Cass Business School
I had naively speculated that if universities or business schools had to name a scholarship or a building after anyone, they would choose me rather than someone with a long and difficult to spell surname. I learned over the years that the privilege of this honour goes to the million dollar donor, not the person with the shortest surname.
On Tuesday I got off at London's Old Street station in the City and walked a few minutes to Cass Business School of City University. It's a brand new building, reputedly some £50 million, with only 3 or 4 million donated by Cass. The glass building with its see-through interiors certainly beats London Business School even with its Regents Park backyard.
Surrounded by prestigious law offices, this new building is only a stone's throw from the busy trading floors of Broadgate and Finsbury Square. Almost directly across the street is a Holmes Health Club, reputedly one of the best though its monthly fee is dwarfed by another designer health club nearby. I suppose that stressed out lawyers and traders are now only too happy to choose between visiting the designer spas or attending executive classes at the Cass Business School.
My professor friend took me to his office which was bursting with shelved and unshelved books. He complained that it was much smaller than his previous office in the old building. "Ah, but you get such a better view and more space outside your office," I exclaimed.
He had given up his director duties to spend more time on research. "But no matter how much you give up, you still can't avoid administration," he moaned. Meanwhile, as he showed me around the lecture halls and classrooms, we ran into several of his colleagues and staff. It seemed from their conversations that he had created an illusion that he was spending most of his time walking around, showing visitors, and going out to eat. A very cosy job, I thought.
"How do you manage to get your work published in so many distinguished journals, speak at so many conferences, and supervise so many research students?" I asked.
He confessed that he had to work nights, when no one was around to witness the tough life of an academic.
31 January 2003 Friday