Notes from EMBA Series 6 Classes

Managerial Accounting – Sessions 7 & 8

The final two sessions of Managerial Accounting shifted the focus from accounting to managerial control, centralisation vs. decentralisation, and performance metrics.

During the sessions we discussed four different cases:

  • Iceland’s Landsbanki: exploring the actions a new CEO can take over after a complete collapse of banking system in Iceland.
  • Codman and Shurtleff: Understanding decentralisation, and management control.
  • Nucor Corporation: Advantages of running a “knowledge-driven” orgranisation, various compensation structures, and first-mover, importance of having a strategy map.

These sessions also touched up on the leadership skills of different companies and what kind of measurements help in executing a successful strategy.

Implementing change poses a big challenge for leaders and in the final session we discussed a bit about the 8-step process for leading a successful change:

  1. Establish a Sense of Urgency.
  2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition.
  3. Create the Vision for Change and a Strategy for Achieving It.
  4. Communicate the Vision and Strategy.
  5. Empower Others to Act on the Vision and Strategy.
  6. Produce Short-Term Wins.
  7. Sustain the Effort: Produce Still More Change.
  8. Institutionalize the New Culture.

These sessions concluded the Managerial Accounting course and for the final examination we need to submit a managerial report with presentation for a company. The report needed to identify the key issues and provide solutions for implementing change at a delivery service company.

Managerial Economics – Sessions 1 & 2

During this weekend (April 15/16) we had our first two sessions of Managerial Economics by Prof. Barry Standish from South Africa. Before the sessions started we finished the Micro Economics online session, which gave me some idea of basic economics.

The course focuses on making us understand the importance of the environment in which the businesses operate by focusing on macro economics of the world. The first two sessions we discussed various fundamentals like Business Cycles, Wealth Effects, understanding where the money comes and what properties an exchange medium should have for it to act as “good money” viz., Portability, Durability, Divisibility.

We also spend time in understanding the history of money from the gold standard of 1930s to modern Bretton Woods/Dollar Standard.

During the second session Prof. Barry gave us some intuition about the Quantity Theory of Money which can be described using the equation:

M * V = P * Q

M = Money
V = Speed of Circulation
P = Price of things
Q = Quantity of things


Notes from EMBA Series 5 Classes

Business Analytics Session 4 & 5

The final two sessions of Business Analytics focused on how to analyse and
present the data and which types of analytics available for different types of problems. We discussed the case of optimising the offer coupons given out to the customers of Carrefour super market based on customer’s purchases.

Activities of Analytics

  • Optimisation – What is the best that can happen?
  • Predictive Modelling – What will happen next?
  • Forecasting / Extrapolation – What if these trends continue?
  • Statistical Analysis – Why is this happening?
  • Alerts – What actions are needed?
  • Query / Drill Down – Where exactly is the problem?
  • Ad-hoc Reports – How many, how often, where?
  • Standard Reports – What happened?

Dashboard Design

Tips for effective dashboard:

  • Link to business need and type of users
  • Less is more
  • Use Simple charts
  • Guide users through results
  • From top results to more detail
  • Focus on differences/relate to target, benchmark
  • Highlight important figures
  • Be careful with scales and colours

Managerial Accounting Session 6

This week’s focus was on types of costs and Costing. We discussed opportunity costs and sunk costs. The readings provided insight into Activity Based Costing and Time Driven Activity Based Costing.

Traditional cost systems answer the question of how to allocate costs for departmental cost control, where as ABC systems focus on how does it cost to perform activities and business processes.

Activity Based Costing (ABC) provides more accurate cost information by using organisational activities as the key elements of costing and linking them to spending.

Time Driven Activity Based Costing proposes another approach to costing for
complex models. TDABC model proposes a simpler alternative to ABC, because it only requires two

  1. The cost rate of supplying resource capacity
    The consumption of resource capacity by the activities performed for
    products, services, and customers.
  2. We discussed two cases during the session – Morgan Components and Destin Brass.

Some other notes from the session:

  • Compensation drives behaviour.
  • Pick the right costing system for the business.
  • Sunk costs in the short term are irrelevant.

