Kicking back after a long day at work, I found myself reflecting on how fast time has flown and how my experience at LBS this year compares to that of last year. We have just crossed over the halfway point of year 2, semester 1. Still only a few weeks in, I found myself waking up on Saturday mornings feeling a little disorientated, not having the need to dash off to the LT-10 lecture theatre for the usual 8:15 am tea and catch-up with classmates ahead our second consecutive full day of lectures.

Year 1 had a pre-defined core timetable, which followed regular blocks on alternate weekends. We spent the three semesters working through compulsory core modules that provide a wide range of subject matter. Each study weekend is spent together with your EMBA class. Looking back, its easy to understand why everyone in the class had such a close connection and acted more like a family than simply colleagues as we spent so much time together

Year 2 is totally different. In fact, compared to your fellow EMBA classmates, the 2nd year will likely be a totally different experience for each and everyone. That is because year 2 is all about electives, so you get to focus on the subjects that you are really passionate about. With so many permutations and combinations, no one student will have the same timetable – selecting your timetable is a challenge in itself since it is difficult to narrow down subject selection with so much great content on offer.

Electives also offer a practical upside since students can select the format of electives to fit within their needs, for example weekend classes versus block week electives. Furthermore, electives are all cross stream so you will be mixed with students from MBA, Sloan and MiF programmes which opens doors to more valuable connections.

Year 2 is still pretty fresh but so far it has continued to be a great experience. I have thus far completed Financial Statement Analysis and am half way through World Economy: Problems and Prospects. The content for both has been extremely relevant with practical applications to real life current business affairs. It is only a few more weeks before I take off to Dubai for a block week elective on “Strategic Thinking”.

As with the start of every new term, there is a fresh set of openings to join clubs and opportunities to apply for positions on various executive committees. I have been lucky enough to secure a position on the executive committee of the Investment Management Club, which is one of the largest and most active clubs at LBS. There will be much more to share on this, but in the meantime be sure to join the club as there are lots in the pipeline for the year ahead…

Instagram: @OmaratLBS

Twitter:  @OmaratLBS

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I’ve got a ton of blog content all of a sudden so you’ll be getting a double dose this fortnight. Chronologically, I need to keep you all updated on LBS shares. We had our second instalment last Wednesday, and once again, the team managed to source a wonderful array of speakers from across the LBS community. I am beginning to suspect that the job is not actually that hard, the school is just populated with so many people who have enjoyed some frankly bonkers life experiences.

Firstly, the excellent Conrad Woodring spent his speech illustrating the highs and the lows of working and living in Gabon for two years.
As a lengthy aside, Conrad had a background in infrastructure, and before we got anywhere near the African continent, he showed us an image of an oil refinery somewhere around the Gulf of Mexico. I bring this up because, oddly, the miles of steel stretching out to an endless horizon had a certain romance to it. The thought that struck me was about how many people, families, lives were touched by that expanse of metal and concrete and steam. It brought home the marvel of ‘industry’ in its simplest sense – the ambition of humans to marshal themselves in the thousands like ants to build this epic construction which in turn powers the day-to-day lives of many millions. Are these edifices our era’s pyramids? Or perhaps those were yesterday’s pyramids, and today’s pyramids are intangible, digital and financial monuments. Anyways, I digress.

Conrad described life in Gabon: snakes, eating pangolin (an anteater-thing which tastes awful, apparently) suffering from dengue fever, and receiving death threats. As you do. More importantly though, he told us about the ‘Agence Nationale des Grands Traveux’ – ANGT, a newly formed government department tasked with more efficiently and transparently managing the government’s infrastructure spend. Conrad’s tale became a lesson in public sector reform and encountering corruption. He attributed much of the ANGT’s success thus far to the crusading agenda being driven by the new president, a sign of the good that can come from strong leadership.

Our second speaker was a member of staff, Miriam O’Regan. Miriam’s share was part travel guide, part memoir and part call-to-arms, as she related her myriad experiences of volunteering in both Nepal and Thailand. She was passionate, funny and charming whilst she brought home the pathos with photos of the orphans, prisoners and elderly who she shared her time and support with. Her stories were another reminder that there is a world outside the ivory tower – the aspirations of some of the children she taught were to be teachers and nurses, because the children wanted to help others. It’s a truth that altruism is not a middle-class, western conceit.

