Archive for the ‘General Business’ Category

VLearn: video study resource for business and management students

17 March 2015 Leave a comment

If you are interested in learning by watching new video resources then consider using VLearn.

VLearn website thumbnailFrom their website: “VLearn is the new ‘free access’ study resource for business and management students. We provide free access video material to enhance your learning experience. Use VLearn as a supplementary study resource to your traditional learning materials. VLearn brings research to life.”

It is a collection of short videos, organised into categories such as:

  • Marketing
  • Strategy
  • Leadership
  • Ethics
  • Sustainability

Have you already used it? Why not leave a comment below to let us know what you think, if you found it useful, and if you would recommend it to others.

Categories: General Business Tags: , ,

Art and Corporate Social Responsibility (Unilever)

5 April 2013 1 comment

Visiting the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight I realised that this was an early example of corporate social responsibilty (CSR). The gallery was founded by William Hesketh Lever and dedicated to the memory of his wife Elizabeth. Lever believed in the ability of art to enrich the lives of individuals and communities, especially his workers in the purpose-built Port Sunlight village.

Lever was also conscious of his company brand and no doubt aware that the gallery was excellent for his image as a model victorian employer. He is also famous for choosing some of the paintings be bought because they were suitable for his Sunlight Soap adverts. The famous image on the right comes from the painting The New Frock by William Powell Frith and as a famous sunight soap advert it can be see in the post “So Clean” on Karen Lee’s blog.

For definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility:

For current Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) talking points:

For MBS/University of Manchester research try Manchester eScholar corporate AND social AND responsibility

The image above right is the cover of – Lewis, B. (2008) So Clean: Lord Leverhulme, soap and civilisation. Manchester: Manchester University Press. [University of Manchester Library catalogue link for Lewis 2008 “So Clean…” ]

PS. Lord Leverhulme’s soap company, Lever Brothers Limited, joined with a Dutch company, Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Uniein, in 1930 to become Unilever – a company better known by its brands than by its own name. For details see Understanding [Unilever] NV & PLC shares.

Female CEOs of FTSE 350 companies

8 March 2013 5 comments

womens_day_2013-1055007-hpToday, 8 March 2013, is International Women’s Day so here are the the women who are CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) of FTSE 350 companies.

[The FTSE 350 is the 100 largest (most highly capitalised) companies  (FTSE 100) plus the 250 next largest companies (FTSE 250) on the London stock exchange.]

  • Katherine Lucy Garrett-Cox – ALLIANCE TRUST PLC
  • Cynthia Caroll – ANGLO AMERICAN PLC
  • Angela Jean Ahrendts – BURBERRY GROUP PLC
  • Doctor Louise Makin – BTG PLC (British Technology Group International PLC prior to 03/1995)
  • Dorothy Carrington Thompson – DRAX GROUP PLC
  • Carolyn Julia McCall – EASYJET PLC
  • Ruby McGregor-Smith – MITIE GROUP PLC
  • Lynn Rosanne Fordham – SVG CAPITAL PLC (Schroder Ventures International Investment Trust PLC prior to 05/2004)
  • The Hon. Diana (Dido) Mary Harding – TALKTALK TELECOM GROUP PLC
  • Kathryn (Kate) Elizabeth Swann – WH SMITH PLC

BoardEx turned out to be the easiest database to find this information. In others (e.g. Thomson One Banker, Orbis) it is possible to go from a company to director information but not to search for a company based on directors’ characteristics.

Even BoardEx has limitations since its search capabilities only covers current executives. The list above is current information – it doesn’t include Dame Marjorie Morris Scardino who was CEO of PEARSON PLC (owners of the Financial Times) until 31 December 2012.

