Besides the professional objective of transitioning
from industry into consulting, my other main objective coming to the MBA
was on a personal side to have fun while learning
on a diverse environment. I can say that this has been a
phenomenal experience! The climax moment for this so far
has been the Tattoo event: a worldwide festival for 1,200 people,
organized by students for students. Each country/region is asked
to serve traditional food and drinks from its country and to do
a dance performance. I personally spent 3 hours with my fellow Brazilian
colleagues preparing 600 doses of caipirinha to serve. As
pictures can explain much better than words, here is a link to check out
pics of the event.
Another highlight of
this non-professional related experience that the MBA can
offer is the country trips that students organize. For
instance, there are 140 students going to Portugal in May.
Yes, you read it right, 140! Imagine how generous are our
Portuguese classmates to organize a trip for such a large
group! Other trips that are organized by students are to: Japan, Lebanon,
Spain, Israel, Thailand, USA, and SE Asia. The MBA
journey is long and hard, but it is worth every second (professionally
Some of the greatest moments in life are the ones in
which you reap the rewards of an objective you worked long
and hard to achieve. My main goal of coming to the MBA was to transition
from industry into consulting. And oh, I had
a big surprise when I found out how early the recruiting process
Applications for summer internship are due by mid-January.
Since the summer internship is often a great way to secure your
post-MBA job, it is important to do well on that process. This
means that November and December should be used for
networking, preparing CVs and cover letters, and preparing
for interviews. Thus, by mid-October it is essential
to have a good idea of where you want to work. You may be
thinking: isn’t the MBA an opportunity to step aside, get exposed
to new ideas and think about what I want to do? Well…
while you can take the time off to think without pressure, the
earlier you focus your efforts on your desired field the higher your chances of
succeeding (my recommendation for you that are
applying to b-school is to use your career goals essay not only
to convince Adcom but also to make serious reflection of what are
your goals, as these will soon need to be very clear). Prioritizing
consulting in the job search process was
not easy for me – I have
always been interested in trying new and different things
and at LBS I was presented with many opportunities
such as private equity panels,
marketing presentations and industry club events.
The MBA journey has been long:
taking the GMAT, writing essays, being accepted, financing
the MBA, relocating to a new country, studying to
achieve good grades, preparing for job interviews and doing job
applications. There were difficult times
in which I thought: “Why am I doing this? Is it all worth?”
Encouragement from friends and family helped me
overcome these weak times and it all paid
off last week when I received an offer to join a top consulting
firm for the summer. Thus, the moment of signing
the contract for the summer internship had a very special meaning for me, one
that I will not forget easily. And if you, dear applicant,
are in one of those weak moments: yes, the journey is long
and hard, but it is well worth!
Business schools are known for
hosting panels with famous speakers to discuss current business and economic issues.
It has not been different at LBS. We recently had two great events on campus:
the Private Equity conference (http://foliostop.com/pec) and the Marketing Fast
Moving Consumer Goods summit (http://www.londonfmcgsummit.com).
Just to name a few, other speakers that we had on campus that I enjoyed seeing
were George Soros and Jim O’Neill (head of research at Goldman Sachs and who
coined the term BRIC).
But I had been warned that at LBS I should expect the unexpected.
So it was to my delight that this week we had the McLaren Formula One team on
campus! One of our 2011 classmates worked for a Formula One team and was able
to bring to campus this unique event. They talked about their business model,
brand management, competitors (by the way, they admitted that Ferrari is a
stronger brand), and how to manage having two world champion drivers on the
same team. The only bad part of the day is that I failed at naming all McLaren
world champions at an initial quiz so I didn’t win the Lewis Hamilton cap
signed by him!
London Business School is recognized as a global school with
many international students and faculty. But what’s so special about it? After
all, there are other b-schools that have students from over 60 countries and
that speak x number of languages. From my experience, what sets apart LBS’s
international spirit is:
- Since there is no major nationality, the mixing
among students is very high.