Finally, the last share, I’ll keep short and sweet – mainly because I’m not sure any words can do justice to my feeling of amazement. Fergus Davidson, one of the Masters in Management, took us on his journey to the North Pole… to play rugby there. The purpose of his incredible trip was to raise money for the rugby children’s charity Wooden Spoon. Not only did he hazard the harsh conditions of the arctic, treat us to some hauntingly beautiful images of the remote tundra, he also casually raised £50,000 for the whole endeavour. I was left wondering whether to be more impressed by the feat or the fundraising!

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Cover MSFF


On the 26th of September 200 film enthusiasts gathered to watch the 2nd edition of the Manhattan Short Film Festival in London at the London Business School. And once again LBS made it memorable!

The Festival is the pinnacle of a global short film competition whereby ten short films are selected from 678 entries from 52 countries. These ten films were screened in over 250 cinemas across 6 continents during the week of Sept 25- Oct 4. These short films not only entertained a global audience but were also judged by that audience. Movie fans voted for Best Film and Best Actor and the results were released on Monday Oct 5.

The event was organised by the Film Club in partnership with the Wine & Spirits Club. It was divided into 2 parts: a pre-event soiree (6-7:30pm) followed by the screening of the films in the LT rooms (7:30-10:30 pm). Prominent personalities in the movie world came and spoke about their experiences and enthralled the audience.

The pre-event soiree was held in the Dining room where people had “some” drinks and appetisers…

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While they were listening and asking questions to three enthusiastic guest speakers the Film Club chased during the summer:


Jamie Donahue (director of Shok, one of the ten shortlisted movies)

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Nicola Usborne (film producer,

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Anu Hasan (19 years of experience in the film industry from actor to anchor and entrepreneur,

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The pre-event soiree ended at 7:30pm after which people headed to LT1/LT6 to watch the 10 shortlisted movies…with a surprise expecting them…Popcorn offered by Portlebay Popcorn!!!!

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There was a break of about 30 minutes after the fifth movie was screened, which happened to be Shok, directed by one of our guest speakers, Jamie. In the break people headed again to the dining room where there was time for Q&A about the movie with Jamie.

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The break was followed by the screening of the last five movies. After that it was time to be THE JUDGE AND VOTE!!!

And in the end…there was still time to get some feedback about the event!!!


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After votes were counted the fantastic team that helped organise the Manhattan Short Film Festival 2015 took a last happy picture before heading home to a much deserved rest!!!


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And for the ones who were there and haven’t checked yet… you’re probably wondering: who were the winners of the festival, right??


Best movie

Gold Medal – Bis Gleich

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 Silver Medal – Shok

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 Bronze medal – Bear Story

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And…Best actor

Horst Westphal – Bis Gleich

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Hope to see many of you next year for the third edition!!

Your Film Club Executive Committee (Ankita, Stefan, Ricardo)


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When I told one of the partners at my former firm that I’m leaving to go do my MBA at LBS, he gave me a very serious warning: “life at LBS is going to be difficult. LBS programmes are very tough!” Having had worked through the previous two weekends, I said: “can’t be much harder than working 18-hour days with no weekends!” He couldn’t disagree.

We’re almost at the two-month mark in the MBA programme and it’s been quite the ride. The school’s corporate partners are already on campus hosting information sessions and networking events. Midterms start next week. Club events are in full swing. And life is hectic to say the least! Even though our agendas are overflowing most days of the week, we still get to do things at LBS that, let’s say, would be frowned upon in the corporate world. Here’s a couple of examples.

1. Have back-up dancers while giving a presentation

This week we had a case competition in our Data, Models and Decisions course where only selected groups got to present the results of their regression analysis. The competitive b-school students that we are, we were willing to do anything for our study group to be selected as a finalist. So one of the guys in my study group promised the teaching assistant a dance number if we’re selected. Sure enough, our group was called to present the results of our regression model that analysed meat loaf sales. As one person gave the presentation, the rest of us danced to the tunes of Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love” in the background to the roaring laughs of our classmates. Now, I come from the world of consulting so I have attended/ given my fair share of presentations. Never, though, had I ever felt the need to watch a Tina Turner video to prepare for one of these presentations. But there’s a first time for everything, I guess!

