Posts Tagged ‘Alumni / After London Business School’

Kicking back after a long day at work, I found myself reflecting on how fast time has flown and how my experience at LBS this year compares to that of last year. We have just crossed over the halfway point of year 2, semester 1. Still only a few weeks in, I found myself waking up on Saturday mornings feeling a little disorientated, not having the need to dash off to the LT-10 lecture theatre for the usual 8:15 am tea and catch-up with classmates ahead our second consecutive full day of lectures.

Year 1 had a pre-defined core timetable, which followed regular blocks on alternate weekends. We spent the three semesters working through compulsory core modules that provide a wide range of subject matter. Each study weekend is spent together with your EMBA class. Looking back, its easy to understand why everyone in the class had such a close connection and acted more like a family than simply colleagues as we spent so much time together

Year 2 is totally different. In fact, compared to your fellow EMBA classmates, the 2nd year will likely be a totally different experience for each and everyone. That is because year 2 is all about electives, so you get to focus on the subjects that you are really passionate about. With so many permutations and combinations, no one student will have the same timetable – selecting your timetable is a challenge in itself since it is difficult to narrow down subject selection with so much great content on offer.

Electives also offer a practical upside since students can select the format of electives to fit within their needs, for example weekend classes versus block week electives. Furthermore, electives are all cross stream so you will be mixed with students from MBA, Sloan and MiF programmes which opens doors to more valuable connections.

Year 2 is still pretty fresh but so far it has continued to be a great experience. I have thus far completed Financial Statement Analysis and am half way through World Economy: Problems and Prospects. The content for both has been extremely relevant with practical applications to real life current business affairs. It is only a few more weeks before I take off to Dubai for a block week elective on “Strategic Thinking”.

As with the start of every new term, there is a fresh set of openings to join clubs and opportunities to apply for positions on various executive committees. I have been lucky enough to secure a position on the executive committee of the Investment Management Club, which is one of the largest and most active clubs at LBS. There will be much more to share on this, but in the meantime be sure to join the club as there are lots in the pipeline for the year ahead…

Instagram: @OmaratLBS

Twitter:  @OmaratLBS

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Today I finally understood what it meant by the journey is the destination. I have always contemplated the thought and rationally agreed with it but my actions were not always reflective of this notion.

Life somehow always seemed to be too busy. First it was about studying for the final years of high school to attain a good score for university. Then it was about doing well while doing masses of extracurricular while in university so I could go on to law school after (Something that I had thought I wanted at the time). Fast forward a few years, it became about applying for Masters programme. Last term it was about networking, job hunting, keeping afloat of my masters, playing touch rugby for the school, doing things for Impact Consulting board, pouring drinks as a sundowner crew member and the list goes on (these are some awesome things you can get involved with here at London Business School- I will be blogging about my experiences with them).

There never seemed to be a break.

And the truth is, for an ambitious person, there will never be a break. Once a target is reached, we just set a higher one for ourselves. The cycle persists.

For 2015, I decided that it was time I realised I needed to also ENJOY the journey. The journey was going to continue regardless of how I travelled and this applies to all of us. I didn’t need to travel first class but I just wanted to have a damn good time while travelling. I wanted to look back and not wish I hadn’t worried so much as I have retrospectively viewed parts of my youth. I wanted to look back and say I tried those things that interested me.

I wanted to look back and confidently think that I had given the journey my all.

That I wouldn’t change a thing and, heck, it was an AWESOME journey.

Yesterday I was reading an article about parkour and being the adventurous person that I am, I have ALWAYS wanted to try parkour every since I knew it existed as a form of sport. I never actually went and did it because I was always too caught up with the destination.

Today I changed that and I went to a parkour session. It was two hours of intense fun. With a looming marketing exam, the commute to and fro plus time there was a big ‘sacrifice’ but I am so glad I took that leap (pun intended). It was today that it hit me. The journey IS the destination. Or at least a very big and important part of it. What you do everyday for a perceived end goal (e.g. for many of us here and future students it would be getting our ‘dream’ job) has to be balanced with things you enjoy in life. Otherwise what is the point? If you live in blind pursuance of this goal, neglecting everything and everyone else that is important to you then you may reach that goal –great but you will look back and wish you had let yourself enjoy along the way. It might mean a bit less time spent on the goal but you had fun, you made meaning and you experienced life along the way.

I write this here because business school is an all-consuming activity. It is so easy to come to the London Business School and get sucked into the busyness of life here without allowing yourself some time to do what you enjoy, to make the journey here awesome. Absolutely me-guilty as charged last semester. This is especially the case for the MiF and MiM students who are only on campus for one year. It is definitely a tough juggling act to do all London Business School things plus make room for your own interests.

