Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Elegant Academy: Finishing School

The legendary Castle of Chillon at the placid Lake Geneva and against the backdrop of the breathtaking Alps. Switzerland is famous not only for chocolates and jewelry, but also for its elegant  finishing schools for girls. 

Let's have a taste of grandeur and elegance with the sophisticated world of finishing schools and travel to the fascinating country of Switzerland!

Switzerland, a small country in Western Europe between France and Italy, has long been renowned for its extremely gorgeous and clean environment, from its rocky regions to its captivating countryside, the country is endowed with magical scenery and relaxing countryside. 

Switzerland is not only for tourists but also for individuals who want to enhance their learning on social and cultural subjects through its world-famous finishing schools. The country is very popular among the rich and the famous due to the high quality of learning provided by its schools. 

Physicists Albert Einstein and Wilhelm Roentgen were just few of the people of learned science that obtained their college diploma at one of the schools in Switzerland. Both graduated from mathematics and physics at the renowned Polytechnic Institute in Zurich. 

Swiss culinary schools are also praised as "exceptional" compared to other culinary schools in other parts of the world. In the last decades, however, Switzerland earned another accolade  of being the venue of elegant learning, this time about finishing school. No other country in the world offers the best school for character refinement and etiquette than Switzerland.

Finishing school is a private school for girls with strong emphasis on social, cultural and etiquette subjects. The concept of a finishing school is to prepare the girls for a role in the business world and society by refining their character and social skills, not so much rigorous academics but more on correct manners and self-development.

Due to its highly expensive tuition fees, finishing schools are mostly for wealthy girls. Most daughters of European royals and aristocrats attended finishing schools in Switzerland. Diana, Princess of Wales had once  attended Institut Alpin Videmanette and Queen Anna Marie of Greece went to Institut Le Mesnil. Today, only one Swiss finishing school had survived, the Institut Villa Pierrefeu.

This highly glamorous and very exclusive finishing school is located in Glion, a village in the French-speaking municipality of Montreux around Lake Geneva. Its location exudes serenity and relaxation, clean air and invigorating scenery surrounded with the breathtaking Alps. 
  
But Swiss finishing schools served teenage girls and adult women aged 16 years and above only and not so much on children. The purpose is to provide them with lectures on social and cultural etiquette and graces, art, creative development and home management.

In other parts of the world, finishing school is not a trend as education is mostly defined as predominantly academics but in today's globally competitive society, multinational corporations began to look on the other aspect of personality of their prospective employees and a person's emotional quotient is more valued than intelligence quotient, this is because, a well-motivated and correctly mannered person is more effective than a person with a high IQ. At finishing school EQ is given enough attention.

The trouble with the education system, (particularly in the Philippines) at most pre-school, children are submitted right away to rigorous academics and not so much on the basic essential of manners and etiquette, art and self-development, thus most of these tots grow up with the kind of childhood orientation they received.

Since the world is now becoming so eccentric and weird, maybe it's high time to enforce or at least introduce finishing schools at pre-school years, parents may take an option to home school their toddlers before going to elementary school using the concept of a finishing school focusing more on character refinement, social etiquette and self improvement and on how to be correctly mannered in dealing with different people in the society. If this will be introduced to children at such a young age or at their formative years, there's no doubt why the world would not have charming and well-mannered inhabitants in the future.

Finishing school's curriculum is mostly consists of the following:
  • Social and cultural etiquette
  • International etiquette and protocol
  • Home management
  • Art and languages

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Intelligent Investing

Warren Buffet, the third richest man in the world and one of the most brilliant investors in American history, is the one I looked up to when it comes to intelligent investing.

Your eyes probably lit up after reading the title of this entry, it's because the title is quite famous, it's almost called the bible of billionaires!

It used to be the title of the book written by Benjamin Franklin, the mentor of one of my favorite billionaires in the world - Warren Buffet.


Warren Buffet is the CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the largest investment company in the world. He had been trading in the stock market since his high school days, he learned further investment techniques through Benjamin Franklin. Buffet, the current third richest man in the world  according to Forbes Magazine is considered one of the most brilliant investors in American history. 


I've long been following his life and his investment strategies and made my own research how to practice intelligent investing, so now I'm studying (on my own) the intricate world of trading both in Foreign Exchange and Stock Market. I've no enough money to start with but based on the testimonies of successful traders,  money is not really a big issue, it's always one's strong determination to succeed that matters most.

