We didn’t even realise the second term had ended. We had gone through three modules of pretty heavy topics in the last three months. Maybe it was because of the last quarter of the financial year, which in India ends on March 31st.
After a month-long winter break, we kicked off the January module with an accounting exam. This was followed by three courses running in parallel – a first for us until now. Macroeconomics, Strategy and Decision Risk Analysis. We had exceptional professors for all three courses, but these are subjects most people have no experience with. We really had to focus to keep up.
The January module included an amazing boat party which I already talked about in my last post. One good thing is that the program team decided to do the February module at the Sofitel Palm. This is a gorgeous hotel right next to the Atlantis on the Palm in Marina. It certainly added a bit of glamour to the course.
The batch after us were having their first Dubai module at the same time, and they were at the same venue as well. We got plenty of chances to interact with the incoming batch over the week. We even had a mixer at the Sofitel. Alumni were also invited for good measure. The program team worked overtime to ensure a smooth experience, although a sandstorm brought in some drama towards the end of the module.
The March module was only four days long and went by quickly. The career-related events were happening in full steam with Mariam joining the London Business School team. Everyone seemed to appreciate it. Dubai was starting to heat up as well. We also went through some experimentation with catering vendors, and I was the de facto vegetarian club representative. Fun times.
The courses were heavy, but very informative and excellent. The quality of professors continues to amaze. I used the learnings from the strategy class and was able to significantly improve the working of my business.
On the networking front, the EMBA program continues to exceed expectations. I have actually been able to do business with some of my classmates and even have a couple of offers for funding my start-up. This has given me a lot of confidence in the strength of the network.
As the third term begins, I am filled with a sense of nostalgia and excitement. Nostalgia, because seven modules are over and we have only three left. How time has flown! Excitement, because it will be time for electives soon. I can’t wait to attend classes in London, New York and Hong Kong. Meet new people, learn new things and explore new cities. Here’s to an exceptional third term!
I decided to write this post to reflect on the tremendous amount of opportunities I have been a part of since I started the MiF program 9 months ago. More specifically, I’d like to share with you my experience at LBS this past week alone.
Granted, the quality of the MiF program is top-notch (as ranked #1 by the Financial Times for a consecutive of years). What truly amazes me is the diversity and inclusion at LBS – the people, the cultures, and the opportunities.
Practitioner Courses (Monday & Wednesday)
In addition to the core courses and the elective courses, LBS students have the options to take practitioner courses, which are courses run by experienced industry practitioners. Starting this week, I have two weekly practitioner courses in my calendar: Advanced Financial Modeling and Social Entrepreneurship.
The Advanced Financial Modeling course teaches the mechanics of financial modeling and equips students with the tools to perform various and practical financial structuring and modeling tasks as done in most investment banks.
The Social Entrepreneurship course aims to provide students a comprehensive introduction to the field of social entrepreneurship, and to identify the opportunities and challenges of a career in social entrepreneurship.
These are two very distinctive courses; one is more technical and the other is more entrepreneurial. As I am currently working on two part-time projects, one for a financial advisory firm and the other for a not-for-profit organization, I find these practitioner courses especially valuable.
The LBS Sundowners happen every Thursday evening, from 6:45pm to 8:30pm. Faculty, students and alumni gather at The Nash lounge for free beer and wine. Since one of the 8 rules set by the Sundownders Crew is “What happens in the Nash stays in the Nash”, I won’t go into further details. Just know that Sundowners is probably one of the most beloved things for the LBS community.
TEDxLondon Business School (Thursday & Friday)
Something I genuinely enjoy doing is volunteering. Despite my schedules during Term 1 and 2 were mostly packed with classes and recruitment, I always try to find the time and opportunities to volunteer – such as teaching primary and secondary students business skills, fundraising for Toy Drive and conducting mock interviews for high school students.
This Thursday and Friday, I had the pleasure to volunteer for the annual TEDxLBS conference. On Thursday, the volunteers gathered at Royal Geographical Society to set up the venue, sort the 500 goodie bags and badges, and ensure everything is ready for the next day. Within five hours, we allocated over five thousands of goodies into five hundred bags for the attendees. Supply chain, time management, and manpower – all the hard work goes into the gift bags for tomorrow.
