Never-before-seen Singapore footage

We're a few months behind on getting the video online, but check out these comments from current Global MBA students on their first impressions of Singapore, where they spent a six week term this winter.

Global MBA: First Impressions of Singapore

Wandering through the Cultural Wilderness

By Ayan Mukhopadhyay, Global MBA student from India, working on an International Immersion Project with PlaNet Finance in Cairo, Egypt

Today marks exactly 2 weeks of my stay in Cairo. The last 14 days has flown by and the experience so far has been enough to overwhelm and push my senses to the extreme. So much so that I have few ideas to share but I don’t know which one would be apt and a nice read for all. As I look back now on the days when the selection for the IIP in Egypt was done, I think I made a great choice in coming to Cairo and not paying any heed to the post revolution chaos in Egypt. Yes, I am alive, and to this point Cairo has left me feeling punchy, always ready to shell out some baksheesh.

Cairo is not only about the pyramids, world-class museums and riverside restaurants, but also the thousand year old mosques, stunning buildings from the colonial era and a web of walkways filled with people, cars, buses and whatnot. It has frequently been
said to me by fellow travelers at my hostel that a real experience of the sights and sounds of Cairo will only be complete when you bustling old Islamic Cairo which is around the Al Azhar mosque,Hossein mosque and the winding web of lanes inside Khan Al Khalili market. When Ahmed from Planet Finance offered to take us to the Khan Al Khalili market, it got me thinking. I was still
reeling from the insane heat waves of Giza, a place that marks the start of the Sahara desert and hosts the pyramids. Having had my brain thoroughly washed over the last few days by my experiences in Cairo and fellow travelers, I could not help but give in to the temptation of another riot on my senses.

I left my hostel at around 6pm when the sun has gotten tired of spewing heat and the light was a rich, golden yellow hue. Before leaving I wanted to be sure of the route I would take and so sought help of Hassan, the owner of the hostel. He said it’s very easy and took me to the window. Pointing to the Bank of Misr building faraway, he asked me if I could see this building “nearby” and added that the Attaba square, which is just behind that building will lead me to the Al Azhar mosque. I felt it was quite easy listening to the directions he gave. However, I was in for a surprise the moment I reached Attaba square. There were 5 streets branching out in 5 different directions and so “walking straight” was quite a meaningless term.

Instinctively I started approaching people for directions and came across a person from Sudan who knew that Hindi was the national language of India. He started explaining in his broken English which way I need to take and how far it would be. Sensing that I was too lost in the directions he was giving, he even called a taxi and was almost going to give me some money so that I could reach the mosque. It was quite a touching event for me, having a complete stranger come up and try to help as much as possible for absolutely nothing in return. It did bring back to my mind that idea of the kindness of strangers but more importantly it showed me the warmth of the African people towards strangers in their land. Usually when we are travelers we tend to avoid the random stranger in the street and keep conversations to a minimum and to the point. But we overlook the fact that as a species we are designed to support each other and a surprising amount of our safety and protection comes from the kindness of strangers. The man walked away after being convinced that I did indeed want to walk the whole way, but left behind a wonderful rush of emotions filling up my heart. I will probably not meet this person again but I will surely try to pay the kindness forward.

For the rest of the evening I kept walking along serpentine lanes of the Khan al Khalili market along with the IIP team and Ahmed while skirting the persuasive calls from vendors eager to make a quick buck. As I walked around the narrow and mesmerizing medieval streets of Khan al Khalili, which house gorgeous buildings, numerous road side cafés and shops selling excellent handmade items, the evening slowly came to an end. It has been a day well spent, starting with the pyramids and ending with experiences that would reaffirm a sense of humility in anyone.

