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Friday, April 07, 2006


A New World With Chinese Characteristics

An article from one of the most interesting professors at CEIBS and who is what I believe is called, "An Old China Hand."

Asia Times Online :: China News, China Business News, Taiwan and Hong Kong News and Business.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006




Chinese New Year (CNY) Shanghai 2006

Well, hopefully, the suspense has now been built up to an unsustainable level and you're screaming for the real CNY-Shanghai videos. Well, here they are, with commentary. I know, what more could you ask for??

This year Chinese New Year started this year on January 28 and went to February 12 or so. For the following two weeks, China is essentially on holiday. Kind like Christmas, except for two weeks. This is also the time of the largest movement of people of the world, as everyone picks up from the cities and heads home for family dinners and celebrations, and now an increasing number of people also coming to the cities to visit relatives.

Although I can't confirm these numbers right now, but if I remember correctly, Shanghai Daily reported that net, a million people left Shanghai for the holidays. Ok, big deal, I know. But that is net of 11 million people leaving and 10 million people arriving for the holiday over the two weeks. As a foreigner here, some of the Chinese are suprised to hear that we didn't have anything planned, kind of like having a friend in the States with no plans for Thanksgiving. But, all the foreigners at school here were warned by both Chinese and foreigners that this is the worst time to do traveling in China. Hordes of people camped out at train stations across the country waiting days for their trains (snow in the North apparently doesn't help train arrival times).

Anyway, I was also told the "real" CNY celebrations don't happen in the cities, so perhaps next year I will brave the crowds.

Some more background, the CNY comes about because of the traditional Lunar calendar not the Western calendar. So every year it changes and is around the end of January to February. It is also called, strangely enough, the Spring Festival. The "red envelopes" are used during this holiday and parents give them to their kids and they have money inside. The line the kids say translates to something like, "Happy new year (gong xi fa cai), give me a red envelope!"

So well, I'm rambling on now, and you've already probably skipped down to the videos below anyway. So let me tell you about what I did for this holiday.

On the Saturday night, the remaining people at school, perhaps 20 of us, all international students, went to Paulaner, a German restaurant right on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River and right across from the famous Bund. After a few locally brewed pints and a fantastic roast pork knuckle (is 100x better than it sounds!), the place started livening up and even the Germans started to get a bit roudy. Before I get into the topic of Germans, let me take a step back.

Fireworks. In the run up to the holiday, you could literally buy fireworks anywhere. This was evident in that every night you heard fireworks going off, and I don't mean little black cat fireworks, I'm talking full on 100-200 foot high explosions. Strangely, it seemed the poorer the area, the more fireworks were going off. This, in itself, was amazing, having a light show every night of the week for the two weeks *before* the holiday. Then I discovered the Carrefour fireworks stand. No, I didn't mistype. This was no ordinary fireworks stand. They sold tons of stuff, from cheap $1 up to $100 boxes.

Fast forward a bit to the Saturday. The fireworks started at about 6am or so. For the rest of the day, the bangs of gunpowder were inescapable. Again, I was amazed. Little did I know what was in store later that night.

On the way to Paulaner (sorry for the lack of continuity, this is why I am not a professional writer), there are tons of these apartment tower complexes. In the middle of these places people were setting off these huge fireworks and they were exploding not too far from the actual buildings themselves. Quite a sight. All I could think about at this point, was how totally and unquestionably illegal all of this would be in the states, even in the most firework-friendly states. Every hour, there were more explosions than the previous one.

Around 11:30, we headed outside to watch the display from the river. There is no official Shanghai city fireworks display, which we by then we realized would have been totally unnecessary and likely ignored. Standing on the river, the sound of individual explosions became indistinguishable from the general hum of thousands of fireworks going off at the same time. Turning around 360 degrees, the flashing lights were inescapable. Individuals, businesses, and kids were all in a state of total pyromania. Although, I have never been to Iraq, or any war zone for that matter, I can guarantee that this was far more noisy and constant. In war, i believe, people run out of ammunition. But the Chinese don't run out of fireworks on CNY.