Notes from EMBA Series 4 Classes

Notes from EMBA Series 4 Classes

On 11 March and 12 March we had the fourth series of Executive MBA classes with 2 sessions of Business Analytics and  Organisational Behaviour each.

Business Analytics

First session of BA focused on statistics and analysis of data in Series 3.

We had our second, third sessions during the week – where we primarily focused on strategy for the big data analytics and identifying the types of data.

We explored SMART Model – Strategy, Measure, Analyse, Report, Transform – starting with the definitions of Mission, Vision, Goals, and Strategy.

Vision – Vision describes optimal desired future state. Vision statement provides inspiration for what an organisation wants to achieve in five, ten or more years. For example, Nissan states its vision as: Enriching people’s lives

Mission – Mission answers the following questions: How will you get there?, What an organisation does, who it does for and how it does. Mission focuses on shorter time frame, e.g., 1 to 3 years. Staying with the same example, Nissan’s expresses its mission as “Nissan provides unique and innovative automotive products and services that deliver superiour, maeaurable values to all stakeholders in allliance with Renault”

Goal – A goal smaller than the mission, executed in short term.

Strategy – Strategy describes how to achieve a goal. Strategy comes from thoughtfully constructed plan or method.

Role of Analytics Consultant

According to a survey of the data analysts, almost all the analysts (99%) “Inform” their clients by answering “what happened?” question using the data. 30% of the consultants diagnise and give answers to “Why did something happen?”. Around 13% of them provide predictive analysis that indicates what will happen. Only 3% can give prescriptive suggestions on what shall a company do based on the data.

Types of Data & Privacy

The data in a company falls into different categories:

  • Based on the format : Structured or Unstructured
  • Based on location of the data: Internal to the company or external data source.
  • Fast or Slow depending on generation or accumulation speed.

When dealing with the data, Data privacy one of the primary concerns European Union has strict laws related to data privacy, website has some relevant information :

Organisational Behaviour

The main topic for this session centred around Employee Engagement. The topics discussed included how to keep employees motivated, and why should a company focus on employee engagement. Prof. Patrick shared some surveys on employee engagement details across the globe: Japan has the lowest engagement across the globe (UWES). We also discussed burn-out in the employees and how to handle it.

Guest Lectures by Doug Baillie

Doug Baillie from Unilever, gave two guest lectures as part of the Organisational Behaviour sessions. He recently retired from Unilever where he served as Chief HR officer during the last 5 years. He worked at Unilever for 38 years, practically his entire career. During that time he worked in South Africa, India, UK, Australia and the Netherlands.

He gave two sessions – first one about the leadership challenges in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world explaining how the role of leadership at a company impacts the outside world. In his second session he explained his own personal leadership journey, highlighting the lessons and suggestions he has for us.

Personal Leadership Journey:

  1. Always be the best one
  2. Discipline, Trust, Teamwork – It is better to give away trust.
  3. Always do what you say you will
  4. Leadership is about serving other people
  5. Be aware of the culture
  6. Have a ‘can do’ attitude
  7. It is never too late to learn something new

Leadership Advice:

  • The buck stops with you.
  • Check your body language, not just your words.
  • Recruit and Keep the best in the team.
  • Look out for oxygen thieves.
  • Never bad mouth the past.
  • Listening and Visibility are very important.
  • Top position can get quite lonely.
  • Relax up (the hierarchy) and stop stressing down (the reports).
  • Empowerment serves as a great signal.
  • As a line manager, you won the talent agenda, not the HR.
  • You can never communicate enough.
  • Look out for external risks.
  • Always, Always, Always win with integrity.
  • Don’t forget to have fun.

Team Representative Meetings

I joined the meeting from my team. Karim Jazzar, our Director of Executive MBA program, chaired the meeting to get the feedback from the students. The teams expressed some concerns about how course deadlines and interesting discussions about different professors’ teaching methodology. From our team, we had fairly positive feedback so far. We appreciated the effort by the management to get our ongoing feedback.


We finished and submitted our team assignment for Organisational Behaviour. We analysed the effectiveness of new Disney Animation System’s restructure worked after Pixar’s acquisition, exploring the cultural differences, team structure etc.

In the next post, I’ll add the notes from Series 5 classes, so keep reading!