Wednesday, March 31, 2004

There was an announcement the other day: the new director of the MBA program will now be based on the Singapore campus and will spend some time on the other campus. It is interesting to notice a small symbolical re-balancing of decision power between the two campuses. Looking forward to see the kind of changes, or evolution she will bring!
We had a little cocktails for scholarship recipients the other day. In the intimate atmosphere of a large empty cafeteria - the few of us were awkwardly gathered around two solitary and sad-looking tables, set side by side, and decorated with a combination of tiger-zebra inspired cloth.

The Dean of the campus realized 10 min into his speech that he had gathered his little value chain: Admissions, scholarship, Director of MBA Program, Career Management Services and Alumni Association/Relation.
Bottom line for us was: do remember to send us a check when you graduate. Law of reciprocation in action.

Seriously, the availability of scholarships is bitterly missing from the INSEAD package. One of the reasons is that INSEAD is a young school and there is only a limited pool of alumni to draw from. Another reason is that this type of donations and school affiliation is not as powerfully engrained in other parts of the world, as it is in the US. There might be something linked to limited resources that would go around potential sponsors. Perhaps an opportunity to partner up with MBA Marketing. In any case, clearly a point that they could improve upon - or at least try to work out better deals with banks. Some of the loans that they were offering were deals worse that what students could get without using the name of the school as a solid backup.

All in all - the school has clearly indicated its priority: international aspect is present. Two integrated and fully-functional campuses and global presence is there. Excellence of faculty, teaching, variety of program, contacts in the industry, diversity of participants, it's all there. Career Management Services is rapidly improving and certainly more than willing to assist (and one can go a loooooooonnnng way with goodwill and a bit of energy) but not quite yet what I would expect from a top tier institution. Most firms I contacted though replied taht they knew about the school and had a high expectation regarding the quality of its graduates. Brand Management, fund raising, etc...might still need a little bit of effort.

Oh, and next time, it would be nice to have red wine too at this kind of cocktail.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Heard in class and faithfully reported

"In front of clients, make sure you start with the most complicated models. They will feel lost and you will be able to charge a ton of money" - Finance Professor

"This is complete bullshit" - Finance Professor

"I got the Dean's solution to the case but it is actually wrong, he is using the cost of capital as a discount rate when he should be using the riskfree rate. Apart from that, it is a good solution" - Finance Professor

"If you want to do it cheap and dirty, back of the enveloppe kind of things, you can always use the Dean's solution" - Finance Professor

Monday, March 29, 2004

One day, I came across the perfect job for international misfits at eBay

"willingness and strong interest in moving working overseas"

This probably kept most of the traditionally-rooted job seekers at bay.
I spoke with a taxi driver today - apparently each company cab offers two services
- taxi lease, and they set a maximum of three people to share the cab. In general only two partners get together, otherwise, it might not be worth their while. One of them charge some S$90 per day for the car (which can be split between the partners)
- call and dispatching center. The cab drivers charge an extra $3 for this service, of which the cab company get 50 cents.

Shifts tend to be 12 hr long (with pauses for food, etc...) Typically a night and a day driver. Average cab ride is apparently about $5 and no more than 10/15 min long. This must cover the lease cost and petrol cost. Everyone is self-employed so must subscribe separate insurance. Lease covers car insurance fees. Taxi comes all equipped with meter, etc...Meters are leased from Singapore.

I am sure you all wanted to know that.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Comments on the Wharton comments

International: true. Entrepreneurship is also a big thing in Singapore. No scoop there but glad that it is noticeable.
Remember that an MBA is a lot about what you learn from your peers, so this is an important aspect when you choose your program!

Geographical Flexibility: apart from the fact that I bedazzled to read that I am considered an international misfit, I agree. Most people will speak to you with a perfect New York accent, but as soon as you enquire about their origin, you learn that the person is Turkish, has a French mother, lived in Hong Kong before joining INSEAD and hope to find a job in Rio de Janeiro.

Women: sadly true...the most active INSEAD bloggers are female but there is a small proportion of women. To some extent, this can be explained by the fact that INSEAD recruits from countries where education is not as widely available to the female portion of the population. This might explain a 10% gap maybe? Not that much (although I am not sure about this number, I thougt it was a little higher). INSEAD is aware of it and making efforts to increase visibility of the school among female applicants, generate more events that would cater for their needs, is thinking about launching a mentoring program, etc...The advantage of the small size, is that the school can react fast.

Political Correctness: read my Heard and Class and Faithfully Reported post to receive confirmation. I find this very refreshing.

Student Life: INSEAD is, well, smaller than Wharton - a lot smaller. One must be careful here. The Singapore campus is a lot smaller than the Fonty one. Elective classes there go more often to bidding, classes can be bigger, etc...Amphis were more crammed with people during the core courses and some students have been found sleeping...Fontainebleau also has a lot more going on (and there is a newspaper!). There are more clubs in Fontainebleau because less swapping and switching of core team members. A lot more sports related clubs and the school hosts a fair amount of outside lecturers, at least once per week in relation to the National Week. There is a National Week a week in Fontaienbleau and the experience is very different. However, there is not much else to do in Fontainebleau and the outside life is very different.
I would find it difficult to talk about a low-frill school in Fontainebleau but there is certainly little to do in town beside class. Here, you get a lot more informal and cooperative environment and INSEAD is associated with a lot of outside events. So this comment should not be generalized to INSEAD as a whole in my humble opinion.

It is true that access to other subjects would be so much nicer - I'd love to get perspective from lawyers, doctors, etc...besides the ones studying in the program! I agree that this is missing, we are very much Intra-INSEADers.
On the other hand, any new course, new initiative, new partnership, etc...can more easily be accommodated since the school can move fast and make its independent decision. The program is also a lot more intense which might be necessary given that most of your schoolmate will be remote misfits, thousands of miles away from you after the program.

Socializing: agree. Fontainebleau and Singapore are very different on this point again.

Weekend Jaunts: agree. Weekends in Fonty are different too.

Way of Life: agree. You already got my opinion about that.

Views on Wharton: agree although cannot comment on Wharton side.

Interest in Wharton from Insead side: true
It is now very clear - every day after 4pm, we get a major storm which will last only for an hour or so. I could set my watch and start selling foldable one-time-use umbrellas the minute before, and enjoy rising profits every day.
The rest of the time sun's out..

Applied to several jobs this weekend. Organized my Job Search like a professional project manager. Finished up my Non Negotiable Negotiation Journal - I have no outcome yet, only a current status since we are still talking, hope this is ok, at least the point is made: it was negotiable. Wasted time on this stupid test. Caught up with ton of unanswered e-mails. Set up transition team for my club. Started doing regular sports again - apart from sailing.

I must still read a case for Monday, prepare a negotiation due tomorrow and work with my group on our Applied Finance Case...
A Wharton Exchange student talks about her exchange with INSEAD Singapore - please note that this does not apply necessarily to Fontainebleau.

This reminds me that I could write up a bit on opinions of school differences.

Enjoy at

I post the text here - just in case...

"When I first told my friends that I would do the INSEAD exchange program in Singapore, they wailed, "You're abandoning us... we only have a few more months of second-year bonding time!" One friend taunted me by saying, "Isn't this just another trip like that WIVP International VACATION project you did last summer?!" I tried to explain why I wanted to leave Wharton for the third quarter of my second year. Of course, I had already ticked off all the reasons why it WASN'T a good idea: the logistical hassle and expense of subletting my apartment, stopping my mail, flying 24 hours, abbreviating my winter vacation, putting my job search on the back burner, and choosing from a sparse list of quarter-credit classes to take during Wharton's fourth quarter.

But then I thought about why the exchange WAS a good idea. First, I feel driven to explore new cultures and countries. Also, the exchange was an opportunity to expand my network globally; cure the restlessness that had set in after a year and a half of cases, classes, and Philly; see what INSEAD is all about; escape a cold northeastern winter; and travel around Asia. Also, after studying abroad in Europe during high school and college, I felt I had an "Asian gap" to fill in.

So here I am in Singapore, doing the INSEAD exchange. If you are curious about how INSEAD and Wharton compare, read on for my impressions.

International: International is to INSEAD what leadership is to Wharton. Just as leadership is drilled into Wharton students who already have much leadership experience, an international outlook is further honed in INSEAD students who already have vast cross-cultural experience. No more than 10% of INSEAD students come from any one country, and the faculty hails from multiple nations as well. Internationalism is built into the cases and curriculum to a much greater extent than it is here at Wharton. Our in-class discussions are not limited to asking the lone German or Japanese student if the case has any relevance in their country. And it goes beyond afterthoughts like: "When doing market research in a foreign country, make sure you're aware of language and culture differences."

To me, the aspect of INSEAD that seems most unique is that students are so geographically flexible. A certain rootlessness reigns. In the words of a career advisor here, "it's an environment for international misfits." It's common to meet someone who says, "I'm French, but my mom is Belgian, and my dad is from Morocco, and I grew up in Australia and then worked in Germany, and now I'm in Singapore, and after school I think I'll work in Malaysia." Meanwhile, at Wharton, you're more likely to hear people say, "I'll live in New York after school because my partner is there," or, "I'm taking a job in California to be closer to my family."

Where are the women?! My goodness, I thought Wharton was male-dominated! The proportion of women in the current INSEAD class is 16%. I've been in classes where there were 35 men and only three women. And since this is not a US school, political correctness is noticeably absent from discussions inside and outside of the classroom. Interestingly, learning teams at INSEAD either have zero women or two. One explanation a student gave me was that they ascribe to something called the "princess effect", whereby a lone woman in a group with five men behaves like a princess and is treated too 'specially.'

