Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The medium is the message

... Is a quote from Marshall McLuhan, also known as the "McLuhan Equation". The guy presumably is a guru of the network age. He was quoted by our IT Professor, Theo Evgueniou, who was a bit dumbfounded when no one in the class could answer who had said that. Of course, we understood the meaning of it. Too often, we believe that the content of the medium is the message. Too often we forget that the consequences of the medium themselves -intended or unintended- are more impactful than the content itself. Thus we should not forget, as future Business leaders and possible IT invesment decision makers, that when we decide on an IT investment, the consequences on people can be huge. Technology has evolved exponentially the past 10 years, people have not followed the pace. Therefore any IT change is potentially brutal.
There's no better ending than that... Great job, Theo, if I may.

We also had a nice discussion on our MBAwiki project, and on blogs, for which he claimed that 3 years ago not a single student could understand the value/incentives of it. To be honest, this is a valid question. Why do I do that? Not for the money, neither for the fame. Not to know more people. For the fun, maybe. More so, because a past student blog inspired my decision to apply to INSEAD, so it was only natural to keep the wheel going. Frankly, I tentatively started it while doing nothing at work but waiting for my departure date to Fonty. And then, so much to write about...

Like tonight, I ended my day with another great negotiation: representing a client who -my gut feeling- was acting in bad faith, or at best too emotionally. You still have to do your job... My counterpart -whom I did not know before- made it very tough, but so enjoyable. There was some brinkmanship strategy too, which he played astutely. Since the deal was pretty much at my BATNA valuation, it made sense to leave ethically safe and happy. I should add that because of my numerical challenges, I was not actually sure that my BATNA was higher, so I struck the deal which made me happy...

To know more about the McLuhan equation:

To learn about Negotiation theory and BATNA:


Monday, January 29, 2007

2007 Rankings are out!

And it's predictably ok.

INSEAD creeps up a notch (albeit insignificantly on statistical grounds), to 7th place in the Universe of MBAs.

We all know the value of rankings (important but not essential). We all know their limitations (dubious methodologies, or at least consistency in their methodologies, and some national biases). Still, I have to say the FT Rankings seems to me the "fairest", or most representative of the larger insider opinion.

The most obvious bias pertains to all UK MBAs which have made huge leaps upwards, to the detriment of some established powerhouses (Kellogg's and IESE).

Anyway, what interests us most, I presume, is how INSEAD fared and how it will react.

We received an internal mail right away, "celebrating" the news. To me, not that I care so much about the ranking, as I'm sure of the School value (as evidenced by the pedigree of firms recruiting, and that of my peers), there is something disturbing in cheering up for the Acceptable. OK, the market is fiercely competitive, and being a World Top 10 is an achievement. But INSEAD used to be the undisputed Number 1 in Europe.

The School has an amazing global project, awesome Professors, super Students, a truly excellent programme which is aligned to modern constraints -one year off work is just perfect-, a learning model that is clever and very efficient (how can you get 450 students to learn so fast so much so well, and so much of themselves and one another). Yet these unique strengths fail to materialize. Is it about School communication? Failure to articulate the School's values and vision? Failure to convince?

Alternatively, and more modestly, it could be just the others being better... That still leaves Franck and Antonio, us as present participants and future business leaders, Professors and staff, food for thought to be even better.

And we could all start with current Courses and projects.

The past Macro and IT classes have been much more enjoyable and insightful. At least some models, some intemporal takeaways. The IT project (a wikipedia site on Business issues), after much grumbling from the Students, is taking off, and seems to me very valid and relevant. It's just that to feed the site in 2 weeks, with presumably the less IT capable participants -ie. those who could not exempt- is a bit of a Mission Impossible. Anyway, my respects to these Professors for increasing the level of classes. And my apologies for being impatient in the first couple of classes...

To learn more, and contribute to MBAWiki:

To know more about 2007 MBA Rankings (FT):


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Antonio, give us back our Mass Mails!