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On the Ground in Manila: IIP Philippines

By Uday Broca, Global MBA student working with

We have seen and experienced so much in this past one week that I don’t really know where to begin. The journey to the Philippines itself would be an apt start I guess. After an exhausting last few days in Cergy, cleaning, packing and clearing out our rooms, I made my way to CDG airport on Sunday morning. I was booked on China Southern Airlines. After doing some research online, showing horror stories of passengers about the cabin crew not knowing English, baggage and visa problems at the stopover in Beijing, China, I braced myself for the 25+ hour adventure ahead. Surprisingly, the flight was actually very nice, comfortable, great food and some very warm and friendly cabin crew. I landed on Monday night and made my way to the LP4Y (Life project 4 youth) training and development center with a very helpful taxi driver showing me the sights and sounds. I tried getting a few hours of sleep in preparation for the long day ahead. Our first day at LP4Y was at one of their centers in Tondo, Manila. This center is dedicated to helping

young mothers from Tondo integrate within the Society. Tondo is one of the poorest squatter areas in Manila, where the thousands of families live on incomes of 150 pesos per day. These families have been long forgotten by society and the government and have no real hope for a better future. LP4Y’s center looks to develop the social and business skills of these mothers, helping them to reach a stage where they can be ready to start their own business or enter the job market. The schedule involves 3 steps: study, work and guide. During the 'study' stage, they learn business basics, computer skills, English and general knowledge. During the 'work' stage, the mothers sit together and create hand- titched figurines that they then help to sell in the market. The 'guide' stage is very important; LP4Y volunteers guide the mothers in thinking about their future. They help them develop a CV, create short and long-term goals, do a lot of self-analysis and overall give them hope to dream of a better future.

After meeting the mothers, we went on a visit to where they live as that would give us some real perspective on the ground realties. Coming from India, I have seen my fair share of very poor slum areas with the harshest of living conditions. In spite of this, I was not prepared for what we saw. I cannot describe in words how bad the conditions really were. Filth, garbage, dirt, muddy disease-ridden water surrounds the area. Families live in the tiniest of houses with no electricity or any level of sanitation.
Their primary mode of income is going through trash and selling things at the junk shop. As we made our way deeper and deeper inside things got even poorer and sadder. Yet, everywhere we went we were greeted with a smile. We found out later that culturally the Filipino smile does not depict happiness; it is often used to hide embarrassment, sadness and a feeling of helplessness. A few hours spent there really opened our eyes as to how fortunate we truly are and that all our supposedly “big” problems are nothing compared to what these people go through every day.

The next day we made our way to another center at Old Balhara, another neighborhood as poor as the one we had seen at Tondo. This center is aimed for young adults (17-24) that have been excluded by society. The students here work on the packaging, sales and marketing of an organic soap with medicinal values. Our visit started with a training session organized by AIESEC Manila on HIV and Aids.
It was wonderful to see the students being so inquisitive and open about the subject (which is taboo in Philippines). All the students asked some very pertinent and intelligent questions. After the session, we went around the neighborhood and bonded with the young adults.

Soon it was lunchtime and a treat was in store for us. The students decided to cook a grand feast for us in appreciation of the work LP4Y is doing. Ampalaya or bitter melon is one of the traditional vegetable of Filipino cooking. The students made a concoction of this with a secret ingredient that we had to pry out of them. Along with this there was fresh water melon, tofu and soya sauce with onions and chilies. After a prayer for the food, we all sat down and enjoyed the wonderful meal together and exchanged stories our different lives. We could see a marked difference between the new students and the ones that have been at the center for some time. These older students were much more confident and open about everything and we now know that the LP4Y Life centers really do work wonders!

As the day finished, we got a real sense of the work being done and are now very excited to help out this wonderful organization. Our mission over the coming weeks is to understand the organization better and streamline their funding needs. They aim to make their life projects sustainable within 3 years of establishment but to provide real impetus for growth they need all the support they can get. Now that we have seen the kind of impact they are making, we are sure as MBA students we can help them secure the support they need!