As someone who is now halfway through my Masters here, I hope you as readers, whatever programme you are thinking of applying for or will be entering, heed this advice. Remember to set time aside to enjoy. Enjoyment may come in different forms for you than your friends at school but be bold. Go spend time doing those things you are interested in or love. Of course, I am not saying drop the thought of business school and your career plans. All I am advocating for is that you make some time each week to do something you like.

Today I went parkour alone and left knowing a bunch of new friends with a determined goal of going back next week. I had so much fun doing something that interested me and has given me energy and motivation even for other aspects of life.

Be honest with yourself.

What do you enjoy? Will you allow yourself to invest time in it?’


Ps. if you do not know what parkour is, this video will give you a better understanding.

What I did was no where near as advanced, it mainly involved gymnastic benches, metal structures and lots of foam mats!

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Continuing on my older post, here is a quick (personal) view on the recent UK visa changes and impact on the international students at LBS.

Before getting into the specifics, it is important to understand the rationale behind these visa changes. Until recently, there were a number of low-grade universities in UK that admitted international students, who would ‘technically’ come for education but basically start working (in whatever work they find) soon after landing in UK. And then soon after their official graduation, would get a post-study visa and continue to stay in UK. The core purpose of these universities was to offer a platform for young international students to get into UK. Something similar was common among many small-medium enterprises, which helped international students show job offers and official employment, and therefore continue to stay in UK. The recent UK visa changes essentially aim to prevent such ‘spurious’ practices.

Now there are two broad visa changes that one would think could impact the international students at LBS:

1) No student visas being allowed for some universities – As explained above, the main objective here is to stop students from using the low-grade university channel to get into UK. As a result, visas are now not being offered for a number of such universities. Infact, the immigration maintains a list of universities that are allowed to admit international students, for whom the UK immigration would offer student visas. This change certainly does not impact LBS, given LBS is the top-tier institute within UK. Moreover, the team at LBS actively works with the UK immigration to resolve any visa-related issues for its international admits (even if the issues are due to admits’ personal reasons – such as financial proofs etc.). In my batch, I’ve seen cases where the LBS senior management team, even the Dean, would get involved to ensure that international admits do not face any visa-related challenges.

2) No post-study visa, but mandatory employer sponsorship to stay in UK - To be able to stay in UK, it is now critical to have a company sponsorship. This is to prevent any small-medium companies (as explained above) from offering spurious platforms for international community to stay in UK. Obviously, sponsoring visas requires admin efforts and has cost implications, so not everyone mom-n-pop shop would make an effort to sponsor visa. But this does not impact blue-chip organizations that hire students from the LBS campus. All the leading banks, consulting firms, PE funds, industry recruiters etc. — all of them globally run the visa sponsorship process across a variety of geographies, and therefore it is not something that they shy from in UK. They continue to recruit international students within UK and sponsor their visas, as appropriate. That said, there are some firms that have shown some resistance to sponsor, especially when they have large global presence and therefore can recruit students for their respective geographies and nationalities. But this is more theoretical than practical, because if such large-scale employers like certain candidates, they would do everything in their power to ensure that those candidates have the required admin tasks (including visa) sorted out. Now the above is true for those looking for jobs in UK. As I understand, there is some marginal impact on those international students who are keen to start-up businesses in UK, since there are visa rules that now require these students to show significant dedicated financial support (either through own savings or through VC funding). Read more about the Tier I entrepreneur visa here.

Once you understand the rationale behind these changes, and what these changes are, it’s much more comforting — as you realize that LBS has negligible impact due to any of such changes.

Disclaimer: In general, visa rules are extremely complex, and it is common for different people to face different challenges. So if any reader disagrees with the above, and has an alternate opinion, I’d love to hear.

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Friday, December 19, 2008.
3:30 am:

“London Business School Decision”, that is what the subject line read as i stared at my GMAIL inbox with hope, anxiety and fatigue (almost certainly due to the zillionth time i was hitting F9 to refresh my browser window).

The pause till the mail opened up felt like a frozen moment in time.

“Dear 2011 Admit,

The Admissions Committee are absolutely delighted to
offer you a place on London Business School’s MBA Programme,
starting in August 2009 (MBA2011).


The range of emotions i had experienced from the day of application, after the short-list interview, upon receiving the admit email and shortly thereafter can be summed up as Anxiety, Ecstasy and Tranquility.

As i look back at my London Business School experience since then, the emotional journey has very much been the amalgamation of the same. Anxiety was the dominant emotion when i embarked on the MBA leaving behind a cushy job amidst the financial meltdown. Life inside and outside the classroom, which i spoke about in some of my earlier blog posts, was nothing short of Ecstasy. Two years on, equipped with greater clarity of thought, self-awareness and business knowledge i find myself better poised to make sense of the journey [life] ahead. Akin to attainment of nirvana for a hermit, though less spiritual, i find my self in a state of Tranquility.