Before I take a well deserved break to some exotic island this week-end, let me share with you a front-runner for the year's Best Log-off Award...

"Dear Antonio,

A few days ago my friend Ed S****** made a great proposition regarding waterproof paper suitable for the Jacuzzi. Hoping that his request gets a positive response I wanted to build up on his proposition:
We all know that INSEAD can be quite demanding when it comes to reading. Hence, wanting to maximize our time resources I wanted to propose you to print some of the cases in toilet paper. I think that this measure would provide an adequate and environmental friendly manner of disposing of those cases after having read them without actually affecting the quality and diversity of the class discussion.

Best regards,


Hum, can't better that! :-)
It actually was a follow-up to another log-off -which I lost, unfortunately- from Ed asking Antonio (Fatas, our MBA Dean) to print readings in waterproof paper so that we could read them in the swimming pool...

Hopefully, Antonio will get tired of being the constant recipient of logoffs, and will give us back our Mass Mails function, which -I must say- he took away unilaterally, undemocratically, abruptly, and shockingly during Christmas break.

Nice week-end to all.

PS: If someone has the Ed waterproof log-off, please share, I'll post it!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Negotiations Class

I think this Class deserves some special attention in this blog.
For one thing, it's one that is keeping us really busy in P3. We have to schedule meetings, prepare for cases. I will negotiate on crabs for research on Friday, on an IT company on Monday, and I negotiated on a football star last week.
Then, it's taught by one of the best Prof at INSEAD, Horacio Falcao, who was himself an INSEAD grad in 2002. This guy is one of the few with evaluations above 4.8/5.
Of course it's pointless to reveal the class dynamics and the takeaways from negotiations.
It's worth mentioning though, that in life we so much are conditioned into the Power game, and forget that the whole value creation process is outside of this game. I'm not revealing much when saying that key to negotiation is signalling the right intentions, and being proactive in the process, while not giving away your valuations too early. A difficult balance.
The course is great too to meet new people. I deliberately choose (when possible) counterparts 1. whom I don't know, and 2. who offer a variety of challenges: Indian, Chinese, girl, tough guy.

This course definitely is one of the best. One of my interviewers during the Admissions process, who graduated some years ago, claimed that it has brought him millions. I'm about to test his argument, with my term project "Negotiating the Non-negotiable", for which I chose a real case. I'm going to negotiate on behalf of my sponsor, with a Big Company which has so far (4 years in a row) refused to cave in to pay for the right to sell his products at my sponsor's. That will be a good test to see whether Horacio's method is magical...

On other projects, I'm so blessed with my team mates. In one team, I deliberately chose people very different from me, but with whom I've developed an intuitive understanding. In one other team, I've broken a sacrosanct rule -never to work with close friends- and yet it's so perfect.
In retrospect, this should not make me see my P1 assigned team with a bad eye. Of course, choosing makes the difference; but in electives, the shared interest -call it alignment of incentives, culture, to objectives- is what makes it tick. Indeed, my Core Courses assigned team is full of great people -yet because we still have different objectives (vs. electives), it's not deeply integrated.

I'm done with half a credit. Shaping Consumer Behaviour. Quite mixed feelings about it. I did enjoy it, but that was easy enjoyment (it's always fun to watch TV commercials etc.) and limited takeaways. I must be getting demanding, wanting models, frameworks etc. and being disappointed when given only a collection of case examples. There's one technique Ziv did very well in his class, which he did not mention. It's Hammering, as in repetitiveness... It's as if his collection of examples were explained in reverse order, then fast forward, then at random mode, then in alphabetical order, then in slow motion, stretched during 4 double sessions.

On the social scene, not much. A big trip to HongKong is scheduled this week-end. I think I need some travel...

