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There are moments in life when you feel so happy and so lucky that you want to scream: “I love my life”. This is how I and my fellow MiM classmates felt during the mini-exchange with IE business school, one of Europe’s top business schools for entrepreneurship.

The most precious aspect of this trip were definitely the people we met: we spent three unforgettable days in Madrid with IE students and staff whose hospitality was unrivalled. We had the opportunity to exchange ideas and experience with future entrepreneurs and young professionals as well as to have loads of fun. I don’t know whether it was a sheer coincidence of gathering the right people at the right place, or it was the result of following the b-school strategy: “Work hard, play hard”, but there was definitely a “click” between LBS and IE. We started friendships that will last well after we complete our management programmes.

In addition, we had the unique chance to meet former IE students who set up their own companies in Spain and gain first-hand knowledge of the rewards and difficulties of starting your own business. Talking to entrepreneurs who some years ago were students, just like us, has been an invaluable experience not only because of the useful insights they provided, but also because this has been immensely encouraging to the MiMs who are considering entering the world of entrepreneurship.

For me personally, the most ingenious company we visited was set up as a social network for learning languages. Named after a language spoken by only eight people in the world, busuu.com is one of the fastest growing and most innovative start-ups I have ever seen. The story of the founder of MasMovil, a Spanish telecom start-up, has been just as fascinating. When its founder came up with his idea some years ago, his friends thought he was “insane”. Today MasMovil is successfully competing against Spain’s biggest telecommunication providers. Key lesson learnt: no idea is crazy if you believe in it with your heart and soul and pursue its realisation relentlessly.

Apart from the educational aspect of the visit, which occupied our days, we tried to turn the nights into days in order to soak up the fabulous Madrid lifestyle. IE business school has organised an amazing three-day programme for us. (Thank you once again IE students and staff!) Our first stop was a popular Spanish restaurant with a live flamenco show and traditional Spanish food. For those of us, who had never been to Spain before, this was one of the best cultural experiences ever. The beauty of flamenco combined with the effect of sangria raised our spirits high and we continued the night in one of Madrid’s lively night clubs, which, to our surprise, was empty when we arrived. First cultural lesson learnt: Spanish people start partying after 2-3 a.m., the time at which clubs in London close. An insightful discovery indeed!

Even though all good things come to an end, our last night in Madrid was simply unforgettable! The venue IE business school had chosen to celebrate with us was literally breathtaking: the restaurant looking over the pitch of Santiago Bernabeu stadium! Café Bernabeu, as it was called, treated us with the finest Spanish food and wines. We stayed there till 2 a.m. as we were already aware of the Spanish way of clubbing! Needless to say, we danced away the rest of the night in one of Madrid’s best clubs to celebrate the new LBS/IE joint venture.

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The school that never sleeps

Posted by: Desi
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The famous English philosopher Samuel Johnson once said: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” I would love to paraphrase this and say for there is in London Business School all that life can afford; just like New York, the school never sleeps. It is impossible to feel even a touch of boredom…Life here is so dynamic and so interesting that it goes by with the speed of light!

We are two months away from graduation and when I think about this I am gripped by mixed feelings but I will tell you the truth: I do NOT want to graduate. Unbelievable, but true! Graduating means saying goodbye to all the wonderful people I met, starting work and forgetting quickly about my carefree student life, Sundowners, Windsor and all the events taking place on campus every single day. And believe me here opportunities are unlimited no matter what you like doing.

This weekend I did my first Dragon Boat Racing with the LBS team and we had a great experience, despite the freezing wind and the soaked clothes, which did their best to spoil our morale. Unsurprisingly, as LBS students and alumni we showed formidable resilience and even though we did not win the race, we demonstrated strength of character and impressive teamwork.

This Monday I took my first Business Chinese lesson organised by LBS China Club. On top of that I got an insight into Chinese culture, ancient wisdom and business etiquette. Priceless, ain’t it? This month I am also going to the LBS Sailing day organised by LBS Sailing club. We will have a day full of sailing, an afternoon barbecue and a lot of fun with fellow LBS students and alumni. And, of course, we are all looking forward to the LBS Summer Ball which, for the first time, will take place off-campus. Organisers are keeping the venue secret, but I am sure it will be impeccable, just as everything in LBS. I can go on and on with the list of events I attended and subscribed to, but you really need to be here to feel the atmosphere of this unique place called LBS.

In conclusion, I was talking today with a fellow classmate and we were discussing how lucky we are to be part of LBS. When applying to LBS people see just the tip of the iceberg. It is not before a few months have irreversibly passed that people do start absorbing the real magic and spirit of the LBS community.

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Some months ago, on our first day at London Business School, Sir Andrew Likierman, the dean of LBS, made an impressive opening of his speech: “We are not an educational factory, and you are not educational products. You are here because we believe you have extraordinary potential”. It is now, after one term had already passed, that I realise how true this is. Indeed, in London Business School everything is extraordinary– from the school itself, to faculty, students and events that take place on campus.

I hardly believe that there is another school in Europe that organises school visits for its students to top companies. In London Business School this is the norm. Next week is the beginning of Business Immersion Week and we are going to visit several companies in different sectors. Some of them such as BBC, British Airways and London Stock Exchange are true landmarks of Britain. Others such as McKinsey and BCG are going to come on campus and “immerse” students into the world of consulting.

Furthermore, the LBS brand is a key to many doors. Recently, I attended a high-profile company event which was “by invitation only” and the “invisible hand” of LBS opened that door for me. Prominent international and European figures are frequent visitors on campus. Last week, one of the directors of the European Central Bank came on campus to speak about the “Sovereign Risk and the Euro”.

