Sep 28, 2016

First Week at Warwick Business School


Getting into Warwick Business School 
It is not tough. If you apply early you will get definite scholarship. If you apply in last you might miss - Scholarship and on-campus accommodation. The GMAT score has huge variation but 660-680 is fine and welcome. The experience range is huge and I believe it is from 3 years to 15 years. Though most of the students are from India (around 20) followed by China but students are from lot of nationalities - We are told students are from 35 nationalities. Generally of you have satisfactory GMAT score and you can present yourself and talk, there is no reason for rejection unless they have already selected someone similar to you. Surprisingly, I only found 4-5 students from Indian IT industry and I found chef, consultants, lawyer, civil engineer, oil & gas experts, sales, marketing, and business background; therefore its diversified.

Before Arriving to Warwick
Before arriving one has to complete some formalities.  Some are optional but I recommend doing all. For example I skipped the VISA Counselling session and my VISA was refused.  I had to pay VISA fee again and reapply:

  • Visa Counseling session
  • Applying for warwick accommodation. Note it is first come first serve basis - I believe - so apply early. 
  • Pre-arrival career webinar
  • Pre-arrival information webinar such as Pre-Departure briefing
  • CAS email - You will receive in August. 
  • Prepare linkedIn profile.
  • Share your key achievements and experience for talent profile.  Your name will go in the profile book (http://www.wbs.ac.uk/business/recruitment/)
  • Complete online registration to warwick sites. 
  • Upload your photo

Booking Tickets and Arriving at Warwick
I will suggest book tickets lot in advance (for safety you can book refundable ticket).  If booking from India book from Air India or Jet Airways website and mention you are student so that you are allowed to carry three piece's weighing total 70 kg. Bring lot of clothes especially for cold. You can avoid bringing lot of household stuff because everything is available at cheap rates in Warwick campus.
My course start date was 25th and I arrived on 24th morning to Birmingham airport. From Airport taxi cost me 20 pounds to on-campus accommodation "Claycroft". Arriving to accommodation is similar to check-in into hotel. Few members of Students Residential will be waiting from 8 am onward to handover keys. Understand how key works and where you have to go and enter room. It is very peaceful in Claycroft and its location is very close to tesco (store for everything).







First Week in Warwick Business School
First week is all about activities - fun and team building. Mostly lunch and dinner will be provided at School and you will get to know more about you fellow's.
Your WBS Introduction and Boot Camp week will include the following sessions:

  • Building Real Teams - You will be assigned a team on first day. You will be team member and team members will be your first friends (If not made any yet). The team formation is done by WBS and they do it very intelligently and to maintain diversity within team. 
  • Strategic Thinking - Introduction to the Royal Shakespeare Company. You need to listen carefully because later you might work on project for RSC.
  • Presentation Skills - You will be given Case Study and you will need to present your plans for growth of company. 
  • High Impact CVs and Cover Letters - Ypu will introduce yourself multiple times in first week and people will be listening and give feedback.  Be very honest. 
  • Deans Welcome Event and Alumni Networking at Warwick Castle - Your first networking event. Don't expect much (except food and drinks) but this is your first test ground.
  • Photo for Talent profile book 
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Sep 25, 2016

MBA in UK - arrival

MBA from UK
People raise eyebrows when you say I am going to UK for MBA because I believe getting job is not easy.
I assure getting into MBA college in UK is easier that completing formalities for VISA.
Colleges are increasing intakes and a good essay and interview can secure place in decent MBA college.
I will recommend LBS, Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, Cass, and Warwick.

MBA from UK Student VISA -
Start accumulating your funds in one account - on your name and if possible no sharing - so that sufficient fund is available 1 month before submitting online application.
If you are getting education loan then attach original sanction letter - on letter head and stamped.
If you are shwoing funds from multiple accounts then attach a cover letter providing details.
Indeed its good idea to attach a cover letter with VISA application proviing details of documents and other required details in concise manner -

"To,

The Visa Officer


Subject: Visa Application


Dear Sir/Madam

This is in reference to my PBS Tier 4 Student Visa application.

