martes, agosto 21, 2007

new roof under our heads

So, again moving day!! I completely agree with the statistics that say that moving is the 2nd event that most stresses people out, after changing (losing) your job and before getting a divorce. I guess that it's just another source of worries on top of the usual stuff, but it's quite a bit to juggle: my internship, preparing for the holidays and buying a night suit for the wedding we'll attend in Mexico, the summer networking events, social life in general and high guest season in London (why do they come to this rainy place, anyway?), starting to think about the full-time recruiting season, is quite a lot. Add all the hassles of moving, and you get my typical overstressed looks....

Luckily most of it is over (and I must say that it wasn't me doing the bulk of it). It's strange to see what has been our home for the past year almost empty. Tomorrow we'll move into some temporary accommodation with a couple of luggage, and when we return from our holidays in September, in time for a block week, we'll move into a sublet we got for the fall term.

Moving day is also the day when you go through the many materials accumulated during the year: papers, cases, handouts. You end up having to choose which ones to keep and which ones to throw away, since space is very limited. The whole process makes you reflect on the many things that have happened this year, the people I've met, the travels we've done...

The MBA2009s are already in London, looking for flats. Funnily enough, the temporary accommodation we got for the last 10 days of the summer, is the same place that we used for a couple of weeks when we first moved to London, while we were looking for a flat. I guess this closes the circle....will the next cycle be so exciting as this one?

Etiquetas: ,

jueves, agosto 16, 2007

Economic Uncertainty and the MBA

I have spent some time recently trying to assess my full-time job options. The past two years have seen record-high employment figures for MBA students, particularly for those at the London Business School. Nevertheless, like everyone having taken a class in Macroeconomics knows, expansion cycles cannot last forever. Some hints are pointing directly to the cooling down of the economy. Luckily, an MBA helps understand and make informed guesses about what is going to happen next. Hereby my (completely amateurial, take it under your own responsibility) analysis:

  • The construction and real estate boom in Spain and the US are clearly over. The Euro Stoxx Construction Index is down 18% since May, and the Euro Stoxx Real Estate Index is down 45% since February. Property prices are stable if not slightly downward in the past quarters. Pretty scary, bearing in mind the sheer importance of both sectors in employment and household expenses, determining consumption.
  • The credit markets are drying up. Central banks had to inject liquidity into the system in order to bail out the global financial markets (and probably, most hedge and mutual funds that had bet on real estate related securities). Again a bad sign: much investment (including M&A) activity was propped by the availability of cheap debt.
  • The stock markets’ volatility is increasing, and the probability of a stock market crash is not zero any more. More and more analysts, central banks, etc. are warning the investors to me more cautious.

On the other side of the balance, the companies’ balance sheets (excluding construction and real estate) appear to be strong. Profits are growing, and so are dividends. Consumer confidence indexes appear to be high. Some sectors are still quite bullish (renewable energy, oil & gas, healthcare, technology, telecoms). General sentiment is that the expansion will continue for 6-12 months still.

So I wonder, are the markets forecasting the future evolution of the economy?

In any case, what is clear is that there is quite a lot of uncertainty about the future out there (and, from Finance I, uncertainty = risk = volatility).

Etiquetas: , ,

jueves, agosto 02, 2007

Work in Progress...

Yes, I know it's been a long time without blogging. I must say the last term was exhausting, with a vast array of papers and projects that I obviously procrastinated to the very last minute, increasing the stress levels to new records.

Also, my blog received an award. It was nominated for the "Best of Blogging" 2007 of So next time I have some free time I will try to upload the tiny cute logo that I got as a prize.

Now, it's been 6 weeks into my internship, and tomorrow we have the "Office day", where we will go somewhere outside London to play polo. I must say that I'm extremely happy with it. I find everybody in the office, and especially my project team, very nice, crisp and smart. We work relatively good hours, which means that there's nobody in the office after 7pm. And the projects I've been assigned to are really interesting and international: in the past weeks I've been in Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

Overall, I think I'm enjoying enormously being a consultant, and I didn't find any of the negative aspects that people had warned me about: no big egos, no long hours, no "selling smoke". I'm doing some serious work, analyzing a lot of data, coming up with frameworks and preparing presentations and client workshops. So, in a 1-7 satisfaction scale (typical Marketing stuff) I'd rate my internship with an 8.

Moreover: comparing it with the rest of the people I've talked to (be it in consulting, banking, industry or other), I have only found one person as satisfied with his internship as I am with mine. Guess what, he's also a blogger...;)

My only complain is that you cannot call it a "Summer Internship", because we haven't had any Summer in London at all!!!

Etiquetas: , ,