Warwick Business School Alumni Association magazine: summer 09
message from the dean 3
In my last message I talked about the Distance Learning MBA ranks third in the world, our Doctoral
ways WBS is helping to deliver the programme 12th and our undergraduate programme is
University’s 2015 vision of taking us into consistently rated as one of the best, with our students being most
the top 50 global universities, and how highly valued by employers. We can all take a great deal of pride in
our international strategy is a crucial part these achievements and in the journey we have made together in
of this process. In the current turbulent the past decade but I am also assured by the fact that the strength
environment, it is therefore relevant that of the team will take WBS even further in the coming years.
this issue of nexus focuses on thriving
through change. During my tenure as Dean, I have been committed to enhancing
the reputation of WBS around the world by my work with bodies
Recent events in the global economic environment have caused such as AACSB, Equis and ABS. I have also made a financial
us to think about our strategic objectives and we are making donation as I am convinced that such donations are imperative
challenging decisions about our investments and our strategic to the School’s future. During my work with worldwide business
priorities, but through all this we are also ensuring that we remain schools it has become obvious that the level of corporate
loyal to our traditions of innovation and entrepreneurialism. WBS is sponsorship and alumni donations has a significant impact on
a leader in Europe and a serious contender globally and in order to their competitiveness and global reputation. Your continuing
secure this position we have been concentrating significant efforts support in this area will be crucial to the School’s ongoing
into ensuring that WBS continues to improve in the business school success.
rankings. We have been supporting this strategy by enhancing our
careers support for students and alumni (see P16/17); working with WBS will go from strength to strength, I am sure of that. I know
our faculty to improve both the status of their research and the that the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Thrift, will recruit a new
media coverage of their expertise; and forging partnerships with Dean who will lead WBS in its next phase of global competition,
overseas institutions and global organisations. addressing the strategic issues regarding the future direction of
business schools which will be important to all of us. My thanks
Next year I will stand down as Dean of Warwick Business School to all of you for your support during my very enjoyable and
to become Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at rewarding tenure as Dean of this outstanding business school.
Singapore Management University. I am proud to have served for
ten years as Dean of WBS and to have worked closely with our
alumni and advocates during this time. In partnership with you, we
have enhanced the reputation of WBS as a top UK school, we have
grown and strengthened its brand overseas and we have experienced
significant growth. We now have a student population of nearly
7,000, over 25,000 alumni around the world and a turnover of
£45 million, an increase of 300 percent in the past decade. Our
In this edition of nexus we focus on thriving through change
4 Development and alumni relations
7 10 11
5 Alumni board
6–9 WBS news
10 Beyond the recession
Sir George Cox
11 Building for the future
12 First service
Professor Robert Johnston
13 Ventures in China
14 The global crisis: threat or opportunity? 6 22
Professor Mark Taylor
15 Land of extremes
16/17 personal and career development
18 WBS development programme
19 Warwick Global Conferences: India
20 Mentoring pilot progress
21 Website launch
22–25 Overseas & UK event reviews
26/27 Alumni news and appointments
44 nexus: summer 09
from the Director, Development and Alumni Relations
As we look to a change in leadership
at WBS, I am reminded that faculty
and staff will come and go but we the
alumni remain the constant. This is why
the School’s relationship with you, our
alumni and friends, is so important.
Hence, in November 2008, we wrote
asking you to comment on our alumni
programme and services. We also
wanted to consult you in the ways you
felt you could best support WBS.
Thank you to all of you for your
feedback. We share a desire to
see Warwick and WBS advance
globally, through recruiting the top
faculty, addressing global issues and
supporting our alumni through specific
career services and relevant business community needs to be advanced As inferred by Professor Mark Taylor in
and management learning. utilising new technology (as his article (P14) to see real improvements
commented upon through Sir George we need to think as a whole organisation
Through listening to you, we believe Cox’s article, P10). This will mean (or in our case as a community) not just
there is a mutually-beneficial a newly-launched website over the as individuals. This is where real value
relationship that can be exploited. summer, making information easily can be delivered. This means investing in
We aim to help you connect, learn accessible and valuable, alongside WBS collaboratively. We have responded
and develop; connecting you more structured alumni groups to your feedback as to where you feel
geographically, by business and with formal alumni representatives, your donations should be directed
industry, and with those at a similar particularly for our overseas chapters. through establishing three distinct funds
career level; providing life-long learning This will be supplemented by high- as part of the WBS 2015 Development
opportunities through making our profile global events, such as our Fund. See where you thought we should
teaching and learning in business Global Conference Series, which be investing on P18.
management and education relevant, launches in Delhi in November 2009.
tailored and accessible; and through These draw together senior faculty, Thank you for your partnership. We look
helping you to develop in your career, business leaders and policy makers to forward to working with you further,
through specific careers support and debate current global challenges and and creating an even better mutually-
our newly launched mentoring scheme. to advise our community on how best beneficial relationship.
to exploit the current climate (see P19
The way we make our services for further details). Ben Plummer
accessible to our global alumni Director of Development and Alumni Relations
contact details Pam Barnes Development & Alumni Relations Ben Plummer In–house photography by John Weatherly
Alumni Publications Officer Administration Director of Development and
Alumni Association t +44 (0)24 7652 4396 T +44 (0)24 7652 2813 Alumni Relations nexus is the magazine of the Alumni
Warwick Business School e email@example.com E firstname.lastname@example.org T +44(0)24 7652 4188 Association, Warwick Business School
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Coventry CV4 7AL Alison Bond Ann Jackson
United Kingdom Deputy Director, Development Development and Alumni Charlotte Wilkes The views contained in nexus are those
t +44 (0)24 7652 2813 and Alumni Relations Relations Officer (International Associate Director, of contributors and not necessarily
f +44 (0)24 7652 3719 T +44 (0)24 7652 4176 Affairs) Development those of Warwick Business School or the
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Development and Alumni Tracy Lynch Jen Young
Relations Officer (Corporate Development and Alumni Development and Alumni
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stories elsewhere in this issue are a currently actively involved, to engage
testament to the power of the Warwick more fully with this great community
experience, which can last for many of 25,000 people in 130 countries of
years after graduation. the world.
