Monday, December 04, 2006

A case of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde - the INSEAD "2S" contribution

I used to love this picture on the left. It's called "Bonaparte crossing the Grand St-Bernard pass". Now it gives me the freak...
Today we had the renowned Napoléon INSEAD Case, by Professor Ludo Van der Heyden. I've already mentioned it in an early post (Archives July). The history of the case is interesting. Last year, a July Student -high ranked officer from the French Army graduate from ESM St-Cyr- complained to Ludo about the lack of ceremonies organised in France to commemorate Austerlitz bicentennial year. As you should know, Austerlitz is one of the greatest military victory of all times, held on Dec. 2, 1805. French Cadet School St-Cyr, a Napoleonic heritage, refers to it as the "2S": 2 for the day, and S because December is their 3rd month of class in the calendar year (Austerlitz has 10 letters, like ten months). So, this INSEAD participant asked Ludo about holding a case study on Napoleon in class. Ludo prepared the case, and it has become such a classic that INSEAD decided to do the case every year on Dec. 2, our 2S in a sense.
What takeaways then? Well, this picture represents the beginning of the fall of the Great Empire. From a superlative General (read manager, team leader), he turned as a dictator into cronyism (read crooked CEO), at the very moment of this picture. Napoleon, because his Board had not been able to fire him, was in the end taken care of by the market forces (read close Generals and European Coalition).
The picture, shown at Rueil Malmaison Chateau, painted by JL David, commemorates Napoleon first personal defeat, his first warning signal of decay, at Marengo. While History books record it as another major victory, Napoleon was soundly losing when General Desaix came to his rescue. Desaix died, and Napoleon, after promising National funerals in Paris, decided otherwise and buried him as far as possible (at Col Grand St-Bernard, in France/Switzerland), and had himself instead painted in glory.
Decay has many reasons: imperial overstretch, unsustainable competitive advantage, and unfair process. Napoleon, in his Emperor part, did not recognise his team of incredibly talented Generals (Desaix, Lannes, Davoux etc.) and kept all the glory to himself, while not even listening to others.
Today, we also received the bidding results fro P3 Electives. I am very disappointed not to have gotten the "Building Business in China" which I wanted badly. Also disappointed that courses I bet like a madman did not actually needed high bidding because INSEAD added sessions to face demand... I don't think the whole process was very fair in this regard, but let's not whine and rejoice in the fact that School reacts positively to demand; at least I have a lot of points for P4 and P5. By the way, the bidding system works like this: you allocate part of all your 200 point credit to electives you really want. You get debited by the bid price of the last accepted participant. I've decided to bid all my points in every round. But, while in theory I was risking losing 150+ points on the electives chosen, with INSEAD adding sessions, I only ended up paying 50+ points, which is ridiculous. If Dean Fatas does the same trick again in P4, and I don't get Building Business in India, I'll go on a Waterloo campaign ;-)
It is somehow dangerous too because next intakes will look at the incredibly low cutting price of the star class of P3 Negotiations, and bid small, and get f***ed up because maybe adding additional sessions won't be possible.
So my advice on bidding -even though the strategy did not work fully in my case- is, bid all your points every round. At least, to end on a positive note, I got all my full credit electives.
Again, here's the ESM St-Cyr article about the case:

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At 1:56 AM , Blogger hallonman said...

Yeah, I'm a bit bummed out about missing the bidding for Building Businesses in China as well.


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