This was one of the most visually and aurally stunning experiences I have ever had. With total confidence I can say, put this on your list of things to do before you die. Also, don't wait too long because who knows how much longer the government will allow these displays (they were only recently allowed in Shanghai and Beijing). So, without further ado or delay, I encourage you to watch these two videos and however impressive (or unimpressive, as the case may be) these videos are, they are nothing like the real thing.

And you're definitely want to turn your sound on.

4th Night of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year Shanghai 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Hong Kong, Here I Come

We just received our exchange placements today, and I, along with two other students, will be heading off to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in September. Fifty six students, out of ~170, are going on exchange to places all over the world. Last year, only one person applied to and went to HKUST so this year I was surprised to find that the competition to go to HK was tougher than London Business School, NYU-Stern and Duke. Six people for three slots.

The process is that you apply for a certain school and if there is competition, then you do an interview with the Exchange Director and the MBA Director who decide who will go based 40% on your GPA and 60% on the interview.

Anyway, what follows are some gratuitous pictures of where I will be from September to December.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Chinese New Year & Explosives

If you like fireworks, then you must visit China during Chinese New Year. Although nearly impossible to describe or even effectively show, I've found four videos that show the craziness that is this holiday. The first two below are the more mild ones. I will post the two really crazy ones when I have a chance to fully give the post the attention it deserves.

Fireworks Madness

Shanghai New Year's Fireworks

If your video is a little slow or "jumpy" hit the play/pause button to stop the video and let the light grey bar fully load before playing. This is worth it, trust me. And make sure you have sound turned on.


Assorted CEIBS Related News

Ahmedabad, November 26: A team of two Chinese students on Friday won the first prize for a presentation on 'Management Beyond the Obvious: Destination Ahmedabad' at the ongoing Confluence 2005 at IIM-A. Their presentation threw up a comprehensive formula for making Ahmedabad a world-class city like Shanghai.

The two students suggested developing a quality public transportation system, making Sabarmati Ashram a cultural tourism hub, developing western part of the city as a commercial hub and eastern part as the hub for all research and education centres, and also developing some university villages. (cont'd)
CEIBS MBA Students Win Confluence Award


Walk into any classroom at one of China's elite business schools and what you're likely to see isn't all that different from what you would find at Harvard, Wharton, or MIT's Sloan School. True, there's a preponderance of Asian faces and the occasional smattering of Mandarin. But the classes, course materials, subject matter, and even the teachers are virtually identical to their U.S. counterparts.

Indeed, in most cases the MBA programs attended by China's top students are very much the product of Western educational institutions, which in recent years have rushed to establish programs on the mainland. The idea: to tap into the enormous demand for talent created by China's white-hot economy. (cont'd)
China's B-School Boom
Business Week China MBA Section


FT Global MBA Top 100 Rankings

FT EMBA Rankings


SINGAPORE - Insead, one of the top European business schools, based in Fontainebleau, near Paris, opened an Asian campus in Singapore six years ago. This autumn, if all goes according to plan, it will take an additional step into the Asian market, with the introduction of an executive MBA program in China, offered jointly with Tsinghua University, of Beijing.

"The Chinese believe very strongly that China is unique and therefore they should learn something on China in China," Hellmut Schütte, the dean of the Singapore campus, said in an interview. (cont'd)
Have foreign MBA, will travel in Chinese business - International Herald Tribune

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The Problem With Blogs...

I have, and I'm sure you have also no doubt discovered this probably with both glee and disappointment, discovered the biggest problem with having a blog. Providing updates to the hungry masses. This space has been "A continuing Reminder of My Failure" for the past 2-3 months. Which is not a pleasant lasting memory to leave etched in the foreverness that is the Internet. Should a prospective employer come across this area they will surely immediately drop any notion of hiring me for my neglect of both family and friends for such an unseemingly long time. For this new life woe that has now entered my life I obviously have only one person I can blame. Al Gore. However, his continuing silence in response to my angry emails regarding his invention of this electronic superhighway thingy have forced me to return from the seemingly dark bowels of Shanghai and CEIBS to let everyone know that, No, I'm not dead, stuck indefinitely inside an opium den, a newly minted billionaire too good to regard your presence anymore, or been sequestered by the Chinese government to do hard manual labor for my capitalist roader ways. Or yet at least.