TEDxLBS is a whole-day event from 9:30 to 19:00, with 15 talks on a wide range of topics (finance, science, technology, art, music, Africa, and leadership). The theme of TEDxLBS 2015 is KALEIDOSCOPE: Kalos, Eidos, Skopeo (Beauty, Shape, Examine) – the observation of beautiful forms.
The volunteer team arrived at Royal Geographical Society by 7:15am on Friday. I was responsible for registration, sponsor booth and ushering. Although I missed half of the talks, I was very happy to see the audiences being inspired by the speakers. Through TEDxLBS, we gain the kaleidoscope to explore and reflect new colors and perspectives.
If you missed the conference, don’t worry. The TEDxLBS videos will be available online in a couple of weeks!
LBS Hackathon Bootcamp (Saturday)
Having spent six years of my life living in Silicon Valley, I’ve always been interested in technology and innovation. The LBS Hackathon is a weekend long event where people passionate about entrepreneurship come together to create products from ideas. The actual LBS Hackathon is going to be held next weekend, but the Hackathon team is very thoughtful to organize a Bootcamp to get everyone prepared, technically and mentally.
During the one-day Bootcamp, participants from LBS and outside of LBS gathered to learn the multiple aspects of creating a startup. We had speakers and attendees who are entrepreneurs, scientists, lawyers, doctors and “business people”. From coding 101 to fundraising and legal, business model canvas to product design & MVP creation. The speakers particularly emphasize the importance and value of people. “Most of the startups fail not because of the product, but because of the people.”
I am impressed by how much I’ve learned within only one day. I can’t wait for the LBS Hackthon next weekend!
MBAT Volleyball Practice (Sunday)
One month after I joined LBS in August 2014, I met a few MBA2015 students who went to the MBAT in 2014. They all agreed that it was one of their best experiences at LBS. I therefore made sure that I don’t miss out on this special opportunity (the tickets were sold within seconds)!
“The MBA Tournament (MBAT) is the biggest and best inter-school sporting event of the modern ages.” It’s the annual sport tournaments where all the top business schools compete with each other on a physical level. “The illustrious House LBS has historically dominated this tournie of business school champions and we intend to continue to #OwnTheThrone!”
As MBAT is approaching in two weeks, the LBS teams are practicing frequently and hard. On Sunday afternoon, after I visited Hampstead Village with my PEVC study group, I joined the Volleyball team at Regents Park for a practice session. We are incredibly excited to #OwnTheThrone for LBS at HEC Paris!
Here it is. A glimpse into a week of my life at LBS. I hope this article has provided you some new perspectives about the endless possibilities at London Business School.
Masters in Finance is more than finance.
The MiF is a leading post-experience master program for potential candidates with an average of 6-7 years working experience. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that one will meet many MiF students who have just recently gotten married or have a young family. In addition, as MiF is a very intense program which requires one’s full commitment (in terms of money, time and energy) both from the students and their families, I would strongly suggest for potential candidates to discuss this life-changing plan with your family prior to enrollment.
Based on my observations, there are several “types” of newly wed or young family in MiF :
1. “Domestically” single (but not available)
This is the type of newly wed or young family that has to be separated during the program for various reasons (job, children etc.) Hence, either the husband or the wife will remain in his/her country and the couple/young family will meet up during the school breaks to spend quality time together. There are several benefits to this option i.e. the student could focus on studying, participating in the school activities or be actively engaged in job hunting. However, one has to note that this is at the cost of the loss of quality time with the family, and especially if you have children, you might miss one of the most important development phases of their lives.
2. Full house
For this type, the whole family would move to London. This will be ideal if you are fully sponsored or might not have (or relatively small) financial constraints. However, as mentioned previously, MiF is a very intense program. Thus, it is important that your family are in the same boat, and communication is the key to have a balanced life between your campus and family life. Nevertheless, LBS is very supportive to the students and their spouses. The campus provides a lot of activities for the student’s family, through the partners club or student’s clubs.
3. 2nd Honeymooner
This type of family usually has relatively older children who are willing to be left behind in their country to stay with the student’s relatives due to various reasons (i.e. school, health, language etc). Thus, the husband/wife can join the student during the duration of the program.
Now it is up to you and your family to decide on the type of family that you prefer during your MiF experince.
