Posts Tagged ‘First term’
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!
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.
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.
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!
Landing in London the night before the first day of orientation, I literally had no time to catch my breath before I was swept into the whirlwind that is London Business School! Walking into City hall amidst a chattering, buzzing group of new LBS MiMs, I instantly felt like part of a community, with the most unbelievably diverse group of people I had ever been around. It wasn’t just the fact that we accounted for more than 50 nationalities, it was the languages, the experiences, the undergrad majors, the internships, the perspectives. Coupled with the fact that everyone was incredibly warm, curious, open, energetic, and just plain fun, I knew that this was going to be one of the best years of my life.
I quickly learnt the art of time management. It’s quite incredible, the number of activities one can sign up for on a daily basis. Class, club activities, recruiter events, case study sessions, parties, sundowners, and the general discovery of this wonderful city. It became clear however, that as alluring as they all were, I had to carefully plan my day so as to meet all my commitments. The result was a very populated calendar, but very fulfilling days.
And yeah, I must mention my study group. To provide some context, every MiM is assigned to a study group of about five or six people. Since we are given a plethora of group assignments, simulations and presentations, one ends up spending a lot of time with their study group. I simply loved mine. It’s amazing how it was never a competition, but always a collaboration; how motivated everyone was; how much you can learn from each other; how deep, enduring friendships develop. Yes, we spent hours locked up in one of LBS’s many meeting rooms debating on the finer points of statistical modelling, but also spent a memorable evening dining on chicken and wine. I speak nostalgically because I’m going to be assigned to a new study group next term. While I’ll miss my old study group, I’m excited because I know I’m up for a whole new fascinating experience.
To be perfectly honest, I had no idea how much one could grow in such a short time. I’ve only spent 3 months here at LBS but the experience has been immensely transformative. I can’t wait to see what the second term will bring!
After a (very) long winter break, it is time to talk about the first term. We are now done with four out of the ten core modules in Dubai and I must say that time has flown by.
After the orientation week in London, the mood was jovial when everyone met each other in Dubai. Seating was assigned on a chart. With a class of over 50 students, it was a good way for our professor to remember names and measure class participation.
We attended a variety of core courses such as Developing Effective Managers in Organisations, Financial Accounting and Managerial Economics. Some professors were an instant hit, some grew on us. But overall I would say that the quality of teaching was excellent. Though some courses were more valuable for each person than others, overall the first term has definitely added a lot of value.
The first three modules were crammed into two months, and the pressure on time really tested everyone. Suddenly the euphoria of the orientation was over and we were down to business. Most modules started with an exam for a course from the previous module, and that did bring the realisation that we were indeed in a rigourous academic environment. Some of us hadn’t taken an exam in years! I think we are used to it by now. We also make sure that the harder we study, the harder we party afterwards. After the first three modules, the schedule has become more manageable with one module per month.
The social reps have organized a couple of great events so far. An authentic desert safari with dancers, amazing food (including camel meat!) and an exceptional ambience was a lot of fun, especially for the out-of-towners. This was followed up by a boat party with excellent music (provided courtesy of our classmate Omar), superb food and a mind-blowing view of Dubai Marina thrown in for good measure. The Student Association put up an excellent Christmas party as well.
For me, the networking was the most exceptional part of the first term. In addition to the events organized by London Business School, the countless lunches, dinners and cocktails enjoyed with my classmates will always be something to remember. I have got to know a lot of them at a personal level. I’ve met many spouses and children and had the pleasure of visiting some of their homes too. The warmth and feeling of bonding is what I look forward to the most when coming back to Dubai.
Though I can’t wait to keep coming back, I can’t help but think that we are almost halfway through our core courses. For most of us, this will be the last degree we undertake. The fact that such times may not come back again makes me want to absorb as much of what is there to offer as possible. Here’s to an exceptional second term!
How can I start a company that is going to be the next Google? Is it even possible for a normal person like me to do such a thing?