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A Word from the Associate Dean: The Creative Internationalization of Business Schools

By Ashok Som, Associate Dean and Director of the Global MBA, as delivered at the 2012 GBSN (Graduate Business School Network) Conference in New Delhi

We tell our students in most courses, be it Strategy, Marketing or Operations that our business climate is changing, becoming more and more global and interconnected. As business schools, we need to wake up to this changing environment, evolve and embrace
internationalization in turn. Internationalization means the opening of new opportunities for business schools, as the worldwide demand for business education increases. However it also poses threats, as the rapid pace of change means that business schools need to embrace the challenge of staying ahead of the curve and anticipating what is to come. To this end we at business schools must focus on (a) strengthening our reputation, (b) differentiating our offering, (c) adapting and (d) staying agile.

Strengthening our reputation

In an ever-expanding, increasingly international industry with a growing number of competitors emerging from developing and mature markets alike, it is of the essence that business schools focus on building their international brand and reputation in a way that differentiates them. As an academic institution, one of the main ways to enhance a brand is through investing in research and through encouraging faculty to engage in the international academic community. Being the home institution for the oft-cited, for the note-worthy, and for the world-renowned experts in any field is a boon for a school seeking to stand out and stay relevant. Schools need to truly invest in their programs and their students, creating learning experiences that not just resume-building but life-changing. This will build a network of alumni and advocates, who promote the school throughout the rest of their careers and to whatever corners of the world those careers lead them. This is incredibly powerful. Visible alumni and highly-reputed faculty and programs are key for building a strong brand, and having challenging, thoughtful programs is key both to attracting these individuals and to forming them into the type of actors in business and society who will be successful in the future. This community of word-of-mouth advocates and reputation ambassadors must be nourished. Alumni must be engaged, invited to attend regular events, provided with valuable information and encouraged to help educate and network with current students. Formal education must be considered a life-long process, not just a brief period of intense engagement. Building a dynamic, cross-generational community is critical.

At ESSEC, we are fortunate to have over one hundred years of history behind us. This combined with our top notch programs and excellent reputation in France and abroad has enabled us to build one of Europe’s largest, most active alumni networks, which comprises notable business and political leaders not just in France but across the globe. These individuals remain engaged with ESSEC by participation in networking events, by hosting students at their companies, by coming to campus to discuss their professional experience with students, etc. Alumni in highly visible positions that have come to visit with our students this year in small group settings include Pierre Nanterme, the CEO of Accenture, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, who is the President of the Foods division at Unilever, Michelle Amiel, who is the Head of Talent Management for LVMH Fashion Division … the list goes on. And alumni names appearing in the headlines as they are named to Ministry posts for the new government or assume prominent positions with major international companies only helps to boost the reach and renown of a school’s brand. Together with this, with growing reputation comes accreditation from bodies such as AACSB and EQUIS, which reinforce strict standards that both standardize business education and  challenge business schools to differentiate themselves in their competitive environment.

Differentiate our offer

In an effort to differentiate and stay competitive, business schools need to evolve their curriculum and emphasize internationalization. Internationalization as differentiation can take many routes. The earliest route taken by business schools was to set up exchange partnerships with like-minded partner schools. This delivered the necessary diversity in the class room. The next step taken by national business schools was recruiting foreign faculty which resulted in teaching a diverse class in international curriculum. The third step was to develop Double Degree partnership – a step deeper than exchange programs – where schools shared their Degrees and signaled that students can differentiate themselves by being completely bi-cultural, bi-lingual and bi-national – the characteristic that multi-national corporations will adore. The fourth step was to define study trips in unknown or emerging markets to make the students aware of different ways to do business. This step incited many schools to explore new markets in Asia, Africa and Middle-East. As this phenomenon grew, differentiation by internationalization saw the creation of offices and campuses in different countries to provide a dual or multiple campus environment.