When I started my MBA at Ateneo I thought of taking Investment and Finance as my field of concentration, unfortunately, it was not offered the time I took my elective subjects so I ended up choosing Marketing Management as my field of concentration.

Lately, I've been analyzing my future and my life in general. Unlike in the past where I am very afraid to talk about my future alone, now I am comfortable with it. No more fear. No more anxiety. I am prepared to sail into the sunset of my life alone. 

My biological clock is slowly entering the red zone and still no traces of a future partner hovering my horizon. So I must get myself ready for a solitary life, what I should do now is to prepare for my retirement to live a comfortable life free from worries.

I have a small, home business of organic products--Dew of Nature's soap and lotion, but I feel this is not good enough to be financially secured, I need to look for more alternatives how to increase my financial portfolio. After conducting so many research about intelligent investing, I discovered that putting considerable investment to mutual funds and foreign exchange trading is a wise move.

For now, I am carefully studying the moves. Mutual fund offers plenty of advantages and has higher returns than putting investment directly on stock market, this is because mutual funds are managed by a fund manager who is more expert in that field so the risk is lower. However, Forex trading is very risky but very profitable and provides higher return of investment compared to mutual funds.

The biggest stock market in the world is New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) but it is relatively smaller when compared to the Foreign Exchange Market. The average trading volume everyday at Forex Market is $4 trillion against $74 billion of NYSE, so why not join this form of trading?But there are risks to consider when thinking about forex trading.

I am carefully studying the techniques and tools in Forex Market and hope to come up with a concrete system in the coming months, but to play safe and protect my hard-earned money, the best option is to choose mutual funds. Whatever comes up in the succeeding months, hope God will guide me. 


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mother Earth Destruction

Last Saturday, June 16, 2012, my colleagues in the university invited me to join them for a property viewing at one of the suburban areas in Davao City. We went to the office of the Real Estate Agent at half past noon then brought us to the three areas where the property development would take place in three years time.

While looking at the area, I felt very sad upon seeing the massive destruction done by property developers to the mother earth. It is simply disappointing to see the green environment ruined, the cool and relaxing trees and plants cannot be seen and felt anymore.

Why on earth the government allowed this to happen? Why there's no law implemented that would control which portion of the environment only allowed to be developed for subdivision?

Property developers are so rude, greed and selfish!All they think is money and their riches but never think of what is good for the environment and the government tolerated and cooperated this bad act!

I am so sad seeing the beautiful and breezy surroundings and the landscape of green plants, trees and hills being torn apart. It's no surprise that global warming is rapidly taking place.

This is the irony of all....the government has this so-called "Climate Change" program that would help minimize the green house effect/global warming and that they are calling all citizens to support and join this program to help save the environment and yet they give permit to developers to ruin the environment and the nature. Are they insane????

The freshness of the environment is very relaxing. The destruction of the Mother Earth due to massive urban development where hinterlands are being converted to subdivisions is very alarming and sad.

After touring around the area and see the destruction of the natural wonders of the mother earth, I made up my mind to go back to the province and spend my retirement there where green plants and trees are still abundant, I don't want to witness another calamities that would take millions of lives again because of the cruelty of the government officials and property developers.


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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Top Universities in Asia


Quacquarelli Symmonds Intelligence Unit (QSIU), an international research group, released its listing of world's top academic institutions for 2011. The ranking of world's best universities is determined through these primary indicators: RESEARCH INTENSITY and ACADEMIC REPUTATION

Academic Reputation from global survey - 30%
Research paper per faculty - 30%
Faculty-student ratio - 20%
Employer reputation from global survey - 10%
Proportion of international faculty and students - 10%

Among the top 400 universities in the world, only five universities managed to come up a perfect score of 100 on each area.

University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Harvard University (United States)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Yale University (United States)
University of Oxford (United Kingdom)

QSIU also released the listing of Asia's top universities for 2011.

TOP TEN:

1. The Hongkong University of Science and Technology - Hongkong
2. National University of Singapore - Singapore
3. University of Hongkong - Hongkong
4. Seoul National University - South Korea
5. The Chinese University of Hongkong - Hongkong
6. Peking University - China
7. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology - South Korea
8. The University of Tokyo - Japan
9. Pohang University of Science and Technology - South Korea
10. Kyoto University - Japan

In Asia, People's Republic of China, South Korea, Japan and Singapore have the most universities included in the world's ranking of best universities. 

Philippines has five universities included in the list of Asia's 300 best academic institutions, four in the National Capital Region and one in Davao City, Mindanao. 

