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WELCOME TO THE MBA2010

Posted by: Jerome
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We’re a couple of days away from day 1 and the MBA office is preparing another of their outstanding induction weeks. This week is very special, it’s the first back to school in years (a *lot* of years for some of us!) and it’s also one of the few occasions when the entire class is together. During the week there will be many opportunities to meet with all of you classmates, from your study group, stream and other streams. My advice to you: after the first day, before the barbecue, have a pint with your study group. Get to know you, background, interests, aspirations. Then try to meet as many students from other streams as you can. You will have plenty of time to meet your stream when the actual classes start. Then September will be the warm up month, with some interesting classes (I loved UIM) and also a day out… I embedded a video for you to see if you can have more fun than we did! September is a great month as the workload is not so heavy (ok ok I waived stats so even fewer hours…) that you can be hanging out with people all the time. Being at the pud every evening at that time of the year is not a bad experience! The weather is still pretty good and it’s really cool to chat with new people. Just to give you a taster of what the rest of the year is gonna be like, I also attached the video we showed at the admits weekend. I hope you guys are looking forward to join the campus and I look forward to seeing you!

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Last week was the grand opening of Gelato Mio, the first outlet of this new chain of gelato stores. What’s so special about that? Well that is a London Business School MBA2009 and his wife MIFFT2008 who are starting that business! You have probably read on that blog that the 1st year of the MBA (especially the autumn term) is quite busy and that the fulltime master in finance programme is too. That is entirely true, so that shows you how determined these 2 students (namely Carlo and Simone) are! On the video you see the outcome and how successful the opening was, but what is not shown is how much time has been spent on studying the market, defining the project, financing it, finding a strategic location, bidding and negociating for a lease, registering to the local authorities, finding a chef, arranging the supply chain, advertising,… All that knowing that before September, neither Carlo nor Simone lived in London!
And now you’re saying “Enough, enough, you’re gonna make me cry. This is just another ice cream shop, it’s never gonna work in London”. Well that would be a big mistake. It’s not icecream, it’s gelati (Carlo explains the difference very well on the video) and it tastes damn good.
On the day it was open gelato bar from 2-5 PM, so needless to say I took the opportunity to try a few flavours (out of the 20+ available). And they are damn good, hard to say which one is best. I would shortlist pistacchio and hazzelnut though. When you go there, you have to try at least one of these.
For those of you who are going to the Notting Hill Carnaval (the day before school starts!) get off the tube at Holland Park, take a right and walk for 2 minutes, you’re there! And don’t forget to ask for a loyalty card, you will need one!

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DEO

Posted by: Jerome
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DEO stands for Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities. That is one of the five core courses we have in the spring term. It’s pretty interesting in that it analyses the key components to make a new venture succeed. Guest speakers come and explain their entrepreneur experience after we studied how they launched their businesses. Another good aspect is the application of the tools we learn each week. We start the class thinking of an unmet need in day to day life and go out there to interview people in the street using a special technique. We then build a little feedback presentation to show the class. This week we’re at the stage where we film people in their day to day life to show how we can improve some minor problem they face. I attached 3 videos of groups in our stream (you can vote for the best). We have diverted a little bit from the original goal but I thought it would be fun to share!

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WOWOWIE ENTREPRISES & INT’L SERVICES

Posted by: Jerome
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Lunch time (i.e. about 3 PM) in between 2 company presentations, Irfan (one of my roommates for the trip) and I felt we could use a little bite. Despite my one stop strategy (hearty breakfast around 9AM and then barely anything for the rest of the day) I was keen to try some local food as Irfan suggested.
We were wandering around the International Financial Center mall, asking people around when we ended up in this secret wing where we found this authentic Filipino food place: Wowowie. No tourist around was a good sign! We ordered the best Filipino food around to eat in, in this lovely little shop, no bigger than the lifts of the tall buildings!
We had some lovely beef and chicken with pancit bihon and karioka for desert. A delight! Not to mention the very warm welcome from Marria and Siony as you can see on the pix!
So if you’re in Hong-Kong, need some good seat-in or take away food, just go to Wowowie, it’s the Shop 133, 1st floor at 19 Des Vouex road, Central Hong-Kong!
Tel: +852 2522 3727
Mobile: +852 9105 6903Lunch4Lunch2Lunch1_2Lunch7Lunch5Lunch3

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我们在吃早饭 (we are having breakfast)

Posted by: Jerome
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No day can start without a hearty breakfast. Mike, Irfan, John and I are staying in a very nice hotel (thanks to corporate discounts!), where we have a pretty nice continental/chinese breakfast. After that you’re set for the rest of the day.
None of us could eat at the buffet held by Merril Lynch yesterday. We had a very nice experience there. Four people presented us the various aspects of the firm, and opened the floor for a 30mn Q&A session. We then moved on to another room where a buffet was served and 15 other employees joined us. They ranged from VP to head of the region. That was very informative. On our way out we were given a few gifts (among them a laptop case!).
We also saw Goldman Sachs, along with 2 Chicago schools. A partner gave us a very interesting speech about his career path and the culture at the firm. He was followed by a panel of new associate, most of them former business school students.
Then after a few refreshments we headed to Soho when we went through 45 minutes worth of escalator! Pretty cool neighbourhood. We finished the day with drinks with Olympus (a Private Equity firm) where we had some very good insight into the PE world.
Today is gonna be a long day, UBS and Citi, with hopefully a stop at the Victoria Peak at lunch time!

