Posts Tagged ‘Alumni / After London Business School’

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First thoughts in a new life

Posted by: Don
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A new beginning

Hi all,

As mentioned before – it is a new beginning. Training for my new job in sales and trading has begun – and it does feel odd to again loose the time flexibility. The most important aspect of being a student again was freedom of time – you decide to have a chat, play tennis or chill during the day (and make up for it later on). Now someone else rules my time again. On the other hand it is a great feeling to actually get paid for what I am doing. And to have secured a job for a top company in the area I wanted to get into and in the geographic area I wanted to get to is obviously a fantastic situation. A lot of – very good – classmates are still looking for a job so I cannot complain.

One thing I have noticed now is that money management is very important. It might seem obvious but due to managing my expenses (and getting a job in finance) I managed to come out of the MBA without debt. I tried really hard to limit my expenses (while still ordering good food for cooking, having dinners etc – i.e. still living a life) and this means that I can now concentrate on my new life.

Another thing is that overall the education you get at LBS really is top-notch. Right now I am in training with people from the top US business schools and it is clear that what we learn at LBS easily holds its ground against them. So for example the knowledge we get in a course such as Decision and Risk Analysis does not seem to be the norm in even the no.1 US BS. And if you attended a workshop of the PE club on LBO modeling, rest assured that you are ahead of the curve. No reason for complacency but nice nonetheless.

The one thing that sticks to my mind is that when you leave the MBA you should have the feeling you got the maximum out of it. And that is something very different for everyone – whether it be academically, network, social, leadership or something totally different. You run your own race – do not compare yourself to other people (although we always do that) – only to yourself and the person you used to be. And as long as you get the experience out of the MBA you wanted to get out and you grew, you have been successful.

Take care,

Don

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Astonishingly, it has been almost a year since I graduated and plenty has happened since. A nice long trip between congregation and my job, my new job, the true effects of the economic downturn, suspected green shoots etc etc.

I have spent quite some of this time looking back at the MBA and what it’s given to me. More importantly, I keep thinking (with some level of regret) about the things that I missed out on or didn’t make the most of.
1) Trips: I certainly should have taken a trip or two in the first winter of our MBA. I hear the trip to Japan was absolutely fantastic and so was the one to South Africa. These were the 2 biggest trips organised by the respective clubs. Not only were some incredible bongs built during those 15 days, but the trip was also such a convenient way to see places I have never visited with all the local knowledge available through your classmates.
2) SportSport, and in particular going to MBAT in year one, are probably my biggest regrets. Ok, I am not so much the athletic type but the 2 years of the MBA were a perfect opportunity to participate in sport of some type at some level. This could have been a great way to meet people and keep fit. The MBAT victories are held in such high regard at school that I feel now that I should have been part of it.
3) Sundowner: I have always been fascinated by the idea of being a bartender and what better way to give it a try than by being a Sundowner at the MBAr. This had the added benefit of getting to know a ton of people. However it required quite a commitment in the first place which was a bit difficult for me. So not a very deep regret.
4) Breakfasts talks: The Alumni relations office puts together a series of breakfast events with Alumni and members of the international advisory board. I went to this event only once in the second year and I met very senior McKinsey directors and other successful businessmen in a setting that involved 15 other students around a small table early in the morning. I still distinctly remember the life’s lessons that were shared during the session. Clearly I could have benefited from more of these had I started attending these earlier in the MBA. And they finish just in time for 9 am class so no excuses for missing these.
5) Summer Ball: I skipped it thinking it was just another event to celebrate graduation some more with friends. I was content with all of the disorientation partying but in retrospect The Summer Ball is the big one  and probably best not missed.
Anyway, what’s done is done. At least the list of cool things I got to do is multiple times longer than this one.
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Let’s not say Good-Bye

Posted by: Qiaoling
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After the Congregation on 2 July and a special boat trip party last night, I think I have graduated from the Masters in Finance programme, formally and mentally, but not legally yet. We are still waiting to receive the official degree certifcate, which will be sent to us later by mail.

It’s time to say Good-Bye, to the school life, to the fellow students, and to many other stuffs. But personally, I do not wish to end like that. Please allow me to publish again an email from me to the other MiF students this year and take it as a farewell to this blog. Wish all of you a great start at the London Business School!

Dear fellow MiFs,

I don’t know how you guys feel about leaving, but it is extremely difficult for me to say good-bye to everyone and the ten months we spent together.

