editor" due to my ability and interest in placing proper punctuation marks and grammar in our report to the National Film Board (NFB). It is no surprise, then, that I empathized with the writer of the HBR article "I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why." Like the article's author CEO Kyle Wiens, I am a grammar "stickler."

On Friday, I had to deal with a technical glitch whereby my edited version of our report did not save properly on Dropbox. However, there is one great advantage of P8:  weekends. After re-editing our document, I was able to unplug and enjoy the two-day break. This is something which is truly different than all other semesters at school and I really value this newfound freedom.

Besides, Montreal definitely comes alive during the summer. With a gamut of festivals here, it is a wonderful time to be out and about. On Saturday night, I saw the Just for Laughs Festival Joel McHale Gala at Place des Arts. Even just walking around the Quartier des Spectacles is a lot of fun - the street food at the souk is worth a visit!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On the Right Path

For any of my readers who are thinking about going to b-school, I have some good news. Aringo, a top MBA admission consulting firm, has agreed to offer a 20% discount to anyone who mentions that they heard about Aringo's services through my blog. I hope that helps you to start your MBA journey!

Today, my group sent the first draft of our marketing plan to our professor. Though we met with her this afternoon, she will not be able to send us feedback until she has had time to review it. I am anxiously awaiting her comments! In the meantime, she mentioned that she always gets nervous about our team because we are consistently quiet during our meetings with her. It's mostly because we haven't had too many questions for her, and we have not yet hit any major roadblocks. I hope she agrees that we are on the right path!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I am so excited to share a movie trailer for a film called The Oranges that is based in my hometown of West Orange, New Jersey! The star-studded film premiered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Enjoy the trailer below!

Last night, I was reading through my most recent issue of the McGill News, our alumni magazine. I was shocked to learn that several people who I admire are McGill alumni, such as Julie Payette (Canadian astronaut), Katrina Onstad (journalist and writer), and Moshe Safdie (architect of Habitat 67). I am truly honoured to share an alma mater with these individuals. I can't wait to learn what my fellow HEC Montreal classmates and alumni will do!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Driving Progress

July 24, 2012 would have been Amelia Earhart's 115th birthday, which is why she has been all over the news today. I was happy to catch an article entitled "Amelia Earhart:  Better feminist than pilot?" especially due to its relatedness to the film my team is working on for the National Film Board (NFB). Just like the women in the NFB film we are marketing, Earhart sought gender equality.

For our consulting project with the NFB, my team has divided the tasks to be done for this week's deliverable. This meant that I was researching and writing about infographics, photo campaigns, and other marketing tools today, while my teammates worked on other sections. Fortunately, we are able to use Skype, so we can work from home sometimes, but still stay updated on everyone's progress.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Marketing Plan Development

As a team, I think we are all feeling more confident in the development of our marketing plan for the National Film Board (NFB). Now that we are in the third week of our project, it is the first time we will have deliverables, both to the NFB and our supervising professor Johanne Brunet.

During our time at the office today, we worked on refining our positioning statement for the NFB's film about Canadian women. In doing so, we have tried to apply the KISS principle ("Keep It Simple, Stupid!"). We also developed our tables for the channels of dissemination and ways to engage our proposed segments, alongside the appropriate messages for our segments.

Throughout our work, we are keeping in mind the need for innovation. For this element of our project, I have found Fast Company's article "How Innovation is More Poetry Than Science" particularly helpful.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Woman's Work is Never Done

This morning, my team started off the day with meetings. We sat with representatives from the National Film Board's (NFB) Consumer Programs and Distribution departments. By using the Type With Me tool, my group was able to share our notes and ideas from the meetings, to aid in the development of our marketing plan for the upcoming film launch.

My team then worked to determine the appropriate marketing mix for the film by using the four Ps (price, product, promotion, and place). With promotion being the most in-depth and challenging element for us, we were only able to create a preliminary document, but will continue the rest tomorrow.

With my constant focus on women's issues, especially due to the film's content, I noted Fast Company's recent article "Meet the League of Extraordinary Women:  60 Influencers Who Are Changing The World." While the article highlights that North American women can certainly help to fight for the international rights of girls and women, the film my team is working on demonstrates that Canadian women still have a long way to go on our own soil.

Monday, July 16, 2012

On the Job

Welcome back, Javier! Pictured above is my fellow team member who was working with us remotely last week, as we began our marketing mandate for the National Film Board (NFB). Now that my team has been reunited at the NFB office, we have worked our way through our SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), situational analysis, and STP (segmentation, targeting, positioning) for our assigned film. One video that helped us to understand the resources and innovative technologies at the NFB is posted below.

While I am working on my P8 Supervised Consulting Project for the NFB, I am simultaneously writing my 10-page analytical paper for P7's Russia Campus Abroad. Though the paper is taking longer than expected, it is fun to relive my Russian adventures through my writing.