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Definition: couch surfing

When one finds oneself homeless and resorts to sleeping on the sofas of friends. A common predicament for MBA students coming back from exchange, or an unlucky by-product of shady estate agents.

Such was my unfortunate situation between first and second year. But I was saved by the gracious generosity of a classmate (and fellow blogger) who let me impose on his household for four weeks.

You’ve undoubtedly heard that the MBA is “a great place to meet new friends”. And I know that’s just an afterthought next to “the amazing new job I’ll get” or “all the business contacts I’ll have at my disposal” for those of you thinking about it. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but I’ll say here that if you spend your two years right, you’ll surprise yourself by how much your new friendships come to mean to you. Truly, it’s something you have to experience (rather than read about through me) so the good news is that you’ll all have something wonderful waiting around the corner.

A few months after graduating, the richness of my time at London Business School was fittingly topped off by two invitations to India and Croatia.


As though I weren’t already embarrassingly indebted to my friend for giving me a place to sleep, I must now face the hospitality of his family: being personally greeted at the airport at 3am, then swept off to a suite in the same hotel President Obama stayed in just a few days before my arrival (the restaurant in the lobby is reportedly Bill Clinton’s favourite and has been visited by every President since), a tailor made sari for the wedding reception, Bollywood musicians and actors… It all made for an unforgettable three days of lights, colour, and happiness.


Who would have guessed that watching a lamb roast on a spit could be so mesmerizing? Or that you could opt for deer goulash instead of wedding cake? The energy needed to dine, drink and dance from 6pm to 6am was more than I could muster. Most notably, it was here that I became exposed to a clever device I hope to see replicated in many other weddings: designated naptime! Yes, following a mandatory snooze from 6am to 9am for all guests, the excesses of last night’s dinner was followed up by a heavy brunch before we were all allowed home.

Perhaps, dear reader, you are unmoved by the prospect of cultural glitz and glamour in faraway destinations. And fair enough, no one embarks on business school for the purpose of collecting wedding invitations. But when I consider how, on my recent trips, I’ve received not just the affection of a classmate, but the overwhelming hospitality of family and friends dear to him (owing simply to the fact that we shared a classroom) that speaks to the strength of the relationships that are built here. It’s hard to imagine how, had I not made the decision to come to London Business School, I’d have the privilege of being treated like a long lost relative by folks I’ve never met, anywhere in the world.

So when a complete stranger raises his glass to toast you, and is joined by hundreds of other in a hall filled with candlelight, you’ll know the feeling.

Cheers and a happy new year.


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Armed with the shiny new MBA degree (well not quite) marching we went into a world of dreams and opportunity (well not quite). But at least I have a visa and a temporary 3-month paid project.

The graduation ceremony was impressive. The champagne reception afterwards even better. And the summer ball was truly amazing. It was great having a jug of pimms with my parents and sister at the Windsor Castle Hotel right after graduation. It was also great taking pictures with my family and in-laws in LT1 and reminiscing about first year core classes. I was a bit surprised that we didn’t actually get any sort of degree/letter at the actual ceremony (they will mail the degree later). But our names did get printed in the Times that day :).

The lack of a job was closing in on achieving “emergency” status. To be honest I managed to get 2 offers within the month after graduation. But they either paid too little to cover my loan or required me to move to a country where language and taxes were a problem (more so than in Britain!). So I took up another short-term project in London, with an IT company that I liked. Hopefully within the next 2 or 3 months I will be able to land a nice permanent job. The market is improving, but its still not easy out there.

The other feared battle was the work visa. This was actually not bad at all. I managed to get it fairly soon, though it did cost a fair bit. Only wish I had known earlier that it was possible to get a premium appointment and get the visa on the day. But I was lucky and still managed to get it within 4 days (read more about my visa experience on my travel blog here).

It’s a little hard getting used to not being a student any more. Many of my friends are now moving away from London, and I’m busy with regular farewell parties. But I still go to campus once in a while for Gym and keep meeting with those classmates that remain! There is a lot of change and hard work ahead, but I am looking forward to it.

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MBA TV – Episode fourteen

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In episode fourteen we watch the class of MBA2009 graduate from the full-time programme at London Business School. Graduation recognises the outstanding achievement of an MBA, giving students the chance to celebrate a life-changing two year experience with the life-long friends that they’ve made along the way. Our graduating MBA class are looking forward to bright futures, with many of them embarking on careers that will take them around the world.