For me personally, no. Well now it might be, but if I asked myself these questions 3 months ago I would have said definitely not. I mean, I wouldn’t even know where to start, where to get the money from or who I should work with. In fact, I just had a bunch of good business ideas and thought “I’m going to start a business” without having a clue what my strategy was, who my customers were or even how I planned on making money.
So what has changed in these last 3 months? The answer is Business School. Three months ago I accepted my offer to start my Masters at London Business School and it really has changed the way I think. I mean, I didn’t even know what the Time Value of Money was. I literally thought if I sold my car and put the £5000 in a bank without touching it, that £5000 is still going to be £5000 in two years’ time when I buy new one. This isn’t actually true. In fact, when I got home after learning this I was like:
For quite a while.
So I guess the question now is, should you go out and spend £28,000 per year (Masters) on business school fees to learn these important concepts? Well yes and no. If you can afford it, yes, I would highly recommend it – London Business School has been one of the best experiences of my life to date. If you can’t don’t worry. Over the next 6 months, I will be posting about every important concept I learn that I believe is essential in recognising how to become as successful as a Fortune 500 Business Leader. As long as you read all my blog posts, you will pretty much be learning everything I am, but saving yourself £28,000 per year . Stay tuned, follow me on social media and keep up to date with my blog.
Youtube: Coming Soon
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.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to everyone. Do feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions about life at LBS.
MBA Term 1 is done! Yes! <insert victory fist pump here>. I should say “Mission Accomplished!”, but then I remember this…
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 (
SpainCatalonia & 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…”
I still remember the first day of the start of the programme in City Hall as if it was yesterday – bright sun and clear sky. Ever since then I have been warned that this is quite misleading when it comes to English weather and I should wait to see the end of November when short days, cold wind and fast-approaching exams knock on my door. Yet, even though these cold winter days are coming, there are couples of student-led initiatives on campus which keep me warm and make me smile.
As the end of November and one of the most celebrated holidays in US and Canada, Thanksgiving, are approaching, London Business School students found their own way of saying ‘Thank you!’ for their experience here so far. On Tuesday afternoon the Nash Lounge was busy with students writing long letters or just scribbling couple of thankful words to people they love and miss all over the world. The postcards were free and handmade by a bunch of enthusiastic peers who formed ‘A Grand Gesture’ movement after winning a competition on how to create most happiness if you had money. I guess they succeeded in showing everyone how easy it is to make someone happy…with a simple gesture.
After sending couple of postcards to my friends and family back home I headed on to another event in order to learn how to spread my message and ideas globally at… TEDx! That’s right, one of the largest conferences organized by London Business School is now looking for three astonishing students to share their knowledge, experiences and emotions. I have followed TEDx talks for the past couple of years and often come across their influential speakers. It had crossed my mind that it would be great to speak in front of such a big and knowledgeable audience that now I can hardly believe I have the chance to do it!
I guess the end of the term has disproved its reputation of being busy only with applications, interviews and final exams (do not get me wrong, these are still present), but rather turned out to be an exciting period full of surprises. Thanks to London Business School student life November in London has never felt so warm!
Five weekends done of the first term. A number of assignments need to be submitted, time is getting tight, the social committee is planning a trip to Winter Wonderland, and Movember is visible in the classroom. Good times. I arrived at the concept for this post via two different situations. First, in the last session of the CSR/ethics module our spirited lecturer brought a guest speaker to class. He is an alumnus of the school who has set up a business that partners with the NHS to provide heart related services (RPHC). Beyond being impressed by the idea of his business I was reminded that I have a mild heart problem that has drastically changed the way I approach my day-to-day life since it started in 2008. Second, last Monday I was back in St. Barts Hospital to get an echocardiogram to track my progress. It is always humbling to switch from student to object of study as a nurse was discussing the structures of my heart with an apprentice technician. The sound of the machine is quite relaxing though, sort of watery, so I normally have a short nap while being assessed. Without a doubt, birth and death are the flip sides of the same coin, however, probably not standard in this day and age to spend much time thinking about it at the age of 25.