Student Life: INSEAD is, well, smaller than Wharton - a lot smaller. An elective class at the Singapore campus is considered big if there are more than 25 people enrolled. Therefore, it's hard to skip your case reading and sulk in the back of the room. Moreover, the people here have only been in school since September, so they're not yet feeling the "senioritis" that Wharton Second Years have grappled with. Students seem to actually read their cases and prepare for classes. People here are still fairly motivated academically, whereas Wharton students in their second year seem more motivated by job-searching and socializing.

Also, INSEAD lacks the resources of a big university, has no mixers with law school students, experiences no shaking head at the idealism and innocence of ambient undergrads, publishes no MBA newspaper, has fewer clubs, and hosts fewer outside lecturers. INSEAD is about getting a low-frills fast-track MBA in ten months in a wildly international setting. On the plus side, the competition that plagues Wharton students for things like Quantico spots, seats in classes, or club leadership positions is muted in this smaller program.

Socializing: The social life at INSEAD is quite similar to Wharton. Big parties. Late parties. Drunken parties. Cultural events. MBAs really are quite similar wherever you go: we have no problem living beyond our means and staying out late engaging in behavior that ill befits future business leaders. But at INSEAD's Singapore campus, instead of weekly Pubs, there are frequent impromptu pool-side barbecues, complete with burly European guys tossing everyone in for a swim. Also, there's more social interaction among people of different countries. On the other hand, at Wharton there seems to be less commingling, more Europa-ing.

Weekend Jaunts: On weekends at Wharton, people go to places like New York, DC, or Amish country. Here, it's sunbathing in Bali, touring in Bangkok or scuba-diving off the coast of Malaysia. As an exchange student, I only have to take three classes while others here take six. Hence, there is plenty of time to take advantage of cheap tickets to exotic locales for weekend jaunts. Even better, my classes finish here on February 20th, which gives me a full three weeks for spring break.

Way of Life: Ah, the expat life is very good here. Honestly, I don't understand why more Wharton people don't do this exchange in Singapore. This city is modern, well-organized, clean, civilized, and for the most part, cheaper than the US. It is safe, too: by now, it seems perfectly reasonable to me to save my seat in a busy food court by putting my purse down while I turn my back to retrieve my dinner. I worry that my Philly-honed street smarts will have flown out the window when I go back to Wharton.

Most INSEAD students in Singapore live in groups of two or three in luxury condo high-rises near school. Many apartments have maid's quarters, although in my apartment there is no maid, save a once-weekly cleaning lady who charges $18 US for three hours of her time. The complexes have security, tennis courts, three pools, a gym - all this for about half of what I pay for my antiquated apartment in Philly. The food situation is good too: there are food courts near school that provide a choice of meals for less than $2 US.

Views on Wharton: People are intrigued that I'm from Wharton, very willing to talk to me, and curious about how I perceive Wharton versus INSEAD. The most common question I get is "Why don't more Wharton students participate in the Singapore exchange?" I tell them that the exchange is difficult because most of our classes last four months, that almost half of Wharton students are international (and, hence, studying abroad already), that Wharton people don't want to take a break from their job search, that people don't want to leave their significant others, and that we have several different schools to choose from for international exchanges. But every time I recite these reasons, I wonder why more Wharton students aren't interested in the INSEAD Singapore option. Are we too rooted, too content with our Wharton experience to engage in something new, risking the new-kid-at-school feeling once again? As a professor of mine said, by being in Singapore for two months, my Wharton network does not suffer, and, at the same time, I can build a whole new set of contacts in Asia and around the world.

Meanwhile, interest in the Wharton exchange is high among INSEAD students. It seems they are interested in Wharton not only as a launch pad for US career opportunities, but a chance to take finance classes and experience the two-year American MBA program. INSEAD students actually have to bid the majority of their course auction points to do the Wharton exchange - and that's before even entering the Wharton class auction with an allotment of points uninflated by three semesters of speculation and trading.

So if you're interested in being unable to pronounce 80% of the names on name tents, expanding your international knowledge and network, taking weekend jaunts to Phuket, and temporarily eliminating your chances of getting mugged, consider doing the INSEAD Singapore exchange. I'm glad I did."
2nd Year Wharton Student

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Politically correct regime: you are associated with two differently aged but no less valuable to society bovines of no specific gender. The concept of ownership is long gone as a symbol of the phallocentric male hegemony and it war-mongering past.
Actually I did learn things during this course - for instance that there are over 700 ships going round the Island of Singapore every day - making the Singapore waters some of the busiest in the world.

and I read this morning in the Singapore Straits that the Navy officers of the ship involved in a recent crash had been found guilty by a civil court. Probably a premiere in the history of the Singapore Navy.

Life isn't that bad. And the price of the course is now a sunk cost...Terrible notion this...
What a nightmare today!!!

So first of all, I spend a quiet morning going over practice question for this local boating exam. Most of the navigation questions are very easy and I concentrate my attention on the specific geographic ones. There seems to be no problem so around lunchtime I set off for the National Maritime Academy to take my test. This is about 40 minutes away from my apartment.

I arrive at the run-down facilities of the Academy - full of apparently disillusioned students, leisurely thrown over a sofa or gathered around a pool table in their recreational area. We are first introduced to the Computer Lab where we are to take our exam. I feel very relaxed, drink a little bit of water - cannot help thinking about my GMAT days and finally set out to answer the 30 questions ahead of me. I do well on this test, the questions are easy, clearly posed and I have no difficulties finishing the test is about 15 mins.

Then things got more complicated. The invigilator - a huge Indian guy with no concept of psychological subtlety leaves us all waiting by the door for the rest of the time, when he is supposed to give us our printed results. Since the system is supposed to be completely automated, this is supposed to take minutes only.

At the end of the alloted hour for the test, he comes to us and indicates that unfortunately, he can access but not print the results. He has called a captain to try to fix the problem. The captain is busy examining students on their practical, so it takes a while before we see any sign of assistance. Finally, the captain, someone who has this air of authority about him and the Indian guy lock themselves up in the computer lab. After a short while, the Indian guy who decidedly does not understand human mind indicates that there is a small chance that we might all have to retake the test since he has lost everybody's results.

They faff around with the equipment for another few minutes to finally emerge from the computer lab, like miners exhausted after a day of labor - they offer the option to take a paper test, or wait for new computer two weeks from now. I opt for the paper test - nothing to lose at this stage.

The paper test is an old paper. They don't have enough copies of it, so the captain needs to make photocopies. Finally, we all sit down in a classroom and are explained the new rules of the game. We all start - in the midst of chaos. Cell phones go off, inviligators go in and out as they please, they leave the door open to talk to the security guard outloud to explain that they will take a bit longer than usual...etc...

All in all, a real nightmare. By then, the lack of respect shown by various people with cell phones, makes me feel a little annoyed - just a touch.

The test is a lot vaguer than the computer-based ones. Questions are harder and lot more specific to Singapore. I have no problem with the standard navigation ones but I struggle a bit more with some of the blurry questions.

We then have to wait forever for them to mark the papers. Two people are going over the test, double checking every answer. They come out only when they have at least 50% of the results. They shout out everybody's results out loud - so much for privacy and Asian saving face!

I failed by ONE point. Needless to say that this is rather annoying but hey, probably the way it was supposed to be. No regrets there. The whole course will be a write-off as I won't have time now to take the other test since next week is a week off for them (a few 00s S$ but I guess that I tried to play it foolish by taking no chance with time, so I should not be surprised to find myself in this situation. Pretty stupid of me to have done this in the first place. Hopefully, some of it will be useful in my future outings, which is what matters really)

Anyway, a rather horrible day by all means...

Friday, March 26, 2004

Tomorrow, I have a written theory test for boating. So tonight, no party for me.
Extremely unfortunate timing.

What else do I have to do over the weekend:

I am also in the middle of my non-negotiable. I cannot quite tell you what it is now because it is not over, but I started with a firm no, and we are still talking. Report is due on Monday, I am unlikely to close the deal by then, but I can send an update.
I have one negotiation to do for Monday (difficult conversation theme)

We have some warrant case due on Tuesday. I have no clue. My group has no clue and it sounds like the class has no clue. We don't even know where to start from.

Need to get going SERIOUSLY. There is a personal paper due on Wednesday

Job Search:
Need to get going seriously. Right now, two rejects and two accepts (for first round interviews).

Weekend and holiday planning:
Need to get going seriously

Not much. Most of teh organization work for this period is done. I must organize a get together for pass on team.

Pffff...Why do I always find myself entangled in such intricate time slot juggling?
Yesterday, I was sitting with a couple of hot scones, blueberry jam and cream. Within reach, on a delicate wooden table, my 5 o'clock companion, my little cup of tea. Unfolding carelessly the Financial Times to look up the cricket results of the Indian-Pakistan match, I realized how delicious an English Tea must feel after a long rainy afternoon.

