It’s been a while…
But as some 2nd years start getting back to campus and they find that they don’t know half of the people anymore, I thought I would take the opportunity to give a couple of tips for those 2017 that have just joined.
- FOCUS. The first year will fly by fast. There a million events, a million opportunities, a million treks and a million clubs that want your help. And there there are classes, and recruiting, and… So focus. Choose your battles.
- FOCUS. Now seriously. Even if your focus is exploring. If you look at the Event calendar, maybe there are something like 10 events a day. Which means that unless you have come up with a gadget that allows you to be in several places at once, you will have to choose.
- FOCUS. Remember it. You won’t be able to say I didn’t tell you
And to make it easier… I have compiled a list of all the trek invites I receive during the first year. I will not claim it’s 100% comprehensive, because I simply did a search of the work “trek” in my e-mail, but at least it will give you a start. And it will allow you to know what’s coming so that you don’t sign up to something without knowing what was coming, and then discover what was coming is what you really wanted to do.
So there it goes. There are leisure treks and there are professional treks (those in which you visit companies, network, etc). I have marked the professional ones (I know of) with an asterisk. Note that the dates were the dates of 2014/2015 but it will give you an idea.
*New York Banking Trek: 27/10-29/10
*Switzerland Industry: 27/11-28/11
South Africa Trek: End October
*China PE/VC/Tech Trek: 16/12-24/12
*Hong Kong Trek
Snow Trek – at the end of Term 1
Japan Trek – 29/03-04/04 – Spring Break
Brazil – Spring Break
SouthEast Asia: 28/03-05/04
Thailand – Spring Break
Africa – Spring Break
Ski Marathon Trek: 06/03-09/03
*Paris Luxury Goods: 25/02-27/02
*Commodities Geneva: 25/02-27/02
*Swiss Healthcare: 18/02-20-02
*TelAviv Tech & Entrepreneurship: 23/03-26/03
*Silicon Valley & New York: 23/03-04/04
*Italian Luxury Trek: 03/03-06/03
*Dubai Energy Trek: 07/03-10/03
*Singapore Corporate: 30/03-02/04
Greek Sailing Trek: 30/05-05/06
*Berlin Start-up Tech & VC: 09/04-12/04
And I am missing some… in summer there was the Colombia Trek and the Turkey sailing trek, and I know that there was also a Dublin Tech trek, although I don’t know the term.
Plus so many more! In Term 3 lots of ad-hoc treks pop up, specially among those that have already finished recruiting and have some more time off.
The point of all this?
FOCUS. And welcome to campus!
Term 2 could be re-baptised the term of summer internship recruiting. Busy, busy. The academics doesn’t stop and recruiting ramps up big time. With term 2 long gone, and the spring break having just turned the corner, I thought I’d share my two highlights for term 2:
Mike Bollingbroke Guest Lecture
One of the lectures of MOB (Managing Organisational Behaviour) was done by Mike Bollingbroke. His career? Pretty impressive: Operations top-guy at Cirque du Soleil, COO at Manchester United and now CEO at Inter Milan.
We spent 2 hours with him and it was A-MA-ZING! I cannot talk much about it because Chatham House Rules applied, but I can say he discussed what he believe were the foundations of leadership, his key lessons learnt, and he walked us through real examples of key points and issues in his career.
What’s that? LBS has gone crazy and promotes people having tattoos? Don’t worry. It’s not that.
Tattoo is just the funny name of an event created to honor diversity. Tattoo is where every nationality comes dressed in their best attires and showcase to the rest of the community what it is to be themselves. Every nationality brings their own food, and everyone performs in front of an audience.
In short, LBS – at its purest.
I attach a video of the Indian performance -
The moment of truth is here.
For those of you that have applied to do an MBA at LBS in Stage 2.
But also for those of us MBAs that are recruiting for the Summer Internship positions.
You interview, we interview.
Let’s talk about you first.
The second round is the one with the highest number of applicants (I myself applied on Round 2, just one year ago). You will soon know whether you are invited to an interview. And then what?
Well, someone that was in your shoes several years ago and that has something in common with you (country of origin, background, etc) will interview you. At LBS only Alumni interview you. And I think it’s great because in my case I didn’t know much people that had been at LBS before so it was a good opportunity to get a feel (with a sample of 1, I know) of who goes to LBS and which sort of career paths they get after. So make the most of it and ask about their story.
