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Oxford MBA

Elective courses

Applications of Game Theory

Taught by Arhat Virdi

Game theory is central to the toolkit of any successful business school graduate. It is a powerful component of the armoury in analyses and resolution of business-oriented problems, rather than an esoteric preserve of mathematically-minded social scientists. It also helps to develop a rigorous attitude in approaches to problem-solving matters.

This elective is intended to attract those members of the MBA student community interested in developing a more thoroughgoing understanding of game theoretic principles, and more broadly than currently on offer, to assist in their systematic deployment in analyses of business cases. 

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Asset Management

Taught by Ludovic Phalippou

This elective covers foundation principles of Asset Management (briefly) and modern topics in Asset Management.

We study in details three types of assets: Mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and hedge funds. These assets are those that are most debated nowadays and of foremost importance in practice. Most of the material is however applicable to almost all of the other asset classes. 

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Business in China

Taught by Eric Thun

China is one of the most dynamic and rapidly changing business environments in the world today. The size of the domestic marketplace makes it a magnet for foreign business, but it has proven time and again to be an immensely difficult place in which to do business. It is a country in which the business landscape is in a constant state of flux; it is simultaneously undergoing an economic, legal, social and technological transformation. The purpose of this course is to provide a framework for understanding these changes and develop the tools needed to do business in this challenging environment. It is useful not only for those interested in doing business in China, but also for those who are interested in understanding one of the most important drivers of the global economy.

Each week of the course will address a major component of China’s business environment from both a foundational perspective and from a practical perspective. Topics will include the historical relationship between China and foreign business, the relationships between the government and business, the process of economic reform and development, the challenge of reaching the Chinese consumer, the legal context and the competitive challenge that is emerging from China. In each week the readings will include background readings that provide context, readings that focus on the lessons for foreign business and concrete case studies. The intent is to provide you with a rich understanding of today’s China and the knowledge needed to do business in China.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Cases in Finance and Investments

Taught by Andreas Angelopoulos

The purpose of this course is to provide real case and modelling experience to students in the finance and investments areas of:

  • Leverage Finance Theory
  • Distress & Restructuring Theory
  • Project & Infrastructure Finance Theory
  • M&A (Corporate and Financial Sponsors/Private Equity) Theory

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Consulting in Practice

Taught by Brane Kalpic and Alastair Nicholson

This course is intended for MBAs doing Strategic Consulting Projects within the Saïd MBA. It will also be valuable for any MBAs planning to make a career in consulting organisations. Consulting skills will always be needed for most MBAs as they will be engaged in internal projects in their organisations where a consulting approach will be needed. Often these arise on major internal initiatives not only within companies but spreading across to partner organisations.

This course will draw on previous courses taught within the MBA, particularly using strategy, organisational behaviour, and operations management. The skill of presentation, worked examples and dealing with unknowns and selecting data will also be a dominant feature. The course will provide an excellent opportunity to test out models learned earlier in your MBA. It will also be useful to draw on your own experience prior to coming to the MBA within the learning and discussions.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Corporate Turnaround & Business Transformation

Taught by Alastair Nicholson and Steve New

In this course we will be considering the ways in which corporations and public sector organisations attempt to change when they hit trouble. We will look at both successful and unsuccessful cases, and examples from large and small organisations. We begin by thinking about what leads to corporate difficulties in the first place, and consider the way in which turnaround can be designed, enacted and sustained. This is a field in which there are no ‘magic bullets’, but we hope the material covered will help develop your thinking and help you to reflect on your own experiences.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Corporate Valuation

Taught by Ken Okamura and Hans Ozoylev

Managers of firms have many responsibilities. A critical one is ensuring that the firm makes appropriate investment and financial decisions. This course focuses on how to make good decisions. While the course deals with the mechanics of corporate valuation, it is also a course on how to create (and destroy) corporate value.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Digital & Social Media Strategy

Taught by Andrew Stephen

Digital/social platforms present firms with enormous opportunities for creating and enhancing value for both themselves and stakeholders such as customers. How these communications technologies can – and should – be used for strategic value-generating purposes, however, is not straightforward. This course grapples with this challenge, with the primary aim being to help students understand how to unlock the value in digital/social platforms across a variety of business contexts and for a number of markedly different purposes. The role that digital/social platforms can play goes well beyond marketing, or as a new vehicle for (or substitute to) advertising. Thus, this is not, strictly speaking, a “marketing” course. Rather, it is a course about how digital and social media can be used to enhance business value.

