The final term of our degree at London Business School is already here! The MIM’s are back on the London Business School campus for the last time, with new study groups and some spectacular weather. It was really nice to see our classmates again and learn about where they had travelled to during the break.
We have just finished our first week of classes, owing to a Bank Holiday weekend for Easter. Our classes for this term include Strategic Analysis taught by Chris Coleridge, Entrepreneurial Management taught by Ben Hallen, Applied Microeconomics and Management Accounting. In particular, the Discovery Project assignment in our Entrepreneurial Management class is going to be one of the highlights of our term, as we will work in our study groups to present a 3-D physical prototype of our solutions to customer problems in a trade show. Various members of the schools network will attend this show to share their opinions about our solutions.
We also have several events and guest speaker series taking place this term. The Family Business Club has Alex Sharpe and Peter Leach speaking about the challenges and opportunities of working in a family business, whilst the Industry and Marketing Clubs have invited Laurent Philippe from Proctor and Gamble to give us insights about P&G’s strategy to build winning brand equities.
Finally, the MIM’s are also looking forward to the GIFTS Trips for the term, to Stockholm, Madrid and Paris. I’m really looking forward to going to Paris, as the focus on the trip is “customer experience” and we will be visiting the offices of Disneyland and Hermes. Overall, I have had an amazing experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish my final term at London Business School!
The spring break is about to end. In a few days holidays will be over and MiM’s will once gain be back on campus for another term of hard work, group projects, networking, job searching, partying and great moments that we will remember forever.
The last two weeks of holidays reflect properly the multicultural and international environment of our community. I was impressed by the number of traveling, networking or volunteering treks that occurred during spring break or that will occur in the upcoming months. I saw pictures of MiM’s taken in Poland, Bulgaria, Morocco, Cuba, South-east Asia and other places around the world during the Spring Break. This reflects the diversity of cultures in the program and also the desire of MiM’s to get to know new places, cultures and perspectives. Definitely a good feature in an increasingly global world.
When reflecting on my experience as an LBS student, what I like the most is the possibility of getting to know people from literally all over the world. I guess that apart from the UN general assembly is hard to find a place as diverse and multicultural as our campus in London. The possibility of exploring cultural differences and learn from different perspectives and views in one place is an invaluable experience that justifies on itself spending one year at LBS, but we tend to value this only when we are far away from this environment. During my holidays in my home country I realized that I was always telling my friends about the conversations and enjoyable moments I had had with my fellow MiM’s during last term. Unfortunately, our program will only last for two more months, but I am sure that the bounds created during this year in London will perdure and influence my future path and career. I know they have already influenced my views on the world.
My recap of term 2: Undertaking the MBA at London Business School
It was a fast-paced term. It whizzed by before we even knew what was happening. From the first Corporate Partner Presentations in the second week of January down to the final core course exam on Sunday, March 23, it’s been one roller-coaster of a ride. Without the hurling, of course.
There’s a huge divide amongst the 2015 MBA student body, the haves and the have-nots. The haves, it seems, are walking with considerable swag, their heads held high, without a worry in the world. The have-nots are walking with swag (MBAs, after all!), their heads held level, with perhaps a sense of uncertainty about the future. I’m talking about… internships. Places in the highly coveted banking and consulting gigs are mostly (if not fully) taken. The 2014s, out of the abundance of experience, tell us not to worry. Their prevailing line seems to be summed up thus – ‘Everyone who wants an internship will get something. It may not be what you wanted prior to coming to do the MBA, but it’ll work out right in the end.’ Fingers crossed!
The high point of this term for me was my very first career trek to the United Arab Emirates – organised by the Energy Club. Best trek ever!! (I know, hyperbole, considering I have no prior experiences to compare with). But it was! Why? 5 reasons. Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4…
- Excellent organisation (kudos to Bassam Frem & Marius van Straaten!!)
- Great group dynamics
- Free accommodation!!! (beat that, other LBS treks!!)
- We got to meet and discuss with leading companies and public sector institutions in different sectors of energy – Petrofac, GE, McKinsey & DEWA – to name a few. We learnt a lot about the current state and future of the industry in the Middle East
- Our hosts were very accommodating. In one case, we finished a company visit with a huge lunch, and started a second company visit with… wait for it… another huge lunch!
Sign me up next year!!!
Two awesome treks taking place during the spring break – the Japan trek, and the Morocco trek. Sadly, I am in neither place.
In conclusion, I was just reminded that school resumes in 2 weeks L. On the bright side, I have 2 free weeks J !!
