Posts Tagged ‘Career’

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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The last couple of weeks have been a bit more packed than usual for me. Lots of readings and assignments – as we approach the end of the second term for the September EMBAs – and a particularly demanding time for the team I work for as we are mid-way through a bid for the Scottish rail network. Some interesting things came to mind during this busy period.

First, I stumbled upon the blog of a full-time MBA student from Peru who wrote a short piece as a tribute to her grandfather – a giant of business in Peru – who had recently passed away. For those of you who speak Spanish find the link attached here. I was touched by what she wrote for a variety of reasons, one being that I am very close with my grandfather (who I send postcards every two months or so). I wanted to highlight two ideas from Lucia’s blog:

• She characterises her grandfather as a “Monday Person” – those who start every week with massive enthusiasm about their work and projects
• She emphasizes her grandfather’s love of his family and country.

When I think of my earlier post about a career worth having I see that I didn’t factor this into my decision making formulation. I thought briefly about this – while on the train to Glasgow – and I came up with some interesting ideas:

• To the extent that there are parts of my current job that I really like, I definitely couldn’t be described as someone with contagious enthusiasm for what I do. It’s scary to consider that the times when I’m more in flow happen when I am pivot tabling our performance data sets for analysis purposes!
• It’s clear that a commitment to something greater than oneself taps into a source of energy that I haven’t exploited yet.

I definitely need to do more detective work on my future career. Need to find this kind of passion. I’m really looking forward to the Entrepreneurship courses in the summer term as I have some business ideas – that I’ll share in due course – which I believe can take me in the right direction in years to come. Exciting times!

Second, at the start of the EMBA I decided to create some time to engage in volunteering activities. It’s unbelievable that it took me so long to get it done but yesterday I did! I went to a Fitzrovia Youth Action event organised by the LBS Volunteers Club. I was supposed to tutor a “class” of A-level business students and I was quite nervous about it. After being briefly trained by the FYA lady I stepped into an empty classroom and waited for the kids to come. We didn’t consider half-term though and the attendance rate is not exactly LBS-like, engagement is a big issue for this school. In the end I spent my time with the one kid that showed up. While solving a bakery P/L case study he shared some facts about his life. I couldn’t help think about the quote I dissected in my last post: “Fortune favours the bold”.

I will make this event a twice-a-month must for myself and would encourage other students to join. Maybe together we can change some initial conditions and shape some fortunes.

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Almost two years ago I started my MBA. The application process for it started a year or so before that. I remember being bewildered by the number of business schools to choose from and that, aside from location and their ranking, they all seemed pretty much the same. Students and alumni at every school claimed they were amongst the best for reputation, for recruiting, and for academics. And to an extent these claims were all true.

But that didn’t help me narrow down my application list. Instead, my application short list was based largely on the impression made by the wholly unrepresentative sample of students and alumni that I met from each of these schools. It seemed like the best method at the time.

With hindsight, now I can confirm that, yes, the top schools are all very similar on the surface. But with a little digging it’s possible to find a large number of differences between business schools. Those differences may be small things like whether a school hosts free drinks each week or how you select your electives. As you add up all these differences though and then compare schools, you’ll definitely see distinct pictures of the schools emerge.

Why should you care? The first reason is that you’ll likely be studying there for two years. That’s a decent chunk of time so it’s in your interest to find the place best suited for you. That can be hard; you may not know what is ‘best’ for you now. Also, chances are that if you enjoy business school at one place, you would probably fit in and be happy at another school too. But still, the little things can make the difference between a good time and a great time.

The second reason, and arguably more important (or at least more Machiavellian), is that it will help with your application to that school. If you have a good knowledge of what really sets that business school apart, that will impress in your essays and application.

So what actually are the differences between the top business schools? You could ask questions like ‘What’s the best thing about this school?’ or ‘What’s the worst thing?’ Boring! I often asked these types of questions and I would get similar responses at whatever school I visited. But I want to make life easier for you. Here’s where I’ve observed some big differences between top business schools. It would be in your interest to think about and learn the answers to these questions before applying to your chosen business schools.

