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The Amazing Network.

Since I’ve been here, I have had the most amazing (and random) experiences. Probably the majority of those experiences have been somehow related to the network that comes along with being a student (or alum) at LBS. These experiences have literally made me pause and go “wow, LBS is crazy” (exact thought line). Here are some highlight stories:

1) I’m sitting in the library talking with a friend. I’m organizing a trip to Kenya to go climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (yes yes, I know, Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, but it’s cheaper to fly in through Kenya). As I’m trying to convince my friend to come along, I hear somebody from behind me go “Hey, are you planning on climbing Kilimanjaro?” Now, I get really excited because I’m expecting it to be somebody who heard me talking about it and decided they wanted to come along. It’s even better than that! Apparently, this guy is a super adventurer and he already did Kilimanjaro plenty of times before (BTW, this guy is an executive MBA, probably in his mid-50s, and he’s in better shape than any of us MiMs. . . except for maybe the professional rock climber MiM who is a champion UK boulderer on the official national UK bouldering team. . . yeah, we have even one of those. So much diversity in one university). So anyway, he gives me the contact info for one of his friends back in Tanzania who runs a climbing outfitter and tells me to just mention his name. Just mention his name?! Really?! Is this actually how the world really works? I can just mention people’s names and good things happen to me?! Apparently when you know people who go to LBS, yes, it does. Unfortunately though (and I should’ve known this really), his friend runs a premium outfitter company and even with a 20% discount (which is really a huuuge favor and worth thousands of dollars), it was still way out of budget for a lowly MiM. But I did get some good referrals and found a great company within budget. All of that because I just happened to be talking about something in front of some LBS people.

2) Yesterday. I get an e-mail. I open my e-mail. Oh, it’s about a Latin American Business Forum. Interesting. I guess they’ll probably just have some professors who teaching something related to Latin America come and discuss stuff. Ehhh, maybe I’ll go. Let me keep reading. Speakers will include:

a) Alvaro Uribe Velez, President of Colombia 2002-2010
b) Pedro Malan, Former Ministers of Finance for Brazil and Former President of Brazil’s central bank
c) and a whole crazy list of CEOs and Presidents of companies like PepsiCo and Unilever.

PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA??!?! WHAT?! I actually reread that a couple times to make sure I read it correctly. The former president of a country is actually coming to LBS to give a presentation. Amazing.

3) Okay, disclaimer, this one actually happened to a friend of mine, but it’s still so crazy that I feel like I have to mention it as a highlight. My friend was just standing on the tube on the way to school when somebody came up to him and asked if he went to LBS (he was wearing an LBS sweatshirt). My friend said that he did go to LBS and they got into a conversation. By the time my friend got to his tube stop, he had a job offer for a multinational company based in Taiwan.
Of course you could think that this is just either an isolated incident or that my friend is making it up, but you’d be wrong! There is another friend who had a guy give him his business card on the tube and tell him to feel free to send in his CV! Apparently LBS is pretty good.

4) Met a guy who actually climbed Mt. Everest. Nough said.

Anyways, those are just some of the highlights. I’m sure those of you who come here will have plenty of then yourselves, all different but all just as amazing.

P.S. I’m writing this on my iPhone on a bus ride to Scotland. Ah, now I really feel like a business school student. Important journeys and always on my smartphone, love it.

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GMAT Advice

Posted by: Mikhail

The MiM Ambassadors giving some good tips about the GMAT, check it out, I’m in it!:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWwI60HA2VQ

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How To Get Into LBS

Posted by: Mikhail

Ok, so now that I have your attention. Here’s the truth: I don’t know. Wait wait wait, don’t get angry, I wasn’t trying to mislead you! The thing is, a lot of people have been writing to me asking me how to get into LBS, and I found myself repeating the same things over and over, so I figured that I might as well just write a central article about it.

So here is all I know:

The only people who really know what the admissions team looks for is the admissions team, and they’re not talking (at least not about admissions). However, if you’ve ever googled “college admissions” or “how do I get into this super hard school?”, you will see that there are some common theories that are out there about the admissions process. Namely: be a good person, have passion, be a leader, show commitment, have drive and ambition, and most importantly, just be yourself because that’s when all of those things really come out (but don’t be the drunk Friday night self, be the ready to change the world Monday morning self). But this is all common sense really, these things aren’t a secret. What university wants to accept somebody who doesn’t care about anything, is happy being part of the crowd, can’t be counted on, and kills baby kittens for fun(*)? However, universities do want to build classes, not just accept people. They want to have classes in which unique people can complement, support, and teach each other. They don’t want to have a class of just identical Nobel winning geniuses (though if you do have a Nobel, it would probably increase your chances of getting in). So be unique, show the admissions committee (wherever you apply) how you would uniquely contribute to the class, show them why you are special.

