Saturday, February 17, 2007


Before starting my MBA, I thought I would be able to write frequently in my blog, no matter the size of the workload. Moreover, I thought I would be able to keep personal and blog life separated, as I had more or less done during the last couple of years. However, the MBA has proved to be a very time -and brain- consuming experience, so I am afraid this year my blog will be strongly influenced by those things happening at ESMT (my apologies to those people who do not like business).

The first surprise I had at ESMT was realizing that most of the people joining the program actually wanted to study. Before that, my line of thought had been more or less the following:

a) No one knows ESMT
b) Whoever joins ESMT must be crazy
c) Crazy people are fun
d) I am going to have a crazy, fun year

However, reality has superseded theory once again. Many of the people joining the program have come from far away countries, so for many of these doing the MBA is a serious thing. After all, you don't leave your wife and kids in China to party all weekend long in Germany, do you?

After accepting the sad fact that I had not joined a party school, like Instituto de Empresa and other similarly well-ranked institutions, I got surprised by the fact that MBAs do learn a lot and they learn it fast. I have been only one and half months inside, but I feel as if I had studied for three months already. No wonder MBAs usually find good jobs after they graduate: they genuinely believe they know more about everything than anyone else, so recruiters fall in the trap as well. Just as 80% of the drivers believe their driving skills are above average (which is impossible, because evidently that amount cannot exceed 50%), MBAs will rarely admit not being in the top 20% of their class.

Of course, there have been many other surprises, but to write them all here would take me ages. However, I can list some of the most curious things I have learnt during the last "three months":

-Losing something is perceived, in average, 2.25 times more strongly than winning that same something. Therefore, managers will usually take decisions that minimize losses.

-Japanese employees perceive long working hours as a privilege. If you go to work at 6 in the morning and stay there until 11 pm, you can say you have "worked like ants", and feel proud about that.

-Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world where women start more businesses that men. Russia is another one, although official figures won't show that, since men usually register their wife's businesses to keep a good image.

-George Bush has no clue about anything, but from a management perspective, he has a very interesting and exemplary management style (!).

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