A WhatQuake?

Bah!!! 5.4? In Lincolnshire of all places, a well timed act of God perhaps? God dislikes northerners also it seems.

But seriously, 5.4 is pretty damn weak, I have experienced a 6.7 and that was pretty insane, I was in a shop at the time when it happened and at first it felt like a big truck going past outside but the rumble grew exponentially and then the ground began to shake, the shop windows moving like Rolf Harris on his wobble board (oh yes, I went there). I remember runnng outside into the middle of the street and seeing pandemonion, traffic stopped, cars perpendicular to the flow of traffic, people getting out of their cars shouting and hey, why not, there were children weeping too... it lasted for about 20 seconds in total.

Now THAT was an earthquake so step up your game Big Man.

Tonight, when this so called earthquake occured I was deep, deep underground in a club so it could have been, that I assumed the Timbaland tune I was listening to had a rather impressive, rumbling, mother of all basslines!!! Whoop whoop!!!

Its official. We hate powerpoint.

Its common perception that MBA programs train you to make better and snazzier presentations so you can talk smooth and use business jargon that impresses your average corporate.

However, most of us know that this kind of presentation just serves to confuse the average listener.

So I was quite happy when in Block 1, back in September, just after we did our first group presentations, the feedback we got was, 'please try and not use powerpoint, quantitative methods is more interesting than that. Use your creativity'.

Since then, we haven't stopped rolling. Sure, we do do the occasional powerpoint, but its always interspersed with roleplay, some videos, or even live singing. For presentations, we've had roleplay themes of time travel, business travel, news programs and live debates.

This of course, is quite unlike most business schools and this is one of the things that makes Cass special. It are things like this, that will go a long way in de-commoditizing the MBA graduate. Rather than being developed into a black suited focused product that other business schools produce to a highly adaptible individual that I hope we are evolving into.

Back in the groove once again

I didn’t realise, until recently, that I liked The Office and in particular the US version. Maybe it’s because I started with that but I think I’ll give Ricky Gervais another chance later. Anyway, I watched an episode the other night where the boss went to a business school to talk about “how business is being done”. Of course he showed once again the not-to’s but what was more interesting, the questions from the students. Well, not how good they were or something but I just thought to myself “oh if you were at Cass you would have nastier questions”.

So any Michael Scotts and Ricky Gervais’s out there, we're back in the office.

A great B-school website

A study was conducted on what makes a good B-school website and is reported in brief here.

Naturally, Cass was in the top 2 for UK Business School websites :-)

The EIU makes a mention of it on their Which MBA blog.

Corporate Social Networking, HRM and Performance Measurement

In India specifically, the demand for people, especially in the IT industry, is so great that most HR departments end up focusing almost entirely on recruitment. In such a scenario, their success is often, at the end of the year or quarter, measured by the number of people they were able to bring in. My ex-company, for instance, went from hiring about 20 people a month, to 200 a month over the course of 3 years. So as such, the management were happy that HR were doing a good job.

At the same time, I could see that the quality of the people hired was going down and it was difficult to find anybody suitable for projects within the company resource pool.

Surely, there are organizations where the performance of HR, or hiring managers, is part measured by the performance of the people they hire? So if a hiring manager recruits 10 people that perform very well, then his own performance must be seen to be higher than the norm.

At the same time, I have seen that project managers with a higher level of interaction with HR departments, usually end up gaining a lot more that project managers that do not interact with the HR department so much.

For instance, if two department heads in a company, need to hire 10 guys each, then the probability that the department head, who has more 'friends' or connections in the HR department, would get his/her needs satisfied earlier and with better quality. This is probably a sweeping generalisation even for an Indian scenario but is probably true as HR managers, by virtue of their role, are more people-oriented and therefore thrive working in interactive environments.

At the same time, if, going back to my original point of measuring HR's performance partly by the performance of their hires, the line managers are well connected to the Hiring (HR) managers, then there is probably a good chance that they will rate their hires higher than they would rate others.

In a social networking context (this is where my idea comes in), it could be very beneficial for organisations (especially large ones) to build a virtual social network of all its employees. A platform where employees can share fun, gossip and even do work would mean that organisations are able to 'monitor' the number and strength of their employee webs. Companies , however, do not need to provide a social networking platform in order to get this data. A simple network web, created by data from who calls whom, or who emails who, can be created by data thats already tracked and stored in many large organisations.

Not sure if my idea was delivered very eloquently, but what I am really suggesting are two things,
(a) That performance of HR managers be part-measured by the performance of their hires
(b) That corporate social networking implementations, have a number of benefits for companies but most of all for HR.

People Management: Feedback Mechanisms

I've always wondered why line managers prefer to appreciate or rebuke their reportees in private. In organizations and countries where I have worked, I found it peculiar that some line managers preferred to say nice things in public, but harsher ones in private, perhaps in a meeting room. I dislike this practice of discriminating between positive and negative feedback and since most people in modern organizations work in teams, see no reason to withold information about a person's performance from the rest of the team. When I was line manager, having 3 different teams reporting in to me, I always preferred to be open and frank and discuss everything out in public. I found that many of my reportees preferred this as it meant not having to 'suffer' through the agonizing process of booking a room, going in at a pre-designated time and spending more than a required length of time on something that could have mentioned in passing.

The responses from my own line managers however, were usually unsupportive. What I had begun doing seemed to them to be incorrect and improper. While they understood over time where I was headed or why I prefered to give 360 manager feedback in a more open way, I do not think they supported me in this endeavour through my time working with them.

I do not think I know of any organizations, or managers, that prefer to act in this way, and if there is a specific reason why this is so unpopular?


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Heart of the city

I don't think I knew the significance of this before I joined Cass. That we are at the doorstep of the City of London, the financial center, says it all I think.

This is an image from Google Earth. The red marker is Cass. I've highlighted youtube links and got 3d buildings up.