London Business School is a top business school. In the heart of one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the world, the school fully supports entrepreneurship with dedicated courses, an incubator, and countless student initiatives. This high-quality business education is a great springboard for an entrepreneurial future.
As students and future alumni of such a great institution, our responsibility – nay, obligation -as custodians of the brand, to give back to the community that gave so much to us, is always front-of-mind. It’s just a matter of deciding how and where to contribute.
As with any startup, our adventure starts with spotting a need, something lacking – an opportunity to create. A group of LBS students – across all programs -realised that the school community lacked a way to share entrepreneurial stories: a medium to learn from each others’ experiences, to pass on the latest research, and to share all of this with global audience.
With our team of doers we decided to create the London Entrepreneurship Review. LER is a student-run online publication that captures the richness of entrepreneurial thinking at London Business School: from home grown competitions, incubators, partnerships and angel groups to research, conferences, coaching, classes and great speakers. LER was conceived as a forum to share all of this entrepreneurial energy with a much wider audience.
Life at London Entrepreneurship Review
I joined LER very early. It was about to launch its first version. Everyone in our team had their own reasons to contribute to such a fascinating project. For me there were three main reasons:
1. Have an impact
We students are here to contribute to LBS. When you join the LBS community, you do not consider yourself a customer -you are the school. And there is no greater way to contribute to the brand of your LBS than to build its entrepreneurial voice globally. At first, the project was a nice way to emphasize leading thoughts within the community. Now that LER is expanding we’ve noticed the concrete and positive impact on the LBS brand. LER illustrates how committed the school is to supporting entrepreneurship. It points out entrepreneurial success among alumni, academic research, and students’ passion for startups.
2. Get the excitement of being part of a start-up
I’ve learned a lot from being in the leadership team at London Entrepreneurship Review. Just reading published articles is a wonderful way to understand the key challenges entrepreneurs have. But most of what I learned was on the job.
My role is to grow our readership. Of course we are all ambassadors for the publication, but I focus on scaling our ability to reach new readers. I face the same challenges a start-up would: How can we raise awareness of LER? How can we make sure that our esteemed readers enjoy their experience on the website? How can we engage our readers on social media? These are topics every startup has to deal with—replace ‘readers’ by ‘customers’ and you are in a CEO’s mind.
Other members focus on business development, editorial, or sourcing great content. There are a variety of things you can do. What I like is that, as with any other early stage start-up, it is up to you to define your role.
If you are really interested in social media and want to learn why it is such a big thing for companies, just start working on LER’s social media operations. If you want to understand all about brand management, then you can work with our agencies to develop the brand and the collateral. Or if you want to learn all about online analytics and growth hacking, then you can get your hands dirty doing digital marketing for LER.
We all believe in ‘learning by doing’. Beyond acquiring technical expertise, we learn how to be good leaders. We contribute as much as we want, implement our own ideas, and get to know what it’s like to be driving a growing start-up.
LBS has a very strong and expansive community. There is no better way to feel part of it than to contribute meaningfully – really add to making it great. Working on LER has been a terrific way to meet brilliant people. I am constantly surprised by how skilled everyone is. There are only a few places in the world where you can find such a concentration of genius. LBS is one of these. And being part of LER has definitely been a great way to experience this uniqueness.
If you are as excited as I was about joining the London Entrepreneurship Review to make a positive impact on the LBS community -and learn a lot about entrepreneurship, running a digital start-up and more -you can reach our recruitment team here.
LBS’s vision is ‘to have a profound impact on the way the world does business’. Get in the driver’s seat. Join us now: ler[@]london[.]edu or
Click here to read the London Entrepreneurship Review.
Thanks to Rami Banna for reading drafts of this.
