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Leadership & Organisations

Why an MBA oath?

Business schools have become an easy target as the butt of jokes about the causes of the current economic crisis. A recent segment on ‘The Daily Show,’ an American satirical television programme, explored the theme of MBAs being to blame for the crisis and the MBA oath as a possible remedy. Its presenter feigned surprise that not all students were willing to sign up to an oath that said: “I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner.” No doubt the view that MBAs would have difficulty in making such a commitment is more widespread and yet it seems such a straightforward commitment to make. So in answer to the question, ‘why an MBA oath?’, one response surely must be: ‘Why not?’ Why should it be so difficult for MBAs to commit to behaving ethically?

Economics & Finance

How economic excesses of the past are influencing the presen

The global economic environment of cheap money in the past two decades has been an aberration, which has led to today’s “massive capacity destruction” of natural resources, says Pippa Malmgren, President and Co-founder of the financial services firms the Canonbury Group and Principalis Asset Management.

Economics & Finance

A new world order: the rise of China and decline of the West

While many are already talking about the notion of a shift in power from West to East, a thought-provoking book by author Martin Jacques called ‘When China rules the world’ takes this even further by proclaiming that China will not only thrive in the 21st century, but will do so at the expense of the United States.

Economics & Finance

The Middle Kingdom: Civilisation state or nation state?

China is a conundrum: past, present and possibly the future. Even as it is on course to overshadow the US as the next dominant economic superpower, author Martin Jacques argues that it will never become a Western-style society, but will likely remain highly distinctive.

Economics & Finance

Why, who and where? Chinese OFDI on the world stage

The phenomenon of Chinese companies going global has become a defining feature of China’s current stage of integration with the global economy. While China remains a minor player in terms of global Outbound Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI) flows, the financial crisis has afforded some of its largest state-owned enterprises, or SOEs, unprecedented opportunities for landmark acquisitions. In the 10 months after Lehman Brothers became the defining casualty of the financial crisis, Chinese bidders announced 50 outbound offers worth US$30 million or more each, totalling about $50 billion.

Economics & Finance

Why Gymboree’s China strategy is no child’s play

As China’s star continues to shine, one of the more recent beneficiaries of the country’s economic boom is the early childhood development sector.

Economics & Finance

Green Technology: China Means Business

A substantial portion of the Chinese government’s stimulus package, more than a third in fact, has been earmarked for projects that would either, directly or indirectly, have a positive environmental impact. Are these green initiatives indicative of a broader strategic stance on the part of the Chinese government on environmental issues, or just a temporary boost to China’s economy and the country’s image?

Economics & Finance

Mining in a downturn: what's in it for China?

The last quarter of 2008 saw the end of a boom in the global mining industry. While some commodity analysts foresaw the collapse of mining and metal prices, very few predicted the speed of the declines or their steep descent. Record prices, net profits and expansion plans in the first half of the year suddenly gave way to falling commodity prices, reduced profits, production cuts and mine closures in the last quarter of the year and the first half of 2009.

Economics & Finance

Beating the market with buybacks

Six months ago, we invested in a portfolio of 24 stocks that we expected to beat the market using methodology we outlined in 'The nature and persistence of buyback anomalies' in the Review of Financial Studies (2008). The list of the stocks was posted in April 2009 on the INSEAD Knowledge website. Our methodology essentially involves buying shares of US-listed companies that announce open market share buyback programmes, and where it appears that the buyback is driven by the fact that the management believes its shares are undervalued.

Economics & Finance

In the world of banking, does size matter?

It was bound to happen. After pouring tens of billions of dollars, pounds and euros: as much as 5.5 per cent of the GDP of advanced economies, according to the International Monetary Fund, governments began to revolt. “If a bank is too big to fail, then it is too big,” the governor of the central bank of Belgium told a newspaper at the end of June. If this is true, then what about the corollary: “Small is beautiful?” If bankers’ bonuses are being capped, should the size of their banks be capped as well?

Economics & Finance

Further consolidation seen in private banking sector

Even as the global economic downturn continues to ease, there will be further consolidation in the private banking industry amid cost-cutting efforts and falling revenues, says Pierre-Francois Baer, SG Private Banking’s CEO for Singapore & South Asia.

Economics & Finance

Green shoots in the trenches?

Economists look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovering over the 8,000 points level, as well as at signs of a pick-up in retail sales and housing starts, and see “green shoots.” Union leaders look at unemployment nearing 10 per cent, escalating bankruptcies and a middle class facing poverty and see quite another picture.

Economics & Finance

A winning global strategy: focus on China and India

Those who ignore the emergence of both China and India will do so at great peril, say the co-authors of the book ‘Getting China and India Right’. In fact, Anil K. Gupta and Haiyan Wangare advocating a joint China and India strategy, instead of choosing one over the other.

Economics & Finance

Crisis, clear skies and China opportunities

With every crisis comes a silver lining. While not everyone subscribes to that belief, Asian business leaders speaking at this year’s Bloomberg Leadership Forum in Hong Kong are certainly convinced of its validity.

Economics & Finance

Credit ratings: buyer beware

“Investors tend to take credit ratings at face value and rely on them too heavily.” So says ESSEC Economics Professor Patricia Langohr, who with her father, INSEAD Finance and Banking Professor Herwig Langohr, has written a book called 'The rating agencies and their credit ratings'.