By successfully completing this course, students will be well versed in a variety of facets of how digital/social platforms can be used smartly to strategically enhance firm and customer value. Students should also be able to develop a strong digital/social business strategy based on unlocking the value in the interactions enabled by digital/social platforms in the marketplace. Specifically, after completing this course students should be able to do the following:

  • Understand what how established and newer type of digital and social media platforms are impacting how business is done
  • Understand key principles of “social interactivity” in digital/social contexts, as well as the concept of 'always-on connected customers' from psychological and sociological perspectives, and how these principles can be leveraged for strategic value-enhancing purposes
  • Know more about the main digital/social platforms and tools that can be used in business and some best practices
  • See how digital/social platforms can add value beyond marketing or advertising purposes and be able to think innovatively about how digital/social platforms, based on interactivity and connectivity, can be applied to a variety of business contexts and functions
  • Develop a strong, coherent, detailed digital/social media strategy

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Entrepreneurial Finance

Taught by Thomas Hellmann

The last decade has witnessed an explosion of entrepreneurial activity world-wide. As the interest in starting business continues to grow, especially among the younger generations, so does the interest in experimenting with alternative financing models. Whilst he second half of the 20th century witnessed the rise of the US venture capital industry, the 21st century has brought about a proliferation of investment models globally.

In this class students will learn the conceptual foundations for understanding main challenges of financing entrepreneurs, sometimes taking the investors’ and sometimes the entrepreneurs’ perspectives. Students will become familiar with the terminology and institutional background of the industry, and learn about the underlying economic issues. While this course does not aim to provide a comprehensive treatment of financial valuation techniques, it will discuss many of the financial trade-offs that arise in the context of private investment deals, both in terms of valuation and contractual structures. It will also relate these financial trade-offs to the broader strategic decisions made by entrepreneurs and investors. The course is primarily based on a mix of case studies, lectures and a variety of interactive exercises.

The main purpose of this course is to:

1.    Introduce students to the topics of entrepreneurial finance

2.    Expose students to the variety of challenges faced by different types of entrepreneurs, in the process of seeking funding for their entrepreneurial ventures

3.    Challenge students to understand the alternative ways that different investors with different investment models use for sourcing deals, writing contracts or managing portfolios of entrepreneurial investments

4.    Integrate theoretical and applied perspectives for understanding more deeply the practice and structures of entrepreneurial finance

The course is designed for a variety of student interests. It directly addresses the concerns of students wanting to become entrepreneurs in the near or more distant future. It provides tools to those students who want to be active on the investing side, such as working for accelerators, angel groups, venture capital firms or corporate venture organizations. It will also be useful to anyone who expects to be interacting with entrepreneurs and private equity investors, be it as suppliers, accountants, strategic partners, consultants, customers or other. Finally, this course is meant for anybody with a curious mind and a willingness to combine serious analysis with creative thinking.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Financial Crises and Risk Management

Taught by Dimitrios Tsomocos

The course will develop the analytical tools necessary to understand crisis prevention and management, and risk management. The properties and characteristics of risk management techniques will be analysed and related to corporate and sovereign default risk, hedging and trading strategies, regulation and assessing financial stability and systemic risk. Emphasis will be put on applying these techniques on problems emerging in the marketplace.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Financial Market Trading

Taught by Terri Duhon

In this course you will:

  1. Understand financial market products, dynamics and key participants in the context of trading a securities portfolio
  2. Explore different trading styles, investor bases and risk parameters
  3. Design and build an investment portfolio with cash securities and apply leverage and fees
  4. Identify 3 different trade strategies using derivatives (curve trade, relative value trade and options trade)
  5. Understand the moral hazard risk in financial markets

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change.

Global Strategy

Taught by Marc Szepan

The principal aim of this course is to provide managers and entrepreneurs the tools needed to evaluate the opportunities and risks of global expansion and to successfully implement a global strategy. Although levels of global economic integration have increased dramatically over the last three decades, the global economy is far from being perfectly integrated, and the differences between national markets remain critically important. These differences are often the result of non-market factors (such as culture, politics, regulations, and institutional structures) and success in a global economy requires managers to consider both the market and non-market environments in which firms function. Any firm exploring the potential of global markets must consider the ways that the global economy is being shaped by local, state, regional and international actors and the technological, political, and social developments that are likely to define their future. 

