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Opus Magnum Top 10 of 2012: #9

As the new year starts off, we’re looking back at the ten most popular posts on Opus Magnum from 2012. Today we’re at #9, a fitting post for the new year, too: 5 Habits That Can Create Lasting Positive Change (and Success). This post was about a TED Talk from psychologist Shawn Achor who argued that happiness inspires productivity.

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GMAT: Take Small Steps to Conquer the GMAT Quantitative Section

By Dan Jackson, M.B.A. ’12

Thinking about an MBA?  Wondering about some of the first steps in the application process?  If you have not yet started to research specific business schools, a good place to begin is by taking the GMAT Exam.  The GMAT is required as part of the admissions process at most MBA schools in the U.S. and is composed of four different sections, Quantitative, Verbal, Analytical Writing, and Integrative Reasoning.  The Graduate Management Admission Councils’ (GMAC) website states that the purpose of the GMAT Exam is to predict the success of students in the first year of graduate management education.  It is also a consistent and objective way to compare aspiring students worldwide.

Each section of the test will require you to brush up on material that you may or may not have learned at some point during your formative education years, but in the event that you are a little rusty or have no clue where to begin, especially in the quantitative section, consider checking out Khan Academy.

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biztube, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

5 Habits That Can Create Lasting Positive Change (and Success) #TED

From TED: We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.

When our brains are at “happy” that positivity will ripple out to others and can increase productivity. Here are Achor’s 5 simple changes/habits that can create lasting positive change: Continue Reading

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BizTube: Market Research

All I Needed to Know about Business I Learned from YouTube

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This video has been overtaking my life in recent weeks, thanks to the many friends I have on Facebook who see fit to post it with various and supporting exclamations. Once again, YouTube, the source of all knowledge, has taught me an important business principle. In this case, the video is a great example of what not to do.

The creators of the video introduce it as an ethnographic market research project, though they don’t call it that, attempting to determine if men and women can be “just friends.” However, I noticed significant flaws in their research methodology in this video. Continue Reading

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BizTube: Capitalism and Monopolies

All I Needed to Know about Business I Learned from YouTube

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Before you curse me for wasting one minute and thirty seconds of your life, allow me to explain the business lesson learned from this, um, inspiring video.

Those of you in the Minneapolis area, did you ever shop at the local grocery, Almsted’s Supervalu Foods, in St. Louis Park? If not, you have missed your opportunity because in September 2011 it was ruthlessly squashed out of the market by the big, mean chain store superpower Rainbow, a Roundy’s subsidiary. Other large grocery chains have also been accused of such Godzilla-esque behavior, but no company enjoys the loathing of a portion of the American population like Walmart, the biggest monster of all.

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BizTube: Know the Marketplace

All I Needed to Know about Business I Learned from YouTube

Let’s say you are a large Japanese car company. You know you have the superior product. Your worldwide reputation for quality and longevity are unmatched. Your mileage is better than your competitors. You focused on what the market wanted, investing early into “green(er)” technology in cars. Because sales are high, your employees’ morale is excellent. You don’t have to battle labor unions so your profits are greater than your competitor. You are the larger, stealthier older brother monkey who has slowly snuck up on the smaller monkey.

The poor little American car company is sitting on the edge of the pond, surveying the bleak outlook. Sales are down and negotiating thousands of severance packages is time-consuming and expensive, and your finances are a mess.

Late in the first decade of the 21st century, this was the automobile marketplace. Here is where the analogy to today’s video ends, however. Due to a couple of costly recalls for Toyota and some restructuring and rallying from GM, the opportunity to shove the smaller monkey into the pond passed, and GM maintained its status of having the highest annual automobile sales worldwide for over three quarters of a century.

All of this amounts to a simple fact. When you’re in a competitive business situation, be attuned to the marketplace. There might come a time when with one small push, you can become the industry leader. Or if you’re on the edge, be aware. Change your course by cutting costs, extending brands and lines. Don’t sit still.

(We’ll not discuss the mama monkey and how she could represent the government bailout.)  Know your marketplace or you might get wet!