Core courses: done

Posted by: Gonzalo

After a rather quick ten months the EMBA core courses are all but done – only a couple of individual assignments left. Some of us will be moving swiftly into the Capital Markets and Financing block week, some will be going on the South Africa International Assignment and others will chill until September. Good stuff.

I was advised when I started writing the blog that I should try to make lists, that bullet points make posts readable and appreciated. So I thought I’d summarise some key personal learnings from the core experience:

- From reading all (well, sometimes not all) those cases across several modules it appears that common sense is not that common in business. I’ll be careful when making decisions not to hold my opinion too highly and to question my assumptions.
- It seems that more than half of the value of the EMBA journey is to be found in figuring out exactly what it is you want to do. Over the course of the last ten months, time became a constrained resource and paths became easier as I intuitively preferred to do some things over others. Being very busy can, temporarily, be a good thing.
- My partner will be doing the full time MBA starting in four weeks. They’ve already had a bunch of networking events. Over the last ten months I’ve made some good friends and forged key connections for the future. Someone pointed out yesterday that I haven’t done enough networking. Big ‘to do’ for 2014/15.
- I’ve read some articles questioning the value of the EMBA. I think this is very hard to assess objectively. Empirically, I have made a couple of moves at my current job that wouldn’t have happened without it and I got interviewed by a company that wouldn’t have paid attention to me before I had the MBA stamp on my CV. I believe it is worth it now and value will increase as I go along my career.
- Horses for courses. I just love that phrase. No literal translation to Spanish. Probably hard to tailor the core courses to everyone’s development wishes and I certainly found some content repetitive from my previous education. Same with the faculty, hard (but not impossible) to find unanimous opinions. I think it is key to segment quality of content from quality of delivery though. Hard to tick both boxes all the time (but not impossible).

Looking forward to the electives…

Read the rest of this entry »

Businesses in Britain and across the world are only just beginning to touch on the impact technology is having on operations, routes to market, and how leaders behave. This year’s Global Leadership Summit focused on “Generation Tech”; a broad and deep subject matter that touched upon the multi-faceted way technology is impacting businesses, societies and individuals.

One of the key takeaways I got was that business needs to be agile in adopting the latest shifts in technology in order to be more responsive to consumers. Technology can often be seen as a disruptor to the established order of things and this can breed a resistance to change. Companies that fail to change are doomed to failure. Paraphrasing LBS Professor Gary Hamel, “CEOs who are personally resistant to change fail their employees, shareholders and customers”.

Therefore, it is imperative that companies from various sectors be agile in adopting the shifting sands of technology. This does not mean a “technology first” approach but rather using technological gains as part of a business leader’s toolkit. As Royston Seaward, Partner at Deloitte said, “organisations think too much about their product and not enough about how their customers want to use that product”. So beware: don’t put the cart before the horse!

Business leaders who are in service industries are only now waking up to the immense power big data and the analysis that comes from that can be used in providing personalised services for their customers. Those who are at the vanguard of this create a competitive advantage for their businesses. What it takes is for the combination of available technology and old-fashioned intuition and risk-taking.

The businesses that will be successful in the future are those who are agile enough to see where the power rests in their sectors and then utilising the right “toolkit” to take advantage of this. Professor Julian Birkinshaw was particularly persuasive in identifying the changes in the computing and car manufacturing sectors over the last few decades and how easily it can be for today’s established companies to be tomorrow’s minnows. Business leaders need to take a macro view of their sector and identify where the particular points are in the value chain that control the most power: influence, bargaining etc, and how they can bring the resources at their disposable to take advantage of these areas.

The final point I want to bring up is the impact GenY will have on businesses. This generation is the first that has been brought up with emerging technology and a globalised marketplace where the tyranny of distance has been defeated by the ease of the internet. GenY employees (and future leaders) are more flexible and place greater emphasis on corporate missions than Baby Boomers or GenX. The challenge for GenY is how to take this inherent risk-tolerance and combine it with the steely resolve needed to be successful business leaders. The future of business will be ‘mission-first’ with a greater emphasis on their purpose and product generation than quarterly results. This means how we picture business leaders will need to shift: if you are an existing business leader you must recognise than a GenY rival is more prepared to use (social) media to promote their mission and to quickly build up brand awareness. So don’t be complacent!

London Business School’s Global Leadership Summit was an outstanding success and demonstrates the power of having in one room academic, business and social leaders bouncing around ideas and views with each other. Businesses are facing increasing strains from diverging social, technological and demographic trends so this year’s summit was particularly important to creating the right framework to approach “Generation Tech”. I am certain that next year’s summit will be just as interesting as this one!

