Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Top 10 Business Schools Producing Billionaires

Ever wonder how many billionaires are produced inside the world's top business schools? Seven of the ten top billionaire-producing business schools are in the United States.
By a wide margin, Harvard University tops the list. Harvard has produced 335 Rhodes scholars and 150 Nobel laureates. Nonetheless, few know about Harvard Business School's stellar reputation, as the world's top producer of billionaires.
According to the annual Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census of 2014, as charted below by Statista, Harvard Business School (U.S.) has created 64 billionaires, far outpacing the second runner-up, Stanford University (U.S.), producing 23 billionaires from its Graduate School of Business. Following at a highly respectable distanced third is Columbia Business School (U.S.) with 14 billionaire alumni.
Rounding out the top 10 list of the world's business schools counting billionaires among their alumni are:
#4 University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business (U.S.) at 12;
#5 University of Chicago Booth School of Business (U.S.) at 10;
#6 INSEAD (France) at 9;
#7 New York University Stern School of Business (U.S.) at 7;
#8 International Institute for Management Development (Switzerland) at 5;
#9 University of Southern California Marshall School of Business (U.S.) at 5;
#10 London Business School (U.K.) at 4.
"Pursuing higher education is not a prerequisite for attaining billionaire status: 35% of the world’s billionaires do not have a bachelor’s degree and some even dropped out of high school," the Wealth-X report reveals.
Most of these remaining 35% of the world's billionaires, nonetheless, just attended high school, albeit perhaps, some pretty fine elite private high schools, which a good friend of mine who did, recently told me is all one really needs for a good life, when such a "great books" liberal education is obtained early on in one's life at the tender ages of 7-18 — The Wonder Years!
Notwithstanding, "of the 65% who have been awarded a bachelor’s degree, many go on to pursue further studies. For example, 21% of “educated” billionaires have a Masters in Business Administration, and 11% of “educated” billionaires hold a Ph.D.," the Wealth-X study reports.
Among these top 20 colleges and universities listed below (compiled by Wealth-X, including 16 inside the United States), having undergraduate alumni, who have gone on in life to become billionaires, only 16% of the world’s billionaires attended these schools; 84% did not, electing instead to attend among 700 alternative higher education institutions.
#1 University of Pennsylvania (U.S.) at 25 (billionaire undergraduate alumni)
#2 Harvard University (U.S.) at 22
#3 Yale University (U.S.) at 20
#4 University of Southern California (U.S.) at 16
#5 Princeton University (U.S.) at 14
#6 Cornell University (U.S.) at 14
#7 Stanford University (U.S.) at 14
#8 University of California Berkeley (U.S.) at 12
#9 University of Mumbai (India) at 12
#10 London School of Economics and Political Science (U.K.) at 11
#11 Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia) at 11
#12 University of Texas (U.S.) at 10
#13 Dartmouth College (U.S.) at 10
#14 University of Michigan (U.S.) at 10
#15 New York University (U.S.) at 9
#16 Duke University (U.S.) at 9
#17 Columbia University (U.S.) at 8
#18 Brown University (U.S.) at 8
#19 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.) at 7
#20 ETH Zurich (Switzerland) at 6
How wealthy are these billionaire business clubbers in 2014?
The annual Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census, which provides the most in-depth accounting of the world's wealthiest people, says:
  • The typical billionaire has a net worth of US$3.1 billion with mean cash-on-hand at US$600 million.
  • The typical billionaire is 63 years old.
  • The typical billionaire has nearly half of his or her wealth in ownership of privately-held businesses.
  • The typical billionaire owns four properties worth some US$94 million collectively.
  • There are a record 2,325 billionaires in the world today in 2014, up 7.1 percent from last year.
  • Four of five of these billionaires are men, of which 60% are "self-made" wealth owners (at US$3.2 billion in mean net worth), 26.9% collectively inherited and self-made their wealth (at US$2.9 billion in mean net worth), and 13.1% purely inherited their wealth status (at US$3.2 billion in mean net worth).
  • Men make up 2,039 of billionaires worldwide. They own 82.7 percent or US$6.4 trillion of the combined wealth of all billionaires, which increased by 12 percent in 2014 to US$7.3 trillion. Or better still, this amounts to about 4 percent of global wealth.
  • One in five billionaires are women, of which 65.4% are "self-made" wealth owners (at US$2.2 billion in mean net worth), 17.5% collectively inherited and self-made their wealth (at US$3.4 billion in mean net worth) and 17.1% purely inherited their wealth status (at US$3.5 billion in mean net worth).
  • Women make up just 289 of billionaires globally. These few remarkable women own just 12.8 percent or US$930 billion of the total wealth of all billionaires.
  • Just as astonishing, altogether, these billionaire's total wealth at US$7.3 trillion is far more than the combined market capitalization of all listed firms on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Slate reports.
Where do these billionaires reside around the world?
New York is home to the world's most billionaires at 103 — far ahead of Moscow with 85 billionaire residents and Hong Kong with 82 billionaires calling The People's Republic of China their homestead. Europe still has the largest number of billionaires, making the European Union (which includes several asset protectionsafe havens, including Lichtenstein, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and The Netherlands, to name just a few) as their permanent domicile, which one can see in the map from Statista below.
Eight of the 20 countries with the most billionaires are in Asia, says the 2014 Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census findings.
The Wealth-X record-breaking number of billionaires worldwide in 2014 (2013 shown in parenthesis) are as follows: North America is 609 (552); Latin America is 153 (111); Europe is 775 (766); Africa is 40 (42); Middle East is 154 (157); Asia is 560 (508); and finally The Southeast Asia Pacific is 34 (34).
How do these billionaire business school alumni maintain their capital reserves?
Wealth-X data reveals 46.9% of billionaires’ wealth is concentrated in their ownership of privately-held businesses — these are companies whose stock is not publicly traded. This amounts to 47%, or US$3.4 trillion, of the wealth of billionaires being privately-held, one and a half times more than the US$2.1 trillion, or 29%, of billionaire wealth being publicly-held.
This leaves 5.1 percent of the remaining wealth (about US$160 million in net worth) of these billionaires invested in real estate and luxury items (including art), and 19.1% (or about $600 million), as cash-on-hand ready for furtherance of investments and philanthropy (including charitable giving back to the colleges and universities that made 65% of these super wealth owners), according to Wealth-X.
As a result, billionaires tend to have huge capital reserves, which creates high-cash yield investments through structured financial instruments, such as interest-rate swaps, credit default swaps or foreign exchange rate derivatives, according to Simon Smiles, Chief Investment Officer of UBS Wealth Management.
In his discussions with billionaire clients across the world, Smiles says three questions are on the minds of billionaires and the trustees of their wealth trusts, "They want to know what they should do with their cash balances in a zero rate world of — apparently, after many false starts — rising inflation; what investment themes they should focus on over the longer term; and how they can generate investment returns less correlated to movements in global equity markets."
Smiles says inside the 2014 Wealth-X report, billionaires are constantly on the lookout for exotic investment strategies that not only protect, but also, substantially grow their wealth. Such wealth-creation means, especially attractive to billionaires, known as “alpha” strategies, involve investments that create cash out of risk advantages by selling derivatives and "exotic" financial instruments to structure low risk, higher cash yields, and greater returns on investments.
Billionaires are also interested in stakeholder management issues across global communities, involving what is termed as "secular" investments, involving rising standards of living, urbanization, and population growth, and their impact on heightened protein consumption, not only in developed countries, but especially in under-developed countries and emerging economies across Asia, writes Smiles.
"As a result, the investment opportunities offered by this long-term secular investment trend are varied: public equities, private equity, and direct investments, such as agricultural land and fisheries," Smiles typically advises his global high-net billionaire clients.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Apple iOS Bug Makes Most Devices Vulnerable To Attack, Researchers Say

