Exposed to risk?

For more than a year now many companies have suddenly realised an exposure to risk related to the economic environment. Now that we see the emergence of swine flu and the possibility of a pandemic it is now that companies need to review their contingency plans. The sad fact is that many companies don’t have one, or a very detailed one at least, but everyday events can easily upset the continuity of a business. Do you know what are these events that could affect your business? Have you ever assessed the potential impact of these events on your business? Can you somehow reduce the impact of such events? And what will you do if it happens? These are the very basic steps in continuity planning. This is good advice at any point in time but it is in times of alerts such as the swine flu that we become more aware of this.

At this point in time we do not know whether this swine flu will turn into a pandemic but the signs are there. What we do need to keep in mind is that although it is scary it is the unknowns of it all that make us react to this situation and the big headlines in the news just serve to make it even more scary. On a business level you can see a few travel related businesses having been hit on the share price. Luckily we have had some recent painful lessons, just think about SARS and bird flu. These lessons have become obvious in the reporting of swine flu, just spot the world-wide collaboration both in the reporting of cases and in research.

Ouch!

Yesterday saw the presentation of Alistair Darling’s budget, a budget that sees Britain sink into about £1 trillion in debt next year. Yes! Ouch! In his budget speech Mr Darling was forced to admit that his previously predicted ‘mild downturn’, to the tune of 1.25%, would in fact be a plunge of about 3.5%. Double ouch! The scary bit is that the IMF shortly after announced that Mr Darling had got his numbers wrong. Mr Darling’s forecast is based on an assumption of growth in Britain for next year to be between 1.0% and 1.5%. Wrong said IMF and predicted a shrinkage of the economy of 4 – 4.5%. Triple ouch! So brace yourself and hope for the best.

It is easy to start blaming the bankers and their big bonuses and those who have failed to give the full picture when advising people on their finances. But with the risk of being called a killjoy, or worse, can I ask you to look closer to home? Did you max your credit card and maybe several of them? Did you live the high living because you expected that the home that you bought at an already inflated price would continue to rise and thus pay for it? Did you take out a mortgage (maybe you were advised that it would be OK by less than frank advisers) that was five or six times your annual salary? Or more? Well then you have contributed to the situation. Collective Britain has overspent for a long time and now we pay the price.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

I’m back

Sorry to have deserted you for some time. As you know I would be off for a week (and wasn’t that nice!) but then I had to go to London most of last week so I never really had time to check in.

Among other things I attended the MBA Fair at the Thistle Marble Arch in London – maybe I met you? I certainly spoke to a number of interesting and interested candidates and if you were one of them then I hope to see you in Edinburgh in September.

I was just checking the Google group for incoming MBA students. It’s good to see the networking there. It is by invitation only so if you have accepted a place on one of our MBA programmes and didn’t receive your invitation then please let me know. I do check daily but could have missed a new name on the list.

The funny thing is that it looks as it is snowing outside my window. It isn’t. It’s just the petals falling of the cherry trees that I mentioned before. I did get that picture by the way and will upload it later.

A week off…

Yes, I’m taking next week off. Before you start envying me then let me tell you that I’ll pack up work to take with me.

It is rather quiet in the building. Many of the MBA IB students have now left for their exchanges. Fang-Chu, Scot and Michele are already hard at it at ESSEC while Carlos is leaving for ENPC today. Poor thing, he has homework for Monday. Kay left for Nanyang Wednesday and the rest can allow themselves a bit more of a leisurely pace. For now anyway. It is a fact that those joining our MBA in International Business (the IB in daily jargon) have to be even better a juggling several items at once. Students on the full-time programme are mostly working from home these days, looking at the job market and the case studies for the next batch of courses.

Spring has come to Edinburgh. The sun is lovely and soon the Japanese cherry trees in Bristo Square, just outside my window, will be in full bloom. If I can remember then I’ll take a photo and add when I’m back.