Coming to Zurich on 28 October?

If you’re in Zürich on 28 October then feel free to come and say Hi at the MBA Fair at the Dolder Grand Hotel. It’s part of the in the World MBA Tour and you can read more here. It will be my first visit to Zürich and I expect to have an interesting time.

Here in Edinburgh we are now in Week 6 of classes.  This week there is a break in proceedings to allow the MBA students a breather but also to participate in some very interesting personal development activities. We take a step back and invite external observers to come in and give feedback. It’s good to change the pace a bit during a busy semester and the week will also allow for some time for reading. After this week we only havhe another three weeks to go before we move on to the Integrative Project and assessments.  And then, before you know it, it’s Christmas.

No I didn’t get lost

On my way back from Barcelona I mean. I was side tracked by lots of other stuff.

The GMAC European Conference was rather exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed most of the sessions. A temperature on 25° Celcius in Barcelona rather added to the good mood I must admit. As mentioned in my last entry the theme was “Selecting for Success”. Sessions included talks by Julia Tyler and Alex Chisholm of GMAC; Philip Delves Broughton known for his somewhat critical views of the MBA; Professor David Bach from IE in Madrid; Lieutenant Colonel Eilean Cunningham, Head of Operations at the British Army Recruiting Group Headquarters; Alison Parrin, Career Development Programme Manager at Google; Professor Martha Maznevski from IMD; and Srikumar S. Rao, the creator of “Creativity and Personal Mastery”. Julia, Alex and Philip outlined what talent the employers seems to needs while David Bach headed a session where we from the MBA programmes could learn from the way the British Army recruit their leadership talent and also form Google’s way of recruiting. Both Eilean and Alison were very open about their procedures, what they were looking for and how they identified it.  Martha then taught us about bias and gave us tools to identify subconscious bias. Before close of the conference Srikumar explained how things might be seen in a completely different light. All in all a very exciting conference.

But I suppose that you are expeting me to talk about bank bonuses… It has certainly come to light here in the UK again, with rumours of up to £6bn being earmarked for bonuses in banks. Let’s see whether they actually go through with it. Mervyn King was certainly very explicit in his views about the folly of this.

Selecting for Success

That’s the name of the GMAC conference I’ll attend tomorrow and Wednesday in Barcelona. It is of course about schools selecting (MBA) students who are the most likely to succeed during and after the programme. You can read more about the conference here. We won’t just share our own experiences. We will also learn from speakers who are involved in very different kinds of selection processes and see what are the characteristics they look for. And maybe more importantly, how they identify these. I’ll fly back on Thursday and be back in the office on Friday. I’ll tell you more about the conference then. I won’t have any time for sightseeing but it will be a chance to meet the GMAC London team to thank them for their help during our recent succesful membership application. Yes, the University of Edinburgh Business School is now a member of GMAC.

Did you know that Bank of China has 650 million customers?

No. Neither did I but it was one of the many interesting bits of information that I picked up at a recent guest presentation by Daniel Cohen of IBM.

Dan was here to talk about how to conduct business in China and it was a very interesting talk. We heard about the many impressive achievements in China and the speed by which things happen, especially infrastructure developments. And the fact that the Chinese economy has to grow 7-8% every year simply to provide jobs for that year’s graduates. These were just some of the examples that Dan used to frame his talk. The key message from Dan was that if you don’t get relationships then you might as well give up on doing business in China. He was kind enough to mention a number of the more important issues, many of which amused the China/Taiwan/Hong Kong contingent of the audience. So did his welcome greeting in Chinese.

If you have kept a note of it then you will know that the new MBA class is now in their third week of classes. Merri (our Careers Management Adviser) and I have just completed the last of the individual sessions. It has been a very useful exercise, to learn about the career aspirations (or confusion) of everyone. These sessions will then be used to inform the career related activities in the programme but also, and more importantly, to line up individual support: course selection, internships, consultancy projects, exchanges and the final project and all that. Exciting times ahead!

650 million….

Population of Denmark: 5.3 million…

Hmmm….

The “crunch” still there…

Although I have not written much about this lately (the arrival of a new class means that I have little time to read the news in-depth) the World economy is still suffering. I read in a Danish money newsletter that one in eight Americans receive food aid. According to the stats this is the highest number ever and about 3.6 mio Americans have joined the scheme this year. The average support is $113 a month. Remember, this is food aid. It basically means that 12.5% of Americans can’t afford to feed themselves. Scary that!

Then it is comforting to see that the IMF reports that the World economy is on its way back on track and that the economy will grow in 2010 and probably more than expected – the estimate is 3%. However, IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard warns Governments about things thinking that the crisis is over. Private spending is much needed to turn this round and with unemployment still on a high it is likely to take time. I suppose one might summarise this as “Spend but don’t over-spend”, as some certainly used to do.