For most part, graduation is a celebration that reminds you of the wonderful journey you have just completed and even the few mentions of the word ‘alumni’ only serve to remind you of the relationship you continue to have with school and all the people you have met during that journey.
However, when I logged into Portal a couple of days ago it looked dreadfully different. My life and identity on Portal had been taken away in one smooth operation. That’s when it fully and finally registered that I was indeed no longer a student but an alumnus.
A warm welcome to the MBA2010s and to the new brigade of bloggers who seem to have got off to a dashing start. I hope to continue posting on this blog as my journey into the corporate world begins on Sept 1st.
It felt strange yesterday to empty out my locker and return the keys to the office. Clearly quite contrary to the day I arrived to pick up my locker number and keys. Simple task which mark the beginning and end of our time at school. I also recycled my binders yesterday (yes we love doing that here), and while I cleared out my bookcase I was reminded of how much we have learnt in the last 2 years.
Some of my colleagues have started working already. From the looks of it, the transition back into work life is not an easy one, especially if you have had such a good time for 2 years. I am fortunate to have a few more weeks off for traveling before I set off into the career I have chosen. Thankfully too, I am going to be based in London so I don’t feel like I am being separated from this lovely school environment. It will be close at hand if I have the longing to go back and sit in class or hang around the quad. It won’t be the same though. We were the fabric of this place for the last 2 years and now we go join the fabric of a community of 28000 alumni.
As a freshly minted MBA, I can only say one thing to readers who are wondering whether or not the 2 year MBA is worth it. I echo the sentiments of all my peers when I say that it as been the best and biggest life altering experience of my life. It takes sacrifices and hardships but it is a supremely NPV positive project.
Capstone 1: a Final touch; a crowning achievement;a culmination 2:a stone that forms the top of a wall or building
The capstone class marks the beginning of the end of the MBA at London Business School. It is a 3 day class where you get back with your original stream and "wrap" up your learnings from the MBA. Essentially it is UGM (our very first course of the MBA) revisited after we have gone out and studied everything we wanted to during the two years at school. For me the excitement is about reliving the first few months of the MBA – for me those were extremely formative in terms of friendships and my own development. It will be interesting to see how we have all changed (for the better, I hope) over the 2 years vis-a-vis the personalities we all brought into the classroom when we started.
The case teams from London Business School are on fire this year. Our team had another massive victory at UCLA, Anderson winning top honours over 15 other schools including Chicago GSB, Oxford Said, USC Marshall, NUS, HEC , IESE and many others.
The team (all MBA2009s):
This is particularly good news for the consulting club which worked hard to get teams together and increased participation at such competitions as compared to previous years.
I’m proud to announce that the London Business School team (Rene Plug, Sasa Brcerevic, Tobias Schweiger and me) have finished in the 3rd place (out of 16 teams) at the BU Tech Strategy Case competition. We are still in Boston recovering from the celebration last night.
Everytime someone has asked me “how is it going?” in recent weeks, I have had pretty much the same thought. This is a great time in the MBA for most second year students. Things seem a lot more relaxed now and most of us are beggining to plan our breaks and our future months in London or wherever we are going to be working post MBA. The typical subjects are:
-start dates i.e. when we all go back to corporate life
-future housing – for those staying in London this is probably a big one because staying around school, although very attractive has the huge downside of being expensive
-the big break
I have been planning my holiday for the last few weeks and we have shortlisted a few candidates. Luckily staying in London gets you close to so many great destinations that we are spoilt with choice. We pondered over Costa Rica for weeks but then had to drop it for multiple reasons. We have now set sights on Africa.
A few of us decided to scout around some burbs for future accomodation. We ended up picking Hampstead for our first outing. Of course we ended up not seeing any flats because the ladies decided to go shopping on the high street. We were also blessed with the opportnuity to eat the best Crepes ever, See attached pic for proof. This place has been serving crepes in Hampstead for 40 years and the awards they have received are well justified.
One other thing many of us are looking forward to is the upcoming Portugal trip. We will be going there with the Portuguese club in March. It’s a shame that I missed most of the cool trips that happened in the first year. But I was determined to go for at least one such trip before graduating.
