lunes, 8 de diciembre de 2003

Este es un post dedicado a tienes dinero, inviertelo en ti mismo!!.
Ya me gustaria a mi poder hacerlo, pero, mi capacidad de endeudamiento no me lo permite, al menos en los proximos aƱos.

The ultimate work/life challenge
By Scott Barclay
Published: December 7 2003 20:27
Financial Times

As I begin the first instalment of my MBA diary, I am enjoying a two-day break after completing the first of five periods in this one-year odyssey otherwise known as the Insead MBA. I am exhausted, exhilarated and constantly amazed.

With me is my wife, a new first-time mother. She is away from her network of friends and relatives and in a foreign country, while her most important support, her husband, has to balance the demands of home with those of one of the world's most intense MBA programmes, a job search and learning French.

Before moving to Fontainebleau I lived a fairly well-balanced life in central Virginia, surrounded by family and friends. I had applied to Insead for January of 2004 but did not expect to get in - and, even if I did, January was some time away.

At the end of July, however, I received a phone call that sent my life into a tailspin. Not only had I been accepted at Insead but the only spot they had for me was for September 2003. "Could I be there on August 18?" they asked.

We deliberated for one torturous weekend. Should we take the risk? What about our finances? The employment outlook is still grim. What about the upheaval of taking a newborn baby to live in a foreign country? After much rational and spiritual debate, and despite our reservations, we knew we should go to Fontainebleau.

In a little less than three weeks we had to obtain visas, find accommodation in Paris, sell a car, settle finances, move out of our home, take care of the baby's immunisations, continue my job for a further two weeks and - oh, yes - squeeze together enough money for tuition and living expenses for a year for a family with no income.

And I had to do all this knowing that if I arrived in France and failed my second language test in Spanish - which I had not used since 1996 - I would be sent home, minus a lot of money, with all that effort for naught.

For an American who has never really needed to speak anything other than English and has not actively spoken Spanish for seven years, I cannot overstate the challenge of wagering everything on my ability to pass a Spanish test within a month. (However, as I am writing this today, you will know I managed to pass.)

What made me decide to study for an MBA? My experience as a liberal arts student, plus four intense years in the investment banking community, taught me this: to run, ultimately, a global business, be it a sub-unit of something larger, or my own family enterprise, I need a toolbox of business skills and the support network of other future global business leaders so that I may grow and learn effectively throughout my career.

I have great confidence in my long-term potential and a strong self-identity, but reading books on my own would not have provided the set of skills or door-opening opportunities of an MBA.

For me, getting an MBA is about having the confidence to invest aggressively in myself so that I may, in the long run, do more for my family and more for others.

Now, why Insead? Or, as it is usually put to me: "With most of the world's leading schools in the US, why come all the way to France?"

Insead appealed for two reasons: the one-year model and the value of diversity.

I believe the MBA education should be an intense, one-year experience. I doubt whether the US standard two-year model is based on sound academic theory. Instead US schools - as part of larger US universities - are bound for financial and historical reasons to the two-year programme.

Insead, in common with many other European schools, considers that the best conceptual, quantitative and strategic business education takes place with more experienced students in a more intense setting, for a shorter period of time.

More pragmatically, the one-year model makes economic and personal sense for me. While tuition and living expenses are high - and becoming higher as the dollar falls - I still pay less money than if I went to a top US school for two years. Additionally, I save the opportunity cost of an entire year's salary since I am at Insead for only one year. For a young family, moving to France for a year sounded much more attractive than moving to a US school where we would have to move at least twice more for the summer internship experience.

My second reason for studying at Insead is that its student body is one of the most diverse in the world, with no single nationality comprising more than 12 per cent of the intake.

Although US programmes try to be international, about 50 to 90 per cent of their intake are from within the US. At Insead, US students are about 9 per cent of the MBAs and many of them have dual citizenship.

I believe people grow most when their assumptions are challenged and when they learn from people very different from themselves. As an American, I felt that would best happen at Insead.

After three months, comparing what I know so far with what I expected yields the following: the academics are as top-notch and intense as advertised; the group work is less painful and time-intensive than feared (owing very much to the quality of my five-person team); my classmates are of a quality, breadth and acumen that have far exceeded my imagination. Insead may have its weaknesses but my classmates are not one of them.

My biggest challenge is balancing my demanding life at Insead with my role as husband and father. Regression analysis, net present value and marketing frameworks are important - they are why I am here - but they will never beat the value of coming home and having my five-month-old smile at me.

If this experience does not teach me to balance my time between work and family well, I shall never learn.