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Dealing with the bittersweet feeling…

Posted by: Alexis
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This was it. Ten months after 144 newcomers met on the LBS campus for the MiM2012 Orientation week back in early September 2011, our journey in the Masters in Management program comes to an end. My feelings right now are bittersweet and its kind of weird not being able to figure out which part, the happy or the sad, dominates… I am happy, of course, because my long journey as a student ends in the best possible way, the completion of the Masters in Management degree from London Business School, which is a significant achievement in itself and a long lasting dream that came true. I am excited because I am about to take the next step and begin the next chapter in my life, the professional one. When you have worked so hard during the nerve-racking job hunting process, facing the most competitive marketplace of the last years and you eventually get your dream job, then you are really eager to take the first professional steps. You want to prove that your efforts as a student are finally paying off and you also expect to apply all the knowledge that you ‘ve obtained during your undergraduate and graduate studies!

On the other hand, there is also a feeling of sadness. A big part of me doesn’t want to leave the campus and I already feel nostalgic remembering the great moments that we ‘ve shared… The mornings in Laing House, the lunchtimes in Nash, the walks and discussions in Regent’s Park, the crazy MiM parties, the beers at the Windsor, the amazing LBS Club activities, the MBAT trip, the Friday and Saturday nights hanging out with friends from the MiM and many, many more… All those moments were part of my life during the last 10 months and I don’t want them to end. The feeling of being part of a diverse group of unique individuals, the mere fact that I got to know 143 names (despite being really bad at remembering names!) and finally developing some very strong friendships, have made this year by far the best of my student life.

So what’s the verdict? Am I mostly happy or sad right now? It’s both and I would say that it doesn’t matter which feeling dominates. Being an optimistic person by nature, as some friends wrote about me in our yearbook, I am ending this blog post with my absolute certainty that this class will keep in touch, whether some of us end up being investment bankers in London, consultants in New York or entrepreneurs in Dubai. It’s a sure thing; there are still many amazing MiM2012 moments to come… Love you guys and thanks for making this year the best! :)

For all the non-MiM2012 readers: if you want to get just a tiny glimpse of what we ‘ve been through this last year check out the following videos… Kindly created by the MiM2012’s most creative minds… :P

London Business School – I ‘m on the MiM

London Business School – MiM2012

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The three powers that make LBS stand out

Posted by: Alexis
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It’s been quite a while since my last blog entry and I really apologize for that… Although I am pretty sure that, amongst so many insightful writings by the fellow LBS bloggers, no one really missed my posts… ;) ! Anyway, the reason for this two-month absence is that my initial perception of the Spring term’s “work-life balance” proved to be immensely wrong. The Spring term is at least as busy as the Autumn term and having spare time is still a “luxury good”. Unfortunately, for quite a few of us, the job hunt is not over yet and it’s still really tough to balance the workload for the courses with the job applications’ process. So now, after taking a mid-term exam in Macro two days ago, together with the fact that many lucky MiMs are currently in Stockholm for the LBS-SSE exchange, I feel it’s a great opportunity to write a few lines.

Due to my “occupation” as blogger, I have received quite a few queries from people wanting to apply to LBS. And since I have been living the amazing LBS student experience for more than half a year now (Jesus, time flies!) , I believe I have a clear opinion of the three main characteristics/powers that make LBS what it is and that people should be expecting when joining:

1) Power of the brand: It is not about the satisfaction of being at a top-ranked Business School and getting a WOW reaction from other people whenever you say where you are studying, although it is true and it feels quite good! Mainly, it is about what follows. The LBS seal on your CV is a huge advantage because it automatically gives you credibility. It does NOT get you a job by itself. If you don’t make the effort, then you will get nothing, that’s for sure. And it is NOT a piece of cake to get a job in such a competitive marketplace. You still have to go through the same stressful process like everybody else in order to get a job offer. However, what the LBS brand does to a good extent is getting you to the employer’s doorstep by securing you an interview. A big step indeed. With the LBS brand, your CV does stand out during the horrible initial screening process and your chances to get an interview are much higher. Then it is really up to you to convince the employer that you deserve and really want this job. Of course, you can still profit from LBS through the numerous workshops that assist you at every stage of your job application process.

2) “Practice vs. theory” power: Before joining the MiM, I was aware of the rumours that LBS is THE place to go, if you want to acquire practical skills and knowledge. I am really grateful that those rumours proved to be absolutely right. The MiM is all about applying the theoretical knowledge to everyday, real-life examples. Literally, in every single course and almost in every single lecture we work on different case studies, which we analyze and interpret. Case studies, simulations, study-group work, presentations… The MiM is all about practicality! You can gain some more insights into this aspect by reading Prateik’s relevant blog post.