[Image above is Google’s logo for International Women’s Day 2013]

Angela Ahrendts (CEO of Burberry) appears at no 45 in the Forbes list The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

HP acquisition of Autonomy and a $8.8billion write off

9 January 2013 1 comment

On 20 Nov 2012 Hewlett Packard (HP) announced that it was taking a write off of $8.8 billion of the $11.1 billion that it paid to acquire Autonomy in  October 2010. At the time Automony was a member of the FTSE 100 and seen as a UK technology success story.

There has been lots in the UK financial press since then as HP’s key argument is that they overpaid for Autonomy because of accounting manipulation. This is strongly denied by Automony founder Mike Lynch.

News stories:

Breaking down a 8.8$ million write off – from Musings on Markets blog (click to expand)

Aswath Damodaran’s Musings on Markets blog makes a strong case that even if HP is right this only accounts for $2.45 billion of the $8.8 billion write off – see HP’s Deal from Hell: The mark-it-up and write-it-down two-step.

The write off raises issues about the acquisition in terms of corporate strategy, leadership, corporate governance as well as the accuracy of Autonomy’s accounts.

Resources for more information:

Thomson One Banker – a deals module search will provide details of the deal: announced 18 Aug 2011, effective 3 Oct 2011, “UK – Hewlett-Packard Vision BV of the Netherlands, a unit of by Hewlett-Packard Co (HP),  completed the tender offer to acquire the entire share capital of Autonomy Corp PLC (Autonomy), a
Cambridge-based developer of infrastructure and information management software, for GBP 25.5 (USD 42.09)” [SDC deal number 2337968040]

[Update June 2014 – Thomson is (or is Thomson Reuters replacement product for Thomson One Banker.]

Thomson Research – analysts reports – For example, on 23 Aug 2011 Marc Geall of Deutsche Bank published a report on Autonomy Corp plc. This reported a change of recommendation to sell, since the shares were GDP 24.86 almost fully valuing the HP offer, and substantially higher that Deutsche Bank’s fundamental target price of GBP 17.50.

Business Source Premier (EBSCO): – several trade journals with articles on the HP aquisition of Autonomy. For example, (2012) ‘With Autonomy, H-P Bought An Old-Fashioned Accounting Scandal. Here’s How It Worked’ Forbes.Com, (November 20, 2012):p. 39, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 January 2013.

See also those posts with the mergers_and_aquistions tag.

Puttin’ on the Ritz – Sources for Data on Wealth

GUEST post – This is a slightly edited version of Michael Halperin’s post “Puttin’ on the Ritz …” on the Datapoints blog.

In the U.S. there is an increasing concentration of assets in the hands of the wealthy. This trend has given rise to phrases such as the “1%” and the “99%”.  Here are some data sources to help us answer such questions as “Who are the richest people?”, “How many of them are there?”, “How rich are they?”, and “How do they spend their money?”

Richest Lists

Forbes has a number of “richest people” lists in its magazine including Forbes World’s Billionaires and Forbes 400 The Richest People in America. In addition to names, photos, and net worth, the lists have information on residence, age, and source of income.  Using Forbes’ data, Wikipedia has compiled a convenient list of the Top 10 Richest People in the world by year from 2000 on.

[Bloomberg command RICH gives the Bloomberg Billionaires Index covering 100 people.]

Rich Demographics

Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management’s 2012 World Wealth Report is a freely available annual survey of “High Net Worth Individuals” (HNWI) from 70 countries. HNWI are defined as those with financial assets, excluding residence, of more than 1 million US dollars. Capgemini also discusses “Ultra HNWIs” individuals with financial assets of more than 30 million dollars. The report includes statistics on type of financial assets and a ranking of high wealth individuals by geographic area and country.

Two additional standard sources of information about the rich are the Luxury Institute and the Ipsos Mendelsohn Group.

Ipsos Mendelsohn does an annual U.S. study of 14,000 adults living in households with at least $100,000 in annual income. Although the University of Manchester Library, like the Penn Libraries, does not have access to their surveys of the affluent, you can often find data from these surveys cited in articles within the Business Source Premier or ABI/Inform databases. Try searching for luxury institute or mendelsohn affluent survey and search within the full-text.