Our faculty is no less exceptional than the school itself. This term we are studying the global macroeconomy and we are taught by the best European Macroeconomist under the age of 40. Needless to say, she is bringing the global economy into the classroom and this is an amazing learning experience. Our Finance and Marketing professors are just as good in doing their best to combine theory and practice into an unforgettable academic experience.

Finally, the students are just as outstanding and engaged in the life of the school. London Business School students frequently win international consulting and finance competitions against other schools. The last sports tournament was also a big success and we are all looking forward to the Ski Cup against Bocconi University. In the meantime, we have plenty of on-campus events to enjoy, starting with Tattoo in two weeks – the biggest celebration of the diversity and the “extraordinariness” of LBS community.

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Happy New Year!

Posted by: Desi

On 31st of December people look in retrospect at their life and their achievements throughout the year and assess how they changed and evolved for one year. In my year 2010, there is certainly one big “transformational experience” that changed my life forever.

Never have I experienced such a fundamental change in such a short time. Probably the biggest difference between who I am now and who I was before is that I grew up. Despite being deep, this transformation has occurred secretly and impercetibly. Not until I went home for Christmas did I realise that I am no longer the same person as I started perceiving the world through a different prism – that of a mature person. Of course, some people might find this revelation gloomy as, deep in our hearts, we all wish to live in Peter Pan’s Neverland and refuse to grow up. Such escapism is truly romantic and tempting but at some point reality does strike and the more prepared one is for this moment, the better one can  deal with change and benefit from it.

I could not help but mention that London Business School is the place where I learnt so much that I am more than ready to face at least one reality – that of a working professional in a multicultural city such as London. I am not talking about the subjects we are studying or the projects we are working on – they are a valuable learning experience by default. I am talking about subtle things that one cannot experience from a book: cross-cultural communication, tolerance for diversity, open-mindedness, integrity, passion. These are all pretty much inherent in the spirit of the school and can be felt from day one on campus.

In conclusion I would like to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said that “We change whether we like it or not”. He was very right to hint that sometimes change brings not only progress but also uncertainty. Moreover, it takes a lot of “guts” to embrace  change and uncertainty and walk hand in hand with them in the new year! Having spent one semester with my wonderful classmates I dare to say that we are all coping with change amazingly well and…”from the gut”!

Happy New Year my dear MiMs!

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Many of you have probably read Louis Carol’s famous children’s book ‘Alice in Wonderland’! And just as many of you have probably dreamed of reaching some kind of a wonderland at a certain point of your lives! Well, do not get desperate as I can assure you that this wonderland exists and, what is more, it is just a plane away…at least for me! This wonderland is called London Business School!

Unlike Alice, however, I did not get lost and the main credit for this should be given to the Programme Office staff who did their best to orientate the Masters in Management class and save us from losing track. Indeed, for me the Orientation Week at London Business School was equal to a teleportation to another dimension! One of the first things that come to my mind when thinking about this week is unrivalled professionalism! Yes, professionalism in all of its forms, in everything you could imagine, even in the smallest detail! The Masters in Management Programme Office did their best to organise probably the most unforgettable week for our class and to be honest they totally exceeded my expectations! I never thought that during my first week at London Business School I will be exposed to such high-calibre speakers as Financial Times’ associate editor and senior managers from finance, consulting and industry who gave us an invaluable insight into their jobs and the set of skills that recruiters focus on. What is more, the Programme Office had organised for us additional lectures on business etiquette, social networking and the art of rhetoric! We had the opportunity to practice what we learned during the series of networking events that took place during orientation. For example, during the Alumni Panel we met students from MiM 2010 and learned from first-hand their experience with the school, academics and job hunting. This was not all, though!

The last day was the biggest surprise for all of us and an amazing chance to get to know our study groups, with which we will work on several group projects till the end of the academic year. We had to play the Scavenger Hunt and rush through London for five hours looking for squirrels and celebrities, pulling pints, taking team pictures inside London’s famous red telephone boxes and speaking at Speakers Corner! Not surprisingly, everybody was exhausted in the end but Masters in Management Programme Office had prepared yet another exciting evening for all of us! A late afternoon barbecue in the beautiful London Business School court! The event was so exhilarating that most of us ended up in Windsor Castle, the school’s famous pub, probably the only one in London with a private entrance for London Business School students! I can go on and on sharing with you my first impressions but I have to get ready for my first class tomorrow Leadership in Organisations. I have already done the pre-reading and I have a feeling that this will be the most interesting class this term!

In the end, however, I would like to THANK the members of the Masters in Management Programme Office and all other people involved for all the hard work and efforts they put in the preparation of the Orientation Week and for making us feel so special and unique!

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It has always been my dream to study in a top international school which will challenge me to open my mind and be a better person each and every single day. Now, having met some of my classmates at an informal Masters in Management gathering and also representatives of the faculty and staff during a pre-course in Maths and Accounting before the formal start of the school year, I am more than convinced that in choosing London Business School I have made the best choice of my life.

Indeed, never have I met so diverse and interesting people who, although being very different, all carry the London Business School spirit in themselves: a spirit of freedom of thought and action, a spirit of inspiration and desire to make a difference! Therefore, London Business School is not just a top business school that will land you in the job of your dreams! It is so much more than that! It is the place where intelligence, enthusiasm and diversity meet and create motivation to drive change; it is the place where people make friendships that last for a life-time. Last but not least, it is the place the memories and experience from which will give you the strength and self-confidence to weather the storms of life no matter how strong they are!

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