2. Show up dressed as a pirate (or a minion)

If passers-by would’ve peered through LBS’s gates a couple of Saturdays ago, they would’ve seen swarms of twenty-something business school students decked out in pirate swag (shoulder parrots included) with a few random minions wandering around. That’s how Treasure Hunt 2015, an LBS tradition, kicked off. We were given iPads with GPS and sent into the city of London to do the most random tasks. From re-enacting scenes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to forming conga lines with tourists waiting to get into the Sherlock Holmes Museum, LBS-branded pirates were roaming the city in search of treasure. Most surprising about this experience was how unfazed Londoners were by the sight of adults dressed in pirate costumes (or onesies) doing a beatbox rendition of a nursery rhyme or posing as human statues. That’s the beauty of a city as crazy and eclectic as London!

People have different ideas about what the life of an MBA student is like, but judging by my experience so far, the intensity of an LBS MBA is only matched by all the fun to be had as part of the school and the city. And for any sceptics out there, I have a return ticket to Amsterdam next weekend to prove it!

P.S. there’s a video out there of our little regression dance recital that, for everyone’s sake, we wish never finds its way online!



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Hi there! My name is Pete, and I am part of the MBA 2017 class. As one of the new MBA class, we might only just be finishing Week 4 of the autumn term, but we’ve actually been on campus for eight weeks now and that time has just flown.

During this time we have met hundreds of new people; started core courses; taken part in numerous career service sessions; and attended never ending employer presentations & networking events. Finding some free time amongst all of this is difficult, yet somehow we also manage to try and participate in the hundred odd clubs that are active on campus.

One of the clubs I was immediately drawn to was the Energy club. Whilst I have no professional experience in Energy, being a Scot from Aberdeen, I have an innate interest in the industry. As such, I wanted to get actively involved with the club and there was no better way than in volunteering for the committee.

Therefore, having only been on campus a couple of weeks, I applied for a VP Sponsorship role responsible for helping to raise finances for both the club and the Global Energy Summit – the club’s annual flagship event that draws together over 300 attendees from industry professionals, policy makers, academics, students and advisors. The 12th edition of this Global Energy Summit is to be held on the 6th November and so new MBA’s, MiM’s and MiF’s were quickly enlisted by the 2nd year MBA committee members to help out.

Being successful after an interview, I was quickly thrust into searching out sponsors for the event, always a challenging task, but more so when we have below $50/barrel crude oil prices. However, now is also a perfect time for a summit with the theme “Global Energy Markets: Shifting Economics.”

Fortunately we have a strong 2nd year team, commendably led by Bilal and Thiago, who had already done much of the heavy lifting before their summer internships helping us to gratefully secure BCG as well as AT Kearney and Accenture as Sponsors of the GES.

It has been fascinating to watch our team of 19 come together, and I am amazed at the effort of the Marketing, Operations and Speakers teams in building what is shaping up to be a truly remarkable event. With Keynote speeches from David Kotler, CEO of Delta International, and Spencer Dale, Chief Economist at BP, already secured in addition to the many distinguished speakers on each of the panels, the summit will be incredibly insightful.

At each of our regular catch up meetings, there is an impressive attention to detail, from ensuring an interesting balance of speakers and panellists to organising venues, stages, audio visual equipment, and it is clear everyone is pulling in the same direction. All of this whilst trying to manage a tight budget!

Although everything is shaping up nicely, there is still plenty to do and our sponsorship team is still out there trying to secure additional sponsors – with more sponsors we can improve the event further, such as getting it filmed or hiring better audio visual equipment, and therefore there is no time to sit back and relax.

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Seniors and Symphonies


“I thoroughly enjoyed the day, and I’m still sober!” – Peggy, North London Cares


The #LBSforLondon crew were in for a real treat this past Friday. To kick-off the weekend of community volunteering, 15 LBS-ers traveled to St. Luke’s, Islington to enjoy a piano performance courtesy of  London Symphony Orchestra.



Even better than the classical Russian program (featuring Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Scriabin) was the company – seniors from North London Cares. The seniors were so welcoming and engaging – it was almost like my own family were here (and not five time zones away!)


NLC aims to fight isolation and loneliness for our older neighbors by building cross-generational connections. They offer a full suite of activities (stay tuned for updates from #LBSforLondon Saturday and Sunday!) with the belief that both generations can benefit!




Following the symphony, we enjoyed traditional fish and chips and a pint or two. I’m a bit embarrassed to say we were outdone on the drinking front (c’mon LBS!).



#LBSforLondon may be one weekend, but North London Cares works year-round! Click here if you’d like to get involved, and spend quality time with our senior neighbors.

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Inaugural LBS Cricket Club


As a red-blooded American, I was slightly surprised, but excited, to see an NFL game here in London this past weekend

But where did I spend my Sunday? Not explaining third-down conversions or play action. Instead, I had a very proper introduction to the institution that is Cricket.

