Posts from our MBA bloggers

Bumping into my LBS interviewer last week brought back fond if somewhat traumatic memories from this time last year when I was going through the MBA application process. Now things have calmed down a little after an exciting, exhausting, formative first term, I wanted to share three quotes that recently made an impression on me, and their relevance to my application experience.

1. “Unless a leader knows where they are going, any road will take them there” – Theodore Levitt

I came across this quote in the reading for my Marketing class last week. It reminded me of how useful I found writing my application essay.

LBS has one compulsory question, similar to those at other top programs: what are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these?

The essay was one of the most time-consuming parts of the application. But it was also a rare chance to stop and question why I had gone down certain paths. For instance, it helped me articulate that I am motivated by chances to have high-level impact addressing social issues like inequality, and that this had informed decisions like moving from teaching to consulting.

It can be tempting to tell the school what you think they want to hear. True, the essay tests your ability to form a compelling narrative. But more so, it tests that you have clear career objectives and that the MBA can support these. It’s therefore a far more important tool for the applicant than for the school, given the significant investment an MBA represents.

2. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn

Business schools differ on countless dimensions, from the city to the curriculum. But above all, the people make an MBA and so it is vital to find a school with the right fit.

Most schools offer chances to engage with student life before you apply. LBS did a great job here. I visited a class on statistics. The school paired me with MBA students who provided really great advice. And I even got the chance to go to a campus talk with Lord Browne, former CEO of BP and prominent thinker on business ethics.

I personally wanted to attend a school with an international flavour and I’m excited to now be part of a cohort with 76 nationalities, six in my study group alone. My classmates range from professional cricketers to fashion designers to surgeons and our case discussions have showed me the diverse perspectives that you can approach any problem with. I also wanted a longer course with time to delve into interest areas; at LBS you can develop a concentration through your elective choices and I plan to concentrate in economics.

Whatever your goals there is a school for you – just take the time to find it!

3. “Shipping beats perfection” – Khan Academy

This quote is a development principle at Khan Academy, one of the most striking examples of a business school graduate taking practical, entrepreneurial steps to impact social change.

It reminds me of my GMAT preparations – and not only because I used Khan Academy to brush up on algebra. Looking back on my application, I could have shipped things sooner. I delayed taking the GMAT for too long and was left with a pressured few months approaching the deadline.

There are lots of moving parts in the application; it takes time to arrange referees, get transcripts, polish your CV, complete the online form, take language tests etc. So book that test date. Sort out the easy things like transcripts. And get friends to skim over your essays beforeyou think they are perfect. Whether planning to apply next round or next year, it pays to start now.

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Term 1 ends. Random musings.

Posted by: Adesoji Solanke
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I survived! We made it through what has been nothing short of an extraordinary past few months. As the saying goes – time does fly when you’re having fun. But I remember vividly, days when I was drowning under mountain high and rising to-do lists and all I could say was: one way or another, I’ll make it to term end, and here we are. I must say, that nothing can sufficiently describe to anyone, the experience of the London Business School MBA other than simply experiencing it; and so far, many of my mates will agree it’s been busier than even a full-time job!

As I type this up, it’s the night just after a marathon weekend of final exams – grueling! Many are gearing up for what will be a phenomenal week at one of LBS’s flagship December treks, in Val Thorens – the Snow Trek (FOMO). Many are setting out with friends anew to countries around Europe and elsewhere, and others heading back home to family and friends. For others, it’s the perfect time to finally explore the UK and get out of the Baker Street bubble. And for some, it will be a holiday busy with case preps, interview preparations, networking, retrospection, planning for what comes next…and reading The Goal (-_-).

I envy the MBA2019s. As an MBA Student Ambassador, I was excited to congratulate some of those who recently received their admission offers from LBS. More exciting however, is that they will be first to explore the revamped LBS MBA offering. The option to waive the language exit requirement and tailor your core courses are some of the brilliant changes to the core MBA programme I sometimes wish were retrospective. Nevertheless, just as I found it reassuring to hear alumni say how much better the MBA is, now versus when they were here, I’m glad I can already convey a similar message to the incoming class.

