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Now that graduation is done. I can step back and give some pointers to upcoming MiF 2012s and prospective students.

Academics – Barring a few semi-finance courses, LBS courses I took were very impressive. Not only did the professors have a strong-hold on the subject, but they were very patient in answering even the most obvious questions. They not only focused on the theory but also the practical application in real world. For example, Prof. Shiva’s class on Securities Analysis was great in the sense that he had a guest speaker from the finance industry teach us how to model future financial projections just like an equity analyst would. Lots of guest speakers also came in but most of my learning was from students in the class. MiFs take LBS electives with other programs. This ensures a truly diverse learning environment — people who are strong in quant, have decades of work experience etc. Some courses were disappointing. But to LBS credit, these courses were taught by visiting professors who I certainly hope don’t become members of our faculty.

Career – There are three aspects that you can change when seeking a job (I learnt this from the LBS career session) – Location, Function and Industry. Level of difficulty increases, the more aspects you change. This was very true for MiFs – people who were not changing any aspect got jobs in the first couple of months. People who were changing 1-2 aspects, received job offer before Easter. The people who are having most difficulty are the ones who want to change all three aspects. Many of them already have job offers but in industry/location/function, they were in before they joined LBS (i.e. did not receive an offer for their “dream job”). I believe LBS career services are very strong in the sense that job postings on the Career portal are very good and in high numbers. All major companies (in Finance, Consulting, Industry etc.) hire at LBS. At the end, all LBS can do is get you the interview. Rest is up to the candidate and their potential fit with the company. For MiFs, it is true that not many people know about the program. But frankly this doesn’t matter much. All the employer sees is the LBS name and your work experience. MiF program structure does hurt candidates applying for IBD positions just because most of the bulge bracket banks hire from their summer intern pool which is not possible for a 1 year program. Students applying to US positions have a more difficult time since they have to compete with schools in the US. I am not trying to paint a grim picture for you but just want you to be aware of all the negatives so you are better prepared.

Extra-curriculars and all others – LBS, like other B-schools, have a club for any possible topic you fancy. As MiFs, you have access to all clubs just like MBAs. There is some London X-factor that you benefit as being part of LBS. The gorgeous Regent’s Park campus location, fabulous graduation venue, parties (we partied at Madame Tussaud’s for the summer ball!). The people you meet at LBS are all-rounders – obviously they are smart but they are also very knowledgeable of the world happenings and love to kick-back and enjoy.

Overall, I say LBS MiF program was a wonderful experience. Once you get here, you need to understand that you still have to do the hard work to get that dream job or skill you want for you own business – LBS can only provide you with the tools.

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Last week I finished my Block Week for Financing the Entrepreneurial Business.  Block week is a module option of a whole course squeezed into one week of lectures.  This makes it very hectic!  Between cases, readings and classes, you have no time to see friends/family for that week – you will eat, sleep, drink the course!

I have taken a block week before but this was different.  Professors Anthony Ross and John Mullins led the course and they cold-call!  The worse is that if you don’t know the answer or if you give a “not well thought-out” comment, they linger on you until you provide the right answer.  This can be very unnerving but nobody said that B-school was going to be easy!  I think the class kept me on my toes so I can make certain I get every ounce of skills/tools I would need to start a new venture – well at least to finance one.

So to all prospective students – don’t think B-school will be a cake walk!  You will be amongst the smartest peers you have ever met and the professors expect the same quality, energy and passion out of you!

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2nd Term…

Posted by: Rishi

…I have only one word for it – INTENSE!

Things have definitely ramped up very quickly: four electives (each of which have case analysis due every week), job search, networking and the MiF project.

But on the positive side, the market is improving so there are good signs from employers.  Plus, the electives are really great.  I was talking to some IEPs (International Exchange Program students from other major business schools) and they mentioned that one of the aspects they liked about LBS was that LBS’ method of teaching incorporates guest speakers (real life practitioners) giving talks to the class about the topic currently being taught.  Makes theory more practical.

Ok…back to the MiF project.  More to come later!

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At LBS, I went to numerous presentations for Bulge Bracket Investment Banking and almost everybody warns the prospective I-Bankers of the ridiculous hours they work as Analysts/Associates – 90…100…110! This made me seriously wonder the accuracy of a valuation of an Associate working on a multi-billion dollar merger who has not slept in two days and has the pressure of a daunting MD breathing down his neck to finish the work. Granted the pay with bonus is pretty good but is there a way to balance decent pay (I know this term is relative for the banking industry) with workload that will let you sleep at least 6 hours every day? Working these many hours for couple of years will surely burn many people out!

Let’s say a 1st year Associate makes a base salary of 65k gbp with a 100% bonus (which makes total salary package of 130k) and works 100 hours a week. If 4 associates are assigned to do the same work as 3 associates, they would be making 65k with a 50% bonus (package of about 97.5K) and working 75 hours a week. This workload is very manageable (similar to what Tier 1 consultants work) and still gives them a decent salary. To boot, the Associate will not be in constant stress so will be less likely to make mistakes and potentially will have time left to do other “non work” related activities.

Problem solved?

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