Bank bonuses back in the spot light

With 2011 upon us the continuing issue of bankers bonuses have resurfaced amidst news that even the banks that you and I “own” through tax payer bail-outs are planning to pay bumper bonuses again. A little restraint has been show but this comes amidst pay rises of up to 40% to compensate. Having strongly criticised the then government in 2009 for not doing enough, the Chancellor George Osborne is now showing little inclination to do something. The Guardian reports that “Downing Street admitted it had backed away from a confrontation over bank bonuses.

Should we be so critical? After all, we don’t seem to get all worked up about other industries paying big bonuses. There is an argument for a yes to that question. After all, other industries have not brought the UK to the brink of bankruptcy.

Another problem is of course that the banking industry now consider bonuses as a right no matter the performance of the bank, so much so that bonuses were paid even when banks had to be bailed out. It is no longer a reward for good performance for the bank as a whole. This leads to a second issue that has to be addressed when it comes to any kind of bonuses. They have to be related to the over-all performance of the organisation rather than the performance of the individual. Otherwise, how would you avoid deals being cut simply to boost an individual’s bonus with no regard for how it influences the wider scheme? Short-selling spring to mind.

It is rather depressing.

On a more cheerful note – “my” MBAs are back in town. It was great catching up with them yesterday when we had a welcome back session. At the same time we say welcome to exchange students from EADA (Veronica), ESSEC (Anne) and Fisher College of Business (Katherine and Ryan). MBA time really flies from now on.

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Are you on Facebook?

Did you know that if Facebook was a country then it would have the fourth largest population in the world? Just goes to show why social media has become so important in advertising and marketing. I picked up this titbit about Facebook in the University of Edinburgh’s staff magazine called bulletin and the provider of this information was Miles Osborne from School of Informatics. I certainly didn’t know.

As a matter of fact I’m not a “citizen of Facebook”. I’m one of the many who are concerned about privacy issues. Yes, I’ll probably be converted one day but not just yet.

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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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A whole lot of stuff going on…

If you are in Beijing or Shanghai and you are thinking of undertaking an MBA why don’t you come and meet us at the QS MBA Fair in your city?  The Beijing Fair is on 6 November and we touch down in Shanghai on 8 November. There will be an opportunity to speak to alumni and hear about their experiences and also how the Edinburgh MBA has helped them in their careers.  A bit far to go? If you are in Edinburgh then you may wish to join us for the Business School Postgraduate Open Day on 12 November.

Did you see the recent death of an icon by the way? Sony is to discontinue its Walkman portable cassette player because mp3 players and iPods have rendered it obsolete. The Walkman was first launched in 1979 and Sony sold 220 million Walkmans in around 30 years. For comparison Apple has sold about 250 million iPods in just nine years. Makes you think, ehh?

This week is a bit more quiet on the MBA. We don’t have any classes this week but take the time out to do Situational Leadership and presentation skills and there will be a chance to catch up with the reading. After this, we have another four weeks of classes with a week-long course in Strategic Management taking centre stage in the final week.

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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.

One week and counting…

Yes, now it’s only one week to go before the new MBA classes join us for the Induction Programme.  At the same time the outgoing full-time MBA class is packing their bags to go back home, to join a new job, to find a new job or off on a short break before joining their new employer. Transition time as I said… Wile it is sad to see the old class leave it is also good to see how they have grown during this last year, both when it comes to knowledge but certainly also to the confidence that follows on from increased knowledge and having improved in the soft skills area as well. It’s even better when some come and point this out themselves. Luckily we still have the pleasure  of having the MBA in International Business class around for a few months still.

The campus is really buzzing today as the University of Edinburgh has opened its doors for an Undergraduate Open Day, and on 25th and 26th September you can join the University for the Doors Open Day. There’s a full brochure here: http://www.ed.ac.uk/news/events/doors-open-day-300810.  Take the opportunity to see St Cecilia’s Hall. It’s one of those hidden gems.

Well, actually I shouldn’t be sitting here pondering life in full view for all to see. I’ve got heaps of little things to do before the Induction Week begins so see you later!

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The excitement is mounting

And so is the sadness….

As more and more of the students in my new MBA class is arriving into Edinburgh the prospect of a new class becomes ever more exciting.  At the same time it’s time for me to realise that the great people that are the full-time MBA class of 2009-10 will be trickling away in the next few weeks.  Luckily those of the MBAIB class of 2009-10 will still be around for another few months but then it will also be time to say goodbye to them.

But I do have a cracking group of people lined up to take over and as some of them have settled in Edinburgh all ready I’ve had a chance to meet and say hi.  I can also see from the activity on the Google group for the incoming class that they are very busy getting acquainted.

Our new home is shaping up nicely.  Still a few finishing touches but we’re getting there.

You will probably know that the Festival season is upon Edinburgh, with more shows on offer than very before.  Visitors are in abundance but unfortunately they have been greeted by showers.  Well we did need the rain.  I’m planning to see a couple of things (Danny Bhoy is a definite!) but otherwise I’ll keep a low profile this year.