Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

Today I submitted my last take home exam and officially reached the end of my first term at LBS. Thought it might be a good time as any to look back on all that has happened since first I set foot on campus in August.

In the first month, there was a flurry of activities hosted by the school’s Career Services team, which very much took me by surprise, since according to my logic, the job is rather supposed to follow the education and not the other way round. Anyhow, it was a pleasant surprise, because the Career Services team are full of wonderful people and all of us MiFs love them very much. Thanks to their effort, by the 3rd week of September, I was the owner of:

  • A flawlessly written, challenge-action-result structured, beautiful, one-page CV
  • The ability to produce a perfect cover letter for any company, any job, within the hour
  • A range of impressive skills to deal with the most challenging of interviews
  • A new and much improved LinkedIn profile (yes friends, at LBS, you do get help with LinkedIn)
  • Solid networking techniques which transformed me from a socially awkward penguin into an acceptably effective networker (if this result seems somewhat lackluster compared to the rest, it was by no means Career Services’ fault, as I said, I was a penguin)
  • The beginning, and the knowledge to duly figure out the rest, of an answer to the question “is it for me?” with regards to a wide selection of industries
  • An ambitious yet plausible career plan, with a plan A and a plan B and room in the back for plan C

The 3rd week of September also marked the beginning of a series of on campus recruitment (OCR) events, where representatives from a long list of prestigious firms showed up to convince us students they would be the perfect employer, and in turns, we got the chance to exercise our newly developed networking techniques in an attempt to impress them as potential employees. It was an exciting period, and in case you are a sponsored student who does not need to look for a job after graduation (lucky you!), you can still enjoy yourself by sitting back and admiring the air of utmost professionalism and urgency as your classmates dashed from lecture theaters to company presentations to drink receptions, all in their best suits.

Around the time the OCRs were going on, the many student clubs at LBS also started kicking off their agenda for the new school year. The first order of business is usually a session to introduce the club to the new students, which doubles up as a call for applications to the executive committee. The Student Association Autumn Elections and the search for Student Ambassadors are both on the way during late September too, so if you are an aspiring student leader, this is your turn on stage. I myself managed to get away quite well with this period, securing a post in the executive committee of the LBS Industry Club. For your information, the Industry Club is one of the biggest clubs on campus. Our mission is to help people figure out whether a corporate career is ideal for them and if it is, how to land yourself the job. During Autumn term, our agenda centered on the highly popular “What is…?” series, weekly events where we brought in industry experts to satisfy any questions you might have about a plethora of industries and corporate functions. (Sorry for the PR, just thought I should do my duty as VP Marketing of the Club.)

Before you become overly concerned, allow me to confirm that yes, we did our fair share of study this first term too. The term began with 2 preparatory courses in accounting and data analytics (you can get exempted from any or both if you have a professional accounting certification or/and demonstrable knowledge of statistics). Then there were the 4 core courses: Personal Assessment and Development, Investments, Financial Accounting and Analysis, and Corporate Finance and Valuation. With the exception of Investments, which leaned a bit more to the technical side, all the courses were mostly case study-based, the result being that lectures more often than not resembled open floor discussions. The MiF’s diversity assured that no matter the case, there were always at least 3 experts on the subjects to keep the debate heated. Another exceptionally fine feature of the MiF that I have come to appreciate was the fact that whenever a professor asked “Is there anyone here from xxx country?”, almost 100% of the time the answer would be yes. Cheers for the amazing 42 countries represented in our class this year!

Group assignment was an important component in any courses, so we spent a lot of time with our study group (which we were randomly assigned to, and remained the same for all core courses). My study group is one Australian/New Zealander short of representing all the world’s populated continents (Antarctica does not count), and no one used to work in the same industry as any other, so you can imagine the “fun” we had trying to resolve all the (friendly) arguments. That said, we somehow grew so close as a group that when we submitted our last assignment, everyone got so emotional I swear I was able to detect some teary eyes here or there.