University of the Philippines-Diliman ranked 68th and Ateneo de Manila University ranked 86th, De La Salle University and University of Sto.Tomas ranked 142nd and 148th respectively while Davao City's University of Southern Philippines managed to make it to the list as Asia's 251st best university.

In the world listing, UP-Diliman ranked 332nd with a score of 53.0 for its academic reputation and its research intensity is moderate. Ateneo de Manila University ranked 360th with an academic reputation score of 41.4 and research intensity is limited.

The Hongkong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

This university, which is located at Clear Water Bay Kowloon, Hongkong, opened its doors to students only in 1991, six years before Great Britain turned over the administration of Hongkong to China. 

The university goal is simple: create, don't replicate.

In the world listing, HKUST ranked 22nd as the best university with a score of 98.9 in academic reputation. Its research intensity is very high just like Cambridge and Harvard.

What made HKUST number one in Asia is its devotion to education and research with state-of-the-art laboratories. The university comprises of five colleges: Business and Management, Engineering, Humanities, Sciences, one graduate school in Guangzhou, research centers and institutes. It has world-class international faculty members with Ph.D degrees.

For more information about HKUST, visit its official website HERE






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Top Universities in the World

For three straight years now, England's University of Cambridge is named the best university in the world .  The standard and ranking of top universities in the world is determined through the institution's research intensity and academic reputation. The ranking is partly based on the endorsement of the Quality Assurance Agency and External Reviewers of Learning and Teaching.

What made the University of Cambridge number one is its world-class and original research output, scholarly activities of students, extensive and high technology facilities/resources and world-expert instructors.

University of Cambridge in England, the school of the brightest and best regardless of background.

There's a popular saying that goes "If you want to take up business and law  and become an expert in that field, go to Harvard University, but if you want to take up science and mathematics and become a scientist, go to Cambridge University". 

Here are the World's Best Universities:

1. University of Cambridge - United Kingdom
2. Harvard University - United States
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology - United States
4. Yale University - United States
5. Oxford University - United Kingdom
6. University of College London - United Kingdom
7. University of Chicago - United States
8. University of Pennsylvania - United States
9. Columbia University - United States
10. Stanford University - United States

PROFILE OF THE WORLD'S BEST UNIVERSITY

1. University of Cambridge

Statistics:

Research Intensity- very high
Academic Reputation - 100
Employer Reputation - 100

Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge remain's the world's top university and leading academic center.  It is made up of self-governing and independent colleges with its own property and income.  It is regarded as one of the most difficult schools to get into because of its very stiff and highly competent admission process. You cannot attend Cambridge unless you are highly intellectual and well-motivated.

The colleges are also responsible of appointing their own staff, selection of students in accordance with the university's regulation and standard. The lectures are organized by the university while learning supervisions are organized by the self-governing colleges. Each graduation is a separate act of the university's governing body called the Regent House but the degrees are conferred by the university.

The manicured lawn of the University of Cambridge.

It houses 31 colleges of which three are exclusive for women students, two for graduate studies and other colleges are mixed with students enrolled in different courses at the University. It has several buildings and museums too that feature collections of many treasures and scholarly activities of students. 

Its reputation as the world's best university is based on the intellectual achievement of its students, world-class published original researches, extensive resources and world expert instructors. Its teaching consists not only of lectures, seminars and practical classes but also personalized teachings and students are given opportunities to interact with scholars in all levels.

The University of Cambridge maintained high emphasis on applied mathematics and sciences particularly on mathematical physics, thus, considered as a home of most of the world famous inventors and scientists.

Its most notable alumni include:

Sir Isaac Newton (Laws of Motion)
Stephen Hawking (Theoriticial Physicist, developed Quantum Gravity)
Sir Francis Bacon (Responsible for the development of scientific method)
William Oughtred (Inventor of the logarithmic scale)
John Wallis (Inventor of modern calculus)
James Clerk Maxwell (who developed the electromagnetic theory)
Charles Darwin (developed the theory evolution by natural selection)
Ernest Rutherford (father of nuclear physics)
Francis Crick and James Watson (worked out a model for the three-dimensional structure of DNA)
Henry Cavendish (discoverer of Hydrogen)
Paul Dirac (discover of antimatter and of the pioneers of Quantum Mechanics)
Frank Whittle (co-inventor of the Jet Engine)
Lord Kelvin (formulated the original Laws of Thermodynamics)
J.J. Thomson (discoverer of electron)
Alan Turing (inventor of Turing Machine-a basic model for computation)

....there are more world renowned scientists, economists and writers that educated in the University of Cambridge. Most of the scientific discoveries and developments of the above-mentioned scientists and inventors were done in the University's laboratories. Its graduates won a total of 88 Nobel Prize Awards already, considered as the highest numbers won than any other universities in the world.

