The secret of Irn-Bru

One of our MBA alumni is to be the future keeper of one of the most wanted secrets in Scotland: the recipe for Irn-Bru – that “fizzy, ginger and phenomenal” drink that prevents Coca Cola from taking over completely in Scotland, as it has in many other places. Julie Barr of AG Barr is an alumna of the Edinburgh MBA and at the retirement of her father Robin Barr she will be the holder of the secret recipe for Irn-Bru.

Yes, Irn Bru is big in Scotland and it would appear that is growing in the UK. In January this year AG Barr reported their market share in Scotland to be around 24% cent of the fizzy drinks market in Scotland, and in the same month Irn-Bru outsold Fanta across the UK for the first time. Just out of curiosity: do you live in a country outside the UK and if so have you seen Irn-Bru on the shelves in the shops where you live?

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Distinguished visitor

These days the School is host to a prominent visitor these days. Dr Kenneth Brevoort, a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington DC, is visiting to the end of June during which time he will be working with the Credit Research Centre. Dr Brevoort holds a post in the Financial Structure section at the Federal Reserve Board and his publication includes work relating to data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Speaking of credit research, the Credit Scoring and Credit Control XI Conference is moving ahead at a steady pace and you can read more about this by visiting the Credit Research Centre site.

Another exciting bit of news, for us here at the School at least, is that our new website will go live very soon. If all goes to plan then we will present a very different face to the World at Midnight 1 June 2009. I do hope you will like our new look.

If you are in Edinburgh and have nothing else planned then maybe you’d like to come to an evening of Chilean guitar music. Carlos Arredondo and Galo Cerón will present a journey through some of Chile’s greatest songwriters. If you are into guitar music then this is definitely something for you. It is at 7:30pm at St John’s Church tomorrow 23 May.


UK Parliament expenses row

I saw it in the news while waiting for my flight in Charles de Gaulle airport so you have probably seen it as well – the expenses scandal that has hit the UK Parliament. Quite amazing the greed that has become evident. And yes, I do know that they all say that they haven’t done anything wrong and maybe they haven’t, well most of them, but have they acted morally? These are the same people that were so scathing about the behaviour of bankers who didn’t do anything wrong either. What is that saying again? The one about casting stones?

I suppose this is an outcome of small deviations being accepted and then suddenly it has all spiralled out of control and everybody points to everybody else and ask: “How on Earth did we end up here?”

Yes, I’ve been away again and as you can see this time in Paris. I went to meet up with representatives from our two exchange partners there: ENPC MBA and ESSEC Business School. Both are good and solid partners and we hope that we can continue the exchange relationship in many years to come. I also had a chance to catch up with those of ‘my’ students who are on exchange at the two schools and it was good to see that they are all having a good time. They have been up to so many things that in the end I had to ask whether any studying had taken place.

Hope ahead?

So much has happened recently that I have had little time for my blog. A lot of it is just boring everyday stuff so I won’t tire you with that except to say that I have not forgotten about that photo.

I had an email in my inbox from the FT today with the subject line “Signs of downturn easing” with the additional comment “Green shoots emerge”. This message comes from the President of the European Central Bank alongside a message that global equity prices have increased since March. Not all signs are so positive though and just a week before Mr Trichet had warned us that the outlook with only list when we turn the calendar pages for next year.

It is so very difficult to predict because a lot of it depends on our emotions – what do we believe? If we start spending again then the economy can get going but do we have the money to spend? Or the credit rating to allow us to do so? And if so, do we have the belief in the system?

On a different front I can certainly predict hope ahead. The next MBA cohort is shaping up nicely with lots of interesting people currently preparing to come to Edinburgh in September.  This is probably one of the most exciting times of the academic year. The incumbent class is in the process of completing the course component and move on to their final projects and the new class is waiting in the wing, well actually very much present in the Google group, with questions, comments and interesting stories to tell. Right now we are putting the finishing touches on the Joining Information for the new class and this will go live on the website early June.

Hi from Denmark

I know it’s been a long time since last. It’s not because nothing has happened but rather because so much has happened. Right now I’m in Denmark for a family event but I should be back in the office on Wednesday. This will coincide with the last week of MBA options classes which will be in full flow by then. The last, but certainly not least, option is New Venture Creation. And that will be the end of MBA classes for this year! SO amazing that time flies like that. I’m sure the MBA class will agree. The consultancy project follow the options.
I’ll only have three days in the office before I’m off to Paris to meet with the two exchange partners there, ESSEC and the ENPC MBA. I will of course also take the opportunity to catch up with the MBA students on exchange there. It will be good to hear what they have experienced since last we met.