Regardless, and blogging can be time consuming (ok, I may have also chosen to watch some of my Law and Order Season 1 & 2 boxed set instead of writing, but can you blame me??). What has happened in the meantime is what I will attempt to update here a soon as I can in what I can only expect will look like a stream of consciousness brain fart of random posts. So, first things first, I guess.

We are obviously well into (halfway even, I think) our second term of bschool here at the increasingly sunny and warm CEIBS campus. The new EMBA (Executive MBA, the unlucky SOBs that get to work all week then come to class on the weekends) class starts tomorrow of which there are apparently a record breaking 60 foreigners. Perhaps this as something to do with the Financial Times ranking the EMBA program at CEIBS as the number 13th in the world and where 60% of participants are top management (CEO, CFO, on the Board of Directors, etc.). Just as important (or going out on a limb, more important) is that the same newspaper upgraded CEIBS' MBA ranking from 22 in the world to 21. A positive step but a significantly slower rate of increase than in past years (2005 - 22nd, 2004 - 53th, 2003 - 96th). Logically, though, the higher you get the tougher it gets to keep moving up, but we were all hoping to break into the crucial Top 20 designation. With the Finance club, we've created a recommended reading booklist, hosted a Senior Director of the Shanghai Futures Exchange and lined up two Private Equity speakers for the next two months. Also worth mentioning briefly is that it is "internship" season, although belatedly so. The administration was not quite on the ball when informing the students of the internship deadline it was a mere 5 weeks away. Que panic mode. This is a topic I'll need to cover in more detail in the future. Also forthcoming and long over due is a Term 1 review. Stay tuned (but not too tuned in!).

Next post, will be the flip side (the fun one!) of life in Shanghai, especially Chinese New Year, which is now firmly in my top 3 favorite holidays.

Otherwise, here is a short review of the Term 2 classes and stop me if I bore you here:
Operations Management: The teacher is great and has been in China since 1980(!). The subject (mainly manufacturing) in general is interesting, but actually arranging floorplans and analyzing bottlenecks is not quite my cup of tea, I've found. Touring factories is fun, designing them... not so much. We've recently started Just-in-Time, Lean manufacturing/engineering, etc. Most brutal, however, is a business simulation that starts this Friday. Basically, we are managing a virtual factory online. The trick, however, is that for everyday of factory time, one hour of real time goes by. So from 1pm to 5pm, for manufacturing days in the factory have occurred. And this factory doesn't stop. Goes 24/7 and doesn't take a rest when we're sleeping or in class.
Management Accounting : A necessary evil. I'll leave it at that for fear of saying something I'll regret.
Strategic Management: This teacher is a raging Briton (probably an oxymoron, I know) and this class is most people's favorite but has been the most challenging. All case study based and we've looked at industries from metal container packaging, to the European airline industry to consulting services. In fact, today we had an associate partner from McKinsey, the world famous consultancy, speak to us in class today.
Business Ethics & Corporate Governance: This one is interesting but geared more for the Chinese since most of them haven't been exposed to environmentalism and business ethics like most of the foreigners have been for most of their lives. You'd see what I mean if you saw the pollution in China. Not to say my Chinese classmates are unethical or anything of the sort but just haven't had some of these things drilled into their heads like I have had.
Corporate Finance: Mostly a rehash of CFA material for me which some new twists thrown in for good measure. Our professor, Chang Chun (or Zhang Chun) is apparently quite famous in China and the editor of a respected business magazine and comes to us from the University of Minnesota.

And for your viewing pleasure, a short video from one my favorite new websites.

YouTube - Shanghai MagLev Train

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


China B-Schools- BusinessWeek Online

OK, I admit, I've been lazy. Look for a Term 1 review in the next week. In the meanwhile, BusinessWeek has a China MBA and CEIBS special focus to keep you occupied (if you're someone who reads this to learn more about CEIBS rather then keep up on my personal life!).

