I had the opportunity to give a lunch talk on the global economic outlook to the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. While I made the case for slow growth in the U.S. (but no recession) and discussed various credit crunch scenarios, I particularly enjoyed the questions about globalization. One possible explanation for Asian stock market declines a few days ago is that market participants are realizing that Asia is not “decoupled” from economic performance in the United States and the rest of the industrial world. The discussion only highlighted for me the extent to which business leaders have to think globally even in assessing the local outlook.
A fantastic evening in Manila last night: a small group of Columbia Business School pillars of the Philippine business community and friends gathered with me at the Tower Club to join in singing popular standards with the very talented University of the Philippines Concert Chorus. We stayed for a dinner, hosted by Board of Overseers members Wash SyCip ’43 and Al Yuchengco ’50. Conversation centered on the School, what the current students are like, and the fun CBS students had on their recent trip to the Philippines. We also debated Asian “decoupling” from the U.S. economic situation and banking opportunities to the Asia-Pacific region. This morning I joined a dozen alumni for a breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel, hosted by Nori Gonzalez Poblador IV ’96. After a vigorous economic discussion, we talked about the upcoming Pan-Asian Reunion and the CBS Ambassador interviewing program.
I was struck by the warm feelings of the Philippine friends for Columbia Business School and Columbia University. The embraces and remembrances were fond and familiar. I was also keenly aware—as I am in so many conversations around the world—of the many connections our alumni have to each other and to the business leaders generally.
Home via Hong Kong coming up—but a great trip to Asia!