Building on the first eight weeks of the core Strategy course, Part I of Global Strategy will provide cognitive frameworks for assessing and implementing a global strategy, both in evaluating whether or not to expand globally and addressing the organizational challenges of implementing strategies across international borders. In Part II we apply these key concepts to challenges from the fastest growing and arguably most challenging part of the global economy—emerging markets. Finally, in Part III we consider the role for corporate diplomacy in an increasingly volatile global environment. We will learn the basics of scenario planning, consider state-owned enterprises and privatization, and tackle the reputational challenges for companies operating in multiple, possibly conflicting regulatory regimes. The future business leaders the tools needed to evaluate the opportunities and risks of global expansion and to successfully implement a global strategy. 

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Leadership: Perspectives from the Humanities

Taught by Pegram Harrison and others

Humanities scholars have been thinking about leadership for nearly 3,000 years; we can probably learn a thing or two from them. And Oxford has been a centre for the study of the humanities for nearly 900 years, so there are few better places to draw on the richness and depth of scholarship into how leadership works. The work of historians, philosophers, classicists, as well as the study of literature and artefacts from diverse cultures and traditions, can shed light on most challenges that concern business school students, in ways that will complement other courses. Unique to Oxford, this elective’s course leaders and the University’s humanities scholars will offer insights into the nature of leadership in different contexts.

Eight sessions, each lead by a different humanities subject expert will be grouped into four modules:

Literature

  • The world novel and human rights: Postcolonial literature
  • Shakespeare’s Coriolanus on page, stage and film

History

  • Christopher Wren in Oxford
  • China’s past, present and future

Philosophy

  • Philosophy of mind: Impediments to free choice
  • Moral philosophy: Issues for the ethical leader

Performance

  • Leading a performance: choral conducting

  • Persuading your audience: rhetoric and speech making

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Lean Six Sigma

Taught by Matthias Holweg

No information currently available.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Leveraging the Power of Networks

Taught by Felix Reed-Tsochas

The idea of a network provides a powerful concept that can give us valuable insights into the context in which businesses operate. Individuals, organisations, and other institutional actors are all embedded in a complex web of relationships, which determine access to resources, information, and markets. The success of actors is often shaped by the networks that they belong to, and the position that they occupy in those networks. Similarly, the performance of groups and organisations frequently can be related to the overall pattern of ties between their constituent actors. Hence, both from the perspective of the individual actor and that of the organisations that they belong to, considerable advantage can be gained from mapping and understanding the structure of these networks.

Tools of network analysis, grounded both in the well-established tradition of social network analysis and the new field of network science, provide a large toolkit of quantitative techniques that allow the behaviour and performance of actors to be understood in terms of the structure of relationships to other actors, as well as individual actor attributes. Network methods have also experienced rapid growth in recent years because the increasing use of new information and communication technology (ICT) such as mobile payment technologies, instant messaging, and online social networks to mediate interactions and transactions between individuals and organisations gives rise to large-scale network data. The analysis of these datasets requires novel techniques, but holds the promise of delivering a far better understanding of how interactions between actors can give rise to collective outcomes that would otherwise be difficult to anticipate. Concrete practical examples of real-world networks that will be covered in the course include communication and knowledge networks within organisations, innovation networks connecting different organisations, financial and ownership networks, online social networks and supply networks in manufacturing.

The objective of the course is to provide an understanding of how network methods can generate novel insights, when and where they are likely to be most useful and how they can inform managerial decision-making. 

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Marketing Analytics

Taught by Andrew Stephen

Forecasting customer behaviour is a critically important activity for firms. Recent advances in statistics have led to a number of analytical methods that are not only effective in explaining and predicting patterns in customer behaviour, but are also easy to implement by a practicing manager. These models use the basic building blocks from probability theory to offer behaviourally plausible perspectives on what people buy, when they buy it, and how much they buy. As more customer-focused data becomes available, the specification and interpretation of these models can become a regular part of the sophisticated manager’s toolkit.

The principal focus of this course is on inferring unobserved “types” of customers, and using these inferences to predict what they will do in the future. This is a 'hands-on' course, in which students learn to apply probability models to a wide variety of business applications, such as forecasting adoption of new products, analysing media usage, targeting marketing activities, and predicting financial performance. Students will not only learn how to use these models effectively, but also why they work so much better than older, more established statistical tools. The emphasis is on developing good modelling technique, as opposed to manipulating large datasets. This experience creates a more general understanding of how to work with real data, and empowers students to examine alternative interpretations of data with an informed and critical eye.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring

Taught by Colin Mayer

This elective will examine mergers and acquisitions and the restructuring process. The purpose is to give you real insights into the takeover process its motives, strategy, regulation, integration, valuation, tactics, deal making, shareholder engagement and relationship to ownership around the world. The course will evaluate the success and failure of deals and establish what makes for success

The course will comprise case studies, lectures and each week there will be practitioner presentations by senior people from Deutsche Bank, Hermes, Legal & General, McKinsey, Rothschild and Slaughter & May. 

