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A summer in finance……

Posted by: Stuart
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This summer has seen a complete and final transformation from my pre-MBA existence. Gone are the daily "ward-rounds" and clinics in the field hospital and in place is the daily morning meeting at 7am followed by a day of catching up with the markets, building/tweaking excel models and speaking on the phone to investors and companies.

Goodbye to the world of military medicine and hello to the world of bulge ‘bracket’ finance! For those thinking about the summer in this rather different cultural environment a lightning round of top tips:

  • Believe what the year above and alumni tell you. The job you will be doing in the summer is the same job that most have been doing for the 3-5 summers before you. If they say you will be working 6:30am-7pm then it is a reality. If you are looking to IBD the 3am finishes and 9am starts do happen. Think Powerpoint, Face Time and being at the beck-and-call of the MD. Of course this is second-hand information on my part (having been on the markets side all summer) but a pretty consensus opinion from colleagues the other side of the Chinese Wall
  • Make a good impression. It may seem that getting the internship is the first step on a road towards a clear offer and guaranteed career change but this is only about 20-30% of it. Be keen, turn up (just) before the boss and leave (just) after. Points win prizes and brownie points are not earned by coming in after the rest of the team or leaving before. Obvious I agree but some people forget.
  • HR can make or break you. A positive opinion from HR may not make a big difference, but a negative one will definitely count. They are your ally so treat them as well as the MDs and VPs
  • Enjoy the experience, work hard and remember the bank is also there to sell itself to you – take part in the socials, events, drinks and dinners – it is the easiest and best way to network!
  • If you have an offer, celebrate, relax but then the hard decisions really begin. Career Services have posted around 50 new jobs in the past 48h for the full-time recruiting so don’t just throw the acceptance letter in just yet

Overall I am happy with my decision although the second internship is starting to bite and taking ‘days off’ from the internship does not go down amazing well with employers! If you really want to keep your options open then think about doing different roles completely e.g. finance/consulting. But bear in mind this is one of the last chances to have a ‘proper’ Summer.

That’s all the words of apparent wisdom I have for now. I look forward to other’s experiences and if you want to know more just remember those that have trodden the path before as they are generally a good source of independent advice!

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Duke Duke Duke!!!!!

Posted by: Stuart
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Somewhere in a land far far away, a team of brave warriors came together to take on the biggest challenge of them all…..the 2008 MBA World Rugby Championships.

These warriors landing on foreign shores, training hard and training well in order to achieve what had for so long eluded them – a place in the grand final of the World Champs.

Following an intense period of training both on and off the pitch, the LBS Rugby Football Club fielded two extremely capable and prepared teams for the 2 day event hosted by Duke University in Danville. Given our performance from the previous year, we started from a medium position in the seedings, with both teams pitched against competent opponents.

Both the Red (Warrior) Team and the Blue Team fought hard through terrible weather conditions in their initial matches, successfully securing positions in the quarter final and knocking out the Harvard ‘B’ Team, an important step in reclaiming the club position following the HBS dominance at the previous London tournament. Due to the fantastic playing skills and points accumulation, LBS ‘A’ (Blue Team) managed to finish top on the first day, and was seeded in the number one spot going forward to the final day activities.

The final day was a question of survival, with many members of the Red and Blue team broken and new recruits actively sought for some of the most prestigious positions on the field. These brave new warriors fought with verve and vigour, taking with them the team spirit into battle and successfully suppressing formidable opponents including Wharton ‘A’ who had already assumed a position in the final, only to be thrashed by the more capable and passionate LBS Blue Team.

Despite their dominance at the London tournament, HBS were nowhere to be seen in the final and an all-European showdown ensued with London pitched against the 2007 winners, UCD Smurfit in what was to be an epic battle. Running bravely through the mud the LBS warriors fought hard against a team of younger, fitter and well drilled opponents. Although at the final whistle the score-line reflected a Smurfit victory, no-one watching the match or leaving the field could be in any doubt as to the passion and thirst for the game shown by the LBS RFC.

The female RFC also did astonishingly well, almost bringing home the crown but unfortunately pipped at the post by North American teams who had a legacy of success and a much stronger level of experience.

The first final in ten years and a fantastic positioning of all teams in the final 16 is something to be extremely proud of. If you are going to join ANY of the clubs next year, then make sure it is the RFC. A brand of brothers (and sisters) who will go out of their way to support each other, battle for each other and show the true spirit of LBS…friends for life and without doubt the best network there is in any business school bar none.

Warriors Unite!!


