A few weeks ago, right before the exam season started, we had the opportunity to take a 2-day trip to Dublin to visit the new tech scene of the city. It was an incredible trip: 48-hours packed with talks, company visits and social events.
The first landmark of Day 1 was a tour of Google’s European headquarters, which included a talk about how they manage innovation and lunch with LBS alumni. Our next stop was the new Twitter’s office, where we had chats in small groups with the management of the main departments and debated Twitter’s business model. The time was particularly propitious, as it was barely two weeks after Twitter’s IPO. Finally, we closed the day in a traditional Irish pub. We had drinks with Dropbox’s employees, who gave us insight into Dropbox’s operations in Europe.
Day 2 was no less intense, and was focused on social platforms. We started by visiting LinkedIn, where we met the leadership team in EMEA and attended a talk on how social platforms are changing the role of sales. The topic shifted to online advertising in our visit to Facebook. Again, we interacted with members of Facebook’s leadership team and did a tour through their office. Lastly, we visited Digit Game Studios, a VC-backed startup that creates videogames that can be seamlessly played in different platforms. We met there with a partner of Delta Partners, one of the main venture capital firms in the U.K, who drew a very clear picture of venture capital and tech entrepreneurship in Europe.
The experience was indeed very rewarding. We could get insight into the culture and operations of some of the most notorious online firms, extend our network of contacts beyond the school’s circle, and learn the trends of the online industry all in one go. This is why I strongly encourage both current and future MBA students to go out in the field, meet people, contrast companies and gather ideas. This grasp of reality marvellously complements the learning on campus.
Personally I also found it fascinating to see how Dublin has become such a hub for technology and entrepreneurship. It is undeniable that a favourable corporate tax code has played a major role in it, but there is definitely more than this. There is a combination of cheap real estate, large seed funds, pub culture, eclectic mindedness and lots of young people that creates an ecosystem that is conducive for implementing new ideas and businesses.
Fortunately, this was only the first of a series of treks that we are preparing at the Tech Club for the following two terms. Apart from visiting Silicon Valley, we will explore the tech scene of Israel and go to Berlin on a trip that will revolve around entrepreneurship and venture capital. Stay tuned!
Not many people know that LBS has a students’ hall where some of the MBA, MiF and MiM students live. In fact, not even all the current students know it! But this is a real option that some of us have chosen, as it amplifies the student experience.
Basically it means that every day, after a frenetic day on campus full of classes, teamwork and company presentations, I head home and the MBA experience goes on. The life at the hall is indeed an extension of the life on campus: multinational, collaborative, intellectual and enjoyable. Do I need a partner to prepare a case interview? No problem, next door there is a fellow classmate willing to practise. Problems with a company valuation for Corporate Finance? Easy, a fellow MiF lives upstairs.
I have also discovered that the hall’s canteen is one of the best places to socialise and extend my network beyond LBS. It concentrates the brightest graduate and PhD students from the top universities in London: LSE, UCL, King’s College, etc.
All in all, the students’ hall provides a very rewarding experience and is a good alternative to the traditional house sharing.