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After a few weeks of class, it has become clear to me that the hallmark of a great teacher is their command of analogy, their ability to use interesting and informative metaphors and examples to illustrate their point. So far in class we have talked about Madonna in strategy, peach trees & duck confit in Economics (not together), and heard how the fact our Finance professor’s son demands plates of one colour can help explain a long term dip in the spot rate (apparently insurance companies and pension funds bear all the traits of a truculent child when purchasing bonds). These examples, some from the lecturer’s own experience (yes, our Economics professor tends a grove of peaches in his spare time), some not (not confirmed, but I am fairly sure our Strategy professor doesn’t know Madonna) all serve to drive home the point that we need to learn. I am sure that in the pressure of an exam situation, I will be using the mental model of duck confit and airline check-ins to help me get through sunk costs. When it comes to some of the more esoteric concepts we are looking at, the best teachers we have (and here at London Business School they are pretty good) always manage to explain it pretty well.

Of course, if you miss the explanation of the analogy it can get pretty confusing. Just this morning, I wasn’t paying attention for a minute or two, and then heard a classmate ask a question about a gorilla buying lots of bonds. I am sure it made some sort of sense, but I couldn’t get the mental picture of a suit wearing gorilla handing over a big novelty cheque to some serious looking bankers out of my head …

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Patient Zero

Posted by: Bavan
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400 people. 61 nationalities. 1 hybrid super-bug. Full credit to Celia Moore, our Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility professor for naming it the MBA2012 plague. It seems that perhaps the only downside of the melting pot that is LBS is the fact we have created our own little epidemic. In class, there is a veritable symphony of coughing, and the percentage of people rugged in scarves despite the relatively temperate weather is quite amusing.

In hindsight, it was always going to happen. Put this many people in close proximity for several hours a day, add in their diverse origins, and stir with an intense social schedule that puts a massive drain on the immune system.  It’s a definite recipe for what has happened.

I am incredibly impressed with the resilience of my classmates however. The level of class discussion has not dipped at all, and socially events are still getting  great attendance. It would appear the class subscribes to the mind over body philosophy – I am giving it a go to see if it works. Failing that, it’s a trip to the doctor – reports from other students indicate that the GP system here is pretty good.

Lesson for prospective and incoming students? When you pack for the big move, make sure you have included some antibiotics.

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Change

Posted by: Bavan

“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine” – Robert C. Gallgher

Life transitions are by definition about change. Getting your first job. Graduating high school. Moving out of home. Receiving your undergrad degree. These all involve different levels of change, new situations to which you need to get used to. Coming to business school after spending a few years in the workforce is no exception. For my first entry, I have decided to run through some of the things that have changed in my life since I moved here and started at London Business School.

I now have to walk past the pub to get home, and there is always someone I know there. The Windsor is the pub that is effectively on campus. It even has a special entrance just for London Business School people – see the picture below.

Our own entrance!

It seems like that out of the class of 400, there are always at least 5 or 6 people there (most of the time even more). This means I inevitably spend a lot of time there – which to be honest is not a bad thing to get used to.

Being incredibly social. I remember seeing this great routine Jerry Seinfeld did a few years back, where he compared the first day of university (of course he called it college) to the first day of kindergarten. One of the items I remember is that a huge similarity between kindergarten and uni is how easily people make friends – in kindergarten, all you needed for someone to be your friend was for them to have the same backpack, and it’s the same at university. Funnily enough, it’s the same at business school, and with about half the class sporting snazzy LBS branded backpacks, there are a lot of potential friends floating around. I have been having a blast meeting a lot of great people, and I still have a lot of the class to get through.

The diversity. Now, London Business School advertises its diversity pretty well, so you probably already intellectually know that we have an incredibly rich variety of nationalities represented in the class – I know it was a major reason I chose the school. Until you get here though, it’s hard to really understand. Its manifested in so many different ways here every day – from having the Latin types outclass you on the dance floor, to receiving a scolding from a German for mistreating your workers (this was in the context of a business simulation game we were doing). I thought I came from a multicultural country, but it is nothing compared to being in class here. It is truly educational.

That’s just a little taste of the changes you might encounter coming here but as we learnt in our writing class, its better to leave things short and snappy. I will leave you however with another picture – this time from my first proper class here – the professor kindly let us out to discuss the case we were looking at.

Great way to spend lecture time

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