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One Crazy Period

Posted by: Chemi

First, My warmest congratulations for those applicants who already received an offer to join the next MiF intake. I am so jealous of you! I have only half a year until the end of my studies, while you a year and a half…

Second, I would like to apologize for not writing here for a while. I just had two crazy months, starting from the end of the first semester and followed by a short period of recovery.

In order to explain my crazy period I must first explain the structure of our programme, for those of you who are not familiar with it (yet, I hope).

The first semester consists of three core course, Investments, Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance. All three courses have the same length (12 lessons), but Financial Accounting taught throughout all the semester, while the other two are taught during half of the semester (Investment exam is in the middle of the semester).

These courses cover the majority of the financial subjects so my view is that for the many MiF students, whom all of them have a financial work experience, these courses play the following role:

One course relates to our previous experience therefore it serves as a good tool to refresh the memory on important topics on that subject.

The second course is associated with the subject that we are most interested on, we probably want to work in this field, so this course serves as an important instrument to complement our knowledge for our future career.

For the third course we don’t have work experience and ambitions to work in its field, but this course is also very beneficial for us as it provides us all the basic framework and definitions that we need in this subject for the rest of our career (starting from the basic questions in the next job interview…).

Anyway and back to my stressed period, the last two weeks of the first semester are quite demanding. We had to submit the weekly assignments and study for the exams of the two courses, together with preparing and presenting the final valuation project for Corporate Finance. In addition, there are the many other activities in the school, as usual. During this period the MiFs also had a one day negotiation skills work shop, which I enjoyed a lot.

We finally reached the evening after the final exams and everyone went happily to the end of semester party which proceeded the one month Christmas break. but I wasn’t relieved. Why? Because the day after the final exam I started a month with three block weeks (with a one week home visit in the middle). A block week is an intensive manner to study few specific elective courses, which are taught all day for one week. Therefore, taking three of them in a row is quite exhausting and challenging. At that time I was quite intimidated but I am definitely not regretting taking all these block weeks. I managed to survive this period and it turned out that I chose very interesting electives, each one of them is very different from the other (Strategy for MiFs, Understanding the World Macroeconomic and Financing the Entrepreneurial Business).

If you start to feel anxiety about the MiF programme, don’t worry, as my selection of block weeks is absolutely not representative. In fact, many students did not take even one block week during the Christmas break. These students will just need to take more course during the regular terms.

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Gene Simmons X 1000

Posted by: Chemi

Yesterday I was one of the 200 happy LBS students who attended the lecture of Gene Simmons, the leader of the band “Kiss”. It was an hour and a half of pure charisma and the highest self confidence I have ever seen. You could see right from the start that there are some more humble people than him: “I am not used to appear in front of people who haven’t paid to see me”, and then a 10 minutes video clip that mentions the name “Gene Simmons” every 10 seconds. At first I felt a little uneasy with this spectacle of arrogance. But then Gene (can I call him that?) managed to conquer me and the rest of the crowd with his sense of humor and unique view on life. His arrogance is part of the show, and who else can behave like that if not one of the biggest rock stars ever? As Gene said “I am saying my name all the time and I don’t care what you think about it. At the end you will go out from here with one thing in your head: Gene Simmons”. He was so right…

Another person who spread some stardust in his lecture at LBS is the Spanish chef, Ferran Adria, who was included in TIME magazine list of “The 100 Most Influential People of Our Time.” I must admit that I have not heard about Ferran Adria before, but his arrival to LBS a month ago caused a lot of excitement among many students here.

However, not only world class celebrities arrive to guest lectures at LBS. One of the best things of being a student here is the access you receive to the events organized by the school or by the student clubs (Gene Simmons event was organized by the Retail & Luxury Goods Club). No matter whether you are MBA, MiF, full time, part time, executive or on exchange program (I think) …you are part of the LBS community, and can receive notification and register to every event. Another great event that I attended recently was about private equity Investments in the emerging markets (organized by the emerging markets club). Senior representative from Actis presented an interactive case study about evaluation of two potential deals in Brazil and India. It was very interesting, and through the case I could really understand the way PE firms analyze deals.

Not all the events take place at LBS. Recently I attended a panel discussion about the European crisis in Bloomberg offices. 50 LBS students received free entrance for the panel. In addition to listening to an interesting discussion from five finance experts, I enjoyed Bloomberg’s notorious hosting during the reception…  

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Hi everyone, let me first briefly introduce myself as I hope this is the start of a long term relationship. I am Israeli, 32 years old, with 5 years working experience in corporate finance, both in consulting firm and in-house corporate, an agro-chemical company. I arrived to London 1.5 months ago with my wife, and I must say that my experience in the MiF programme went far over my expectations (and I had expectations).  It’s not that I am writing this because LBS logo is shown on the upper left side of this web page, I truly feel that I will have one of the best times of my life here.

There are many reasons for my great enjoyment from the programme, but on this post I will elaborate on what might be the most important – There are so many things to do here!

It must be admitted that few years after the first degree, life may become a bit boring. At LBS and London, you can be sure that you would find something interesting to do. So for me, the decision to go aboard to study at LBS was the best thing for me at this point of life, making my life much more exciting than before. Every day I meet new people, visit a new place, and do something new. I can demonstrate it through some of my activities on the last couple of days:

Sunday – Went with my wife to a Partners’ club visit to the National Gallery followed by a visit to a nearby pub (of course), and in the evening going with few MiFs to a … pub.
Monday – A lecture from Director at Deloitte Sports about the intersection of sports and business, organized by the Sports Business Club at LBS.
Tuesday – Presentation from Barclays Capital on equity markets.
Wednesday – Celebrating the Jewish New Year with Israeli MBA students.
Thursday – Going out to dinner with my wife’s colleagues from work.

At the same time I need to study (we had our first exam on Saturday), participate in career events, and also clean and organize my flat. We moved to the flat only two weeks ago, and that is something that I definitely not recommend. In fact, I strongly advise future students to make all the necessary arrangements as early as possible, so at the start of the programme they could devote all their energy and efforts to what LBS can offer. I believe that it is a common mistake of students (and myself) to enter into a mood of euphoria after admitting the School, and leave many arrangements to the last moment.  However, There are many things to do, including the painful topic of issuing a Visa, on which I will elaborate in the future.

So for the flat, my wife and I could have prepared better, but for another important issue we have made a lot of efforts and were able to find my wife a job in London.  I guess that not so many candidates on their early university research are aware of the fact that students’ partners are eligible to work in the UK. For students with partners, that it is a huge advantage here comparing to other places like the US, for example.

Btw if we are talking about my wife, if you just take a look again on my activities this week, you can see that two of these activities were organized by my wife.  I know that some students worry that because of their partner they will not be “free” enough to go out and meet new people. However, what I found out here is the opposite. Through my wife I am able to extend my social circles, by meeting non-MiF students (through the Partners club) or by meeting people not from LBS (through my wife’s work).

This is my first blog, I am actually glad that I wrote it more than a month after the start of the year, so I don’t have to give details on the many events we had at the beginning of the programme. When I came here I had very limited knowledge on what we will go through during the introduction period, and that way I enjoyed it much more.  I would just say that future LBS students should work on their fear of heights ASAP…

I hope this blog will act interactively with its readers, so whether you are future MiF students, want to be MiF students or not sure if you want to be MiFs… please write me your comments/questions and I will respond here, as far as my knowledge allows me.

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