Having said that, you should keep in mind that you are applying to LBS. This is a school with a unique identity, a unique student body, and a unique faculty. So don’t just copy and paste your essays from some other school that you applied to. Do your research and figure out why you picked LBS in the first place. And please please please please don’t just say it’s because LBS is the best business school in the world. As an alumni interviewer for my undergraduate university, there is no bigger turnoff than hearing an interviewee answer my question of “So why Cornell?” with “Because it’s IVY League” or because “My dad told me it’s the best”. Sure that might be true, but if that’s all you know and if that’s the only reason you’re applying, then you’re wasting both your time and the school’s time. Each school has its own personality and each program has its own unique design that isn’t for everybody. If you’re a rural country person, then you won’t like LONDON Business School. If for you a Masters is just a stepping stone on the way to a PhD, then you won’t like the MiM program.

So basically, in short, use common sense and do your research.

* Exceptions may be universities with baby kitten infestation problems.

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London- Launch Pad of the World

Posted by: Mikhail
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So winter break is here and what an awesome winter break it has been, both for me and others. London is amazing in that it is right in the middle of everything, literally. My classmates have travelled everywhere from the Canary Islands in Spain to Moscow in Russia to New York in the United States. No matter where you want to go, London is pretty much in the middle of it. As for me, I took the opportunity of winter break to backpack around the UK. I went to Brighton, Oxford, and Cambridge with a couple of my classmates, and I had an amazing time in all of those places (I liked Brighton the best by the way). Even if you decide to stay here for winter break, the great thing about LBS is that because there are so many international students, somebody is bound to be staying here too. The last couple of days I actually went out to a Thai restaurant, Chinese buffet, and a couple of Korean places with a couple of them. It’s kind of nice that even during breaks there is that community feeling. Now if only it would just get a little warmer. . . brrr.

P.S. Happy New Year! :-)

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Ok, so not me, but others. In fact, the inspiration for the title is a mate (as they say in British) of mine in the program who actually is married! I feel like this is pretty representative of what LBS is and who we are as people at LBS. I remember when I first found out, it was pretty shocking. I mean, we all go out, party, sing karaoke, have a great time (in the rare moments when we’re not studying or attending networking/recruiting events), kind of just like we did in our undergraduate days. Getting married at this point in our life is as crazy and unrealistic as going out and having coffee with a Partner at a major finance company. . . oh wait. The truth is, we are not in our undergraduate days anymore. On a daily basis we interact with major players in the business world (today I had a two hour conversation with a guy who became the director of a consulting company after working at McKinsey). We are held to a different standard now; no longer can we go to a company presentation in our sweatpants, meet a VP of Operations without knowing something about the company, or have an excuse for not knowing how to walk an interviewer through our CV. Now we have to attend presentations in a suit, armed with business cards, heavily developed and researched questions, and very thorough and practised responses for anything that we may get asked. Now we are in a business school being trained, groomed, and refined for the business world; we are business people, young professionals, not kids. Whether we like it or not, whether we noticed or not, we are now adults in the real world, marriage and all.

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Dear Diary

Posted by: Mikhail

Last Thursday was a great day (and no, not because it is the day before Friday), it was our first sundowners. If you’re wondering what Sundowners is, it’s basically a corporate sponsored drinking buffet fest and it’s just as awesome as it sounds. Thus particular time it was sponsored by Booz and Co and there were representatives from the company that mixed and mingled with those who were interested in mixing and mingling. That is one of the great things about LBS, they make even networking fun. Normal networking can be stressful and awkward, but when you’re there just drinking with your friends, it really makes things a lot more fun. On the other hand, if you didn’t want to network or weren’t interested in Booz and Co., there was absolutely no pressure to do anything except drink and be with your friends.

