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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