In this episode:
- MBA Programme Director, Gareth Howells tells us his highlights from the past year
- Graduating MBA students and their families share their feelings about graduation and the MBA experience

Are you considering an MBA?

Application for the MBA class beginning in August 2010 is open from September 2009. For details on how to apply visit

A wide range of scholarships are available to successful applicants who apply in Stages 1, 2 and 3. For more details visit

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Posted by: Don
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Hi all,
so I finally had to pack my bags and leave London after almost 2 years. It was a very strange feeling – I had a great time and liked the area and flat. But most of my friends have previously left London – due to the economy far fewer graduates of the 09 class have found jobs in London. The transition period was marked by 6 weeks of intense training (aptly called bootcamp) by the bank, including weekly exams. I met a lot of people from all over the world – very similar to the MBA experience. But whenever I went back to school (to go running in Regent’s Park, for example) I realized that the new class has already arrived – definitely time for me old-schooler to move on.
I had 22 hours stopover in Munich to see family and friends en route to Singapore. While going down the escalator to get my luggage I saw a huge advertisement by the company Linde, reading: Welcome to Munich, see you in Singapore. How funny that they especially put that up for me …
After another 12 hours I was back in Asia. Back to service country (the cab driver tried to sell me his country as superior to Hong Kong, what a change to the usual unhappiness of London cab drivers) and great food (proper spicy Lakhsa within 5 minutes!) at food courts for next to nothing. Back also to 32 degrees and 90% humidity!
So, after two more days of training and networking I will be relocating to Hong Kong and on Monday start my first full-time rotation. 3 more months of rotating and I will have my final desk. A long journey is slowly coming to an end …
To the incoming class of 2011 – welcome! Enjoy the ride and the experience and make the most out of it – everyone in their own ways.
Take care,

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Back to exams

Posted by: Don
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Hello there,
it feels like being back at school – just more intense. Our Global Markets training is being delivered by seasoned pros – the teachers all have worked in various roles in FX, FI, equities and so forth for all the major banks for at least 10 years each. So they teach us very relevant stuff – often from a slightly different angle than professors taught at school.
The workload is considerably higher than at LBS – training starts at 8.30 and goes through until 6 pm with an hour break. So we are filling a binder each week. And – we have an exam every Friday which we need to pass with 70% or above (no more the curve is your friend…).
But it is very good and interesting – especially to see how relevant the courses at LBS are. We have graduates from all the major US schools there and the training the three LBS guys received is clearly of top notch quality. So to all the second year students – look forward to an awesome, interesting and intense but worthwhile second year (especially in finance). To all new joining first years – you made a great choice. To all people contemplating about an MBA at LBS – do it. The academics are great, the city is superb and the people are fantastic.
Take care,

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First event as an alum

Posted by: Don
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Alright, alum-status here we come …
This weekend I finally made it down to Portsmouth to sail the Solent. I joined the elite alumni crew of LBS to race in a regatta of 25 boats – a lot of them from Cranfield as it is their race.
Friday night we had a BBQ and went to bed fairly early to be able to practice a bit before the race. So after a nice shower (gorgeous facilities at the marina) we left Port Solent quite early – Klaus at the helm and Rob as overall skipper. Laura and Richard on the foredeck and Mark and Alex as grinders as well as Ed on the main completed the crew. As I had never raced before and was new to this crew I was made navigator, which in a race is quite fun. I basically had to highlight the course to the helmsman, then input the waypoints into a GPS and tell the helm every half-minute or so where the next buoy is compared to the current course, which speed over ground we are doing and so forth. Additionally you have to be prepared to change any second – everyone who is not doing anything usually is sitting at the high side of the boat, feet and arms over the side, to improve the trim.
The main difference for me was the Spinnaker sailing – very complex to set up but made all the difference. Our early practice paid off and we finished the day winning both races.
The evening dinner was held on board the HMS Warrior – an old and very large former battleship – the first one in the world with a steel hull. We ate between guns and under cutlasses – a great and suiting setting. I have to admit that I went to bed early again – the air and the moving around had exhausted me.
This morning we left with all the boats and went off for another 3 races. The first one showed that we had some competition as we only came in second. By now I had a second job – grind the Spinnaker. I am still not sure if Rob’s reasoning (“I don’t need a thinker, I need a reactor”) was a compliment ;-) but I was happy enough to do it. So I kept jumping back and forth to grind, navigate, be dead-weight and so forth – which was a great workout and great fun. We managed to win both the 4th and the 5th race and came in as a clear winner of the regatta.
So – first event as an alum and it was great!
Tomorrow it is back to reality – up at 5.45 and off to markets training, week 2.
Take care,

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