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Despite being miles away from campus, I can sense all the excitement as the new class began its first year. Ambitions, aspirations, interests, enthusiasm, excitement – the start of the MBA journey is accompanied by a crazy adrenaline rush!
Looking back, these were my key first year takeaways:
1. Plan – “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there”. Everyone has a reason for pursuing the MBA. Be sure to not just know but write down your purpose. Have a plan for what you want to achieve. With the ocean of choices and wide variety of leadership roles and other opportunities, it is easy to get lost without a concrete plan.

2. Focus – Once you have your plan and know what you are after, it’s easy to focus on what it is that you want. Sometimes, despite the focus and the hard work, things don’t go as planned. This is when planning becomes even more important. Because when you plan, you also plan for contingencies. If the MBA has ingrained something even more deeply in my thought process, it is decision trees. I always think of situations and know the possibilities and can be prepared.

3. Don’t overcommit – Don’t fall prey to the FOMO (fear of missing out) game. It is humanly impossible to be part of every single activity on campus. Prioritise what you want. In my case, travel and some fun club activities took the backseat for career related stuff in the first term.

4. Balance – Balance is better than just being academic/ career focused or just partying. The important thing is that this balance is different for different people depending on their plans and reasons for the MBA. A career changer may have a different sense of balance than what a sponsored candidate would have. Knowing the right sense of balance for oneself is important.

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One of the elements that make London Business School really sought after is the job opportunities. The internship between the first and second year gives students the opportunity to get their hands dirty in their dream job, learn something new, and hopefully convert it to a full time offer.

Not everyone in my class was looking for an internship though. There are students who either come from family business or are sponsored by their companies and some of them choose to use this time to travel or go back to their old employer. However for the vast majority, this is the time to iron those suits, shine those shoes and remain caffeinated throughout the day.

For students looking for consulting or banking, recruitment starts early – with the campus presentations that began around second week of January on campus. The unique location advantage of central London, the alumni strength and the school’s reputation attracts the best of consulting firms and investment banks to campus. Most students are focused on either consulting or banking, though there are a few brave souls who take a shot at both.

The entire process from the campus presentations, networking to the shortlists and the interviews leads to huge successes and some disappointments. It is undoubtedly a crucial element of the overall MBA experience. You see students reading up the vault guides and finance guides to recruit for investment banks. On the other hand, the consulting hopefuls are busy huddled up in meeting rooms cracking cases way beyond midnight. While a huge part of the recruitment is London focused, given the international nature of the school; companies from all over the world come to recruit at LBS. This year we saw companies from Myanmar as well.

After consulting and banking, the next big focus is on industry firms. For people focused on industry, internship recruitment begins slightly later. This means balancing interview preparation with classes, interviews with assignments and exams. The school allows students to have up to 3 offers and choose one or two. The flexibility of the program means that a student can do more than one internship.

Term three is the most relaxed term and I will share my experiences on that in the next post.

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It was around six years ago that I read “Snapshots from hell” and ever since I wanted to experience the MBA hell for myself. Well, LBS is more of a heaven but yes the MBA can have its hellish moments.

Term one passed by so quickly; yet it has been such an intense experience that I feel like I have been in LBS forever – that this was always my world. Term one began with meeting 400 new faces (and a couple of familiar faces) along with the logistics of starting life in London for the majority of the class, including me. Sorting out bank accounts while pub crawling, checking out apartments and potential flatmates, searching for the best deal from mobile service providers while “speed dating” to find the right clique, trying to get student discounts while deciding which clubs to join at LBS.

The first term is the busiest, most hectic, most action packed and crazy as hell. Especially if you, like me want to make the most of the experience by participating in (and winning) competitions, reading the cases for class, going to stream parties (and crashing other streams’ parties), and so on.

The best part about the MBA experience is that it can be customised completely as per individual requirement. So one can just do the bare minimum – attend classes, take exams and complete the MBA. Or one could be heavily involved in the clubs, attend student treks, spend some sleepless nights, partake in competitions, organize business forums and get to know one’s classmates.

The highlights of first term for me were: Prof Joao Cocco’s classes, winning a case study competition, organizing the first ever China Business Forum at LBS, the Finance Club activities, the Oktoberfest and Ireland treks. I am enjoying the second term which has begun now and will share my experiences shortly.

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