Coat-of-Arms of the University of Cambridge

The central administration of the university is composed by the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor. But the Chancellor's role is purely ceremonial and the vice chancellor is the real administrator of the institution. His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, had been the university's Chancellor until his retirement in June 2011 on his 90th birthday. He was succeeded by Lord Sainsbury of Turville, David Sainsbury.

How to study at the University of Cambridge?

Going to Cambridge University is not easy and how applicants perform in the interview process determines his or her fate to enter the university. It is the school of the brightest and best regardless of background of ethnicity and race.

The evaluation of applicants give more points on original creativity and thinking, so the applicant's IQ and EQ should be balanced. High academic grades are also crucial in the admission process at Cambridge, applicants must have a straight A levels in his or her academic records.

According to its official website "While academic strength is a pre-requisite, it does not guarantee acceptance. We are looking for well-motivated students who are well-matched for the courses they have chosen".

International Students:

For international students there are three costs you'll need to consider: tuition fees, college fees and living expenses. Accommodation is provided by the Cambridge Colleges and must pay a specified amount for the board and lodging and pastoral care. For more information visit Cambridge's study opportunities here.

              University of Cambridge





Thursday, June 7, 2012

Celebrity not Royalty

Kate Middleton with Prince William and celebrity, Tulisa, wearing the same dress on a different occasion.
Kate Middleton right and Kim Kardashian left. Middleton is slowly ushering the British throne into the mold of merely celebrity, an idea dreaded by the royal family.

As a loyal royalist, even in the beginning of their courtship, I detested Kate Middleton and extremely against on Prince William's relationship with her. I always believe that the Prince, who is so closer to the throne, should never marry a non-aristocratic woman to protect the prestige and magical existence of the monarchy.

I always feel that Middleton could pull down even more the prestige of the British throne because of her unfamiliarity with the royal life. Now, my fear is slowly coming true. Kate Middleton who did not deserve to be called "HRH" is slowly pushing the monarchy into the territory of merely film stars and not royalty, a thing dreaded by the royal family.

During her first joint oversea's tour with Prince William, Prince Charles was reportedly alarmed by the turn of event when the news surfaced in England that the couple acted like Hollywood celebrities, the Prince of Wales with due respect to his parents, is very cautious not to give an impression that royals are like movie stars. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh never signed for autograph even at the request of the media and never grant on-the-spot interviews without passing the palace's press office because they did not want to act like movie stars.

At the Royal Flotilla where royal family members passed through the River Thames, Middleton wore something that had been worn by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Tulisa. Why she is not wise enough to choose a wardrobe carefully?And that was so red!in contrast to the dress worn by the Queen which is very immaculate, appropriate for the occasion. 

By choosing that ridiculous scarlet dress the commoner Kate reduced to the status of Kim Kardashian. I always felt that this woman did not blessed with the right common sense and was not tutored properly with correct social graces. May the Queen will live longer to prevent Middleton from becoming a Queen Consort and the throne by that time, I hope would be passed directly to Prince Harry whom I prayed to be ended up with an aristocrat.


Friday, June 1, 2012

World's Richest Royals


Each year, when Forbes magazine released the top ten list of World's richest people, everyone is surprised why the famous royals in the world--who are perceived to be extremely wealthy-- are not included in the list. The reason for this is, most often than not, the wealth and fortune of world's royalty are tied with their position as heads of state therefore should not be credited to their names alone.

What made them different from the world's richest people is that royalty's wealth and fortune are usually part of their inheritance and tied with their with birthright, the world's richest people are usually self-made billionaires.

Here, I am going to present the richest royals in the world based on the survey conducted by Forbes magazine in 2011. Who is the world's richest royal? Don't be surprised and raised eyebrows but it's the monarch of Thailand who is the richest!

Gosh, would you believe it?To think that no citizens of Thailand made it to the top 20 listing of Forbes magazine's richest people in the world, this result comes a huge surprise, and wait, Thailand is a third world country!