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Negotiations: Strategy and Practice

Taught by Owen Darbishire

This popular, practical elective teaches the principles of negotiation and how to improve your technique. Through simulations you will learn how to develop skills across different negotiation experiences and how to build your own personal style and capabilities.

Topics include:

  • Claiming value
  • Creating value

  • Individual style

  • Multi-issue negotiations

  • Multi-party negotiations

  • Gender

  • Coalitions

  • National culture

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Political Economy for Business Leaders

Taught by Ken Okamura and Liz David-Barrett

This elective is designed to provide students with an understanding of:

  • economic data and how to interpret it
  • the link between economics and politics
  • the influence of politics on business and the economy
  • how to influence politics

You will learn the rules of economy, including what is GDP, how it is calculated, what its shortcomings and benefits are, and how to predict the future.

You will also learn the importance of politics and how to “play the game”, including how policy is formed, how to influence it, and why you don’t have to pay to play.

The course incorporates extensive use of case studies and real world examples to investigate:

  • how governments form policy
  • who needs to be influenced and when
  • why policies change (and don’t change)
  • why money isn’t a prerequisite for policy debate

The course is relevant to investment bankers, management consultants, business managers, professionals, entrepreneurs, NGO employees and social entrepreneurs.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

 

Private Equity

Taught by Ludovic Phalippou

The private equity course opens up one of the more complex areas of financial management. Private equity investments are illiquid and hard to value and those who manage them often become engaged in the decision-making of the companies involved, all of which makes practical skills as important as theoretical knowledge.

Assessed through four case studies, two spreadsheet assignments and a group presentation, the course demands that students constantly apply the material they have been presented.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Project Management

Taught by Janet Smart

In this course, we will have a strong focus on the strategic. Though we will often delve in to project management tools and fundamentals, it will always be with the goal of developing big-picture managerial intuition—about a project’s role in the larger strategic aims of the organization; about how the project fits with other projects; about maintaining awareness of the customer; about navigating uncertainty; among many others. While every project has a unique context, there are important commonalities that span most projects. It is these commonalities that permit us to explore project management generally. In this course we will examine a range of contexts – e.g., outsourcing, product development, geographic expansion, construction, merger integration – in order to develop general capability in managing projects and the people who manage them.

The objective of this course is to prepare students so that they have the ability to effectively manage projects and groups of projects. The goal is to equip individuals across any career concentration, rather than extend the expertise of project-management specialists. We will cover both quantitative and qualitative aspects of project management.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Real Estate

Taught by Andrew Baum

The Real Estate elective at Saïd Business School links the world of investment theory and analysis to the business of real estate investment and finance. The academic basis of the elective is in financial economics and the content focus is international. Our objective is to provide an insight into this global industry and provide foundation knowledge and analytical skills to support a career that focuses on or touches real estate.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Reputation and Leadership

Taught by Rupert Younger and Rowena Olegario

The principal aim of this course is to provide students with an assessment of how reputations are created, sustained, destroyed and rebuilt. Over the last decade, reputation has become one of the top 10 risks evaluated by senior management. Companies that enjoy strong reputations gain competitive advantage in labour markets, financial markets, consumer propositions and supply chain effectiveness. Individuals with good reputations get paid more, and have more successful careers. Equally clear is the fact that individuals and companies that fail to understand reputation operate with a significant handicap in their chosen fields. Yet reputation is not the property of the individual or the corporation; by definition it consists of the perceptions held by others. This course aims to equip students with an understanding of how they as individuals and as managers should consider and engage with their reputations to achieve success in business.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Rethinking Business

Taught by Alex Nicholls and Marc Ventresca

Commercial activity today engages renewed societal challenges and opportunities, that rethink the standard institutions of Western markets, ownership and interests. Indeed it was a relatively brief historical century, when ‘business’ stood apart from the social in all its institutional, cultural and economic complexity. Today we experience the emergence of Capitalism 3.0 and a variety of experiments in business models, value creation through networks, rise of organizer consumer movements, innovation in venture finance and post-2008 basic challenges to the institutional foundations of economics, finance and commerce. Rethinking Business explores these new models of business in the context of the shifting linkages between markets, government and communities.

These changing configurations establish different conditions for value creation, for innovation and for successful enterprise; they are also associated with alternative forms of human purpose, governance and social provision.