If you don't go to The Queen, bring The Queen to you. Thank you, subjects of Her Majesty, delegated to INSEAD for sharing with us this ever so lovely moments of refinement.
Heard in class and faithfully reported

(about Convertible Bonds)
- male, female or convertible? - REP professor

(about convertible bonds)
- Banks, all they want is money. For instance for convertible bonds, they'd come to you and say: would you be interested in the best of the Bond and Equity market? I have this great instrument for you! And it's super cheap too. It is called a convertible bond, you get this upside and there is a minimum low on the downside. What they forget to tell you is that the minimum low is zero, so you have lost everything." - Finance Professor

(about Warrant)
- these things are super complicated and quasi-impossible to price. Which means?
- no clue (class)
- LOOOOOOAAAAADS of money in arbitrage for Hedge Fund. Good business!
(Finance Professor)
I am taking some classes for a boating license here in Singapore. It won't be of much use to me - if I DO pass the test - since I am not staying that much longer but it is fun. Our instructor is an ex-Navy Captain. He was excellent in trying to get us to remember stuff.

- "well, one way to remember parts of the boat, is to transfer it onto other things that you can easily relate to. So for instance, if you walk around in Singapore, you could say: - her stern' great. Oh, and her masthead isn't bad either."

There was recently articles in the newspaper about an accident, supposedly caused by a Navy vessel in the Singapore waters. He commented that only a few years ago, no one would have heard about it. No military case would be cited in a civil court of Justice. Now even the newspaper talk about it.

In this class, I met the Director of the Regional Training Institute of the IMF. I obviously immediately got his card, had a little chat about the Euro Zone, the slow movements of the Chinese RMB and the general state of affairs in the world - then offered to facilitate a discussion with our Transnational Professor. He accepted.
I took the card back to the professor, who gladly accepted it since his guest from this year (we had someone from the IMF speak in our last session) is moving onto another country. I hope that this gets me top mark in class participation.

Heard in class and faithfully reported

"Believe me, try to negotiate as hard as you can as to avoid to take on any personal guarantee, especially with banks. One way of doing this is not to have any assets in your name - you could all register them in the name of your wife. Hold on, I have just said something stupid. In the event of a divorce you'd get screwed too." - REP Professor

'- Top two smartest people in my career? Two INSEAD students. First one was an international piano player. He knew nothing about Finance before he came into the program. He was a complete guru afterwards. He picked up everything in no time. The second one was an ex-foreign legion officer in France. I remember...During the winter, he would WALK to school, from Bourron-Marlotte, 10 kms away from Fontainebleau, wearing a T-shirt by - 5 degrees" - Applied Corporate Finance professor

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I got killed. I am not joking.

I got killed in the James Bond spy game for British Week.

Doesn't feel too good, let me tell you.
I have come to really like this REP/Entrepreneurship class! It really is the most practical class I have had at INSEAD. The cases focus on small businesses and entrepreneur problems, which are way overlooked in big company cases. It is about little tricks that everyone of us could do, it is about common sense, cash management and all that...It is full of little hints and tips which you might not have thought about, it is cynical and realistic at the same time. It is also a very nice wrapper of all the things we were taught at school. A little bit about valuation, financing a deal, negotiation, accounting, value based management, OB, etc...which you can use in any other course. Turning around business, looking for hidden value, etc...can be done in any group by any line management, or even at a more abstract level by CEOs of larger firm. There seems to be very little wastage in this class.

And it is fun.
12m one time positive cash flow and management of working capital requirements! Dah!!!!

Have you ever been in a position when I feel completely clueless about a question, and when the answer is revealed to you it seems like the most obvious thing in the word, and you wonder how anyone equipped with half a brain could not think of it?
Did I say that our REP professor was likely to be the most entertaining of all this period? Well, he seems to live up to his reputation!
(REP is Realizing Entrepreneurship Potential)

Heard in class and faithfully reported
(from prof)

- "Remember how good I told you you lot was in our first session as you came cracking down all the issues in the case in no time? Well, forget it, you miserably failed me this time"

- "Mr X, you have half your arm up, does that mean that you have only half of the answer?"

- My God, your memory of what goes on in this class is atrocious! Reducing sales! We had this guy yesterday on the bloody video who talked about how he reduced his product portfolio from 300 products to 30!"

- You have to be careful with the use one makes of the word OLD in this class. I walked into a travel agent the other day, and they were offering deals for elderly people, aged 50 and over...I walked out immediately

- I have done some clever calculations here, which you quite sadly have not

- I wish I had taken my own course when I was an entrepreneur! I would NEVER have bought this company of mine, it was the worse business decision by far in he whole history of humanity!

- Weird...Mmmm...Can anyone think of a better word? Like lunacy for instance?

- How many...No wait, this was going to be a very stupid question.

- Guys, remember, banks never ever ever give anything for free. Barclays, in the UK, once was mailing all their customers about this great offer of a new products. They subsequently found out that the postage had been charged back to their accounts.

- French paychecks are awfully complicated. I don't know if you have ever come across one. You start with Gross Pay at the top, then you roll out the thing for a good 30m before you get to Net Payment.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

In our entrepreneurship case - we have launched into an Accounting Treasure Hunt - as we are supposed to identify 12m FF one-time positive cash flow that "competent management" / that's us in the case / must release - and which does not involve any selling...

Well, we have no clue. Everything that could account for a value potentially transformable in cash and over 12m is sellable...
Or a liability...

Also, I quote the case "came up with a plan to reduce the company's sales". Talk about counter-intuitive business move...

Monday, March 22, 2004

I have long thought that I was a pure doer. I liked theories only in their ability to get me going in the field or enjoy pleasant conversations over a nice cup of tea. I preferred to read novels than long articles or textbooks. I preferred meeting people and live discussions to a thesis. My learning ground is the world.

Then I came to realize that this was not quite a true picture. One day I started to write and I realized that the only way to learn about myself seemed to write. In this parallel universe, I can be daring. No one would ever read the emotions so faithfully captured by a spontaneous poem. This seems to imply that I would have two learning styles depending on what I want to learn.
Then I met my first mentor and observing him and listening to his advice was incredibly helpful and provided a great number of insights as to what I could do better in many respects. Would I now have a third learning style?
How can I reconcile all of this? Do I have a learning style, or does this resemble my life: a seemingly messy patchwork?

Long pondering over this question, I might now possess an answer. Not entirely satisfying but helpful: I can identify a comfort, preferential and effective learning zones. I have just introduced three terms which I must now define.

It looks like I have an effective learning style, or zone. This is doing. Sailing is probably the most acute example of this: I do not believe that one can claim that they can sail without having held the helm in their hands and hoisted a sail. Doing is also the only way for me to find out how much I have actually learned: have I been effective? My confidence level increases with expertise which in turn increases with practice. So, in that sense, I still learn by doing.
Is this where I feel most comfortable? Clearly no. I would not wake up one day, decide I’ll learn some sailing today, drive to a harbor, rig up the first boat that I come across, talk someone into crewing for me under the false pretence that it would be the best possible way to become a babe magnet and set about crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I like learning in a non consequential environment.
I started to learn sailing the hard way: as a typical engineer, I left with a dinghy with the certainty that I’ll figure everything out. After fifteen successive capsizing waves, I decided to take a couple of classes, first theoretical, then on the water. I learned about the various points of sail, the forces applied on the boat. I knew what each sheet was supposed to do and how the sails worked together with the steering. Then, whether I listen, read, observe or just bring someone along as a safety net makes little difference. Or rather, anything goes. I can spend a night at the library to study the lives and major crossings of the top 200 navigators in the world, go through 20,000 practice navigation problems, submit myself to simulation exercises in a bathtub, construct a Lego model of the Titanic, put it in the sink and apply current on it or write an essay about the art of the mainsail, sewing techniques and the benefits of Kevlar. I am just increasing my comfort zone before I do it in the real world.
Now that I can skipper, I enjoy telling people about sailing. The ultimate challenge.

Finally, I identified a preference which is neither doing, nor reading, nor writing. It is talking. I first thought it was only a kind of self-evaluation, back by a third party: if I could explain back what I have just absorbed, then I must truly master it. It is kind of a self-evaluation, backed up by a third party. At times, though I tried to explain something I did not understand to somebody. Having to go through the exercise of clearly articulating my thoughts and knowledge locked everything into place.

INSEAD is kind of a non-consequential learning environment (if one sets aside the grading system), it is kind of a place where you can do things (project and case studies). It is also an environment where you can absorb as much theory as you like (there aren't enough days in a year for you to browse through all the readings at the library). It is also an environment where you get to do A LOT of writing (apart from this blog, the number of papers is just mind-blogging, sorry, mind-boggling) - and where most professors ask you to do a lot of talking through stand-in presentations.

Do you care? Probably not!
Where does this lead me to? No idea.
When I asked someone about the reasons why this person would go back to his employer:

"- well, I thought it was the worst possible company to work for, but now that we have been through so many catastrophic scenarii in the case studies at school, I guess that they were not that bad!"

Or on perspective.
We have just been forwarded the following message:

This is an extract from Gordon Brown’s (UK’s Finance Minister) budget speech. Of interest may be the comment in section 3.92 highlighted below re working in the UK which may be of interest to non-EU Europa members.


3.91 Migration helps to raise productivity and boost economic growth by increasing labour supply and reducing domestic skills shortages. The UK benefits from free movement of labour within the EU, and to maximise these benefits, the Home Secretary has recently announced that workers from accession states will be allowed to access the UK labour market
from 1 May 2004, subject to a worker registration scheme.

3.92 The Government is also committed to promoting schemes to attract unique talent to the UK, recognising in particular the potential of international students, and will therefore introduce over the coming months a new entitlement for graduates of the world’s top 50 business schools to work in the UK for up to 12 months on completing MBAs

Tomorrow morning - English breakfast.

