Author Archive

avatar

Turning tides

Posted by: Charlotte
Comments Off

My MBA experience
has completely shifted this term. 
My priorities have changed and my outlook is not the same as it
was.  Last term work was my
priority and I felt that the MBA was just very time-consuming.  I went home to Boston for 3 weeks over
Christmas and I couldn’t bear to pick up a book, let alone look at a
number.  I realised I had been
missing old friends and I was desperately in need of recharging my batteries.

Thankfully I
survived the initiation tests to get to the rewards of this term.  And wow, what a term.  How can I summarise it in a
sentence?  Interviews, suits, jobs,
rugby matches, discovering the alumni bond, party organising, Sundowners, a
trip to Paris, Sundowners and more parties.

There’s not much
of classes in all of that and yet classes have been great.  Marketing and Discovering
Entrepreneurial Opportunities are all getting to the crux of what makes
businesses tick.  However, I have
learnt far more from doing interviews than I have in any class.  I spent the first few weeks absorbed in
‘cracking cases’, the standard method of interviewing for consulting companies
where a business problem is thrown at you and you have half an hour to draw
together all of your knowledge and wit and come up with reasonable assumptions
on how the problem can be fixed. 
It is extremely strategic, a lot of fun and thankfully the preparation
paid off since I am lucky enough to have an internship offer from a consulting
firm for the summer.

But more than
that, this term I have really experienced what it means when people say that
the MBA is all about building a network. 
This isn’t as cheesy as it sounds and it’s not artificial.  Job-hunting has been a truly bonding
experience.  We regularly met up in
groups to prepare for interviews together even though we were all competing for
the same roles.  The 2nd
years have been an amazing resource and the alumni I have met have been
extremely supportive and just want to help you to get a job in the companies
they work for.

I have found my
network of friends and contacts growing in so many other ways too.  I have met up with a student from
Kellogg on exchange here who has worked for the company I am going to this
summer, I’ve met some creative people through the lunchtime photography classes
offered by an avid photographer in our year, I’ve been to brunch with the 19
girls in my stream, I’ve shared drinks, songs and dances with the long line of
alumni involved in the rugby club after the alumni match last weekend and I’m
finding out the talents of my fellow classmates as part of the committee
organising this year’s summer ball. 
And this is all going to continue in the sun – I’m going to Thailand for
2 weeks over the Easter holidays with the sailing club – can’t wait!

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

I’m the dummy!

Posted by: Charlotte
Comments Off

My Sundays have never been quite like this
before.  I’ve joined the women’s
touch rugby club (that means no scrums and no full-on tackles) and for the past
few weeks I’ve been out in Regent’s Park with a big bunch of girls doing drills
and getting covered in mud.  It all
seems relatively inexplicable but I’m most bemused by the exercise where one
person charges directly towards the opposition with the ball whilst someone
else runs right behind her yelling ‘I’m the dummy!’  It’s a lot of fun even if I’m not quite sure how it’s going
to help us to win games yet…  The
rugby team is brilliant though. 
It’s one of the most fun and active clubs on campus and it’s been one of
the best ways of meeting people from the year above.  They’ve all been very welcoming and they’re constantly
giving us great advice for navigating our first year – insider information at
last!

There have been several other occasions
over the past few weeks where I’ve been gripped by an urge to yell ‘I’m the
dummy’.  This term I’ve been
plunged into a completely new and unfamiliar world of finance, accounting and
economics, and finance is tough! 
For those of us with non-quantitative backgrounds it’s a struggle since
classes try to cater for all backgrounds and many have worked in finance
before.  There are a lot of new
concepts to absorb in little time but while it may be harder for us, I also
think we’re the lucky ones.  A
whole new world is opening up to me; it is fascinating to understand how to
value a company or government bonds so ironically, finance is also my favourite
subject.  It is amazing how reading
the Financial Times today is a completely different experience to only just a
few months ago.  And this is what I
came to business school for – so I could understand what all these intelligent
people are writing about!

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

My new normality

Posted by: Charlotte
Comments Off

I have now been at school for 3 weeks properly and already I have a whole new life which is in full swing. I know this because I’m currently surrounded by Stats books which say things such as scatter plots and correlation analysis and I’m getting it. Stats is a big thing for me. Many people have some knowledge but I’m in completely new territory – on Day 1 I learnt something which takes 2 seconds to do which could have saved me days in my old job using my homegrown Excel analysis techniques. Our month-long crash course in Business Statistics comes to an end this week but it hasn’t been all plain sailing. The major study group work so far has been in Stats and I have had to rely on my team a lot. It is a new experience for me to put my faith in the expertise of others but it is a great trust-building exercise.

The other side of my whole new life is the fact that all of a sudden I am an integral part of a big new community which is vibrant and lively and oh-so welcoming. I didn’t manage to visit London Business School before coming here so I had no idea that it was this close and I now consider myself extremely lucky for having picked this place.

The old cliché about starting school = nerve-wracking experience couldn’t be further from the truth if it tried. Every time I walk into the pub I see people I haven’t seen for the last day or two and it is like greeting long-lost friends. The only thing is that someone will then say “I am 95% Confident that I am going to drink tonight” and I will laugh! (And I see my old friends raising their eyebrows at the fact that I am now cracking Stats Jokes…)

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

D-Day -1

Posted by: Charlotte
Comments Off

I’ve had to go into hibernation this weekend in order to recover from the Flathunters’ Pubcrawl in time for tomorrow; I had actually developed jet-lag from all of our efforts to prove that the whole of London does not shut down at 11pm. It’s been a lot of fun and a great chance to get to know people but I suppose we’re just like any regular group of students, if slightly (barely) more mature.
The group is great. Still resolutely international. Not as many consultants and bankers as I necessarily expected – a good show of ‘industry’ too. Everyone clearly has an ability to have fun but you can also see that behind it all people have put a lot into being here and will be extremely buckled down and focused as of tomorrow. I have a feeling it’s going to be an inspiring atmosphere.
Anyway, I think I’m nearly ready. I’ve filled in all the forms, joined the gym, got my laptop working at school and stocked up the fridge. And I’ve written farewell emails to all of my friends. We got this email from the Admissions team “…you should expect to be on campus from 8.30 to 17.30 from Monday to Friday for the whole of September. Needless to say, the courses you are taking will require some study out of the classroom so you should expect to be pretty busy during this time with little time for any non-MBA related activites!” (their exclamation mark). Sounds like we’re signing our lives away!

Read the rest of this entry »
avatar

Counting down to the start of school

Posted by: Charlotte
Comments Off

20 days more till the beginning of term and I wish it would just start now. After the luxury of a long break from work and a 5 month trip round India I want to use my brain again and check it still functions (unlikely).
Every now and then as I talk to friends who are having interviews and advancing in their careers I wonder whether I’ve made the right decision in choosing to do an MBA. There is always the niggling wonder in the back of my mind whether real work experience wouldn’t be more useful. And then there’s the cost of an MBA… And the number of people who look at me blankly when I say I’m a student again (or worse, those who ask ‘What are you doing your MBA in?’).
However, somehow I know that this is going to be an amazing experience. Every single person I’ve met so far is not who you expect – the Italian person who grew up in Brazil, the Spanish guy who works in the Netherlands… It’s exciting and after 10 years of living abroad it’ll be fun to discover London alongside this crew. As long as they don’t expect me to be able to tell them where anything is in London. Except for the 3 nearest pubs to the school – I’ve got that figured…

Read the rest of this entry »