One of the things I treasure most from Finally, the Alumni Board, which
my time at WBS is the group that I guides the strategic direction of our
shared my WBS experience with, 120 Alumni Association, is looking to
odd other people who committed a recruit a number of new members
year to a full-time MBA course which this year. Membership is for an
began in 1989. I’m still in contact initial period of three years, which
with a significant number of them is renewable. If you are interested
and 20 years on, have that bond of in putting yourself forward, or
shared experience which feels quite encouraging a fellow alumnus/
undiminished. It’s great to receive alumna, who you think would
emails from people on the other side effectively contribute to the Board,
of the world who still appreciate that to apply, please contact Alison Bond,
bond and want to stay connected even Deputy Director, Development and
if that’s only virtually. From time to Alumni Relations (see details on P4).
time groups of us still get together,
and in a sense, when we do, the Gill Thewlis (FTMBA 1989–90)
passage of time seems quite irrelevant. Chair of the WBS Alumni Board
Keeping in touch with the School and Whether you are about to graduate
with each other is even more vital in or whether you graduated some time
these difficult times. Networks built ago and already keep in touch with
at WBS are the foundation upon members of your class, we are looking
which to share intelligence, news and for volunteers to co-ordinate this key
opportunities to enhance your career activity. Every group had linchpin
and those of others. Help and advice people who made things happen and
can be readily available from those brought people together - if you were
who have a shared experience and a one of those we’d love to hear from
real understanding of the challenges you. Personally I’d like everyone who
to be faced. has graduated from WBS over the last
41 years to be able to find someone
The recently launched WBS career that they remember from their time
services form part of that help at WBS, a friendly and known face to
and advice, and the good news reconnect with, and, if they are not
next issue Receiving nexus online
The summer 09 issue of nexus will Listening to feedback from our alumni
focus on Energy. If you work in the and demonstrating our commitment
energy sector and would like to to sustainability, we will be offering
contribute then please email the the alternative of receiving nexus
editor: E email@example.com electronically in future.
If you are interested in advertising in There will be more details in the next
nexus then please contact the editor issue and on our website.
for more details.
To view nexus as an eMagazine, go to
Alumni board members at
the Winter graduation
6 nexus: summer 09 WBS news
As well as all the ongoing teaching of degree programmes and short Still with AIM, Dr Zoe Radnor, promoted to Reader with effect from the
courses, topical affairs continue to be addressed by WBS – the current new academic year, has been appointed as one of seven AIM Fellows to
financial crisis and recession, sustainability and CSR, management work on improving management practice.
of resources such as water and telecoms, the growth of Asia and
international business. Many MBA and MSc alumni
will remember Francesca Coles.
Professor Colin Crouch’s podcast explains how privatised Keynesianism Joining in 1986, she has just
has led to financial meltdown and considers what changes are needed retired from WBS and the role of
to resolve weaknesses in the global economy. This audio file is not Executive Director of the Warwick
only on the Press Centre web pages of WBS, but also on Warwick’s MBA. She has a message for all
website and YouTube, (where Warwick has a number of videos in the who remember her, ‘I have one
top 20). On the same topic, Gerard Lyons, Chief Economist at Standard regret on retiring – that I couldn’t
Chartered Bank, spoke at a WBS Forum on the ‘new world order’ that say a proper goodbye to the
he sees emerging from the financial meltdown. thousands of alumni with whom
I’ve had contact over the years. I
Dr Jagdeth Sheth from Emory University in the US, one of the world’s have always taken a great interest
leading business and marketing thought leaders, presented his latest in them, and am delighted to hear
thinking at WBS as part of his UK tour, speaking on how the rise about their successes and the ways
of China and India will impact the world and its implications for in which their MBA or MSc has
marketing, strategy and international business. Francesca Coles contributed. I wish them well and
hope they will keep in touch.’
The Industrial Relations Research Unit is the UK branch of the
European Restructuring Monitor, an EU-funded information resource During the past year WBS Dean, Howard Thomas, has taken up formal
run by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Chairmanship of both the UK-based ABS and AACSB, and been awarded
Working Conditions. IRRU’s findings that job loss announcements in as Dean of Fellows of the US-based Strategic Management Society. The
the UK had suddenly and recently dropped sharply were seized on by SMS has over 2,000 members from more than fifty countries, with
the Financial Times and other leading financial publications and web members including academics, business practitioners, and consultants.
news sites as another sign that maybe the economy is on the rise out of Its work focuses on the development and dissemination of insights on
recession. the strategic management process, as well as on fostering contacts and
interchange around the world.
Professor Alyson Warhurst wrote a robust and intriguing paper,
published in Business Week and picked up by other influential media
outlets, on how the ‘girl effect’ in the developing and third world ranking
could help to lift countries’ economies faster than by ongoing aid
donations. If young girls were educated and trained (instead of ignored The Financial Times Executive Education (non-degree customised
or maltreated), they could find gainful employment, start their own courses for organisations) ranking appeared in May. WBS achieved a
businesses, look after their own and their families’ health better, and rise of 10 places in the world, coming fifth in the UK. We were among
pass on these improvements to the next generation, she argued. the highest risers in the world and highest of all in the UK. Taking into
account the current recession, this was a wonderful performance.
In the UK and Europe, Professor Martin Cave’s expertise on the future
of broadband and telecommunications means he is a major player in
influencing government policy, and his opinions and comments are
frequently cited in both mainstream and specialist media.
Staying with Martin Cave, as well
as his work in telecoms, his UK
government commissioned work
on two UK hot topics – social
housing and the water industry
– resulted in well-deserved
recognition – an OBE for public
Professor Robin Wensley, who
combines part-time professorship
at WBS with the post of Director
Martin Cave of the prestigious ESRC-funded graduation
AIM Research (Advanced Institute
of Management), was announced as Companion of Honour of the Around 200 graduates and their families and friends gathered on
Association of Business Schools. The award was given for his successful campus to enjoy the Winter Graduation ceremonies in January,
promotion of business and management education, development and followed by a buffet lunch at WBS.
research at national and international levels.