Academics

Is the school better at any particular subject area?
Every business school offers courses across every subject area. But some schools excel at certain areas. Kellogg is known for marketing, LBS is known for finance. In these departments at these schools, you’ll likely benefit from better professors; more elective options; and access to influential outside speakers. You may not necessarily improve your employment prospects in these fields (nor harm them in others), but it could mean you get a far better education in these subject areas. The subsequent benefit being that you become more knowledgeable and better connected than your peers at other business schools in that subject area.

How rigorous are the classes and how many hours outside of class are required?
Some schools have a higher workload than others. This can also vary within subject areas at a school, for example, finance courses may require more outside work than marketing courses. Academic rigour is good, but if you’re constantly hitting the books in the library, when do you get to take part in clubs, socialise with classmates, and search for the post-MBA job? There is more to the MBA than just the academics.

A word of caution: it’s a universal truth that the workload of MBA students initially is high, so making a comparison against the first semester won’t be useful. Instead, ask about the workload after the first semester or after the first year.

How many core classes are required?
Some schools require you to take a prescribed list of classes in your first year, with little exception. Others provide you with more flexibility. If you’re looking for a well-rounded learning experience, the former is good. But if you want to become an operations management guru, you may want the latter so that you can skip straight to the electives that matter.

Are their streams/sections/cohorts? How are they chosen? How do people interact and socialise within the sections and between sections?
Most business schools have some concept of a section: a group of 60-90 students you do the majority of your classes with. Usually schools try and create a mini version of the United Nations by amassing a variety of nationalities and professions. The personalities of sections even with a school can vary significantly, so what you hear from current students may not be reflective of your own experience. But nevertheless, find out whether people enjoyed it.

Are there study groups? Do they matter?
Some schools place you into a study group that you keep for your entire first year. These are an even smaller cross-section of your stream. Other schools change study groups every semester or even in every course. There are tradeoffs between the two approaches: the same study group for the entire year can lead to great friendships, it’s also easier to share the workload around. On the otherhand, you miss out on working with a greater variety of personality types and may miss out on friendships being formed.

Some schools have courses where a large percentage of your grade is based on work you do as a study group. At other schools it’s just an informal group for discussing the classwork. Think about which you prefer and find out which approach your business school takes.

Are there any unique requirements?
LBS and INSEAD both require you to learn a second or third language. Some schools have components that require you to study overseas for a week as an international business experience. Is this something you want? Or is it an unnecessary burden for you?

What are the campus facilities like?
Places like Columbia, NYU and LBS are in the heart of major cities. It’s a great experience being in New York and London, but it comes with the concession of being constrained by space. Some schools also share their facilities with undergrad students. Does that then mean it becomes a challenge to find a desk or study room in the library? Or perhaps the bench press in the gym is always in use.

How are electives allocated?
Some business schools have a bidding system, at others you must rank your preferred courses, others still probably leave it to some mystic incantations to determine which courses you’re allocated. It’s important to know how courses are allocated to better understand whether you’ll be able to get on the courses you want.

Who are the good professors and will I be able to study with them?
Every business school has its rockstar professors who feature on various top lists. Chances are you want to take a course offered by one of these professors. But will you be able to? Some of these professors only teach to the Executive MBAs, or teach at a satellite campus on the other side of the globe, or they only teach once a year (which may then clash with your overseas exchange/extended internship/beach holiday). Even if you overcome those hurdles, can you then get on the course (see previous question)? In short, if there is a particular professor you want to study under, find out how easy it is to take their courses.

Clubs

What clubs are on campus?
Clubs are a great way to learn and extend your ability in both professional and social pursuits. If you’re founding a startup, get involved with the tech and entrepreneur clubs, or if you want to become a consultant, join the consulting club. They’ll help you immensely move ahead in your chosen industry. They’re also a fantastic way to meet people and have fun. I immensely enjoyed my two years as part of the rugby club.