Specific topics include:

  • comparative capitalisms
  • social enterprise
  • alternative economies, innovation and social movements
  • rethinking governance and policy
  • promising, emerging exemplar cases (off-grid energy, innovation finance, frugal innovation)

As a result, the academic approach will be multi-disciplinary with applied examples and cases from across the world as well as several learning formats and classroom activities.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Social Finance

Taught by Alex Nicholls

The objective of this course is to explore the nature and range of the global markets for capital for social enterprises and socially motivated businesses. The academic approach will be multi-disciplinary, touching on quantitative financial analysis, strategy, organisational behaviour and social and ethical considerations.

The course takes the form of lectures, discussions and case studies. As well as academic analysis and framing of the issues the course includes a range of guest speakers from relevant organizations. Students will complete the class knowing the issues, debates and techniques in this field, but also the key “movers and shakers” and the firms and organisations they have built or represent.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Strategy & Innovation

Taught by Marc Ventresca

Strategy & Innovation (S&I) focuses on the interface of nascent markets, organisational capabilities for innovation, and the strategic management of emerging technologies. The class is not about a specific kind of technology or industry, nor is it only about commercial innovation. The course design and content welcomes students from a broad range of skill sets, career aspirations, and professional expertise who are interested in strategic management in fast-moving markets: People who want to start entrepreneurial ventures, who are interested in setting strategy in dynamic markets, who want to promote social and technology innovation, who will consult, and/or who will work in VC or PE.

The S&I course introduces concepts and tools for assessing, analysing, and intervening in entrepreneurial and growth markets and in emerging industry spaces. The focus is on linking concepts with actionable skills. The reading and discussion grapple with fundamental questions: 

  • Why do successful incumbent firms often struggle or even fail over time? 
  • What is the impact of technological innovation on market dynamics?
  • What to build, develop and curate nascent markets?
  • How to analyse the (policy) arc from invention to impact?
  • How to identify and improve the firm innovation system? 
  • How do challenger firms and technologies disrupt incumbent ecosystems?
  • What can models of innovation offer for emerging services and digital industries?

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Supply Chain Management

Taught by Matthias Holweg and Steve New

The aim of this course is for students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the key areas of supply chain management: the management of supplier relations, the control of information and material flows to avoid dynamic distortions, and the prevention and recovery from supply chain disruptions and breakdowns.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

 

The Nature of the Corporation

Taught by Colin Mayer

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the role of the corporation in contemporary society and the promotion of responsible business. 

The corporation is one of the most important institutions in our lives. It clothes, feeds and houses us. It employs us and invests our savings. It is the source of economic prosperity and the growth of nations around the world. It is central to business school education and your future careers. 

This course brings together material from many different parts of the MBA and MFE programmes to give students a thorough understanding of the purpose, objectives, ownership, governance, financing and problems confronting the corporation. Each week there will be presentations by some of the most inspirational leaders in business.

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

Understanding and Innovating in the Collaborative Economy

Taught by Rachel Botsman

The objectives of the course are to:

  1. Understand how the collaborative economy (also commonly referred to as the ‘sharing economy’) is disrupting business models across sectors, changing how we live, work, bank, travel, learn and consume
  2. Learn about how the best known start-ups in the space, namely Airbnb and Uber, have scaled so fast, and understand the challenges they face in taking on legacy industries
  3. Understand the next wave of ventures such as The Food Assembly, Transferwise and UpCounsel, and how they apply collaborative principles in ways that are set to change industries from food to banking to professional services
  4. Explore the impact the collaborative economy has on the foundations of society; including the future of work, how we think about trust, and the design of regulatory structures
  5. Discuss the challenges incumbents face in terms of internal capabilities and culture that may hold them back in the collaborative era and discuss how might they respond
  6. Acquire practical knowledge of the unique challenges and opportunities of building start-ups in the space

This course pairs academic readings, cases (including Airbnb) and frameworks with pragmatic, real-time input from successful entrepreneurs around the world. Monday classes will be focused on understanding key principles that underpin the collaborative economy and will be explored through readings, visualized concepts, debates and video material. Wednesday classes will be focused on practical learning on the unique opportunities and challenges of building businesses in the collaborative economy. In each Tuesday class, we’ll be joined by a guest entrepreneur to draw lessons from how they have built their own ventures. 

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

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Electives

Through elective courses we offer you the opportunity to choose from a wide range of subjects that will enhance your CV for certain career avenues or may just interest you intellectually. Courses are often taught by academics and industry practitioners working in partnership to ensure that cutting edge research is combined with relevant real-life application. Electives on offer are subject to change from year to year depending on demand.

 

The electives listed relate to those offered to the MBA 2016/17 cohort and all details are subject to change. 

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