In the first weeks of December, up to our choice of electives, we can take 1 or 2 block-week courses to wrap up Autumn term. These block weeks were quite intensive since the format means that we complete an elective during a single week. I chose to take Strategy for MiFs during the first block week (and skipped the second week in favor of a trip to Edinburgh, but pray do not let my laziness get to you). Strategy turned out to be my favorite course of the whole term. My classmates were of the opinion that I liked Strategy so much simply because all the case studies happened to be about my favorite things: coffee, luxury watches, books and fashion, not to mention the simulation game at the end of the week, which involved us acting as managers for football teams. However, I would maintain that the numerous theories of strategy we were taught were equally enjoyable.

I think it would be apt to end this post by showing you the bottle of champagne our group won for arriving at first place in the mentioned strategy simulation game. Our lecturer professor Ioannou specially warned me not to show the world how at LBS we talked about sports and brought alcohol to lecture theaters, so naturally I feel obliged to do exactly that.

Champagne

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to everyone. Do feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions about life at LBS.

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First Term: Recap

Posted by: Ugo

MBA Term 1 is done! Yes! <insert victory fist pump here>.  I should say “Mission Accomplished!”, but then I remember this

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Thoughts on Term 1

  • It was tough, tougher than I expected. I had the sense that I was always running: from lectures to study group meetings to tutorials to career services events to one or two social events. It seemed like there was no time to come up for air. The one time that hit really hard was taking 4 mid-term exams over a weekend (Saturday and Sunday!), and then having to show up for lectures the following Monday! At 8.15am!

 

  • After my final Term 1 paper on December 15, it felt like a huge weight had been taken off. But then I had gotten so used to running that I felt lost when I realised there was no next event to run to!

 

  • In Econ, we learnt about consumers’ Willingness to Pay (WTP) as a consideration in pricing. I’m coining my acronym for what I think is one of the best things about LBS: WTH (that’s Willingness to Help). Super thankful for the great group of very helpful people in this community – the students (study groups, tutors, etc), faculty, Programme Office, Career Services etc who’ve been great at explaining stuff and answering questions. You literally cannot walk the MBA path on your own.

 

  • Another excellent thing about LBS – the diversity of the LBS MBA class. It’s amazing and makes for… a richer experience! Using my study group of 7 as an example of this diversity: we have 2 people from Europe (Spain Catalonia & Netherlands), one from Latin America (Brazil), one from Asia (Malaysia), one from Australia, one from North America (USA) and myself from Africa (Nigeria). If that isn’t diversity, I don’t know what it is…

 

  • In all, Term 1 was like a pilot – I learned a lot about myself and the programme. Looking forward to engaging Term 2 equipped with better understanding.

 

  • In conclusion, happy holidays, everyone! And to those at Val Thorens, bon faire du ski!

 

 On a lighter note… things we heard in class…

  • “An unlucky camel is one that gets eaten by a polar bear in the desert.”
  • (Pointing to a picture of Real Madrid star, Cristiano Ronaldo)… “Now, Ronaldo is listed on Real Madrid’s books as an intangible asset, but as we all can see, he is very tangible…”
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An Amalgamation of Countries, Culture and Community

Posted by: Mihir
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Adam Douglas wasn’t joking when he said the ‘answer to Life, the Universe and Everything’ was 42 because that is exactly the number of nationalities represented in MiM2013 and it has been a blast.

Diversity is an integral part of the school’s values and nothing defines it better than our class of 162 bright minds. For a travel enthusiast such as myself, it has been an exhilarating opportunity to meet and get to know my peers – almost like travelling to 42 nations at once! I have learnt greetings in 10 different languages and you can always find a multi-lingual group of students trying to master each other’s native tongues. But it doesn’t stop there.