These differentiating factors indicate that while a manager will always be well-served by the traditional skills gained through a classic MBA education, the shifting ways in which we do business demand that managers also be trained in “soft” skills: intercultural relations, foreign languages, effective communication. The programs needed to develop our students’ entrepreneurial and leadership qualities, as well as ethics, corporate social responsibility, and training in sustainable development. Businesses today not only need innovators and managers with sophisticated skill-sets but also those who can problem-solve, communicate, and capitalize upon diversity in the workplace. These are the people that are driving success in the businesses of today, and these are the types of leaders that will head the
successful businesses of the future. It is no longer adequate to address cases and coursework that deal only with large corporations. As we shift our focus toward emerging markets, we also need to consider a more holistic academic approach, studying the issues related to small and medium-sized businesses, as well. An internationalized, thoughtful, and comprehensive curriculum will produce well-prepared and conscientious graduates who will be competitive
forces on the international job market.

At ESSEC, we did all the above. But as the Product Life Cycle theory reminds us, competitors do the same thing, the same way, more or less at the same time. A sustainable competitive advantage remains an illusion. And so we adapt.


Schools need to adapt to the new global reality that business will need diverse skill-sets and with globalization students will come to the classroom from all over the globe. Building diversity in class rooms happens though engagement with international partners, international faculty and international companies thereby building an international community. And the international community is not just academic. Schools engage with international
companies to establish grants and scholarships, to arrange speakers and treks and career fairs, for event sponsorship and for career placement and training programs. In this way, they can work towards building their brands in areas where their partner companies are already well-established while enhancing the exchange between students, current practitioners, and the business community at large.

At ESSEC, we recognize the importance of international collaboration. We have developed the Global Alliance, a partnership with renowned business schools in the US, China, India, Singapore, and Germany. We host exchange students from 88 exchange partners. Our students can participate in study abroad programs and internships abroad. In the Global MBA, our students spend a term in Singapore, a week in Eastern Europe or any other emerging market, and a month immersed in a project internationally. They are also given the opportunity to participate in exchange programs with such institutions as Cornell, Chingua, IIM Ahmedabad and others. We engage often with international companies on a variety of levels, from case study competitions, company visits and speakers, partnerships for our entrepreneurial and incubator programs, sponsorship for our immersion and consulting projects, etc. As a small sample, some of those companies that we have been particularly active with this year include Accenture, Cap Gemini,
LVMH, Google, Apple, GE, Boston Consulting Group, PlaNet Finance, and Total, all major international players.

To go one step futher we created the Council on Business & Society. It is a global alliance of five top international business schools of Management. The partner schools are University of Mannheim Business School (Germany), Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (United States), School of Management, Fudan University (China) and Keio Business School (Japan). The partnership will use a multi-cultural, multi-school, multi-location approach to engage academics, policy-makers and corporate leaders in addressing key issues at the intersection of business and society. The Council hopes to create a multi-school process to study a series of critical issues facing business and society, organize an annual international forum for dialogue, and develop and disseminate educational materials designed to foster continuing debate on the issues. Combining the expertise of faculty members from each of the partner schools with
that of representatives of business, government, and non-governmental organizations from around the world will lead to unique insights and initiatives.

Staying agile

As the tools used to make business more efficient change, business schools as well need to prepare their participants to function in a climate defined by an ever-changing use of information and communication technology. This is a way to stay agile. High-quality video conferencing software, easy document sharing tools, and online everything all mean that in multi-location or multi-national organizations, the way people get things done is dramatically different than the way it was twenty, ten, or even two years ago. Business schools need to embrace this, and function likewise. We now have the ability to have multiple campuses that are effectively one thanks to technology. We can now reach more students in more locations and allow professors a certain amount of flexibility and autonomy, since with internet access and a computer almost anyone can now work or study from anywhere. Online course offerings can supplement the traditional classroom experience, and the number of tools, databases, online publications, forums, etc. that can bolster learning and information access is astounding.

At ESSEC, we have embraced the possibilities afforded to us by new communication technology by establishing a second campus in Singapore. The dual campus approach allows us to offer our students the benefits of education and networking in both Europe and Asia. Students, professors, and staff at both campuses are able to function seamlessly across both long distance and several time zones thanks to new technologies. And depending on these technologies to keep the school running smoothly means that we’re always pushed to innovate and stay on top of the latest and greatest, a benefit that is passed on directly to our students.