How do you think about impact? So, we all want to be successful but to what end? What is the essence of our success and what will its impact be? As I draw the curtains on term 1 and look forward to an exciting year ahead, it is perhaps pertinent to draw on Stephen Covey’s Habit 2 in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – Begin with the end in mind. Framing the end is often an ongoing process (and the GLAM course required us to do this) but it’s important to have it in mind as a guide for today’s actions and decisions. Excel’s Solver won’t optimize for you here (#DMDjokes).

Okay, this post is as random as the title suggests but I think it has achieved its objective nonetheless – to give an insight into the LBS MBA student experience. Thus, to you, my Japanese friends, and those gearing up for the Japan trek: ‘Meri-Kurisumasu’ and ‘Yoi otoshi o’! Sayonara!

My random study group - American engineer, Brazilian banker, British pharmacist, Nigerian analyst, Indian PR consultant, Italian consultant

My random study group – American engineer, Brazilian banker, British pharmacist, Nigerian equity analyst, Indian PR consultant, Italian consultant

 

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Diversity @ LBS

Posted by: Aaron So

Whenever I ask my classmates why they chose LBS, almost without fail, they’ll mention the diversity of our class. Our cohort spans a tremendous range of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations and professional backgrounds. Even in London, our Baker Street bubble stands out for its head-spinning internationalism and inclusiveness.

I am proud to be part of such an institution. Just two months into my MBA, here are some personal highlights, particularly on the LGBT+ front:

National Coming Out Day! On October 11 this year, LBS celebrated National Coming Out Day for the first time ever. NCOD is a global celebration of the LGBT+ community and an opportunity to reflect on the civil rights successes of the past and the progress still to come. LBS celebrated in the most visible way possible with over 2000 rainbow stickers distributed around campus. It was awesome to see lecture theatres, students and staff all plastered in symbols of ally-ship.

CONNECT community and mentoring! Multiple times a year the Out in Business Club brings LGBT+ LBS students, staff and alumni together through our CONNECT networking events. It’s always inspiring to hear where people have gone and the success they have achieved as out and proud professionals. The first CONNECT event in 2016 coincided with the launch of our mentoring programme which pairs up current LGBT+ LBS students with mentors in industry and academia.

EurOUT conference! At the Out in Business Club, we are now gearing up for our biggest event of the year. EurOUT 2016 (18 -20 November) is Europe’s leading LGBT business conference, attended by almost 300 B-school students and professionals. The conference is multifaceted, encompassing recruiting, community building and thought leadership on LGBT issues. This year LBS is hosting the Prime Minister of Luxembourg as well as a line-up of top LGBT business leaders. Check it out at http://www.eurout.biz/

If you’d like to hear more about LGBT+ events at LBS, or diversity on campus in general, come to one of LBS’s regular  campus information sessions.  The Out in Business Club has a booth there and we look forward to meeting you!

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Two months have passed since I started my MBA – time flies! I am enjoying London, my classes, and the diverse learning environment in my stream and study group. I have also tried to get involved in extracurricular activities on campus, and one I am most excited about is the Healthcare Club.

This semester, I am working as a committee member of Healthcare Club and organizing its flagship event – Global Healthcare Conference 2016, which will be focused on “precision medicine,” a transformative treatment methodology that involves tailoring patient care based on the unique characteristics of the individual.

Being a conference organizer has been a rewarding experience so far. While I do have many other responsibilities (e.g., classes, assignments, recruiting, etc.), working on the conference has been a way for me to build many skills that I have aimed to develop. Specifically, I’m working with a team of peers from other streams and programs, getting hands-on experience organizing an event, and networking with healthcare professionals, some of whom will be the speakers at our event. For a person like me with very specific and focused professional background (I was a tax adviser before LBS – advised companies to ‘optimize’ their tax costs), this is a great opportunity to expand my points of view and refine my leadership skills.