Read the rest of this entry »

A sense of community

Posted by: Gonzalo

It seems hard to believe, but the September EMBA has now transitioned into the final term of the first year. I was really eager to get back to school after the break and the Corporate Finance 2 and Operations Management modules look like they are going to be very interesting. The Social Committee guys, who go out of their way to organise events, send a newsletter before every weekend and in it the EMBAs can find the “quote of the week”. I am not one for quotes, but I will remember the “who to be impressed by” rule of thumb provided by the Finance professor: “[In Central London] don’t be impressed by the person who has a Ferrari, be impressed by the person who lives above the ground and has more than one loo”.

Over the first two terms I went through a bit of a hard time – a lot going on at work, pressure on the EMBA, ill health, etc. – which coloured most of my interactions with classmates and some of my impressions around day-to-day life as well. Fortunately, I’m doing a bit better now so I’m trying to be more perceptive of a number of positive things going on around me – a surprisingly easy task once you keep your ‘eyes’ open and I wanted to share some examples here:

- Due to the ill health portion of the mood darkening events I could not attend the much expected Moscow trip. Bummer! During this first weekend back, the EMBA crowd that went to Moscow approached me to have a chat, they made a little circle and gave me a gift – an ushanka (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ushanka) . I’m not the kind of person that would cry, but I was really touched by their kindness.

- During the first term I applied for the LBS Mentoring Scheme and I was lucky enough to be paired with an alumnus. My advice for next year’s applicants: don’t over-spec your request – the perfect match in terms of all of your requirements may not exist. My mentor has been very generous with this time and has been a great sounding board for me to discuss some difficult events in my professional life. He just brings a totally different perspective for me.

- As I carry on with deciding what to next in my professional life many of my classmates have offered advice during our days at LBS, have introduced me to other people that I could ask questions to and have met with me after work to answer some of my questions.

- Even between strangers I have seen surprising things recently. A neighbour found a lost key chain in the street and posted a note in a tree nearby offering to return them. A pharmacist offered advice to a customer on how to reduce the overall cost of her prescriptions. A young lady helped an aging man cross the street.

- Etcetera, etcetera.

I tried to think what all these elements have in common as it is very comforting to ‘find’ unity in disjointed events. I believe it could be argued that the common thread is a sense of community that I normally overlook and will try to notice a bit more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Global_sports_symposium_LogoThis summer a new conference will be gracing our diaries, The Global Sports Symposium. The Global Sports Symposium, which is being presented by the same team behind the US-based Ivy Sports Symposium (Sports Symposium, Inc.), this student-run event, will bring together the leading decision-makers of the industry for a day of networking, discourse and learning.  The organization is excited to be expanding internationally by hosting the first GSS in partnership with Arsenal FC and Emirates Stadium.

This year not only is it the first event outside the US, but there is a dedicated Career Workshop, We have partnered with GlobalSportsJobs on the Careers Workshop, “Supercharge Your Career in Sports – Powered by GlobalSportsJobs”. Where you can learn from those who have made it in the industry.


There are over 30 speakers, 6 panels and 2 workshops. To name just a few of the confirmed speakers we have:

  • Mark Lamping (Jacksonville Jaguars, President)
  • Michael Cunnah (iSportConnect, Executive)
  • Tom Fox               (Arsenal FC, Chief Commercial Officer)
  • Charles Baker    (DLA Piper, Partner)
  • Abeed Janmohamed      (RadiumOne, Commercial Director Europe)
  • Jim O’Toole        (London Irish Rugby Club, Commercial Director)
  • Paul Bell              (Leeds United, Commercial Director)
  • Jeff Bennet        (Raptor Sports Properties, LLC, Chief Executive Officer)
  • Lucien Boyer      (Havas SE, President and Global CEO)
  • Matt Rogan        (Two Circles, Managing Director)
  • Russell Stopford (Perform, Director of Product Development)
  • Adam Paker       (Commonwealth Games England (CGE), Chief Executive)
  • Ameesh Manek                (England Basketball, Director)
  • Glenn Lovett     (Repucom, Senior Management)
  • Phil Carling         (Octagon (UK), Head of Football)
  • Bob Reeves        (Rugby Football Union, President)


The Sports Symposium has traditionally welcomed student attendees from over 60 colleges and universities and professional delegates from a wide range of companies.  Its intimate setting combined with engaging content and dynamic speakers have made it a “must attend” event every year; we are certain that the same successes will be met during our first global conference.

How will you benefit from attending whilst studying?

  • There is a very generous student discount!
  • You will gain a unrivalled knowledge of the sports business industry
  • Network opportunities! Meet your idols in the sports business industry
  • A Career workshop “Supercharge Your Career in Sports – Powered by GlobalSportsJobs” – A chance to talk directly with and have your questions answered by young professionals across a breadth of industries within sport.
  • Free goodies- Including breakfast and lunch!


