July 13th, 2005


Wharton | July 13

Back to school, back to enjoying it (finally, I was getting worried there, like when I literally had to make myself write the damn strategy paper the morning it was due because I just could not muster the energy to do it beforehand...)

Two new classes started this weekend - Geopolitics & Global Strategy. Both are fascinating, especially to an ignoramus like me. After two classes I have to admit that my knowledge of history is rather limited to Europe and North America, while contemporary politics, especially in the emerging markets of Asia and South America are only familiar through the prism of The Economist. Well, I got a whirlwind tour today - from Peruvian power plant riots, through Argentinian electricity riots, the South-East Asian utility protected power agreements, to the fake Indonesian gold mine scandals, all of which occurred in the last decade. And for the dessert - the "world domination through the centuries" story (prof's hypothesis: Spain, Netherlands, France, Britain, US, China???).

The final and fitting piece of the puzzle was the arrival of 30 Chinese students from Shanghai's Exec MBA program. We had dinner together and they joined our class for the evening lecture. My first interaction with "real" chinese, and they totally blended in with our class - they spoke English no worse than our asian students, dressed the same, and had similar roles within their companies. I am now much more intrigued about our future trip to China. Talking to the Chinese students we discovered how truly similar our programs and lives are, except, like most other Chinese things, their program costs 1/3 as much as ours and they are restricted by the "one child" policy, which has the unintended effect of allowing more women to have careers.