Incentives such as salaries, rewards, and recognition have become a very interesting topic that has been heard in the news many times over the last couple of years. I had the pleasure of attending a very interesting presentation by a former European manager of Enron. He was able to share some of his insights into the reasons of Enron’s decline as well some thoughts to consider when thinking about incentive systems.
The first idea that I want to address is the idea that “incentives work”. I believe that this is a very interesting and true statement. An incentive definitely has the ability to bring about defined results for an organization. When a company incentivizes goals and targets, employees should be striving to achieve the targets to attain the incentive. At the onset this sounds like a wonderful arrangement, but this seemly simple concept must be explored with much more depth.
The saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it,” illustrates the problem of poorly designed incentive systems. While reaching a target or goal could represent value for a company, the value for the company must be properly evaluated, as “everything that shines is not gold”. Accurately determining value-added is probably one of the most difficult challenges when designing incentive systems. For example, an incentive system that is linked to the quick development of a product will not guarantee the quality of a product. If quick development is incentivized, then quick development is the result that will be attained, not necessarily a quality development.
An effective incentive system in my opinion should fulfill three criteria. The first criterion is the incentive itself should be effective in order to bring about desired results. The second criterion is, the desired results are properly valued and generate sustainable value. The third criterion is the incentives should include systems to ensure long-term value. This can be done by using claw-backs, retraction of incentive payments, when long-term value is not created.
This week’s blog entry is about seizing an opportunity and against all odds making it into a reality, which for me was entering the Karlsruhe Business Masters Challenge 2009. I will be providing you with a small anecdote of my experience. I suppose it’s best to begin at how I managed to get a team together for the competition. When I received the email that advertised the competition, I had not yet started my Master’s at EBS and hence knew nobody there.
The pre-case was really interesting; a team of three was required to develop a sustainable entrepreneurial business start-up concept that addressed one of the problems outlined in the case. The case in short was about a figurative city “Eco-city” which was holding a world sports event in 2012, was in the southern hemisphere, had a low average per capita income, high unemployment and the city itself had problems with air pollution, transportation and energy capacity and supply. Really a challenging and fairly realistic scenario was outlined in the case and the challenge of producing a pre-case solution stared me in the face.
I went into problem solving mode, the first hurdle and quite a significant one was my lack of team. It just so happened that I had begun correspondence with another incoming Masters student, DS. So I had another look at the pre-case which had to be prepared and spontaneously dropped an email to DS asking him if he was interested in participating and forming a team for the challenge. Thankfully he was keen and he had an idea for a third member too, which he managed to secure, MT. We now had a team of three members and were able to register to enter the competition.
DS and MT knew each other; I on the other hand had not met either of these characters in person. So through a good few Skype calls and many, many emails we got to know each other and prepared our pre-case solution. The challenging thing was that our submission was to consist, according to the rules of the contest, of only a five slide PowerPoint presentation, which had to convey our idea and business plan. Moreover we would never give the presentation, so we had to strike a fine balance between crowding too much information onto the slides and not putting enough on them. After working on the project for a few weeks on and off, the deadline quickly approached and the urgency and concentration increased significantly, and about 15 minutes before the deadline we completed our presentation and submitted it. Final touches always take a lot longer than one thinks! Next we continued with our lives while we waited and waited…
In next week’s blog I will tell you what happened…
As all of you might agree, it was not an easy decision to come to Germany from India for my MBA, as there were numerous opportunities in India and elsewhere in the world for me to do my MBA. I must admit, the decision to choose EBS and Germany was a tough one.
For the three years prior to joining my MBA at EBS, I was scanning the whole world to decide on where to do my MBA. In January 2008, during the QS MBA World Tour, the EBS MBA was presented to me by the EBS MBA Admissions Team in Mumbai, India. It was the beginning of a fruitful association with EBS.
Up until the MBA World Tour, I had never looked at or considered an MBA in Germany. But when looked at Germany more closely, it made sense to me in many ways; I am a Mechanical Engineer with an Automotive Industry experience. So for me, with this type of background, Germany is heaven on Earth. Additionally, I had worked with many German automotive suppliers during my career in Automotive Industry. I was also impressed by the way Germans work – their professionalism, perfectionism and hardworking nature.
EBS MBA is focused on BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries and had a strong international focus. The diversity of the MBA class – based on the culture, background, etc. – was great. The duration of the MBA program at EBS is 18 months (In US – ~24 months, in UK/Australia – ~12 months). EBS has an excellent reputation for its management courses among the financial and consulting companies, especially in Germany. EBS is also located very close to Frankfurt, the financial capital of Germany, and lies on the banks of the River Rhine in the beautiful region called the Rheingau.
EBS has a strong alumni network and they support the school and its students very actively. EBS alumni hold positions in all the big companies in Europe, and they often came down to campus to give talks, company presentations, symposiums etc.
The icing on the cake for me was the cost of doing my MBA at EBS. EBS MBA costs only 19,500 Euros for the whole 18 months. There are also many scholarships and financing options available for prospective students. The cost of doing my EBS MBA with these scholarships fit perfectly into my budget.
I want to be a global citizen and hence decided on an MBA with a true international focus (without taking a dip into my bank account). I got all three of these things when I decided to do my MBA here at EBS in Oestrich-Winkel, Germany.
Hello everyone. I’d like to start by introducing myself. My name is Christopher. I am half-American and half-German, born in Heilbronn Germany and I am 26 years old. I have lived in many places in the United States and in Germany because as I grew up my family moved every two to three years. So I have seen a lot, met a lot of people, and of course had good times as well as bad times.