China B-Schools- BusinessWeek Online


CEIBS: International House of MBAs

A BusinessWeek slide show on CEIBS.

CEIBS: International House of MBAs

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Sanya, Hainan Island, P.R.C.

After more than three grueling months studying flowcharts, multiple regression models, and a Harrah's Casino marketing case, it was decided by five of us that what we needed was a vacation. But when to go on vacation? Who has the time and we'd all be leaving shortly for our respective homes for winter break. Luckily, the CEIBS administration fortuitously provided the students with a pre-finals study week. Perfect! We pretty much knew that we wouldn't be studying the first weekend after the last class and on Monday & Tuesday we can study on the beach, right? Library, beach, same thing. A travel agent set us up on a trip to China's Hawaii and its premier beach resort area, Hainan Island. Below are some photos of the trip.

More photos are here.
And the powerpoint we made that was sent to our MBA class is here (right click and save as to download, ~2MB).


The Mangrove Tree Resort and the first hotel we stayed at. This is a bit away from Sanya. Sanya is the southernmost city in China and at the south top of Hainan Island. This is on Yalong Bay which is an exclusive resort area for the islands best hotels and each with its own private beach. The entire hotel was brilliantly designed. Essentially, the whole place is open to the air. The you can see and hear the ocean from reception, the lounge, the hallways to the rooms, and most other places. Really fantastic. Apparently, its a Chinese owned hotel, designed in the US and Japan. And the prices, at least from inside China were fantastic. RMB3000, or about US$375, got us a roundtrip direct flight to Hainan, plus two nights at the Mangrove and two nights at the Resort Intime in Sanya.


Night time view from our balcony.


Over the reflecting pond towards the beach...


Mangrove Tree, another view...


Lunch at the hotel's thai restaurant and our xiaopengyou (little friend).


Jealous yet???


Mangrove Tree beach. Water was clear and warm (at least once you got it). What was great was the beach was not at all crowded, a departure from most beaches I've been to.


Our wondeful balcony shower at the Mangrove Tree on Yalong Bay.


A Caribbean style beach side bar next to our first hotel.


Our favorite post-drinking food is never too far away no matter where you are in China. However, this meat stick man was dressed in chef's whites and took his seasonings very seriously.


I become known as The Guru for being dressed in a hotel robe and slippers for pretty much the entire trip. Here I am with a convert to The Guru lifestyle. I was made famous as the Guru to the rest of CEIBS after Ditan made a powerpoint presentation titled "Where is the library" which I will post a link to later.


A nighttime photo from our second hotel.


Dinner on Sunday night at one of the seemingly thousands of seafood restaurants in Sanya. What happens is you order the dishes you want, then you go over to this wall of tanks of fish, eels, shellfish, clams, you name it. There you can pick out exactly which ones you want to eat, then they take you behind the tanks and weigh everything and make sure you're satisfied. Then before my female companion had a chance to turn around they immediately started killing the fish with a stick! I don't think I've ever seen anyone more horrified.


Fireworks where a nightly activity. Nothing extravagant but for me, fireworks never get old. Taking a picture was, however, very frustrating. You hear two go off, only to run and grab the camera and then they'd stop after 3 of them. Then they'd let off about 20 but I never went to get the camera because I assumed they'd stop after 3. Finally, we figured out that if we yelled our approval after they shot them off, they would provide us with more. Problem solved.


Daytime view from our second hotel, Resort Intime (not the flashiest of names) which was populated, we think, entirely by Russians. The way to the beach was one of the most confusing endeavors we have ever undertaken and it was truly bizarre how diffult they made it to get to. At 3am Ditan and I went swimming but in our slightly inebriated state and with the others watchin from the balcony, it took us three different circles around the pool to finally get there.


Wandering around on Monday night looking for something to do other than drink, we stumbled upon more Chinglish. It took us about thirty minutes to finally figure out what it said. Being MBA students, we were forced to hold a group meeting, formulate a plan for attacking the problem, then delegating duties to appropriate team members. This all resulted in a powerpoint presentation, which is how things usually end up at business school.