WBS news nexus: summer 09 7
On our MA The WBS team of Lars P Myklebust, Don Corea, Usman Adam, Andrew
degrees, two Lee, and Eivind Egeland Olsen, all studying for MSc Finance &
students Economics, won the UK final of the third annual Global Investment
achieved external Research Challenge, organised by the international and prestigious CFA
recognition for (Chartered Financial Analyst Institute).
was awarded the
Emma Plant Jennifer Green Employment
Rights for her
dissertation project, examining the development and implementation
of disciplinary procedures in dispersed workplaces. Jennifer Green was Lars P Myklebust, Don Corea, Usman Adam,
awarded the annual prize for Outstanding Attainment in Employment Andrew Lee, and Eivind Egeland Olsen
Relations by the Engineering Employers Federation for her ambitious
dissertation project on the presentation of strike activity in the British
and German press. Her work integrated perspectives from the fields of A team of MBA students, Phillip Encarnação, Shanjoy Mairembam,
employment relations and media analysis and required comparative Akshay Maheshwari, Kasmira Smarzo and Sarah Zareian received local
fieldwork in the two countries. media interest in their ‘green’ project. They developed a new range of
smoothies with ingredients supplied by supermarket Sainsburys, made
Simulation software suppliers The Lanner Group sponsored a prize for using only pedal-powered machinery. The idea was to raise awareness
the best consulting report of the Conducting Management Projects of the facilities and activities for the local community on offer from a
module. Mateusz Dudarski, Stefan Kisyov, Amit Kukadia and Sadia nearby nature reserve.
Zia Awan, taking the newly-launched MSc in Business Analytics &
Consulting, collected a prize for their work on winter gritting in
Cumbria for the Highways Agency, comparing costs of salting strategies
and determining new gritting routes and spread rates.
Lanner Group prizewinners
The Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research at Warwick is Undergraduate consultancy projects are a great benefit to both
part of a national HEFCE initiative to create Centres for Excellence students and corporate partners. Three groups have been working with
in Teaching and Learning (CETLs), with the aim of integrating consultancy firm 7 Layer, who awarded prizes to the winning group for
research-based learning into the undergraduate curriculum. WBS the best presentation. Team members were Prithvi Vijay, Dipen Shah,
undergraduates Chris Porter, Matthew Roberts and Janie Shen won the Gurminder Randhawa and Shouyu Yan.
best presentation award. Their work was the culmination of module
Ethical Issues and Social Responsibility in Contemporary Business, led
by Alessia Contu, where they reported on CSR activity at the University. programmes
The new Global Energy MBA launched successfully in May, with
participants from 15 countries covering the UK and Europe, North
America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
The Learning & Resources Development team continue to provide
a cutting edge service, with wbsLive the latest innovation. This is a
desktop video conferencing facility available to all WBS staff, students
and alumni, offering a virtual classroom environment with audio,
video, application sharing and content display to anyone with a
computer and an internet connection.
Undergraduate research rewarded
8 nexus: summer 09 research review
Dr Qing Wang, Dr Chris Doyle,
Reader in Marketing Associate of
and Innovation, WBS Centre for
together with Management under
co-authors David Regulation, recently
Alexander of St completed a short
Thomas University study in which he
and John Lynch of highlighted concerns
Paul Marginson Guglielmo Meardi Qing Wang Duke University, has Chris Doyle regarding pricing
been awarded the proposals made by
Professor Paul Marginson and Guglielmo 2009 Robert D Buzzell MSI Best Paper Award the UK electronic communications regulator
Meardi, Industrial Relations Research Unit, by the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) in Ofcom.
have key roles in a major new research project the US for their significant contribution to
Governance of uncertainty and sustainability – marketing practice and thought and for the In his report he claims that some 800,000
challenges for employment, industrial relations, lasting value of their research to marketing potential new customers to broadband
social and environmental policies in European executives. Their research on marketing of services in the UK over the next few years
countries: funded under the European really new products was funded by MSI and may be priced out of the market. His analysis
Commission’s 7th Framework Programme, published in the MSI report and subsequently was commissioned by Talk Talk, part of the
and led by Professor Colin Crouch of the in the Journal of Marketing Research. Carphone Warehouse Group, which has been
Governance and Public Management Group. arguing against Ofcom’s pricing proposals for
Several categories of new technological sometime.
Realisation of the three-year project rests on products, ranging from ‘really new products’
successful collaboration between researchers (RNPs) such as Blogs and streaming TV to The Centre for
from 13 institutes in 11 countries. Paul is ‘incrementally new products’ (INPs) such as Small and Medium-
jointly coordinating the research stream – flat screen TVs and DVD players, were tested Sized Enterprises,
one of six within the programme – on the on a sample of 2,692 consumers. In four field in collaboration
changing role of collective bargaining as a studies conducted in collaboration with the with Aston
mode of, and the emergence of territorial CBS television network in the US, it is revealed Business School
models of, labour market governance. that while novelty may create advertising and Birmingham
Guglielmo is leading an examination of buzz, when it comes time to parting with University, has been
EU-level migration policies as part of the their money, consumers prefer the familiar successful in winning
comparative policy studies stream. over the really new – especially when using a contract to work with NESTA (National
the new product requires a behaviour change. Endowment for Science, Technology and the
w tinyurl.com/moqudr Arts) as part of the Innovation Index project.
Originally suggested in the Innovation Nation
Deborah Dean, White Paper, this WBS-led project aims to
Associate Professor develop innovation metrics to represent the
of Industrial innovation and value creation process in
was recently awarded
Relations, has ten UK sectors and identify related strengths
ESRC funding for
produced a European and weaknesses. Led by Professor Stephen
a seminar series,
Commission- Roper, Director of CSME, the project will be
Climate Change –
funded report for completed by September 2009.
Managing the Policy
Challenges. The Deborah Dean
series will be organised jointly with Professors Federation of Actors
Sayantan Ghosal of Economics and John (FIA), a non-governmental organisation
Whalley, University of Western Ontario representing performers’ trade unions, guilds
and Centre for International Governance and associations worldwide.