Organising a trek and running it: One of the more rewarding experiences of my life.
I have always wanted to be in the commodities industry (where people source, transport and process large volumes of merchandise). This year I had the privilege of organising and attending the Commodities trek to Geneva, Switzerland.
At London Business School I had the great pleasure of joining the executive committee of the Commodities Club, which focused on an industry that I hardly had an opportunity to explore at the undergraduate level. I quickly realised that at LBS you can take on as much responsibility as you possibly want, and I decided – along with an MBA student – to head-up the annual trek for the Commodities Club which is the flagship event for the Club. The weeks of planning that followed were intense and took a great deal of work.
The trek itself was incredibly insightful we even managed to talk to the CEO of Louis Dreyfus Commodities, one of the leading agricultural trading companies in the world. Engaging with leading individuals in the commodity trading firms enabled us to better understand the challenges faced by these organisations in a way that can only be achieved through working at the firm, I took away a great deal from all of the meetings we had.
When we weren’t in meetings with traders and executives we explored Geneva and also connected with the Swiss LBS Alumni Club in a sensational bar overlooking the lake in Geneva. Everyone on the trek really bonded as we attempted to master the bus system in Geneva and ran from one end of the city to the other trying to see all the sites.
Overall, the whole experience was incredibly rewarding; I made many good friends and learnt a lot from our company visits. I would recommend that every student gets involved in some form of club activities at their time here, especially MiMs since we have a limited amount of time on this amazing campus.
Upon joining the Women in Business conference committee, I was informed that this year’s theme would be ‘Sprints and Marathons- A Sustainable Career.”
A sustainable career, I wondered? What exactly did that mean?
I was eager to delve into this question further. Initially, my thoughts went to the obvious: sustainability must be related to green careers or corporate social responsibility, mustn’t it?
For a conference that aimed to address a multitude of important issues, this just seemed too narrow.
I next turned to the dictionary, looking for a broader definition:
“sustainable ”, it read, “Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level; Conserving an (ecological) balance by avoiding depletion of (natural) resources; Able to be upheld or defended.”
The word was starting to resonate with me in a new way. I had recently joined the full-time London Business School MBA with the aim of redefining my career and long-term goals. Having worked for seven years previously, I was at a crossroads, ready to make choices that would give my career forward momentum and continuity.
Embarking on this MBA, I was well aware that I was at a stage in my career and life where the decisions I made now could impact me for decades to come. I had often wondered how I could be sure that my professional choices would keep me satisfied for 30 or 40 years? And if they didn’t, how could I ensure my brand was strong enough to afford me options and mobility? How could I avoid burning out? How could I ‘have it all’? Or, using the language of the dictionary, how could I maintain a long and successful career? How could I conserve my resources – my energy, my mentors, my brand – to avoid depletion? And, how could I uphold my choices and be confident they were the right ones professionally and personally?
These three words – A Sustainable Career – had been transformed. I understood that they captured so many questions and issues relevant to each of us paving our way in a changing global business world.
Tomorrow, at the Women in Business Conference, I, along with 300 other attendees from London Business School and the greater professional community, will finally enter into a discussion on this topical theme.
Led by an extraordinary lineup of keynote speakers, such as Jo Malone MBE (Founder/Director, JO LOVES), Amanda Sourry (EVP, Unilever UK and Ireland) and Estelle Brachlianoff (EVP/Director, Veolia Environnement), we will have a unique opportunity to benefit from the insight and expertise of these inspirational women. They have navigated their own tricky professional paths and will be able to serve as guides for us, marking signposts we should look for on our way and giving guidance on routes to take or avoid.
We will also interact with panels of top businesswomen who will share their views and experiences. Armed with questions, we will probe this robust topic, seeking out the advice and pearls of wisdom that feel personal and applicable to each of us.
And of course, what conference would be complete without networking opportunities? Surrounded by a diverse group of like-minded, ambitious, successful businesspeople from London and beyond, we will challenge, converse and connect with one another, hopefully coming out of the day, with practical tools, fresh perspectives, and new networks – all resources that will help sustain us as we strive forward in our careers.
I personally can’t wait!
When I think about the last term, the first words coming into my mind are: job hunting, career trainings, workshops and coffee chats with alumni. Don’t get me wrong, the first three months at LBS have been an amazing discovery of professional opportunities! But I also felt I was so focused looking for my dream job that I missed so much from the LBS community. So this term I turned page!
I wanted to network with more MBA students while doing something useful and interesting. There were so many options I considered: participating in the organization of Tattoo 2014, joining a startup project in the school or getting an active role in one of the LBS Clubs. My choice ended on the Impact Consulting Club.