Of course, if a club isn’t on campus, you could always start one and you’ll certainly gain some great skills in doing so, but those skills may be more in organisation and admin than in the actual industry, sport or hobby.

Which ones are active? In what way are they active?
Even if a club exists on campus, how active is it? If they’re only organising activities or meeting once a semester, it’s not going to be a great place to meet people and develop new skills or have fun. On the otherhand, an active club is a fantastic way to meet new classmates, network with alumni and learn about an industry or have fun taking part in a sport or hobby. Also find out what the club does, for example, if it’s the media club, do they just organise a yearly conference and a trek somewhere, or do they also organise more regular events.

Are there fees for joining or attending events?
Some clubs charge membership fees for covering their costs. These can sometimes be in excess of $200 per club, especially for sports clubs. Sometimes clubs may charge to attend visiting speakers on campus. I would say that almost always it’s worth whatever the club is asking. But perhaps those fees are the difference between exploring an area you’re vaguely interested in, and not.

Extracurricular

Can I go on exchange or study overseas?
There are many benefits to studying in another location and many schools provide that opportunity. Some schools offer exchanges to other business schools around the world: LBS students can go on exchange to over 30 partner schools. Other schools offer the opportunity to study at satellite campuses around the world: INSEAD students often split their time between France and Singapore campuses.

Where can I go? How likely is it that I will get to go to my desired place?
If it’s an important factor being able to study away from the main business school campus, you want to find out how easy it is to take advantage of that opportunity. Exchange schools may only have one or two places available to students from your business school and these may been hotly sought after by your fellow classmates. Is the decision based on grades, essays, interviews, or something else? Imagine the disappointment if you select a business school for its exchange programme, only to then discover that you can’t go to your desired place.

Are there weekly drinks?
I think weekly drinks are universally offered at business schools around the world. They’re a great focal point for your class to come together and catch up with people you haven’t seen during the last week (or longer). Often students from different programmes attend, often faculty attend as well, so it can be a great place to meet new and interesting people. But not all drinks sessions are created equal. Ask if many people attend these. And ask if they cost to attend (some charge a fee per semester or year).

What treks are typically offered? Will they break the bank?
MBA students love treks. What is a trek? It’s a fancy word for a trip and they broadly fall into two categories: business treks and social treks. Business treks usually focus on visiting companies in certain industries, for example to New York for finance, Silicon Valley for technology, or Paris for luxury goods. Whereas social treks are about experiencing a new place and socialising with your classmates. Often classmates from the country you’re visiting organise the social treks; it’s a special experience travelling with friends who know all the hot spots to visit!

Treks are a great eye-opening experience and were one of my favourite things at business school. Some treks are generally offered every year, but some only take place when someone can be organised enough. Ask where the most popular treks go (perhaps start planning your holidays now?). Ask how tough it is to get a place on them (there is sometimes a cap, especially on business treks). And ask how much more they’re going to send you into debt. On second thought, you may not want to know.

Jobs

Do the employers I want to hire me recruit from this school?
Don’t take it for granted. I heard of one top consulting company not recruiting from a top US school for a number of years after a certain incident. Also, some locations are better at recruiting for certain industries, for example, the percentage of graduates going into the tech sector from Stanford and Berkeley is much higher than most other MBA schools.

How many people have those employers historically taken? How does that compare with other schools?
One school may have 10 graduates hired each year from a certain company. If this is the company you want to work for, then this may sound great. But ask at another school and you may find 20 were hired from there. Potentially this means that the company has a preference for hiring from the second school and you may be better off there. But you need to look beyond just the base numbers. Take into consideration the class sise. Also, how many of those 20 hires are returning employees? If most of them are returning, maybe the better school for you is the one that only had 10 graduates hired. But take all of this with a grain of salt, as company preferences and hiring tendencies can change from year to year.

