Having just finished exams it now seems an appropriate time to sit down and pen my next LBS blog post. Since I wrote my last piece at the end of October, things have been extremely busy. If you’ve never been to graduate business school, it’s hard to imagine what I really mean – so I’ll try, if I may, to paint a visual image. Imagine listening to the CEO of Kraft-Heinz Europe, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, explain the intricacies of their regional strategy and the challenges of expansion and market segmentation. Imagine presenting a project on data analytics in front of your peers and professors, outlining a financial model that links box office revenues to casts and budgets through a series of statistical tools and analyses. Imagine providing consulting and advisory services to an international charity that provides world-class surgery to children with congenital heart defects from the developing world. Imagine sitting in five hours of back-to-back lectures in financial accounting; picking apart Tesla’s financial statements to uncover some of the issues within their business. Imagine attending a panel discussion from six consultants from leading firms discussing future trends in the world of digital healthcare followed immediately by an event by McKinsey on Digital Transformation.
Now imagine, that all the above events, occurred in one day. This was one day in the week following my previous blog post.
I therefore can’t possibly begin to describe by sheer exhaustion nor talk about every insightful lecture, inspiring speaker or interesting experience I have had as the winter term draws to a close. There have definitely been several highlights: Attending a presentation by Fernando Fischmann, CEO and Founder of Crystal Lagoons was certainly a most interesting discussion. Fischmann, a biochemist by training, has created a technology in which to sink artificial lagoons with crystal clear water to provide lakes for recreation in resorts, public parks and residential developments throughout the world. In only a few years Fernando has created an intricate global monitoring system for his pools and generated billions of dollars in revenue from projects across Latin America and the Middle East. With ambitious plans for expansion and a vision to transform the renewable energy sector using his technologies, Crystal Lagoons is certainly an enterprise that makes any business-savvy student or budding entrepreneur sit up and pay attention.
The LBS Healthcare Conference at the Royal Society of Physicians this year featured a stellar line-up of pharmaceutical and biotech celebrities. Jane Griffiths, Chairman of Janssen EMEA (J&J’s pharma division) opened this year’s discussion on precision medicine and the future of personalised healthcare. Panel discussions followed, chaired by charismatic LBS professor Nicos Savva with particularly insightful perspectives from Roy Katso (Director of GSK Innovation) and LBS super-alum Chris Meier (BCG). Jackie Hunter, CEO of Benevolent Bio, passionately delivered on applications of machine learning in healthcare whilst Dr Junaid Bajwa (MSD UK) adjusted the lens of the discussion to focus on systems and providers of healthcare and the potential impact of personalised delivery. A great opportunity to hear the trends and updates currently underway in the world of bioprocessing and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all.
Other highlights over the past few weeks have included a lively debate by a panel of Israeli Venture Capitalists who collectively have backed some of the biggest names to have come out of the Start-Up Nation in recent years including Waze, SodaStream and Checkpoint. Representatives from Dalberg Consulting and their private equity arm D.Capital presented thought-provoking case studies on the challenges of social impact investment. From supporting a Kenyan microfinance business, to designing a democratic election system for the Congo and driving agricultural development in Benin, the world of social impact investing and consulting is fraught with unique challenges in addition to the usual array of obstacles. As one of the leading players in the sector, Dalberg is working to drive change as well as profitability in a diverse range of areas across this hostile environment. When contrasted with a fascinating presentation by the Attorney General from the Hong Kong Embassy on trade and investment opportunities on the island-powerhouse you can begin to construct a mental image of the kind of holistic business education that life at the LBS has to offer. All this is quite aside from hours and hours of lectures in Finance and Organisational Behaviour and the endless exams and assignments.
But all that is on-hold for now as I write this from a coffee shop in the trendy Fisherman’s Wharf neighbourhood in San Francisco. I have just begun a Global Immersion Field Trip for a select group of students to visit the global innovation hub of Silicon Valley. This week’s whistle-stop adventure will take us from projects at Stanford to presentations at Apple. From the heart of the Googleplex to the brains of Andreessen Horowitz. As I watch the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge, dawn is only just breaking on what is sure to be an exciting week ahead.
Whenever I ask my classmates why they chose LBS, almost without fail, they’ll mention the diversity of our class. Our cohort spans a tremendous range of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations and professional backgrounds. Even in London, our Baker Street bubble stands out for its head-spinning internationalism and inclusiveness.
