A bit more quiet

It’s time for my Christmas break. Can’t say I won’t be here at all but probably not a lot until after 5 January 2009.


Eddie and his PhD

Some time ago I promised to add a few words about Eddie Cochrane’s PhD. Eddie as you may remember, together with Merri Scotney, is in charge of our MBA Career and Personal Development Programme.

The working title of Eddie’s PhD is Do self awareness management techniques result in improved business performance?. In this he wants to explore whether results from techniques promoting such things as emotional intelligence actually have tangible results. This of course is of essential importance. Emotional intelligence is a tricky concept but basically it is related to realise/monitor both your own and other people’s emotions so that you can you this insight in a proactive manner. Emotions get in the way of objective business all the time (if indeed we are always to only conduct objective business?). Just think about the concept of Emotional Finance, which I’ve mentioned previously. Thus an insight into emotional intelligence becomes of key importance to the running of businesses. Eddie says that “At the moment I am exploring public statements of results with academic standpoints and examining the disparity as an extensive literature exercise.” It is obvious that he enjoys this.

Yes, undertaking a PhD study is very enjoyable – a lot of hard work but also immensely satisfying. Those were the days.

David Milne new member of our Advisory Board

The School is very pleased to announced the appointment of David Milne, Co-founder of Wolfson Microelectonics, to the School’s Advisory Board.  One of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs, David Milne is a prominent and valuable addition to our Advisory Board.

I would also like to mention that recruiters can access MBA student profiles on-line.  We have many excellent candidates so this could be an opportunity for you to secure one of these for your business.  The site is searchable so you can easily find your candidate and contact him or her directly.

Otherwise, the School is very quiet these days.  Don’t get me wrong – everybody is working very hard, but quietly, revising for the exams.  It’s Finance today.  After that only one more exam to go Friday before the class breaks up for a well-deserved Christmas break.

Bailout, Madoff and other stories…

Those of you who read my last entry about the US car industry will know that it was just too early to include the news that the White House was reported to consider using some of the money set aside for the rescue of the US banking industry to bail out the carmakers.

In some offices this has probably been completely overshadowed by the news of the fraud by US trader Bernard Madoff. It would appear that the surprisingly large and very consistent payoffs to investors did in fact stem from funds paid in by new investors. As a consequence major banks around the world have been hit. As have a number of investment funds and charities. Do I hear the word “regulation” boom through cyberspace?

I use Firefox and I’m glad because it would seem that a problem has been detected with IE. It has been suggested that this problem would allow criminals to take control of your computers and steal your passwords. As a consequence user have been advised to switch to another browser. It is probably well worth keeping an eye on developments here. Especially with all the on-line Christmas shopping taking place these days.

So what’s happening at the Edinburgh MBA? We have exams this week as well. Last one is Friday and after that we will meet for a reception to celebrate the end of exams Semester 1. Exciting options is beckoning in January but I do hope that all ‘my’ students will take the opportunity to have a good break over the Festive season. Semester 1 here is really tough but it is well worth the efforts.

Friday 19th is my last day here and I’m looking forward to the break. Christmas will of course be very different this year but it’s always good to see the family.

No bailout

The expected bailout of the US car manufacturers didn’t happen, making bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler a very real prospect. The bailout failed to materialise when unions refused the ensuing substantial cuts in workers pay. OK so what are the consequences of this, if the Government does not step in? Obviously a very large number of GM and Chrysler employees without a job but it doesn’t end there. The whole supply chain will be affected with job losses throughout, not to mention that the people who have been laid off will have less money to spend on shopping, hair cuts, cinema tickets and all the other little things we treat ourselves to. No definitely a difficult situation. As I have confessed before, I didn’t expect it to go quite as bad but then again, I’m not an analyst.

Much closer to home, Woolworths have now launched their “closing down sale”. I saw it in the news last night. People who had headed for the sales came out, grumpy, because not all prices were slashed to the bone. Sorry to be so outspoken but what about a little consideration for all these people who will now lose their jobs?

Yes, I know this is all about doom and gloom so let me point you in the direction of this cartoon on the Spectator’s website very much relevant to the festive season – and the crunch. Check it out now before it disappears.

Cholera strikes

I’m sure many have kept an eye on the developments in Zimbabwe; most recently the cholera that has hit the country and that threatens chaos to Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa. A whole district of South Africa has now been declared a disaster area. This is being done to focus the relief efforts and in order to be able to direct funds to the troubled area. This of course is only dealing with symptoms, not the cause. Let us hope that a solution to this troubled country can be found soon.

I do of course keep an eye on the effect of the credit crunch in Denmark. Nationalbanken (the Danish National Bank) estimate that the Danish economy is too strong to be severely affected. This is seen to be caused by a healthy balance between employment, salary increases and taxation. But here as in other countries, I think it is a case of “wait and see”.

On a lighter note was the report on 5 December of ‘teddy-nauts’ seen in space. Yes, it is true, see for yourself.

So much brain power

Exams on the full-time and IB MBA begin tomorrow, it’s Statistics first. I’m sure you can imagine the amount of studying that’s going on – the syndicate rooms are full of people revising together and sharing their knowledge. The building is oozing with brain power. This is good! It is exactly the culture we want to further here at the University of Edinburgh Business School. With an average of 8 years work experience you just need to multiply with the class size to find the number of years of accumulated work experience that’s available for sharing. Then it does become rather obvious how much can be picked up from the class.

That is also the reason why I find the director job very rewarding because I can tap into this knowledge as well. I can learn about companies I never heard of before and I can find out what is the appropriate way of entering a new business relationship in far away countries that I have never visited.

Later today, we have an internship session for the IB class. ‘Old’ IB students are kindly sharing their experience from finding and undertaking internships. It’s just going to be very informal with students speaking to students. That’s the best way.