Imagine 250 people representing 72 countries singing “Imagine” in unison and breaking a Guinness World Record while at it! That’s how Tattoo weekend kicked off. After having a world record in the bag, students across LBS programmes were busy rehearsing performances, decorating stalls and making sure there’s enough food to serve 1,000 people at this year’s sold out Tattoo event.
As I was the captain of the Middle East Club, I had to ensure that my classmates from the region and I represent our countries well. It was an uphill battle with many obstacles to overcome, particularly our tone deafness and acute lack of coordination. However, the night before the big event, we decided that we’d just have fun on stage and make sure we give a high-energy performance. Did we have fun? YES! Was it one of the most mortifying moments of our lives? Probably. But as we were told the first day of orientation, the MBA at LBS is the right place to try new things in a safe environment. Also, we received the stamp of approval from the Dean who wanted to know what we were eating to get that much energy!
After the performance, we moved to our (very popular) food stall. Tambourines in hand, we made sure that the people standing in the long queue would continue to be entertained. Everyone was having a great time watching our improvised act and watching the winning Korea Club performance on the screens spread out across campus.
Tattoo was an incredible way to release some stress after a long recruitment season. It was a way to celebrate the many cultures that LBS houses and to learn more about our classmates’ backgrounds. I, for one, was very proud to share some aspects of the Jordanian culture with my classmates and was very happy to see my friends decked out in their national costumes dancing to music from their countries. Events like this make me realize what a unique experience LBS is offering us and how privileged we are to be part of the most diverse and international b-school student community.
On the first day of orientation, we were introduced to the “why I love LBS” hashtag, which was started by the class of MBA2015. Alumni shared their reasons why they love LBS and these varied from getting the opportunity to change careers to enjoying sunny days on our campus’s front lawn. Current students have kept the hashtag alive as we continue to find new reasons to love this place on a daily basis. For this month’s post, I thought I’d share two of these reasons. Incidentally, this comes after one of the most exciting weekends of the MBA so far.
- Weekend day 1: I hosted one of the largest conferences covering the Middle East in Europe
I had been working on organizing the London Business School 14th Annual Middle East Conference since August. The whole process was incredibly challenging but immensely rewarding. As the Vice President of Speakers, I had the responsibility of securing high-calibre speakers that could speak to the conference’s theme “Opportunities in Adversity”. After weeks of internal discussions, deep-dives into the team’s personal and professional networks and schedule-wrangling, we managed to secure an impressive line-up of 4 keynote speakers and 5 panellists. It was remarkable to see the London Business School brand at play – speakers were happy to clear their busy schedules and take long-haul flights just to speak at our student-led conference. It was also very rewarding to see our hard work come to fruition on the day of the conference with attendance that included ambassadors and guests traveling to London just to attend the conference.
- Weekend day 2: I competed in a global business school private equity competition in Amsterdam
As part of the London Talk series at LBS, I attended a masterclass on body language and tools and techniques for becoming an influential leader a couple of weeks ago. The class involved jumping, shoving and yelling in different accents. But at the end of the masterclass, we were left with actionable advice on how to become more impactful leaders and speakers. I had the opportunity to use these tips over the weekend as I flew to Amsterdam, along with 3 classmates, to compete in a global business school private equity competition. We had to present our investment proposal to a jury of ten practitioners from the industry and a room full of our competitors. Putting the techniques we’d learned into practice, we delivered the best presentation of the day with rave reviews from the judges about our presentation style. I had never been afraid of public speaking but it had never been my favourite activity, either. However, after all the different public speaking experiences I have had at LBS so far, I am now very excited about the prospect of delivering presentations and speaking to rooms full of people.
After this very eventful weekend, I felt a sense of achievement but more importantly excitement about the opportunities LBS will continue to offer me. At the end of month 3 of the MBA, we now realize that the education we are receiving extends beyond the classroom. We are pushed beyond our comfort zone everyday. We are thrown into new environments equipped with the tools to succeed and thrive. We are taught to revel in challenges. And that’s why I love LBS.
When I told one of the partners at my former firm that I’m leaving to go do my MBA at LBS, he gave me a very serious warning: “life at LBS is going to be difficult. LBS programmes are very tough!” Having had worked through the previous two weekends, I said: “can’t be much harder than working 18-hour days with no weekends!” He couldn’t disagree.