I am proud to be part of such an institution. Just two months into my MBA, here are some personal highlights, particularly on the LGBT+ front:
National Coming Out Day! On October 11 this year, LBS celebrated National Coming Out Day for the first time ever. NCOD is a global celebration of the LGBT+ community and an opportunity to reflect on the civil rights successes of the past and the progress still to come. LBS celebrated in the most visible way possible with over 2000 rainbow stickers distributed around campus. It was awesome to see lecture theatres, students and staff all plastered in symbols of ally-ship.
CONNECT community and mentoring! Multiple times a year the Out in Business Club brings LGBT+ LBS students, staff and alumni together through our CONNECT networking events. It’s always inspiring to hear where people have gone and the success they have achieved as out and proud professionals. The first CONNECT event in 2016 coincided with the launch of our mentoring programme which pairs up current LGBT+ LBS students with mentors in industry and academia.
EurOUT conference! At the Out in Business Club, we are now gearing up for our biggest event of the year. EurOUT 2016 (18 -20 November) is Europe’s leading LGBT business conference, attended by almost 300 B-school students and professionals. The conference is multifaceted, encompassing recruiting, community building and thought leadership on LGBT issues. This year LBS is hosting the Prime Minister of Luxembourg as well as a line-up of top LGBT business leaders. Check it out at http://www.eurout.biz/
If you’d like to hear more about LGBT+ events at LBS, or diversity on campus in general, come to one of LBS’s regular campus information sessions. The Out in Business Club has a booth there and we look forward to meeting you!
Two months have passed since I started my MBA – time flies! I am enjoying London, my classes, and the diverse learning environment in my stream and study group. I have also tried to get involved in extracurricular activities on campus, and one I am most excited about is the Healthcare Club.
This semester, I am working as a committee member of Healthcare Club and organizing its flagship event – Global Healthcare Conference 2016, which will be focused on “precision medicine,” a transformative treatment methodology that involves tailoring patient care based on the unique characteristics of the individual.
Being a conference organizer has been a rewarding experience so far. While I do have many other responsibilities (e.g., classes, assignments, recruiting, etc.), working on the conference has been a way for me to build many skills that I have aimed to develop. Specifically, I’m working with a team of peers from other streams and programs, getting hands-on experience organizing an event, and networking with healthcare professionals, some of whom will be the speakers at our event. For a person like me with very specific and focused professional background (I was a tax adviser before LBS – advised companies to ‘optimize’ their tax costs), this is a great opportunity to expand my points of view and refine my leadership skills.
I am also very excited about the content of our conference this year, as I am from Japan, which is one of the most aged countries in the world. We currently have 10 million people who are more than 80 years old, and I am excited to learn about how some of the developments in healthcare can help these people, both in terms of better outcomes and value.
We have assembled a diverse line-up of speakers from across the industry who can bring unique perspectives on precision medicine. The conference is sponsored by A.T. Kearney and BCG and held from1800 on 21st November at the Royal College of Physicians located in opposite side of Regent’s Park from LBS campus.
If you’re interested in attending, click the link below to purchase tickets -
If you have any questions about this conference, please feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
First I will introduce myself as this is my first post here: my name is Bruna, I am Brazilian and guess what… I was assigned to Stream B at LBS! I got a triple B here but still don’t know if the Program Office did it on purpose.
Before starting the MBA, especially after looking at the Programme Content, I had some expectations about how my student life would be. Some were totally mistaken and I’ll tell you all about this now.
1.Workload and Homework
Expectation: I knew the MBA was going to be busy with many different activities, but somehow we can’t really believe when others advise us… You look at the school website, the core courses and the program structure and it all seems totally manageable, totally fine! After all, we all had to work more than 10 hours a day, weekends and holidays occasionally. Of course, it takes some time to adapt to a new routine, but once it is established, I was sure it was going to be smooth.
Reality: Actually, there is no such thing as routine here! When you think you understood your weekly schedule, they just change everything on the next week. Thought I would never have classes at 8:15 in the morning, now I am having it for the next… well, have to check my schedule again. By the way, during the MBA you are going to say and hear this a lot! You are going to learn all about scheduling apps and methods to set up meetings. Get ready and find some space to install many apps in your mobile!
2. Corporate Finance classes
Expectation: I do not have a Finance background and I knew a lot of my classmates would be aiming to intern in Finance positions. This meant high-level Finance courses since the beginning, no surprise! I thought it would be very, very, very hard to follow the classes.