I remember when I first got the addmission package from Peter, where one of the many things he asked us to do is to prepare a short self-introduction. So I would like to mark this ending with a whole new introduction of myself:

Hi everyone,

My name is Qiaoling (pronounced as “Tsiao Ling”, please always remember that!). I am originally from Hainan, an island in the very south of China. I just finished my study in the Masters in Finance programme at the London Business School and wish to pursue a career in the area of social venture capital or any financial roles related to social entreprise and development. I am married and will be staying with my husband in London.

It was a great experience studying with all of you. Please keep in touch and do not forget to email me if you will come back to London soon or have plan to visit China in the future.

Wish you all the best!
Qiaoling

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The end?

Posted by: Don
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Hi all,
wow – so now we are alums!
We graduated today in what I must admit was a very impressive ceremony. We might have preferred to be in a more classical building than a big white tent on the lawn, but the whole ceremony, including about 450 students in robes, partners, parents and friends as well as faculty in even more colorful robes was really impressive. (Especially if you come from a country where the degree is handed to you by a secretary with a comment similar to “now you don’t get any student discounts anymore”).
We all gathered outside for some champagne and snacks and stood in the sun for a lot of picture taking, talking and, unfortunately, saying good-bye to a lot of friends. A lot are already leaving London tomorrow or the day after. This year, according to the WSJ the “worst year ever to graduate from a business school”, see more graduates than ever leave London to explore opportunities elsewhere. While this is great and pays tribute to the global nature of the participants, it also means that the friendships we built will now be very hard to keep up. This is why I am very happy to go to Hong Kong on the one hand (it is a fantastic city), but also a bit sad as well. One of the greatest things about the school was that you just had to go to campus (or the Windsor, which is more or less the same thing anyway), to meet a ton of people and have a good time and have great discussions (even or especially during sundowners with free beers…). All of this has come to a sudden halt now – we are all entering the business life again.
This leads me to some thoughts on what made the past 2 years special for me:
- The people. You meet truly outstanding people from all different walks of life. And they are not only from consulting or finance – they have all sorts of backgrounds and interests.
- The network – access to a truly international alumni network.
- The faculty – having the author of the international standard book on finance, speakers at the WEF and more as faculty, who answer within a few hours to email, is amazing.
- The people. Have I mentioned the people already?
- The opportunities: just looking at portal and the job offers and talking to people about which jobs they took shows the breadth of interest.
- The people. ok, you get it …

But is it really the end? No, I think it is a new beginning. Every end leads to something new. Having accepted that everything in life is impermanent (see posting on meditation), this is a transition into something new. We thoroughly enjoyed the past 2 years – despite frustrations, stress and a lot of hard work – but now need to move on to something new. And we are very very fortunate to have graduated from one of the top schools of the world.

Enough for now. This alum needs some sleep.
Take care,
Don

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The end …

Posted by: Don
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So there we are. The MBA is over. Well, not officially but effectively. I personally am very happy – I managed my transition into finance, got a job in Sales/Trading in Hong Kong, did two internships and finished early. So now was the time to relax and enjoy.

BUT – again, the options were numerous. Should I prepare for my new work? Should I join my good friend and tennis buddy Guido on his 6-week round the world trip? Should I travel Europe? Relax on a beach? (When I asked non-MBA friends for advice, they all strangely enough said something along the lines of f*#* off!…)

So – I decided against the round-the-world trip as I had done it before in 6 months (www.cudon.com) and had felt stressed – there are so many things out there to see and do! So then I wanted to strike a balance between seeing things and relaxing. So I spent a few days wandering around London – I had not seen that much of London during the MBA – too busy! Also went to Stonehenge and Bath and explored Richmond and Greenwich with friends from the MBA.

I then went on a 7 day road-trip through Scotland with a friend from the MBA. We took the sleeper train up to Edinburgh, rented a car and went through Scotland with a map and guidebook, deciding every few hours where we wanted to go and stay. So we visited Lochs (including world-famous Loch Ness) and mountains, distilleries and pubs, coasts and islands. The highlight were 2 days on the Isle of Skye – hiking during the day and having beers and singing with local fishermen at night.

I spent some more days visiting my family and working on my golf handicap. I also started a new activity – hot yoga (=Bikram yoga) – which is yoga done in a 40 degree hot room. It is not only stretching and meditating but also quite cardiovascular – I sweat more than in a sauna and am more tired than after 2 hours of rugby!

