Mounting excitement

This is, of course, because the new MBA class will be here in just over a week. I’ve met  a few of them already and it looks to be a great bunch of people. We had our first Early Bird reception Tuesday and we’ll have another one on Thursday next week. A lot of information is begin exchanged in the Google group for the incoming class so they are all getting up to speed. I can’t wait to meet them all.

At the same time my writing is tinged with sadness as the 2010-11 FT MBA class submitted their final piece of work yesterday, well most of them as some have chosen to take internships and so have delayed their Capstone projects. The MBA IB class of 2010-11 are still working away so I’ll get to keep them for a little while longer.

We have made some exciting changes to the first semester of our MBA programme, the one that has traditionally been the most stressful so while it will still be a lot of hard work I expect it will be slightly easier. The one-year MBA will always be more intense than the two-year MBA – for obvious reason as we all have to achieve the same.

Around us the Festival is packing their bags until next year. It is actually rather spectacular the change from one day to another. On the last day the Festival (or festivals I should write as more are taking place at the same time) the streets are packed with people, thronging to get to shows, and the next day they are all but deserted. But Edinburgh is a party city so come December Winter Wonderland will be here so more exciting stuff happening.


Such fun!

This post is kind of personal because it’s about two Edinburgh fringe shows so do not expect intelligent comments about the MBA world or indeed the world economy.

Sarah Millican, a laugh a minute. Sarah, thank you for Optimistic Mondays, hairy toes in the bath, and the joys of (mis)communication with your boyfriend. If you didn’t have a chance to see her in Edinburgh then check if she’s coming to a venue near you soon. And then last night The Magnets. Wow! How do they do that? And do they breathe like normal people? A must see if like music and fun.

Get that new suit now

OK, the headline is partly fun but also in part serious. The prices of commodities is increasing and the most recent one to follow suit (pardon the pun) is the price of wool. The largest wool producer, Australia has been hit by extreme weather conditions. This, coupled with the fact that China (as is the case with any commodity) is a strong buyer, has doubled the price on wool. This of course will be passed down the supply chain so maybe it’s time to get that new suit you’ve been thinking about lately?

During my recent absence from my blog I was away attending the Association of MBAs International Conference for Deans and Directors in Geneva. I was delayed in my travels (because of that ash cloud) but I was lucky enough to get there in time for an excellent talk by Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. As always when he talks Professor Schwab raised a number of issues that just make you stop and think; issues that are relevant to MBA providers and I look forward to mulling it over in peace.

And this date is a bit of a milestone for the current full-time MBA class. Today is the deadline for the second last piece of work to be submitted. Yes, just think about it. They joined us mid-September and now only the Capstone Project remains. Good going guys!

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New Chancellor for the University of Edinburgh

HRH The Princess Royal will take over from her dad, the Duke of Edinburgh, as Chancellor for the University of Edinburgh. Princess Anne is also the Patron of the University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies so HRH has intimate knowledge about the workings of the University. I’m sure the gown with the gold trimmings will suit HRH.

I was away for a break (annual leave of absence) and in the meantime my students on the MBA in International Business (with the exception of Angelena who leaves later) have departed for their exchange. To me this marks an important milestone in the academic calendar because I know for a fact that I won’t see some of these people again. We do keep in contact with the IB students by calling them on a regular basis to ensure that everything is well. At the same time the students on the Full-time MBA is having a very short break before the last term begins next week. They are also working on their consultancy projects so it’s not all free time. Yes, the one-year model is rewarding but a bit hectic.

A semblance of normality

As the new MBAs (and MScs) are settling into their new daily routine (except for one who seems to be unable to be on time) the pace is changing in the school, less hectic and much more determined.  I know it sounds strange but you can almost feel the fizz of the brain waves. Very soon this will extend to our new part-time MBAs who had their first Induction session Tuesday evening this week. A very nice lot they are, and I got en excellent piece of information from Nicholas. This is just proof of what I’ve said before – it’s amazing the amount of knowledge accumulated in an MBA class.

In the middle of this settling into the job at hand, Martin Jensen from the 06-07 MBA IB class pops in to visit and tell me about his big projects in China: Dan Yu Trading Ltd (site in Chinese only for now but keep an eye on it) and Scandinavian Farms Ltd. Some very exciting stuff. It’s great to see when the alumni after a lot of hard work succeed in making their dreams come true. Martin’s on a short visit to Scotland to attend the wedding of Natasha from the class to Graeme – proof of another thing I’ve mentioned before: the MBA class is a network for life of friends and prospective business partners.

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Where to begin?!?

That’s always the problem when you haven’t blogged for a while:

  • The Greek debt? (Still enormous)
  • The UK elections? (Confusing as ever and I’m not actually allowed to vote)
  • MBA news? (Always good)
  • The UK expenses row? (A continued disgrace)
  • The hefty losses faced by Morgan Stanley? ($5.4bn. Ouch!)

Well, there’s certainly enough to choose from.

During the last week or so Asian investors decided not to take up more of the bottomless Greek debt. This forced the Euro Zone to put their money where the mouth is and actually commit to something.  This they did on Sunday  and as a consequence investors are now treating Greek debt as the best thing since sliced bread. For the time being anyway. Whether or not this will continue will probably depend on whether an essential Greek treasury bill goes  through and whether Greece sends proper signs of economising where possible. An interesting side effect of this was reported in the Guardian yesterday when it reported a huge influx in Greeks purchasing expensive homes in the UK.

The UK elections, well it’s interesting to watch even if as a Dane I’m not actually allowed to vote. I’m allowed to pay my taxes, yes, but not to vote for those who will decide how to spend my taxes. The funny thing is that I’m allowed to vote for the Scottish Parliament because this is considered a local election.

On the MBA side things are hotting up again with the last stretch of courses and the MBA Consultancy project on the go. Come mid-May and after nine months of hard work the full-time MBAs will have completed all their courses. The MBAs on the International Business programme are away for their exchange in Singapore, China, France, Spain, Canada and USA.  They still have a bit to go because after the exchange they will move on to their internships.

The UK expenses row continues to astound those on the side-line. After investigations a few people are now facing fraud charges through bogus mortgage applications, invoices and rent claims. At first they attempted to claim parliamentary privilege. It is an immunity against prosecution that can be claimed by those in government protecting them from actions they have to carry out as a member of a legislating body.  (I don’t think one has to submit bogus expenses claims as a member of parliament, do you?) After denied this privilege they have now claimed and been granted legal aid which upsets many people but putting aside the fact that these people if they are found guilty have fiddled funds then, if they are not above the law (and they were told so) then they have the same rights as everyone else. Otherwise we undermine our own system because we have to obey the rules that we have set ourselves. Talks about means testing of legal aid are under way but until this has been implemented we cannot deny legal aid just because we are greatly affronted by these people’s actions.

If you picked up the WSJ this morning then you will have seen the story on the front page (in the Europe edition) about the losses faced by Morgan Stanley fund. The $8.8bn real estate fund may lose a substantial amount, about $5.4bn following from property investment that turned out to be, hmm, well, pretty awful.  Check Anton Troianovski and Lingling Wei’s story through the link below.

And now you’ll have to excuse me ’cause I’ll be off for a few days. Nice!

(If you are unfamiliar with the idioms used in this, in italics, then check this site:

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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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