Gerhard Mulder






Not for Profit


Jan 2017 - Sep 2018

By Gerhard Mulder

Plutus – an EMBA group project

On Friday morning we received our first assignment for group work from Analytics Professor James Taylor. We received several data tables with the rather simple sounding task to use multiple regression analysis to prove whether there is a pattern of gender discrimination at a bank. The bank is named after the Greek god of wealth, Plutus. Our group consists of six students, but we are supposed to do the assignment in groups of two or three.

That evening four of us locked ourselves up in one of the conference rooms upstairs, determined to bang this assignment out as quickly as possible and then start drinking. The group of four consists of three gifted quants, and me. I do alright on stats and finance, but I cannot pride myself with having an engineering degree, or any of the other STEM qualifications.

As soon as the laptops opened something funny happened … my fellow group members went absolutely  bonkers on the data. Soon enough the lognormals, pivot tables, discretized variables, squared variables, 1/x variables, many multiplications of variables (squared and not squared) were thrown around. I did not recognize half of this stuff …

It was pretty challenging to keep up with this rather high level stats talk. By now it felt like we were going to model the Big Bang and call in the Large Hadron Collider. Unfortunately, rather than spending the rest of the night going out and be happy about our first finished project, our first assignment took much longer than expected.

My STEM gifted co-conspirator and I spent the rest of the week going back and forth and spending a lot of time modeling and writing. This took a lot longer than we both expected. But I learned as much in this week as I learned in class.

Part of what we will learn in the next 20 months of the Oxford EMBA is how teams will work together, in both theory and in practice. On paper this looks easy, but reality can be hard. Teams that are diverse and entertain multiple points of view produce the best results. My partner and I ended up submitting a paper that I would not have been able to produce on my own. All in all this was a great learning experience on many fronts. More to come ….

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