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第一天我们在香港 (1st day in Hong-Kong)

Posted by: Jerome
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Here we are, in Asia. We had a pretty good flight from London, 11 of us in the same aircraft, that was kind of cool. Landing in Kong-Kong is just like entering a swimming pool. We came from 10 degree (celcius) to 22.
After checking in the hotel we took a quick midnight walk, wearing short sleeves shirts! Now we’re about to start our marathon. We’re meeting with Merril Lynch and Goldman Sachs this afternoon. Then we’ll meet a couple of private equity people at the pub. Look forward to that.
We still have our take home exam to complete though, not sure when we’ll find the time… Maybe at 6AM when we’re too jetlagged to sleep!
More news to come very soon…

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Just to give you the background of this post: it’s Friday 1AM, later I have an early breakfast (7:30AM) organised by and at the school featuring an MBA alumnus (now senior executive) then a 12 hour exam in Strategy. "What the heck is that?" you might say. Well it’s a 9AM-9PM strategy case we will be working on in study group. Great team experience (at least before starting, I will give you the follow up!) on a case we were given the background a few days ago. Then well deserved birthday drinks.

So HKG trek. Career services put together a couple of treks. Matt already told you about the New-York one. This time we’re off to Hong-Kong. Taking mandarin classes, I couldn’t miss the opportunity. However it was a bit of a dilemma. First financially, then logistically. I managed to work out the money aspect of it (I guess I will have to cut some expenses in London) but it creates some conflicts in the course schedule for those who are interested in the International Exchange Program (which I am). Given that I joined the crew at the last minute (my bad here) I only had 2 days to figure all the details out: estimate pricing for flight and accommodation, reach out to second year students already in exchange, discuss with the MBA office the options to adapt my class schedule. A bit hectic I have to admit, next time I hope I will wake up a bit earlier.

Of course, this sort of things happen when the workload reaches a peak in the term. How can you cope with that? Exercise! Keep your body in shape, that is the key to go through all this without falling asleep in the financial accounting class!

Got to go now but stay tuned, more info will be posted. Don, my fellow blogger, is part of the party! He’ll be posting nice pics. As far as I am concerned, I will be working on a little video!

PS: 1st stage applicants we’re 1 week to the interview decision, so I hope you’re back in business and reading this blog!

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You guys all remember Gabriele who’s trying to shadow Steve Jobs (cf. Stuart’s post). Well now that he has Fake Steve’s attention he is working very hard to get the real Steve’s. Last week, with the support of his stream (C that is, as in coolest) he sang a song he and Michal had composed. Such a great song couldn’t stay away from this blog. That what an MBA is about: making the impossible happen by gathering people to your cause. Well this is one of the first episodes of a long long story which I hope will lead to a great shadowing project!

Good luck Gabriele, something tells me we’ll see you again soon around here.

…with an apple in my hand, Steve oh Steve, I will shadow you and write you a report, …with an apple in my hand…

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it’s been a week now since the deadline of the application submission for stage 1 MBA 2010 candidates. So if you have applied it is still fresh and you must be wondering "was I right to mention that in my essay?", "is my GMAT score good enough?" or even "I hope I am gonna get it, I hate my job, I just want to run away from it".

I am sure you’re all tense. Well there is nothing you can do, alea jacta est. So from my own experience, best is to take time off the application, stop reading the blog (you’ll catch up later) and relax. You need to be prepared to be yourself if you make it to the interview. It’s another 3 weeks before the results are known so you have plenty of time to think about other things. When you’re back though, you have to be at your best, honest, engaging and motivated.
Just to give you an idea, I am posting a video of one episode of the Brian Cho Show. Brian is in my stream (B that is, like best, bueno,…) and during the GLAM competition he got interviewed by the organiser. Well he didn’t prepare anything, but remained himself and had the all lecture theatre in the palm of his had. Check it out, and remember to be yourself.

Good luck to you all

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Parlez-vous chinois? (Mandarin classes)

Posted by: Jerome
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20101020_img_1_3 You guys must all be familiar with the language requirement. London Business School’s vision is to be a pre-eminent global business school. As a result, a good level of English is mandatory but not sufficient: you need to be able to speak another language at a commercial level (we call it level 2 at the school). For more than half of the class, who are not native English speakers, it is no problem at all. My language requirement is fulfilled by my French for instance. However, like many others, I found that the MBA experience is a unique opportunity to start learning another language.

Guess which one I chose? Mandarin of course! After I had made up my mind I told m20101020_img_2_3y friends, and they were going "you’re crazy that is too difficult, it’s gonna take too much of your time" or "you don’t need to take a language, you’re wasting a credit". Well I am happy I made that choice though. We have 4.5 hours a week, for the first year (for a total of 90 hours). But this is really fun. You are not expected to know as many words as you would in Spanish for instance, but the vocabulary will take you as far as the grammar is much simpler. No genders, no tenses.

We start with pinyin which means that you write using the same alphabet as English plus 4 accents. I’d say there are about 400 different 1 syllable words you can write with those (x4 including the accents). With this set you cover a large part of the 50k+ Chinese symbols that there are. For the level 1 we have to be able to have a simple conversation, recognise a few characters (I think about 120-150) and know about the grammar.

It is a commitment though, but if you feel that you have a genuine interest in Chinese, either professional, cultural or just aesthetic (the 3 apply to me :) you should go for it!

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