I am also very excited about the content of our conference this year, as I am from Japan, which is one of the most aged countries in the world. We currently have 10 million people who are more than 80 years old, and I am excited to learn about how some of the developments in healthcare can help these people, both in terms of better outcomes and value.

We have assembled a diverse line-up of speakers from across the industry who can bring unique perspectives on precision medicine. The conference is sponsored by A.T. Kearney and BCG and held from1800 on 21st November at the Royal College of Physicians located in opposite side of Regent’s Park from LBS campus.

If you’re interested in attending, click the link below to purchase tickets -

https://lbs.pickevent.com/EN/HealthcareConference2016/

If you have any questions about this conference, please feel free to contact me (tedatsune.mba2018@london.edu).

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First I will introduce myself as this is my first post here: my name is Bruna, I am Brazilian and guess what… I was assigned to Stream B at LBS! I got a triple B here but still don’t know if the Program Office did it on purpose.

Before starting the MBA, especially after looking at the Programme Content, I had some expectations about how my student life would be. Some were totally mistaken and I’ll tell you all about this now.

 

1.Workload and Homework

 

Expectation: I knew the MBA was going to be busy with many different activities, but somehow we can’t really believe when others advise us… You look at the school website, the core courses and the program structure and it all seems totally manageable, totally fine! After all, we all had to work more than 10 hours a day, weekends and holidays occasionally. Of course, it takes some time to adapt to a new routine, but once it is established, I was sure it was going to be smooth.

 

Reality: Actually, there is no such thing as routine here! When you think you understood your weekly schedule, they just change everything on the next week. Thought I would never have classes at 8:15 in the morning, now I am having it for the next… well, have to check my schedule again. By the way, during the MBA you are going to say and hear this a lot! You are going to learn all about scheduling apps and methods to set up meetings. Get ready and find some space to install many apps in your mobile!

LBS MBA reactions reality cat too busy runnning bruna moreira

Source: reddit.com

 

2. Corporate Finance classes

 

Expectation: I do not have a Finance background and I knew a lot of my classmates would be aiming to intern in Finance positions. This meant high-level Finance courses since the beginning, no surprise! I thought it would be very, very, very hard to follow the classes.

 

Reality: I just loved the Corporate Finance classes! And I also think my whole class fell in love with our teacher Anna Pavlova, who read a Finance poem in our first class and proved we can have some fun in class (not as much as in a beach drinking piña coladas, but still…). Not that the content is easy, but it is taught in a way that everybody learns it smoothly.

lisa simpson in love bruna moreira reaction to LBS MBA

Source: giphy.com

 

 

3. Non-traditional post-MBA career opportunities

 

Expectation: My initial post-MBA goal is to continue working in Tech and Telecom and I thought it would be very hard to find opportunities for MBAs outside of the traditional Finance and Consulting industries.

 

Reality: Turns out that not only Finance and Consulting companies are talking about technology, but also the Tech & Media Club is one of the most active professional clubs at LBS. We seriously believe David Morris does not sleep! We get at least 2-3 career opportunities a week from him. And there are also jobs and networking opportunities coming from so many other Clubs: Industry, Net Impact, Energy, Infrastructure & Construction, Sports Business, and many regional Clubs.

cat confused with so many options bruna moreira reaction to LBS MBA

Source: unbounce.com

 

So, after all my research (I did a lot, believe me! Or look at GMAT Club and you’ll see it) before the MBA, I still had some wrong expectations. But it turns out to be really amazing and much better than I imagined! I am sure I did the right choice when I decided for LBS. I recommend you do a profound research and analyse how prepared you are before you start this journey. Then, just open your mind and dive into a new adventure.

 

Please leave any questions or comments bellow. I’ll be very happy to read and reply!

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There is a popular connotation in Nigeria called ‘J.J.C.’, short for ‘Johnny Just Come’, which is used to describe a newbie to a particular environment. For a country I felt instinctively attuned to, I have had so many ‘Soji Just Come’ moments in the U.K. so far, and there are still many to come.