Anyways, It has already become very evident that this time is going to be severely missed and I want to make the most of it while I can.
I came to B-school to shed my baggage. My baggage comprised of 2 technology degrees and ~5 years of work in the high tech sector. It was good work and good money but I give you my official story line – "I was rapidly narrowing into a niche which I was not comfortable with" (rights not reserved).
The journey through B-school was meant to be my ‘wash and iron’ which would allow me to develop and market my skills as a non technology business person. And it has turned out to be a premier cleaning service :-).
Mind you it is a difficult and often depressing process. No matter how convinced you are, companies will always start by looking at your background (education and work experience) and the moment they see 2 high tech companies on your CV, it is thrown into a pile with other geek CVs. It’s a fact and I reconciled with this very soon in the recruitment process.
For those of you who find yourselves in a similar situation, here are the things that I think have helped me cross the line:
1) A solid CV with almost no technical buzz words (I would say any thing more technical than hardware, software, database would be red flagged). Your future employers do not care that you used multithreading and ajax for developing something cool. They want to know how much money your company saved/made from your work. They want to know the business impact, not the technical impact. Secondly you will see all your peers have achievements in each bullet while you as a technologist do certain things everyday because that’s what you do at your job. I had this problem but you need to make every bullet in your CV speak of an achievement.
2) A solid internship in your area of interest: This is the bigest hurdle but one you mustn’t compromise on. If you do an internship in your area of interest, you can build a convincing story about your aspirations.
3) Serious Involvement in clubs: To show your commitment to the area you are gunning for.
4) Something extra: Language skills, passion for things outside school etc. When 300 of your peers are all overachievers, often recruitment decisions boil down to marginal things and this is where your "other" skills come very handy.
This would not have been possible without the catalyst that B-school has provided to my case. I at the other end of the transformation process and like many of you reading this, was in quite a dilemma about my life as a technologist when i’m 40. It was scary. Now i moving onto a more universal area of business which will bring its own challenges and keep my occupied for the next several years to come.
It has been a while since I posted anything and that has partly to do with the manic summer job that I wrote about a few posts ago.
With October has come back the recruitment season. I was somehow concerned about how quickly this time was going to come ever since the day I got my summer job (about 6 months ago) and here it is to haunt me again. However it feels a lot different this time.
Firstly, working over the summer has given all of us an inside view of the industries and jobs we put on the pedestal 6 months ago. Many of my peers came back with rave reviews. Many others did not find their bliss. Many came back with offers. Many are still looking for jobs. Invariably everyone is a lot more focused this time. What then has summer done to all of us over enthusiastic MBAs? I think it has given us a sneek peak into the real world.
Things seem clearer to me now. I know specifically which jobs i want and am focusing on them only. I went to a couple of banking presentation in January only to realise that those jobs are not for me. I know exactly what to do at milk round receptions this year. I go with specific questions, the answers to which will help me put in a better application.
To a lot of first year students "networking" seems intimidating. It could be if you make it that way. I found it tedious in the first round but now i see the value in it and make it a point to go speak to people when i get a chance.
In the end, the tension of looking for a job remains. That will not change whether it you are looking for an internship or a permanent job. I just hope to get what im looking for.
It’s quite interesting to see the fresh faces around campus. The MBA2009s start their journey today and I heartily welcome them to campus. It is quote unbelievable that I am no longer a first year MBA student.
They will start their orientation tomorrow at Lords. My own orientation seems so far back in the past. Today is when the 09s get allocated their streams and their *ahem* study groups. I remember getting together with my study group for the first time and chatting for a couple of hours with everyone trying to figure out where we were coming from and where we were headed. After spending so much time with my study group over the last 12 months, that discussion feels alien.
Anyways, I gave this piece of advice to some 09s I met a few days ago and it is the one thing I wish I could change about my first few weeks on campus. Make the most of your time with your peers. Get to know everyone while you all are still new. Once you get into your streams and study groups you won’t get the same opportunity as you will over these next few days.
Once again welcome to your home for the next 2 years.