I am also happy to report that there is growing interest in one-year MBA programs, according to CNN Money (see here). However, I am critical of the article. My HEC Montreal one-year MBA program has provided me with on-the-job experience (with the NFB), an international trip (to Russia), and plenty of electives to establish a specialization (in my case, Marketing and Management). So, for me, the disadvantages of enrolling in a one-year program, as per the article, do not ring true for my HEC Montreal MBA experience.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

At the Office

It was just another day at the office for my consulting team. We had the chance to sit in on a power meeting with the heads of different units, including Marketing, Digital Partnerships, Sales and Market Development, and Festivals and Audience Development. This week, we are collecting vital information about the National Film Board (NFB) and the employees' perspectives regarding the feminist movie that will help us to create our preliminary marketing plan proposal.

We also had a meeting with our supervising professor Johanne Brunet, who helped us to determine the essential areas of focus for our project. My team then developed a plan for tomorrow's division of tasks. We are well on our way to having a solid foundation for our team recommendation.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MBA Consultants

Since I will soon be completing my MBA, I feel that it is the perfect time for me to encourage others to follow in my footsteps. For any brave souls who dare to apply to b-school, TopMBA Connect has an amazing contest, for which the winner will receive MBA and life coaching, in addition to assistance in meeting with individuals from the business school of his/her dreams. The MBA and life coaching mentorship will be provided by the amazing and talented Elisa Balabram, who I met when I visited the TopMBA Connect office last month. Information about the contest can be found here. Good luck to the candidates!

As for my own MBA adventures, P8 definitely has a different pace and tone. We are no longer in school (or traveling around Russia, for that matter); instead, the Supervised Consulting Project teams are approaching their diverse group mandates in different ways and locations. For my team, our objective is to develop a marketing plan for a National Film Board (NFB) movie about women's rights in Canada.

So far, my group has been focused on collecting primary data for our project. Yesterday, we got settled into our office at the NFB, and then conducted a meeting with Karen Cho, the director of the film. Today, we met with the NFB's market team, followed by a team brainstorming session. This is such an exciting project and I feel honoured to be a part of this amazing opportunity!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Travels Continued

Although my Russian adventure had ended, I continued my travels nine time zones away. For the past week, I stayed in Chicago and then South Bend, Indiana. I had an amazing time in both locations! The highlights of my week included an architectural boat tour of Chicago, a walk to "The Bean" (aka Cloud Gate), dining at the Rick Bayless restaurant Frontera Grill, and my friends' wedding on Notre Dame's campus. Below are some photos from the continuation of my travels.

Chicago skyscrapers

My friends' wedding at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame

Wedding party at the Studebaker National Museum

Now that my travels have come to a close, it is time to return to schoolwork. Today, my team will begin with our first P8 meeting at the National Film Board (NFB). Wish us luck!

Monday, July 2, 2012

All Good Things Must Come to an End

It is officially the end of Campus Abroad Russia. This morning, we had an early start as we left St. Petersburg to take the 7 AM train back to Moscow. Although our return to the city presented us with a great opportunity to see any last-minute sites, I was so exhausted from all the travel that I did not have the energy to explore. Instead, I relaxed in my hotel room as I prepared for my flight tomorrow.

This evening, we had a good-bye dinner at Sisters Grimm (photo from the restaurant's outdoor terrace above). It was an emotional farewell as we thanked our coordinators Pierre-Emmanuel and Olga, and they expressed their delight with our group. This has been an amazing two weeks and I would not have changed a thing about it. I would like to thank everyone involved - students, coordinators, business hosts, etc. You have made my trip to Russia a truly incredible experience.

This entry was originally posted on the HEC Montreal Campus Abroad blog here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Culture Vulture

Since we have completed our business visits, the remainder of our time in Russia has revolved around the cultural experience in St. Petersburg. On Friday, we visited the State Hermitage museum, where I saw the ornate interior, as well as Matisse's famous Dance painting. The massive Hermitage museum was a labyrinth that was quite complicated to navigate and exhausting to go through, especially considering the large number of tourists. Here are my photos of our Hermitage visit.

Inside the Hermitage

Outside the Hermitage

We have also gone by the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, whose architecture reminded me of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, despite being constructed several centuries later. My best photo of this St. Petersburg church is below.

Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

Yesterday was a really big day, which included three activities:  a visit to Peterhof Palace, a viewing of the Russian ballet Anna Karenina at Mariinsky Theatre, and a midnight boat tour to see the St. Petersburg bridge openings. The following are my photos from Saturday's excursions.

Peterhof Palace Canal

Grand Peterhof Palace

Mariinsky Theatre

St. Petersburg bridge opening

Today, a significant part of my day was spent at Cafe Botanika, a great vegetarian restaurant. Fortunately, it was my second time there on this trip, so I had a chance to taste even more of their delicious food. I have found the food in St. Petersburg to be infinitely better than in Moscow, and what is even better is that entirely English menus are often available here. Though I am ready to move on, I am sad to think that our time in this city (and country!) is dwindling.

This entry was originally posted on the HEC Montreal Campus Abroad blog here.