(EMD) is a 24 month
Innovation, Canada. study funded by the
The report analyses findings from a
The series aims to explore a number of questionnaire developed to survey performers
mutually reinforcing policy initiatives needed in 21 European countries on the effects of
of the National
to establish and develop a more sustainable social identities (principally gender and
Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The
‘low-carbon’ economy and society. A coherent age) on access to work, pay, content of work
project focuses on the way in which NHS
international political framework will need and career longevity, in film, television,
managers use, or fail to use, relevant evidence
to be established which binds the global theatre and radio. The questionnaire was
to commission treatments and services for
community into action to tackle climate available in four languages and the data
patients. The project runs from April 2009
change. New technologies will need to be provide the first Europe-wide picture of the
– March 2011, and is being conducted by a
developed and promoted if economic growth working realities of performers’ lives. Despite
multidisciplinary team of leading researchers
and development is to be reconciled with a significant variation in cultural, institutional
led by Professor Jacky Swan and drawn from
‘low-carbon’ future. Economic instruments, and sectoral frameworks nationally, the
the Innovation, Knowledge & Organisational
such as carbon trading or fiscal measures, findings indicate remarkable similarities in
Networks research centre in WBS and
will have a key role to play in changing the the concerns of women and men across the
Warwick Medical School.
behaviour of firms and individuals. This is different regions of Europe.
part of the Low Carbon Society Initiative, w tinyurl.com/pqwsgh
based at Warwick University. More information about WBS research can
w tinyurl.com/o67fcg be found via the Press Centre in news and
features w www.wbs.ac.uk/news
research review nexus: summer 09 9
The sources of management innovation: When
firms introduce new management practices
co-authored by Dr Michael J Mol, Associate
Professor in Strategic Management, WBS, and
Julian Birkinshaw, LBS, has been accepted for
publication in the Journal of Business Research.
Management innovation is the introduction
Michael J Mol of management practices new to the firm and Paul Stoneman Glenn Morgan Simon Collinson
intended to enhance firm performance. Building
on the organisational reference group literature, this research shows Three WBS faculty members, Paul Stoneman, Glenn Morgan and Simon
that management innovation is a consequence of a firm’s internal Collinson, are ‘named researchers’ in an Economics Department-
context and of the external search for new knowledge. It demonstrates led successful funding application to the ESRC. A grant of GBP3.6m
a trade-off between context and search, in that there is a negative effect for Warwick was announced to create a new Centre for Competitive
on management innovation associated with their joint occurrence. Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE). The new Centre will focus
Finally it shows that management innovation is positively associated on how markets, institutions and public policies interact to create and
with firm performance in the form of subsequent productivity growth. sustain competitive advantage in a changing global economy.
hot off the press
Images of the Operations and Process Management
Multinational Firm Management: Principles consultancy:
co-authored by and Practice for Strategic Boundaries and
Professors Glenn Impact, 2nd edition Knowledge in Action co-
Morgan, IROB, and by Professors Nigel authored by Professor
Simon Collinson, Slack and Robert Andrew Sturdy, IROB,
MSM, published by Johnston, and Stuart published by Oxford
Wiley. This book Chambers, OM, and University Press. Draws
addresses the debate Alan Betts, published on and integrates
over the nature by FT Prentice Hall. theories of knowledge
of multinational Inspires a critical and and social boundaries
enterprises (MNEs) and analyses common applied mastery of the core principles and to reveal a picture of complex and shifting
conceptions and misconceptions about their processes fundamental to managing business insider-outsider relationships.
role. W tinyurl.com/p9ygxd operations.W tinyurl.com/r3kdq7 w tinyurl.com/o68twt
Reforming the World Flying high in a Measure Solar System
Bank: Twenty Years competitive industry co- Objects and Their
of Trial – and Error by authored by Professor Movements for Yourself
David Phillips (MSc Loizos Heracleous, by Dr John D Clark
Industrial & Business MSM, published by (PhD Physics 1977–81,
Studies 1968–69) McGraw Hill, provides DLMBA 2001–05)
published by Cambridge insights into how published by Springer.
University Press. From Singapore Airlines Instead of taking
the first major effort to (SIA) has managed to somebody’s word
reform the institution outperform other flag about the basic size
to the time of the carriers for decades in and distances for the
resignation of Paul an industry where it is notoriously difficult to solar system’s objects,
Wolfowitz. W tinyurl.com/pko62j succeed consistently. w tinyurl.com/pcesju amateur astronomers can learn how to
measure these things for themselves.
Strategic Customer International Business,
Management: 5th edition co-authored
by Professor Simon Strategy: No, thanks!
Strategising the Sales
Collinson, MSM, Setting the knowledge-
published by FT based organisation free by
Professor Nigel Piercy
Prentice Hall. Taking Lars Landberg (DLMBA
and Dr Nikala Lane,
a regional approach, 1999–05), published by
MSM, published by
this text challenges Lulu.com. This novel
some of the underlying approach to strategy
Press. Focuses on the
assumptions behind in knowledge-based
globalisation and organisations describes
the traditional sales
focuses on both the dominant economies a strategic framework
organisation into a strategic force leading the
and the emerging markets in world trade. – the SNT Framework –
strategic customer management process in
w tinyurl.com/oghsvc based on the emergent
companies. w tinyurl.com/qyem7q
view. w www.larslandberg.dk/snt
10 nexus: summer 09 thriving through change
beyond the recession
Sir George Cox, past Chairman of the Design Council, and Chair of the WBS Advisory Board, shares his thoughts about
the new era ahead and the exciting opportunities it will bring.