Key insight: With your application, they know a lot about your background, your achievements, your academic track record. The essays give them a feel for the type of person you are. There is one KEY question they want to answer in the interview, though: WHO are you really? And would you be the sort of person that would be nice to work with? Are you fun, interesting, engaging, open or are you immensely clever yet equally arrogant and closed?
Best advice I can give you? Be yourself and share YOUR story.
And if you want to know what life is like at LBS or what the moment of truth is for us, let me describe what January looked like.
5th January to 9th January: Corporate Partner Week. There are no classes. Just presentations of companies. McKinsey, Bain, BCG, ATKearney, Monitor, Roland Berger, Strategy& were there from consulting. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Nomura, Barclays, JP Morgan, Capital Group, Credit Suisse, Citi, Deutsche came from Banking.
The classes start on the 12th January. But the recruiting doesn’t stop. On the contrary. The list of company presentations continues throughout the month: Vodafone, Ebay, Facebook, Linkedin, Amazon, BT, American Express, Thomson Reuters, J&J, GSK, Google, LEK,Microsoft, L’Oreal … Even the Cabinet Office!
I have not followed all the different recruiting process because I was only interested in Strategy Consulting,but just to give you a feel I will describe the timeline for the MBB process (McKinsey, Bain, BCG):
Week 1: Company presentations. Applications at the weekend.
Week 2/3: Confirmation of invitation to interview.
Week 4: Interview 1st round. Interview Final Round in some cases.
Week 5. Some other Final rounds. Decisions (that’s today). If successful, special weekend prepared for all those with an offer.
Week 6: Some more 1st Rounds & Final Rounds.
So the moment of truth comes and goes very fast…
My key takeaways on it:
Being on a top school like LBS is KEY. Let me highlight it again. It’s KEY. Why?
- Access to recruiters: The recruiters come on campus, have a relationship with the school, and have special recruitment channels (even a special webpage) for your school. I received e-mails from the big three even before applying inviting me to events because they had seen my CV in the CV School Book. The fact that the school has a relationship with them and the recruiter considers the school a target means they arrange coffee chats, they regularly come on campus,etc., which for you means you can visit their offices, meet some of their staff, do networking and get a much better picture of who they are. Don’t get me wrong. The competition is hard. There might be 200 applications from LBS and only 10 will get an offer for the summer so it’s a very competitive process but at least it’s 10! If it was in another school, maybe no-one or maximum 1. Imagine how much harder it is to get visibility if you are not here!
- Support during prep: There is a significant proportion of students interested in the same things than you so the career services, the students from the year before, professionals coming from the area you are interested in help you prepare with case interviews and mock interviews.
Be ready for it.
But first things first and one step at a time.
Your moment of truth comes first so focus on that.
Good luck with your interviews!
Apparently this is the most liked picture of the year by us students – thought you’d like to see it.
Nearly one week after finishing the last exams, and enjoying a relaxing holiday in the beach, I think it’s now a good moment to reflect on Term 1 and London Business School.
When I think about the fact that I started at LBS nearly 5 months ago, I question whether my feel for time is seriously distorted, because it feels like yesterday that I went to the Orientation day, and they called out all the different nationalities represented in the class.
So what can I say about those first 5 months?
Intense. Really intense.
The academic workload is high, and you are bombarded in lots of different directions from club opportunities to career services requests. A couple of people told me: why on Earth did I come here? I had my job, earning money, and now I am swamped with assignments, some of which I wonder their application in my future job. There were a couple of days when I myself thought: I need to slow down a bit, otherwise I will burn out. But it’s ok. It’s a different environment. After all, you go back to the student life. But you spend a full weekend without mentioning the name LBS and you come back on Monday all reinvigorated and ready to rise up to the challenge.
Looking back, this intensity, at least on the academic front, is necessary. People start with very different backgrounds and they need to level the playing field, and fast, if everyone wants to be able to follow the class and have access to the same roles. I have learnt so much… I started without any knowledge in practically any of the topics (except for maybe a little in data,models and decisions), and now I feel confident in reading financial statements of a company, I can do valuation, I can analyse a strategy, I understand significantly more about microeconomics, I know how to do a Montecarlo simulation… The amount of stuff that you get exposed to in term 1 is large, and it’s good, because I find all of it very valuable.
Outside of the academics, you have more flexibility – you decide how many clubs you are involved in or how many activities you take on.