Follow the London Entrepreneurship Review on Twitter: @london_ler
This week the last add/drop round for electives is over, so for any MiFs who, like me, are not taking the fourth term, that means we have had our final say in the subjects which will appear in our transcript. Now what is left to work on is the grades which accompany them only. Should be a piece of cake! (That was a joke, and before you ask, yes, us MiFs can and do crack jokes as well as anyone)
Anyhow, I thought this a good time to talk a bit about how I got around picking my electives, since it seems to also be a topic of much concern among candidates I have talked with so far. The good news is, the elective portfolio for MiFs currently consists of an amazing 32 courses, out of which we can choose 7 to 10 to add to our program. The bad news is, the elective portfolio for MiFs currently consists of an STAGGERING 32 courses, out of which we HAVE TO choose 7 to 10 to add to our program. You might not think 7 to 10 is that many, but I assure you, when you get down to it, it is actually a lot to choose, also it means that you get to decide entirely for yourself what you are going to do at LBS from the second term onward. To offer you aid in this time of need, LBS has a nice online bidding system, which all of us, despite initial skepticism, have found very user-friendly and tremendously helpful. You will be introduced to the system in due course in your year at LBS, so i will not talk more about it. What I want to do with this post is giving you a few pointers about how to actually pick the electives to bid for, using the aforementioned awesome system. You can trust me, I think, because learning from past mistakes is always one of the best ways to learn, and, as you will see soon enough, I have messed up rather spectacularly with my Spring term choices.
Pointer #1: Balance your schedule. For your reference, the prevailing practice appears to be 4 to 5 electives per term, but that is the nature of such practice, for reference only, because you should not let peer pressure talks you into doing all 4 courses when you are already spreading yourself too thin with job hunt and internships and what-not. If, in Spring term, you have managed to secure an ideal internship, or you want to finish you CFA (or ACCA, as I ought to have done, but was too lazy to), or it just happens to be the recruitment season in your favorite industry, if any of that happens, then it is perfectly okay to limit yourself to 2 electives or even the minimum of 1. Last term there was this week in which I was juggling 4 group assignments just when things were starting to get crazy at my internship (I interned at a designer boutique and it was London Fashion Week, yes, it was as horrific as it sounds). It was an amazingly exciting, highly fulfilling week, but one which I would rather not repeat, seeing how I was mostly dead on my feet for the fortnight following.
Pointer #2: Balance your courses. Among the available electives, there are some we unofficially refer to as “light courses”, owing to the fact that they do not require much of heavy book-lifting and/or intensive case studies. On the other end of the spectrum, there are monstrous courses which require you to, every week, prepare a 30-page case, read 5 research papers and 50 pages of textbooks, swim the length of the Amazon and climb to the top of the Everest. Okay, that was probably exaggerating it a tiny bit, but you get my point, no? Basically, you would not want to study more than 2 of those Herculean electives together in one term. In Spring I innocently, happily, opted to do 3 of them at the same time. People have been telling me I was courting death, and you know what, I wholeheartedly agree.
Pointer #3: Balance your purpose. I am sure, having gone through all the stress of the application process to finally get an offer from LBS, you would want your academic year in London to add as much value as possible to your future career, so, at the risk of being the ultimate kill-joy, I do think you need to choose electives based on their degree of possible usefulness for the job you want to do after graduation. Thanks to our ever thoughtful program office, this pointer is not as hard to execute as it sounds. As you may well know already, there are 3 possible concentrations you can go for within the MiF: investment management & analysis, corporate finance, and risk management & derivatives. So, all you need to do is take your pick and filter the list in the elective timetable to narrow it down to the useful courses.
Pointer #4: Forget balance, let’s have some fun. I am putting myself in great danger here, of course, because there is no guarantee that I won’t be told off for giving you this completely irresponsible advice. But, honestly, if there is something I most highly recommend people to do at LBS, it is to have fun. So, if among the electives there happens to be a subject which truly interests you, do not hesitate to bid for it, even if it has nothing to do with your future career or if you have only the faintest notion of what it is all about. Because why not? There will probably be no other period of time in your life in which you are so totally free to satisfy your academic curiosity. As I distinctly remember, in my application essay, I did tell LBS that the reason why I want to do the MiF is, first and foremost, because I want to study. Up to this point, 2 terms into the program, I find that I can still repeat that conviction of mine with pride (I do have to repeat it actually, you know, people keep raising eyebrows at my choice of doing that Behavioral Finance elective).
As a final thought, despite the jumble I made in picking electives, my Spring term was, on the whole, very enjoyable and I do not regret taking any of the 4 courses I took. I learned an awful lot of new things and I had my fair share of fun too. Bottom line: you can’t go wrong with any of those 32 (and soon to be increased) electives.