The MiM community is truly passionate to share their stories and backgrounds and equally eager to listen to those of others. I am undergoing a synaesthesia of cultural knowledge while having the chance to experience cuisines, music, dance, film and traditions of various countries. In the past ten weeks I celebrated my first Halloween, mastered rudimentary salsa moves, enjoyed an authentic Turkish meal, discovered the significance of Guy Fawkes Day and helped partake in an incredible Thanksgiving dinner; all thanks to my bouillabaisse of global friends. (You know who you are!)

Sharing my own culture has been just as fun when we celebrated Diwali LBS style! As part of the festivities, we performed a choreographed Bollywood dance that was undoubtedly an unforgettable memory for all of us. I was fascinated to see that our team comprised of mostly non-Indians who were exceptionally willing to learn Hindi songs, adorn themselves with traditional Indian clothes and even brave the spicy dishes.

I don’t know what I will discover during the rest of the year, but I have my bucket list of nations I can’t wait to visit… and it’s growing each day!

MiM Diwali Dance Team

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A year ago I started my MBA at London Business School. Now and only now can I begin telling you why I made the right choice, the best choice.

1.    Our world is global –> LBS is the most international school ever

We all know one thing in life for sure: our world is changing and it will continue to be so. How to best address this than is by being international.

At LBS you’ll meet people from 65 different nationalities, you’ll perhaps flatshare with people from countries that you had previously only read about and you’ll surely party with them even if you are married with 2 kids an they are single… How best understand to a culture than by sharing a time of your life with people from different cultures?

2.    We are unique –> Your experience at LBS is self tailored

-    You will finish when you want: the program finishes after 15,18 or 21 months
-    You will specialize if you want to in a concentration of your choice: LBS is a general MBA
-    You will travel wherever you want: I can’t even count the number of treks organized in a year
-    You will exchange wherever you want: LBS has exchanges programs with schools in all continents
-    Finally you’ll do what you want…so many opportunities are open to you

3.    I have met exceptional people at LBS

People come to LBS not only to further their professional careers but also to share their experiences. We help each other and will spend a lot of time to help you achieve your goal.

People come from all around the world to our conferences to share and challenge differing viewpoints.

LBS (special thanks to Stream B): you made my first year rock!

William

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Preparing for the start of term

Every student I spoke to during my numerous visits to London Business School had the same piece of advice for me – to savour my last few days of good lengthy sleep. A quant by profession, I thought to myself that I was by now used to long hours of work and that thirty winks would do just fine as forty . I could not have been more wrong! With everything from Sundowners, competitions, club roles, parties and of course classes to cram into 24 hours, I have never worked and played this hard in my life.

Owing to a confluence of circumstances and choice, I had to work full time for my erstwhile employer until the Friday before orientation week. On the upside, being a Londoner, there was not much pre-term preparation (at-least on the personal front). My suggestion to those of you planning to do an MBA at London Business School – do yourself a favour: savour every moment of your pre MBA downtime and recharge your batteries! Because once you get here, I promise, you will give the Energizer bunny a run for its money.

Why I chose London Business School

As a Londoner, London Business School was unsurprisingly my top choice.  A few American schools served as backup / safe choices. I must hasten to add though that whilst location was important, it was by no means the only consideration! London business is a great school in an amazing city. What makes it great it not merely geography or history or buildings. Above everything else, it is the sheer diversity and breadth of its community – both students and staff.

On joining the school, I experienced for myself the fact that diversity is not simply a catchy buzz word. It has real, tangible value. For instance, I learnt all about setting up and running solar power plants in Africa from a French energy expert and current MBA classmate during a tube ride. This, I believe is the true essence of the learning opportunities made possible by diversity.

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Five weeks into the MBA

Posted by: Ingrid
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Just five weeks into the program and it seems to me like ages. This time has been incredibly intense.
It all started with orientation week, which was in itself a memorable experience. The tone was set: the MBA is about stretching our comfort zone.

I have indeed felt a bit uncomfortable in class, but I have learnt so much. All the faculty members I have seen so far are inspiring and entertaining – great speakers. I found that I can even like finance and accounting.