The U.S. IRS Tax Stats Personal Wealth Statistics is published every three years.

[Table US Personal Wealth 2007 omitted – to view see original Puttin’ on the Ritz – Sources for Data on Wealth post on the Datapoints blog.]

[The UK National Statistics Publication Hub gives access to several wealth reports: Personal Wealth from HM Revenue and Customs, Wealth in Great Britain from Office for National Statistics and Wealth in Great Britain Wave 2 from Office for National Statistics.]

Marketing to the Rich

Marketing research publications are the obvious choice to answer questions about affluent marketing. Two good sources of information are [edited for University of Manchester resources]:


Affluent Investing (UK 2012); Consumer Attitudes Towards Luxury Brands (UK 2011), and Luxury Holidays (UK 2010). 

GMID (Global Market Information Database)

Luxury Travel: Experiencing the Best (2012) and Luxury Alcohol in the BRICS: How the BRICs are Reshaping the Luxury Alcohol Industry (2012).

The Datapoints blog includes a related post on resources for income distribution: I Dream of Gini – Measuring Income Distributions (Datapoints blog)

GUEST post – This is a slightly edited version of Michael Halperin’s post “Puttin’ on the Ritz …” on the Datapoints blog.

“FileBrowser” App Review- Access your PC from your Mobile Device

5 October 2012 2 comments

Do you sometimes wish you could access files and drives from your home or work computer to view on your iPad or iPhone?

The excellent “FileBrowser” app enables you to browse through all the folders and files in your Mac or PC remotely. You can open compatible file types in the app itself or save them and send them to other compatible apps like “Dropbox” all that is required to complete the task is to install the relevant VPN software.    

FileBrowser” is a universal app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The good thing about this app is you won’t have to install any additional software on your computer. You will only have to enable the appropriate network settings in your computer (e.g. File Sharing on the Mac), and then enter your username and password to login to your computer.

Aside from Mac and Windows, FileBrowser can also give you access to Linux systems and NAS drives. The app is pretty easy to setup for systems on your local network. To gain entry into your computer over the internet you’ll have to do so through using a VPN.

With File Browser, you can view PDF files and photo slideshows from your computer, open text documents, email attachments, and stream compatible movies and music over Wi-Fi. Should FileBrowser be unable to handle certain file types, you can use the “Open in” function to use the files in another compatible app. FileBrowser will then download the file into your device.

FileBrowser” does everything it says and works well and also offers security features, such as a password lock.

This is an app that will come in very handy for anyone who works with a computer which is, quite likely, almost everyone who owns an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. The app isn’t free but will certainly be of use when on the go.

Mergent archives now available from the Library

20 September 2012 Leave a comment

The library has recently acquired access to the Mergent Archives of corporate and industry related documents. This online database contains more than 700,000 historical corporate documents and reports, and can be accessed from anywhere on campus (or from home with a valid VPN connection).

As part of the subscription we also gain access to the sister product Mergent Online. This internet-based suite of information resources provides access to US company data, international company data and D&B private company data, to help assist and inform your business and financial research.

Mergent Archives allows you to access a vast collection of corporate and industry related documents, covering more than 100 countries and industries. Coverage goes back to 1909.  It includes PDFs of annual reports, the Moody’s manuals (later renamed Mergent): Bank & Finance, Industrial, International, OTC Industrial, Public Utility, Transportation, and OTC Unlisted.

For instant access provided by the University of Manchester Library:

Access Mergent Archive >>

Access Mergent Online >>

“Pages” creates perfect documents on your tablet device

9 August 2012 2 comments

The Pages app is an extremely powerful word processing application. It can do almost anything that the desktop version can do. It’s easy to use and anyone who has ever used Microsoft Word can pick it up in a few minutes. You can enter text and format however you want. It is perfect for creating documents, spreadsheets, letters or assignments.