That is it, folks, I hope you find these pointers of mine somewhat useful, if not, please be generous enough to consider it a harmless bit of rambling from a student wishing to do something different in this last week before her new school term starts. I am doing 5 electives in Summer, so wish me luck?
Term 2 could be re-baptised the term of summer internship recruiting. Busy, busy. The academics doesn’t stop and recruiting ramps up big time. With term 2 long gone, and the spring break having just turned the corner, I thought I’d share my two highlights for term 2:
Mike Bollingbroke Guest Lecture
One of the lectures of MOB (Managing Organisational Behaviour) was done by Mike Bollingbroke. His career? Pretty impressive: Operations top-guy at Cirque du Soleil, COO at Manchester United and now CEO at Inter Milan.
We spent 2 hours with him and it was A-MA-ZING! I cannot talk much about it because Chatham House Rules applied, but I can say he discussed what he believe were the foundations of leadership, his key lessons learnt, and he walked us through real examples of key points and issues in his career.
What’s that? LBS has gone crazy and promotes people having tattoos? Don’t worry. It’s not that.
Tattoo is just the funny name of an event created to honor diversity. Tattoo is where every nationality comes dressed in their best attires and showcase to the rest of the community what it is to be themselves. Every nationality brings their own food, and everyone performs in front of an audience.
In short, LBS – at its purest.
I attach a video of the Indian performance -
John F. Kennedy — ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’
Having spoken and worked with admissions managers in recruitment, I learned that when they review applications, they often look for how applicants may bring value to the classroom and the wider LBS community.
The exact wordings of the essay questions on the application vary from year to year, but they are designed to help admissions managers to evaluate the following:
Are you bringing in experience, professional and academic, that is rare among members of the community (N.B. the community of current students, and not the application pool)?
When I was putting together my application for the MiM, I reached out to students in the programme via email and read their profiles (available online). I realized that what differentiated me from the pack was my experience in public service, combined with internships in varied fields (tech start-ups, government, and laws). Using that piece of insight, I started to develop a narrative for my personal statement.
Can you demonstrate that you have exemplified the core values (communal, courageous, engaged, ambitious and eclectic) of London Business School, and will continue to do so when you are here?
While LBS, just like all the other great institutions, celebrates diversity and uniqueness, it also appreciates recruiting prospects that can unify under some greater, esteemed values. They just wanted to know what drives your decisions and actions when under pressure. Over the course of my study at LBS, there had been moments that were stressful, and I was very fortunate to have colleagues that truly exemplified those core values. They made my life so much easier (and I hope I did theirs, too). I figured that’s why LBS is interested in the values that you uphold and embrace. Knowing why the School asks this question, I hope this gives you some ideas for which professional experience you’d like to share in your application.
Do you show, through your application, convincing motivation behind your application and your qualifications aligned to the requirements?
I personally find this to be the simplest and, yet at the same time, the toughest question to answer. Simplest because the answer could be as simple as “I want to be a consultant and studying at LBS would help me achieve this goal.” Toughest because it is very easy to see through it if you don’t have a strong case for it. My best advice is to take time and think through this most important question (I’ve briefly touched on this topic in my first post), then answer as honestly as you can (and should).
What do you add to the (London Business School) community?
Don’t overthink on this one. If you are an avid basketball player as I am, feel free tell them you’re interested in joining basketball club on campus and help organise events. If you have a knack of building connection with people and/or have an extensive network in a particular field, then the community might benefit from you when you bring in guest speakers in lectures or on-campus events. If you have spent the last five years studying a particular subject, the class certainly could benefit from your sharing of knowledge and in-class participation.
Write your application from the perspective of the admissions committee; include details that are relevant to them, and leave out things that would distract them from appreciating your uniqueness. The application should be succinct to a point that, when they are done with reading it, they should be able to identify you in your own category.
The ability to create and communicate your own brand is highly valued by the admissions committee, as well as prospective employers. It shows self-awareness, strong analytical and communication skills, and a healthy dose of self-confidence – skills that reflect problem-solving capability. Being able to communicate your brand in a way that emphasizes your value to the organization (e.g. London Business School) is even better.
Part 2: How to come up with a multi-million dollar idea
1) How to start an unsuccessful business
2) How to come up with a multi-million dollar idea
3) How to convert my ideas into cash
4) Going from $millions to $billions
How do I come up with a great ideas? How do I start that business like Amazon or Dropbox? Initially I had no idea, but it is amazing what the brain can achieve if you just give it that little push in the right direction. This is the subject of this post and although its a short one, it will hopefully give your brain that little push it needs to help you come up with your next multi-million dollar idea.