LBS Men’s Rugby Club


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Milkround Madness!!

Posted by: Stuart
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This will be possibly the shortest blog I will ever send…..time is money at this particular point in my MBA career – literally!

The "Milkround" is the recruiting season that we are all now heavily involved with. The scene:

1. One MBA student (without a finance/business background)
2. 100s of companies to potentially apply to with presentations every day and deadlines to meet
3. 4+ core course and 2 electives this term (one at UCL on exchange)
4. 24h in the day

If you think the maths don’t really add up, you would ordinarily be correct. But this is business school, somehow there does seem to be 25h in the day if you look really hard and are super-duper organised!

My top tips for the milkround:

1. Start early (November is preferable)
2. Rest well on Christmas break
3. Have a good idea of what you want to do (being a financi-consultanti-industry type employee does not really work!)
4. Have CVs and cover letters prepared for each choice
5. Do your research
6. Keep smiling – there IS light at the end of the tunnel!

Now off to meet the deadlines for the Capital Group/Amgen and Wellington Management!

More to follow I hope…..

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London Business School 40 – INSEAD 0

Posted by: Stuart
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Well I think the title probably captures it all…… A brave group of 58 Rugby warriors set out on the Eurostar to Paris this weekend. The mission – to return the BCG Trophy to its rightful position in London. Following an extended period of travel and culture we arrived on the battlefield of Fontainebleau. Warming up on the sideline, a group of victory hungry and focused individuals, we immediately won the mental battle and forced our opponents into the admission that they did not, in fact, have a "suitable" front row. Uncontested scrums would not be at all to our advantage, having spent the past 6 weeks building up the strength and quality of our pack……

So into battle we went, and within 15 minutes it became clear that this would be the year of London Business School. The rugby was fantastic, the tackles hard and fast, and shortly into the first half the "mighty" INSEAD had fallen to the tune of three tries. The whitewash continued, and the London Business School R.F.C. demonstrated the quality of rugby any club team would have been proud of. Despite a few injuries on the pitch (the team doctor was busy!) the overall outcome was hugely positive. INSEAD failed to score a single point and the warriors left the pitch having put 40 points past their opponents.

We were kindly hosted by our sponsors BCG in the evening and set about, once more, broadening our cultural understanding of the local city (with the odd beverage along the way) and returned the next morning victorious, over-joyed and hungry for the next tour!

In case anyone missed it, the final score was:

London Business School 40 – INSEAD 0

and the BCG trophy is now well placed back in the rugby locker on Park Road – vive le London Business School!!!!!!

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Diwali – the festival of light and fireworks!!

Posted by: Stuart
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Yesterday, as with most days at London Business School, I discovered yet more about the culture of my fellow class-mates and had the honour of sharing the Diwali celebrations with the India Club.

Following a "swift-half" in the Windsor with a few friends it was off to get my Diwali armband (something to do with licensing laws…) and sit down for the dinner. A feast of Indian food was accompanied by bread, samosas, a plentiful supply of wine and some great company.

We followed this with the real festival of light a.k.a around half an hour of fantastic fireworks and the opportunity to test the "firework" setting on my camera, which I hope you will agree, resulted in some fantastic photos (see below).

The evening was rounded off with some amazing Bollywood style dancing, a VIP from the film industry (I have forgotten even though I probably should remember) and then the floor opened up for the rest of us to bust a few moves!

All in all a fantastic night and yet another reason to come to such an international school :o)

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So I feel the time has come for bloggers to unite, one and all and give a hand to one our MBA clan!

My colleague and friend Gabriele is on a mission to ‘shadow’ Steve Jobs, the brain of Apple Inc. and one of the most unconventional CEOs in business history. We had the good fortune of studying the rise, fall and rise of again of Steve during our Understanding General Management (UGM) classes and I have to say he is certainly a ‘leader’ rather than a ‘manager’, a visionary and a sure fire indication that success in business is more complex than simply having the right ‘tools’.

Gabriele has worked hard to contact Steve through a number of avenues and has his own blog dedicated to shadowing Steve which you can read by clicking here 

There is a rather famous ‘Fake Steve ‘ blog that has actually mentioned Gabriele’s efforts (click here to read it) and although not entirely complimentary (this is the usual ‘style’ of the blog so it is actually quite in keeping with how Mr. Jobs himself might actually write!) it will increase the chances that the real Steve will actually read it. Rumour has it that Steve Jobs does actually read the ‘Fake Steve’ blog so there is some hope for Gabriele…..