·        Scramble Egg
·        Fried Egg
·        Bacon
·        Sausages
·        Grilled Tomato
·        Fried Bread
·        Hash Brown
·        Fried Button Mushroom
·        Toast
·        Coffee & Tea
I think that I have already mentioned that my negotiation class was excellent. Well, on top of the class, we have several very good events coming up soon.
The first too are followed by a class BBQ by the pool or a free lunch with the Executive MBA participants at school.

Event #1 - Videoconference with Prof. Roger Fisher (co-author of the negotiation bestseller "Getting to Yes") - Roger Fisher is one of the world's leading experts on Negotiation, a guru and a great storyteller.

Event #2 - Guest Speaker - Keith Fitzgerald on "Negotiating with Terrorists" - Keith was here last year to talk on this same topic. He had a full house who enjoyed his real life stories, his innovative perspective as well as his solid advice on handling crisis negotiations.

Event #3 Speaker - Dr. Tan Tay Keong on "Negotiation and Corruption" - Dr. Tay Keong is one of the world's leading experts on corruption and negotiation and will share with us the intricacies of these challenges from a real life perspective.

Sounds coool. Only trouble is that I was asked to participate in an MBA Open Day event which conflicts with the first event.
I'll have to test my ubiquity capabilities.
I had an informational meeting with a Corporate person from my old employer today. I dressed up in business casual. He turned up in shorts and sandals. Sets the tone...

Anyway, he was greeted by a man who looked and acted like the Queen of England, depraved British student who forgot to put their pants on, a Bobby and several other monuments of British Culture. And that is because...

THIS WEEK IS BRITISH WEEK at INSEAD Asia!!! And everyone's in a Mind The Gap mood.

Tonight, everyone will be able to have a good laugh with Mr Fawlty and Manuel who's probably on his way back to Barcelona as we speak for a series of Fawlty Towers episode. This show was voted several times the funniest TV shows of all times in the UK (or so I am told).
Heard in class and faithfully reported

"- Wake up" - Finance professor to group presenting today's case

I still have to find either ways to get my 10 Nos, or a Non-negotiable item that I can try to negotiate for my Negotiation paper due next Monday. Any idea is welcome...

Sunday, March 21, 2004

This year is the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese calendar. Very good choice.
In our negotiation class, the professor argued that when the US gave an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, they gave him no other option but to say No. There was no way out for him. This would mean of course, that they were already set about invading the country, and this was an artefact to please the international community.
Here is how the professor went about persuading us.

He asked us to behave as if we were Saddam Hussein - that was the biggest challenge of the exercise.

Then he delivered the ultimatum:
"You have 48 hrs to decide to surrender right now to the US Army or we invade your country"

The question from "our" perspective can be rephrased as follows - or in other terms: what is the UNDERSTOOD question
"do I want to surrender to the Son of Satan and spend the rest of my life in jail?"

Then we looked at the positives and negatives of a "Yes" answer (meaning, surrender option), always from Saddam's perspective. It was important to use Saddam's words and the pronoun "I"

+ country is not invaded
- I give in to the Son of Satan
- I lose face
- I go to jail
- I can be killed
- I will be perceived as a weak leader in the Arab community
- I lose power
- I lose my money
- probable exile for all of my family members
- I must deal with the US which represent the most hated power in the world (from my perspective)
- I destroy my ideal
- my country needs me, I can't leave them
- I will not be the historical hero I want to be

Loads of minuses.

Then we turned to the possibility and effects of a "No" answer
+ last time someone from the Bush family tried that, I stayed in power and he did not get re-elected, so let's say no
- my country will be invaded and there will be a war
+ I could win this war
+ I could just hide. After all I am a dictator, time's on my side. Bush is elected, time's not on his side
+ I'll get support from international community, they can't agree on what to do
+ other Arab states will come and rescue me
+ I will be a hero
+ I will be perceived like a persecuted but strong Arab leader
+ I might stay in power
+ I will go on and fight this Holy War against the Son of Satan
+ resentment against the US will rise in my country (already fairly high because of embargo)
- I might go to jail, I might be killed

Loads of pluses

"is anyone now surprised that Saddam said No to the ultimatum?"

Next step would be to try to reformulate the question to offer a way out and change the perceptions of negatives/positives for each option. In this particular case, if it were not done, it probably means that it was not intended.

So, when the UK organize a referendum about joining the Euro zone, what do you think the Brits understood the question to be?
I have made process in my Finance case, just before our group meeting. I really like this place as I am learning a lot.

I had no clue yesterday.

Since then, I have several avenues for potential solutions: incorporate the country risk in several income scenarios (with probabilities) and leave it out of the cost of capital. Eliminate the currency risk with a hedge strategy: enter a forward contract to lock in the Exchange rate between the Dinar and the Pound at today's spot value, etc..

So now, I have his humongous spreadsheet with three different scenarii, 5 or 6 different worksheet, cross-references all over the place, hundreds of assumptions.

I still have no clue.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The yacht club is efficient. The race took place only a few hours ago, and they have already e-mailed us the URL of a website with all the photos taken during the day. Oh, I nearly forgot. We are in Singapore.
I went racing today - some Shoot Outs (2 by 2 matchs). We were an all INSEAD teams but most people on board had not done a lot of racing. Some had not done a lot of sailing. I helmed only for a couple of races (only one win) but it was a lot of fun. A few bumps here and there, although no one got hurt, which is the main thing. Nice beer and buffet afterwards. I met the person heading the HSBC operations, here in Singapore. He had spent 6 years in Hong Kong beforehand.

For some reason, I really was not at my best. Normally, even if there is anything wrong, the minute I step on a boat, the outlook of pretty much everything I can think of brightens up. Today it didn't.

Maybe it was just the sun.

Enough said, back to work. I have to figure out how to value a joint venture between an English firm and a Tunisian firm, operating in Tunisia but selling on the UK market.
I like Singapore - on Friday, I could escape for a couple of water for a short sail, then be on time for our OCR presentation. We got rained on and I was already very wet as I was working on the foredeck, which entails a lot of acrobatic moves in the middle of crashing waves. Pleasant lifestyle.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Tomorrow is going to be Marathon Day

8.30am: e-mails, coffee, newspaper - arrange meeting with my Entrepreneurship Team. Must reply to person that I am meeting for job enquiry/potential interview on Monday and prepare for it
9am: Finish Finance case
10am: Start new finance case
Noon: Second round negotiation for Monday's assignment with my counterpart
1pm: Core Team Club Meeting (and working lunch)
2pm: Negotiation class with Hollywood professor
3.30: Sailing training for tomorrow’s race at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club
6pm: Shower and change at the yacht club while team members clean up the boat
7pm: On Campus Recruiting Presentation
8.15pm: On Campus Recruiting Dinner (offered to all MBAs by recruiting company) at Indochine Waterfront
somewhere around 10pm: Drinks with other INSEAD fellows
somewhere around 11.30pm: Top 3 most urgent Job Search related issues
somewhere around 1am: Bedtime

Saturday morning: 10am is yacht race start time.

Somehow, it feels wonderful to be able to fit all this nicely on a piece of paper. Since Murphy's clearly divorced me a long time ago, his law seems to be working against me 24hrs a day - and this type of schedule stretches to unthinkable proportions.
My cell phone has drunk water today. It looks quite dead now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I have just dealt with Job Search related issues. CMS has segmented the world into three categories.

Consulting firms - most of them recruit on a global basis. All of them have excellent contacts with INSEAD, come to both campuses and link their recruitment process with INSEAD's Future platform. A lot of consultants or ex-consultants are at INSEAD and help you with case preparation. If you want a job in consulting, attend the company's presentation, prepare an intelligent to ask during the presentation, get someone's card so that you can ask a question or two by e-mail later. Write one CV and application letter (do not forget to change the name of the consulting firm on the application letter) and upload the whole thing when you request an interview with them. The big consultancies will come to campus and generally try to interview as many people as possible (to make up for the cost of coming to campus). So getting a first round interview should be possible. Then, it is all up to you!

Banking and Finance - I have very little clue about this sector, other than the fact that all major banks and financial services organizations that I know have received the CV book, come to campus and recruit on a global basis. Apparently, their recruiting season is more in line with the December class, than with the July class but I am very unsure about anything I say on the matter.

Industry - this is where usually CMS shorts fall. It seems that what happens is that the population of MBAs have grown exponentially and CMS has not scaled up its activities to meet the demand. For any disorganized company in terms of global structured MBA recruiting (and believe me, most companies are like that), for any smaller business unable to travel to campus, very little was done to initiate and maintain relationships, manage the INSEAD brand, inform about the process, dates, etc...Some of the clubs are actually helping out (Global Leader Series, Professional Forums, Entrepreneurship, etc...) and bring some contacts to the school but it takes a tremendous mount of time to continue the relationship.

The trouble is that this is the Bazar category - and catering to a population as diverse as the INSEAD community requires a HUGE effort. Do not belittle this category. It can represent a large proportion of hires - and unless you know for sure you want a finance or a consulting job, do not discard it.

My experience with CMS in Fontainebleau (as a new director was joining in) has not been extremely rewarding. The Asia team seems much more active and enthusiastic, perhaps to make up for a smaller campus, hence a smaller incentive for companies to come to campus. The new director seems efficient and reacts positively (someone requested to be able to change their CVs in the online system. It was officially locked, and to everyone's surprise the response was very positive: Sure! This makes total sense, as the recruiting period begins! We'll do that for you! no problem!)
In Singapore at least, faculty members are helping linking up people in the local community, the Management team also brings whatever contacts they have (and they do have great contacts) on demand.
However, for me, the big big plus is the alumni community. So if you are planning on getting a job in an industry and/or a location that you are not familiar with, tap into this fantastic resource. They are amazingly quick at responding and full of insights and good leads!