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Introducing "Le Café des Amis" concept on campus

Take 45 people, from diverse backgrounds, that seem to be open-minded and friendly chaps.
Give them coffee, or light drinks.
Pull them all in a small amphi (be it Amphi Mork, Roskothen, 102 or 106).
Invite a nice buddy from Down Under -the Prof. from NZ actually.
Warm the crowd up with some inflamatory, dubious, controversial research findings (North America is more developed than South America, Singapore than Indonesia, because the British were the colonial power as opposed to the Spanish/Portuguese/French/Dutch).

And you get: International Political Analysis!

It's got the same feel as the Café round the corner, with same level conversations. Global waming, terrorism, US-bashing, Chinese Nostradamus-like threat, Iran, in a one-line catcher.

Ok, I'm not saying the Class (our last Core course) was bad, just that I'm not sure about the whole experiential value.
I do hope there'll be some compelling framework of analysis, otherwise we'll have nice heated debates, but for what result? Just like in the Café round the corner...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Welcome home, P1s

Last week-end was the Integration Party at Sentosa. Sentosa is like the Singapore version of Disneyland. It's neat, sort of kitschy cute, until you stare at the horizon and figure out you're surrounded by oil tankers and container ships.

The party was great. It looked like MTV Beach Party in Miami... I guess it was true to what Singapore campus is about: a more relaxed atmosphere, somehow closer to anglo-saxon values. Sounds nice to me!

The problem was, and is, and will always be, that for a lot of incoming students (P1s and P3s), this is their first time in Asia. So, during week-ends, most people get out of Singapore. Which is nice -I mean, I'll be doing some of it too- it's just that it requires extra stamina and intelligence to cope with the programme. In other words, for the Dean's Listers, technically it is easier to be on the List when in Singapore from P1 to P3. Someone told me that because of these week-end excursions anyone who would work just a little more would be propelled to the Right of the terrible Z-curve. Then again, I suppose that you'd have to be a tad masochistic to resist to Thailand or Vietnam or Philippines or Bali...

There are at least two cool projects going on for nearly all P3s. One is Negotiations -Getting 10 NOs. The idea is to figure out that, applying our ultra top cutting edge framework, nobody can resit us. Another idea, I suppose, is to see how the pattern evolves with more class experience. On Saturday, a friend of mine, off the taxi, seeing a group of 4 cute Singaporeans girls, told us to go ahead to the Bar, for he'd work on his project. From a far, in chorus, I heard resounding "NOs". Does it count as 4 No's??

The other fun project is Venture Opportunity Business Models. We have to come up for an idea to explore in the Framework. It's so funny to see all participants think really hard to come up with something workable. Actually I overheard some ideas, and they are pretty interesting. Our criteria are: Pain Killer vs. Vitamin (ie. how badly served is the target segment), and, of course, profitability and sustainability of the segment. Well, there are loads of concepts in the Class, but in essence it comes down to that.

On the fun front, some people are hunting for who I am. I'll make it easy for you guys, I'm in A1, middle row, left...

To continue on my list of great places to eat:

- Newton Circus Hawker Centre. One of the greats for seafood. A convenient mix of must-eat in Singapore all in one place. Black pepper crab for €12 the big piece, 10 satay pieces for €2.5, nice hokkien spring rolls for €1.

- Blue Ginger, the one in Tanjong Pagar. It's dinstinguished, in an old Chinese House, it's excellent, it's reasonably priced, and it's consistent. I love it. If you're really adventurous, you can try the famed Durian. We asked for a try, and the waiter brought us for free a bowl of Durian puree. Durian, surprisingly, is the shape of Singapore concert hall too (see pic). That says a lot about how loved it is over here!

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Are Core Courses brutal?

As I see P1s starting their core programme, and us having our last core courses, I believe it is a question worth asking now.
This valid issue was raised by a Professor of mine, during an interesting discussion, after which I asked some of my fellows about their own experience.
The Professor's stance (Core courses are brutal) was part of a larger reflection on INSEAD's strengths and weaknesses in a fast evolving BSchools world: INSEAD is not yet focused (vs. Harvard), does not play on its strengths enough, but is experiencing massive cultural change. Indeed there have been many developments around Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi, even North America -although in that case I believe the project aborted. What is the strategy behind? Does the School has the means to do so?

