The 'cool' factor

1462.jpgFebruary 2008 | By Pablo Triana, Professor and Director of the Centre for Advanced Finance at IE Business School.

Although recent chaos in the markets brings back memories of past investment fads that ended in tears, this time itâ??s different. Hedge funds and derivatives have had some positive effects on finance markets and the economy.

Investors who seek fashionable products have been successfully persuaded over the last few years to invest in hedge funds and credit derivatives. Although the chaos that currently reigns in our markets reminds use of investment fads that went wrong in the past, this time there is a key difference, namely the fact that recently promoted strategies had a positive impact on financial markets and the economy in general.

In recent months, we have been bombarded by headlines like “Disappointing hedge fund returns”, “Hedge funds collapse”, “Problems with CDOs”, “Losses in CDOs”. If you allow me a certain amount of nostalgia, I feel myself transported back to 1989 (when I was a bit of a wild teenager) or 2000 (when I was a postgraduate student who wanted to continue being a bit of a wild teenager). In those days, as today, investments that appeared to be unquestionably “cool” suddenly became a source of misery. The must-have assets (junk bonds and dot-coms) became a death-trap for many of those who blindly obeyed the dictates of fashion. In their desperate attempt to become a member of the cool set, those investors paid a very high price.

Hedge funds and credit derivatives symbolise the trendy investments that were the (partial) disasters of our time. The modern, chic destination for your money. Unavoidable for those who did not want to be pointed out as old-fashioned and off-track. In recent years, the prevailing atmosphere seems to have been one of glorious exaltation of those with sufficient vision for transferring millions to increasingly complex financial structures and funds, together with the unlimited ridicule of those who, inexcusably, failed to jump on the train of new trends. Not very different from the days of junk bonds and dot-coms. In much the same way that a young woman is made to feel uncool if she does not buy her clothes in Zara or Prada, investors have been made to feel desperately off-track if they did not have positions in hedge funds and CDOs.


IE Business School pioneers in Second Life

ricardo-perez.jpgProf. Dr. Ricardo Perez Garrido talks about how IE faculty and students of IEâ??s Master in Telecom & Digital Business, as the pioneers in business schools, explore new ways of teaching and learning in virtual social networking platform Second Life.
Prof. Dr. Perez is the Program Director of this Master which is supported by companies like Accenture, Cisco, Nokia and Telefónica.

Prof. Dr. Perez, what are reasons behind IE’s initiative to use virtual platform as alternative teaching method?
We want to be ahead of the game in terms of understanding the link between technology and society, and given the growing adoption of these type of platforms for leisure and work, we cannot be left out of this trend. In fact, we want to be able to lead this challenging environment as we have done in the past with other collaborative technologies, and help companies, communities and society in general understand its relevance, impact and feasibility as learning and sharing tool.

How does IE promote and facilitate teaching on a virtual platform?
We have created an island and provided professors with the technical help needed to explore this virtual world as just another platform for their teaching. In fact several training sessions of the Master in Telecom & Digital Business have already taken place in this environment with great results, at least in terms of identifying potential and limitations of the platform.
During this process, what are reactions from students and teaching faculties?
This is completely new for all. For now, only a small percentage of students are part of Second Life or other online virtual worlds, and the same case applies for faculty. But in fact, given the identification of this phenomenon as a global trend, both students and faculty are eager and willing to try the new tool and accept the good and bad things that being a pioneer means.



过去是因为吃火锅有气氛,10多个人的聚会火锅是最理想不过了;还有就是马德里中国炒菜的“本土化”之彻底,实在让人折服的不得不选吃他国菜系。这次年夜饭,本来我们都是要吃炒菜的,可是老板却要求我们吃火锅,因为他们生意太好,瓦斯不够,火锅是最快的。虽然很是不情愿,老板的态度和理由也让人大跌眼镜,可是她“不吃这家你也没其他地儿吃”的自信彻底把我们征服了,最后我们“不得不吃”火锅。可怜我们中IMBA Section 1的Vera, Sean, Fiona周五还要跟他们班40个老外一起再吃一次,说是要发扬中国文化,咳咳,只能祝福他们“好胃“了。
05022008224 small.JPG 05022008226 small.JPG
05022008223 small.JPG
05022008225 small.JPG
总会有媒体唯恐天下不乱,炒作“日韩誓不两立”,你看人家韩国的郑镇硕和日本的 Yoshimoto不是很有“哥俩好”的意思嘛。

关于张家港(Zhang Jia Gang)的一点点介绍

好吧,既然前面介绍了学校去张家港 的事,这里附带介绍一下这个江南小城。
不过这个位于“江南渔米”之乡的小城确实也不负众望,小城人民自创了一个口号“团结拼搏,负重奋进,自加压力,敢于争先”的精神,凭借着其得天独厚背靠“黄金水道”长江的优势,以及活跃地对外贸易活动,小城不仅牢牢树立了其经济发展水平居全国县级市前三位的牢固地位,而且还是中国首家国家环保模范城市,中国首批国家卫生城市,先后荣获“国家园林城市”、“国际花园城市”和“中国优秀旅游城市”等多个国家级奖项。 2006年又成为全国第一批生态市,并荣获中国人居环境奖。