Our new home

Monday is the first day of Induction Week so good thing that the our new home only needs a bit of dusting now. I like it. And the new MBAs who were here for our Early Bird receptions have expressed their delight as well so let’s hope we’re on to a good start. We had 27 of the new MBAs for the reception yesterday and the cafe was buzzing. And lots of exchanging of phone numbers as well.

With our new location between the lovely George Square and the historic buildings of Buccleuch Place, the school’s neighbourhood combines some of the nicest things about Edinburgh: the architecture and the green spaces. But next week will, as always when it’s Induction Week, be hectic. It’s a great time though, and I hope all our new students MBAs, MScs and undergraduates will enjoy their studies.

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Join us for the GMATCH MBA and Master Virtual Fair today!

Yes, it’s today that we are participating in a trial from GMAC, the GMATCH MBA and Master Virtual Fair. It’s a chance to meet school from all over the World from your living room.  There’s a short break now but I’ll join the fair later so come and meet me. Ohh and please also come to our MBA Open Day next week. It’s on Tuesday 13 April and apart from meeting current students and finding answers to your questions you also have a chance to test drive the class in Corporate Strategy taught by my Director colleague Dr Brad Mackay. Read more about the event at the University of Edinburgh Business School here. I hope to see you!

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Did you buy an iPad?

You will  probably know that the iPad went on sale in the US this weekend. Initial numbers seem to suggest that despite a lukewarm reception in January, Jobs and his cronies may have done it again. Gene Munster the Apple analyst of Piper Jaffray suggested that based on the evidence of the number of people queueing to get their hands on their newest gadget the estimate for 2010 would need to be adjusted. Now Mr Munster expects the estimate to be in the region of 5.5 million rather than the original estimate of 2.7 million. It is of course early days yet so let’s see whether the estimate needs to be adjusted again and in which direction. Rave reviews suggest that you can’t live without the iPad and others suggest that the apps and the iBooks are too expensive. Well, in any case, the opening weekend sales numbers are not indicative of the long run direction.

Now, I’m really curious.

I’d like to see the thing I must admit.

Wouldn’t you?

Here, it’s a bit quiet this week. We have an ultra short break before the last burst of MBA courses begin next week. It’s a time to catch up with my to-do list(s) and of course also to speak to and offer advice to the MBA IB students that are leaving for their exchanges and also to the incoming class who are getting ready to enter the MBA in September. I can see a very nice group shaping up. I’m lucky. I get to meet all these interesting people at work, every day.

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Two down, one to go

With just one more exam to go before the Easter break I’m pondering the fact that the class now have completed two-thirds of their courses – a one-year MBA is a hectic but powerful thing! It’s not just that you get all the knowledge in one year but also the fact that you only have to consider opportunity costs for one year. In favour of the two-year model is of course that things are not as hectic and that students have more time for extra curricular activities. Although judging from the Google group for this year’s MBA class a one-year programme allows for plenty of time for extra curricular activities! And that’s good. Supporting each other is essential in an MBA and the social stuff helps providing the glue for that. But changes are afoot. The students on the MBA in International Business have either left already or are in the process of packing their suitcases to leave for their exchange partners while the students on the full-time MBA programme are now allocating time to get started with their consultancy project. At the same time a selection of students on the Shanghai International MBA are preparing to come to Edinburgh for their exchange so we’ll see some ‘new blood’ added to the classes. It will be very exciting.

Despite my writing so copiously about the MBA programme I do get involved in other programmes and I have some undergraduate dissertation sitting on my desk for marking. I do like to get involved at different levels. Otherwise you can easily end up in a situation similar to ‘group think’ and that’s not good for anyone. And that’s actually why I occasionally choose a different route when going home. It’s the little things that make the difference. why do’nt you try a different route home today? Try it and see the new thoughts that pop through your mind.

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Rome this Saturday

As hinted at in my last entry I’ll be off to Rome very soon to attend the MBA Fair on Saturday 13 March, organised by QS TopMBA. If you are in Rome that day and you are interested in taking on an MBA study then I’ll be delighted to speak to you.  You can read more about our MBA programmes by choosing the link in the Blogroll to your right.

Yesterday saw the official launch of the MBA consultancy project for the students on the full-time MBA programme. We have a number of exciting projects this year. Clients include Babcock’s Marine Division, Wood Mackenzie, Martin Currie, Wolfson Microelectronics and the Scottish Parliament. Between now and early June the students will work on this project alongside their classes and also their final project and solve problems for the companies and organisations in question. In June the teams will present their findings and recommendations to a panel from the clients and the School. At the same time the pace has increased for those on the MBA in International Business. Very soon they will be off to undertake their exchanges at Schulich School of Business, Fisher College of Business, EADA, ESSEC Business School, Shanghai International MBA and Nanyang Business School. This means coursework and exams while at the same time deciding how much and when to pack to go abroad and how to organise things if the internship takes them to other locations – this often happens. A busy time.

In between all this I spend a fair amount of time communication with the next intake and it is nice to see the new class take shape. It does of course also sometimes cause some time management issues when I have to communicate with the current and the new class, not to mention an abundance of nice alumni as well.  Well, it keeps me out of mischief.

Speaking of exchange partners: Bye and good luck! to Melanie Caugherty-Diaz who has provided much help and guidance to exchange students coming to and from Fisher College of Business.

Playing by the rules in the Euro Zone

Or not as the case may be!

The crisis in Greece has brought to light issues relating to the history behind the Euro Zone and especially that the rules so carefully outlined at the birth, a maximum debt of 60% of the GDP and a maximum deficit of 3%, have been flaunted repeatedly since day one. Well even before actually. Forelle and Fidler outline in  their piece about Europe’s Original Sin how the leader of Europe have ignored Greece’s soaring debt for years. Their piece also reveals that this might have to do with the fact that one should never be the one to throw the first stone when living in a house of glass. Although never as seriously in trouble as Greece, the rule rather than the exception has been that Euro Zone countries have not met their own target. And largely ignored this except in the very early stages when membership was to be secured. Read for yourself. It makes for interesting reading. In the meantime, the moves to save Greece continue amidst the prospect of strikes as a consequence of the Greek Government tightening the belt. Greece raised €5 billion in the planed bond sale but investors “gambling” on Greece being unable to pay their debts can never benefit the attempt to salvage the Greek economy. I shall refrain from entering the moral discussion of whether investment houses should be allowed to bring a country to its knees…  You may have a  view on that and I would be interested to see your comments pro/con.

So what about my MBA programme?  Well still going strong with the students having almost completed the second batch of courses. Amazing isn’t it?  It feels as if it was only yesterday that I announced the arrival of a new class. Students on the full-time programme have begun scratching the surface of their consultancy project, and some very interesting ones, while students on the MBA in International Business are thinking very careful about whether they need to pack all their textbooks for a three-month exchange in Singapore/China/France/Spain/USA/Canada.  The ability to multi-task is essential for any MBA students and even more so for the student on the MBA in International Business at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

Alongside supporting this year’s class the new class is slowly but surely emerging from the large number of applications. I interview students daily and am lucky enough to get to talk to a number of intelligent people from all over the world. It is obvious that the crisis is still affecting people’s decision so it’s good that we have been able to add more scholarships this year. I hope to get a chance to speak to more when attending the MBA Fair in Rome Saturday next week. See you then?