A great business idea consists of one of two things:
1) Think of a solution to a problem people have and solve it
2) Look at a current solution to a problem and make it better
That’s it. Literally. Read these two points again and again – I cannot stress their important. You don’t even need to carry on reading the rest of this post.
If you do wish to continue, lets just look at an example for each.
Dropbox was a solution to the problem “I can’t take my files with me wherever I go without having to transfer them to USB and carry this around with me”. Houston came up with a solution to this problem by allowing users to store data on the cloud and access it from any device, anywhere in the world- a solution now known as Dropbox.
An example for the second point is Apple’s iPod. There were plenty of MP3 players around at the time, yet iPod came in as a new contender and dominated the market. Why?
Because it was just a much better solution. It made listening to music, downloading music and updating your music easier and simple.
In conclusion, when thinking about new ideas, look at processes you go through regularly and think how can I make this less cumbersome? OR alternatively look at problems you face in your day to day activities which do not have a current solution and think, what would be a good way to solve this.
Once you have a bunch of ideas that’s great – write them down and ask yourself the two questions above.
These ideas however are no good if you cannot or do not know how to convert them into money. So make sure you stay tuned for part 3 where we talk about how to evaluate the profitability of your idea, figure out who your customers actually are and then use this information to determine if this is a venture worth pursuing.
YouTube: Coming Soon
If there’s one word that describes the world in the last two decades – the better part of my adult life – the first word that comes to my mind is Global. It’s the perfect accompaniment to anything business; as fries (or chips) are to fast food. Without global, any conversation of intellectuals in the business world is insipid and lackluster. The most expensive and exclusive gathering of world leaders and businessmen at World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos each year is a monument to the importance of this word in today’s vocabulary. But as with anything exclusive that gains popularity loses its appeal, ‘Global’ has been reduced to a common adjective in any and every context. So, when I was considering an MBA education and first heard of the EMBA-Global Americas & Europe program, my first thought was that this burger also came with fries.
Nonetheless, I chose the program for a) its class schedule – majority of classes take place in block week format, b) the expanded faculty and course choices at London Business School and Columbia Business School (the Asia stream of EMBA-Global includes HKU, Hong Kong in addition to LBS and CBS), and c) the ability to take electives in New York, London, Dubai and Hong Kong.
Eleven months later, just finishing the core curriculum I’ve now realized why applying to this specific program was the best decision of my life. While in block weeks, all sixty nine of us stay, eat, study and play together as a tight knit family. Everyone is genuinely overjoyed to see each other after the gap of a month and we profoundly miss each others’ company. Coming to the end of core has been a bitter-sweet moment, as won’t come together again as a class next until graduation. Neither do we all live in the same city to meet casually for a Sunday morning to catch-up over brunch. Being Global has its disadvantages too. But given the choice I’d choose EMBA-Global over any other; not least for two reasons:
Global means not only people who’re from all over the globe but also live all over the globe
Living in New York (well across the river from Manhattan in New Jersey), I could’ve easily applied for any of Columbia Business School’s programs. There’s the Friday/Saturday EMBA course – the equivalent of which exists at London Business School as well. Also, London and New York being two of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, I have no doubt my cohort would consist of people from all backgrounds and nationalities. But the reality is that they would still all live in London or New York if they were to show up for school every other weekend. My EMBA-Global class probably has the same diversity, if not more, except that these folks live in and travel from all over the world to attend classes. I have classmates traveling from as far as Johannesburg, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Moscow and Wellington (NZ) each month to attend classes in London and New York. We don’t discuss global issues – we discuss local issues from every person from around the globe. That’s a crucial difference, one that separates mere knowledge of the globe and a deep understanding of it. For what it’s worth, it’s like having our own WEF each month in London and New York.