As a student you have the great luxury of being very flexible with your time – so I decided on a Friday to go on a dive trip on Saturday (I got a 50% discount J. So I went to yoga on Saturday, jumped on a train to Manchester and jumped on a plane to Sharm el Sheik. We boarded a very very nice dive boat and stayed at sea for 6 days, 4 dives per day. We saw great things – reef, wrecks, turtles, hammerhead sharks, dolphins to name but a few.

The day after I returned I went once more to an airport – this time to fly home to Munich and see family and friends. It was very nice to spend a more relaxed time there as the MBA is over and work has not yet begun. And I had almost forgotten German beer….

So now I am back in London and DisOrientation has begun. While next week we will have the final courses in our old stream settings, a student committee has organized all sorts of events for the coming week. This includes drinks and food but also a scavenger hunt and a London walking tour. A good way to meet friends again – the sad part is that most of us will spread all over the world very soon. And while we will be able to meet from time to time, it will never be that you walk around campus and constantly meet people and stop for a chat. And that I will greatly miss.

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MBA TV – Episode ten

Posted by: Adcoms
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Episode 10 of MBA TV is here.

Employment opportunities are always high-up the list of an MBA student’s priorities, but in today’s ultra competitive jobs market they assume an even greater importance.

In this episode we speak to Diane Morgan, Director of Career Services, and ask her about the School’s approach to meeting the challenges presented by the current global economic slowdown and how this will benefit students and alumni.

Find out more about our Career Services team here
http://www.london.edu/theschool/careerimpact.html

If you are interested in recruiting from London Business School, find out more here
http://www.london.edu/theschool/recruitourtalent.html

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I remember thinking what a drag it might be to end with a course that required 8 cases, lectures till 6pm, homework, mind-expanding questions, business and academic readings, and a Sunday morning exam. But now I’m thrilled to have ended on such a positive and enlightening note, inspired by International Finance professor, Raman Uppal.

I think I finally understand the CAPM model. I learned how to hedge against currency exchange risk and country risk. I plowed through those 8 cases and became closer friends with four other stream B-ers. (I’ve also put on a couple of kgs snacking on cookies and Bombay mix to keep alert in lecture.) But what I’ll remember most is the way Professor Uppal closed each of his lectures with a little snippit of philosophy on life.

In is introduction email to the class, a couple of weeks before we started, he wrote:
“So, I now have two objectives in teaching the course on International Finance. First, I wish to imbed in your head a systematic structure for thinking about all issues related to international financial markets and international corporate finance.

My second objective is to help you to think about your life and to help you change it in a direction that you want.”

And he left us with a healthy reading list. I picked up “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World,” an autobiography by a former Microsoft executive that went on to start Rooms to Read, a dynamic charity that has built thousands of libraries and hundreds of schools for children in developing countries. I was reminded again of my original reasons for coming to do my MBA in the first place.

So with those snippits of wisdom (and a new list of book recommendations), I’ll be leaving London Business School with much of what I wanted to achieve, and a positive outlook on the new direction in my life post-MBA. “One step at a time,” I have to remind myself when I start getting anxious about those dreams.

Next step? Discovering the ancient secrets of Bukhara and Samarkand…Samarkand
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What does it feel to be an alumna?

Posted by: Martha
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Better than I thought. At business school, I thought alumni came from a different, cold, and very distant world. I thought as an alumna I would feel gone from the action, away from where important things were happening (aka business school).

But, yesterday was my first day in Dubai and have already met with a good friend of mine: Neville Crawley. We were in the same stream during the MBA and together studied Mandarin symbols for hours. In addition, I have already reached out to a few other business school alumni, with whom I am likely to meet within the next few days. Yesterday I realised I trust these people significantly, I feel strongly connected to them, and I feel at home with them – all of us foreigners in the same city.

I might just be too excited about starting full-time work, but today I feel very happy, proud, and -must accept- relieved to belong to this network of people. Today I think being an alumna is awesome!

Later will tell more about Dubai and life in consulting after an MBA and oil rigs.

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I, like most MBA students, am tired of asking and answering this question.  We MBA people need to think outside our frames and come up with new questions. But humour me for a moment by reading my rants around this topic which is so vital to the existence of the species –Studentea NoLifeus.

