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An evening in conversation with…

Posted by: Olly Nguyen
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Hi! My name is Olly, and I’m privileged and excited to start writing this blog and sharing my experiences with you. Since this is my first post, I figured a bit of background would be helpful.

I’ve joined the LBS MBA 2017 class, one of 417 this year. I’m a US/UK dual national, (being born in the former, and working in the latter for the past 6 years). I spent my career at Deloitte in London, working on a variety of new initiatives, ranging from our CFO Transition programme to consulting in the social enterprise marketplace.

Term one has well and truly kicked off. I was debating what to describe from a fascinating first few weeks of Pre-term, but yesterday happened to attend one particular event that I think perfectly illustrates why it is so fantastic to a part of the LBS community. So I’ve got to tell you about it.

My thought process goes something like this: it’s 18:00.  Wednesday evening. It’s raining. Not only do I have a surplus of H20, I’m innundated with options to spend my evening. Do I attend the Finance careers talk about networking? Or follow a couple of classmates to explore the retail and luxury goods sector? What about that club kick-off meeting? There is of course that old standby, the ever excellent Windsor pub…

Happily, I received a reminder to an event I had completely overlooked: LBS Shares. After almost a snap decision, I arrived at one of the cosier lecture theatres not knowing much more about the event other than three people affiliated with the school were lined up to speak, and one of them was about politics (which had sold me).

We started with James Covey, an MBA2016, who had chosen to share with us why he believed that we should be interested in Politics. James had grown up attached to the US Diplomatic corps, and convincingly painted a picture of his memories of the stark contrasts in living conditions in the centre of Washington DC, which ultimately led to his working on the Obama election campaign in several states, and eventually on to the US Department of Energy. James’ delivery had a penchant for dry comic timing, and his content was backed by both knowledge and passion. Given my burgeoning interest in the role of politics in the world, I was just saddened that there wasn’t time to turn the questions into a protracted debate!

However, James was ably followed by a member of the faculty, Professor Daniel Effron, who shared with us some of his research interests – specifically the ‘last chance to cheat’. Professor Effron questioned our assumptions about the most likely parameters for individuals to engage in dishonest behaviour. His fascinating experiment results clearly indicated that there was a propensity for cheating at the last possible juncture. It was clear that this sort of insight might be extremely relevant for general managers seeking to curb delinquent behaviour in their organisations.

Finally, one of my classmates, Farai Mwamuka, MBA 2017, regaled us with how Hip-hop was a driver for his success. In all honesty, I’d never considered such a unique motivator, but Farai’s account of his interactions with music, from being a regular listener of music growing up, to incorporating a budding rap career (cruelly dashed short) to producing and even touring, all while also earning himself a degree!

LBS Shares is a great way to meaningfully encounter the almost ludicrous diversity of backgrounds that the LBS community has to offer. The physical proximity of the speakers and the fact that they were part of our community meant that asking questions was easier and more fruitful than many of the speaker events that I’ve attended. It was a simple, powerful example of why being at London Business School is such a humbling yet exciting opportunity.

Thanks for reading – do let me know if there are any topics or experiences that you might be interested in hearing more about, as I’m rather new to all this (blogging and MBA-ing)!

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