What attracted me of this club was the opportunity not only to gain some concrete experience in the consulting field (let’s be honest, it won’t hurt on my CV in the future!), but also to have a social impact through the project I would have worked on. So I wrote my application during the winter holidays and I happily joined my team at the beginning of January. What an experience have been so far!
The project I have followed with other 5 MBAs is called Made in Marylebone. This London association welcomes homeless women, helping them find a place to live after counseling and professional training. Our project had two specific goals. Look for solutions to make the center financially sustainable and develop new strategies to involve more women in the center’s activities.
Well, the project is almost over now and I can truly say I had a great time! First, I loved to work side by side with MBA students. Not only there was always a friendly and collaborative atmosphere in the team, but they were also very happy to share with me their knowledge and expertise. Second, having the possibility to visit the Made in Marylebone center and talk with women living and working there made a huge difference in our work. It all came down to observing a problem and implementing concrete and reasonable solutions. Isn’t that what consulting should be about?
Until next time
Abigail and Sharon, our great contacts and formal clients from the center
It is day 4 since I came back from Mumbai Global Business Experience(GBE).
I am still sinking in how much I’ve learned in a week. There were many moments when I thought that GBE was the highlight of my 2-year MBA. I got to know so many classmates in such a short time and their amazing stories. I got to work with them and to learn from them, be it observing how they handled pressure, how they convinced the team to accept new ideas, or how they approached projects. I realized what a smart yet empathic group of people they are and how lucky I am to work with them.
I also got to know an India so different from what I learned before. I thought India would be very much like China, for both being the two most populous countries in the world, and both having fast economic growth as emerging economies. Therefore I was expecting to see a Shanghai in Mumbai.
But soon I realized that was not true.
On my way from the airport to the hotel, I saw so many temples on the street. I later learned that 90% of Indians are religious. I know this number of people in China may be atheism. I also saw most of Indians on street were wearing Sari proudly. Now when you are in China, unless it is a holiday or a big occasion, it will be weird to wear Tang Clothes, which is equivalent to Sari.
The biggest difference comes from the poverty level in both countries. I don’t know if it is because I was not exposed to similar situation in China before or because India indeed has deeper poverty level. I was surprised to learn people still having to live in darkness at night due to lack of electricity and I was shocked to see a whole family had to squeeze in a tiny and dirty place in the slum.
But I was not overtaken by these. On the contrary, I was struck by Indians’ resilience and optimism, when I learned that villagers are becoming entrepreneurs to sell solar light lamp to their community, when I saw that top talents gave up their high-paid jobs in London and returned to the country to help those people, and when I learned that people living in the slum work very hard hoping that one day they or their children will leave slum and move to the tall building next to it.
At the end of my visit, I realize what Mumbai presented to me may not be the metropolitan city as I imagined; but it gave me something much more memorable, be it the joy of working with my classmates, the hospitality from every Indian we met and the smiles on their face regardless of where they live, and the enthusiasm of social entrepreneurs who believe that they can make a difference in their country.
I believe that this experience will live with me for a very long time. So while I am still recovering from it physically, imagining getting up at 3am to catch a flight to visit the village and preparing presentation until mid-night for most of the week, emotionally and intellectually I have gained so much and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Mumbai GBE is just a miniature of my whole MBA life/work. The past two－year has been a growing and stretching experience for me. I’ve constantly challenged myself to come out of my comfort zone, be it learning/enjoying a technically challenging course, working hard to balance between academic and work, or staying open-minded and inquisitive to the world. While sometimes I felt that the challenge was beyond what I could take, but as a proverb says “life will never will give you more than you can take”, in the end I always conquered the challenges and I did it with pride. So if this is not enough from my MBA experience, what else could I ask for?
The last couple of weeks have been a bit more packed than usual for me. Lots of readings and assignments – as we approach the end of the second term for the September EMBAs – and a particularly demanding time for the team I work for as we are mid-way through a bid for the Scottish rail network. Some interesting things came to mind during this busy period.
First, I stumbled upon the blog of a full-time MBA student from Peru who wrote a short piece as a tribute to her grandfather – a giant of business in Peru – who had recently passed away. For those of you who speak Spanish find the link attached here. I was touched by what she wrote for a variety of reasons, one being that I am very close with my grandfather (who I send postcards every two months or so). I wanted to highlight two ideas from Lucia’s blog:
• She characterises her grandfather as a “Monday Person” – those who start every week with massive enthusiasm about their work and projects
• She emphasizes her grandfather’s love of his family and country.
