From the monthly archives:

November 2010

Recently I read an article in Businessweek on Russia and its BRIC membership. For those who are mostly focused on the affairs of the developed word, BRIC is the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China. The term has come into use in 2001 as a symbol of the shift of the global economic power away from the developed G7 economies toward the developing world – as the Wikipedia article indicates.

The general idea expressed in the article is that Russia did not live up to the great expectations of becoming the new economic powerhouse or, as the article puts it, “developing into a mature economy”. Neither did it become an attractive investment haven. Therefore some investments analysts from various financial institutions are calling for dropping Russia from the BRIC and adding Indonesia to the  “Big Four” instead.

When I was reading the article I could not help but remember about the group research paper we prepared in our MBA Global Perspectives class on Risk Analysis of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Russia. Many of the arguments brought up in the article are the same things we have been pointing out in our paper. Even with all the cautionary recommendations we had, I would not think at the time that some hot headed analysts, or maybe conversly cool headed, would suggest that Russia’s anemic economic development disqualifies it from being considered one of the emerging economic super powers.

Admittedly, I would not invest  my own money in Russia at any rate. Apparently, people who consider putting their money abroad are paying more attention on the ongoing affairs there and have already become wary of all the promising, but never materializing hopes of economic breakthrough and setting political stability.  

Once I read the article I decided to publish the write up on Political Climate in Russia that I prepared for that MBA research paper. Here are the retrospective posts when I still was working on the paper: finalizing Russia risk analysis  and more on preparing for the research paper. There are some additional facts and references in that research that could shed more light on the political situation in Russia and its adverse effect on foreign investments, direct or otherwise. The research is placed in the Business School Cases section of this blog – Political Climate in Russia and FDI.


Four weeks ago I published a post about my Deja Vu experience with GMAT. There I wrote a short review of the new GMAT practice questions from Beat the GMAT (BTG). I am not going to re-count my experience with those questions again here. If interested you can read the complete review here.

In that post I announced an offering of the the free Premium Access to those BTG practice questions to the first four people who would make a claim. The free Premium Access for readers of this blog was offered with compliments from Beat the GMAT team. All four access codes have been claimed.  Now is the time to announce the four winners of that offering. I feel today is an appropriate date for this announcement because it is also a two year anniversary of my own first, not so fabulous, attempt on GMAT. You can read about that experience in my GMAT Anniversary post. In a way, it is my revenge on GMAT for that failure by empowering other people to get a better shot on beating it  😉 . And also this is a sort of giving back to the community of the people who are supporting this blog by regularly reading it. Thank you to all the readers!

So here are the names of the winners in the order their claims have been submitted:

  • Name:  Puneet
    City: New Delhi
    Country: India
    Target MBA programs: UCLA, MIT
  • Name: David Goliath (no further information was provided)
  • Name: Young
    City: Vancouver
    Country: Canada
    Target MBA programs: UBC, Toronto, Queens, York, MIT and Stanford….
  • Name: Rodrick Womack
    City: Germantown, MD
    Country: USA
    Target MBA programs: GW, Maryland(Smith), Georgetown(McDonough)

I was pleasantly surprised to see the broad  geography from local to international locations and wide range of the target MBA programs of the winners. I wish them all great success on their GMAT and further on in their MBA programs. I am confident that the Practice questions from Beat the GMAT will be of great help to them.

For those of you who missed the chance to claim the Free access, I still have a good news. BTG has extended the discounted price for to Premium Access to Practice Questions till December 7, 2010. So go ahead and grab it at $49 instead of a regular price of $99: Beat the GMAT Practice Questions.


On Sunday we had a conference call with my group for our final presentation in Consultative Processes class. This is the second of the group projects in the class. The first group project was on preparing and presenting Consulting Proposal for Kacey Fine Furniture.

I re-read the case before the group discussion, Dahab Plastics Co, and it seems there is much more to it than what I saw at the first quick read. The flagship and market leader in plastic tableware in Jordan in 2001 was quite a mess by American management and technological standards.

A quick search on Google did not even fetch the website of the company as of today. Either they bit the dust, as the case lends to believe or even now, almost ten years later, they still did not upgrade their operations to remotely resemble the 21-st century standards. At least our “management consulting team” have confidence, should they have heeded our recommendations, everything would have been hunky-dory with them :-) .

I am preparing the Marketing and International Strategy section for our recommendations. Really it is hard to develop a comprehensive marketing plan under the circumstances of very significant budget constraints, especially in the light of hardly viable financing options in the local lending industry, and the socio-economic environment in the country with almost 30% under the poverty line. Those people struggle every day to put something on their plate in the first plate, leave alone “splurging” on disposable plastic tableware. Anyways, I will have to see what we can do for them.  

By the way, the case itself is one of the very few that are available on the internet for free legally from Institute of International Education. So if you want to flex your consulting muscle and see what you could do to help the company to stay in business and stay competitive, you can get access to the PDF copy of the case at this link: Dahab Plastics Co . Just make sure your recommendations are reasonable and feasible under the strenuous circumstances depicted in the case. I will sure try my best to stay reasonable within my recommendations. We’ll see if I manage it. 😉


Due to my business travel I have not been able to focus on regular updates. So now I have more catch up work to do both for classes and for the blog. Fortunately, this year we do not have any classes scheduled during the whole week of Thanksgiving. So I will hopefully have time to do a catch up on both.

The only update for today, however, is publishing of a new case analysis in Business School Cases section. This time it is another case from my Human Capital Management class in Spring Term 2010: Citibank: Performance Evaluation. The analysis is made from the perspective of Lisa Johnson, area manager, evaluating James McGaran’s performance.


Spring Term Classes – Online Onslaught at GW MBA

November 20, 2010

Just about two weeks ago I was writing about the survey conducted by the MBA administration at GWU about offering of the online classes. At that time I thought that this was just testing the waters with the students and actual introduction of the online classes was a long way from being implemented. Boy, was […]

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Swamped with MBA Assignments

November 9, 2010

Update 5/7/2011. I have published a business case analysis for Ellen Moore (A): Living and Working in Korea. This week is going to be really brutal. I will have to pay for a little relaxation I had over the past weekend. I had some family and friends time and did not have enough time to […]

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Online Electives in Part-time MBA at GWU

November 4, 2010

Update on introduction of online classes for Spring 2011 term at GWU part-time MBA. A couple weeks ago I received invitation from part-time MBA office at GW University to fill out a short survey. The questions were around the topic of offering some electives online. Basically, they were trying to gauge what portion of the electives the students would be willing […]

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GMAT Deja Vu – with Compliments from Beat the GMAT

November 2, 2010

Update 11/19/2010. All the codes for Premium access to BTG Practice questions have been claimed already. Last week I received invitation from the Beat The GMAT (BTG) founder, Eric, to review the new Beat the GMAT Practice Questions. Admittedly, GMAT is far from being on my priorities list with all the classes I am taking […]

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