Like many of my peers, I’m still undecided. So I’ve signed up for almost all professional clubs and their events. I’ve been to events organized by the Innovation club, the Venture Capital club, the Media Club and the Consulting club. I missed out on the Finance 101 sessions, as I was too late in signing up (that’s what I get for not buying an iPhone!).  Over the next week, I am scheduled to make an appearance at the Emerging Markets Club, the Technology Club, the Industry Club, the Family Business Club and the China Interest Club. Sounds like a lot of information? Yes it is! But that’s what I get for being undecided.

The good news is that London Business School is very supportive of people like me. These club meetings tend not to clash with one another. So it is possible to attend all of them. Further conversations with career services, teaching staff, alumni, recruiters and fellow students help a lot in weighing the pros and cons of different career options. I am confident that by November I will have picked a path!

You may cynically comment, “In a month at the school you should have achieved some level of clarity!” Guess what, I have. The first thing “Self Assessment” told me was “Stay away from Finance!” And no, this does not reflect or imply a co-linearity (with or without the confidence intervals) between current market conditions and my professional values. I was told that I am more inclined towards a life of Entrepreneurial Creativity and Technology Focus. However the assessment did not say much about my analytical skills or how well I’d fit into Consulting. That was a little disappointing, since Consulting is high on my list of potential careers.

But all is not lost. I have attended 3 events organised by the Consulting club so far. And honestly, with every event I have felt that Consulting is a good choice for me. The first event was an introduction to the Club and its activities. The second was titled “What is Consulting”. The speaker, an ex-McKinsey consultant, gave a thorough analysis of the profession. The idea of working across industries, geographies and functional levels in the client’s organisation is very appealing to me. It is exciting to be involved in all the different parts of the process of creation, whatever might be getting created. And having worked as a technical-consultant (IT) previously, I can relate to most of what a management consultant would do on day-to-day basis. I can definitely handle the travel!

The third consulting event, which finished just 2 hours ago, was a presentation by A.T. Kearney.  They are corporate partners of the London Business School. What that means is that they work closely with the school in developing consulting skills among students, and in hiring consultants from the school. Every term A.T. Kearney hold an event at the school: The Global Prize (case study competition) in autumn, Team Dynamics in spring and KRISP on KAMPUS in summer. They hold a number of ad-hoc events like case-cracking and speaker series.

One interesting thing I learned from the A.T. Kearney presentation is that they do not send different types of work to different countries. This is great news for me, because I intend to work in India post-MBA. Many companies use India as a dumping-ground for back-office type work. It’s good to know that A.T. Kearney serve local clients and perform the full range of consulting tasks in India. In response to my question about this, they said that their premium fee structure is does not justify using countries purely as cost saving centres. The other bit of good news that I can infer from this is that most international strategy consulting firms in India would probably have a similar stance. I guess I will find out for sure over the next few weeks.

Besides consulting, I am inclined towards the Technology industry. Being a techy (almost) by birth, I have developed a passion for everything computer related.  Yes, I know, I am perpetrating a stereotype, but one has to be true to oneself! I found that what the Media club had to say overlapped a lot with what I imagine the Technology club would say (when I see them soon). So I might just remain a member of that club – at least till I pick between consulting and technology! In the meanwhile, to develop my knowledge and contacts in the IT Industry, I have joined the organising committee of the Global Security Challenge (http://www.globalsecuritychallenge.com/) – more about that in a later blog!

So, the next steps would be, 1) Attend more club meetings, 2) Form a team for the A. T. Kearney Global Challenge, 3) Meet a career advisor to discuss my thoughts, 4) Attend the “Networking Mindset” session tomorrow and 5) Buy Consulting Club Merchandise!!

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Two years later: was my MBA worth pursuing?

Posted by: Martha
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2008_aug_cambodia_97 Just came back from a thirty-day trip in Southeast Asia and I will continue to travel for a few more days before landing in Dubai for a full-time job. I could say my ability to enjoy time off has dramatically improved – thanks to the MBA. Without empty pages on my passport, after two marathons, and with lots of new friends and rewarding memories, the MBA has been a package of experiences.

Needless to say, I also discovered the business world – after a few years in oil rigs. Obviously, I have also broadened my set of skills, particularly those of teamwork and business judgement. Yet, the biggest impact of the MBA has been at a personal level: a change of mindset. I feel more ownership over my professional career and life than I did before. I have also genuinely learnt to appreciate the balance and combination of work and pleasure.

No need to make this blog entry long – the MBA was worth pursuing and wise to choose London Business School.

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