When I think of my earlier post about a career worth having I see that I didn’t factor this into my decision making formulation. I thought briefly about this – while on the train to Glasgow – and I came up with some interesting ideas:
• To the extent that there are parts of my current job that I really like, I definitely couldn’t be described as someone with contagious enthusiasm for what I do. It’s scary to consider that the times when I’m more in flow happen when I am pivot tabling our performance data sets for analysis purposes!
• It’s clear that a commitment to something greater than oneself taps into a source of energy that I haven’t exploited yet.
I definitely need to do more detective work on my future career. Need to find this kind of passion. I’m really looking forward to the Entrepreneurship courses in the summer term as I have some business ideas – that I’ll share in due course – which I believe can take me in the right direction in years to come. Exciting times!
Second, at the start of the EMBA I decided to create some time to engage in volunteering activities. It’s unbelievable that it took me so long to get it done but yesterday I did! I went to a Fitzrovia Youth Action event organised by the LBS Volunteers Club. I was supposed to tutor a “class” of A-level business students and I was quite nervous about it. After being briefly trained by the FYA lady I stepped into an empty classroom and waited for the kids to come. We didn’t consider half-term though and the attendance rate is not exactly LBS-like, engagement is a big issue for this school. In the end I spent my time with the one kid that showed up. While solving a bakery P/L case study he shared some facts about his life. I couldn’t help think about the quote I dissected in my last post: “Fortune favours the bold”.
I will make this event a twice-a-month must for myself and would encourage other students to join. Maybe together we can change some initial conditions and shape some fortunes.
It’s not all academics and job-hunting at LBS.
The opportunities to get involved are endless, and one of the best events put on at the School is TEDx. For all of you who don’t know, TED is sort of the X Factor/Britain’s Got Talent for speeches. Go on YouTube and watch a few TED talks and check it out for yourself – some of the speeches have >10million views!
When I found out I had a chance to speak at TEDxLBS, I decided to give it a shot. The theme was supposed to be ‘Magic,’ so I decided to speak about predicting the top of financial bubbles based on Didier Sornette’s log-periodic earthquake model, which essentially shows that bubbles form with quickening, shorter wave patterns, and crash in slower, elongating wave patterns:
I auditioned the day before Valentines’, so I brought in a tulip to talk about the world’s first major financial bubble: Tulip Mania – 1636/7 Holland.
Ultimately, I was not selected, but had a fantastic experience sharing my idea (namely, that financial bubbles can be predicted and that we are likely in a bubble now).
I would strongly recommend every future MiM, MiF, MBA etc. to participate!
This past week, all of us here on the Masters in Management class had the chance to participate in Business Immersion Week. Some of the companies that we got to visit included Universal Music Group, Mastercard, Unilever, Deloitte, Net-a-Porter, Rackspace, The Pentland Group, Yahoo!, Bow & Arrow Consulting, and many others! The goal of the week was to give us insight into industries and companies that we might not have thought about or looked at before and I personally learned quite a lot.
During our visit to Universal Music Group, for example, we started off the day with an amazing breakfast and even some free CD’s by some of the labels stars!
(My desperately needed coffee and a CD to go along with it!)
Afterwards, we got to hear from Global Head of New Business, Olivier Robert-Murphy. Murphy gave us an amazing presentation on how Universal Music has continued to stay at the head of the industry despite all the challenges they’ve faced from the era of digitalization. He also gave some amazing examples of some brand partnership cases his team had worked on!
Another company I got to visit was Internet giant Yahoo! In a presentation by members of their corporate and business development team, my fellow classmates and I got to hear about all the new initiatives and developments Yahoo had been working on in the past year to help keep it among top companies at the forefront of internet search and content sources today.
Finally, on Friday, another group of Masters in Management students and myself got to visit the headquarters of RackSpace cloud and hosting providers nearby London. We heard from another LBS alumnus about the cloud and hosting industries and how Rackspace had managed to position itself to become such a top contender in the past 15 years. We also got to have a tour around their amazing headquarter buildings! Some of the amenities “Rackers” (as they call them) are offered include an amazing cafeteria and games room, a private employee kitchen, company-wide foam gunfights, and even a Mini Cooper near the first floor lounge!
(MiM’s hanging out in Rackspace HQ)
So, all in all, I had a wonderful time on all of my company visits and really got a great overview into some business industries I hadn’t truly considered before! Hopefully next year’s MiM recruits can help plan another amazing Business Immersion Week for our following class!