BOSTON (Reuters) - Cybersecurity researchers have warned that a bug in Apple Inc'siOS operating system makes most iPhones and iPads vulnerable to cyberattacks by hackers seeking access to sensitive data and control of their devices.
Cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc published details about the vulnerability on its blog Monday, saying the bug enables hackers to access their devices by persuading users to install malicious applications with tainted text messages, emails and web links.
The malicious application can then be used to replace genuine, trusted apps that were installed through Apple's App Store, including email and banking programs, with malicious software through a technique that FireEye has dubbed "Masque Attack."
These attacks can be used to steal banking and email login credentials or other sensitive data, according to FireEye, which is well-regarded in cybersecurity circles for its research.
"It is a very powerful vulnerability and it is easy to exploit," FireEye Senior Staff Research Scientist Tao Wei said in an interview.
Officials with Apple could not be reached for comment.
Wei said that FireEye disclosed the vulnerability to Apple in July and that representatives with the company have said they were working to fix the bug.
News of the vulnerability began to leak out in October on specialized web forums where security experts and hackers alike discuss information on Apple bugs, Wei said.
Wei said that FireEye decided to go public with its findings after Palo Alto Networks Inc last week uncovered the first campaign to exploit the vulnerability, a new family of malicious software known as WireLurker that infects both Mac computers and iOS.
FireEye does not know of other attacks that exploit the bug, Wei said.
"Currently WireLurker is the only one, but we will see more," he said.
FireEye advises iOS users to refrain from install apps from sources other than Apple's official App Store and to not click "install" on a pop-up from a third-party web page.
The security firm said it verified this vulnerability on iOS 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1 and 8.1.1 beta, for both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Is Your Resume Telling Them Not to Call You?