This means that the world's most famous royals -- the European royalty -- are relatively poorer compared to the royalty in Asia.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the world's richest royal and the longest reigning monarch in the world in modern times

TOP TEN RICHEST ROYALS IN THE WORLD:

1. King Bhumibol - Thailand
Net worth: $ 30 billion
Age: 84
Status: Married
Position: King of Thailand

King Bhumibol of Thailand is surprisingly the richest royal in the world with a net worth asset of $30 billion. His sudden rise to wealth came as a surprise because few years ago when the Sultan of Brunei was the world's richest royal, the 84 year-old King of Thailand was no where in the list.

The Thai King is also the world's longest reigning monarch in modern times, longer than Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain who just celebrated her 60th year on the throne. He ascended the Thai throne in 1946. Much of his wealth was built through investments in Thailand.

2. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah - Brunei
Net worth: $ 20 billion
Age: 65
Status: Married
Position: Sultan of Brunei

The sultan of Brunei started his long reign in 1968 when the sultanate of Brunei was still an absolute monarchy and in 2006, the sultan was reportedly amended its constitution allowing different reforms to take place in the state but he has still full executive authority. He now reigns not only as Sultan but also the Prime Minister, Commander-in-Chief of its Armed Forces and Minister of Defense and Finance.

In Brunei, Social Services are well provided. Education and Medical services are free and the people are free from taxes. The sultan derived its wealth from the oil and gas industry in Brunei with various investments.

3. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud - Saudi Arabia
Net worth: $ 18 billion
Age: 87
Status: Married
Position: King of Saudi Arabia

He is the current ruler of Saudi Arabia. He came to the throne in 2005 on the death of his brother, King Fahd, who had no living sons. In Saudi Arabia, Salic Law is maintained prohibiting a woman nor descendants through a woman from ascending the throne.

The King is now 87 years old and has 13 wives and 25 children. Most of his fortune is derived from oil and gas industry.

4. President Khalifa bin Zayedal Nahyan - UAE
Net worth: $ 15 billion
Age: 64
Status: Married
Position: President of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Emir of Abu Dhabi

Emir is synonymous to the title "Prince". The UAE President is also the high ranking official or the sovereign prince of Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE. His fortune is derived mostly from the investments in the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority where he is the current chairman.

5. PM Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - UAE
Net worth: $ 4 billion
Age: 62
Status: Married
Position: Prime Minister of UAE

He is the current Prime Minister of UAE and the constitutional monarch of Dubai. His fortune is derived from his majority share in Dubai Holdings and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Just like other conservative male royals in the middle east who believed that royals should only marry fellow royalty, Maktoum married into royalty and his most known wife is Princess Haya of Jordan, daughter of the late King Hussein.

6. Prince Hans Adam II - Liechtenstein
Net worth: $ 4 billion
Age: 66
Status: Married
Position: Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein

Prince Hans Adam II is the richest crown head of Europe. His source of fortune is LGT Banking Group, Europe's largest investment and asset company. The Sovereign prince descended from the Hapsburg line of the former Imperial Austria.

Liechtenstein is a small country located between Austria and Switzerland and its capital city is Vaduz. The Prince of Liechtenstein is the country's head of state.

7. King Mohammed VI - Morocco
Net worth: $ 2.5 billion
Age: 48
Status: Married
Position: King of Morocco

The King of Morocco derived his fortune through  investments in Siger Holdings.

8. Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Net worth: $ 2.5 billion
Position: Emir of Qatar

9. Prince Albert II - Monaco
Net worth: $ 1 billion
Age: 54
Status: Married
Position: Sovereign Prince of Monaco

Prince Albert II is the second richest crown head of Europe and richer than Queen Elizabeth II of Britain. He ruled Monaco, a tiny principality southwest of France, since 2005 on the death of his father, Prince Rainier III.

The Prince, whose personal life was the subject of intense media speculations in the past decades, just got married in 2011 at the age of 52 to a South African born Olympian, Charlene Wittstock. The couple still has no children, in the event that his wife could not provide a legitimate heir, Albert's successor is his older sister, Princess Caroline who married secondly to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's cousin, Prince Ernst Augustus of Hanover, in 1999. 

10. Prince Aga Khan IV - Imam of Nizari (Iran)
Net worth: $ 800 million
Age: 75
Status: Married
Position: Imam of Nizari

He is an international businessman and a racehorse owner and breeder. He now lives in France with his family. Imam of Nizari is an ancient title of Persian royalty.

Two other European monarchs are included in the top 15 list. Queen Elizabeth II of Britain placed 12th with a net worth assets of $450 million while Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is 14th with a net worth assets of $200 million.