At ESSEC Business School in Paris, we have recognized this need for a program that takes into account these international perspectives and that is agile enough to be adapted to the ever-changing needs of the international business community. As such, we have created the Global MBA, which launched this last year with a first class of students representing 12 different nationalities. The academics and extra-curricular elements of the Global MBA are specifically designed to train managers to function in today’s volatile, dynamic, and complex business environment. It focuses on emerging markets and the ‘new frontiers’ of business; in addition to specialized coursework (Geopolitics in Asia, Art & Culture Management, Global Strategy, Energy Efficiency, etc.) students spend a study term in Singapore and have a field trip in Eastern Europe.

Moving forward we believe to stay agile, students need to be immersed in different and difficult business environments, try to apply the learnings from class room and even if they fail, try to learn from their failure. We have thus meticulously planned our International Immersion Projects in emerging markets which involves a hands-on business project and period of field work in an emerging market that is also related to social impact. This year, students are are in their summer immersion trips with Total in Venezuela, with PlaNet Finance in Egypt and Uruguay, with L Capital in India, on a sustainability project for the wine industry in South Africa, and on the ground with a Manila-based non-profit organization for youth.
The globalization of economies and of the business education industry is a reality, and it is a change that is occurring at a rapid pace. To stay competitive, and to continue providing future leaders with a business education that is relevant, conscientious, and forward-thinking, business schools need to embrace internationalization and approach it as an opportunity, not a threat.

A Word from the Associate Dean: Visiting Venezuela

By Ashok Som, Associate Dean and Director of the Global MBA, who left Venezuela this morning after visiting the International Immersion Project team working with Total in Caracas

The IIP Total-Venuezula is working in one of the most dangerous environments in the World. The five participants are located on the 12th of Torre Corp Banca, Piso 12, Av. Ppal. de La Castellana, La Castellana, Caracas in the offices of Total.

Being fluent in Spanish, Felipe and Esteban are travelling within Caracas and Valencia interviewing stakeholders while Shriram and Mikaël, while working on their Spanish, are focusing on the analytical aspects of the project and Hiroshi is contacting the Japanese business houses in Caracss. Caracas  is a dangerous city by any standard, with more than 30 killings every week. The Global MBA students, bracing this evironment, are studying and working on the growth trajectory of the Total Lubricants in Venezuela, a country with political uncertainty.

An most interesting part of Venezuelan economics that they have observed is that the official exchange rate is 1€ to 5.5 Bolivars, but the parallel market rate is 1€ to 11 Bolivars! Which means that when one uses an international credit card they pay double the price for the same goods and services! The Global MBA students are experiencing the realities of doing business in emerging markets:  the importance of language, the importance of relationships in business, the importance of communcation and generally surviving in a completely unknown business environment, and deliver.

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Wrapping up the school year at ESSEC...

ESSEC’s first class of Global MBA students are nearing the end of their rigorous, twelve-month program. These 24 students, who represent 12 nationalities, each brought an average of six years work experience across a range of functions and sectors to the program when they began.

In addition to their coursework in Cergy, the Global MBA students spent six weeks at ESSEC’s Singapore campus, studying and familiarizing themselves with the cultural, economic, and business climate of this Asian city-state.

Projects and lectures were frequently punctuated by visits to and from companies and practitioners. Particularly memorable speakers were Pierre Nanterme, ESSEC alum and the CEO of global consulting firm Accenture, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, another alumnus and the President of the Foods division at Unilever, and even the Minister of Educaton of Bhutan, who spoke to the students on measuring success and the principle of Gross Domestic Happiness.  Frequent treks to companies such as Apple, Google, Viadeo, IBM, Microsoft, John Deere, McKinsey & Co., and LVMH (among many others) exposed students to a fascinating array of industries and opportunities and forced them to flex their networking muscle.