Do you find yourself in the midst of job searching shaking your head and thinking that the people who are reading your resume must be idiots? Why can’t they see that you are the perfect candidate for the job? Why don’t they get that you have done exactly what they are asking for in your current or previous position? What is wrong with them?
Why don’t they call?
Nothing is wrong with them and they are not idiots. They are good people who are completely inundated with hundreds of resumes for one single position.
It is frustrating, I know. It is not my intent to add to the frustration in saying this next statement:
The disconnect may not be from the reader, but in the reading.
In other words – it just might be your resume, specifically, your experience section tells them not to call.
Take a look at your resume and focus on this portion. Read through it quickly, not from the mentality that it is yours, but from a removed prospective as someone looking for a candidate.
Now answer this question: did you just read a job description?
Too often previous or current positions are listed on a resume as a job description, detailing what you were hired to do.
We need to change that into points that clearly demonstrate your value.
To be direct: employers do not care what you were hired to do, they want to know what value you added to give them an indication of what you can do for them. They are looking for people that have skills and value to bring to the table, not just show up at work.

Making the transition

Let’s break this down in an easy to follow methodology and not entirely recreate the wheel.
We will start with what you have currently listed on your resume.
For each bullet point write at the end of the sentence “which resulted in…” and finish the thought. Each action you list on your resume has value, and if it does not it should not be listed.
To complete the sentence think about who or what benefited by you performing the task. It could be a process, a division, clients, team members or the organization.
Now let’s beef it up a bit, let’s think about the tasks you did and how you improved them.
Human nature is to find a simpler, easier way to perform tasks. You can call it being lazy, I call it improving efficiency. So what did you change to make your life easier in doing any task? This is an improvement and something you can list on your resume.
Now let’s think about who you interact with: who do you work with, how, what do you do, how do you do it, who benefits and in what way?
Let’s say one of your responsibilities is running a report. Sounds simple enough and you may even have it listed as “create weekly reports” or something as non-descriptive.
We need to break it down to build it up. Think about how you create the report – where do you gather the information, what system or process do you use in translating data; who do you give it to and how – do you email them, print it out or verbally discuss it with them; what is their role? Now let’s take it a step further – why do you run the report? How does the individual, team or division utilize the report, is it used for assessment or forecasting, what role does it play in the next step?
Take all this information and put it into a new bullet point. Phrases and words can add in could be: gather data from X departments, create weekly X report utilized by X Manager, forecast monthly goals, evaluate existing status, strategy, communicate, and so on.
Now we have gone from a task bullet to a value bullet.

Writing takes more than one take

When you are revising your experience bullet points do not try to write them the first go round in resume language. You will either get stuck very early on or you will create a phenomenal bullet and then become discouraged that nothing else sounds as good.
Write it as though you were having a conversation, get the most of your information as you can and then go back to clean it up.
I am a professional resume writer and I never write a first draft in resume language. My first drafts are a mess and combination of styles of writing and speaking. It is most important that I get the information down first and then go back to modify.
This is not easy to do, give yourself a break if it takes a few times to get just one bullet right. Do not beat yourself up when writing it; actually, take you out of it all together.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

What Charles Darwin Teaches Us About Hiring

Charles Darwin once said "It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change".
History has proved this correct time and time again. In evolution, in civilisation and also in the world of business. Berkshire Hathaway has been able to weather at least 3 financial crises. Google changes it product lines and algorithms almost quarterly. Starbucks has continuously managed to change it's menu and flavours in response to customer preferences and different global customer tastes.
Every business will have problems, and the only way to overcome problems is to change and try a different approach. On top of this add a fast changing modern world - technology, globalization and increased competition.
Dealing with problems and change requires a key skill. Adaptability.
Yet adaptability is dying. In fact a recent survey carried out by PwC actually found that 63% of CEO's worldwide are unable to recruit employees that can adapt to the requirements of their business.
But like many unwanted epidemics, falling adaptability is actually something us hiring managers have created ourselves.

