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Social Experiment

Posted by: Jeremy
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Business school is a social experiment.

Although business schools seek diversity, since it is in diversity that value is often created, every single student here has a leadership background.

So what happens when you stick a bunch of proven leaders together in one place?

One hypothesis may be a frenzied stampede for leadership positions, each struggling—shouting to get his or her voice heard. “How can I play second fiddle? I am a leader.”

My personal thoughts and consternations coming into the MiM programme was that the programme would be filled with Alpha Dogs.

However, this was not the case. And for all you deep introverts out there like myself, this will probably elicit a sigh of relief.

No, the reality “on the ground” so to speak, among the students at LBS is that there is also a great diversity of different leadership styles. And on that note, an exploration of what makes a leader may be apt, especially for prospective students who might be thinking they’re not leaders.

When asked what a leader is, many point to the most vocal person in a group, the tallest, the smartest, the most organized, the most outgoing—the rising star that everyone else aspires to be. But that’s not what a leader is necessarily.

A good leader, at least in my opinion, is someone who is able to step forward when needed and step backwards when needed. A good leader is able to bring the best out in others. A good leader is able to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of others in their team. And a wise leader is able to guide the discussion while absorbing other people’s information to synthesize it into decisions that everyone else will be able to follow.

That, at least, is my personal leadership style. And it has worked well for me so far.

I’d be interested in knowing what you, our dear readers, think of your own leadership style and how it might fit in at LBS.

Leave a comment below =)



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Preparing for the start of term

Posted by: Jeremy
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Having been at London Business School for a month now, I think the thing I was most surprised by was how quickly things went from relatively relaxed in first week to ridiculously busy with no time to sleep. The flow of time is weird too. At the start it was very slow but now it’s picking up. Maybe some people with psychology backgrounds can comment on that.

But going back on topic, it’s not really the classes that get you, but rather the flood of club events, applying for info sessions and Peer Leadership Programme spots, applying for leadership positions in clubs (yes, MiMs can apply for executive spots for clubs at London Business School), doing practice case interviews (if you’re interested in consulting; if you’re into finance then you’re already applying and busier than normal with finalizing CVs and cover letters before everyone else), networking, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on.

Speaking of networking, the school will drill into your head that networking is very important here—although I don’t think a lot of us have a good grasp of how to do it yet in all types of situations. What I mean by ‘types’ of networking is that networking doesn’t just mean participating in those networking ‘events’ after info-sessions. That is just one type of networking—a type that is ill-suited for people like me who are on the deep end of introversion (it’s something to adjust to, personally). There is the more private and frankly more constant side to networking of talking with your peers about their (and your) pasts and values, working with your case interview practice groups and sharing information during breaks, and getting involved with clubs.

On the subject of clubs, I think those are probably the best forums for networking because you already know that they have similar interests as you. As a personal example, I recently interviewed for an analyst position at SA (Student Association) Strategy, which is a student consulting group that provides consulting services for London Business School. At the end of the interview (it went very well), I found out that my interviewer was actually involved in something called Social Return on Investment (SROI), which is something that coming into London Business School I wanted to learn more about! It was quite amazing to make that connection and I’m really keen (not standard cover letter, “I’m keen to join your company!” but like really, super keen and excited. On the topic of cover letters, do not make them boring and standard. The point is to be different. I’ll write more on that in a future post.) to work with her over the next year.

All that being said about the importance of networking and just getting out there, taking risks, and trying different things, it is extremely important for you to manage your time effectively—especially in terms of managing commitments. There are so many opportunities that if you start to apply for everything you have an interest in, you’ll probably wear yourself thin trying to do everything. So pick and choose. Be strategic. But when you’ve decided, devote yourself to it for real. That’s where you’ll see the true learning benefits at London Business School.

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