And in keeping with the hands-on emphasis of the program, the students have had several opportunities to get immersed in the field. A week-long field trip to Russia allowed them to explore companies and culture in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and at present, all 24 students are at work on the ground in their International Immersion Projects. This month long immersion has taken them to locales as diverse as Egypt, Venezuela, Uruguay, the Philippines, South Africa, and India, where they are working on business projects and learning how things work in these major emerging markets.

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They’ll be back on campus to report on their work and wrap up their capstone in September before their graduation on the 21st of that month. An exciting and successful year for a promising and accomplished group of MBA students!

First Impressions: Cape Town, South Africa

By Lesley Green, Global MBA student, United States

Thomas, Gopi, Joosuk and I were selected a few months ago to complete our summer International Immersion Project at Backsberg winery in collaboration with the University of Stellenbosch Business School in Cape Town, South Africa.

The four of us arrived in Cape Town on Monday evening just in time to catch a beautiful sunset over Table Mountain.  After the slow process of getting through customs, we exited baggage claim and we were welcomed into the country by the UBS coordinator, Charmaine Kapp. She was very excited to see us and very quick to offer advice for surviving four weeks "in the bush."  Thomas, Gopi, Joosuk and I packed into the van with our 10 suitcases and started the 45 minute journey to Backsberg Estate Cellars in Paarl, our home for the next few weeks.  We met up with Simon Back, the co-owner of Backsberg along with his father Michael, to have dinner before getting settled in for some hard-earned sleep after travelling for 24 hours.

Tuesday morning we started the project: how to make Backsberg better by improving the business model, growing sales on site, in ZA and abroad, and focusing their efforts to become more efficient.  It's been a hectic, if not cold, few days full of interviews, researching history, getting to know the staff, and running the numbers.  We had a lovely tour around the vineyard and were taught the entire wine making process from growing the grapes to bottling the fermented wine.  They have some really terrific wines and are known throughout the area for their Merlot, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage varietals.  Pinotage grapes were even invented by the USB program!

It was a bit difficult at first, since South Africa is so warm most of the year, it is a bit lacking in the centralized heating department.  But it's been a great experience so far, even including a run-in with the local wildlife; Thomas and Joosuk had to catch a mouse in the kitchen!  Hopefully, we will see some more wildlife on this trip including some penguins, but hope to stay away from the leopards that live on the Simonsberg mountain near the vineyard.  Looking forward to helping this wine estate with 96 years of history become a household name, getting the IIP completed, and being one step closer to graduation.

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First Impressions of Cairo

Ayan Mukhopadhyay is a Global MBA student from India who is doing his International Immersion Project with PlaNet Finance in Egypt

The alarm rang at 9am sharp and I woke up, my head aching in tandem with the alarm.  Although I wanted to snooze the alarm few times out of habit, there was barely time. The flight was at 4.30pm and I had to be at the airport at around 2pm. But before that a huge task was still left: cleaning L0612D and packing rest of the seemingly important stuff. After a rocking 8 months stay with my roommate Uday, sadly enough, it was time to part ways, temporarily for 2 months. Itmighty” game for the last time, it was time to head off to CDG.

I would be taking the Polish Airlines. I had read quite a few reviews about this airline and was a bit apprehensive but then couldn’t care less as long as it would take me to Egypt. Apart from a 1.5 hours delay at Warsaw, the plane food and the thunderous weather, the flight to Egypt was largely uneventful. The delay even turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was able to watch the Euro 2012 finals along with 2 English, 2 Polish, 3 Egyptian and 1 Russian co-passengers.

I reached Cairo at around 4.30am and the hasty immigration procedure was over in few minutes. I was greeted by Umm al-dunya, meaning “Mother of the World”, (an old nickname for Cairo) with a warm wave of air outside the airport at around 5am. I started sweating immediately with my wet t-shirt pressing down on my sticky back. Soon enough, taxi drivers thronged around me offering to take me to the best hotel in Cairo. My eyes were however frantically looking for a piece of A4 paper on which my name was supposed to written. Mohammed from the hostel was present at the airport and had been waiting patiently for the last 2.5 hours to take me to the hostel. The cultural difference was clearly showing.

