Thursday, June 22, 2006

World Cup Frenzy

Like most Haitians, I am a big fan of the Brazilian team ( the rest usually roots for Argentina). I've managed to watch all the Selecao games without having cable by watching them at my college bar. It's surreal to go back there 5 years later. $9 pitchers never sounded better!

In truth, I haven't been overly impressed by Ronaldhino &. co. However, I've been very happy for Ghana and T&T. I also have a soft spot for Ecuador. Basically, I am all about 3rd world teams ;-)

Speaking of 3rd world, once again, I was given bad news. An acquaintance, a young man of 26 years old was shot dead in front of his home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Seems like another wave of crimes has restarted in the Caribbean Black Pearl. With a new government, I was expecting changes. Yet, those changes are very slow to appear. I cannot imagine how many more whom I don't know are dying. I am really wondering if I will be able to spend Xmas back home after all.
I do miss my home country very much even though much has changed since I last lived there.

Where I live now, Montreal, is just going crazy this weekend. Madonna is performing twice this week ( only shows in Canada), the F1 race is this weekend as well and Quebec's National holiday is this week too. On top of the World Cup frenzy, it's just an insane weekend where people will spend and drink their hearts content.

For hip hop fans, I definitely recommend catching A-Trak's world tour in a city near you. A-Trak is a Mtl boy whose done well for himself by winning the DJ DMC Championship and joining Kanye West on tour recently. A-Trak performed in Barcelona last week with Dj Diplo (from M.I.A fame) and just killed it.

Preparation to move to Barcelona is just slow. I just blame the weather. It's too nice to go to the Spanish Consulate and wait hours for my student visa. I need to find roommates and a flat as well. Funny how time flies!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Paradox of Choice

I have started reading a book by Barry Schwartz; "The Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less".
It is about how the culture of abundance is robbing us of satisfaction. I've only read a few pages but I know exactly the phenomenom described by the author.
People who seek and accept only the best are maximizers. They can be also be quite miserable.
Searching for only the best can be very unsatisfying as the quest is never ending.
It's interesting to see how this applies to so many things in life, from choosing the right MBA program, the right profession, the right mate, the right car to the right t-shirt.
Left to our own devices, we get paralyzed by all the choices we have, always wondering if we have made the right choice. We just have to realize that "good enough" can be satisfying as well.
This can be hard to accept for maximizers even though it will make them happier in the end.

Friday, June 09, 2006

European vs. American MBA Programs

Someone asked me what were the main differences between European MBA programs versus American ones. I'll try to give a response with the understanding that each program is different and that I didn't visit every campus in the US or Europe. Therefore, I will using many generalities that could be disproved using specific examples.
One look at a world map shows the obvious: US is a huge country and as the largest economy in the world, it's bound to have great MBA programs. About 70% of students are usually from America while in European programs, it is the opposite, most students are foreigners.
One can argue and rightly so that the statistic hides the fact that America is a melting pot. Is the MBA student population in the US more socio-economically diverse than in Europe? I have a feeling it is.
European programs are by virtue more international. Students are usually older and more experienced. They are also more wordly as they usually speak at least two languages (except the English;-) . INSEAD is the most international of programs for instance. Yet, if one lumps all the Europeans in one group, I'd think the 70/30 ratio would be about the same if not worse than in the US.
Most European programs are about 1 year long except LBS and IESE for the most well-known ones. Career-wise, since the US job market is usually more buoyant than in Europe, it is usually easier to find a job in the US after an MBA where it is very respected (of course depending on the school one has attended) than in Europe. I think that the school's brand name is somewhat more important in the US than in other parts of the world as there is a premium on students in top-rated programs. In Europe,of course depending on the country, the MBA is viewed differently. In France, having attended a Grande Ecole is more beneficial than having completed an MBA., at least for now. Yet, Europeans seem to be willing to take more risks and leave their homeland for work more often than Americans.
American programmes are usually more generous when it comes to scholarships. Yet, the tuition is usually more expensive as well.
As one may have noticed, there are many variables and it makes the a vs. b exercise somewhat difficult as each program offers something different.
It goes deeper than beer vs. wine or burgers versus tapas.