Monday, November 24, 2008

Where I've Been and What I've Been Doing: Part 1

This module has been a much more interesting one professionally. A few weeks ago I attended a symposium on CSR entitled Corporate Social Responsibility: Law, Operations, and Strategy. I must admit, it was on a Friday and I slept through session 1 (the law bit) but sessions two and three were very interesting. Each was a set of paper presentations with commentary.
The first speaker in the operations panel was Prakash Sethi whose paper/talk was entitled "Creating Effective Alliances Between Corporations and NGOs." The second part of the title was "A Report from the Trenches" which made up the somewhat depressing bulk of the talk. As a comparatively doe-eyed student this left me rather discouraged by the whole business, though the talk was delivered in a very straightforward manner highlighting both the successes and the failures.
The second speaker in the operations group discussed proposed ISO 2600 social responsibility standard. This is an in-development standard for companies to follow. No certification will be given for this standard though, which I thought an interesting characteristic for something that purports to be an "ISO" like standard.
After a deliciously sustainable lunch - well, sort of - the locally raised chicken was scrumptious but I was told that the tofu tasted like cardboard. Anyways, after lunch we had the third panel - strategy. One presentation was on the equator principles the other was on implementing strategic CSR. The implementation of CSR was a very intriguing meta analysis that determined that at the very least a CSR program did no financial harm and in many cases was positively correlated to stock price. I need to delve a bit more into the paper, but I believe the speaker also determined a positive relationship with general financial returns.
There were only two business school students at the symposium and the other one is one of my friends. I suspect this had a great deal to do with it being at the law school and on a Friday.
A much larger contingent of McDonough School of Business students attended the Net Impact conference last weekend. More on that in where I've been and what I've been doing: Part 2.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Procrastination

The day before our M&A paper was due my friend Lauren accurately called that I would be posting on the dear old blog that night.
It's t-minus one hour until my project finance exam. Here I am again! Some (possibly) exciting news on the job front is that the CSR group in a major consultancy firm I am targeting in London is one of the only groups still growing and hiring! (I.e. that they didn't fill with interns.) A small bit of good news today after I missed my bus this morning, didn't get the SGA constitution change I wanted passed and had one of my group members share her terrible week by being a total jerk to me during our 2 hour meeting. TGIW (only one class tomorrow!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

5/8 done with my MBA

We are in week 3 of Module 2, which technically means that I am more than 5/8 of the way through my MBA. I decided to overload this module - I am taking 5 classes instead of the 4 required. One of my classes is Advanced Marketing Strategy. The fact that I am enrolled in this class at all is one of the surprising twists and turns of my MBA degree. My "focus" is not one at all, I am sticking vaguely to a general management track with a smattering of Net Impact classes. My new found interest in marketing took me by surprise for a number of reasons.
1) I think most professional advertising representatives are full of it.
2) The concept of brand equity in an annual report with a value of millions of dollars is fascinating to me. (In a bad way.)
3) I am fairly confident I was in the bottom quartile of my basic marketing class grade wise.
However, last module I took Consumer Behavior and completed a video ethnography project on greenwashing of organic food that I got an A on! I started taking marketing a bit more seriously. I am now enrolled in one of the more deliverable heavy marketing classes at the MSB. We have a power point due almost every class session and also quantitative based deliverables on CLTV and calculating items such as the total advance fee that should be paid to an author.
Shockingly enough I have found that I LIKE marketing.

I am taking the perfect general management mix this module - besides Advanced Marketing Strategy I am taking Project Finance, Global Strategy, Leading Organizational Change, and Climate Change. I'm big on "change" this mod - changing culture at firms, changing the way businesses deal with the environment and learning how to fund it (Project Finance).

On the job front I continue to plug away at trying to find employment in London. Job prospects in the UK are not much better than in the US, but I will keep trying!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I love my apartment

I can hear the crowds at the White House. :)

I love my country

I did not vote for (president elect) Obama. However, he is an inspiring speaker and with the proper advisers will be an inspiring leader and manager.

I am proud of my country for electing a president from a minority race.
I am proud of my country for turning out in record numbers and embracing the promise of democracy.
I am proud of the millennial generation for embracing the vote.
I am proud of the most eloquent concession speech in a long time.

Thank you Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama. I have always been proud of the United States and proud to be American, but now I am proud of my national government again.