The world may be tough, but it isn’t ending. sectors will recover at different rates. But
Having adjusted to the economic downturn, recovery is coming. And just as companies
businesses now have to prepare for life lagged behind the downturn so many will
thereafter. And it will be life in a very different lag behind the upturn, missing out as a
world. Economic growth has been brutally consequence. Like someone who has been
interrupted but, looked at in the longer term, it wearing a rain-soaked raincoat for too long,
hasn’t ended. they won’t realise when the sun has come
out. Bruised and consequently risk averse,
It has been widely projected that the world’s they will miss the opportunity to stake out
economy will double in the first twenty years their position in an exciting new era.
of the 21st century. Admittedly that was
before the current downturn, but even if that And every day that era gets closer. In a highly
projection slips back a year or two, that still uncertain future one thing is clear: there
represents massive growth, resulting in an will be an abundance of new opportunities.
increase in global wealth the like of which However, these opportunities will only go
we’ve never seen. This growth is not planned to the quick witted, the creative and the
by governments or fuelled by banks; it is enterprising. And we are not talking of some
driven by enterprise (at every level) and by far-off golden future. The next generations
technological advance. growth in the consumption of natural of Google, eBay, Microsoft and LinkedIn are
resources or fossil-fuel derived energy. That’s being formed today. The case-studies we will
These are irresistible forces: the first a fact of not a moral imperative, it’s a physical reality. explore and admire in ten years’ time are
human nature, the second a fact of modern This in itself will create huge new markets. being mapped out at this very moment.
life. It will create new markets and new As will the change in demographics in the
industries. Just a decade ago, few people industrialised nations, with more and more Tomorrow’s winners are being shaped now.
had started regularly using the internet and of our generated wealth being spent on
Google was a fledgling business. Such dramatic things like healthcare and leisure rather than
developments aren’t a feature of the past; they
will be repeated and indeed surpassed in the
goods. the author in minute
coming years. Part of the problem of every phase in the
Sir George Cox is the past Chairman of the
economic cycle is that the behaviour of
Design Council and the author of the Cox
most businesses lags behind the change Review (on creativity in business) for the UK
in conditions. Their response lags behind
Innovation isn’t both the entry into the downturn and the
something to be shelved onset of the recovery. But having adapted The ‘Cox Review’ produced a number of
the business – particularly its cost base – to far-reaching recommendations, and attracted
awaiting better times, it is match the circumstances, the next issue (for considerable international interest, with requests
to speak in several countries around the world
now that it comes into its the perceptive) is to look at where the short- and at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
term opportunities lie. Markets may shrink
own but they rarely disappear. The challenge is to Originally trained as an aerospace engineer,
get more than your fair share of the market Sir George spent most of his career in the IT
that remains. An eye for what the customer industry, both as a successful entrepreneur and
But economic recovery will not be a matter really wants under such conditions, coupled as head of the European operations of a major
of simply getting back onto an interrupted global corporation.
with astute pricing and vigorous marketing,
development path. As one executive put it, we can make all the difference. Innovation isn’t Prior to his role with the Design Council, he was
haven’t just pushed the ‘pause’ button. Many something to be shelved awaiting better Director General of the Institute of Directors: the
of today’s industries are going to be irrevocably times, it is now that it comes into its own. body that serves and represents the interests of
changed by the current circumstances. At some 55,000 UK business leaders.
the same, time new markets and whole new However, the really important thing is to
industries that were already emerging are goinglook beyond the present situation, to the Sir George is currently a Board Member of NYSE-
to become highly significant. Considerations Euronext (the group comprising the New York
world beyond recession. When that comes Stock Exchange, the Paris, Amsterdam, Bruxelles
like sustainable energy sources, efficient about is not certain. Moreover, ‘recovery’ and Lisbon Stock Exchanges, and the London
transport and pollution are becoming real will not be a single event. Economic growth, Financial Futures and Options Exchange). He is
issues, affecting political decisions, regulation,
consumer spending, the stock market, also a Director of Shorts, the aerospace company.
public attitudes and consumer behaviour. employment levels, the availability of
credit and house prices are not unrelated He is a member of the University Council and
It’s clear that the projected rate of economic chairs the Advisory Board of Warwick Business
but they are not locked in step with one
growth cannot be accompanied with a matched another. Different markets and different School.
nexus: summer 09 thriving through change 11
building for the future
Julia Evans (MMBA 1995–2000), Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), discusses the
problems currently facing the construction industry and the measures the NFB is taking to ensure its members are
fully prepared to meet and overcome them.
One of the most exciting aspects of my of SMEs is bad business for UK Plc. The
role is experiencing first hand how the UK sector provides the heartbeat for the
construction industry brings together an construction industry. It not only delivers
inspirational blend of craftsmanship and a majority of the work but also acts as a key
cutting edge innovation. This fusion of contributor to local and regional economies,
traditional skills and high-tech solutions is including firm commitments to training
clearly illustrated in townscapes and skylines and apprenticeships and the use of local
across the country; magnificent buildings supply chains which helps reduce the carbon
helping to transform lives and providing the footprint of projects.
homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces so
relevant to all of us. Construction is vital to the UK’s economic
recovery. A technically advanced, competitive
I also see it reflected in our work at the and sustainable industry with a highly skilled
National Federation of Builders (NFB). As the workforce will be needed to build for growth.
construction industry’s longest established The NFB intends to be at the forefront of that
trade association, with origins in the late drive.
19th century, we are proud of our long
history. However, we are also a thoroughly So how did someone like me get to be doing
modern business organisation. such an exciting job in such an inspiring
industry? I think it is to do with opportunity
and preparation and in no small way about
Construction is vital to the opening up of possibilities created
by doing my MBA and more particularly
the UK’s economic recovery. my MBA at Warwick Business School.
A technically advanced, That course of study was not without its
but to even pass on the rate cuts intended to challenges. I had two small children and
competitive and sustainable help them. a full-time job, however the modular
industry with a highly skilled structure of the course made it possible.