I have met amazing people, and discovered that each of them has something to teach me. It is a very humbling experience to discover that all of your 406 classmates are so smart and have extraordinary stories to tell you.

I had to do many choices. I refrained myself from signing up everywhere – my favourite clubs kicked off on the same day anyway. The number of opportunities here is really incredible.
I can feel the pressure building up a bit. Besides academics and assignments, there are career services events, case competitions, club events, social events… and parties of course!

It feels strange to be back in school after so many years, but here it feels good, really.

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Continuing on my previous post, here is a quick (personal) view on the right background / experience / timing to apply to LBS.

While every business school tends to build a community with students from extremely diverse backgrounds, LBS takes it to a whole new level. Pre-MBA experiences of LBS students broadly cover all major disciplines. The largest disciplines include financial services that forms c. 30% of the student population, consulting forms c. 25%, manufacturing is c. 8%, IT is c. 6%, and Retail/FMCG is c. 5%. Other disciplines include Not-for-profit, Energy, Media / Marketing, Defense, Legal services, Healthcare / Pharma — each of these forming c. 3% of the student population. There are minor representations from few others – e.g. travel / tourism, real estate, sports, music etc. Well, the key take-away is that there is no right or wrong background to apply to LBS. It’s highly likely that someone with the same experience as yours is (or was) a student at LBS. However, it is also important to note that if you are applying with one of the common backgrounds – for instance IT services or Real Estate – you need to have a very strong application across all key aspects to ensure that the application covers up for ‘common’ professional experience that you’ve had.

On an average, an LBS MBA student has 5 – 6 years of work experience. The whole range varies from 2 years to 15 years. Ofcourse, a candidate with 2 years of experience will typically have a very strong set of achievements. And a candidate with 15 years of experience will typically have a non-business background and is pursuing MBA at LBS to develop those all-rounded business skills. Please note that candidates who have recently finished their under-graduation and have no work experience should not apply to the MBA programme at LBS. These candidates should consider applying to the MiM programme (please read about MiM here). On the other hand, professionals with significantly longer experience should consider applying to executive programmes listed here.

Finally, the question remains that what round do you apply in. My personal experience tells me that the most important thing is to have a robust application, and not the round. One shouldn’t put in an application in an earlier round if one believes that there’s a potential to improve the application. So, the first step is to build a strong application. Now, there’s not much difference between the first and the second round — both rounds will have a significant number of available seats for a good application to get selected. It gets slightly tougher in the third and the fourth rounds. This is purely a factor of supply and demand. The demand continues to be high, but the supply (i.e. available seats) is low in these later rounds. So, one should consider applying to one of the first two rounds.

For those who need data and statistics for further understanding on professional background, years of experience, and what LBS programme to choose, there’s some very useful information available here

That’s it. It’s pretty simple – (a) You don’t require any particular background to get into LBS – you need an application that demonstrates well-rounded personality, (b) You can consider applying to LBS with more than 2 years of experience – ofcourse, it’s harder to get in with low years of experience than average (5 – 6 years), and (c) You should consider applying in the first or the second rounds.

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Mr. Jan W., a risk analyst from CQS, who was interviewing me for the MiF admissions, did not expect to be asked why for every girl on the course there’re as many as 9 guys. He only said that he’d absolutely love to have the proportion levered up a bit…

The most universally accepted answers that people throw at you in situations like that are “gender inequality”, “glass ceiling”, unbearable hardness of “juggling commitments” with “family obligations”, all of which are usually followed by the respondent pulling on a condescending mask of grave pity. Why this version of truth and attitude haven’t become extinct yet is beyond my understanding – its not the 50’s anymore in most corners of our society. Take me, for example. My life is not hard, my life is wonderful; I am not juggling – I am finding time to do things I enjoy; I don’t have family obligations – I have people I love and care about the most in the world; I am not committed for life – I make my own choices, take pleasure in keeping busy and climbing up the Maslow pyramid.