I have a large variety of hobbies and interests which include things like fitness, golf, art, learning, and meeting new people. That is only a small part of the thing called "me" but over the next months I will be giving you guys out there a good bit more to fill in some of the gaps. Generally, I consider myself to be a very driven individual. I like to set challenging goals for myself and I strive to improve things around me. I guess that is one of the reasons that I decided to attend the Master’s program at the European Business School. The road here was not always easy, but the direction and the goal was definitely set. I am a strong believer in that a person can achieve anything that one strives for. The ingredients for reaching my goal in retrospect were hard work, flexibility, dedication, and patience.
I look forward to sharing some of my insights with you in the coming months, and I hope you enjoy reading them. Until next week, Zaijian (goodbye in Chinese).
In this week’s blog I will be discussing my favourite class during my first semester. I suppose my favourite class is the class that I have done all the pre-reading for, the one I arrive to on time regularly, and the one that holds my attention for the entire 90 minutes; those are fairly tough criteria to align. On a more serious note, I would have to say that the one class that I have found consistently interesting (and am fairly surprised about) is International Corporate Governance. It is one of the classes that I am almost always prepared for, including the respectable amount of reading, which is usually a Harvard business case and is a good 20 plus pages in length. Additionally, I always manage to arrive to all the classes on time, as I do not want to miss out on the first crucial minutes where the Professor sets the scene for the remaining 87 minutes. And then finally, I have remained active in the discussion for the entire 90 minutes.
You might be wondering what kept me focused and alert for the whole 90 minutes. Firstly, the class was not full of theoretical model after theoretical model with attempts to apply it to real life cases. On the contrary, we approached it from another angle altogether, using a case study (real life governance issues in real companies) where we applied theory to real circumstances. If you stop to think about that for a moment, you will appreciate how challenging that can be and how useful and enlightening the results are. Although that said, without all the theory learning from my Bachelor studies this approach more than likely would not have been possible. Nonetheless it was a refreshing approach to examining corporate governance successes and in other cases failures due to inappropriate use of governance. There was always a fair bit of discussion during class and many opinions aired, although often openly and critically refuted by others. And due credit must be given to the Professor for encouraging and facilitating this constructive discourse during his classes. For me the most important learning that I am taking away from this class is that governance is not straight forward and one should always look below the surface of the corporation at its structures in order to begin to understand its unique version of governance.
- Wochenrückblick: Die ewige Exposition
- Wochenrückblick: Was das Eis uns lehrt
- Chinesisch für Anfänger - Part 1
- Chinesisch für Anfänger - Part 2
- Wochenrückblick: Die Unkalkulierbarkeit des Lebens eines Juristen als Wettervorhersage
- Chinesisch für Anfänger - Part 3
- Chinesisch für Anfänger - Part 4
- Wochenrückblick: Einen Moment, bitte
- Langeweile? Fremdwort!
- Was machen wir eigentlich? Also inhaltlich und akademisch?
- A few thoughts on searching for a specific Internship
- Die lieben "Tauschies"
- Buch? Skript? Bib? Wikipedia?
- Der typische Tag eines EBSlers I - die brutale Variante :)
- Der ganz (un-)normale Wahnsinn
- Der typische Tag eines EBSlers II - die „gechillte“ Variante :)
- Citi Group Business Knigge Seminar
- Hey everyone!
- "Woohoo, I'm there!"
- My first exposure to: the Cradle to Cradle design concept
- Introducing myself …
- The Amazing “New Philanthropy”
- Monday, Jan. 10th
- Dance 4 life …
- Tuesday, Jan. 11th
- Wednesday, Jan. 12th
- Ms. Orzala Ahshraf Nemat – More than a Leader
- Thursday, Jan. 13th
- Friday, Jan. 14th
- Back to business ...
- Neues Semester, neues Glück
- Business as usual
- Der frühe Vogel fängt den ... äh, die gewünschte Auslandsuni :)
- Und das ist erst der Anfang...
- Life@EBS... oder eben gerade nicht?
- Die erste nächtliche Arbeitssitzung an der EBS
- Getting ready for the middle country
- My Thoughts on Ethics
- Studentenalltag in Oestrich-Winkel
- „Pourquoi avez-vous choisi le Françasis?“
- Erste Vorlesungen und Company Presentation
- Introduction: Der Neue
- Das EBS Symposium 2010
- Reges Treiben auf dem Campus
- Synergizing Networking and Time-management
- Die Angebot des Symposiums
- Final Countdown
- Ein optimaler Start
- Networking Barbeque
- Die Sonne scheint!
- König Fußball
- Der argentinische Vize-Präsident und ich ...
- Opportunity Costs
- Symposium - unser „Erstes“
- The Turkish Night
- Imposanter Morgen
- Souveräner Schlusspunkt
- Gedanken zum EBS-Symposium (aus „Quietschie“-Sicht)
- Ein glückliches Team
- Reflections on my Master’s Thesis
- Career Forum
- Alltag @ EBS?
- Starting in China
- Class Composition
- What is “Green” in 200 words?
- First impressions
- Karlsruhe Business Masters Challenge 2009: Part I
- In Focus: Incentives
- Internship Hunting
- Karlsruhe Business Masters Challenge 2009: Part II
- EBS Bachelor Blogger: Maike
- Supply Chain Management at EBS
- The Path of a Leader
- Funding Options
- Karlsruhe Business Masters Challenge 2009: Part III
- Why I Chose to Study Abroad in Spain
- Getting Organized
- My First Week in Spain
- Strategy and Organization