Any existing contacts you might have, friends, family, etc...will certainly be most useful as well.

My advice: try to narrow down a sector / location and focus your networking efforts there. I think that I am getting a little too many contacts and possibilities right now for me to be able to properly respond. And I thought I was kindda focused!

Ok - Finance case now. Leveraged Buy Out stuff...
Managed to artistically ridicule myself in the negotiation class. We dealt with "difficult negotiations" - people displaying very difficult behaviors, such as crying in front of you, shouting at you, etc...Instead of being able to focus on my "client's" interest, I kept getting dinner invitations, and the prof (my counterpart in the role play) moved 1 inch closer to my chair after each sentence.
Heard in Eli Lilly presentation

"The difference between Elanco (pet medicine) and its parent company (Eli Lilly) is that we get to eat our customers"
Wonder what that does to your revenues...
After three classes, a working (and delicious) lunch, some club activities to get an event off my list of things to do, a company presentation, a networking cocktail and a few e-mails to react to, I am now ready to

- prepare my negotiation for tomorrow
- fill in a job application
- prepare my Finance case (group meeting tomorrow 8.30am)

I am doing JUST fine.
I just had a problem with IT as I was trying to get access to a Club's account and e-mail address. So I just camped out in the Computer Support department for 30 min until the issue was resolved.
It is now resolved. Note that compared to possible weeks or months average resolution times in other parts of the world, this is still more efficient.

In general though and honestly, I'd revisit INSEAD's IT strategy. If the ambition of the school is to be truly global, it is nice to have a truly global resource access.

- NetVestibule as a peer-to-peer community. This is a great idea, easy to navigate but pretty simple looking
- Intranet - Internet in constant flux
- Classes and faculty pages
- Career related sites: internal CMS, job postings, FUTURE for applications and interview scheduling, etc...Easy to use, works well.
- Alumni website, just been revamped as "amphi" went live. Very useful.


- If I want to find out a phone number for a management person, I go to Staff Directory and I have the list of numbers in Fontainebleau. It is not clear to me where the Singapore contacts are. (CMS is an exception since they have a dedicated site and everyone's picture, responsibilities and contact details are clearly laid out)
- I switched campus, I had my account in Fontainebleau deleted and a new one created. Switching back: same mess. Of course, my personal contacts were also deleted in the process. Actually some people told me that they had not received emails because I had sent my messages to their other_campus account (I had no clue, I just typed their names).
- When Fontainebleau wakes up, the network connections in Singapore slow down considerably. In fact, network operations in Singapore are much slower than in Fontainebleau. I was told that it was because Singapore was routed via Fontainebleau for some reason
- If you have a problem with some of the "global" sites (such as the alumni site), you can call a phone number in Fonty, available only during French office hours.
- Network drives (I drive for personal backed up space and K drive for global access) are independent on the two campuses and cannot be accessed by the other campus (I have not tried FTP). Every student must back up its own data, carry it across and download it again at the other end. When you switch back, same mess.
- Clubs have SG or FB email and general IT accounts.

Submit your proposals online ;-)
The lecture from the Asia Director of the World Economic Forum was interesting - although turnout was ridiculously low in my opinion. Now that I am used to the dynamic and direct style of the Singapore government official, the very smooth and diplomatic tone adopted by the representative of the forum surprised me. It is obviously the style that mus prevail in such an organization as it tries to bring together parties with different interests to talk about global issues. The organization has no strong public stance, and sees its role as a mediator, a creator of moments of insights that organizations, governments and NGOs value. The person was very careful about how he was going to voice issues - but clearly had a very good grasp of what they were.

This forum is very much like a rich people's club. Now, in terms of impact and ability to act, these are the people to influence. As the Forum wants to remain independent and entirely funded through its membership fees and events fee, it is also necessary.
It is certain - as as the Director himself put it - that some organization are just using it as a basis to extend their networking reach. However, members sign up on a voluntary basis and executives, ministers, etc...dedicate DAYS every year to the forum. If I look at the latest survey on exec compensation packages, this is a fairly clear indication that there is value found in getting together, agree on the main issues, get ideas on how to go about them, understand everybody's concern.
I cannot really pintpoint the actual impact of the forum on their business or policy decisions. However, talking is better than no talking. If the Wolrd Economic Forum experts - often in partnership with major consulting firms - can help mediate and moderate debates in a constructive way - then there is a high probability that these talks are not completely void of contents.

I am not sure what day to day work at the Wolrd Economic Forum is like, but they are hiring right now. I saw some positions on the MBA job posting site.
huh oh. Congratulations to the people who have uncovered my identity in the past few days and been open about it. Roughly one a day...
Thank you also for not voicing it too loudly. Although by now, this is probably a well-known fact to most people in this small community - which will not affect the contents of this journal nor my perceived freedom of speech - it shows respect for my choice to remain anonymous.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

We just had a Negotation Gym. This is an optional extra - or free time from the faculty (and that represents a lot), an advantage of having fewer people on campus (on top of nearly personalized advice from our Career Management Services)

We talked about how to prepare for a negotiation using the 7 elements of negotiation (interests, alternatives, options, communication, legitimacy, commitments, etc...we added parties and issues). We actually based today's preparation on a framework that consultancy firms expert in negotations and mediations use in their day to day work.

Very powerful and simple to use.
Ok - so apparently the Fertility Week could be taken just like any other vacation. So just imagine

"sorry guys, I can't make the 12th for our off-site meeting. I'll be on my procreation leave"
Heard in class and faithfully reported

-" as an entrepreneur, you should be clear about your ethical values and standards. I am not telling you what they should be, only that you must be clear about them" - REP professor
-"well, clearly, in certain countries, there is even in incentives within the tax system itself to dodge taxes. I mean, clearly, this is my behavior" - student responding

"ok - we are going to simulate a feedback session. You are all my boss, I have just given feedback to my subordinate and I am asking you for feedback on my feedback. So here we go

"you are so pitifully incompetent that I am wondering why I am even wasting my time talking to you. In fact, you have just been moved to the empty office in the dark closet with no window, even though I promised never to move you. Your bad performance beats all previously established records of lows consistently. I don't want to hear your grievances and excuses. In fact, this is so bad, that if things are not changing, we need to be re-thinking your future in this company."
- OK so how well did I do?

The class (all together)
Awful, no hints of positive behaviors, not future-looking, unilaterally said, disrespectful, rude.

The professor "so how is this different from the feedback that I just gave?"

Humbling moment...
Tomorrow, we have a special guest in our Transnational or IPA+ class

"I want to inform you that Mr W. Lee Howell, World Economic Forum director for Asia, will be giving a guest lecture on the history, role and activities of the World Economic Forum ('Davos') in my elective course, Transnational Governance, Business and Society, tomorrow, Wednesday, 17 March from 8.30 to 10.00 a.m.

You are most welcome to attend this lecture."

I love business schools :)
In fairness - France Telecom is just as bad as some US firm operating in California which I will not name. I asked for a line to disconnected back in April of 2003. I still have not received a final bill that is correct (they own me money). They must be thinking that I am tired of asking but I patiently write and re-write my complaint, constantly adding photocopies of previous letters and moving up in their hierarchy. I figure that by graduation date, I'll be writing to their CEO. Unfortunately, they are not responding, so I cannot collect their replies to read out during one of our "soothe the mood" evenings. I could adopt the screaming tone of the angry customer whose business' survival depends on the settlement of this dispute, the suicidal-looking face of a completely depressed phone user who has lost everything in Las Vegas and would desperately need this money back to help reimburse their personal bankrupcy costs, the composed voice of a law-like negotiator announcing that an official complaint was filed and that a copy was sent to the president of the SEC. In all cases, I am certain of the result: none.

I am betting on the fact that if I write 1 letter a day, leave two voicemails a night, generate an overflow of automatically generated e-mails with a copy/pasted story, blast off 20 faxes in a round-robin pattern every other day and do so religiously for the next three months, they will ultimately give in.

Actually, my experience with them was not excellent all the time either. I used them only for months, as for years, I lived in an area covered by someone else.
Here is how the story goes: I move into this new place and I call them up to set up a new phone line. They blah blah me through their million options, I indicate firmly that I will not get lured into any of their marketing trap, I have my long-distance problem solved some other way and no I don't want to receive random offers by a zillion over-enthusiastic salespersons.

Two weeks later, I have no more dialing tone. I pick up my cell phone and I ring up their customer service number.

"All our operators are currently assisting other customers. Your call is important to us so please don't hang up. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received." cheesy music "did you know that you can get DSL services for only $xx.99 a month with our new package. Call now for our special offer" cheesy music "please have your client number and your phone number ready. If you are calling to make a payment, please have your credit card details ready" cheesy music "repeat"

I wait for 20 minutes. I plug my cell phone into the wall socket as I would hate my battery to fail when they finally pick up the phone.