However, this does not mean that smaller Most stimulating was the exposure to the
workforce will be needed to companies are destined for failure as wide variety of experience demonstrated by
build for growth. The NFB changing conditions create winners as well colleagues on the course, some of whom
as losers. We are putting all our efforts into have remained in touch and become friends.
intends to be at the forefront ensuring that our members are fully prepared
of that drive to meet and overcome the challenges they
face. We provide advice, guidance and
The experience taught me the art of
the possible and that although I was a
training to ensure they develop and retain public sector person I could travel across
At the forefront of an industry which the competitive edge necessary to secure the boundaries with the only requirement being
contributes almost 10 percent of GDP we business advantage they need to succeed. an open mind. And that’s the benefit of
represent 1,500 builders and contractors – education; turning ideas into opportunity
small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) Key among our current campaigns is a drive and opportunity into reality, just like the
– across England and Wales. In addition to ensure that SMEs are not precluded from wonderful buildings we see all around us!
to providing specialist advice and business bidding for public sector contracts. The
services through a network of eight regional growing trend towards bundling projects
offices, we also lobby local, national and together to create large packages prevents the author in minute
European government on a range of issues some SMEs from bidding as their turnover is
to sustain positive trading conditions for often deemed too low for these mammoth
Julia has been Chief Executive of the National
members. contracts. This prohibits many capable firms Federation of Builders since January 2006. Prior
from tendering for the work and, as the to this she was a Director of the Strategic Rail
There is no doubt that the recession is taking public sector is construction’s biggest single Authority.
its toll on the industry’s SMEs. Problems with client, restricts access to a large part of the
late or non-payment and falling order books market. We need to retain a wider range of She has held board level posts in criminal justice
have been exacerbated by lack of support contract sizes to ensure that the contribution (both police and probation) and in the health
service where her key responsibilities focussed
from banks. Even some robust companies from the SME sector is not undermined.
on human resources. She holds a first degree
with strong order books are going to the wall from the University of Wales, an MPhil from the
because construction is deemed ‘too risky’ There are sound social and economic University of Nottingham and an MBA from WBS.
by lenders who are not only failing to lend, reasons why neglecting the contribution
12 nexus: summer 09 thriving through change
Robert Johnston, Professor of Operations Management, explains why a recession is the best time to improve customer
service and how it can be turned to your competitive advantage.
Without a doubt recessions cause a lot So how do you improve service? There are
of pain and suffering. We have already two key ways. First, listen to your customers
witnessed many organisations folding (rather than talk to your customers) to
and hundreds of thousands of people see what it is they need from you. Many
losing their jobs and livelihoods. Many organisations over-deliver, causing
large and small organisations: retailers, car unnecessary costs. Others deliver what they
manufacturers, local shops, are struggling think customers need not what customers
with shortages of operating capital and actually need, thus missing opportunities
customers. to improve service and reduce costs. The
second, though less obvious, is based on the
For those of us lucky enough to be in Internal Service Rule ¹ ‘The level of external
employment these times can cause customer service will never exceed the level
apprehension and misery as senior managers of internal customer service.’ If you deliver
talk about uncertainty and the need to cut poor service to your internal customers there
costs even further. Some senior managers is little hope of your delivering great service
take the ‘equal misery’ approach, lopping to your external customers. If you and your
five or ten percent off all budgets making staff have to work hard to overcome the
everything five or ten percent worse. Others organisation’s culture and circumvent the
take a more focused approach getting rid organisation’s systems and procedures to
totally of activities and operations that don’t get things done, and/or your systems and
fit or add value and, importantly, protecting processes are lengthy and wasteful in terms
those that make the better contributions. of time, effort and cost, there is something
Many managers are forced to slash budgets, wrong with your systems and processes! The
result is disillusioned and frustrated staff and
higher than necessary costs. So why punish
the best way to cut costs your staff as well as your customers?
[in a recession] is not to cut provide you with an immediate competitive
Now is the right time to stop upsetting your
advantage. Secondly, and many managers
costs but to improve service. often forget this, the best way to cut costs customers and frustrating your staff and start
improving your services and the processes,
While making improvements is not to cut costs but to improve service.
While making improvements to your service systems and procedures that create them. If
to your service may require a may require a little investment, it will pay you do, your costs will go down.
dividends. Better service leads to greater
little investment, it will pay customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty,
¹ Johnston, Robert and Graham Clark, (2008), Service
Operations Management, 3nd ed., FT Prentice Hall,
dividends and word-of-mouth recommendation then Harlow, England
brings in yet more customers.
freeze posts and lose others, cut back on staff However, it has to be noted, not all the author in minute
training, and freeze pay or even enforce pay organisations want their customers to return
cuts. As a result workloads increase and stress and reuse their service, such as fire and
and resentment builds. rescue services, accident and emergency Robert Johnston is Deputy Dean (Operations
and Finance) and Professor of Operations
wards, and for others customers have little or
Management. He formerly held posts including
It doesn’t take much working out to realise no choice, such as rail operators and water line manager and operations manager with
what the effect of all this is on customers; companies. So for these organisations, and several service organisations. Robert provides
reduced service levels, reduced services and indeed all organisations, there are other even advice to a wide range of private and public
staff availability, coupled with the misery more important reasons. Improved services organisations. He has global experience in
of dealing with disaffected staff. So why cut waste, reduce complaints and prevent executive education with leading companies
punish your customers? They are the ones rework, all of which can significantly reduce and has published over 150 books, papers
and case studies. He serves on the editorial
still buying your products or using your costs. Furthermore, better service makes boards of nine leading journals, is a member of
services despite the personal pressures they staff feel proud of what they do, and makes several international advisory boards and a vice
themselves may be under. their working life easier as they have to deal president of the Institute of Customer Service.
with fewer complaints and problems. This,
Counter intuitively this is the best time to in turn, can also reduce the costs of sickness, Research interests: service transformation,
try to improve the service you deliver to your absenteeism and recruitment. Happier staff service excellence, customer service, service
design, service recovery, complaint management,
customers. There are two key reasons. Firstly, enjoy their work more which rubs off on
and performance management.
other organisations are cutting back and the customers which continues the virtuous
their services may be deteriorating so it can cycle of customer satisfaction, retention…
nexus: summer 09 thriving through change 13
ventures in China
KK Mui (DLMBA 1987–91) whose roles include Director of Berry Bros. & Rudd Hong Kong, gives an insight into his
business ventures in China and the reasons for the upward trend in the fine wine market.