On Monday night, after being extremely tired of doing nothing but laying on the beach, eating, and going out at night, there was dissent among the group about whether to even go out at all. But, this being our last night in Sanya, the motivated heads triumphed. At the bar, our mood was not what it had been previously. This all changed with these "hats."

Friday, December 09, 2005


Ditan and The Guru once again providing the comic relief for the trip. With that face, I think Ditan was a model in the past life.


We quickly found other uses for our new found playthings. These hats were fantastic. Entertaining, useful, and multi-functional! Although, I'm not quite sure what function they're serving here.


Ditan xiansheng (Mr. Carpet in Chinese) reminding us once again why we gave him this name.


I think I was dancing (or attempting to) at this point.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Last Day of Class

Last day of class today and I’m off to Hainan Island in the South of China for a little holiday until Tuesday. Next week we have a free study week and after that, five days of exams, one for each day. So next week, I *should* have some time to provide a class wrap-up, post some more photos, observations on China, etc. Until then, I will attempt to make you jealous by providing you with links about Hainan (AKA China's Hawaii).

Smart Travel Asia
The Guardian
Times Online

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Finance Club

The CFO of elong.com (a chinese travel site, also available in english) who was also the the CFO at sohu.com came and gave a speech to the club today. All-in-all a very interesting speech, but it does kind of amaze me that this guy would even come to the school and on such an informal occasion to speak to what must be a relatively small group. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good thing, and probably speaks volumes about CEIBS reputation in China...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Courses for Term II and Elective List for Term III

For next term, starting on Jan. 9th, we have the course names but not any descriptions. They are all required, so in a way it doesn't really matter.
For Term III, we have this bidding process where we try to "win" our spot in classes. For students, there isn't much to it but it gives the administration a good idea of what classes are popular and which ones aren't. If there is not enough demand, then they will consider dropping some classes. Not sure what I'll take so far but I've gone from caring about the subject to caring about who the teacher is.

Marketing Research (Prof. Kwaku Atuahene-Gima)
Many companies fail not because they have poor products and services but because
of poor marketing decisions, which is itself the result of lack in-depth and sophisticated
understanding of their markets. This course is designed to enhance your competence in
marketing problem analysis and decision-making, just like consultants do. Hence, this is not a
statistics course but rather an application-oriented program that provides you with the tools to
diagnose an organizational marketing problem and to develop a solution. At the end of the
course you should be able to accurately conceptualize a marketing problem, form appropriate
hypotheses, design a study to test the hypothesis, collect and analyze data using appropriate
statistical software, interpret and present the results. This course should be a foundation for
your success in the group consulting projects (GCP).

Project Management (Prof. Mike Brooks)
Course objective:
To provide the student with a complete understanding of Project Management and it’s
application in a modern business context; the process, methods and techniques, areas of
application, and the key issues which influence success or failure.
In addition, to provide the student with a framework for managing a Consulting Project
in preparation for the Group Consulting Assignment.

Pedagogical techniques:
This module will combine the following teaching methods:

Proposed coverage:
Areas not included:
Industrial Economics (Prof. Zhu Tian)
The course of Industrial Economics applies economic principles to explain
and understand real-world behavior of firms, markets and industries. It covers classic topics of
strategic behavior and market structure as well as topics in technological change, internal
organization of firms, regulation, antitrust and productivity analysis.

Human Resources Management (Prof. Xiao Zhixing)
This course offers participants a deep understanding the people side of strategy and
organization, with a focus on China. It will benefit greatly those who are moving into senior
associate and manager roles in consulting and banking industry; those taking on managerial
responsibilities in multinational firms; those planning one day to launch a start-up; and those
moving into roles as HR manager.

