From the monthly archives:

January 2010

Updated 11/30/2010. I published my section of the research paper on Risk Analysis Study of FDI in Russia: Political Climate in Russia and FDI.

I feel like a squeezed lemon: exhausted and despondent. The whole weekend I have been working on my part 0f the group research paper on FDI in Russia. I had to cover Political Climate section of our Risk Analysis study.

Last weekend I digged out tons of material on the internet on the topic. This week I had to sift through all that raw stuff and identify what particular aspects of Political Climate in Russia need to be emphasized. The problem is that the whole paper is required to be 10 pages. So between the five of us in the group we need to produce about two pages of text each, not counting illustrations and bibliography. I probably would need at least five pages to touch and lightly elaborate upon all the aspects of Russian Political Climate that I personally consider relevant for the paper. I ended up with just over three pages. At least the write up has enough extras for trimming if necessary :-)

However the space constraints made me think what really needs to be included there. Of course, the easiest way would be to slam Putin for his strong-armed handling of opponents who happen to be business people. And the amendments to the Constiution in preparation of his comeback as president in 2012. And his constant references to the “Russia’s special/unique way” of governing, etc.  I tried to keep my write up on the politics within the economic/business framework. It was not easy, but I mostly managed it.  By the way, I found these well-written, very insightful books to be extremely helpful for understanding modern Russia and overall business and political climate there today:

I did not read them from cover to cover, but the portions I read and skimmed through were very convincing.  Today, by the way, was our group’s internal deadline for submitting a draft version of everyone’s section. Seems like I am the only one who managed to meet the deadline. Even though my personal deadline that I had set for myself was last weekend, as I wanted to free myself from this assignment earlier, so I could spend more productive time on in-class topics in Global Perspectives, and Managerial Accounting. That’s what I am going to do after finishing this post.

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Some people would argue that MBA students and MBA degree holders think to much of themselves.

It might as well be true, I don’t know for sure :-)  But I heard some time ago that one of the distinct human traits is being able to poke fun at yourself. It kinda stuck in my head, alas I don’t remember who is the author of this statement.
Nevertherless, my classes for the week are all attended. And since the finals are not in for another four weeks, I will just have enjoyable time doing my homework: solving problems on Managerial Accounting, writing up a case on Global Perspectives,  reading textbooks and additional materials. That’s going to be fun. Actually, I am going to a party tomorrow night. Maybe I will even report on it later in my blog.

Now speaking of different kind of fun.  Over time I ran in quite a few jokes about MBA. Some of them are actually funny. Here are just a few of my favorites:

You know you are an MBA when:

You think it is actually efficient to write a ten-page paper with six other people you do not know.
You believe you never have any problems in your life, just ‘issues’ and ‘improvement opportunities’.
You refer to your previous life as ‘my sunk costs.’
Your favorite artist is the one who does the dot drawings for the Wall Street Journal.
You decided the only way to afford a house is to call your fellow alumni and offer to name a room after them if they help with the down payment.
Your ‘deliverable’ for Sunday evening is clean laundry and paid bills.
And since I am in part-time MBA program myself, I find these two YouTube videos particularly funny:


Management Parable:
A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.” “Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull. They’re packed with nutrients.” The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree.
The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.
Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Management Lesson:
Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.
Some more of these jokes could be found here.


A cowboy walks into a cafe with a shotgun in one hand and a bucket of buffalo manure in the other. He says to the waiter, “Bring me some coffee.” The waiter says, “Sure, coming right up.” He gets the cowboy a big  mug of coffee, and the cowboy drinks it down in one gulp, picks up the bucket of manure, throws it into the air, blasts it with the shotgun, then just walks out. The next morning the cowboy returns, with a bucket of manure and a shortgun again. He walks up to the counter and asks for coffee. The waiter says, “Whoa, Dude! We’re still cleaning up your mess from yesterday. What the heck was all that about, anyway?” The cowboy answers: “I am getting ready to go for my MBA, so after that I could qualify for an executive position: Come in, drink coffee, shoot shit, leave mess for others to clean up, disappear for rest of day.”


An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “Only a little while, senor.”
The American then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then, senor?”
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
“Millions, senor? Then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Other non-MBA jokes could be found here.



Today in Global Perspectives class professor was seemingly glowing when he broke a news. Turned out that Financial Times published their Global MBA Rankings 2010 just two days ago on January 25. MBA program at GWSB climbed from position 71 to 57 among top 100 MBA programs worldwide. What he was even more proud of was that in a separate ranking of Top Schools by Subject George Washington University MBA program ranked #5 in Top 10 programs for International Business. The reason for his being especially  happy about the ranking in International Business section is that it is probably in great part credited to the success of the department he is working at.

