Spreading the word…

If you live in Beijing or Shanghai and you are on the look-out for an MBA then I hope you had a chance to meet us at the QS MBA fairs on 6 and 8 November. Meeting people and especially alumni from the school you are considering is essential. Visiting the school is highly recommended if at all you can. It is after all to be your home for a year, maybe two years if not more. We’ll also attend the QS MBA Fairs in New Delhi (27 November), Mumbai (29 November) and Bangalore (4 December) so I hope you will come and meet us.

Did you notice by the way that gold  reached another record today? $1,421 an ounce at 1030 GMT. Gold has been the safe haven for investors for as long as we can remember, and gold hitting another record high is of course a sign of serious worries about inflation. This is probably exacerbated by the US decision to print more money in an effort to stimulate the economy. Does this and the currency wars link to the suggestion by World Bank president Robert Zoellick to implement a kind of gold-standard guide to floating currency rates? The US decision to pump more green stuff out into the system has not been received kindly by world leaders. The words “clueless” and “undermining the G20” feature in the critical comments.

MBA news this week is that we have a Postgraduate Open Day this Friday so you are very welcome to visit the University of Edinburgh Business School to learn about our MBA programmes and also our MSc programmes. Hope to see you!

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Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

WSJ Europe today features on its front page the words: “FSA beefs up staff, takes aim at banks”. Apparently the UK Financial Services Authority will now hire several hundred employees to help police banks’ actions in the future. With this move the number of permanent overseers stationed at each major bank is to double. That of course is nice to see but if my memory serves me it was the skills of the overseers that were lacking. Banks had come up with such convoluted instruments of debt management that the average FSA overseer couldn’t assess what was going on. This is to some extent supported by an admission, also in the WSJ Europe edition, by the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro that the SEC was unaware of an accounting method that would have seemed to allow Lehman to hide some of the risks it took. Hence, the headline of this blog entry: “But who will guard the custodians themselves? So can we ask not just for more overseers but more skilled overseers?

You will know that I had the pleasure of attending the MBA fair in Rome last Saturday.  Although the fair was not very busy I found the attendees to be of very good quality and I spoke to a number of interesting people.  If you were there and I didn’t have  a chance to speak to you then please get in touch. I had some time for sightseeing in the Eternal City and I took a day out to meet with my friend Anna. Coming back after a few days away is always hectic and I’ve been rushing around ever since, trying to catch up with even just a couple of days away from the office. What amazes me the most though is that very soon the students on the MBA in International Business will leave for their exchanges and I know for a fact that some of them I won’t see again. After the exchange comes the internship and then the work on the Capstone Project.

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.

The problem in Greece

I hope you had a chance to meet us at the MBA Fair in Washington or New York.  Later this month I’ll head off to Rome and a colleague will attend the fair in Moscow. We are very happy to meet you.

I guess many of us recently have been intrigued by what it takes to bail out a country like Greece and how this will turn out. Greece has a deficit that is estimated at 13% of their GDP.  Only 13%. Is this bad?  Well, yes it is. In very simple terms it’s like you spending 13% more than your annual salary. In more exact and complicated terms the Gross Domestic Product of a country is the market value of all final goods and services made within that country in a year.  Add up total consumer, investment and government spending and add to this the value of exports, and detract the value of imports. That’s your GDP. So as you can see it’s not just the value of products that a country can sell to other countries and thereby create an income.  It’s basically everything that happens in a country so if e.g. a car accident happens and people need to go to hospital then everything going into that increases the GDP. But it doesn’t create funds to pay off debts.

The Euro Zone, driven by Germany, is looking into a bail out plan but we seem to be in a Catch 22 scenario.  The Greek Government is unwilling to commit to savings until the Euro Zone has made promises about how much and how the bail out is going to happen. Germany especially is reluctant to commit to anything until Greece have made promises about how they are going to straighten out their economy.  Who will blink first? The Euro Zone probably, because the Greek situation is affecting the Euro Zone as a whole and more specifically the value of the Euro and so is affecting other Euro Zone economies. The Euro has suffered against the Dollar but it’s actually faring better than the Pound. It is now at its lowest since April 2009. Investors are worried about the UK’s precarious fiscal situation. This combined with the uncertainty that always follows national elections has dented the Sterling lately.

But it is not only in the World economy that faces storms and inclement situations. So does the World. Saturday Chile was struck by an earthquake measured at 8.8 on the Richter scale, this is about 500 times stronger than the Haiti quake, killing more than 700 people and this is just the early count mind you. The epicentre near Concepcion the magnitude of the quake meant that cities such as Valparaiso and the capital Santiago were hit as well, and it estimated that 2 million people were affected. Many more bodies will be found once the clearing up begins and all more remote villages have been reached. Luckily the tsunami caused by the earthquake surging across the Pacific Ocean caused less devastation than could be expected. Nearby in France storms have killed more than 50 people, many drowning in the floods caused by the storm.  Some may say that this is not nearly as bad and maybe the devastation is much less but for those loosing near ones and dear ones it can only be bad.

Attend an MBA Fair in your living room

It’s been a hectic few weeks with interviews for new posts (in strategy and international business, with more in business economics and entrepreneurship coming up) and 1-1 talks with my MBAs about internships and careers. At the same time we are building a booth for a virtual MBA fair.  I can’t say much about this trial right now, but more will follow. But it all eats into your time and I have the feeling that I need to revisit the principles of time management very soon.

Are you in Toronto by the way? If so you may want to meet us at the QS World MBA Tour in Toronto next week. We will also visit these fairs on the Tour:

  • 25 February: Washington DC
  • 28 February: New York
  • 13 March: Rome
  • 23 March: Moscow
  • 17 April: Lagos
  • 19 April: Johannesburg

Apart from picking up programme information you will have a chance to speak to alumni as well so feel free to come along. If you are travelling then check the mba.com website to see whether you will be in the area at the time of one of our open days/open evenings. It’s a chance to test-drive the classes.

So what’s going on in the Edinburgh MBA right now?

Well the full-time MBAs have just picked up information about their consultancy projects.  These projects run alongside the programme from end-March till early June. The MBA IB students are now preparing to move abroad to their chosen exchange partner in USA, Canada, France, Spain, China and Singapore.  At the same time they do of course have to keep an eye on this term’s courses and they are all also ramping up the job search so it’s a busy time. We have exchange partners in nine different countries. Next year will be adding a new exchange partner to the list, IPADE Business School in Mexico City. We are very pleased to be able to offer this option next year.

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.

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.