What is the link with Core courses then. This Professor exemplified his position with Core courses. He found them brutal in the way that they were some kind of factory -all in the same boat with heavy emphasis on quantitative stuff. Interestingly enough, when I asked one P3 about this, whom I know struggled a bit on that aspect, the brutality he/she experienced was more on the Z-curve grading.
In my experience, I think that Core courses are essential. First, they build a common culture, and speed up the network creation. By sharing stories, in addition to knowledge, by establishing Section rules, Core enables us to get much more intimate to a greater amount of people.
Knowledge-wise, Core courses also are essential in building contents base that is so useful for Electives. I mean, even the ones that seemed so-so are relevant now. Strategy concepts can be used in business plans. Same for Marketing. LPG and LO are takeaways that will be useful all the time.
And I do want to emphasize that I found the Core classes to be well structured in their timing, ie. that they matched our learning curves in terms of intensity and insightfulness.

The Professor shared other nice views about INSEAD's strategy.
First, INSEAD must radically change its mindset. It used to think of itself as the best in Europe, and one of the best in the World. That is true. However, 20 years ago, INSEAD was one of the few MBAs in Europe. Now there are 10 or 15 world-class programmes out there. In that regard, the Singapore Campus did a lot to help the School change from complacent to conquering.
Global context seems to go its way too: "everything is about differences in the 21st century" claims that Professor, and the School is really good at preparing for that.

Anyway, while I was doubtful of the Singapore strategy before, and the Abu Dhabi, and the rest, I'm really convinced that these were the right moves, but that the School needs to go a lot further than that. It's a question of resources, of course, but there's always ways to deal with that...

On the classes front, everything is perfect right now. 3 electives, 3 top Professors... With the VOBM class going on, attended by the vast majority of students, there's a strange feel of "entrepreneurship lab" over here... I like it...

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dean's List!!!

No, joking. I'm actually a bit far from it :-) This hooking effect is called "bait and switch", because instead of talking about the Dean's List, I'll talk about other stuff.

Actually, if there's one Dean's List I could be on to, it's the one of accurate predictions -see post of Dec. 12 - I got it so right about how we rocked the boat in LO team paper, but let's forget about the past. If there's only one learning here, it's that LO grades are not random.
Well, the real Dean's List was released yesterday, and I would like to congratulates people who made it because it honestly is a lot of work/achievement to be on - and they're all extremely nice individuals.

Let's sum up the week in numbers.

0 - Classes I will have to retake. It's official. Technically, there's very little preventing me from claiming that I've passed.
1 - Week needed to find an apartment in a nice location.

2 - My new extraordinary groupmates from a particular elective. We clicked instantly, it's such a pleasure to work with them.

3.5 - Electives taken in P3. So intense, and such an art to match all groupmates schedules.

5 - Groups I have to work in. Combine and average number of 3-4 people, and you get the idea of how tough it is to meet everyone. I feel like having an overbusy CEO schedule some days...

6 - Average amount in SGD paid for 1 main course and 1 drink in a hawker centre.

7 - Weeks left before landing in Paris. Time is too fast, Singapore is so great (campus, people, atmosphere, classes) that some people are considering extending their stays in P4.

8 - Cases or so, in ACF. I think this elective is killing everyone over here.

9 - PM, two days in a row, the time at which classes ended. Yesterday, we saw this great Danish movie "The Inheritance" about the disastrous consequences of taking over a family business out of duty. Today we had a panel set of Venture Capitalists from Singapore sharing on what it takes to be a great manager in start-ups (the answer is: adaptability, comfort in uncertainty, vision, yet hands-on approach).