Apple’s Pages is the document creation component of their iWork productivity suite of software, put simply it’s their version of Microsoft  “Word”. It is a companion app to the Keynote and Numbers apps and all three are universal apps that work on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Pages for the iPad is a slimmed down version of Apple’s word processor and page layout application, and it works surprisingly well for mobile document creation and editing. Like its big brother on the Mac, Pages for the iPad includes a nice set of text and graphics tools for making your documents look sharp. It includes tools for formatting text, applying text styles, placing graphics and applying effects, and building your own shapes and objects. The tools are surprisingly easy to use despite the fact that the only input tools are your finger tips.

Pages includes a nice set of effects and tools such as drop shadows, the ability to control object opacity, image rotation and scaling, smart guides, and auto-wrapping of text around objects. Watching text reflow around objects and images as you drag them is fantastic, especially considering you’re working with a tablet device.

It supports tables and charts like the Mac version and building charts works the same way: Drop in a generic chart, then double-tap to add the data you want. Simple.

Creating a new document is a straightforward process in Pages too and the app includes a file export option that saves your documents for sharing with other devices as Pages documents, Microsoft Word files, or PDFs.

Whilst not free, the Pages app is a guaranteed winner for those who need the ability to document create away from their desks.

The most powerful presentation app ever?

26 July 2012 3 comments

If you’re a new iPad owner and need a way to create, edit, and give presentations on the go, Keynote is Apple’s iCloud integrated solution. It was designed for Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, and the desktop version was used to give every one of his presentations, including the original iPhone and iPad introductions.

Apple’s Keynote is the presentation component of their iWork productivity suite of software, and a companion app to Pages for word processing and Numbers for spreadsheets. All three are universal apps that work on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, and popular choices for document management on the go.

While most of the iWork apps pale in comparison to Microsoft’s Office suite, Keynote is the possible exception. Again, it was made for and used by arguably the best corporate presenter in a generation, and that says a lot.

However, because Keynote and Powerpoint are both intended for the same purpose, there’s a lot of overlap in features, and if you’ve used Powerpoint, or Keynote on the Mac, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting used to Keynote for iPhone and iPad.

If anything, the layout and controls on iOS are even more intuitive than desktop presentation software. Once you’ve gotten the basics down, you’ll be creating amazing presentations that you can share with co-workers and friends with just a few taps.

From the main Keynote screen you can open, edit, delete or create a presentation. To create a new one just tap the “+” sign in the upper right hand corner and select Create Presentation. You’ll be presented with several templates that you can choose from.

Keynote’s user interface is also simple and streamline. In order to install the app to your device visit the iTunes store. Whilst not free, this app, native to your tablet, will revolutionise the way you present forever.

Remember if you’re using an iPad make certain to add the MBS Library Service page to your Home Screen for easy access to all the Resources we have to offer you for your research. Simply open our page then tap the arrow in a box symbol next to the top URL line and then select “Add to Home Screen”. You can even edit the name of the Web Icon, after you’ve done this – tap the “Add” button

BBA LIBOR – historical rates

12 July 2012 1 comment

The BBA (British Bankers’ Association) LIBOR is a primary benchmark for short term interest rates globally. For a full explanation of why bbalibor™ is now used, rather than LIBOR (London Inter Bank Offer Rate), read the historical perspective page.

You can follow BBALIBOR on Twitter for free daily updates of the three-month Sterling BBA LIBOR rate:

BBA LIBOR yield curve from Datastream

BBA LIBOR yield curve from Datastream (click to expand)

For research you will probably need historical time series data for BBA LIBOR. This is available through Datastream, Bloomberg Professional and Global Financial Database (GFD).

For  Datastream the category is interest rates and source British Bankers’ Association.

For Bloomberg Professional use functions BBAM or BBAL or the predicitive search for a specific rate.

For Global Financial Database (GFD) search GFDatabase for LIBOR.