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MBA Students: Should Greece exit the Euro?

As the Eurozone faces its largest challenge to date, we asked Greek MBA students what decision Greece should make on the bailout package

By  Harriet Murdoch

Wed Nov 9 2011

With Greece due to run out of money in a couple of weeks, the pressure is on from the rest of the Eurozone and superpower nations for the country to either default on their debt or accept the bailout package.

We asked Greek MBA students how they thought their government should act, asking them "Should Greece exit the Euro?" 

What are your thoughts on Greece's dilemma?


Antonios Giannakoudakis, MBA at Edinburgh Business School

"It is not just a question of whether Greece should leave or not. It is a responsibility both from Europe and Greece to overcome this crisis and prove that Europe can be considered a union that can cope with any difficulty. In any other case it is not a question of Greece staying in Europe but a question of whether there should be a European union or not."

Michalis Meimaroglou, MBA at Athens University of Economics and Business

"My opinion is that we should not exit the euro, but we need to do a much better job to align ourselves with the new requirements and fix our issues. At the end of the day, we need to fix the situation in Greece even if we exit the euro."

Christos Kosmas, St Gallen MBA Alumni

"As far as the Greek people are concerned, the country should certainly not leave the Eurozone, as the people would be worse off both in the short and in the long run. Of course, by doing so, Greece might be able to quickly become more competitive by devaluing its currency, however this is just a polished way of saying that wages’ purchasing power and market values will be reduced severely, which can in any case also be accomplished without the change of currency. In addition to that, by exiting the Euro, double-digit inflation will dominate the land in the short term, with all the too well-known consequences this has on economic activity and social peace. I will even go as far as to state that, without Eurozone membership, the country would be under comparatively less pressure to balance its accounts, and therefore it may well end up consistently running deficits and subscribing to long-term high inflation as in previous decades, rather than achieving some sort of exchange rate equilibrium after an adjustment period. On the contrary, by taking drastic measures like reducing the public sector, privatizing public property, liberalizing the labor market up to other EU-countries standards, and upgrading the state machine’s efficiency (e.g. concerning tax collection and justice), the Greek people would be in no worse state than if the country had exited the Euro, whereas the country itself would be able to service its debt just as effectively, if not more so due to the adverse effect introduced by adopting a weak currency.

"Concerning the other Eurozone countries, I am not in the position to declare where their best interests lie, financially-wise or in any other way. What I can say is that, in this matter, Eurozone countries are facing decisions that are definitely larger than today’s crisis (it is needless to say that Greece is also facing a critical challenge: it must prove that it can indeed fit into this family, even in this late hour, regardless of its current bad state of affairs). Naturally, as a Greek, I am inclined to be disappointed by the reactions of some member-states’ leaderships that have openly proposed that Greece should exit the Euro, though I do not fail to see the frustration caused by the country’s incoherent reaction so far.

"The suggestion that posing this question may be little more than a bluff to motivate Greece’s political establishment to quit its populist and uncooperative behavior is neither convincing nor encouraging, although it seems to have motivated people to cooperate for now. Unfortunately, it also suggests that the Union may not be progressing towards further integration, but moving away from it. On the other hand, this is the Eurozone’s first big crisis and, as such, its first major test. It remains to be seen how the situation will evolve, however, in any case, my personal view is rather optimistic."

Orestis Papavasileiou, MBA at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School

“I believe that Greece should definitely remain within the Eurozone, due to the fact that a common currency between the European countries enhances border commercial opportunities. Therefore, Greek corporations and entrepreneurs have the prospect of doing business in a wider market with a plethora of opportunities and minimal geographical limitations. For the record, the ancient Greek economy by 600 B.C. was based in a common currency used by the Athenians in their transactions with their colonies. The system succeeded and Athens became a big power through strong leadership and central governance.

"Nowadays, there is a single currency in Europe but there is no support of a common financial law to prevent from anarchy. Greece was overspending and Germany was over lending under this client based relationship that exists between many European countries at the moment. Banks are always happy when their clients are in debt. And Greece was a very good client for the big “European” Banks buying military equipment, energy, services etc from Germany and France with the money that they provided via huge loans.

"Greece should not exit the Euro, however the lack of leadership and financial governance in Europe seems to be disastrous and Greece might be the first of several domino pieces to fail!”