A worldwide network of close friends in every major city in the world
One must differentiate between a diverse network and a global network to grasp the importance of this one. A diverse network that most business schools and programs foster brings together people from a myriad professions, educational backgrounds and cultures. The EMBA Global network is all that plus the added benefit of a diaspora of ‘Globals’ (as we are aptly referred to). Once you’re part of this elite club, you’ve got close friends in every major city in the world, on the ground, in the trenches for anything you need. Your scope widens and you start to think truly global. From a farming startup in Senegal funded from the US to moving from Paris to San Francisco for a new job to a founding a healthcare company in the Caucuses through expertise from the US to expanding a Dubai based education business worldwide – all from connections made in just our class – this program has opened doors for us that have far surpassed any of our wildest imaginations.
My own story is that I’ve recently launched a hotel booking startup with a classmate – we have offices in New York and Rotterdam, our development office in Latvia and we will likely pilot with a hotel in Portugal soon. I came in to this program thinking I knew what I wanted to do – get a decent MBA, learn new skills and grow my network to excel and advance in my employment. I jettisoned that idea somewhere along Term 1, as soon as I embraced the EMBA-Global community. I became the career representative for the class, doing my bit to help every one of us achieve whatever goals we set out for ourselves. I know I’m going to end up on a far different trajectory than I originally allowed myself to dream. This program catapulted my thinking, my skills and my potential light years ahead. Arguably that’s in part due to the superior institutions that I’m part of including the award winning faculty and the vast resources available to us, but I’m convinced that the success of EMBA-Global is more in part to the ‘Global’ than the EMBA.
After all, have you ever tried having a burger without fries?
I’m back! I know, I know, it’s been a few weeks – but two posts in one term are better than none at all, I suppose, when there are so many things pulling you in different directions (term 2 has been as busy as term 1, but in very different ways – more on that later). It’s fitting to consider my blog posting frequency because this one is all about balance – juggling the many competing demands of the MBA and managing your stress levels. In my last entry I mentioned that I wanted to share three things that surprised me about the MBA experience with you, and this is the second one.
Lesson #2 – You don’t have to be stressed out – but it’s worth pushing yourself outside your comfort zone
Before the MBA I worried that particularly the first term would be horrendously stressful and exhausting. I had visions of study group sessions locked in stuffy seminar rooms hunched over Excel models at 3am (ok, I got that from those books I mentioned in my last post – must be what US business schools are like …). Actually, it was a lot less stressful than I thought it would be. Yes, it was very busy, but you can control how busy, to some extent. You have to decide what to prioritise, and to remember, as my boyfriend likes to say, that ‘perfect is the enemy of good’. Of course you probably have to do that in your job too, but the all-encompassing nature of the MBA means that it’s even more crucial.
I think a lot of people, spurred on by the FOMO I mentioned in my first post, signed up to anything and everything and then ended up insanely busy. I probably made the opposite mistake. I was very careful to only commit to the few things I definitely wanted to do (and some that, after some agonising, I decided were also worth my time). In a way, I limited myself – only doing what I thought would improve my career prospects (such as being on the Industry Club committee), help me make friends and stay fit (e.g. joining the Women’s Touch Rugby team) or would keep me on top of my studies (going to many a Corporate Finance tutorial, sometimes even forsaking the free drinks at Sundowners to do so). This meant I was a lot less stressed than many, but on the other hand I think I didn’t really stretch myself or try new things. And I think those two elements are a lot of what makes the MBA an amazing experience.
So this term my resolution was to sign up for a few more things, get involved with activities that simply looked fun or interesting, and enjoy the process a bit more, rather than just focusing on the end goal of getting a a great post-MBA job or passing my exams. And I must say it has been an even more enjoyable term because of it. I competed in the Nespresso Sustainability Challenge, consulted for a Fairtrade coffee social enterprise as part of the Impact Consulting team, am helping create the first LBS MBA cookbook, danced Flamenco at Tattoo, will be competing in the inter-stream football tournament this coming Saturday and went to a whole bunch of interesting events, from design thinking with Professor Julian Birkinshaw to the ‘TEDx factor’ student auditions for the upcoming TEDx LBS. It’s been busy, but it’s been great fun.
Now term 2 is nearly over – and four exams are coming up next weekend (yes, exams on weekends are one of the joys/quirks of LBS MBA life) followed by Spring break with its many treks around the world. I for one will be heading to Thailand and Cambodia for some well-deserved rest and sunshine – so you may have to wait until next term for lesson 3. We’ll see, maybe I’ll log on from the beach…