"Hello - this is Wendy, how may I assist you?"
"Hi, I am finance Monkey, client # is xyowhft, my phone number is blah blah blah and I live at such and such a place. I am calling you because..."
"hold on, client num...ber...What was your phone number again?"
"all right, I am calling you because I don't have a dial tone anymore, and I would love to be able to make calls. In fact, it is exactly what I was intending to use my telephone for"
"let me see...I am pulling up your details here. Damn, the system's stuck. Oh no, there we are. Right...Well, we had to disconnect your phone because you have not paid your bills for the last 6 months"
"really? well that would be quite normal, I started using your services two weeks ago. I was not a customer of yours before so I am assuming you did not send me any bills"
"no, no, this number has not paid bills for the past 6 months"
"well, I am sorry to hear this, but this number has been mine for only two weeks so I do not think that I should be concerned with this. If we could talk about how we can have this line reconnected, I'd be much obliged"
"are you John?"

- anyone who has heard me talk would never ask me if my first name is John -

"no, I am not John, I am Finance Monkey and I have not paid any bill because I have not even received my first bill from you. Now, can I have my phone line back on please?"
-well, no, I must wait for John to pay the bills
- Ok. You deal with John and you and I deal with the reconnection of this phone line"
"you don't understand, I cannot reconnect the line until John pays the bill"
"but I don't even know who John is!!! I have nothing to do with this person and I want nothing to do with this person!"
"Then you can pay his bill and I reconnect the line for you"
(flabbergasted me)
"what?!?!?!?!?!? I am sorry I am not going to pay some fool's bill. My problem is very simple. Yesterday I had a phone line working and today I don't. You are the phone people, and I need your assistance in restoring this service. I will pay my bill when you send it to me."
"Ok, ok, then I need to change the phone number"
"No, no, no. I have just moved in and I have sent my new number to half the planet. I am not going through this again. I need this phone line back the way it was with the SAME phone number"
"hold on, if your phone is not working, how can you be calling me?"
(losing it)
"I am calling through a satellite in orbit around Mars relay. I am actually on a mission to the moon right now but I'd like to call home. So could I have my phone line back please?"
"hold on, this is getting too complicated for me, I am going to ask my manager"
"this is a WONDERFUL IDEA. don't hang up on me please, I'll wait around"
cheesy music "with Phone_Company, you can now consult new options online" cheesy music
"hello Mr Finance Monkey? This is Wendy again. Sorry to keep you waiting. Ok I talked to my manager and it looks like we could try to get you a phone line again. We are going to try to talk to John"
"tut tut tut...I am sorry. I am not going to have my problem resolution contingent upon some guy who has vanished into the wild wild west with a bunch of liabilities. I would like to have my phone line back, whether you talk to John or not. Do you think that this pertains to the domain of possibles? or must I switch to a webcam-only system? and transponder technology?"
"Ok. My manager is telling me that he thinks we can do that."
"with the same phone number?"
"yes, with the same phone number."
"well, good. And when would this be effective?
"hold on."
cheesy music "our customer service line is accessible 24hr a day, 7 days a week" cheesy music
"your line should be reconnected by tomorrow"
"fantastic. Thank you very much Wendy"
"you're welcome. Thank you for calling Phone_Company. Have a good day"

And a good day it was.


Monday, March 15, 2004

I have turned my office (student room) into a cave - I have become a speleologie expert, slowly exploring the depths of my motivation to go back to work and buried under cover letters and piles of resumes.
Just received an e-mail from our Student Government


Purpose: To get a better understanding of the countries of the world and give MBAs a chance to voice their perspectives on their own countries.
When: Starting 12:00-13:00 this Wednesday 17th
Where: Amphi R

In these sessions, MBA students from both classes will hold short presentations (10-20 minutes) on their countries followed by Q&A. All Students, Staffs, Faculties are welcome to join. Bring in your lunch from cafeteria and listen in.

Currently scheduled countries are China, Singapore, Japan, Pakistan, Brazil. Many slots are still open!

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Posting times on this blog are Central European times. Getting up that early on a Sunday morning remains wishful thinking.
I am happily walking around Singapore, complaining bitterly about the rain that might just spoil an afternoon at the pool, making plans for the future, joking with friends – and the most severe worry I entertain I whether I can make it back home without getting wet. In Madrid hundreds of families are mourning the loss of a loved one, and thousands of people are injured, traumatized and receiving care.

At first, it is simply difficult to accept this kind of reality, to let the inevitable fact sink into your disrupted system of values. Incredulity can last only for a short period of time.
I have friends in Madrid. I want to know if everyone is ok but I do not even know what I can say to them. Would they prefer to be left alone, or would they prefer to receive a note from me?

I cannot understand this violence. I cannot comprehend that anyone could even imagine such a horrible scheme. Someone once told me that Christianity created sheep that violent people take advantage of. This might well be true. But if anyone was a sheep, there would be no violent people, there would be no one taking advantage of anyone else.

I guess violence surrounds us in our daily lives. Some of it just seems pointless, random, and un-necessarily cruel. Although most people come to terms with mortality, there is something special about dying young. It leaves a “what if” question on your mind; an uneasy impression of injustice hovering in the air. There is something equally bad about dying innocent, about being killed – about a life that is taken when it had no right to be.

My words have a voice that you can see from far away. They have a voice that feels inadequate. They have a voice behind the doors, a voice which does not turn around to look back. It would come back with silences. Or questions no one can answer. Today, my words are a scream that has no peer; a beaten heart on fire; I write like boiling water.

My words are a bird. Let’s bring this bird to the window, let’s invite him for dinner, let’s make a world out of him. Where this world lives, there is always enough ink for writing. And for peace to re-establish itself.
Recruiting Period

I want to dedicate a post to our Career Management Services. I cannot say anything about what is happening in Fontainebleau right now but hats off to the Singapore CMS team. They are being extremely helpful. Most of the time, faculty members, alumni or INSEAD management team hold the most precious contacts, but CMS is instrumental in distributing requests, matching the right people. They are very active in organizing preparation for job interviews, case studies, CV, motivation letters, career counseling, salary negotiations. They are all over the place when companies come to present on campus. They are extremely hands-on, focused and comprehensive in their coverage of the main issues.

At this stage, the recruitment process is very similar in Fontaineblau and Singapore. The companies that are globally organized for recruitment can send local people to both campuses. Most of the big investments, banks and consulting firms will come to campus. Their positions are open on a worldwide basis. Paradoxically, it might be easier to get a job in Europe or in the US from Singapore than the other way around if you have a Western history. It is difficult for someone sitting outside of Asia and with no previous network or knowledge to understand the market dynamics here.
Globally organized industrial companies are also planning on coming but most of them have no standard process for MBA recruitment and will wait to hear from student through independent applications. Most of their positions will be handled locally.

Alumni are being super helpful. It takes me on average one or two phone calls to get a list of 5 names in any given country and in any given industry. Information overflow is the main risk that I have identified based on the past few weeks.

Most people continue to come to campus in shorts and sandals but have a suit ready for a quick change toward the end of the day now. I had to start wearing business attire myself last week. It felt a little strange to put on the shell of the person I was before, yet without being able to completely relate to this person.

In any case, good luck to everyone on your job search.

(I noted an increase in activity from the applicant pool - mainly through e-mail. There is a deadline coming up for admissions. So good luck to all applicants as well)
Singapore is small. The person who came to campus to present Shell and an entrepreneur whom I had met during the BlueSky networking events also attended the Brazilian Carnival. I am glad that my costume was not completely ridiculous.
Yesterday, I went to a Brazilian Carnival, with a group of INSEAD students. Most of them were from Brazil...The event was organized by the Spanish Speaking Women Association. I am still wondering why a Spanish speaking group would organize a Portuguese driven event, but I guess that there are more important questions that I could spend my time on.

I thought that it would be interesting to see what happens when Spain/Brazil meets Singapore.

Food was excellent - and very varied. Singapore service was up to its standards (impeccable but passionless). Some costumes were amazing. Devils, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, Michael Jackson, Parisian Cabaret Lady Singer, Clown, Arabian Sultan, Rio Carnival Girl, Mexican Desperado, Cats, Flamenco Dancer, Hawaian Pot Smoker - maybe he wasn't costumed, etc...Music was all right, a mix of Samba, Bossa Nova, Mambo and other Latin rhythms, including Salsa and Merengue, etc...At times, it showed its stage and could have benefitted from more modern versions. The mix was not always well thought out, or more exactly, the choice of the next song was not necessarily based on the observation of the dancers' behaviors. In general, the level of expertise of the dancers was high, much higher than at the average INSEAD party. There was a lucky draw but my reaction to all the prizes was identical: I hope I don't win this thing!

The evening reached its agogee when the drummers stepped on stage. This is exactly what was needed to make the evening more real, more dynamic. I am not sure that anyone could remain seated when they played. They were excellent. A couple of them looked Asian, the rest very much Brazilians. It is a very rich set of percussions. I am really admirative of their talent: the complexity of the rhythms and the difficulty to coordinate so many different types of percussions and so many different contributions makes the coordination of 10 fingers and two feet in piano playing effortless.
Unfortunately, they did not stay very long (it must have been exhausting).

The Capoera demonstration (Brazilian martial art developed under the cover of a tribal dance by the African slaves working on the plantations) was fantastic. After a small warm up, where all the moves were slow, everyone started to get animated and fight simulations between two or sometimes three or four people replaced the laconic character of the introduction. It was too fast for me to be able to follow every move and it looked awfully dangerous - and potentially very painful. I concede that there is some kind of beauty in the feline moves and in the lightness with which all these bodies seemed to float in the air, defying gravity. However, I need only imagine the violence of a real fight to want to tke my eyes off the show.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Over lunch - an INSEAD lunch where I met with Lebanon/Switzerland, France, Austria, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan - we touched on the subject of a recent move made by the Singapore government.