Reality: I just loved the Corporate Finance classes! And I also think my whole class fell in love with our teacher Anna Pavlova, who read a Finance poem in our first class and proved we can have some fun in class (not as much as in a beach drinking piña coladas, but still…). Not that the content is easy, but it is taught in a way that everybody learns it smoothly.
3. Non-traditional post-MBA career opportunities
Expectation: My initial post-MBA goal is to continue working in Tech and Telecom and I thought it would be very hard to find opportunities for MBAs outside of the traditional Finance and Consulting industries.
Reality: Turns out that not only Finance and Consulting companies are talking about technology, but also the Tech & Media Club is one of the most active professional clubs at LBS. We seriously believe David Morris does not sleep! We get at least 2-3 career opportunities a week from him. And there are also jobs and networking opportunities coming from so many other Clubs: Industry, Net Impact, Energy, Infrastructure & Construction, Sports Business, and many regional Clubs.
So, after all my research (I did a lot, believe me! Or look at GMAT Club and you’ll see it) before the MBA, I still had some wrong expectations. But it turns out to be really amazing and much better than I imagined! I am sure I did the right choice when I decided for LBS. I recommend you do a profound research and analyse how prepared you are before you start this journey. Then, just open your mind and dive into a new adventure.
Please leave any questions or comments bellow. I’ll be very happy to read and reply!
There is a popular connotation in Nigeria called ‘J.J.C.’, short for ‘Johnny Just Come’, which is used to describe a newbie to a particular environment. For a country I felt instinctively attuned to, I have had so many ‘Soji Just Come’ moments in the U.K. so far, and there are still many to come.
Flying into London for school couldn’t have felt any more natural. I felt like I was back at home; home to a country where I had often traveled to make investment pitches to multiple frontier and emerging market funds in my role as Head of Nigeria Research and Lead Sub-Saharan Africa Banking Analyst at Renaissance Capital. Those trips involved many black cabs and tube runs, great meals in some of the best restaurants London has to offer and accommodation in top rated hotels in Central London.
Still basking in the euphoria of arriving London to meet proper sunshine, my first week was relaxed and I visited all my favorite spots and lived life forgetting I wasn’t swiping the corporate card anymore. Then reality dawned. Looking at my cash burn rate after just a week, I realized I had to change tact swiftly. This meant that for one whose cooking skills were low, I needed to find a sustainable solution, quickly. Luckily, London had many affordable solutions, including some Nigerian ones! But it is in the plethora of options that I have found some of my biggest challenges and learning points settling into London.
Beyond feeding, I needed to find an apartment. I needed to figure out the most cost effective transport solution; and for such a regular question, there was surprisingly no straight forward answer. Do I get the rail card? What of the student oyster? Travel card, PAYG, off-peak, banks etc. Then came energy bills, water bills, TV bills, council tax, heating, dry cleaning etc. and the list goes on. We had not even gotten to orientation day and I was already feeling overwhelmed. But I wasn’t alone. With >90% of the MBA2018 set being international students, almost everyone had similar questions. The discovery of Slack (the chat app) kept the community alive and the discussions structured in groups.
My SJC moments have been plentiful but the often generous assistance of alumni and current students has meant that these moments have reduced. Now that my settling down phase is largely done, another phase, which brings a different kind of busy than what I have been used to, has commenced. 8:15am classes, late night tutorials and language classes, cases, assignments, career events, sundowners, leadership skills trainings, PLP sessions, club interviews and events, parties, exams, stock pitches, networking, Arsenal matches etc. Indeed, one’s MBA story is probably best told while living it. Watch this space and follow my MBA journey through what has been an exciting time at London Business School!
Where to even start? It’s been a whirlwind first 6 weeks at the London Business School! From meeting an incredibly diverse cohort at Orientation to an away-day building rafts in Gilwell Park. From a plethora of soft-skill sessions including public speaking, networking and social media courses to the real academic nuts and bolts of finance, accounting and data analytics – my experience at the LBS so far can be described as nothing other than jam-packed excitement. Coming from a background in Biochemical Engineering, it has been an incredible opportunity for me to dive deep into the world of business.
This total immersion has come in a variety of formats that have collectively given me a really holistic view of the business world. I keep up to date by skimming the FT and WSJ on a daily basis, spend time browsing through articles in the Harvard Business Review and McKinsey Insights and even having a look at specialist journals for pharma and biotech where my passion for business really lies.