I mentioned before in one of the posts that rankings are quite helpful in getting preliminary information about schools and sizing up the programs. But once that information is analyzed, one needs to look beyond the rankings and find the best match for him/herself, based on personal goals and circumstances, not purely the rankings. At any rate, this news is a nice validation for all of us in GWSB.
The Financial Times Global MBA rankings is one of the three most recognized rankings of MBA programs in the USA. The FT rankings are taking more global outlook, instead of looking only at the US business schools. Just as the professor mentioned in the first lecture on Global Perspectives. The other two rankings are mostly recognized for rankings of domestic business schools:

I guess this new ranking will be celebrated and touted in the school now. But the real moral of the story is:

  • Heed to your professor’s advice when he is prompting you to subscribe for Financial Times and you will never be two days behind on a good news
  • Attend the lectures, and you will be up to speed on most important news you might have accidentally missed. :-)

Edited 2/1/2010: Today caught up on the Global MBA Ranking from Financial Times with a review on losers and winners, and some comparisons between  the schools in various regions of the world.


This week I am feeling quite satisfied with my preparation for classes. This is actually first time in this Spring module that I was able to study and work through most of the material assigned to homework. The keyword here is most. The important part of the MBA experience is to work under pressure and prioritize.

Arguably, the MBA courses in all reputable business schools are designed in such a way that students cannot possibly work through every single assignment they are given.  This is a built-in component of the curriculum in order to train business leaders and business managers ready to deal with the real-world environment. One needs to be able to identify the most relevant and important focal points within every assignment and concentrate on them, because there is no time in the world, or at least in any reasonable person’s schedule, to go through all and everything assigned for homework.

This is especially true with the new format of the MBA program adopted at George Washington University School of Business for this academic year. Before this year there were regular 3-credit classes that ran for the whole semester. Now we have this modular system with courses worth 1.5 credits and lasting for 7 weeks only. The administration of the business school has of course their rationale for introducing the modular system. Regardless of whether that explanation valid or not, the modular system puts more pressure on both instructors and students.

I cannot argue on pros and cons on this matter since I only have been doing my MBA program after the modular system had already been introduced. So I don’t have relevant experience on before and after. But I have some common sense observations. Basically it boils down to doing more than half of the previous course learning in just half the time. Which inevitably shifts even more of the studying from the classroom time to self-study.

That said, I personally very concerned about getting something of real value, relevance and applicability from my MBA studies, not just the grades and eventually a diploma. So far I found all my courses quite relevant and of good application value. That’s why whenever I can (and it’s not often), I try to consume and work through as much of the material as possible.

This week was good in that regard. I have already finished required reading for both of my classes this week: Global Perspectives and Managerial Accounting. I worked on the required cases for both of them. I feel I have a reasonable grip on the concepts and ideas for both classes. I still will have time to work on additional problems for Managerial Accounting tomorrow night, and, very important – it’s not 3 in the morning yet, and I am ready to go to bed!


Managerial Accounting Study Group Meeting

January 25, 2010

Our study group in Managerial Accounting had a meeting on campus tonight. There were four of us in the meeting in person, and one group member joined us for the part of the meeting over the phone, as he was out of town on business. In this group there were modest aspirations in terms of […]

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Global Perspectives – FDI in Russia

January 24, 2010

Updated 11/30/2010. I published my section of the research paper on Risk Analysis Study of FDI in Russia: Political Climate in Russia and FDI. Spent all day today digging up the material for my group research paper on FDI in Russia. There is a lot of information available on the internet, arguably of various levels […]

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New York Trip Musements Continued

January 23, 2010

I was going through the pictures we made on our December trip to New York City. I wrote a bit about the trip in these two posts: NY City Musements… New Jersey Full Service Gas Station… Most of the pictures are family stuff of no particular interest to outsiders. But there is one picture that is worth […]

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Managerial Accounting and Grizzly Dessert

January 22, 2010

Grizzlies are known to like to eat marmots. In spring when grizzlies come out of hibernation they spend unproportionate amount of energy and time hunting those small squirrel-like animals from under the stones. The scientist were puzzled by this fact, because according to their estimated calculations the energy spent on hunting the marmots was much more than […]

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Spring Term Part-time MBA at GWU – Week 2

January 21, 2010

Finished the second week of classes in my first module of Spring Term. The intensity is picking up just a little bit, but so far very manageable. It’s probably going to change this weekend when I will have work on two major projects: I am planning to work on my section for Risk Analysis Group Paper […]