I would like to inform you that programme selectors have made me and unconditional offer of a place in The MBA by full-time study in xyz Business School, The University of xyz

I have x years of industry experience and I have choosen MBA course to/for .......
xyz Business School is the best place for me to receive MBA education because .....
Post MBA I wish to come back to my home country and ......

I have already paid deposit of xyz GBP and remaining fee for course is abc GBP, combined with maintenance fees of def GBP, total fees is ghi GBP.

I am providing the below documents to support the evidence of funds available to me in order to finance my education and accomation
at the University of xyz:
....."


Be prepared with VISA interview questions -
1. Why MBA
2. Why UK
3. Why xyz university

If your VISA application gets refused (mine got refused first time) the reapply.  While reapplying you can choose fast track option too.

Booking flight tickets -
Book flight tickets even before you get VISA because its cheap booking in advance. Most of the flights provide extra luggage (approx. 70 Kg.) for student VISA holders but probably you need to book from their website.

Immigration -
Immigration officer will ask for same documents used for VISA application so keep it handy.

Hostel Keys -
Its similar to checkin into hotel. Reach hostel and collect keys.

It was beautiful morning and sunshine when I arrived. Sunshine is less observed so enjoy it most whenever wherever you find it.
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Sep 12, 2016

Hierarchical Database to Relational Database

Early databases were hierarchical databases – data organized in a tree structure.  IBM introduced first generation of database: IMS (Information Management System) in 60’s. Data in a hierarchical database is organized in a tree like structure.



Which works fine for a family tree


But can’t work for an Enterprise application in which relations are not always hierarchical –


A Seller can sell multiple products, which can be bought by multiple customers, who can have different payment methods for different orders.
We can think of Product, Customer, Order, Payment, and Seller as entities with relationship to each other, which is not hierarchical.



In above structure data is in entities which are related. Entity relations can be one-to-many (Seller and product, because a seller can sell multiple products), one-to-one (Product and Order, one order can be placed for a product), many-to-one (orders and customer, many orders can relate to one customer), and many-to-many (customer can have multiple address and same address can belong to multiple customers).

Data in RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) is structured – Divided into tables in which each table has structure (rows and columns) and they are related. RDBMS support structured query language (sql) for data definition and manipulation.  RDBMS require schema creation (architecture of database) and users need to be granted privileges for data access. Further RDBMS also provide UI tools for easy data view. Tables in RDBMS have a primary key for uniquely identifying the record such as EMPLOYEE_ID can be primary key (PK) in EMPLOYEE table. Every employee record in EMPLOYEE table has a unique value of EMPLOYEE_ID. Tables rarely exist in isolation and structure of table is a contract which can’t be break during data storage.


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Sep 4, 2016

Friends and Family - Big Data Case Study by MIT

This post is an extract of my understanding of friends and family research - http://realitycommons.media.mit.edu/friendsdataset.html

Paper describes three investigations:

  1. Causality between financial status and social behavior.
  2. Network effects on decision making by looking at how different social relationships might predict the spread of mobile applications. Friends and families share same app for example if one family member creates group in Facebook or WhatsApp rest members of family will install that app. 
  3. Design and execution of experimental interventions while measuring their effect on individual and group behavior.


They conducted the fitness intervention and find results that contribute to our understanding of social incentives and motivation in real world; Analysis shows that individuals’ social interaction diversity correlates with their current income level.  And finally analysis that shows a relationship between the number of mobile applications that two people share in common to the time they physically spend face-to-face. Their observations suggest that the diffusion of apps relies more on the face-to-face interaction ties than on self-perceived friendship ties.

Results suggest that: (1) Social factors have an effect on the physical activity behavior, motivation, and adherence over time. (2) Social incentives, such as Peer-Reward mechanism encourage social influence among participants and higher activity returns per dollar invested in the system. (3) Finally, results support the notion of a complex contagion like effect related to pre-existing social ties between participants.

MRI is popular in medical science, functional MRI (fMRI) tells us inner workings of brain, and Social fMRI will give social and behavioral insights.

Social fMRI
Detailed sensing and imaging of social systems through the use of mobile phones, credit cards, social media, and telecommunications for social and behavioral sensing platform. Social fMRI approach could help us understand the inner workings of social systems and the way humans interact and react to one another.