It’s funny to recognise a certain illness that only develops in business schools. They call it FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. It’s quite impressive to see how easy it spreads and the curious symptoms is carries, which include paralysis and hysteria alike. It has a very easy medicine, though: just know what you want, and be prepared to make choices. If so, easy ride
Full of opportunities.
I remember, when I first went to the US, when I suddenly understood why it was called the land of opportunity. Well, I feel LBS is more than a land of opportunity. In just one term, and leaving aside all the course work, I have seen three guys of my class set-up their own company, one girl become an intern for Emilia Wickstead, the winners Private Equity competition getting 5,000, 3 students become non-executive directors of charities…
If you want to get into investment banking, you probably have already done 15 coffee chats. I have received invitations from several different consulting firms (and I am talking the big names in the business) to visit their offices and learn about summer internships.
Companies know that good people come to LBS so established companies with fixed recruiting schemes, like investment banking or consulting, come straight to campus, but so do start-ups or other companies that need support as one-offs. There is an atmosphere of people that mean business, and things happen.
People are there to support you
There are lots of things organised around you so that you can learn, so that you can experiment, so that you can….
If you want to go into consulting, you have case interview practice. If you are unsure which part of a company do you want to go into, there are a series of talks called “What is…?”, that have people from that practice to explain what their job is like. If you feel your Excel skills are a bit rusty around the edges, there is a workshop for you. All of those are club driven.
The career services is there too. They have some mandatory sessions to discuss CVs and interviews, and lots of voluntary ones that talk you from networking to LinkedIn to lessons learnt from entrepreneurs.
The point is: there is a whole environment that supports your learning and your professional development.
When I reflect on those past 5 months, I know one thing for sure: I made the right decision to come here.
it has been a while since I last wrote. Why, you might ask?
Well, if I had to pick one word to describe this term, it would be: intense.
Final Exam week this week.
Still, since my words are limited, I thought I’d resource to the classics. They say a picture is worth more than a 1,000 words. How about a video then?
Let’s have a video-journey through the term:
Diwali Party dance:
For the Diwali Indian celebration, those that wanted got dressed and… learnt to dance!
Want to feel what it’s like to be in our shoes, or rather, in our seats?
Lecture from Corporate Finance on Capital structure:
Now let’s really be in our shoes. Even when it comes to exams.
Strategy Exam: we had to analyze the strategy, identify the challenges and give recommendations to the Hospital City in Cayman Islands. The case is summarised in this video:
There is a club for everything. There is a conference for everything.
Before starting business school I went to the Women in Business Conference. It was one of the best conferences I have ever been to.
And if you are a man, the point is still the same. Get a feel for the quality of the speakers and the conference itself, and if you think it meets your standards, rest assured: there will be one conference for a topic you are interested in (Women in Business, Energy, Asia,…)
I will come back soon – just one week more Term 1 is over.
I remember when I was at a crossroads, trying to decide whether to do an MBA. I used to read the Admissions and the Student Blog, trying to avidly gather information, facts, figures, stories, that would help me picture how life would be when doing an MBA and how would I fit in.
I used to think: I want more information. How about this? How about that? This is my stab at it. In this post I am trying to give you those facts and figures that I felt I missed.
The application. How competitive is it, really?
Success rate:For the 2016 class, there were 3000+ applications and 411 made it through.
GMAT: The GMAT average is 700. The range, 600-800 (yes, some people got 800).
The class profile. How diverse is it, really?
Age:The age range is 23-38, with experiences ranging from 2 to 13 years. The 2 year experience ones are a very small percentage, and only coming from top-notch consultancies.
Diversity: Massive. There are 65 nationalities. I remember joining thinking I really would like to experience diversity. I just couldn’t grasp how much of it there would be.
From the moment you join, you are part of a study group that does all 1st year projects together and – trust me – spends massive amounts of time together.
Take the profile of my group as representative: Indian, Portuguese, Brasilian, American with Chinese background, Singaporean that has spent a significant amount of time in the US, and me, Catalan having worked for a long time in the UK. That’s in terms of nationalities. Now let’s look at previous employment: Founder and MD of a start-up with 2 million turnover, assistant VP at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Associate of an Investment company, management consultant, management consultant and me, Satellite Project Manager at Airbus Defense & Space. Age range: 27-33. And if I went into personality types, you would see there is a significant range as well.
I knew there would be diversity. But to that extent? It’s amazing.
And once you are in, what?
Let’s get to the knitty-gritty.