Management Consulting (Prof. William Reinfeld)
What is Management Consulting -- history of the industry, how it differs from other
applications of management, what are the personal qualifications and qualities a good
consultant must have
Skill development -- communications (listening, talking, writing), logic, analysis,
problem solving, creativity; writing proposals, writing reports, making presentations, etc.
Business development -- market focus, selling, value, pricing, planning, branding
Management -- client management, project management, people management,
knowledge management

Change Management (Prof. Michael Miles)
This course is designed to increase the understanding and skills of participants in
relation to conceptualizing, planning, carrying out and evaluating change interventions in
human systems. It will focus on learning how to work collaboratively with clients and client
systems to identify needs for change and to ensure that the change interventions, once
planned, are accepted by the client system as legitimate and useful to the overall functioning
of the system. A special focus of the course will be on the systemic nature of change and
intervention practice. With this in mind, the course will focus on increasing participant
understanding of social change processes and the necessary system conditions that underlie
practical human systems change efforts.

The central concept of this course is intervention, a term that can be defined as the process of entering into an ongoing relationship with a client (either persons, groups,
communities or organizations) with the expressed purpose of helping them improve. The
variety of interventions which the course covers ranges from those driven by power to those
based on the development of common values and strategies by all participants. In this sense
the course is non-prescriptive in terms of the content of interventions. The critical learnings
from the course, however, will focus on how to make change work in the real world, including
practical implementation of final change processes.

The process of the course will be highly interactive. Participants will be expected to
interact both as individual contributors in a large group setting as well as members of small
working groups during class, to speak openly and frankly about their personal perceptions of
class-related experiences and materials, and to participate actively in class discussions based
on assigned readings and/or their own personal and group-related experiences from other
settings. The process of the course will also include an organizational simulation focused on
the dynamics of change in an organizational system as a way of providing the class with a
common experiential reference point. Since the course is designed to examine real-world
issues, participants should be expecting to use their own classroom, home, and work
environments as key sources of data and information for class discussions and assignments.

Course Objectives
Investment Banking (Prof. Gao Yan)
This course imparts a basic understanding of the investment banking business as an
intermediary in the capital and merger markets and demonstrate how it serves both its issuing
clients and investing customers by focusing on several services it provides, and several
analytical techniques for solving problems. Lecture notes, cases, outside readings, and guest
speakers are used. A part of the grade is determined by class participation.

Advanced Management Accounting (Prof. Peter Clarke)
The course entitled Advanced Management Accounting builds on and develops earlier
accounting courses. The primary objective of this course is to create a sound theoretical and
practical ability in the the area of Managerial Accounting as it applies in modern service, retail
and manufacturing organisations. The course would be beneficial to all those students that
will work in an enterprise that utilises modern management accounting practices and
techniques in planning, evaluating and controling the performance of managers and related
business units.

Supply Chain Management (Prof. Thomas Callarman / Steven Brown)
The practice of supply chain management is widespread in all industries around the world
today, and companies are quickly realizing that competition is no longer company-to-company,
but supply chain-to-supply chain. Therefore, effective supply chain management is a
competitive advantage in today’s global economy. In this course the important topic is
discussed from four perspectives: supply, operations, logistics, and the integration of these

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


New Photos...

At my gallery from a trip to Yangcheung Lake.


Friday, November 18, 2005


To Family and Friends in NYC Area

I'll be arriving back in NY Saturday night December 17th and leaving to go back to Shanghai January 3rd. Hope to see everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Group Meetings & "Team Building"

Last weekend we had a group meeting starting at 10am Sunday morning. This, usually, is not a good sign. Or, more accurately, a sign that you're going to be spending the rest of the day in a little discussion room holed up with Excel spreadsheets, textbooks, case studies, and multiple versions of a Word document. Normally, this also includes lots of arguing, from the mundane ("I'm TOTALLY against italicizing the 3rd heading!") to the fundamental issues that should have been solved several days ago ("What do you mean you want to rethink the distribution channel!??! We settled on it last week and this is due tomorrow!"). However, things seem to be taking shape as this particular meeting involved a high level of productivity (fueled by KFC) and that I think we actually had fun. Or at least I did.

After finishing the Marketing case that we were preparing some "team-building" was in order. In the West, we call this "networking." Although, it is far more akin to having dinner and drinks than any sort of formal event. Somehow, I think it genuinely matters to the Chinese the distinction between simply saying dinner and drinks and team-building.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Hummers Overfloweth

Gas prices affecting Hummer sales?? Nah....

The Mess That Greenspan Made: Hummer Overfloweth

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