The shadowing project (although now no longer compulsory) provides the
opportunity to spend up to a week with a high profile manager/CEO/CFO
etc. watching how they ‘do business’ in real terms, in the work-place
and whilst following their normal, daily routine. I think it is a
fantastic idea, although at present have no idea who I want to shadow
(now that Steve Jobs is taken!!!). London Business School is very supportive of experiential learning and we are encouraged to really experience business within the corporate setting rather than simply be ‘spoon-fed’ a business education. It is one of the main reasons why I like the school curriculum and why I believe the students here are a bit more rounded when they enter the work-place!

So although ‘Fake Steve’ is not a big fan of business-school education, the hope is that the ‘Real Steve’ might realise that what Gabriele is trying to do is simply emulate this experiential learning but on a grander scale. I personally wish him every success and promise that next time the ‘Mac parade’ happens I will come along with my shiny white MacBook and support his efforts. Anything as high profile as shadowing someone like Steve will not only be a coup d etat for Gabriele but also a great achievement for us at London Business School….

If you wished to do the same, then have a look at his blog and send him a message of support!


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Posted by: Stuart

So my fellow bloggers have been asking me where I have been…..’off the blog scene’ for a week or so I say but this is a tactical maneouvre on my part! Why? Because I wanted to be the first to blog about this year’s amazing international multi-cultural event that is TATTOO!

So what is it?

1. An amazing multi-cultural show with representatives from dozens of countries all over the world
2. An opportunity to experience the national dress, traditions, food and entertainment of 50+ nations
3. A chance to learn all about your business school class-mates and see them in their own cultural surroundings
4. The best deal in London – £15 for an all-you-can-eat international buffet and booze cruise!

This year we were entertained by two student bands, a mariachi group, flamenco dancers, gypsy musicians, samba dancers, indian music and dance……the list truly goes on and I could not do justice to all the entertainment that was laid on for our delight in this short blog – you will just have to come to next year’s event or check out the photos which I am sure will start appearing on the school website soon…

For my own cultural stall (the Great Britain and Ireland club) we had a combination of ‘toffs’ and ‘chavs’ as well as some good ol’ english grub – fish & chips, sausage & mash and the ever-popular cream teas. We discovered that for next years event we will go heavy on the cream teas and light on the fish & chips. Even if the most popular of our national foods was the sweet, it was good to have people coming back for more and telling us it was the best dessert they had ever tasted.

Oh and to top off the evening England won the rugby as well!!! All in all a great night for all :o)




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……the question I heard most during the ‘Ambassador Tours’ I did this weekend for the Open House Event at the school.

Open House Events

I was asked (very nicely) by someone from the Admissions Committee if I would not mind helping out on a Saturday lunchtime, showing prospective students around the school campus. I deliberated, wondered if I had space in my schedule, then realised that free lunch and beers in the Windsor were the highly prized award – SOLD! On a more serious note, I actually did want to get the chance to take people around MY school, somewhere I am proud of, and have the opportunity to chat in real terms as to why I chose the school over my other choices.

So we toured the campus and I was indeed bombarded by a number of questions from eager students, wanting to discover the ‘real deal’ about the school, the MBA programme and the reasons of a bona fide student for choosing the ‘London Advantage’. I was somewhat surprised at some of the questions and when asked what the school indemnity policy was (“should I fall out of a library window or something”!!) politely pointed I was merely a glorified tour guide, moving on quickly to talk about my own spin on why London Business School is the best ‘fit ‘ for me:

1. I personally believe it is the only top tier school that really does manage to get the right ‘work hard/play
hard’ balance and enables its students to develop a capture on work/life balance from the start.

2. The international diversity really IS a unique selling point over the US equivalent and as a Brit I am
genuinely an ‘ethnic minority’ for the first time in my own country! There is not another school in the
world that can claim to have 91% international diversity in terms of the host country whilst still managing
to be located in one of the key cities in the world….plenty of European schools obviously have a great
international mix but very few of these can boast a 2 year program OR major city anywhere nearby.

3. The students, school and staff do not take themselves too seriously and everyone knows exactly what a
great brand London Business School without needing to ‘sell’ the school at every opportunity. It is a
great place to learn, an amazing community to be a part of and an AWESOME place to socialise!

4.   Top MBA + London life + Great People = A Fantastic Experience……enough said I feel

Now before anyone reading this writes to the Admissions Committee asking how much I am being paid to put this stuff in my blog, I want to point out we are given a completely free reign when blogging and all of the above has been extracted from the dark recesses of my brain….I am a pretty honest type of bloke, and certainly not afraid to speak my mind when something does not work (as BT customer services will tell you!) but it just happens that the school has got it right and I am happy to have no gripes at this point.