The Sports Symposium is dedicated to helping students and those new to the sports business industry, by providing opportunities to network with top level executives, creating career workshops and offer industry insights.The symposium promises to bring a 360 degree view of the Sports Business world, with talks and panels representing all aspects of the business. However, it comes with a nice twist as it’s aimed at both seasoned professionals and those who want to enter the business.

“Throughout the planning process the student-run team has received positive feedback from the industry leaders it has reached out to.  We believe this is a testament to the US-based Ivy Sports Symposium that has attracted top industry names over the course of its eight-year history. We are expecting similar successes for this first event in the UK and continue to get excited as we move forward with our planning.”

Harriet Thayer, 2014 Global Sports Symposium Co-Chair

The 1st annual Global Sports Symposium (“GSS”) takes place on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at Emirates Stadium in London. The registration page can be accessed from our site: http://www.sportssymposium.org or here.

We hope that you share our enthusiasm for the 2014 Global Sports Symposium and that you will be able to join us and help spread the word.  If you need an extra push to take the leap and attend these events read: 10 Reasons Why Uni Students Should Attend Conferences.

Follow us on Twitter @SportsSymposium and our dedicated hash tag #GSS2014, to keep up to date with The Global Sports Symposium.

Read the rest of this entry »

With Spring (and occasionally, sunny weather) finally upon us in London, here’s a list of some warm weather activities for current and future MiMs to enjoy throughout London:


1)    Brick Lane Market


Brick Lane Market is basically a giant flea market near the heart of Shoreditch High Street. With tons of stalls and warehouses selling antiques, vintage clothes, and all sorts of accessories, it’s a great place for some unique finds. They’ve also got an amazing food hall with pretty much every type of lunchtime snack you could think of!


2)    The Color Run London


            This year, a large group of MiMs will be participating in London’s Color Run! The Color Run is “a five-kilometre, un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometre. The fun continues at the finish line with a gigantic “Color Festival,” using more colored powder to create happiness and lasting memories, not to mention millions of vivid color combinations.” This year, the Color Run will take place the first weekend of June at Wembley Park!


3)    Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre


            Right next to our own London Business School Campus, the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park is the only professional, outdoor theatre in Britain. And it offers a range of events and performances starting from May through to September. This year’s productions include To Kill a Mockingbird, Twelfth Night, and more. This year, students can also grab discounted tickets for preview performances!

Read the rest of this entry »


Tickets for the 12th Annual Middle East Conference are now on sale:


The London Business School Middle East Club is delighted to invite you to the 12th annual Middle East Conference.

The theme of the 2014 Middle East Conference is “Bridging the Gap“. We would like to offer you an unparalleled opportunity to engage with the region’s leading CEO’s, entrepreneurs, financiers, innovators and leaders through five keynote speeches and a panel session on the future of Islamic Finance held by professionals from J.P. Morgan, Strategy& (Formerly known as Booz & Company), Cobalt Underwriting and King & Spalding, which will be followed by a networking reception.

Keynote speakers:

  • HRH Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Former Saudi Ambassador to the United States and Founder of the King Faisal Foundation
  • HE Riad T. Salamé, Governor of Banque du Liban
  • Shaikha Al Bahar, Deputy Group CEO of National Bank of Kuwait
  • Dr. Saad Al Barrak, Chairman of ILA Group and former CEO of Zain Group
  • Joe Saddi, Managing Director at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company)


The Conference will be held on Friday the 30th of May (1PM-8PM) at the Landmark Hotel in London. For queries, please contact: MEC_LBS@london.edu

Register for the Conference here:


Read the rest of this entry »

The final term of our degree at London Business School is already here! The MIM’s are back on the London Business School campus for the last time, with new study groups and some spectacular weather. It was really nice to see our classmates again and learn about where they had travelled to during the break.

We have just finished our first week of classes, owing to a Bank Holiday weekend for Easter. Our classes for this term include Strategic Analysis taught by Chris Coleridge, Entrepreneurial Management taught by Ben Hallen, Applied Microeconomics and Management Accounting. In particular, the Discovery Project assignment in our Entrepreneurial Management class is going to be one of the highlights of our term, as we will work in our study groups to present a 3-D physical prototype of our solutions to customer problems in a trade show. Various members of the schools network will attend this show to share their opinions about our solutions.

We also have several events and guest speaker series taking place this term. The Family Business Club has Alex Sharpe and Peter Leach speaking about the challenges and opportunities of working in a family business, whilst the Industry and Marketing Clubs have invited Laurent Philippe from Proctor and Gamble to give us insights about P&G’s strategy to build winning brand equities.

Finally, the MIM’s are also looking forward to the GIFTS Trips for the term, to Stockholm, Madrid and Paris. I’m really looking forward to going to Paris, as the focus on the trip is “customer experience” and we will be visiting the offices of Disneyland and Hermes. Overall, I have had an amazing experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish my final term at London Business School!






