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!
My second gig in London ended up beautifully last Saturday. All the imperfection made the night memorable and who knows where the next gig will be? We can only seize the moments.
Sentimental aside, the name of the event came from the “rock” and “recruiting” in a Frankenstein style. Right now is the most anxious season for all the MBA students. People try to secure a summer of doing something. So called recruiting season, which is sad but true. As a MiF I am more relaxed compared with the majority. I am really focus on what I want to do and I know it takes time. Gig is the priority.
My band is called “the Bites”. The inspiration came from the quick eatery called “the bite” down the Plowden. Why? It was just right for us; a bit unbounded, relax, and LBS-related! We are formed by 4 people met at the Music Club jam session last summer. We hit on immediately. We love blue-rooted rock, we like a bit punk, but the older generation sorts, we love dazzling solos, and we love classic rock. Most importantly, I love the Bites!
Elia is the singer-cum-soloist while few people know that he plays guitar before. He is a rugby-guy-disguised-rocker and a gem. He loves music so much that you can feel his soul when he sings. Besides, he plays Robben Ford!
Nacho knows music and enjoys them. He is a born musician by any measure, especially the Guitar Hero on Xbox. He became the true guitar hero on stage, singing and playing at the same time. His classic hit is “I Believe a Thing Called Love” by the Darkness. No one I know can sing that tune but he nailed it! Just incredible.
Chiani is the lady drummer. She is so lazy but you will still forgive her as she will deliver the performance at the last minutes. We won’t be here without her pulling the Bites together. She’s also the most unrecognizable drummer by appearance, especially with curly hair now.
Our setlist goes like this if you are ever wondered: Gold on the Ceiling, All Right Now, Times Like These, My Own Worst Enemy, I Believe a Thing Called Love, Maybe Tomorrow, Bohemian Like You, Surfing USA, Basket Case, Joker, I Wanna be Sedated, Don’t Matter, Song 2, All Along The Watchtower, Chelsea Dagger, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Should I Stay or Should I Go.
It would be unfair to say that the EMBA has not had an impact on my career since starting 5 months ago (someone noted that we were already half way through our first year – boom). I approached senior management in my company and I said I was ready to do more for them. A week or so after that one could argue to be bold action, I became part of a project looking into new markets outside of Europe. Transport revenue is correlated to GDP so yesterday we were looking at GDP growth rates. This morning as I travel to Glasgow, I recalled our Understanding the International Macroeconomy discussion on convergence of countries with a similar steady state and diverged into some detective work on the internet. Not hard to find a GDP per capita data series and plot some charts – which as some of my classmates might know I do a lot for work. By no measure I am an economist or know too much about countries in South America but I decided to group Peru, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador.
Quick inspection tells me that:
- Starting point matters (doh!)
- Something happened in Chile that made it jump before the others.
- Ecuador seems to be slowing down.
I won’t go into politics but I found the trajectories of all these countries interesting. If a hypothesis was made of a potentially common steady state, what could the bottom 3 countries do to catch up with Chile? Do politicians care? Time for an MPA?
The train just passed Preston and is on its way to Lancaster. I spent a year there, it was a good one. For the last couple of weeks I have been reading The Savage Detectives. I guess it could be said that it is an acquired taste. At the beginning it was a bit confusing but now that the stories are converging I am enjoying myself a bit more. Last week there was a presentation as part of the Careers stream that I did not attend – honest disclaimer. The visitor was, according to some of my classmates, quite engaging and one of the phrases he left was: Fortune favours the bold. As I read my book which narrates a duel (with swords!) from different points of view I couldn’t help wondering if this phrase was incomplete – or indeed if I missed the context because I was not in the presentation. I would think that ‘Fortune favours the bold… that are fortunate’ or maybe ‘Fortune appears on the way of the bold sometimes’ might be a bit more realistic making allowances for unforeseen events and the actions of others. As our lecturer of Decision and Risk Analysis was saying we need to value the quality of a decision making process and not just the outcome of those decisions (the fortune). Going to Lancaster for further study was a whimsical decision in many ways but it opened the way to a new series of chance events and decisions that have been made with more mature judgment – like attending LBS. So maybe being bold shapes fortune in ways difficult to assess at origin. (But then that reverses the argument doesn’t it?). Anyway, I don’t want to offer advice or be perceived to be preaching but I feel fortunate about where I am now and how I got here while not assuming that it was all down to my choices and abilities. Don’t overthink it. I shall turn to some work now.
I can’t believe it is already February! Time is flying by and the intensity of this term has been just as high as it was in the fall. This semester, the MiMs have been delving into Finance, Marketing and the Global Macroeconomy, and all these courses have been exciting and insightful. Our Macroeconomics professor is none other than Hélène Rey (a simple Google search will reveal what an impressive pedigree she has). Aside from academics, the search for jobs and the application process has heated up, and these next couple months will be when many firms are looking to hire for July and September intakes as well as summer internships.
The MiM 2013 Employment Report was released recently and it showed 96% of students had received an employment offer within 3 months of graduation. The Career Services team has been ever helpful in their guidance as I have altered my career goals and come up with a new plan for my employment search. It took me a bit of time to figure out what specifically I would like to do within business, but I now have my heart set on Marketing and I am enjoying getting more exposure to and receiving insights from people doing what I can imagine myself doing post-LBS.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet a number of representatives from prestigious companies at the Marketing Club’s Meet the Marketers Event. This week is Business Immersion Week, one of the highlights of the year, where MiMs will actively engage in projects and casework with a number of companies from across different sectors. I am visiting a marketing agency and a creative growth consultancy, so by the end of the week I will have a greater understanding of the day-to-day processes of these types of companies and the challenges they face.
Until next time!
Before taking up this offer at LBS, I was as confused a soul as most of us might have been during the admissions process – trying to make a choice to go to a school in the US (in my case it was MIT) or coming here. I chose LBS for two reasons: its location in the financial hub of the world and its strong, ever-growing brand value.
I spoke to someone who had left LBS a while ago. “It will be the two most unforgivable years of your life. This place grows on you” And this is what my time at LBS till now has been. Time flies by very quickly here. It has been 2 months since I joined – I already feel like I have always have been a been part of LBS and yet it seems like only yesterday when I boarded a flight from New Delhi.
Three words sum it up for me: Diversity, Intelligence, Culture. Visit any Sundowners and see it for yourself – the smartest, most diverse set of people blending perfectly in a single, huge ensemble. Has my decision of coming here been vindicated ? I will tell you over our next drink at Windsor’s!
Dislocated shoulder, sprained ankles and head wounds were just some of the injuries that came out of Saturday’s Reds vs Blues rugby game. For some of us it was a brand new experience, others it was a trip down memory lane having played over ten years ago, and for the MBA2014s, it was one of many games they have played in the past year. However everyone came out of the game with a sense of achievement and enjoyment, even though there were injuries and arguments between the players.
There is something unusually attractive about playing on the LBS rugby team. Is it because it is the biggest club on campus or is it because of the 10% discount that you get at the Windsor. I think it is because playing rugby with a great group of lads builds lifelong relationships, trust and respect for your team mates. Everyone is giving it 100% and putting their bodies on the line, that is what builds teamwork and leadership. I look forward to our next game and encourage everyone to come and support the Reds and the Blues.