How good is the Career Services department at finding potential jobs for you?
There’s many ways to find a job, but one of the fastest and easiest is when your Career Services department is able to get companies recruiting at school and advertising directly on your school website. If the Career Services department is good at this, it may indicate those companies have a preference for hiring candidates from your school.

How good is the Career Services department at preparing you for interviews and jobs?
Good Career Services departments will also run a range of other activities and workshops to help prepare you for your interviews and jobs. These could be: networking and information sessions with companies; help with preparing your resume; practice interviews; practice case studies; practical skills for when you start your internship. Make sure to ask about what the Career Services department does to help students and also ask whether students got any benefit from it.

Other

Do you want to live in that city?
For me, this is one of the most important factors in choosing a school. Perhaps the most important. Your school’s city or town is where you’re going to live for the next two years. Perhaps you want the restaurants, nightclubs, and everything else that the big cities offer. Or maybe you’re happy living amongst the trees in New England.

The location of your school will also likely determine where your post-MBA job is: a West Coast school will get you a West Coast job; an East Coast school gets you an East Coast job; and a European school most likely gets you a European job. This is because it’s much easier networking and interviewing with employers when you’re in the same location. This is obvious if you’re in different countries. But you could be surprised by the difference even between New York and Philadelphia if you’re looking to find a job in New York. It’s much easier and cheaper catching the subway than catching a train from Philadelphia for a coffee chat in Manhattan.

Does the school provide much financial help?
An MBA is a big financial investment and often you’re going to need financial help to pay for it. To what extent does your school help you? It may be that they have a large endowment and most students are provided some sort of scholarship. Or maybe the school has partnerships with banks or other institutions to offer you loans. Not all schools are able to offer this financial support, so if it’s important to you, make sure to ask.

Conclusion

There are no doubt many more questions you could ask to learn more about the differences between business schools. In fact, comment below on what other differences you’ve discovered.

Now that you have a better understanding of where the differences, my final advice is to dig deeper and find what makes your potential business schools different from each other. It’ll stand you in good stead for your application and to have a great time doing your MBA.

Follow me on Twitter at @jrjclark

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Inaugural PE India trek

Posted by: AK

Ten students from across London Business School’s degree programmes were selected to attend the student-led trek, with a view to helping them understand the sector better, build connections in the Indian Private Equity (PE) space and explore future career opportunities. The trek was conceptualized and led by Manita Shinh, MBA2013, and was sponsored by the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club, the India Business Forum and Career Services. I was one of the trek members, and thought I’d quickly give you a download of what it was like to be a part of professional treks such as this.

The participants met with country managing partners and other senior professionals at KKR, Blackstone, Apax, Carlyle, Bain Capital, TPG, TA Associates, General Atlantic, Actis, 3i, Advent International, Warburg Pincus, Fidelity Growth Partners and Abraaj. Apart from the global majors, the participants also met with India focused funds such as Tano Capital, ICICI Ventures, Multiples and Faering Capital.

The trek was an opportunity to learn about the distinct investing styles of each of these funds both globally and in India. Practitioners shared their views of the macroeconomic environment, implications of the recently announced budget on the PE sector, their past and current focus investment areas, current trends and unique challenges and opportunities they were seeing in the space.

India is a growth equity market characterized by minority stakes, and it was interesting to hear from big buyout funds on their India strategy, as well as from those that had managed to close control based transactions in the market. Each fund took the time to explain their method of selecting investments and adding value, and many shared details of past investments to illustrate the same.

The Mumbai LBS Alumni Club scheduled Sundowners to coincide with the trek, and Thursday evening saw students mingle with alumni at Wink at the Taj. The event was made even more enjoyable with an exclusive wine-tasting conducted by the founder of Sula Vineyards. Apart from meeting alumni, the students also got the chance to interact with senior professionals from funds such as Tata Capital, Matrix Partners, Mumbai Angels and Kea Capital, who also attended the Sundowners.