System Architecture -
Phone data is saved in SQLite file format.  The server-side back-end processes all incoming SQLite files and inserts them into a central MySQL database. It sends email reports to investigators about status of phones and alerts of any issues. Additional services provide data for interventions and personal data visualization for participants. An object-relational-mapper (ORM) enables representing all data as code objects which simplifies development of applications that use the data.

Individual behavior: social interaction diversity and financial status
Individuals will quickly lose their diversity in social interaction when their financial status gets worse; Individuals will quickly gain their interaction diversity when their financial status improves.  As good financial status ensures people safer and more satisfying living conditions, they naturally feel more confident and secure in exploring new social potential.

 Social fabric and its influence on decision making
One of the signals collected in the Friends and Family study is the set of mobile applications, or ‘‘apps’’, installed on each phone.  In conclusion, discovered that people who spend more time in face-to-face interaction are more likely to share common apps

Social Intervention
Results support there is a statistically significant effect of social components on the real-world in-situ physical activity levels. Results show that Peer-Reward social influence mechanism leveraging social capital can increase the efficiency of exogenous money and resources invested in the system. This could contribute to the design of future policies and intervention.  Also seen a complex interaction effect related to pre-existing social ties inside the social experimental conditions.

Hope that isolating and evaluating health related social mechanisms will become part of the toolbox for encouraging healthy behavior, combined with other components such as user interfaces, accurate measurement techniques, and individual goal setting.

Approach followed in the “Friends and Family” study differs from typical Gamification approaches

The approaches taken in the "Friends and Family" study are Control Condition, Peer-View, and Peer-Rewards; among them Peer-Rewards is most efficient and it is very much different from typical Gamification approaches that is more similar to Control Condition. In Peer-Reward mechanism, subjects were shown their own progress as well as that of two Buddies and rewards
depended solely on the performance of their Buddies. At the same time, their own performance reward was split between
two other peers, to which the current user was a Buddy. In typical Gamification approach subject is solely awarded for his or her own performance.

"Friends and Family" Analysis investigated the effectiveness of the different motivation and influence mechanisms for
encouraging increased physical activity in-situ. Focus is on two key metrics: The first is differences in average activity
levels, both across conditions and chronological periods of the experiment, and the second is the efficiency of the reward
"investment" in the system.
Two benefits of the "Peer-Rewards" design -
1) Embedding the social aspects, adds to physical activity performance and activity adherence over time, compared to the socially isolated control condition
2) In Peer-Reward, both information and reward traverse the links between peers, and a potential for social influence as motivator.  
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Sep 2, 2016

Failed Big Data Projects

"Failure can happen for many reasons: Not starting with clear business objectives, Not making a good business case, Management Failure, Poor communication, Not having the right skills for the job" - Forbes

All seem theoretical rather than practical because Google had everything there was not reason for Google Flu to fail; but it did failed.  One of the reasons for failure is when you rely on public data which varies hugely. A company building analytics over its own data for own purpose is not likely to fail.  A company's Master Data Management or Data Warehouse might fail leading to Big Data failure.

Another BIG BIG big data failure is not doing data analytics as was the case of Blockbuster.

No matter data size one/company needs to do data analysis but how far and how much is the question to be asked and answered intelligently. A bank doing sentiment analysis on twitter and not analyzing the customer complaints and feedback's is doing silly. A bigger question is what organization is currently doing with data available at fingertips before investing huge in big data; though investing huge in Big data is another big data failure.

In an introductory course on Big Data I learned about a big data project which predicts whether a random walking person on street will take left or right turn; Dude!!! I can flip coin and guess.

Data used to prognosticate Ebola's spread in 2014 and early 2015 yielded wildly inaccurate results. Similarly, efforts to predict the spread of avian flu have run into problems with data sources and interpretations of those sources. - http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2016/6/202655-what-happens-when-big-data-blunders/fulltext. 

Another Big data failure is training organizations making big with big data and data science training's and individuals dreaming to make big money with short course on big data. 

 In the End it is Exciting and it has lot more success case studies than failures
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