Flying into London for school couldn’t have felt any more natural. I felt like I was back at home; home to a country where I had often traveled to make investment pitches to multiple frontier and emerging market funds in my role as Head of Nigeria Research and Lead Sub-Saharan Africa Banking Analyst at Renaissance Capital. Those trips involved many black cabs and tube runs, great meals in some of the best restaurants London has to offer and accommodation in top rated hotels in Central London.

Still basking in the euphoria of arriving London to meet proper sunshine, my first week was relaxed and I visited all my favorite spots and lived life forgetting I wasn’t swiping the corporate card anymore. Then reality dawned. Looking at my cash burn rate after just a week, I realized I had to change tact swiftly. This meant that for one whose cooking skills were low, I needed to find a sustainable solution, quickly. Luckily, London had many affordable solutions, including some Nigerian ones! But it is in the plethora of options that I have found some of my biggest challenges and learning points settling into London.

Beyond feeding, I needed to find an apartment. I needed to figure out the most cost effective transport solution; and for such a regular question, there was surprisingly no straight forward answer. Do I get the rail card? What of the student oyster? Travel card, PAYG, off-peak, banks etc. Then came energy bills, water bills, TV bills, council tax, heating, dry cleaning etc. and the list goes on. We had not even gotten to orientation day and I was already feeling overwhelmed. But I wasn’t alone. With >90% of the MBA2018 set being international students, almost everyone had similar questions. The discovery of Slack (the chat app) kept the community alive and the discussions structured in groups.

My SJC moments have been plentiful but the often generous assistance of alumni and current students has meant that these moments have reduced. Now that my settling down phase is largely done, another phase, which brings a different kind of busy than what I have been used to, has commenced. 8:15am classes, late night tutorials and language classes, cases, assignments, career events, sundowners, leadership skills trainings, PLP sessions, club interviews and events, parties, exams, stock pitches, networking, Arsenal matches etc. Indeed, one’s MBA story is probably best told while living it. Watch this space and follow my MBA journey through what has been an exciting time at London Business School!

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Imagine 250 people representing 72 countries singing “Imagine” in unison and breaking a Guinness World Record while at it! That’s how Tattoo weekend kicked off. After having a world record in the bag, students across LBS programmes were busy rehearsing performances, decorating stalls and making sure there’s enough food to serve 1,000 people at this year’s sold out Tattoo event.

As I was the captain of the Middle East Club, I had to ensure that my classmates from the region and I represent our countries well. It was an uphill battle with many obstacles to overcome, particularly our tone deafness and acute lack of coordination. However, the night before the big event, we decided that we’d just have fun on stage and make sure we give a high-energy performance. Did we have fun? YES! Was it one of the most mortifying moments of our lives? Probably. But as we were told the first day of orientation, the MBA at LBS is the right place to try new things in a safe environment. Also, we received the stamp of approval from the Dean who wanted to know what we were eating to get that much energy!

After the performance, we moved to our (very popular) food stall. Tambourines in hand, we made sure that the people standing in the long queue would continue to be entertained. Everyone was having a great time watching our improvised act and watching the winning Korea Club performance on the screens spread out across campus.

Tattoo was an incredible way to release some stress after a long recruitment season. It was a way to celebrate the many cultures that LBS houses and to learn more about our classmates’ backgrounds. I, for one, was very proud to share some aspects of the Jordanian culture with my classmates and was very happy to see my friends decked out in their national costumes dancing to music from their countries. Events like this make me realize what a unique experience LBS is offering us and how privileged we are to be part of the most diverse and international b-school student community.

 

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London Life

Posted by: Olly Nguyen

Primrose Hill at dawn. I think it’s rare for a spot in London to be more majestic, and London is certainly a city full of majesty. I’m drinking in a panoramic vista which stretches on my left from Stratford almost 10 miles in the east, across the jagged mountain range of the City of London, and out across to the Royal Parks in the west.