10/10 Negotiations, Family Business Electives so far. Absolute must at INSEAD, combining excellent Professors, excellent exercices, insights, cutting edge knowledge. It's so refreshing after some recent courses (Strategy, Marketing) out of which, honestly, I'm not sure what anyone can get -although I guess it's a bit unfair to compare Core to Electives. I'll talk more about these two awesome electives later.

To learn more about The Inheritance:

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Great World City

Great World City, this could be Singapore's nickname. It's small, but burstling, and quite international. It's also a wonderful base to discover Asia: from its food, and its easy location at the centre of such dream destinations as Angkor Vat, Bangkok, Bali. My Singapore fellow bloggers have done them all, and more thoroughly than I will, so I won't talk too much about travels.

Still, let me share the nice places I have eaten, and will eat to.
First stop: Great World City hawker centre.
I love hawker centres. It's where all Singaporeans eat. At night it's even nicer, as you can spot families, couples, old people, young professionals.
Stall number 18 was pretty good -fried noodles with seafood, pork, and eggs- for 2 euros.

As a starter, I would recommend the Stall at the opposite end of 18 (the woman in red). Not only does she cook great fried fishballs and wontons -1 euro for 6 pieces to die for- but also she has good taste as found me good looking ;-)
Today, we also had the Club Recruitment fair. I believe a lot of P1s enrolled, which is great. Clubs are part of INSEAD traditions, and the beginning of networks. It looked like Great World City, only that stalls sold networks and values, instead of noodles and soups.

This week is also our recruitment fair. In our case, electives Prof. try their best to retain us. It looked like Great World City again, this time with Professors selling dreams and promises. I have been shopping around and can definitely say that P3 electives are awesome. The choice is too tough.
What I like about electives is that they are 100% oriented towards your short term objectives. In that regard, I feel much more at ease than in P1 and P2. Less academic, more intimate, more related: classes are great fun and everybody participates. Electives also are very much group oriented. The only flip side of intensity is absoption capacity. I mean, if I had 48 hour days I would take them all, nearly.

Among the star electives:
- Applied Corporate Finance, aka. Finance 3, aka 1 case study every 2 days... featuring the one dubbed as even better than Theo and Pascal, namely Pierre Hilion.
- Venture Opportunities and Business Models, aka "Venture something" or VOBM, or how to play a Venture Capitalist/Private Equity guy for 2 months, starring Phil Anderson -this guy is a machine, he handles with great efficacy (and amazing consistency) 3 sections in a row.
- Family Business, by Randel Carlock, aka Dallas in the real life. Stories about love, hate, transitions. Awesome stuff. Quoted from a Spanish student "the best session I've had at INSEAD so far". Presumably it was the hooking session too. I like Randel's habit of going for lunch with his students too. Given the limited number of participants, he also offers one-on-one counseling on family businesses.
- Strategy Ownership Governance, aka "Strategy something" or SOG, featuring Matt Bidwell. Quite interesting, quite conceptual too. The guy loves Commercial Law, and Ethical issues...
- Shaping Consumer Behavior, from Ziv Carmon. It seems ok. Definetely not the Great Insight, but at least entertaining. There's still something annoying in the Professor deriving theories from examples (as opposed to the other way round). The guy does not quite like contradiction too, despite his claims.

As to other electives, I'm sorry I cannot report on them. I'm sure Professors are as dedicated, as passionate, as interesting, as insightful as those I've seen.

Finally I guess I overreacted on P3 core courses. Macroecon seems to be liked by most students, and Session 2 did not look like the latest Mills and Boon release.
ISM has improved today. More structure, interesting matrices. It's still not a knockout, but much better.