We’re almost at the two-month mark in the MBA programme and it’s been quite the ride. The school’s corporate partners are already on campus hosting information sessions and networking events. Midterms start next week. Club events are in full swing. And life is hectic to say the least! Even though our agendas are overflowing most days of the week, we still get to do things at LBS that, let’s say, would be frowned upon in the corporate world. Here’s a couple of examples.
1. Have back-up dancers while giving a presentation
This week we had a case competition in our Data, Models and Decisions course where only selected groups got to present the results of their regression analysis. The competitive b-school students that we are, we were willing to do anything for our study group to be selected as a finalist. So one of the guys in my study group promised the teaching assistant a dance number if we’re selected. Sure enough, our group was called to present the results of our regression model that analysed meat loaf sales. As one person gave the presentation, the rest of us danced to the tunes of Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love” in the background to the roaring laughs of our classmates. Now, I come from the world of consulting so I have attended/ given my fair share of presentations. Never, though, had I ever felt the need to watch a Tina Turner video to prepare for one of these presentations. But there’s a first time for everything, I guess!
2. Show up dressed as a pirate (or a minion)
If passers-by would’ve peered through LBS’s gates a couple of Saturdays ago, they would’ve seen swarms of twenty-something business school students decked out in pirate swag (shoulder parrots included) with a few random minions wandering around. That’s how Treasure Hunt 2015, an LBS tradition, kicked off. We were given iPads with GPS and sent into the city of London to do the most random tasks. From re-enacting scenes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to forming conga lines with tourists waiting to get into the Sherlock Holmes Museum, LBS-branded pirates were roaming the city in search of treasure. Most surprising about this experience was how unfazed Londoners were by the sight of adults dressed in pirate costumes (or onesies) doing a beatbox rendition of a nursery rhyme or posing as human statues. That’s the beauty of a city as crazy and eclectic as London!
People have different ideas about what the life of an MBA student is like, but judging by my experience so far, the intensity of an LBS MBA is only matched by all the fun to be had as part of the school and the city. And for any sceptics out there, I have a return ticket to Amsterdam next weekend to prove it!
P.S. there’s a video out there of our little regression dance recital that, for everyone’s sake, we wish never finds its way online!
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so by way of introduction, my name is Christine and I’m an MBA 2017 student. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get down to business. It has been one month (almost to the day) since we’ve started year 1 of the MBA at LBS. So here’s a list of LBS problems we love that we have.
1. When you really want to go to a club kick-off but it clashes with a Career Centre session and you end up going to the Windsor instead
This week has been incredibly busy. I spent the week running between classes, club kick-offs, Career Centre sessions, study group meetings and club meetings. At this point, everyone is suffering from choice overload but it’s a good position to be in. We get to shape our experience at LBS and decide what we want our next two years here to be like. Having this many options may be tiring so admittedly a pint at the Windsor does seem like a natural choice at the end of a long day. However, I feel the best way to avoid being overwhelmed by all the great options that we have is to impose our own constraints. Figure out what is important to you and prioritize.
2. When you haven’t been at LBS for one month but you’re already panicking about scoring a summer internship
I describe my experience thus far at LBS to my friends as living out my biggest career fears on a daily basis. Like many of my classmates, my career is important to me and I had spent a lot of time thinking about it before coming to LBS. What I had never done, though, is talk about my career plans. every day. to everyone I meet. During the past month, I’ve had people who I hadn’t met for five minutes challenge my career goals and everything I thought I knew about what I wanted to do after the MBA. Now I won’t lie and say that it has been a pleasant experience (I ended one particular conversation by saying: “okay, I have to go home now and cry myself to sleep”). These conversations have been uncomfortable and awkward but they left me with important questions about my career plan. Questions I had never asked myself. As a result, I have tweaked my career plan and adjusted my expectations and I feel more confident about my next steps.
3. When you think you know everyone in the MBA2017 class but you realize there’s an entire stream you don’t know anyone in
There’s 417 of us! We all seem to forget that it is very difficult to get to know 417 individuals in 30 days. Don’t take my word for it; we’re at b-school so let’s do some math. Each one of us would need to have met around 14 new people each day (including weekends) for the past month to get to know the whole class. That seems like a physical impossibility to me with our busy schedules! We have the most truly fascinating people in our class so we’re all very eager to hear everyone’s stories and get to know our classmates better. I don’t think it can happen in a month but hopefully it will eventually happen before we graduate. At least I hope it will!
Signing off for this week. Hopefully more posts to come as LBS pulls more rabbits out of its hat.