Anyway, as part of the reading for the last CSR session a happiness formula was proposed by Lyubomirksy et al to be the sum of:
S – a biological set point
C – the conditions of your life, and
V – the voluntary activities you do.
With regards to S, I will only say that I am certainly not the happiest person around by any yardstick. I am confident that my seat-mates in the class, my study group, or my colleagues could confirm that I am a bit grouchy.
I will focus my account of the C’s with two of its elements. On the one hand, I experience lack of control related to my heart condition which flares up in the most unexpected situations and reminds me that I need to be prudent. On the other hand, as I grew up and moved out of Peru, my circle of friends has contracted and now I keep in touch with a few meaningful individuals who I might not see all the time but who with I have a tight bond. With regards to my family I mostly communicate with my parents by Skype and my brother by email but I am probably closer with them now than when I lived in Peru with them. Finally, my girlfriend and I have settled down into our flat and I guess we have a blissful existence. No arguments, plenty of cooking and conversation, and a degree of faith that some things just work. Therefore, the other C that really resonates with me is relationships. In a way, the slowing down that resulted from my lack of control, has resulted in a positive change in my relationships, and an overall enhancement of the C-value of my formula. The adaptation principle in action.
What about the V’s though? I have just written an email advocating “process” KPIs instead of measuring outcomes. Some people might wonder if there is time for V’s during an EMBA, but surely V’s can help assess the quality of this whole process. I argue that there is always time and posit three examples of my own. Isn’t it annoying when someone says they are too busy to do something? I actively choose not to be in that group. First, I have decided that over the next 2 years I will teach myself basic Brazilian Portuguese. How? I will start with Duolingo. Come on, just do it, I try to take a lesson before starting to work, one at lunch, and two the evening. Why? Because in the future I want to work with Latin America and if you research why duolingo exists you might just want to join. Os meninos bebem leite! Os estudantes gostam de London! Second, I am trying to read a non-MBA book a month. Why? Because I think that literature allows us to expand our range of experience. When? Before bed, in the train, after lunch on the weekends, bit by bit. Third, I am going to volunteer for EnglishPEN. Why? Because I think what they stand for matters after growing up in Peru. When? Whenever they reply to my emails asking for further information….
We seem to live in a time of communal paralysis. Everyone wants to “do” but no one “does” in the belief that someone else will. I am looking forward to the last session of Managerial Economics so I can conceptualise this in terms of game theory. To conclude, I just wanted to say that I wouldn’t have embarked on the V’s had my C’s not changed back in 2008 and had I not opted to join the EMBA programme.
I can never forget the moment when I received the life changing email from the MiM Admissions. Feeling the thrill and excitement from within, I jumped out of my chair and roared like a football player who just scored the winning goal. Seconds later I realised I was still in office, colleagues across the room looked at me in silence. Awkward. I slowly sat down and started working again. Embarrassed, but that didn’t stop the joy. I’m in!
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at LBS. Students come from over 40 countries speaking 42 languages, being able to learn alongside my peers is, in itself, a masterclass in diversity. Academic-wise, it is all about applying the theoretical knowledge to everyday, real-life examples. We sit in a rounded lecture where all students are expected to contribute in discussions and express our views. Through this unique learning experience I am able to gain greater insights than ever before.
The career service is another integral part of the programme. There are enormous amount of career sessions ranging from 1-to-1 career coaching to group assessment centre practice; just in the last month, over 100 sessions took place. There are also company presentations and networking events in LBS ranging from finance, consulting and corporate sectors. Through these events I was provided with lots of opportunities to network with their current employees, learn more about their culture and experience. I’m very excited about an interview opportunity at a consultancy firm next week, and that could not be possible without the help of career service.
I’m now half way through the first term, and I am still feeling the excitement at LBS. Two months ago, I thought to myself that LBS would be my best decision in life. Now I can be very sure to say, that LBS is the best decision in my life.