The curse of specialization

We live in era of specialization. Nowadays there is a specialist for everything - recently my wife was even offered the chance to be introduced to a specialist breast-feeding coach (who visits clients twice a week, is almost fully booked and earns over £60K a year. We settled for YouTube in the end and things are still going very well).
Specialization is useful but like anything has it's limits.
As hiring managers, we have become too focused on relevant experience. Finding "ideal fits", overlooking the fact that the real world is more blurred and sometimes common sense prevails. If our workers are too focussed on one particular thing they will begin to lack everyday essential skills. And they certainly won't be able to deal with unexpected problems.
This fascinating article called "One Patient, Too Many Doctors" in Time Magazine this year summarizes this perfectly. The study shows that over specialization in American hospitals is resulting in more costly, sloppy and disorganised health care.
One patient admitted for shortness of breath was seen by EIGHTEEN specialists before being sent home without the issue being resolved.
Rather than trying to hire specialists for everything, we also need people who can adapt easily to solve problems.

The curse of industry experience

As hiring managers, we are obviously inclined to go with previous relevant experience. It's human nature to go with something that "seems" more certain.
But by hiring the same people from the same sector, we are hiring less adaptable employees. Those who do the same thing over and over again, eventually get used to doing nothing else.
As many studies (including much evidence mentioned in a past blog) have shown, hiring people from competitors has limited success. These candidates are much less likely to have worked in a new environment where they have learned to adapt quickly.
Like everything else, adaptability is something that gets better through practice.
When recruiting for adaptability, candidates who have demonstrated the ability to learn different things over and over again are better than those who have been working in a single sector.
Overspecialisation is killing adaptability.

Most hiring managers don't value adaptability

Perhaps the biggest barrier to hiring more adaptable employees is the fact that most hiring managers are simply not aware of it.
Studies such as this produced by the Harvard Business Review even mention that adaptability is the new competitive advantage in the workplace today.
Yet interviews are still focussed mainly on experience, qualifications and past achievements. The 90's and 00's was the time of specialization - and we were interested in screening hard against very specific requirements.
The current and future circumstances are very different. Things are changing fast and will continue to - only those who can adapt quickly can make consistent impact.
And plus, how do hiring managers screen for adaptability? How can they measure it?
If they don't know, they will simply ignore it.
And will eventually get caught and passed by others who are more able to embrace new opportunities.


Employee adaptability is one of the most essential requirements in business today.
Hiring Managers must make a conscious effort to ensure that all hires are not simply able to carry out the expected tasks today, but also are able to change quickly to grasp new opportunities, solve problems and react quickly to competition.
Conveyor-belt style hiring is over.
As Darwin said, only those who can adapt quickly will survive.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Job Interview Questions You Need To Get Right

