Helpful Tips for MBA Students

I was fortunate when I entered the MBA program that I had transferred directly from a bachelor's completion program at CSUCI. Even with that, it still did not change the fact that most of my professional life was working with technology. The courses I had taken before I entered the bachelor's completion program were geared towards computer science.

So far, in the MBA program, every class has three similar characteristics: writing, group projects and presentation. Here are few things that will be helpful:

  • Look into Grammarly. Remember what I stated about writing? Not only are you expected to write, you are expected write with proper grammar. Your grades may suffer not because of the content, but because of the presentation level of writing. Grammarly also has a plagiarism checker. It cost about $140 per year, and it is worth every penny.

  • You need to be aware of what plagiarism is. Grammarly includes a plagiarism checker. This blog post was written 100% off my head. Yet the plagiarism check at the time of the check stated that this blog post was 23% unoriginal. Scary eh?

  • In spite of all the free alternatives, Microsoft word still rules. I have tried to use other programs to do my homework. However, it just was a waste of time. Word and Excel will make your life comfortable.

  • Learn APA format. Although some Instructors will allow you to to use any format, APA format is the format for business papers. An excellent resource is the Purdue Online Writing Lab. As an MBA student, you can leave the abstract section out.

  • Learn a collaboration suite. Remember that you will be doing a group assignment? Most of your fellow students will not live near you. If you are like me, you may have a full-time job. Google docs is excellent. It has all the features that you want in a collaborative suite. Lately, I have been using Microsoft Live's OneDrive instead. Since OneDrive is closer to Microsoft Office suite, I find that I get more buy in with my group partners.

  • Learn a presentation software. Every class you take as a CSUCI MBA student will have a presentation. As much as I like Prezi, I have reverted back to PowerPoint. My issue with Prezi is not that it is bad. On the contrary, it is an excellent presentation software. My issue is that it takes me four times as long to create a presentation that looks proper. PowerPoint is the standard and time is one thing that you cannot waste.

  • Look into a project management software. Originally I was using Trello. Currently, I am using Asana. Trello is an excellent program, but it is is not for me. I am more task oriented. I wished I knew about Asana when I started in the BS completion program. Asana would have made my life easier.

  • You need to be aware of what a case study format is. You will be doing quite a few two to three-page case studies, mostly from Harvard Business Review. The format is simply write an overview, analyze, make recommendations. Where beginning MBA students get into trouble is that they will confuse analysis with writing a summary. In a case study, an overview, is at most three paragraphs. The bulk of the case study is an analysis. If you are not sure, ask.

Academic Blog

The concept of static web generators caught my attention one day. While researching the concept, I ran into a site with a web page titled: Use Jekyll for Your Academic Site. The site had a link titled: 6 blog tips for busy academics. Well, between those two sites, I have decided to give blogging as a MBA student a try . They gave pretty good arguments on why a graduate student should have a personal accademic blog.

Currently, I have a rough format for the site. I think I have procrastinated enough for tonight. I still need to finish my final for BUS 540 that is due Tuesday September 9th.

Back to work for me.

Rebuilding the blog

Well, I can't help myself. I have to try something new and am giving up on Wordpress. Instead, I am going to use a static web creator. There is nothing wrong with Wordpress. I just see so many more benefits of static web sites. Only issue is that I do need to move my content over. Plus editing is currently in a Virtual Box

Benefits are:

  • No Mysql backend
  • No PHP
  • HTML is much more Secure
  • One less application layer to worry about.
  • I may be able to host on S3
  • No more tweaks to make it fast.
  • I don't have to use a free or paid WP hosting plan.
  • As with any site that is self-hosted, you own all rights to the content. None of this "Right to use your content royalty free in perpetuity"

Of the Static generators, I have tried Pelican, and now Jekyel. Pelican appealed to my python programmer side of me. However, whatever is simple and one will do, is always the best.

Still need to do updates, however, my chores and MBA studies are getting the way. I have to leave the blog with things to do. Also, I have my business site to redo, and my college website to do. I probably will be using nanoc for my business site.


This semester has been an education in plagiarism. As a student, it is important to be aware of how plagiarism is defined. It is one pothole that is easy to fall into even if you are trying your best to avoid it. The old saw that you cannot be called on for plagiarism if you sight your material is not correct. The rule that I was told was that if your work contained more than 30% material that was similar, wither it was cited or not, is considered plagiarized.  Two or more sentences was  major plagiarism. A big shock to me was recycling your own work with citing is considered plagiarism.
My advice, as a student: subscribe to a plagiarism checker.  This post is considered 5% unoriginal by mechanical means.

Zabbix mysql tunning

Over the past six months, I have search search to find how to make my Zabbix installation work well. As it was, nobody wanted to use it because it was too slow. I was about to move to postgres which was something I did not want to do.

Of all the changes made, these two seemed to work the best:

  • Innodb_buffer_pool_size = 512MB</li>
  • Innodb_log_file_size = 256MB</li>
    For Innodb_log_file_size I am using  1G as the value.

    A good read:

Geek Poetry

A friend sent this to me. A fun bit of poetry:



Tiger, Tiger burning bright
Like a geek who works all night
What new-fangled bit or byte
Could ease the hacker's weary plight?

To the most despised collections' cast
We'll bid a fond farewell at last
With generics' burning spear
The need for cast will disappear

While Iterators have their uses
They sometimes strangle us like nooses
With enhanced-for's deadly ray
Iterator's kept at bay

When from the collections ints are drawn
Wrapper classes make us mourn
When Tiger comes, we'll shed no tears
We'll autobox them in the ears

The int-enum will soon be gone
Like a foe we've known too long.
With type safe-enum's mighty power
Our foe will bother us no more

And from the constant interface
We shall inherit no disgrace
With static import at our side
Our joy will be unqualified

As for noble metadata
I'll have to sing its praises later
Its uses are so numerous
To give their due, I'd miss the bus

O joyless nights, o joyless days
Our programs cluttered with arrays
With varargs here, we needn't whine;
We'll simply put the args inline

Tiger, Tiger burning bright
Like a geek who works all night
What new-fangled bit or byte
Could ease the hacker's weary plight?

Moodle SQL for users online

This works for Postgresql:

select count(*) from mdl_user where
mdl_user.lastaccess > (date_part('epoch'::text, now())::bigint - 300);


select firstname,lastname  from mdl_user where
mdl_user.lastaccess > (date_part('epoch'::text, now())::bigint - 300)
order by 2,1;

Moodle SQL

Handy queries for Moodle.

Count number of users who are are in courses:

select count(distinct ra.userid) from mdl_role_assignments ra,mdl_context c
where and c.contextlevel=50

Show users who are users in Moodle, but not  in a class:

select * from mdl_user where not exists (select * from mdl_user_lastaccess where =;

Number of users who have classes:

select count(distinct ra.userid) from mdl_role_assignments ra,mdl_context c
where and c.contextlevel=50</div>