One last word about social interactions. I've started to meet up some Design students (well through electives), while Wharton students -understandably given the small number- have not yet ventured out of their circle. The biggest surprise might come form Singapore students. I honestly do not feel we are any different in terms of values. Further, there's no such thing as lower tier in Singapore. Campuses spread was done on the basis of people diversity only. Yet, I can understand that Singapore students feel a bit overwhelmed (they lost 50 of their close buddies, and got 150 Fonty people instead). Hallonman wrote a great post on this -as if there was some invasion of strangers on campus:

Ok, I'm dead. It's 00.15, and I still need to prepare for class tomorrow at 8.30.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

A tale of two Singaporeans

Day 1 on Campus. Singapore is welcoming a record number of MBA participants: 154 or so incoming, and us 280+. The building is gorgeous; I just love the auditorium, the library. Service is ok, but Fonty has nothing to be ashamed of. True, people greet, smile, and thank you using your given names over here, but they still managed to lose a fax from the machine to my pigeonhole...

P1s and P3s have not started to mingle. P1s are busy knowing each other, and we are busy wishing everyone a good year, and getting to know our hosts. There are some aliens too: Whartonians and Students from ACCD (something like Art College of Design). Right now, unfortunately, there's not so much exchange.

Day 1 we had the beginning of core courses too. I think I'm going to die... Information System Management was so-so. I hope the Prof. will be able to muster something more substantial soon.

As to Macroeconomics, well, I don't deny that it could be useful. But, people either have dealt with it before (I mean, if at 30 you don't have notions of GDP, exchange rates...), or it's too superficial to really touch us in depth. It's like, how useful can Mills and Boon of economic policy can be? Anyway, we'll see. Supposedly the Prof. got the best teacher award in 2006. So I'll wait and see, but it does not smell good.

Tonight, it's as if I learned more in the street that at School. I went to collect my cheque back from my previous landlady. We made peace -well, I'm being a network beast- I was too happy that she gave me back the full amount, and that we parted in good terms. She told me about her achievements, and how her MBA she got it from life, not INSEAD. As a proof, she showed me her connections (President of this, Minister of that..) and her achievements (a beautiful resort in Indonesia). She also shared her insights about her model: work with the community, her tactics with corruption-ridden countries (shhhhhh). There was something genuine in this Singaporean lady, some raw energy, only shadowed by some unnecessary selling and magnifying. A mix of Chinese dynamism and North American "push"ism.

After a good hour talking about Asia, business perspectives, Singapore and promising to meet up later on, I took a taxi back to School.

Singaporean Taxi drivers should be stamped as National Heritage. They are cheap, honest, and very "old Singapore". My driver told me about how Singapore changed from his youth up to now. How young Singaporeans changed, and sometimes turned their backs to traditional Chinese values. How life in Singapore was like in the 60's, when most people worked on ships or at the harbour.

He also gave you, future INSEADs, good advice on real estate over here. Agents should not charge you any fees, it's not the normal model. They are already paid on commission by the owners. That means, most of us have been screwed...

After this nice moments of 2 different Singaporeans, and a long day of classes, I jumped to bed. Tomorrow, there's a big P3 gathering in town, and well, electives start. I read through syllabuses, and it's full of assignements, group work. P2 seemed light, by comparison...

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Singapore Day 1: all that glitters...

Arrived yesterday.
Some people, I heard, lost their luggage along the way. Someone even was delayed by 7 hours. Emirates, despite the good looks of in-flight entertainment (the hugest I've seen), does not seem very reliable.
Went to my room; was not the one I paid for. Glitzy, glossy in pics... Met other room mates, pretty nice. Decided to look for something else nevertheless.
My mission: find my dream room in less than a week.
My strategy: target hotels, be lucky on condo appartments.
My tactics: team-up with another student, and tap in network -worst case scenario, live in School Residence.

P3 starts at 12 today. You'll be witnessing live how to find a place in Singapore...


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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Getting ready for Singapore

It's week -1 before P3 reopening, and a couple of days from my arrival there.