Starting off my career in banking, While wine sales are expected to fall in
specialising in business consultancy, Europe, wine business in Asia is projected
project and corporate finance, I have been to double to US$17 billion by 2012 and
assisting MNCs in pursuing various business increase to US$27 billion by 2017, driven
opportunities/ventures in China since the largely by China where economic growth,
mid-80s, after attending a banking course at rising income and lifestyle changes have
the Midland (now HSBC) Bank in London. led to a 360 percent increase in wine
imports since 2005. By 2011, the Chinese
While running from city to city project are expected to be drinking more than
hunting and deal making, I began my studies 1.1bn bottles of wine or 828m litres of
in late 1987, juggled through and finished wine a year, double the figure in 2007.
every module, down to the final dissertation People are drinking rather than cellaring
in 1991 – 3.5 years for my Warwick MBA! wines as investment – a more promising
It was a challenge but also a bonus to study prospect when people could enjoy wines as
alongside my daily work. I remember when consumables. Prominent wine merchants
I was assigned to an MIS project beside my and auction houses have been flocking over
regular banking deals, I could apply the to grab a slice of vibrance.
relevant knowledge freshly learned from
Warwick and could handle my annual Life is an ever-learning process and there
business plan in a more succinct way! is no guarantee of success. In order to
survive or thrive, one has to be close
to the customers, building not only
on conventional infrastructure like
In a growing market with temperature-controlled storage facilities
opportunities and challenges for the wine trade and attention to detail,
but also a good grasp of technological
coming from different advancement, cementing an effective bridge
directions, we need to be between products and consumers, aspiring
to domestic enterprises and MNCs such as customers’ desire and loyalty, converting
responsive to the shifting Honda, McDonald’s, Absolut Volka, Puma into repeated sales.
landscape and market and Microsoft.
In a growing market with opportunities
demands On the Hong Kong front, I have been and challenges coming from different
co-operating with Berry Bros & Rudd, directions, we need to be responsive to the
the oldest and most prestigious wine shifting landscape and market demands,
Leveraging my strengths in consultancy merchant in the UK, since 1999, right after making sure our offers match customers’
and financing, I set up my company in my duty free endeavours in the 90s. It is requirements. Survival is contingent upon
1995, offering services to MNCs for market a business hinging on fundamentals like prudent allocation of limited resources
entry and set up in China. My first clients brand building, customer loyalty, product to businesses sustainable on the merits of
included Nortel, Chubb, Select Service knowledge, and proper management of generating tangible returns. We should not,
Partners and Aer Rianta. The main focus stocks and cash. We distinguish ourselves however, forego Research & Development
as the work transpired was predominantly with our capability to deliver a reliable and as innovation can effectively make a
airport commercialisation projects involving well-managed wine investment service. competitive differentiation. But R&D must
duty free shops, restaurants and even be initiated after proper project assessment,
aircraft parts. In the late 90s, because of new Hong Kong’s removal of import duties pushed through with disciplined process,
engagements in some private equity deals on wine in February 2008 has brought and closely monitored on the basis of
in the US, I had my first encounter with about sweeping changes in the fine wine investment outlays vs monetary return
internet businesses. market, further positioning HK, being the within a prescribed timeframe.
gateway to Asia, as one of the top three
The past ten years or so have seen me fine wine trading hubs in the world after My future lies in the fun and challenge of
focusing my efforts on brand building and London and New York. It is a good time to realising dreams through perseverance and
bringing merchants to target consumers. be a wine lover/investor in HK as the city is stringent discipline in risk calculation, the
My venture in China, equipped with a ready promoting wine as a well-being product and skills that I learned from my MBA and real-
mobile-internet infrastructure, converging removing wine duties. The UK, on the other life experience – from concepts to down-to-
with conventional advertising and PR hand, is proposing to plaster bottles with earth operation management, supplemented
services, has been providing tailor made health warnings, and is increasing duties to by the right financial discipline, ensuring
or ‘one-stop solution’ marketing services unprecedented levels. sustainability in the face of chaos.
14 nexus: summer 09 thriving through change
the global crisis: threat or opportunity?
Professor Mark Taylor highlights the opportunity for change offered by the current financial crisis.
President John F Kennedy once remarked how much government intervention, how
in a speech that the Chinese word for much taxation? And sociological factors,
‘crisis’ is composed of two words: ‘threat’ by driving the way we view each other and
and ‘opportunity’. Whenever I run this by our relationships within society, may have
Chinese friends and acquaintances, however, a crucial bearing on the patterns of demand
they tend to peer at me with a somewhat going forward: who will be buying what –
bemused expression, which suggests that and where, when and why?
this rather charming ‘factoid’ may not in fact
be true at all. Nevertheless, it does strike me In my experience human beings are often
as a reasonable strategy to think of a crisis improved by hard times and personal crises;
as a decisive turning point and therefore an it may be that organisations, economies
opportunity for change. If properly managed, and societies are the same. Within an
change may lead to positive outcomes; if organisation, crisis can create a sense of
improperly managed, it is likely to be a urgency and an appetite for constructive
negative force. This applies at various levels. change, but the opportunity will be lost
unless it is seized.
In my experience human Effective leadership is about seizing that
opportunity by developing a vision of where
beings are often improved the organisation could and should go,
by hard times and personal focusing the organisation and implementing
the right strategic changes in order to
crises; it may be that organi- achieve that vision. It is about perceiving the
sations, economies and change for the better there is possibly no
better time to do it than during a crisis. Crisis
opportunity and dealing with the threat.
societies are the same can be used to create a sense of urgency and
common intent within an organisation that
can be lacking during easier times. Now is the
the author in minute
At the level of the whole economy, the time to make those difficult decisions that
current financial crisis has revealed the were easier to postpone during the boom. Mark Taylor is Professor of International Financial
need for some changes in the way financial Now is the time to focus on key strengths and Strategy at WBS and a Managing Director of
BlackRock Global Investors, where he is the
markets are regulated. This does not mean, targets. Now is the time to ask fundamental European Leader of the Global Market Strategies
however, that we should automatically questions about institutional identity: who Group.
conclude that capitalism is doomed. When are we and where do we want to go?
