Finally the day has arrived. 61 of us (Sloan Fellows) from 28 countries arrived in London to start our Sloan Journey at London Business School on 6th Jan 2014. Kudos to our admissions team for getting together such a brilliant class with an average work experience of 15 years and with such a great diversity – engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, bankers, politicians, military, non-profit –you name it and we have at least one person with relevant experience in the class. Please look forward for the class brochure that will be posted soon on the Sloan programme website.
It has been 2 weeks since the programme started and it has been both hectic as well as fun for me to be back in the classroom after working for 13 years. It was mixed feelings on day one as we embarked on the Sloan journey. We started with orientation on day 1 and the programme office very well organized it. The classroom layout was in place with our nameplates arranged on the desks.
We got started with the ‘Executive Leadership’ course, which focused on NEO personality assessment and 360 degree survey results that we completed prior to arriving here. One of the key reasons for doing Sloan for most people was to become more self-aware than ever before. Both NEO and 360 are a step in that direction where NEO tells you what you think of yourself while 360 survey tells you what others think of yourself. I heard from most of my classmates that they received a more honest feedback through 360 survey after leaving the organization than when they were with the organizations. Of course, people are more candid when you ask for feedback and say that the key motive is for your own personal development. The course requires you to write a personal development plan in which we address some of the areas of improvement. We also had an interesting real life case to solve as part of this course. Case solving is interesting and this is where diversity plays a key part, as you get to listen different viewpoints on a particular topic.
In the first week we were also divided into study groups. A typical study group consists of five students – key criteria being geography & industry function. My study group consisted of a British, Chinese, Japanese and myself. This group will do all the group exercises together for the core courses. The idea is that you will become an effective team player by working in groups with different dynamics. I personally never worked with a Japanese and was glad that I had a Japanese in my study group.
We also got trained on speed-reading. Speed-reading teaches you techniques on how to get through loads of reading materials quickly and effectively. One has to read a lot of preparatory materials for each class and it is practically impossible to get through all of this by reading word-by-word or line-by-line. After speaking to a few alumni, I decided to focus most of my reading on courses that will be critical for my next role. I have decided to put most efforts into these courses and kind of do speed-reading while preparing for other courses.
Other activities in week 1 included opening dinner on day 1, a class photo and a networking event with alumni that gave some useful insights/tips for getting through the Sloan courses.
Week two was more hectic with a few other core courses like ‘understanding top management’, ‘marketing’ and ‘Managing People & Organisations’ starting this week. We had a lot of prep work as well as some group exercises to do during this week. Week two also had a briefing from ‘Career Services’ on using the online ‘Portal’ for creating CV and applying for jobs. There will be more events from career services on networking, CV & cover letter writing in the coming weeks.
Week two ended with a team-building event in an offsite event for two days at a hotel in Windsor. Team building event was a lot of fun while getting to know more about each other in the class, learning more about the values of leadership and the importance of teamwork in practice.
I have a lot of reading to do for the next week and also registered for a few club events. I hope to write some regular posts to share the experiences in Sloan journey in the next 1 year.
As I look back, I think this is a wonderful start for all of us in the programme. Though the average age of class is 40 years, the energy is no less than that seen in the early 20s :-). As we travel through this journey, I hope all of us will realise our objectives by helping each other while leveraging the vast resources available at LBS.