But all this pales in comparison to the business exposure I have gained from my first few weeks at LBS. From MBA and alumni mentors to club events, I have met so many people on very different paths with exciting stories to tell. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Bloomsbury Publishing – the publisher of the Harry Potter series, next week I look forward to hearing the inventor of the global Invisalign orthodontic phenomena talk about his strategy to entrepreneurial success.
The diversity of backgrounds is what makes life at LBS so exciting and it’s then that you begin to realise that the name of the game is very much ‘networking’. More than the world-class faculty, the beautiful Regent’s Park campus, the prestigious business school, the rigorous academics and the abundance of clubs and events, the real magic of LBS lies in its people. The diversity of its student body, the cultivation of a global alumni network and the culture of relationship-building is what makes the LBS experience truly unique. The MiM has only just begun but already a life-changing transformation is underway.
Today I confirmed my place on the Silicon Valley Global Immersion Field Trip, an academic and professional excursion in December to San Francisco to learn from the innovators at Stanford, the tech geniuses of Google and Facebook and the VCs that hunt down ‘the next big thing. But between now and December, there’s still the Healthcare Conference, the IMPACTathon, company presentations, Diwali Party, Sundowners galore, recruitment evenings, exams and interviews. Life here is hectic but there’s no doubt in my mind, the LBS has a lot more in store for me…
Part of the Master’s in Management Programme is completing a Cross Sector Project. This involves working in a group of fellow MiM students from across all streams, and answering a project question that is broad and offers the opportunity for us to consider & embed our learning across different sectors, creating links between different companies to explore and answer this broad question.
While the topics can cover a variety of subjects, our topic concerned how digital technology was changing the way companies do business. The topic was thus very relevant to current events, and we also had the opportunity to incorporate what we saw during Business Immersion Week, just three weeks earlier.
In addition to working with students from different streams who we normally do not get to work with, we also get assigned a project mentor. Our mentor was part of the Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy programme at LBS, and he was an invaluable resource. Not only did he have much experience in the area of digital, but it was also great to meet people outside of the MiM programme, and learn from them and their many experiences.
Looking back at the project, it was in many ways representative of every experience at LBS. You get as much out of it as you are willing to put into it. Our group put a lot of effort into this project, and as a result I believe its been a really rewarding learning experience. Its strange, yet encouraging to take a step back and look at our final product, and to see how much we’ve learnt over the past few months. In a week we find out about the finalists and who will get to present in front of the judges. Fingers crossed!
Imagine 250 people representing 72 countries singing “Imagine” in unison and breaking a Guinness World Record while at it! That’s how Tattoo weekend kicked off. After having a world record in the bag, students across LBS programmes were busy rehearsing performances, decorating stalls and making sure there’s enough food to serve 1,000 people at this year’s sold out Tattoo event.
As I was the captain of the Middle East Club, I had to ensure that my classmates from the region and I represent our countries well. It was an uphill battle with many obstacles to overcome, particularly our tone deafness and acute lack of coordination. However, the night before the big event, we decided that we’d just have fun on stage and make sure we give a high-energy performance. Did we have fun? YES! Was it one of the most mortifying moments of our lives? Probably. But as we were told the first day of orientation, the MBA at LBS is the right place to try new things in a safe environment. Also, we received the stamp of approval from the Dean who wanted to know what we were eating to get that much energy!
After the performance, we moved to our (very popular) food stall. Tambourines in hand, we made sure that the people standing in the long queue would continue to be entertained. Everyone was having a great time watching our improvised act and watching the winning Korea Club performance on the screens spread out across campus.
Tattoo was an incredible way to release some stress after a long recruitment season. It was a way to celebrate the many cultures that LBS houses and to learn more about our classmates’ backgrounds. I, for one, was very proud to share some aspects of the Jordanian culture with my classmates and was very happy to see my friends decked out in their national costumes dancing to music from their countries. Events like this make me realize what a unique experience LBS is offering us and how privileged we are to be part of the most diverse and international b-school student community.
Primrose Hill at dawn. I think it’s rare for a spot in London to be more majestic, and London is certainly a city full of majesty. I’m drinking in a panoramic vista which stretches on my left from Stratford almost 10 miles in the east, across the jagged mountain range of the City of London, and out across to the Royal Parks in the west.
The tip of the Shard is obscured by a single low-hanging rain cloud this morning, which nevertheless is pierced by the brilliant morning sun. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the view of Manhattan from New Jersey, except instead of shipping containers criss-crossed by train tracks, my foreground this morning is the verdant green carpet of Regent’s Park criss-crossed by the tracks of my fellow joggers.