So if you really want to know why people choose the school just pop along and ask us – the great thing about having such a diverse mix of people is that everyone will have a slightly different spin on it. The only real way to find out the ‘weighted average’ of opinions is to keep asking as many London MBAs as you can get your hands on and then read the reviews….that is what I did and can happily say it was 100% the right choice for me.

Roll on the ‘London Advantage Oktoberfest’ next weekend and please remember if you are going to attend an event that I happen to be doing tours at, I know NOTHING about indemnity or insurance!!!!

Enjoy these links and if you feel London is right for you then we hope to see some of around NW1!

FT MBA Rankings

London Business School News

Wikipedia – London Business School

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Help….I am trapped in the Windsor Castle!!!

Posted by: Stuart
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Now I don’t want to alarm anyone here, so I will point out straight away that we fortunate few at London Business School have our very own ‘Windsor Castle’, the spiritual home of the MBA 2009s for the past few weeks and a great asset to the school community. Although not ‘officially’ part of the campus, the fact that we have our own secret entrance into the pub through the back and have a ‘welcome’ sign that actually sits on the wall within the courtyard that borders the school, I think technically we could say the pub is on our campus! The Windsor provides a very homely surrounding for us newbies and a place where you can almost guarantee seeing one or more class-mates after a hard day or week, sinking a few cold ‘Maisel Weiss’ German beers and chatting about the previous few days…..

Friday was our final day of UGM – Understanding General Management, and as a Pass/Fail course we were fortunate enough to be fairly confident that without any real shockers the vast majority of us will have passed comfortably. We had a couple of rather interesting assignments over the week (it is weird to be having homework again having spent the last seven years doing a ‘proper’ job) including describing our ‘dream’ job and also writing our own eulogy. The latter assignment might be considered a bit morbid by some and so we were given the option to write our retirement speech instead. It was very interesting to see the correlation between the dream job and eulogy in some cases and the divergence in others. Conceptually some of us are here to find the dream job that will also be part of our life path (myself included in this group) whilst others are fairly sure they wish their ‘job’ and ‘life’ to be two separate entities. Either way it was very interesting to see how our minds our working already and even more interesting to find a future potential ‘Governor of Mars’ in our class!!

So with a slight edge of confidence (we have not found out if we have actually passed yet!) my ‘stream’ caught up in the Windsor for a few hard earned beers, settled down to watch the rugby, and despite my home team getting a thrashing from South Africa the atmosphere was enough to temper my disappointment and make the evening pass away without so much as a tear….

The fact that the landlord lost a bet on the score and was serving free pints to those of us lucky enough to be in the rugby club did help :o)

So here it is…the mighty, the wonderful, ‘Windsor’:


     Windsor Castle Pub, Park Road

Next time you fancy a pint on Park Road make sure to come by and if you can find me amongst the throng of MBAs I might even shout you a pint of Maisel Weiss!

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And I thought I knew about time management!!!

Posted by: Stuart
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So here I am, settled in the very nice Seminar Room trying very hard to catch up with my new MBA life….

My previous job was all about time management, balancing a range of different meetings, clinics, treatment sessions and staff work. My new ‘job’ is much more simple yet 10 times more complex…how on earth do I fit in the million different social opportunities, clubs and sports around the class schedule. It is a challenge and a half and I have never before been quite so reliant on my beloved Mac and iCal to ‘sort my life out’. But the fact I am having to ‘worry’ about how much of the social scene I can squeeze into the day is nothing to complain about and the fact my diary is already full for the week reflects just how amazing this new experience is!

I am now signed up for the Rugby tour to Peru (12 days of socialising, working on local volunteer projects, playing rugby and the odd ‘small beer’!) and we have pretty much most of our outlook calendar filled until Christmas. The range of classes include General Management, Statistics, Strategy and Leadership to name but a few. The schedule definitely balances work with a life and despite the many (many many) warnings about not over-stretching ourselves, the opportunities are amazing. This week it has been the Pratham Club (helping education street kids in India), the Responsible Business Club and Rugby Club on my radar. Next week will be the Finance Club, drinks with the new Dean, the ever-popular Sundowners (basically free drinks sponsored by a club) and a whole host of dinners, pub crawls and parties with friends.

Bottom line is that if you want to really learn about time management, you can safely swap that dry workshop offered by your employer and sign up for an MBA at London Business School -  it a way cooler way to learn how to balance that diary!!!

Watch this space…..

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