Is my case ordinary? The only child, I was originally meant to be a boy called Ivan. That didn’t quite work out for my parents, – they had to deal with a little curly me, …and repaint the nursery. Their aspirations, however, transitioned into my daddy teaching me to play a guitar, chess, drive a car age 5, etc. In Russia kids go to mixed schools and only learn about some sort of inequality by reading foreign magazines. Probably the aftermath of communist days, we are brought up to share everything in our lives – when my great-grandpa went to the WWII, my great-grandma was in Moscow working as an armed guard at a gun manufacturing factory, while my granny was less than 2 years old.

I will not be so ignorant as to say that the problem doesn’t exist. It does, and the gender proportion of the business school intakes falls under its umbrella, together with numerous other examples, which routinely feature in high-profile conferences, workshops and change initiatives. But constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating. Changing the public’s attitude is astronomically hard; while taking it one person at a time is stomachable.

So ladies, if you are even slightly considering applying to MiF, no matter your background, please remember that “inequality” is actually about “diversity”. There is no one-size-fits-all profile – you can read the details of LBS students on the website while I will shed light on the statistics that are left undisclosed by school’s official brochures – about our girl’s personal life and work. The best thing about doing the census was the unanimous “what gender inequality…?” response to me mentioning the topic of the post.

I am not a feminist. I would just like to see more of inspired and empowered ladies who are not being dramatic or paranoid, who step outside the comfort zone of clichés. Maybe we don’t rule the world, but we definitely make it go round.

Post Scriptum: My intake showed a more up-beat result – 3 girls for every 7 guys; and according to the MiF program office our course is exceptionally close, fun and overachieving (and not forgetting LBS MiF confirming its N1 World ranking this year). I hope the admissions levels are representative of the level of applications and this notion becomes a steady trend. Our exceptionally charismatic professor H. Moon taught us during one of the Org. Behavior classes that people perform better in co-educational environment . So for the business school guys the current situation is less performance enhancing than for the girls, isn’t it ;) ;)?

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Why LBS is unique

Posted by: Alexis
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To tell you the truth, it took me a while to get used to the idea that I am officially part of the MiM2012 class and member of the London Business School community! Five weeks have passed since 144 “strangers” crossed the gate of LBS for the first time. One month later, I can say that, despite the little sleep and the really busy day to day schedule,  the overall experience is far beyond what I expected. Learning from the world’s top faculty is certainly one element but also I really appreciate sharing the experiences of an amazingly diverse group of peers, building friendships, having fun, developing my personality and improving my character…

And because first impressions always count, I will mention just a tiny example back from our first week. In  my eyes this experience was sufficient enough to show me that, above all, the Spirit of this School is what makes it the best in the world…

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A year ago, while I was researching different business schools to apply to, I came across the terms diversity and study group a lot, while reading about LBS. I always wondered, why LBS the LBS study group experience would be so different and what was the big deal about diversity?

It’s only when I came to LBS, I realized that I was wrong. Unlike many other schools, the people at LBS were truly diverse, in terms of nationalities, professional qualifications, interests and hobbies. Moreover, to my surprise the people were not only smart and accomplished but incredibly friendly and helpful as well. To top it all, each study group is carefully picked to ensure that you spend your whole 1st year doing projects with an extremely diverse group of people.

Still not convinced?? Well, guess what happens when you put the following people in a team and ask them to compete:

•    A Greek Phd in electronics who has designed advanced medical monitoring devices
•    A French animal welfare professional, who is an expert on bears and can speak 6 different languages
•    A Scottish Doctor, who has worked in Hospitals as well as Cruise Ships and is an excellent surfer
•    An American Banker who has spent a considerable time working in Brazil and Dubai
•    A Mexican venture capitalist, focused on investing in social enterprises who is also a wine enthusiast and an avid football fan
•    A Chinese sales and marketing expert with  5 years of experience in selling consumer goods in China
•    An Indian game designer and entrepreneur with some experience in financial services

Well, that is a typical study group at LBS, who typically take some time to get comfortable and then they get together to win bottles of champagne!!!

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