Apparently, birth rates in Singapore have dropped to unprecedented lows (1.3 babies per woman). This rate is far lower than the renewal rate (about 2.1 babies per woman). In order to encourage families to have more children, the government is apparently thinking of introducing (or has just introduced) a fertility week. This means that the government will force families to take a week off every year to procreate. The government will compensate financially workers for this additional holiday during which all citizens will be asked to do their duty.

I wonder what the world would say if France decided to launch a similar initiative.
I have a date for the Entrepreneurship event. It is all confirmed and the ball's rolling for logistics now. This might not sound like much but you have no idea how many phone calls I had to make to reach an agreement on this point. Hopefully, we'll get Business Angels and Venture Capitalists on the panel too, which would be fantastic.
I just did some practice for case interviews. Students who have experience are offering their time this morning to help out students with no experience.

For some reasons, I had trouble finding sleep last night so I woke up a few minutes before my first case. I had to rush to school and could not quite put my brain in gear when I first tackled the first problem. So the feedback on the first case was so so - although apparently there were two sets of answers:

- the bare minimum for us to consider a next round
- the really nice to have to show extra creativity and lateral thinking => create differentiation

I missed two points of the bare minimum but I got a lot of points on the differentiated list. I was also too concerned at trying to fit everything into some kind of original framework and messed up with my own logic. The result, in my opinion, was extremely or extremely poor quality (my interviewer was too kind to tell me this though but I will equal a "not bad" with a "how awful, I hope that the others do better or I am going to be wasting my time here").

I then had time to recover and get caffeine. I also peeked over a preparation sheet, which I had failed to pick up, as I was too busy matching timetables of external speakers the day before. So I went into the second practice interview much better prepared.
I also decided to forget about anybody's framework and just use my own logic. I have a structured and analytical mind and if I can just translate out loud what my thought process is, that'll do. I can use the usual MBA framework (3 or 4 Cs, 4 Ps, 5 forces, a guideline to make sure that I am not forgetting anything).
It was also a lot easier for me because it was a Market Entry case - and I have marketing experience so I could run down the list of qualitative aspects very mechanically. The second question was about sizing a market (that I knew nothing about) but it was quite easy to find out factors that would influence the demand, from experience.

In the first case, I was supposed to answer: should the firm enter this market or not
In the second case, I was supposed to give a number: what is the market size

The feedback that I got on the second case was that I was very good at structuring my thoughts and introducing them.
I was also good at giving out all the qualitative aspects that would affect the decision in no time (but then, in the second case, it was biased since I had marketing reflexes embedded in my line of thinking). I also took the time to clarify what was meant by "market" before setting off on a tangent. (in my case it was a pharmaceutical firm but the market was not drugs, it was only anti-depressors, and it was not the world, it was only France and it was not generic, it was branded or in other words prescribed drugs).
I was not good at concluding. By then, I had all the information as when I brought up a relevant point, my interviewer gave me qualitative data to help me build my case. I was still looking for some possible tricks: had I forgotten anything? I finally gave an answer but I made my interviewer very perplex for a while. I am not comfortable making loads of calculation very quickly in a pressured environment. In my case, most of them were easy but my reluctance to do so would transpire. The good news is that I can easily work with that: through practice, work with order of magnitudes, find short cuts, etc... I stumbled on the same problem.

My takeaway if I want to pursue this: I will trash any possible artificial framework when it comes to presenting my ideas and rely on my own internal way of thinking. I must practice a lot more improvisation and quick exploration of numbers and possibility in any unit, in any format to get to a conclusion quicker. Not all is lost, I have something to work with!

Friday, March 12, 2004

Totalitarianism: you have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.
Heard in the Dean's Forum and Faithfully Reported

"I did not like Information Technology. I felt that it was not structured enough. It could be because of my germanic background. On the same ground, I loved Strategy for Asia Pacific, it was an excellent class and it was very clear" - student commented on the P3 classes
"Was the Strategy for Asia Pac professor German?" - Dean asking
"Er, yes, I guess he was" - student answering

"It is really nice when professors have worked in the industry and can bring back real-life examples" - student making a comment
"but let's be honest here. 80% of INSEAD faculty has never worked!" - Dean responding
(he obviously meant that the faculty could not afford time in the industry and away from their research, etc...)
At the start of every period, it has become customary to draw some quick conclusions about the courses offered in the previous one. I will make it brief this time.

Information Technology: this class was newly introduced in the curriculum. It lacked a purpose, a thread. No one knew what the professor really meant by IT. Most of the class was like an OB class about bringing change in an organization. We suggested the following format for the next class
- Introduction of what IT is and overview of the main systems out there
- What IT can do for your company in terms of competitive advantage, management and decision making tool, effectiveness of processes and support of your strategic intents (Cemex in Mexico and Banco Commercial do Portugal are good examples of companies who have used IT to differentiate themselves)
- What should you automate and incorporate in your IT system and what shouldn't you? What criteria can you use to make such a decision?
- How do you turn your company into an IT-enabled organization (or into a more modern one...)


Macroeconomics: the professor was excellent, extremely knowledgeable, funny and using real-life examples to illustrate his theory. I can now magine how boring life can be over at a country's Central Bank. We talked about the IS/LM model, labor laws, savings and investment, current and capital accounts, growth, GDP and its inputs in general, exchange rates and what drives them, interest rates, monetary and fiscal policies, etc...In short, all the basic tools that one should understand in order to read the newspaper. It is very important to be able to talk about the World News columns when you are invited to an interview. If you start off with a bit of small talk, you sound much more intelligent if you kick off your conversation by indicating that you wonder why the Head of the European Central Bank took so long before stating that a strong Euro was a "problem", or that lack of investment in the primary school system in Brazil crippled the growth prospects of the Latin American giant. If you can quote the date of the article and the name of the author, you're in.
I am particularly sensitive to this issue since my savings are in US$ and my major expenses this year are in Euros. This has made this class VERY expensive for me.


International Political Analysis - I did not like the class. The professor was extremely knowledgeable - and his experience was SO useful in class. I mean, when he talks about the US Secretary of State, he does not talk to a name on CNN. He knows the guy. When he talks about problems to implement policies in Russia, he knows what he is talking about: he spent months in a small town in Siberia. I did well (our little role play with General D. of Petrolia granted us the top mark in group work and my general knowledge of international affairs and geopolitics helped me a lot) but the class covered too much in too little time and I found the overall experience extremely frustrated - although at times particularly enjoyable given the differences in opinion in the class.
INSEAD wants to spit out internationally-aware graduates, people who are ready to take positions in the world. Few business schools offer this kind of class as a core course. There are drawbacks to this of course in that it is so difficult to cover the "world" in 16 sessions. The professor proposed lunchtime debates. I heard that they were well-attended but so poorly advertised that I missed all of them. I am now taking a geopolitics elective which is much more satisfying.


Power and Politics: this is a 'soft skill' class. It was very effective at teaching methods, techniques and strategy to bring change into an organization, to develop positional and personal power, to assess the task at hands, to identify allies, opponents, fence sitters and adversaries, to negotiate in critical and crisis situations, etc...I felt that it lacked a lot of hands on experience. Simulation and power games, in the same vein as the one that we tried in our Leading Organization class in P2, would have been welcome. Perhaps a note for the future.


OB: this was an extremely good class - but the amount of work was just incredible. Each class required a long preparation, the Personal Project was manageable but the first 25-page long paper felt like a never-ending story. Strangely enough the second paper (about 35-pages long) was a lot easier to write. It could be that most of the content came more naturally after so many class discussions.
Most participants have commented that this class transformed them "from inside". Some have indicated that it was their "best class at INSEAD".


Strategies for Asia Pacific. This was a very good class, very structured, offering useful framework for market entry decisions, and strategic expansions into the regions. It covered aspects of basic strategy and competitive analysis, JVs, M&A, operations, HR, Financing, etc...It successfully highlighted the main political risks, the main cultural aspects, what drove the Asian mentality and behavior and gave very practical examples on everything. Two speakers came to talk about their experience in class. We visited a Singapore-based cookie company to take a look at a real-life situation. Overall, it was fantastic. The introduction as Jeopardy on Asia was a FANTASTIC idea.
If you are already an expert on Asia, do not take the class. You are likely to be bored as it is difficult to pitch the subject at multiple levels of initial understanding. It is clearly geared toward entry to mid-level Asian knowledge.
Mine was subterranean.

I did not take the class as it clashed with one of my electives but I heard that VOBM (something to do with Ventures, Opportunities and Business Models or how to assess a new opportunity and its potential if I understand correctly) was absolutely fantastic.

P3 does not represent less work than P2. It was pretty much the same. Supposedly, INSEAD frees up some time in P4 (we have no more core courses, one less class and no more exams) and in P5 (only 3 classes and no exams) for job hunting. Right now, I must say that the change is not so tangible though.
We have registered an INSEAD team for a yacht race (J24 Shoot Out) at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club next Saturday. We will try to train during the week. We will have a 4-person crew. I had been contacted by another Singaporean team (and a good one at that) but I turned down their offer to defend the colors of the school. I hope that everyone appreciates my dedication to this program.