I often get asked to provide guidance to people looking for a career in PR and communications and many of their queries focus on how to handle job interviews.
Despite recruiting for very different organisations and roles, I find most interviewers tend to have a very similar approach to asking questions. Job interviews are a bit like exam papers – the same topics are always there, just sometimes dressed up in different ways.
I’m always surprised, therefore, when so few candidates shine in addressing the most obvious topics.
In my experience there are six questions that are likely to appear, in one form or another, in most interviews and if you prepare properly, these questions should provide you with all the opportunity you need to sell yourself effectively.
1. Why do you want the job?
An unbelievably obvious question. So obvious, in fact, that candidates seem to overlook its significance and don’t prepare a strong answer.
At a very simple level, if you can’t explain really clearly why you are interviewing for this role at this firm, you won’t get hired.
But many people focus too much on “the job” part of the question rather than the more significant “why” and “you”. This isn’t the time to talk at length about all the great things the job would involve. The interviewers already know that. It is the time to explain why you want it more than anyone else.
This is often the first question you will be asked in an interview and should be your strongest answer. Use it to set the scene for themes or arguments you want to develop in the interview, demonstrate your passion and interest in the job, and highlight the key reasons why you would be the perfect candidate.
2. Can you give a practical example of when you have done this?
Most jobs involve a level of technical knowledge or expertise that potential candidates need to demonstrate. Sometimes in interview you will simply be asked if you have a skill or not – eg. “have you got experience in dealing with the press?”. However for each key skill you want to promote, you should prepare a practical example of how and when you have used it, to help bring your abilities to life.
If you are applying to be a line manager, for example, it’s not enough to say you have lots of experience in managing teams. Be prepared to give a brief example of the sorts of team dynamics you have dealt with, maybe an issue or two you’ve had to overcome and the skills you’ve developed as a result. Similarly if the role involves budgetary control, be ready to provide brief examples of the range of challenges this has provided you with and what you’ve learned.
Experience-based questions make for better interviews, both for the interviewer and the interviewee. The employer gets more honest and grounded answers, the candidate gets the chance to provide a more memorable response. Make sure you take it.
3. Why do you want to leave your current role?
Interviews are a chance for candidates to tell their personal story – their narrative, if you like. Providing a sense of the journey you are on, where you have come from and where you are heading helps employers to see the logic of why you are sat in front of them today.
Unfortunately many candidates find it uncomfortable to talk about their existing role. Perhaps there are some frustrations about the role that the question may bring to mind – i.e. poor pay, fallouts with the boss, etc. In most circumstances, these aren’t relevant to why you should be hired for the next job, so set them aside.
Instead, try and explain what you have gained from the role and how it has helped you to progress your career on to the next stage. This could be opportunities it has opened up (the chance to develop new skills or experience) or avenues it has helped to rule out (confirming that you would rather concentrate on one aspect of the work rather than another).
Whatever it is, how you talk about your current role says a lot about how you think about your career and also the sort of employee you are. Don’t miss this opportunity to continue to reinforce your overall story.
4. What do you want to be doing in five years’ time?
Although another question people often find tricky, this is actually the same question as the one above, but framed in a different way. It is best answered by going back to your core narrative. What is your overall sense of purpose, professionally? What have you learned so far and where do you want it to take you? Providing this context will help the employer understand why you see this job as the important next step in your career.
Usually (though it does depend on the job you are applying for), prospective employers don’t expect people to stay in their organisation forever, so don’t feel the need to pledge the rest of your working life to your would-be boss. You also don’t need to describe in detail where you will be in the future (how could you know?), just the type of role and activity you want to be involved in. So if you are applying to be a press officer, saying you want to progress to the role of manager and ultimately to head up a busy newsroom shows ambition, is a logical next step and is a motivation most employers would see as a positive.
Of course there are some obvious watchouts here too. Where you are heading in the future does needs to fit with the role you are currently applying for. If you want to be an air hostess and are applying to be a trainee accountant, a reasonable employer might think you aren’t likely to be a good long term prospect. Also, whilst five years in the future is a good timescale to think about your next move, be wary of bringing that any closer. It takes a fair amount of time and investment to get the most out of new hires and employers will see it as a negative if you give off the impression you will want to move on too quickly.
5. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made and what did you learn?
It’s a less obvious question, perhaps, but it’s still not unusual for employers to ask about your weaknesses, mistakes you’ve made or things you’ve got wrong. Answering it successfully definitely requires some thought and preparation. Unfortunately, saying nothing at all or providing a poor example is just as bad as highlighting a major failure on something that is key to the role you’re applying for.
What employers are looking for here is honesty, self-awareness and the ability to learn from mistakes. So talk about something you took personal responsibility for, what went wrong and then, critically, the learnings and insight you took from the experience. Even better, choose a story that has an element of humour about it. Ideally they will come away thinking you are human and occasionally mess up but, perhaps unlike other candidates, you are open in admitting your mistakes and have taken steps to ensure you don’t repeat them.
6. Do you have any questions for us?
The final question of a tough interview and by this point, most people simply want to get out of the room. Yet the invitation to ask the panel questions is often the best opportunity of all to showcase your skills and reinforce your key messages.
This is because it is the main or only time the panel will talk without the help of a pre-prepared script. By asking smart questions, it’s possible to engage them in a conversation about something that accentuates your strengths.
It also provides you with a chance to direct the conversation. So if you didn’t get a chance to mention something that’s relevant to your application, or didn’t do justice to a previous topic, a carefully worded question could provide you with the opportunity to have another go.
In addition, there’s more than one person doing the choosing at an interview. Let’s not forget, you also need to decide whether the job is right for you. Showing you have done your homework and have well thought-out questions will give off the impression you are taking the opportunity seriously and will also help you to make up your mind about them as an employer.
Preparing questions for the panel in advance is a must, but try and make notes as the interview progresses so that you have something fresh and relevant to ask. That said, this doesn’t give you permission to grill them for 20 minutes. Two or at most three brief questions will suffice. Interview panels work to tight schedules and they won’t thank you if your interrogation means they overrun or have to skip lunch.
I tend to find most hiring decisions tend to come down to the same core set of issues. Who has demonstrated they have the best skills to do the job? Who seems to be the best fit with our culture and approach? Who has the most potential to grow in the role and organisation? And also who wants the job the most?
As the core issues about hiring are often the same, so the questions actually used in interviews are also fairly consistent. Even if they are dressed up in a different way, these six questions are common in interviews and you should be certain your answers to each promote your best qualities to the full.