Despite the hectic schedule that spanned meetings with 19 funds in five days, the participants had the chance to catch their breath, and a few drinks, at the famous Air bar at the Four Seasons, and enjoy some of the local cuisine between meetings.

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Times are still tough for Financial Services. People on my course nervously check their blackberries, wondering if their roles are at risk. My own employer slashed 950 jobs in a country with population of 4mln last week, with my own role relocating back to London (FYI I moved out of London due to visa problems in January this year). I am happy of course – it will be the grand finale of my commuting, but for some this can be nerve-crashing and depressing. Many however admit, that being at the LBS and having access to its career services helps the medicine go down.

LBS career services transform even a small fish into an interview shark every big name recruiter would kill for, no matter if you are interested or not. The team has done it so many times that it’s obvious that they got their recipe right. So what’s on offer for the MiFs?

- Peer Leadership Programme aka PLP, runs all year round. Here second year MBAs from our dream jobs (which can be nothing else but PE/IB/AM or for the outside of the box dudes – consulting), informally look at your CV (“did your granny write this?”), CL (“do you really think being interested in soap operas gives you an edge?”) and advise on your seduction approach (“fuchsia is indeed a nice colour, but not for your three piece suit”). What I found most useful was the insight on the corporate culture of your dream employer, knowledge of which makes your application shine.

- Networking workshop – 3.5 hours of intensive training focused on increasing the likelihood of you being remembered and liked (added on LinkedIn), arousing genuine interest of people around you and key (LBS exclusive and very secret) skills on how to stand out or the crowd, including exercising with weights to make your smile last longer, practicing handshake specific for your career choice, effective elevator speech in parallel with 3 other people and, of cause, memory training oriented on memorizing 50+ phone numbers from the first attempt. (just joking, haven’t been to the session yet – its on Nov 5th)

- Guidance on how to write a CV, a CL, define your unique selling proposition and survive assessment centers. These are so thorough, that you will have to dedicate a full working week (think IB working hours) to ensure all the little (but very important) component are included. This is quite a dangerous exercise as it makes you fall in love with your CV so much, that you start quoting it to your friends and end up sending a copy to the Man Booker Prize competition.

- Finance one-to-one with Roger H. 30 minutes of coaching from a crème de la crème of the industry. Could be done over the phone. Having mine on the 10th, aaaaah…

- And finally there is Career Portal, where you can see job adds from all over the world (!!!). Tastes do differ but the portal caters for all shapes and sizes, with many positions looking specifically for LBS folk, without postings outside of the Portal. It also stores all the previous presentations made in the school, provides advice on visas (who needs those?) and supports you in negotiating your offer.

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MiM2012 orientation was packed with useful career development programs, personal development programs, keynote speakers and of course, evenings at the Windsor. As I look back on orientation week, one message seems to really resonate….Network. Network. Network. And did I mention Network?!

During the first month at LBS I had the fortunate opportunity to hear successful networking stories that showcased the value of building long lasting professional connections. Whether you use networking as a form of job-hunting, a learning opportunity or making new friends, networking never fails to reap professional benefits. In the beginning I was hesitant to walk into a room of strangers in business suits and really put myself out there. However, as one of the keynote speakers so aptly put it, “just be yourself, but with skill”. Already, LBS has helped in harnessing my skills and clarifying the process of networking. I mean, that’s one of the great things about studying at LBS, there are infinite opportunities to make new connections, to hear about others’ experiences and to make valuable lifelong relationships that render beyond Nash lounge and Taunton library. I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with senior executives, managers, and recruiters across all industries including Johnson & Johnson, Accenture and Deloitte. And to think, the program has just begun!

I look forward to continuing to develop my networking skills, whether I’m at the Windsor this evening or the FINCO event later this week.

Happy Networking!

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