About this vision thing again

Dear Dean Likierman,
It's another January, and another set of MBA rankings. I wrote about this to your predecessor too (see here) on the occasion of last year's rankings come out. Congratulations! We rock. We're co-number 1, that's quite the feat. And I'm very happy as I think everyone in the LBS community is.

But, and I hate to bring this up again, what are we going to do about our vision? We're there. We're the world's pre-eminent global business school. Can't go higher than this. So what's next? Like I said last year, I think we should think a bit bigger than being number 1. What are we going to do with being number 1? This year, this question is even more important than last year. There's some things, partially caused by MBAs (not just from LBS mind you, but we can't wash our hands from this completely) that need fixing. And whilst we're at it, it would be good if we can make the world a fairer and better and healthier place to live. So how about we aim for something like that? Let's aspire to be bigger than ourselves, to do things greater and better than just be number 1.

I'm glad you're our dean. You shook my hand at graduation and made me feel like I was the one and only person that day that was graduating, which was an amazing feeling. Let me know how I can help,
warmest regards,
London Business School MBA2007

All aboard

So there we go. Like billions (billion is the new million, isn't it?) of others, I watched president Obama's inauguration today. I suspect this might be one of those moments in history that I'll tell my grandchildren about. And yes, one of those moments that calls for a blogpost. I'm excited. I have high hopes for Obama and his administration, but even higher hopes for America as a nation. For someone to inspire a nation in this way, and hopefully inspire the change that the US and the world need a bit of, that's amazing. Go Obama. Go US. Go world. Let's go out and make this world a better place.

So about this learning thing

Most people I tell about doing a part-time MA are surprised and slightly bewildered. Why on earth would I want another degree? And why design school of all places? And why such a vague and weird degree? And am I addicted to learning / degrees / university (probably is the answer to that I reckon)? All these questions in turn bewilder me slightly. Partially because since it's my life, I consider this to be normal so it's weird when I'm considered a bit odd (although you'd think that by now I'd be used to it), and partially because don't you read everywhere that you need to keep on learning all throughout your career and life, no more of this career-or-job-for-life hoopla. So that's what I'm doing. Learning for life. And about life. From life. Something like that. And I like my learning when it comes served up with a formal schedule and classmates. So there you go. I am Natasja, and I'm a learn-a-holic.

[written on the occasion of my first class of the second, and final, year of my MA at Central St Martin's]

I fancy a snog

No really. A snog*. One of the things I'm learning about this year is Soho. My new company (I should really stop calling them new, I've been here for almost two months now) is based in Soho, right behind Piccadilly Circus, which means all of central London is right on my doorstep. And I love exploring Soho in more depth, it's such a treasure-trove of shops and alleys and more shops. And restaurants. So far I'm loving Papaya on St Anne's Court for Thai food for lunch, and Taro on Brewer Street, being able to pop down to Liberty, and I haven't had lunch from Fernandez and Wells yet, but I will soon.

And then today I saw this:

Opening March 2009 apparently, I can't wait!

* for those not British, a snog is slang for a kiss.

And the motto is

Sometimes I feel like I'm sounding like a broken record. And this record is titled 'Resolutions'. So I don't do resolutions at New Year's. I sometimes do at my birthday. But what I do do, or at least started last year and have done this year, is set a theme for the calendar year ahead. A theme, a motto, something that is a one-word guiding principle for the rest of the year. I don't think about that word/idea the whole time, but it pops up every now and again. And for this year, the motto is 'learn'.

Every day in 2009 will be about learning for me. Learning at Central St Martin's doing my final project for my MA, learning at my new job, from my new colleagues and new boss, from friends and family, listening to podcasts and watching videos (how I love the BBC iPlayer!), going to lectures and exhibitions, traveling. Every single day I am making a conscious effort this year to learn. Excited and scared, since learning comes with potential, maybe even imperative, for failure. And I'm not very good at failure. So there you go, another thing to learn: how to be better at failure.

[edit a few days later: friends rock. Especially friends like mr F, who's written a great post on mottos and themes here.]

I’ve found it

Mrbs I've spent all my life looking for this. Everywhere I go, I try and see them out. Bookstores. They are temples for my soul, soothing and exciting at the same time. I love being surrounded by books and browse and yes, occasionally buy some books (for which sadly I don't and won't have enough time ever to read all of them). So when we were in Bath a couple of days ago, I was over the moon when we stumbled upon this: Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights. And it is exactly what it says on the tin: a delight. In fact, and this is quite the statement and I realise that, it is THE best bookshop I've ever been to. And I've been to quite a few in my life already.

What makes it so great? Well, the name to start off with. The building, which is a lovely converted Georgian building, lovingly decorated. The character that oozes through in every single thing they do: the selection of books, the way they recommend books, the bathtub with books on the ground floor, the Tin-Tin wallpaper in the staircase, bibliotherapy room inviting you to sit and read to your heart's delight, the free coffee and tea, the delightful and friendly staff. It is in everything the perfect bookshop. This is book-heaven. If I think of the perfect bookshop, this would be so close to it, it's almost perfection. The one big downside: it's far away, in Bath. Although on second thought, maybe that's a good thing. I'd spend all my time and money at mr B's otherwise!