I flew back to Europe yesterday, then joined some friends in France for a couple of days. I like flying. Over the years I've developed special skills ie. tolerance levels for long distance flights. I can fly for 24 hours, and still find it enjoyable. One reason is, when you get stuck in a plane for hours, you only take care of yourself. No phone calls, no emails, no meetings, no assignments. It's the best time to catch up about, in my case, books and movies.
Indeed, last week was frantic. It's as if because you hold an MBA, people ask you for more. That's all fine with me, just that it was not really Christmas break. I did secure some really interesting opportunities for the next 1 to 2 years. First, I was confirmed by my sponsor as the one in charge right after INSEAD, on the upper level from where I was before. Second, the unit I set up and led prior to the MBA has enjoyed a record year. The trend accelerated in December -traditionnaly the year's biggest month- with a double-digit figure growth. Third, that industry is being reshaped, offering new investment opportunities in the near future. Last, I secured a trip to China in May to an Energy Conference, all paid for by the firm which has expressed interest in my profile after School (see previous post). I guess I needed to map all these opportunities somewhere in my mind. Not that the stress of post-MBA was starting to creep up, just that with everyone asking for "What after INSEAD?" I realised that my short-term path still has some greyish areas to link with my medium-term objectives. But then again, keep slack, you never know what can happen in 6 months.

So, with all these in mind, the flight back was more than welcome. It's interesting how much you can do in a plane.

I caught up with the Goal (yes, the POM Book). Still not finished, as I offered it to a friend who runs a manufacturing company. Great stuff.

I caught up with 2006 movies: "Little Miss Sunshine", Frears's "the Queen", French hit "Prête-moi ta main" (aka "I do" in international markets). All excellent, true gems.

I caught up with a friend. He actually intended to do the INSEAD MBA after a common High School grad friend of us had got Harvard. Asking me for advice, 4 years ago, I told him that I could not see a logic in his MBA, thus that to me he did not need to go to INSEAD considering the career he aimed for. So now he sees me there, what must he think of me :-(
At least he will know that I don't value prestige, but a hands-on approach to MBAs. For the anecdote, he works in M&A for Goldman Sachs, so he really did not need INSEAD to get there... By the way, he once had dreams of start-ups. It's buried, as Goldman Sachs is paying so much bonus that people are tied with the firm.

Finally, I caught up with the news. Several interesting articles, related to MBAs.
The Economist Christmas double issue was outstanding.

Among things of interest: IMD is looking for a Professor of Family Business -exemplifying the need to develop this competency in BSchools (for which INSEAD is at the forefront); an article about economics of Pushtuns social system (I loved the "Blood cannot wash away blood, but blood can be turned into love" cheesiness); an article about Country Music in Midwest America (I understood why Country Music and Cowboy culture was so prevalent in my country too -same values). The good tip for incoming P1 is: this is so much what OB1 and OB2 essays should be.

And finally an insightful ressearch on Brain: University of Southern California patient Elliot, after a brain tumor, lost his ability to make sensible decisions. Compared to other patients with brain tumor, he was able to list rational alternatives. But like them, he was not able to come out with a choice, a decision. Why was that? Well, while other patients in the study lost part of their Brain in what is believed to be the Rational side of it, Elliot lost a different area, what is believed to be the Emotional side of it. Without emotions, while he was able to summarise alternatives given ot him, he could not decide, ie. rank and choose alternatives. In substance, contrarily to common assuption that Emotion and Rationality are opposed, they seem to work together, with no one better than the other, as end-result is the same without any of them: failure.
So, incoming P1s, do take away as much in OB as you will in Finance et al.

Next days planning:
- pack up stuff for Singapore
- collect air ticket
- say bye to everyone in France
- attend Sunday night BBQ at Palms in Singapore!

To know more about Little Miss Sunshine (particularly insightful on our American friends' winning culture):

To know more about The Queen:

To knwo more about Prete-moi ta main:

To know more about Economist articles (Print Edition of Dec23-Jan05)

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