I, along with 6 other MBA students, participated in Silver Sunday at the Mecca of Cricket, Lords.


Silver Sunday is an annual initiative by the City of Westminster to engage our 65 year + neighbors. We were lucky enough to join in one of the events – a tour of Lords, followed by tea (obviously), and an inter-generational cricket match.

Lords is just around the corner from LBS, and has just celebrated it’s 200th anniversary (how many NFL stadiums can say the same?). Matches can last anywhere from 3 hours to 5 days – mind-boggling for someone with a 4-quarter attention span!


Tea Time

Our companions for the day were local seniors, with various levels of cricket-fandom. Many were visiting Lords for the very first time, but we also had a former professional Scottish player who was happy to explain the rules!

By the way – are you interested in a membership at this lovely field? You better get a head start – there’s currently a 29 year wait list (after a referral from a current member, and an interview to demonstrate your true love of the game!). The good news- ladies are welcome as well, at least as of 1999!

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So, I am discovering how difficult it is to find content for blogging. As life here at LBS becomes busier by the day, it has been hard to find one unifying theme, other than frenzy!

Friday however, ended up being a perfect day, from a life and a blog-posting perspective. I have three particular moments from the day to share.

First, during ‘Leading through Conflict’. In our group of ten, we were challenged – with ten sheets of newspaper spread out on the floor, each of us was required to touch the newspaper, and have no body part touching the floor. Easy, right?

Then, of course, two sheets were removed. Even with eight remaining, it wasn’t too hard to share across ten pairs of feet. But for the last round, we were left surrounding one lonely scrap of newspaper.

It was pretty apparent we wouldn’t all be able to fit. Before we started arguing about who was going to get to stand on it, I suggested sitting on our chairs to avoid the floor, and holding the paper with our hands. Score one for teamwork.

The course was about managing potential conflicts, but for me, it was a neat illustration of a wider point about the state of the world. In our post-exercise discussion, we observed that we didn’t particularly cooperate when it wasn’t necessary, when there was one newspaper per person. However, when resources got scarce, we not only instinctively recognised the need to cooperate, we also managed to rapidly innovate.

My takeaway was that the normalisation of global resource scarcity should naturally give rise to better and faster forms of social innovation. I came to LBS wanting to be challenged and to explore such ideas further, but I had imagined that only like-minded friends would geek out about social impact with me. It’s heartening to know that this is a place where I can learn specific lessons even from my general courses.

But away from those lofty thoughts, Friday was also an opportunity to come back to the real world, and remember that it’s not all about philosophy at LBS. I then travelled across town to our LBS for London charity, Equal People.

We spent the afternoon in the company of Special Educational Needs users, supervising their use of the internet. We helped them with e-mails, and introduced some of them to YouTube and in turn, they gave us a fascinating and refreshing perspective on life in London.

I think this ended up being a great B-school moment because it was a real-life example of how the diverse social and learning environment at LBS does not just stop at the campus threshold, and that away from academic theory and career goal-seeking, it’s important to step outside of what can sometimes feel like an ivory tower existence.

Finally, as I wandered back through Notting Hill, I stopped by a Vietnamese street food stall. It was 4PM and I hadn’t managed to grab lunch so I was starving.

Whilst waiting, I remembered an article about one of my strategy professors researching the behaviour of market stall traders in India. I struck up a conversation with the owner about where she would like to set up shop – it turned out that they’d in fact been seeking to open a fixed premises, but weren’t sure about where the best location in London was, and whether they should target lunch trade or dinnertime…

A real-life business, identifying their market, understanding their customers and making choices which will affect the way they run their business… sounded a bit like a strategy case to me! I left them with an e-mail address, and took away an awesome bún thịt nướng (pork noodle salad). I am already looking forward to sharing some of my b-school learnings with Nha Trang kitchen.

As a group, at LBS we describe ourselves as eclectic, engaged, ambitious, communal and courageous. Friday had a little bit of all of that, and it’s these encounters that I think really typify the LBS experience.

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Hi all!

It’s been a while…

But as some 2nd years start getting back to campus and they find that they don’t know half of the people anymore, I thought I would take the opportunity to give a couple of tips for those 2017 that have just joined.