Just beyond Regent’s Park, hidden from my present view, is the grand John Nash-designed Sainsbury building, icon of London Business School. We do have some startlingly attractive environs.
School is back in session for the Spring Term, the first week of which is internship recruiting week for my MBA class. I’m sure this is of much interest for anyone interested in business school, but as I’m confident that we’ll revisit this topic over the next few months, I’m just going to leave you with this little teaser.
Instead, I’m thinking about London itself. In the frenzy of term-time, whether it’s the height of exam week, or the depths of recruiting season, I think it becomes a little too easy to take the incredible location of our business school for granted. Even for me, practically a native Londoner, sometimes a treasure like Primrose Hill can be a mere kilometre away from campus but feel way too far away when that last paragraph on your fourteenth cover letter still needs to be edited.
And yet, the London location is truly one of LBS’ competitive advantages. We enjoy world-class cuisine, exceptional culture and night-life, a plethora of desirable potential employers, and, of course, those startlingly attractive vistas. Location is, I think, an oft-overlooked but crucial aspect of any decision to uproot one’s life for even a period of two years. I’m pretty sure that even my busiest classmates will attest to that, and also would probably report that the payoff from relocating to London in particular is wholly worthwhile.
I probably can’t do London justice in the context of this simple blog, so I’ll stop here, but I do encourage any readers that if they haven’t made the trip to our great city yet, then they really must do so post haste. And for those who have been once already, come again. I assure you that there’s still plenty to discover here.
“I have conversed with the Spiritual Sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.” – William Blake, 1757-1827
*P.S. – if you want a taster of the view to which I refer, clever Google Street View has some great views: just use 51°32’21.9″N 0°09’40.6″W
Whether you are in Thomas Friedman’s corner walking on a pretty flat earth, or jumping obstacles with Pankaj Ghemawat on a bumpy and curvy one, there is one thing that that is certain; globalization is here and understanding it is more important than ever!
One of the most appealing aspects of London Business School and The Executive MBA is the focus they have on teaching and experiencing international business. Having returned from my third (and hopefully not final) international assignment it’s a great time to share a bit about what has been experienced.
At the end of year one, students are required to select an international elective from a portfolio of options; for many people this marks the end of the year one core learning. I selected to go to Argentina and also had the opportunity to sign up for an optional additional destination for which I selected Moscow. These trips have a specific purpose – to develop an understanding of the regional economy and get to grips with what challenges business faces in the specific region.
After landing in a chilly Moscow during early April I teamed up with students from our Dubai stream to work on a Big Data project for MTS, the biggest mobile operator in Russia. Unfortunately at the time, the decline in oil prices had already started to impact the ruble but rather than being in crisis mode it seemed people were ready to navigate the new realities being presented with a sense of perseverance. After all it was in 1998 that Russia went through a major financial crisis after defaulting on its domestic debt and so economic challenges were nothing new here.
A single week working in Moscow is short; especially when you are trying to get an understanding of a country that spans nine time zones. However it is just long enough to start understanding the business culture and the unique regional challenges. Furthermore, it was super interesting to explore the possibilities of Big Data for telecom operators and an honor to be able to present our strategic recommendations back to the company.
Coincidentally the Argentina assignment was the week following Moscow and so after a quick pit stop at Heathrow to pick up some more London classmates it was off to Buenos Aires. The scope of this assignment was very different; rather than working on a project for a specific company, we spent time visiting a local business school and a number of companies to get an insight into what drives the economic environment.
Argentina has a very colorful economic history and it’s definitely worth going to learn first hand. It was amazing to see how the history of Peron and the economic rollercoaster was deeply the engrained in peoples thoughts and how creative businesses had become to tackle todays deeply volatile economic environment. Kudos to LBS for providing the introductions to a number of great companies such as Globant, Clarin, YPF and many others. When reflecting on Argentina, it would also be wrong not to mention how AMAZING the steak is out there – its worth a trip back just for this!
The latest trip to Dubai was for an elective on “Thinking Strategically”. The course is also offered in London but if you can afford the time I thought why not make the most of escaping the UK winter and experience the Dubai campus and culture. Because the class was mostly made up from my Middle East colleagues, you naturally get an insight into the business environment and culture.
Throughout all the trips there is really a great opportunity to expand your learning and get an experience that you simply can’t get by staying in the classroom….. now I’m just looking forward to the next one….