The tip of the Shard is obscured by a single low-hanging rain cloud this morning, which nevertheless is pierced by the brilliant morning sun. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the view of Manhattan from New Jersey, except instead of shipping containers criss-crossed by train tracks, my foreground this morning is the verdant green carpet of Regent’s Park criss-crossed by the tracks of my fellow joggers.

Just beyond Regent’s Park, hidden from my present view, is the grand John Nash-designed Sainsbury building, icon of London Business School. We do have some startlingly attractive environs.

School is back in session for the Spring Term, the first week of which is internship recruiting week for my MBA class. I’m sure this is of much interest for anyone interested in business school, but as I’m confident that we’ll revisit this topic over the next few months, I’m just going to leave you with this little teaser. ;-)

Instead, I’m thinking about London itself. In the frenzy of term-time, whether it’s the height of exam week, or the depths of recruiting season, I think it becomes a little too easy to take the incredible location of our business school for granted. Even for me, practically a native Londoner, sometimes a treasure like Primrose Hill can be a mere kilometre away from campus but feel way too far away when that last paragraph on your fourteenth cover letter still needs to be edited.

And yet, the London location is truly one of LBS’ competitive advantages. We enjoy world-class cuisine, exceptional culture and night-life, a plethora of desirable potential employers, and, of course, those startlingly attractive vistas. Location is, I think, an oft-overlooked but crucial aspect of any decision to uproot one’s life for even a period of two years. I’m pretty sure that even my busiest classmates will attest to that, and also would probably report that the payoff from relocating to London in particular is wholly worthwhile.

I probably can’t do London justice in the context of this simple blog, so I’ll stop here, but I do encourage any readers that if they haven’t made the trip to our great city yet, then they really must do so post haste. And for those who have been once already, come again. I assure you that there’s still plenty to discover here.

 

“I have conversed with the Spiritual Sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.” – William Blake, 1757-1827

 

*P.S. – if you want a taster of the view to which I refer, clever Google Street View has some great views: just use 51°32’21.9″N 0°09’40.6″W

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An evening with UK Ambassador at Embassy of the United Kingdom, Buenos Aires

An evening with UK Ambassador at Embassy of the United Kingdom, Buenos Aires

Whether you are in Thomas Friedman’s corner walking on a pretty flat earth, or jumping obstacles with Pankaj Ghemawat on a bumpy and curvy one, there is one thing that that is certain; globalization is here and understanding it is more important than ever!

One of the most appealing aspects of London Business School and The Executive MBA is the focus they have on teaching and experiencing international business.  Having returned from my third (and hopefully not final) international assignment it’s a great time to share a bit about what has been experienced.

At the end of year one, students are required to select an international elective from a portfolio of options; for many people this marks the end of the year one core learning.  I selected to go to Argentina and also had the opportunity to sign up for an optional additional destination for which I selected Moscow.  These trips have a specific purpose – to develop an understanding of the regional economy and get to grips with what challenges business faces in the specific region.

After landing in a chilly Moscow during early April I teamed up with students from our Dubai stream to work on a Big Data project for MTS, the biggest mobile operator in Russia.  Unfortunately at the time, the decline in oil prices had already started to impact the ruble but rather than being in crisis mode it seemed people were ready to navigate the new realities being presented with a sense of perseverance.  After all it was in 1998 that Russia went through a major financial crisis after defaulting on its domestic debt and so economic challenges were nothing new here.

A single week working in Moscow is short; especially when you are trying to get an understanding of a country that spans nine time zones.  However it is just long enough to start understanding the business culture and the unique regional challenges.  Furthermore, it was super interesting to explore the possibilities of Big Data for telecom operators and an honor to be able to present our strategic recommendations back to the company.

Coincidentally the Argentina assignment was the week following Moscow and so after a quick pit stop at Heathrow to pick up some more London classmates it was off to Buenos Aires.  The scope of this assignment was very different; rather than working on a project for a specific company, we spent time visiting a local business school and a number of companies to get an insight into what drives the economic environment.