Speaking of friends, by now you might be wondering why I chose to start off my blog entry with “Dear Diary”. You might be thinking “my name isn’t Diary, it’s John! (or Rachel, or whatever your actual name is). Well, it’s because recently I was having a discussion with a fellow MiM friend, and we were wondering what kind of things one should/could/would write in a blog. What do you guys want to know? What do you want to hear about? Even though the program office was amazing in telling us that we have 100% complete free reign to discuss whatever we want (and they will not edit or censor it), I am pretty sure that you don’t want to hear about what I had for breakfast the other day. So she, for some reason or other (because she’s Canadian probably), thought it would be hilarious (she was literally laughing so hard that her cheeks started to match her hair. . . she’s a redhead) if I wrote in “Dear Diary” form and just basically wrote exactly what I would write in a diary. So I did. Blame her. But seriously, I will take requests, so feel free to request.

Anyway, I didn’t spend a whole paragraph just explaining the title of my entry though. I wanted to demonstrate how close we’re getting as a class. On a lot of campuses, in a lot of schools and programs (especially the bigger ones), you just see your classmates in class and maybe send out an occasional facebook wall post on their birthdays. But not us, we go drinking together, eating together, partying together, and complaining about classes together. We even have a whole lounge on campus that is just for us MiMs, where, if you’re ever lonely, you can go and be sure that you will see at least five other MiMs who will be more than happy to see you. There’s a great balance between our class being small enough that we all get to know each other and big enough that there’s a ginormous variety of people to keep things interesting. If you ever want to have dinner somewhere, ask around, there will always be a hungry MiM who will also want dinner. If you ever want to play Squash, you can find one of those people too (one of my friends here is actually a champion Squash player)! Personally, I already found people to go explore cheeseburger places, rock climbing walls, and festivals with. It really does feel like we’re becoming a small(ish) family. Awww, ok, have to stop writing before I get all teary.

Until Next Time!,

Mike

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I’m in love

Posted by: Mikhail
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Yesterday I fell in love. Not like that puppy dog love either. This is for real. In fact, I think this relationship might go on for at least a year. You might be wondering right about now as to who the lucky person is. Well, you see, it’s more like 140 people actually. Yup, I’m in love with all my fellow MiMs at London Business School. They’re all amazing people, more than anybody could ever ask for. They’re smart, funny, well travelled, entertaining, great conversationalists, and just all around really interesting people who I’m sure I can learn a lot from. One guy was a professional rock climber before coming to LBS! I can barely climb my stairs. I think we complement each other very nicely.

Now I’m not under any delusion of course. I know that, just like with any other relationship, there will be some rocky times with us.  One girl (who coincidentally is also a blogger here. I won’t mention names, but it starts with an “L” and ends with an “oicque.”) had a bone to pick with me when she found out that I thought British food was exciting (she’s Belgian, so I couldn’t blame her, very few foods can compare to the Belgian Waffle). But this is actually good, because rocky moments are learning experiences. Nobody can ever get along with somebody 100% of the time; there will always be arguments and disagreements. But those arguments and disagreements allow you to challenge and refine yourself, your ideas and beliefs, while also allowing you to see how other people in the rest of the world think. In the end, you’re a better person and, as long as you were respectful and open-minded, chances are, your relationship got stronger too. In the end, after all the classes are done and all the exams taken, isn’t that why we want to be at LBS? To challenge ourselves, grow as a person, learn more about the rest of the world and its people, and build strong relationships?

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Why I’m hungry for London life…

Posted by: Mikhail
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For starters, I’m looking forward to EVERYTHING in London. Okay, I guess that was a bit of an exaggeration; I’m not really looking forward to my first sip of warm beer. But seriously, London was and still is one of the major hubs of the world! Thanks to Britain’s rich history, London is (so I hear) the second best place in the world to get Indian food (the first best place being India). In fact, former UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook called Chicken Tikka Massala “a true national dish.” Though of course, one shouldn’t forget about Britain’s own amazing culinary traditions. Steak and Kidney Pie, Shepherd’s Pie, Cumberland Pie (I know, the British love their pies), yup, just a few of the delicious and unique British dishes. For a foodie like myself, Britain is definitely a big bloop on the radar.

It’s not all just about food though, most of the major museums in London are free! Art, History, Science, even Gardening! So many museums and ideas to explore and discover, and chances are, they’ll be free. Free is good. Saving money is important, because, I’ll be living 200 meters from one of the best rated burger restaurants in London!

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