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Global Perspectives Risk Analysis Paper

January 19, 2010

On Tuesday we had a group meeting to discuss the general approach and outline for our course group paper in Global Perspectives class. It was suggested to meet at one of the bar lounges on the campus, so our almost 2-hour meeting was over pizza and beer. Very inducive environment for discussing any business issues, including […]

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Managerial Accounting Course Pack

January 16, 2010

One of the books required in Managerial Accounting is the Course Pack that has been compiled by the professor himself. This is the first time I have the course pack required in my MBA program classes. That’s why I had a little surprise with it. The course packs are apparently compiled/authored by a professor(s) in the university […]

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Part-time MBA at GWSB – Spring Term First Week Summary

January 15, 2010

The first week of classes in my Spring Term at GWSB is over. Now I have to concentrate on the homework assignments which are quite intense. Good that I have Monday off to spend more time on reading and solving cases for classes. A short summary of the week. I am very pleased with both […]

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Managerial Accounting Is Not Your Financial Accounting

January 14, 2010

On Thursday was my first class in Managerial Accounting. To say that it was OK would be underestimating it. I actually liked it a lot. There were a few factors that contributed to my favorable impression of the class: Professor was very sharp and knowledgable. He looks probably younger than he really is, but he […]

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Global Perspectives – First Day of Classes at Part-time MBA Spring Term

January 13, 2010

On Wednesday I had my first class in the Spring Term – Global Perspectives. I enjoyed the class and got very favorable impression of the professor. He has been teaching in the International Business Department for a long time and still has not lost interest in teaching the subject. The subject itself is very interesting […]

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Moving from WordPress to Designated Hosting-Part 2

January 11, 2010

My first attempt to move from WordPress (WP) hosting was at the beginning of November. That time I did some research on the WP themes. I actually went out and purchased a domain and hosting for my would be virtual home. I was not ready at the time to purchase one of the Premium themes, so […]

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Part-time MBA Winter Break Summary

January 10, 2010

This was the last weekend before the start of the Spring semester in my part-time MBA studies. So I might as well call it the end of the winter break. Classes start on Monday, though for me personally the first day of classes is Wednesday – Global Perspectives. Just a short recap of what I […]

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MBA – What’s the Buzz

January 9, 2010

In the light of my post on whether MBA is losing its relevance for businesses and attractiveness to the students I was thinking what were the events relating to the MBA programs that attracted the most media attention lately. Since my personal interest in MBA evoked only in Spring 2008, this was the time when […]

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Global Perspectives at GWSB

January 8, 2010

A couple of days ago I received a welcome email from professor who is going to teach Global Perspectives, one of the two core MBA courses I signed up for in the first half of the Spring semester. The syllabus and other materials have been placed on the Blackboard and we are expected to come ready for the first […]

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Is MBA Losing its Appeal?

January 7, 2010

MBA degree, inspite of all ups and downs in public perception and acceptance from the time of its inception, have nevertheless managed to keep the status of a highly desirable and prestigious professional designation. The desirability of MBA has been mainly connected to the career and income growth opportunity. Those opportunities were mostly determined by […]

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My Registered Classes for Spring Term MBA Program

January 6, 2010

As I mentioned yesterday, last weekend I finalized my MBA classes registration for the Spring term. In reality I  originally registered for all of my classes within 7-10 days after the registration was open sometime in November. My classes were selected based on the learned lessons described in my previous post. One more thing I learned during registration […]

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Part-time MBA Classes Selection for Spring Term

January 5, 2010

This past weekend I finalized my classes for the Spring term. In this seemingly simple decision there are a few caveats I was not aware of when I was choosing my classes for the Fall term, and was still learning during this registration period. In summer I just picked whatever classes did not have other prerequisites […]

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The Burj Khalifa-Tower of Babel Revisited

January 4, 2010

Today there was a big opening ceremony of Burj Khalifa “supertall” skyscraper in Dubai – the tallest building in the world. It is 2717 -foot (828 meters) tall. It beats the next tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 at 509 meters, by over 60%. The Burj Khalifa is probably going to keep its title […]

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Robert H.Smith – a Man behind the UMD Business School Name

January 3, 2010

On the New Year Eve I received an email from the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington about passing away of Robert H. Smith. The letter was recollecting many great philantropic deeds of the man and his contribution to the Jewish community locally and worldwide. It did not mention explicitely his relation to the University of Maryland Business School. So […]

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