Thursday, September 28, 2006

"What are you worth?"

To that question, which I was asked by my Finance Teacher, for which I was enclined to answer using past experiences, there is only one response: the Net Present Value of all your future Cash Flows.

It makes sense, when you think about it. You always have an inclination to reason in terms of what you have done in the past and how you have reacted to some situations, solutioned a problem, or brought value to a company. But while the Finance teacher probably does not want to devalue your past, he claims that your value is what you will bring in the future, not what you have done in the past.

I guess it ties in nicely with some current MBA students' preoccupations. You see, a lot of students want a transformation experience out of INSEAD. I talked to some very bright Americans who did not have the chance to get out of Ivy League undergrad (because tuitions were way too high for them) and, after some years at work, found out that top positions were out of their reach. I talked to some engineers who were confined to operations because they were the best of the bunch, but who wanted more. I talked to B-Schools undergrads who wanted to be given at least a CV look by Big 3 Consulting firms, after having experienced boutique firms or Next 5 firms.

But there is more than just this visible change. Yesterday, in my group at the end of class, sipping beer on the lawn on a sunny day, we came to some interesting conclusions.

Fact 1: P4 students (ie. in the intake just before us, graduating this December) are "different" from us. Mature, fun, interesting. We all are, but they had this "je ne sais quoi" more.
Fact 2: P4 students are 3 periods ahead of us (P4 vs. P1)
Assumption: P1 and P4 are no different re. backgrounds diversity, past experience, GMAT, coolness, or intelligence.
Conclusion: INSEAD has changed P4s and got them more mature, more asserted, more a lot...

Well, you might disagree with this, and I was not very good at GMAT inferrence questions, facts are undeniable though. I guess this is one reason why INSEAD's symbol is the Salamander: it is the mythical Renaissance animal which turned some metal into gold, did not fear fire, and regenerated perpetually.

Anyway, on the good news, we are witnessing inspiring moments of celebration on campus, as P4s are getting their job confirmations. Yesterday, one guy was being asked to provide his offer to Bain and Co. London office (he'll claim around USD 180.000 ), and a girl joined him celebrating for a position we could not get from our table. We could just figure out that they all were elated.

This week also is the Consolidation week. By that I mean, all teachers reveal the interactions between classes. In that sense, we are seeing the light, finally, and get to see how Uncertainty, Data, and Judgment has implications on Finance and Prices and Markets, how Prices and Markets uses NPV, and how Financial Accounting provides sound data for Finance. As to Leading People and Organisations, I guess the tie-in comes from the fact that, without good people management, firms cost structures are higher.

On the gossip side, a group of girls are inviting guys on secret dinner excursions to Paris, as in speed dating party (albeit the guy has, in this case, one night to convince, instead of the customary 7 minutes).
Besides, this Saturday, following the Increasing Territory theory, I will be going to Paris with friends to celebrate another birthday.


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