Today I submitted my last take home exam and officially reached the end of my first term at LBS. Thought it might be a good time as any to look back on all that has happened since first I set foot on campus in August.

In the first month, there was a flurry of activities hosted by the school’s Career Services team, which very much took me by surprise, since according to my logic, the job is rather supposed to follow the education and not the other way round. Anyhow, it was a pleasant surprise, because the Career Services team are full of wonderful people and all of us MiFs love them very much. Thanks to their effort, by the 3rd week of September, I was the owner of:

  • A flawlessly written, challenge-action-result structured, beautiful, one-page CV
  • The ability to produce a perfect cover letter for any company, any job, within the hour
  • A range of impressive skills to deal with the most challenging of interviews
  • A new and much improved LinkedIn profile (yes friends, at LBS, you do get help with LinkedIn)
  • Solid networking techniques which transformed me from a socially awkward penguin into an acceptably effective networker (if this result seems somewhat lackluster compared to the rest, it was by no means Career Services’ fault, as I said, I was a penguin)
  • The beginning, and the knowledge to duly figure out the rest, of an answer to the question “is it for me?” with regards to a wide selection of industries
  • An ambitious yet plausible career plan, with a plan A and a plan B and room in the back for plan C

The 3rd week of September also marked the beginning of a series of on campus recruitment (OCR) events, where representatives from a long list of prestigious firms showed up to convince us students they would be the perfect employer, and in turns, we got the chance to exercise our newly developed networking techniques in an attempt to impress them as potential employees. It was an exciting period, and in case you are a sponsored student who does not need to look for a job after graduation (lucky you!), you can still enjoy yourself by sitting back and admiring the air of utmost professionalism and urgency as your classmates dashed from lecture theaters to company presentations to drink receptions, all in their best suits.

Around the time the OCRs were going on, the many student clubs at LBS also started kicking off their agenda for the new school year. The first order of business is usually a session to introduce the club to the new students, which doubles up as a call for applications to the executive committee. The Student Association Autumn Elections and the search for Student Ambassadors are both on the way during late September too, so if you are an aspiring student leader, this is your turn on stage. I myself managed to get away quite well with this period, securing a post in the executive committee of the LBS Industry Club. For your information, the Industry Club is one of the biggest clubs on campus. Our mission is to help people figure out whether a corporate career is ideal for them and if it is, how to land yourself the job. During Autumn term, our agenda centered on the highly popular “What is…?” series, weekly events where we brought in industry experts to satisfy any questions you might have about a plethora of industries and corporate functions. (Sorry for the PR, just thought I should do my duty as VP Marketing of the Club.)

Before you become overly concerned, allow me to confirm that yes, we did our fair share of study this first term too. The term began with 2 preparatory courses in accounting and data analytics (you can get exempted from any or both if you have a professional accounting certification or/and demonstrable knowledge of statistics). Then there were the 4 core courses: Personal Assessment and Development, Investments, Financial Accounting and Analysis, and Corporate Finance and Valuation. With the exception of Investments, which leaned a bit more to the technical side, all the courses were mostly case study-based, the result being that lectures more often than not resembled open floor discussions. The MiF’s diversity assured that no matter the case, there were always at least 3 experts on the subjects to keep the debate heated. Another exceptionally fine feature of the MiF that I have come to appreciate was the fact that whenever a professor asked “Is there anyone here from xxx country?”, almost 100% of the time the answer would be yes. Cheers for the amazing 42 countries represented in our class this year!

Group assignment was an important component in any courses, so we spent a lot of time with our study group (which we were randomly assigned to, and remained the same for all core courses). My study group is one Australian/New Zealander short of representing all the world’s populated continents (Antarctica does not count), and no one used to work in the same industry as any other, so you can imagine the “fun” we had trying to resolve all the (friendly) arguments. That said, we somehow grew so close as a group that when we submitted our last assignment, everyone got so emotional I swear I was able to detect some teary eyes here or there.

In the first weeks of December, up to our choice of electives, we can take 1 or 2 block-week courses to wrap up Autumn term. These block weeks were quite intensive since the format means that we complete an elective during a single week. I chose to take Strategy for MiFs during the first block week (and skipped the second week in favor of a trip to Edinburgh, but pray do not let my laziness get to you). Strategy turned out to be my favorite course of the whole term. My classmates were of the opinion that I liked Strategy so much simply because all the case studies happened to be about my favorite things: coffee, luxury watches, books and fashion, not to mention the simulation game at the end of the week, which involved us acting as managers for football teams. However, I would maintain that the numerous theories of strategy we were taught were equally enjoyable.

I think it would be apt to end this post by showing you the bottle of champagne our group won for arriving at first place in the mentioned strategy simulation game. Our lecturer professor Ioannou specially warned me not to show the world how at LBS we talked about sports and brought alcohol to lecture theaters, so naturally I feel obliged to do exactly that.

Champagne

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to everyone. Do feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions about life at LBS.

5 Responses to “A Term in the Life (of a MiF)”

  1. avatar School Premises Management says:

    Well Done

  2. avatar Faithman Nartey says:

    Hello Ly,

    Happy and prosperous 2015. Thank you for such an insightful blog. I am currently getting my application ready for MiF program in 2015. I would be grateful if you share with me some of the challenges you or your colleagues faced during the first term.

    Thank you.

    • avatar Ly Le says:

      Hi,

      Thank you for your comment and I’m terribly sorry for the late reply (as mentioned in my blog post above, I went on a New Year trip, and a rather lengthy one too).

      It’s always great to hear of people getting ready to apply for the MiF, I wish you all the best of luck with your application.

      To answer your question, I think the biggest challenge my friends and I had to face during the first term was the transition from working to studying. Since the MiF is a post-experience program, all of us were in full-time employment, with some people (including me) working right up to the very week before the start of the program. It was quite bizarre at first, sitting in a lecture theater listening to a professor instead of being in a meeting room talking with your boss and colleagues. Many of my classmates have not heard of the word “homework” for a very long time so when the group and individual assignments started to arrive they came as a bit of a shock too.

      Another challenge I think you should be prepared for is that the first term is usually the busiest for MiFs. As I have also said in my blog post, the whole school was buzzing with activities during these first few months and while it is surely very exciting, at certain times you might feel somewhat overwhelmed. There was this certain week when I had to: study for 2 final exams, design a new logo for my club, work on 3 assignments and an internship project, plus prepare for a big job interview. That week was, frankly, an absolute nightmare, and it had forced me to take a step back and try to better balance my schedule.

      I hope you find my answer at least somewhat helpful and please do not hesitate to reach out to me again if there is anything else you’d like to know about. Sorry again for the late reply.

      Happy New Year!

      Best,

      Ly

      • avatar Faithman Nartey says:

        Hi Ly,

        Thank you very much for your insightful response. I really appreciate it; especially the part about the need to balance ones schedule.

        I successfully submitted my application for the second round. I am looking forward to a favorable response from the admissions committee.

        I wish you all the best in your second term. I will contact you when I have any further questions. Thank you so much for response.

        Best,

        Faithman

        • avatar Ly Le says:

          Hello Faithman,

          Congratulations on completing your application. According to my personal experience that was the hardest and most stressful part of the whole process.

          It was a pleasure talking with you and I very much hope to see you at LBS in August.

          Best,

          Ly