all is said and done, capitalism has served Previously the Schroder Fellow at University
the world remarkably well over the past Crisis is a form of stress test on an College, Oxford, Mark has also been Professor
couple of hundred years in terms of reducing organisation’s culture and structure. In large of Finance at Cass Business School, at Liverpool
University and at Dundee University, and Visiting
poverty and raising living standards, while organisations, this may have the effect of
Professor of International Finance at the Stern
experiments with non-capitalist systems bringing the various business units closer School of Business, New York University. He
have either failed or have been adapted together in an increased spirit of shared also spent five years as a senior advisor at the
to a modified form of capitalism (as in purpose. Or it may raise questions about International Monetary Fund, Washington DC,
China). But clearly there are lessons to be whether the various units hang together worked as a financial economist at the Bank
learnt. For example, there is a need for properly. Would some business units be of England and began his career as a foreign
increased transparency in the use of financial better aligned with new owners? Should we exchange trader.
instruments so that risks can be properly use this opportunity to acquire new business Mark has consulted for various financial firms,
assessed and priced; and it may be sensible to units from other organisations? including JP Morgan Chase and Putnam
think about ways of dampening asset price Investments, as well as for the World Bank,
bubbles when the economy is booming. But Positioning for the post-crisis world is the International Monetary Fund, the Bank
any such regulation must be intelligent and not straightforward and requires careful of England, the Department for International
focused. scenario analysis from a range of different Development and the European Commission.
He was also a part-time Special Adviser to two
perspectives. Financial and economic
members of the UK Cabinet and Director of a
At the level of an individual organisation, commentators on the current crisis have a £5 million research programme for the Economic
it is crucial to position the organisation tendency, in my view, to overlook the wider and Social Research Council.
strategically, both to withstand current issues relating to political and sociological
adverse conditions and to be ready for the factors. Political factors will determine Research interests: international finance,
post-crisis world. This, of course, is easier many of the parameters within which the financial markets, asset pricing, active portfolio
said than done, but if an organisation is to organisation operates: how much regulation, management, strategic management.
nexus: summer 09 thriving through change 15
land of extremes
Staffan Mattson (DLMBA 1998–2002) CEO of Ikano Finance Russia, recounts his experience of working in Russia
and the challenges involved.
In Russia everything is warm or cold, big or should not completely collapse last year.
small, black or white. It’s either or, you are Foreign investors left or were made to leave.
rich or poor, and there is very little in between. The stock market crashed and went down
Russia is the biggest country in the world, with 70 percent between July and December.
an area of 17,075, 200 square kilometres and The RUR depreciated more than 50 percent
covers approximately one-sixth of the world’s against the dollar in seven months.
land area. It is a country with 11 time zones
that has the world’s longest domestic flight of 8 For most banks the immediate negative
hours from Moscow to Vladivostok. effect was funding rates increasing from 11
to 25 percent in three months. The booming
Russia has 144 million inhabitants but a consumer finance market came to a complete
decreasing population. The average life halt and I realised the virtues of long-term
expectancy for women is 72 years but for men strategies and having a strong owner.
only 57. Moscow, the amazing capital, has
officially around 12 million inhabitants and To be a foreigner working in Russia is in no
more than 4 million cars. To quote Winston way an easy task. I was given advice early that
Churchill; ‘Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a still helps me: ‘get used but never accept’ and
mystery, inside an enigma’. I think to a large degree this encompasses
what it is like, fascinating and rewarding but
always very challenging.
Despite all the doom and Despite all the doom and gloom, I think that
gloom, I think that the future the future looks very encouraging. IKEA,
our business partner in Russia has opened
looks very encouraging 11 stores, some of which are already on the
Being Swedish and based in Moscow top-5 turnover list globally, and continues to
unfortunately meant that I temporarily have optimistic expansion plans.
When I first came to Moscow in 2004 I was lost contact with fellow alumni and I am
completely fascinated by the atmosphere in therefore very pleased about the recent Our aim is to take advantage of the recession
the city. The capitalism was very evident and establishment of a Warwick alumni group and further develop our business. In a
for me it was what I expected Klondike once in Moscow. The first meetings have already fraction of the time it has taken to build
was. Having lived in Moscow for three years resulted in interesting contacts and I look similar volumes in Europe, we have the
now, I am still fascinated by the fantastic forward to building on this very good potential of doing the same in Russia. Then
opportunities to do business here but also very initiative. again, why wouldn’t we, this is Russia, the
aware of the challenges Russia as a nation and land of extremes.
Russian people face. Ikano was originally a part of IKEA, but is
now owned by the Kamprad family. The
I started my studies at WBS in 1998 when I Ikano Group owns and develops competitive the author in minute
joined the distance learning programme, as I and profitable niche companies in the areas
felt I wanted to broaden my knowledge after of finance, real estate, asset management,
ten years of working in different management insurance and retail. Ikano established the Staffan joined IKANO Finance Russia as
CEO in 2006. Prior to that he was Head of
positions. I knew part-time studies in parallel Russian business in 2006 and I moved to Business Development, Sales & Marketing and
to full time work would be challenging and Moscow permanently as the first and only Controlling, for Ikano BA Finance.
for me it was very important to invest my employee.
time in something that was worth the effort. His previous roles were in the building &
WBS turned out to be what I was looking During the first three years of business we construction, real estate and finance sectors:
for. The MBA programme gave me a business have hired more than 200 people, sold more Deputy Managing Director of Karl Ljungberg &
Co AB; CFO of Fastighets AB Briggen; Director,
knowledge and business confidence that has than 150,000 credit cards and we are now
Securum Denmark A/S; and Key Account
been invaluable for my career. already in our second joint venture with an Manager at Securum Finans AB and Nordbanken.
international bank. When I look back, the
My studies also helped me to build a network last three years have probably been quite As well as his Warwick MBA, Staffan also has an
that made studying more enjoyable and extreme professionally, but also something MSc in Business Administration and Economics
improved the results. Cooperating with my I have found very enjoyable and extremely International Business programme from Lund
local study group was very valuable and had developing. University.
it not been for job postings abroad we would
probably have realised the entrepreneurial Russia would not be Russia if after a long
ventures we were planning at the time. period of outstanding growth the economy