3) Networking power: Although it is interrelated with the first point about the power of the brand, networking is something much broader and more important. By being member of the LBS Community, you automatically have access to networks that you wouldn’t have imagined in the past. Here’s a personal story: As LBS Hellenic Club, we organized a Conference concerning the Greek crisis which was held in Athens in January. The 300 people that were invited and participated in the Conference comprised leading policy makers and personalities from Greece, the EU, the ECB and the IMF; amongst them numerous MPs, ex and current ministers, professors, journalists, bankers, entrepreneurs, lawyers etc. Not only we had the opportunity to actively contribute to raising the awareness regarding possible solutions of the Greek situation but for everyone involved it was a great way to broaden his/her network with people that, before coming to LBS, he/she was used to watching on the TV and the evening news! And this is just one tiny example of what LBS provides in terms of networking opportunities!

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What a great term!

Posted by: Alexis
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Those lines are written on the first day of the Christmas break, on the plane back to Greece. The last week of the term was our exam week and definitely pushed us to the limits. Very little sleep (for those who didn’t stay all night long in the library) studying for three exams in five days. It was a difficult week that sealed an amazing first term at LBS, which unfortunately went by so fast…There was no better way to celebrate the end of the exam week than to organize a party for the MiM2012 class on Friday night. And what a party it was!

Thanks to our fantastic social reps Filip and Henry (kudos guys for the wonderful events you ‘ve organized!), we had an amazing Masquerade Winter Ball and a great after party in one of the best clubs in London… It was a great night – 144 MiMs shared experiences and highlights from the first term, exchanged Christmas presents and danced until early Saturday morning. Staying more than 30 hours awake (woke up at 06:00 to be on time for the Financial Accounting exam and went straight to the airport after the Ball) was something I hadn’t done for a while and was worth it 100%!

I only wish our schedule allowed us more time to organize similar events throughout the term and I really feel extremely lucky and excited about being part of such a vibrant class. Developing friendships, having fun and sharing so many great moments with 143 people is certainly one of the biggest highlights of my MiM experience so far and I am sure that the months to come will be even better. See you in 2012!

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Now that the mid-term exams are over, I can confidently sit down and write some thoughts stemming from the first two months of the Masters in Management curriculum. Coming from a completely non-business background, my main fear when applying to the MiM programme was whether I would be able to catch up with the demanding curriculum of a top-tier business school. I knew that it would require a lot of studying and effort and I was completely ok with that. However, keep in mind that when I say that I knew absolutely nothing about some business topics, I am not exaggerating… My background comprises of six years of studies in Law and an eight-month internship in a Law Firm: Not only I knew nothing about Statistics or Accounting but, in fact, the first time I ever heard of the terms “median, mode and standard deviation” was during my GMAT preparation last year! And so, after the initial excitement of getting accepted to LBS, I started wondering whether I would succeed in coping with the high-level fast-paced and completely new to me MiM curriculum.

After two months I can admit that I was wrong. The Masters in Management programme is so well-designed that if you are determined to work hard and overcome the challenges then, no matter how irrelevant your background is, you can thrive! In fact, the other day I was mingling with two fellow MiMs, the one studied… Film Aesthetics in her undergrad and the other Architecture and Urbanism! So, I guess Law is fine :)

Now let’s see where we stand only a couple of months after the inception of the course: We are all quite good in reading, interpreting, comparing and making the basic and most important financial statements (B/S, I/S, cash flow statements etc.) and to talk about Managerial Statistics (my favourite!), I can say with pride that I am in a much better position than just knowing what “standard deviation” is : Building and interpreting regression models, simulation models and linear programmes has almost become my second nature!

To be able to make this huge step it took me many hours of studying, many cups of coffee in order to stay awake at night (though the plan didn’t always “work”) and building hundreds (yes hundreds!) of Excel models (after our last individual assignment, I didn’t even want to pronounce the words “regression model”)… Apart from the lectures, the MiM curriculum provides us with seminars and workshops for every course and together with the study group work, the day to day schedule is really heavy and intense but it eventually pays off. I am pretty sure that if I didn’t have my mid-term exams last week, I wouldn’t have sat down and revise the whole material… And no, the exam process is NOT fun. But the mere fact that our curriculum is designed in that way, together with the willingness of our Professors to help us at all times, makes us learn… whether we want it or not!

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Why LBS is unique

Posted by: Alexis
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To tell you the truth, it took me a while to get used to the idea that I am officially part of the MiM2012 class and member of the London Business School community! Five weeks have passed since 144 “strangers” crossed the gate of LBS for the first time. One month later, I can say that, despite the little sleep and the really busy day to day schedule,  the overall experience is far beyond what I expected. Learning from the world’s top faculty is certainly one element but also I really appreciate sharing the experiences of an amazingly diverse group of peers, building friendships, having fun, developing my personality and improving my character…

And because first impressions always count, I will mention just a tiny example back from our first week. In  my eyes this experience was sufficient enough to show me that, above all, the Spirit of this School is what makes it the best in the world…

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