Read the rest of this entry »

The spring break is about to end. In a few days holidays will be over and MiM’s will once gain be back on campus for another term of hard work, group projects, networking, job searching, partying and great moments that we will remember forever.

The last two weeks of holidays reflect properly the multicultural and international environment of our community. I was impressed by the number of traveling, networking or volunteering treks that occurred during spring break or that will occur in the upcoming months. I saw pictures of MiM’s taken in Poland, Bulgaria, Morocco, Cuba, South-east Asia and other places around the world during the Spring Break. This reflects the diversity of cultures in the program and also the desire of MiM’s to get to know new places, cultures and perspectives. Definitely a good feature in an increasingly global world.

When reflecting on my experience as an LBS student, what I like the most is the possibility of getting to know people from literally all over the world. I guess that apart from the UN general assembly is hard to find a place as diverse and multicultural as our campus in London. The possibility of exploring cultural differences and learn from different perspectives and views in one place is an invaluable experience that justifies on itself spending one year at LBS, but we tend to value this only when we are far away from this environment. During my holidays in my home country I realized that I was always telling my friends about the conversations and enjoyable moments I had had with my fellow MiM’s during last term. Unfortunately, our program will only last for two more months, but I am sure that the bounds created during this year in London will perdure and influence my future path and career. I know they have already influenced my views on the world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Break

Posted by: Ugo

My recap of term 2: Undertaking the MBA at London Business School

Spring Break!!!


It was a fast-paced term. It whizzed by before we even knew what was happening. From the first Corporate Partner Presentations in the second week of January down to the final core course exam on Sunday, March 23, it’s been one roller-coaster of a ride. Without the hurling, of course.

There’s a huge divide amongst the 2015 MBA student body, the haves and the have-nots. The haves, it seems, are walking with considerable swag, their heads held high, without a worry in the world. The have-nots are walking with swag (MBAs, after all!), their heads held level, with perhaps a sense of uncertainty about the future. I’m talking about… internships. Places in the highly coveted banking and consulting gigs are mostly (if not fully) taken. The 2014s, out of the abundance of experience, tell us not to worry. Their prevailing line seems to be summed up thus – ‘Everyone who wants an internship will get something. It may not be what you wanted prior to coming to do the MBA, but it’ll work out right in the end.’ Fingers crossed!

The high point of this term for me was my very first career trek to the United Arab Emirates – organised by the Energy Club. Best trek ever!! (I know, hyperbole, considering I have no prior experiences to compare with). But it was! Why? 5 reasons. Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4…

  • Excellent organisation (kudos to Bassam Frem & Marius van Straaten!!)
  • Great group dynamics
  • Free accommodation!!! (beat that, other LBS treks!!)
  • We got to meet and discuss with leading companies and public sector institutions in different sectors of energy – Petrofac, GE, McKinsey & DEWA – to name a few. We learnt a lot about the current state and future of the industry in the Middle East
  • Our hosts were very accommodating. In one case, we finished a company visit with a huge lunch, and started a second company visit with… wait for it… another huge lunch!

Sign me up next year!!!

Two awesome treks taking place during the spring break – the Japan trek, and the Morocco trek. Sadly, I am in neither place.

In conclusion, I was just reminded that school resumes in 2 weeks L. On the bright side, I have 2 free weeks J !!



Read the rest of this entry »

Organising a trek and running it: One of the more rewarding experiences of my life.

I have always wanted to be in the commodities industry (where people source, transport and process large volumes of merchandise). This year I had the privilege of organising and attending the Commodities trek to Geneva, Switzerland.

At London Business School I had the great pleasure of joining the executive committee of the Commodities Club, which focused on an industry that I hardly had an opportunity to explore at the undergraduate level. I quickly realised that at LBS you can take on as much responsibility as you possibly want, and I decided – along with an MBA student – to head-up the annual trek for the Commodities Club which is the flagship event for the Club. The weeks of planning that followed were intense and took a great deal of work.

The trek itself was incredibly insightful we even managed to talk to the CEO of Louis Dreyfus Commodities, one of the leading agricultural trading companies in the world. Engaging with leading individuals in the commodity trading firms enabled us to better understand the challenges faced by these organisations in a way that can only be achieved through working at the firm, I took away a great deal from all of the meetings we had.

When we weren’t in meetings with traders and executives we explored Geneva and also connected with the Swiss LBS Alumni Club in a sensational bar overlooking the lake in Geneva. Everyone on the trek really bonded as we attempted to master the bus system in Geneva and ran from one end of the city to the other trying to see all the sites.

Overall, the whole experience was incredibly rewarding; I made many good friends and learnt a lot from our company visits. I would recommend that every student gets involved in some form of club activities at their time here, especially MiMs since we have a limited amount of time on this amazing campus.

Read the rest of this entry »