I registered with the Changi Sailing Club to take the Singapore licence that will allow me to charter a boat in the national waters. They do not accept foreign licences because of the presence of multiple hazards. My personal take is that it boosts business: you MUST take a course at a local sailing club and you MUST give money to the government to have your nice little shiny permit. The sailing world in general shows some inconsistencies: in the US, you can be a young 20-yr old Maverick with no knowledge of sailing, rent or own a huge yacth and venture into the wild wild sea. In the UK, you can be a drunk 16-yr at the helm of a 36-foot boat manoeuvring her way back into port and be legal. In France, all they want to check is that you can pilot a power boat in port. This can be explained by the fact that the owners of the very expensive (and almost never used) yachts in Saint Tropez harbor are getting increasingly worried about their hulls and brass fittings.
Captainship comes in handy only if you start charging people.

I have an outstanding theory test for my US certification program. There are several steps in the program and I took a practice test but then left the country before I could sit the written exam. US Sailing has just reached an agreement with the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. The Club Commodore will be able to act as a proctor. I was impressed at the club's diligence in their response, ability to craft a very quick and appropriate solution for this unusual request. Is this surprising to anyone?

Today, the Dean of the MBA programme held a forum of discussion with the participants on the Asia campus to find out whether there were any problem this term. It turns out that there was a problem with one of the classes: one of the professor had language and communication difficulties. It is a strategy class, a new professor and he cannot tell the difference (apparently - I am not taking this class so this is second hand material) between quality and quantity.

Some students vehemently voiced the problem. Their tone was accusative and the poor Dean must have felt on the front line of a First World War charge, outside of the trenches. Some students kept repeating themselves, proposing solutions but then moving onto questioning the long established hiring policy. We spent over 40 minutes on the subject, out of a one hour meeting - and half the people in the room were not taking this class. I learned that another meeting was scheduled to discuss the issue in the afternoon.

I can understand that everyone felt very emotional about the problem and needed to vent some of these feelings. MBA participants are paying a lot of money to come to INSEAD - more or less depending on their opportunity cost of course. Their expectations are high - and they should be high when they go to a top tiers institutions on the promise that they will access top tiers education. As someone pointed out during the discussion, it is better to have someone who knows only 50 about a subject but who can transfer 80% of this knowledge onto students, than someone who knows 100 about a subject but who cannot transfer more than 0.5%. The professor is a brilliant researcher but a poor teacher. Ok.
Being aggressive in their address to the Dean - who is not even accountable for faculty issues since this responsibility falls onto the Dean of the Faculty -, probably does not solve the problem. Listing the problems, proposing various solutions and then move on would probably be ok. The Dean came as a messenger and got shot.

Most people dropped the class and are taking other strategy electives.

The other classes are top notch and everyone admitted it. In fact, professors spend a great deal of time besides classes to make the experience quite unforgettable. In our Negotiation Class for instance, we have negoGym to do extra practice. The professor coaches us. He gives workshops for salary negotiations; he watches video tapes with hours worth of crappy deals and give feedback to individual participants. He develops a personal Goal List for each participant and reviews this list with everyone in the class. In our entrepreneurship class, the professor goes out of his way to help out with contacts, information and tips and hints. In our Finance class, the professor is going to read and grade 10 cases throughout the course. Imagine: 25 people in the class, organized in groups of 3 and 5 ages per case each time, excluding appendix. This is a lot of work.
In our Strategies for Asia Pacific class, we had to write a case-study about a managerial issue. Our little two-person team picked this little Private Equity firm in Shanghai who made an investment in the US. We tried to write our case to make it read like a Harvard Business School case study. Take a peek at the first part of the introduction and tell me whether it is realistic enough or not.

"T. W., 43, looked out his corner office window to reflect on the Shanghai skyline. So many new buildings had sprung up over the last twenty years. Most important to T., of course, was his own new company headquarters. His eyes scanned the office complex surrounding him – an ultra-modern facility surrounded by landscaped pools and gardens, a glittering expression of his future dreams for his company, . This company, founded in 1986 by T and his younger brother, , had been a remarkable success story for the family. Beginning with RMB X in initial capital developing films on behalf of university friends, the group had grown steadily over the past 18 years.

We used quotes from interviews and articles to make the "meetings" more real - we tried some suspense portions with a case (A) -will he or will he not invest?- and a follow up case (B) - what happened and why. It was actually a lot more fun to write the analysis that way!

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Heard in class and faithfully reported

"- the consultants would take the arithmetic average but that's because they don't know the difference between this one and the geometric one" - Finance professor

"- so which one should WE choose?" - student asking
"do you want a cynical answer? are you really ready for it? ok, do you want to be on the buyer or the seller's side?" - Finance professor
"- you see Morgan Stanley uses 7.25% and Goldman Sachs 3%. This means that one advises more sellers and one advises more buyers!"
I just had another debrief for my first negotiation - in fact, based on the second negotiation I learned some more stuff. Here is the feedback from the first negotiation, then my condensed analysis of it (without revealing the exact terms of the deal, nor any information pertaining to the deal since some of you might be doing a very similar exercise very soon).

This is the feedback from the second counterpart in this negotiation. Unfiltered

Worked well
- very good at playing war game with information. As soon as I spotted an attack from the other team, I was very economical with the truth and I undermined certain positions by sending small signals to indicate that I knew how bad their situation was - and that this offer was just plain stupid. Witholding information and throwing it on the table only when needed to keep them disciplined and to indicate that I was willing to negotiate but not if they started to play dirty tricks on me was my objective. I would NOT have played this game had they been more open.
- apparently I looked and behaved very professionally
- very good listener: articulate back concerns I was hearing, trying to understand what the issues were and formulate everything back at them. Also did not allow to move on from a position that we did not agree upon before we all understood which bits we could not agree on and why
- passionate: "I was moved" - it really made me want to try to get to an agreement. I really liked your perceived sincerity in your desire to see if we could make things happen and I wanted to work toward a deal, rather than give you hell"

Things I should do differently
- since the other party had not time to prepare as a team, they had different objectives, different tactics and strategies. One attacked me from the start and proposed a very low salary after 2 min. We had not even agreed in principle that our "clients" would work together. The other person on the contrary was always ready to reach a deal. I could have taken more of a leadership role in the negotiation since it was easier from my perspective.
- Use more of this passion and listening to make concrete proposals. My counterpart is pretty certain that they would have nearly been accepted since my body language, emotions (! - first feedback was that I did not use emotions well enough) - were strongly showing commitment
- be less defensive. It was obvious that there was an attack but the second party was willing to talk. I should have exploited this more and maintained my original strategy. According to my counterpart, there was no point in being tough. Since I signaled that I understood their game and was not willing to play, it might haeve been enough.
Also I showed that I was really taken aback by such a blunt attack on part of the one of their team members and could not quite understand what was going on since they were giving me very conflicting signals. The "attackers" played with my facial expression and signs of disarray.

Goals I could set for myself
- Prepare better all the options, translate them into "how does this fulfill the interest of the other party". Spend more time in preparation to come up with many different options, rather than many different arguments for each option.
- Recognize who's the deal maker on the other side and focus most of my airtime on getting an agreement with this person: manage better conflicts when they arise as to not give away my leadership position of the collaborative process. Really try to work toward a win-win situation. Easier said than done.
- Be a lot more open about sharing my interests - and about building on the information that I hear from the other side. In other words, instead of just repeating it back to the other party to ensure that we have a two-way communication, force myself to incorporate them into a new option.
- Use body language and emotions to support the substance of the negotiaion.

In this first negotiation, I faced a hardliner (who wanted to -I quote- "screw" me) and someone who had a clear objective which was very close to mine. Bottom line: we spent loads of time arguing over the opposite of one of their interests because they wanted to us this to lower a position and we had no energy left to explore option. We gave ourselves no flexibility and we got a deal that made all of us uneasy - since no trust could exist after the first 5 min when the other team started to lie.

In today's negotiation, for some reason, one of their team members attacked us. His Next Best Alternative was putting his client in a much worse position than what the outcome would look like for ours relatively speaking. Globally and absolutely speaking, both would have been much worse off than trying to find some common ground. So why was he so aggressive when we started putting so many potential happy deals on the table? Interestingly, the person who really negotiated, who examined all the deals, who was quick at explaining what was good about it and what was not, was the person who seemed to be no tough negotiator, in fact no negotiator at all. Yet she led the discussion, she accepted the highest possible option (for us - and it probably was for her too). She built on everything we said and we both got close to what we wanted. If there had no been a defensive attitude at any time, I am confident that we could have closed the same deal in half the time.

Appearances can deceive. Be collaborative (unless you are getting killed, then be FIRM, not necessarily tough). The relationship should be better, your chances to get a deal that's good enough for the two parties to have zero incentives in cheating are high - the discussion should be much more efficient and quick - and overall it should be a lot more fun.

And preparation is key. We spent close to three hours preparing for a 1 hr negotiation. We did not get bogged down on number discussion (although we were pushed into it), we had a large panel of options to propose. As a team it was easier, we could put ourselves in the shoes of the other party and run some simulations. And we had roles: lead, bad cop, number guru and substance back up if need be. In hindsight, I would transform the role of bad cop, on a role of someone who fences off attacks by indicating that they can be firm, that it would be in no one's interest but that this is something that will happen if there is no willingness to discuss in a constructive manner. (ok the prof helped me formulate this conclusion...)

Apart from these unwanted and seemingly unjustified missiles that were fired across the table, it was such a pleasant experience.

The professor makes us fill in a piece of paper with our key learnings. Trouble is I would now like to scrap the first piece of paper because this second negotiation gave me insights about the first one. I bet that he uses our continuous feedback as a way to adapt his teaching to our class. How is our prof accounting for this late learning? Should I e-mail him about that? Talk to him tomorrow about that as I have a debrief session about goals? Better face to face...It is getting late now, time to go home...