  • FOCUS. The first year will fly by fast. There a million events, a million opportunities, a million treks and a million clubs that want your help. And there there are classes, and recruiting, and… So focus. Choose your battles.
  • FOCUS. Now seriously. Even if your focus is exploring. If you look at the Event calendar, maybe there are something like 10 events a day. Which means that unless you have come up with a gadget that allows you to be in several places at once, you will have to choose.
  • FOCUS. Remember it. You won’t be able to say I didn’t tell you ;)


And to make it easier… I have compiled a list of all the trek invites I receive during the first year. I will not claim it’s 100% comprehensive, because I simply did a search of the work “trek” in my e-mail, but at least it will give you a start. And it will allow you to know what’s coming so that you don’t sign up to something without knowing what was coming, and then discover what was coming is what you really wanted to do.

So there it goes. There are leisure treks and there are professional treks (those in which you visit companies, network, etc). I have marked the professional ones (I know of) with an asterisk. Note that the dates were the dates of 2014/2015 but it will give you an idea.

Term 1:

*New York Banking Trek: 27/10-29/10

Belgian Trek:07/11-09/11

*Switzerland Industry: 27/11-28/11

South Africa Trek: End October

*China PE/VC/Tech Trek: 16/12-24/12

*Hong Kong Trek

Snow Trek – at the end of Term 1

Term 2

Japan Trek – 29/03-04/04 – Spring Break

Brazil – Spring Break

SouthEast Asia: 28/03-05/04

Poland: 12/04-17/04

Thailand – Spring Break

Africa – Spring Break

Ski Marathon Trek: 06/03-09/03

*Paris Luxury Goods: 25/02-27/02

*Commodities Geneva: 25/02-27/02

*Swiss Healthcare: 18/02-20-02

*TelAviv Tech & Entrepreneurship: 23/03-26/03

*Silicon Valley & New York: 23/03-04/04

*Italian Luxury Trek: 03/03-06/03

*Dubai Energy Trek: 07/03-10/03

*Singapore Corporate: 30/03-02/04

Term 3

Greek Sailing Trek: 30/05-05/06




Italy: 14/05-17/05


*Berlin Start-up Tech & VC: 09/04-12/04

MBAT: 07/05-10/05


And I am missing some… in summer there was the Colombia Trek and the Turkey sailing trek, and I know that there was also a Dublin Tech trek, although I don’t know the term.

Plus so many more! In Term 3 lots of ad-hoc treks pop up, specially among those that have already finished recruiting and have some more time off.

The point of all this?

FOCUS. And welcome to campus!

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After reading my previous series “”How to Start a Successful Business” I hope to have  introduced you to some key concepts and ideas required in a start-up.
In this series we will take it a step further – look at the traditional method start-ups used where most failed, and then a more successful approach to turning ideas into successful businesses. This more successful tweak to the existing model allows you to spend as little cash as possible and minimises your risk

The key ideas and frameworks we will talk about in this series are from Steven Gary Blank’s award winning book The Four Steps to the Epiphany.

The Traditional Model:
old model
1) Concept and seed: This is the first thing business usually do and includes everything from the company vision, what the product is , how it will be built, what research is required, who the customers are, how it will reach its customers, pricing, costs, budgets and schedules. This information is generally all collated together in a spreadsheet which becomes known as “The Business Plan”. This is then combined with some creative writing to lure some investors into the business.
2) Product Development: The next stage is where:
Engineering focuses on building the product which includes designing it, estimating delivery dates and development costs and hiring staff to build it.
The marketing department refines the market size, begins to target its first customers, builds a sales demo and hires a PR agency. Traditionally, companies sometimes hire a VP of sales at this stage.
3) Alpha/Beta Test: Now, engineering works with a test group to find bugs. The Marketing guys develop a complete communications plan, the PR agency polishes the companies positioning and investors are happy to start to thinking about injecting more money into the business. The CEO then refines his pitch and starts to look for some more capital/investment.
4) Product Launch and First Customer Ship: At this point, the company has a large press event, manages to sell some units and as a consequence goes into “big spend” mode, where it scales up its marketing and sales team.
This is the traditional model, but there is something wrong. Something is missing.  I mean at first glance, it pretty much seems all good right? Plenty of start-ups used this prior to the dot com bubble and they managed to make a lot of money.  Actually they didn’t make as much as they could have – hence the word “bubble”. Expectations were greater than the targets these companies met and as a consequence the bubble burst.

See if you can think of any reasons why most start-ups failed using this model.
We will discuss the answer to this and introduce The Four Steps to the Epiphany in my next post. Watch out for it and follow me on social media:
Instagram: @umarahmed122
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