Friday, July 29, 2005

French values

I was just reading this OpEd from Krugman comparing the French and the US society and thought it was interesting enough to link it. Have a look if you have 5mn in your busy schedule.

Return to London

My Swiss leg is over after 3 weeks there. I have a plane for Paris in a few hours, will spend the Friday night there and then fly to London and move into my new appartment. On Monday, we are starting the final part of the internship in the London office until the end of August, where we will have to analyze all the data that we have gathered and prepare recommendations on whether or not the company should enter the Swiss market.

Switzerland was quite fun. We were based in Geneva but did some travel around in the German part and the Italian part of the country. Geneva is really a nice city to live in; may be a bit boring sometimes but since it's so well connected to other cities, you can fly off every weekends to other places. The heat was terrible during a few days but a nice walk close to the lake was great to cool off. However, life is quite expensive and it's lucky we were on expenses otherwise I would have eaten only sandwiches here...

And yes, we did some work. It was actually quite time-consuming to arrange meetings with people in the industry and then we were busy writing minutes and identify trends further to this primary data collection.

Next post from London...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Back to Europe

After 3 weeks on the East Coast of the US, I'm back in Europe for a few weeks before going back to London. My US experience in the suburbs was quite interesting - it's so different from my previous experience in New York - yet I'm not sure I would be happy in this Desperate Housewife environment... I'm definitely more a city person.

Since Sunday, I'm in Switzerland to continue my internship and it's a complete change of environment as you can imagine. We are working from our hotel room and are trying to arrange face-to-face interviews with people who might be interested by the services and products proposed by the company who is employing us. The alumni network from the London Business School is actually quite useful for this and there is no doubt in my mind that the real added value of a business school is the strength of its alumni network. We've been able to organize meetings with very senior people in our target organizations and interviews with them are friendly and efficient.

On a different subject and of particular interest is this article from the Washington Post about Alliance Base. The article is 10 days old but it's particularly relevant in the light of London's bombing. It describes the operations of a top-secret center set up in Paris with the CIA and the DGSE (the French CIA) in cooperation with the intelligence services of Australia, Canada, Britain and Germany. The goal of this center is to identify, track and capture terrorists from Al-Quaeda outside Iraq and Afghanistan and it has been quite successful so far. I'm not surprised the cooperation in the intelligence domain is so deep between France and the US even though the politic relationships are bad; after all France has been actively fighting Islamic terrorism since the 90s at a time when it was relatively minor on the radar screen of US agencies. Let's hope this agency or any other for that matter, will be able to track and kill or bring to justice the terrorists behind London's bombing.