The course started on the 18th of August (yes, August).
First week: The first week is called Orientation week. It’s light. You do introduction, and a series of workshops of topics like Ethics or Case Studies. The highlight of the week is the Away Day – a day full of Team Building Activities to get the study group starting to work as a unit.
First month: 1 Orientation week + 3 weeks of what’s called Pre-term.
In the pre-term you do:
- Understanding General Management: A case-study based course in which you see what general management is.
- Global Leadership Assessment for Managers: a three-day course that focuses exclusively on leadership and personal development. It includes a 360 feedback, a NEO questionnaire, and a 1×1 with an executive coach. It’s great.
- Business Writing and Communication: Two half day workshops focussed on business writing and presentation skills. Good reminder.
- Corporate Finance: The first of the core subjects starts in the pre-term, allowing for a staggered core subjects start that will ease your transition into the academic world.
The rest of Term 1 has strategy, Economics, Financial Accounting and DMD (Data Models & Decisions).
MBA Term 1 is hard. I mean it. It’s hard. I studied Aerospace Engineering at top notch university and graduated top of the class. And I can tell you that this MBA, so far, is hard. Why? Because the workload is very high and because, if like me, you came from a different background, you need to adjust your way of thinking to the different disciplines.
Why do I say the workload is very high?
The lectures are 2:45h long with a 15 minute break in between.
Before every lecture you generally need to read a case study or a book chapter. There are a significant number of post readings, maybe 3 academic papers.
So far, 2 months in, I have done 1 exam, 7 individual assignments and 9 group assignments. 2 more exams next week. You do the maths.
Oh, and by the way, let me throw the bomb right now: All exams happen on weekends. What? Yes. I know…
But it’s worth it. It is definitely worth it. We have come here to learn. We wouldn’t be learning if we were simply scratching the surface without getting the hands dirty and exploring the concepts to a certain depth. And achieving that depth requires time, and practice.
The course is well-organised, though. The fact that you start Corporate Finance before the rest of the subjects tells me immediately that the Programme Office is aware of the workload and knows what they are doing. You will see.
I hope that those of you that, like me, were looking for actual details on what the MBA life is like (the Academics in this case), have had some of their questions answered.
If you have any question, please ask!
We are defined by our choices.
In every choice, we go towards who we want to be and how we want to live our life. Every choice speaks volumes about what we care about and what our focus is.
And if LBS MBA is giving me one thing it is choices.
I spent the entire day looking at the interlinks of some of the choices I can make: electives, exchange program, GBE, internships… And I feel I need a data modelling system to crunch all this. Why is that though? Because of the immense number of choices at your fingertips.
Let’s just look at the academics. There are a certain number of core courses that are the skeleton of any MBA degree so they are mandatory but the entire second year – I repeat, the entire second year – and up to 5 subjects in year 1 are your choice entirely.
You want the MBA to be as short as possible, very compressed and go back to work? You finish in 15 months.
You want to study somewhere else? No problem. LBS will ask: which continent?
Want to give entrepreneurship a go? Join the Entrepeneurship School.
Not sure which industry you will like? You can do several internships and try.
And it goes so much beyond the academics… there are choices in every single area.
Because of previous business commitments I have not travelled a lot recently and yetthere are so many places I just want to explore… The MBA, with so many students of different nationalities, is full of treks to different countries that go on throughout the year. Perfect!
One of my classmates, an entrepreneur, came here to create his next company. He created entrepreneurship meetings with fellow classmates to brainstorm.
Another classmate is unsure of what to do next. Fine. The industry club is organising a series of events, one per week, in which different people from different industries do presentations under the titles: What is business development? What is marketing? What is operations?
I had always felt my English pronunciation gives away my origin way too much – guess what? LBS organises an accent and pronunciation course to improve your accent. How great is that?
Used to be very fit but life got in the way? There is a club for every sport.
Want to socialise? There is – literally – a party, a dinner, something every other night.
It’s unbelievable. Think of something you would like to do, something that you would like to learn. I am sure there is someone, somewhere within the class or the community that knows about it or that is interested in that too. Or if not, you can create a platform for it.
I feel like I can really make those two years whatever I want to make them be.
For me, choices are a synonym of freedom. Choices are our chance to driving our life.
I am thrilled to be here. At London Business School. Right now. Doing an MBA. And I am because I feel I have the scope, the room, the options to be myself. And to decide who I want to become, whatever that is.