I was sitting in the front seats of a very old Astra along with one of my bags. Driving through the streets of Cairo, the first look at the city reminded me of my city, Calcutta. Somehow the streets looked familiar, not in their shape or structure but by the way cars were parked, how people slept on the pavement, and by the old houses built by the side of the streets. The environment truly transported me momentarily to my city while Mohammed kept feeding me information about Cairo and the places to see. The journey was not as painful as I had thought it would be. The roads were quite good and apart from few rattles & clatters, it was ok. As I reached my room at 6am, it was time to catch a nap and get ready for the first day at the PlaNet Finance office at 9.30am.
I was bold enough to decide to take the metro right on the first day. There are only 2 lines crisscrossing the city and I realized that it is relatively simple to navigate. The problem was the walk from the metro station to the PlaNet Finance office. After walking in the sweltering heat for 5 minutes, I realized that I have missed the left turn I was supposed to take and that it was time to ask someone. The strong sun, the pollution and the dust was already testing my... I don’t know what! My first two attempts to find my way were futile since the people didn’t speak English. I was lucky the 3 rd time when the man with impeccably combed hair gave me directions.

Cairo as a city is as multidimensional and complex as it can get. It is the largest African city that encapsulates different elements of Egypt. Although the flavour and spirit of western culture continue to influence Cairo, the city still retains a sizeable portion of its ancient orient culture. As such, a walk down the streets of downtown Cairo results in an exotic and chaotic assault on the senses. The crowd of vendors trying to sell just about anything and everything, the intoxicating smell of food and spices, the congestion of traffic and people alike, the warm weather, etc. gives an experience that is exoticized by many. Cairo is definitely is, however, not a city for the faint-hearted, and to survive hereone has to deal with the many problems wrought  by a population boom along with bad governance and infrastructure.

To be continued...

Peter Herbel, Senior Vice President, General Counsel of Total

By Samer Farhat, Global MBA student, Lebanon

After Antoine de Saint-Afrique (Unilever) and Pierre Nanterme (Accenture), the talk by Peter Herbel (Total) is the third given by a top-tier manager to the Global MBA cohort this year. During a two-hour exchange, we had the chance to discover the legal complexities that a multinational company is exposed to under various jurisdictions and labor laws.

The growing public awareness about environmental issues and the need for renewable energy sources have driven the public to question the role of major oil and gas companies in the current situation of the energy markets. Are they stimulating the increase in oil price? Are they investing enough in the development of renewable energies? Is the activity of major oil and gas companies benefiting the local populations where they operate? The Global MBA cohort had the chance to ask numerous questions and to understand the role of major oil companies, of national oil companies, and to discuss the pros and cons of an institution such as OPEC.

The importance of energy supply in the economic development of all countries makes oil and gas more coveted by the day. The pressure and the benefits that governments, investors, and corporations try to extract out of such leverage pushes western oil companies to implement rigorous codes of conduct and bylaws. Without such tools and without legal awareness, major western oil companies could face sizeable lawsuits in their countries of origin that would impact their performance, reputation and brand equity.

The talk by Peter Herbel closes a rich series of seminars animated by top leaders in the public sector, FMCG, oil and gas, automotive and banking industries. The interaction of the Global MBA cohort with top level managers provided the students with a unique source of information about current problematics, projects and trends in various industries.[gallery columns="2"]

Video: Peter Kronschnabl, President of BMW Group Moscow

In an earlier post, student Julie Herbel described the students' visit to the unique BMW 7 Studio, a pop-up store in Moscow that looks like nothing ever seen in the automobile industry before. Here you can watch a clip of the presentation to the group by Peter Kronschnabl.

Peter Knroschnabl, President of BMW Group Moscow