Argentina has a very colorful economic history and it’s definitely worth going to learn first hand.  It was amazing to see how the history of Peron and the economic rollercoaster was deeply the engrained in peoples thoughts and how creative businesses had become to tackle todays deeply volatile economic environment.  Kudos to LBS for providing the introductions to a number of great companies such as Globant, Clarin, YPF and many others.  When reflecting on Argentina, it would also be wrong not to mention how AMAZING the steak is out there – its worth a trip back just for this!

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The latest trip to Dubai was for an elective on “Thinking Strategically”.  The course is also offered in London but if you can afford the time I thought why not make the most of escaping the UK winter and experience the Dubai campus and culture.  Because the class was mostly made up from my Middle East colleagues, you naturally get an insight into the business environment and culture.

Throughout all the trips there is really a great opportunity to expand your learning and get an experience that you simply can’t get by staying in the classroom….. now I’m just looking forward to the next one….

 

Instagram: @OmaratLBS

Twitter:  @OmaratLBS

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Term One. Done.

Posted by: Olly Nguyen

It has been a mad, gasping, frenetic rush to the finish line, but it’s here. We are at the end of the Autumn term, and the close of the first term of our MBA! We finished our finals over the weekend, and the sense of relief mingled with joy is palpable. This week carries with it a sense of moment that we last had four months ago, gazing up at the vaulted ceiling of the Old Billingsgate Market in the City, on our very first day of Orientation.

So in the spirit of reminiscing about the whirlwind of this introduction to MBA life, a little, light-hearted list of memorable MBA moments so far – coordinated with my most overused emojis.

Emoji Face with tears of joy – crying with laughter emoji. There have been far too many of these moments – our Stream C whastapp group is generally a hoot, but I probably most consistently laugh because of the brilliant LBS balls comics in the Daily Nash (our humourous newspaper).
Emoji smiling face with halo – angelic emoji. Also there have been many moments of kindness. The environment at LBS is intense and high-pressure, for sure, but it’s also incredibly collaborative. An MBA 2016 taking 5 minutes just to chat to me and cheer me up on a low day springs to mind.
Emoji open mouth and cold sweat – cold sweat emoji. The corollary to #2 I guess. We appreciate the kindness when times are a little bit manic. I think this one sums up our collective feeling upon discovering that we had three back-to-back finals over 36 hours. On a weekend.
face-screaming-in-fear – horror emoji. Then there was that week when we had 2 corporate finance tutorials due, a study group case, accounting questions, a strategy assessment… plus having to prepare a presentation to be delivered to the entire student body.
Emoji with cool shades – cool cucumber emoji. The feeling of getting A+s in said assignments (and an amazing response to the presentation).
emoji-heart-eyes – heart-eyes emoji. Also many of these, but one to call out is the amazingly persuasive speech that my stream-mate Julien made in week one, to convince us that the business does have a social responsibility… our future kids were appealed to, people wept and love was all around. But more seriously – it was an inspiring, statesman-ly speech worthy of Aristotle. Bravo.
1437169987-uncomfortable-emoji-2 – awkies emoji. The look on our professor’s face when she realised that the EasyJet corporate promo video that she just played to us was created by our stream’s ad guru…
Emoji Sleepy face – sleepy emoji. If you’re doing business school right, there’s probably not enough time for this!
Hug face -handsy-happy emoji. A special one for Mallika: this emoji really does represent so many things, but I chose this because it reminds me of the perpetual thrill of being at business school. It’s still sometimes dream-like that I can wake up everyday and meet, debate with and enjoy the company of some of the most fascinating people I’ve ever had the privilege to be associated with.
The school determined that as a group we would be communal, courageous, ambitious, eclectic and engaged. Looking back on this term, these are certainly labels I’ll happily apply to all of us here.

Happy Holidays and safe travels to everyone.

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