- Many students have spent a significant amount of
time outside their home countries. For instance, on my study group six out of
seven people have spent more than two years outside of his or her home country
after their undergrad degree. Many even grew up on one country, went to
University in another and developed their professional lives on a third
country. This reflects on mature students that have a global perspective on
- Students are proud of their culture and like to
share that with colleagues. For instance, when the snow club organized a ski
trip to Austria in December of last year, a Swiss classmate drove from Switzerland
to bring fresh Swiss cheese and pots to cook traditional Swiss fondue for 30 of
us; another colleague drove from Munich and brought us specialty local beer
that is only sold on his home town of Munich. That is not to mention the now
famous yearly spring break trips to: Japan organized by the Japan club, Africa
organized by the Africa club, and to Thailand organized by the Sailing club. On
top of that, there are country-themed parties during the year: Spanish fiesta
(Spanish club), Diwalli party (Indian club), Latin American party (Latin
American club), Beaujolais party (French club) and Carnival party (Brazil Club)
to name a few. And finally, the mother of all country-themed parties: Tattoo,
in which each country presents some of its food, drink, music, dance and other
All that makes me feel privileged to be part of such a
diverse and international group.
Saturday I felt a very special feeling for being part of this unique group of
people that you find at LBS. And if I had to coin a term for LBS it would be: "Done
well, done with style".
Imagine this: 460 LBS students dressed as Santa
taking the tube and walking through Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus while
chanting carols and taking pictures with kids and tourists. Yes, it all
happened after the last exam for the term (for those who waived accounting), as
we celebrated the end of the term. And since this was a celebration, stops
along the way included two nightclubs.
Kudos to the students who organized this
event and raised over £5,000 , which will be
donated to an organization that supports orphans, homeless and abandoned children.
Today marks the end of the first month of the new MBA class. It has been such an intense and fun month that I thought it would be appropriate to list the top ten moments so far (in increasing order):
10 – Routemaster bus (pic) and its “Welcome MBA2011” tour in London. LBS not only does it well but also does it with style!
9 – International citizen game, in which each country/region presented its culture. The Italians won by saying that “mama” controls them by their weight.
8 – Honda case class discussion. Particularly interesting was the role play acted by a former US Soldier and an Italian classmate.
7 – When I first met my study group. There was one minute of silence while we tried to first guess whether we would get along well.
6 – Playing football at Regent’s Park during lunch break.
5 – Statistics group case competition.
4 – Orientation at the Brewery (pic) and meeting as many people as I could in our first two days of MBA at a historical site in London.
3 – The long answers you are likely to get when you ask a classmate: Where are you from?
2 – Away day (pic). We went to a rural location to do outdoor leadership activities that included blindfolding a classmate and putting him on a wire to rescue a “magic potion”.
1 – Friendliness and cooperativeness of students. This ranges from stream trip to Edinburgh, stream dinner and housewarmings to volunteering time to help classmates on CVs and mock interviews.
And the top 5 not so nice:
1 – Price of housing in London and price of beer at Windsor.
2 – The fact that broadband providers take from 3 to 6 weeks to install internet at flats.
3 – Dooms day comments by career services regarding the current job market.
4 – British humour and British liver: you can’t compete with either.
5 - Falling asleep on the night bus, passing my stop, and finding out that I was one hour away from home.
After arriving in London, one of the first decisions I had to take was: where will I live and who will I share a flat with? Fortunately, students organize a Flat hunter’s Pub Crawl. Every night for the two weeks before classes start students gather in a fun and informal setting to meet future classmates and find flat mates. OK, finding my flatmates was step number one. Now I had to go find a flat. Four days and 15 flat visits later I realized I had to change my expectations. A modern flat, close to the school and within my budget didn’t exist. Thus, I decided to cut the “modern” requirement. After all, what’s the fun of living on a London flat if you don’t hear the cracks of the wooden floor when you walk on it? And so, I found my “perfect flat”, a three double-bedroom with a spacious living-room and just a 1min walk to school.
Now that I had a flat and that the sun was shining in London I was off to Regent’s Park to play rugby. I had never played it before but the Rugby club organized a teaching session for us beginners. A hundred or so students showed up and after two hours of hard work we were back to our “headquarter”, the Windsor Castle pub.
My preparation for the start of the term was quite simple: a trip in Eastern Europe that included sunbathing and visits to castles and wineries. One of the greatest things to be in London is the opportunity to take cheap flights to Europe, a continent in which on a three hour drive you may find yourself in a totally different place.
On the other hand, London can be quite expensive. Considering the current economic uncertainty, it required me great courage to quit work and spend a great deal of money on the MBA without knowing how much I will earn after I graduate. Nevertheless, I tried to look at the good side and consider this a good training since I believe that to be a good businessman requires boldness sometimes.
Overall, my first two weeks in London have been spectacular! I see that my next two years will be very busy, with lots of activities!