Posts Tagged ‘GBE’


Johannesburg is the perfect choice for my GBE!

Posted by: Palvi
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Only one more week of frenzy as we wrap up our final assessments and exams and begin packing for our trip to Johannesburg for the second of London Business School’s Global Business Experiences (‘GBE’)!  A new initiative to the London Business School’s MBA, each student had the choice of one of five destinations to choose from for their GBE: United States, South Africa, India, Hong Kong and Turkey.  I was thrilled to see Johannesburg included on this list, as I think Africa really is a destination that demonstrates equal amounts of opportunities as it does challenges, when looking to capitalize on its future growth potential. I’m really happy that London Business School is offering its MBAs this incredibility unique (no GBE is the same!) experiential course in the heart of a developing country such as South Africa, we truly are experiencing “global” in the truest sense.

For me the choice to go to South Africa was a no brainer. I grew up in Kenya and have spent the past 13 years living, working and studying in the West. Following my MBA I am planning to move back to Africa and I’m eager to learn about what opportunities are available.  I think that a week in Johannesburg will help to provide me a much better feel for the pulse on the ground.  Additionally, this particular GBE has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and social enterprise and is led by leading faculty members, Rajesh Chandy and Michael Hay who are renown in this field.  I attended a pre-trip briefing a week ago and it has gotten me more excited than ever.  Our schedule for the week will consist of consulting engagements with micro-entrepreneurs in the township of Alexandra and workshops and visits with a selection of corporates, professional advisers and non-profit organisations.  I expect the combination of these experiences will provide me and my classmates a great overview of both the opportunities for, and challenges of doing business in,  Africa and South Africa in particular.

We have received great feedback from the students who participated in the first GBE to New York/Boston, so the bar for this second trip has been set high.  Excitement and anticipation is definitely building amongst the group of 90+ students going on this trip.  All that remains to be done now is to pack, and get out there!

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My name is Stelios Fragos and I’m a 2nd year MBA student at London Business School. I am also part of the blogger team for GBE (MBA life is full of acronyms so bear with me). GBE stands for Global Business Experience, a unique and novel concept course, which was just introduced by LBS as part of its 2nd year curriculum.

LBS has been at the forefront of experiential learning, promoting it over recent years as a key aspect of the MBA experience. One of the key reasons I opted to attend LBS last fall was this revamped curriculum both on core and electives, with an increased focus on learning beyond the classroom through a number of courses and other activities (acronym alert):

Year 1:
-    Leadership Launch
-    GLAM (Global Leadership Assessment for Managers)
-    UGM (Understanding General Management)
-    London Talk series
-    LBE – London Business Experience
Year 2:
-    GBE – Global Business Experience
-    Capstone

All these initiatives focus on a number of different areas from self-development to real-life application of business concepts as well as networking. Capstone brings everything together, capping off an imitable experience.

So what is GBE really? To begin with it is a follow up to the first year LBE. So, back in April and May, the class of 2013, spent a day visiting various London based companies ranging from Chelsea Football Club, Fight for Peace, Saatchi and Saatchi, Bank of England, Citibank and London Metals Exchange. The goal was to learn from key internal stakeholders and work within groups to develop networks and increase our practical business outlook.  Similarly, the GBE is the global version of LBE extending over an entire week.

The GBE in a nutshell is the LBE on steroids. It begins with a trip to any of the five pre-determined destinations. This year the selected locations are Boston/New York, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Istanbul and New Delhi. A jam-packed week of company visits (arranged both by LBS and by students), guest speakers, panels, workshops and faculty lectures.

The aim is to offer insights from alumni, industry officials and thought-leaders in these specific key regions through company visits, guest speakers, panels, workshops, faculty lectures, dinners and receptions.

So, I am writing this entry on the train heading to Boston, where my GBE starts. Excited? You bet. I get a chance to do in a week what others don’t do in months of networking at other top MBA schools. The focus of the Boston/New York GBE is on asset management. I will have the opportunity to sit down and discuss recent trends and industry developments with business leaders from across the industry, including from such reputable firms as KKR, Baupost Group, Fidelity, Loomis, General Atlantic, Old Mutual and Citigroup just to name a few. While in New York, we shall also make a pit stop at the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

To top it all off, LBS’ 8th Annual WAC (Worldwide Alumni Celebration) is taking place during my GBE. Over 100 events will take place globally on or around September 27th, where LBS alumni come together to hear faculty and business leaders and share perspectives. So, in a week from now I will get the chance to mingle with Sir Andrew, our New York and Boston Alumni, my fellow GBE-ers (70 in total) and hear Richard Portes, one of LBS’ renowned economists, speaking on the European crisis.

Surely though, critics may argue that there must be something that I do not like about the GBE. In all fairness, I do have a couple deliverables for the GBE, namely a presentation and a paper. But that’s not that bad considering that the professors teaching the course are two of the best at LBS. That’s right, not only do we get Richard Portes but we also get the one and only Anna Pavlova, who has been raking in teaching awards over the years at LBS.

Stay tuned for on the ground coverage of the GBE from Boston and New York.

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It’s a know fact: during the Summer Olympics, not all days are the same. We tend to get more excited about the finals of the 100 meter than about the preliminary rounds of powerlifting (no offense). If the MBA is like an Olympic campaign, where every day is different and exciting in its own way, I think we are gearing up to have one of our absolute highlights events of the program: The Global Business Experience. Months ago, we had to decide where we wanted to go for a week long international assignment in what was portrayed as the Rolls Royce of all field trips. There were five very juicy projects in different corners of the world: entrepreneurship in South Africa, marketing in Istanbul, economics in Hong Kong, strategy in India and an interesting finance in the United States.I decided to join the Boston/New York trek, which has a strong focus on asset management and is lead by an amazing team of LBS faculty and staff. Which business school student can resist the vibration of a place like New York, and the possibility to visit leading companies in their field…

At the time, it seemed far away, and we were more concerned about approaching internships than about this post summer adventure. But as the summer moved on, and preparatory emails were sent to the batch who had decided to join this trek, you felt that a momentum was building.

First came the logistics, and people were discussion whether to travel before or after the “official part”. A bit later came the program, and it was the time to really get excited about the adventure that was lying ahead. Scheduled visits of companies like KKR, NYSE, Baupost Group, Fidelity, Citi and many more are really appealing. I think it’s the part students look forward to the most: to discover these mythic names from the inside. The opportunity get backstage access to these players doesn’t come frequently.

When the preparatory work email flashed up on the screens, we were brought back with the feet on the ground, and we realised instantly that the trip is not going to be like a lazy summer holiday extension. It’s the way it’s supposed to be, the LBS-way: intense, professional, group-oriented and rich from lots of different angles. We were asked to reach out to our network to set up meetings with experts from other companies, in order to fulfill the requirements of a group work that we have to complete. Some memories of our study groups (the interesting small group of people we’ve spent most of our all nighters” work in the first year with) came back to mind. That’s what LBS is about: achieving more, by working together.

Of course, it will have it fair share of networking with alumni and current students alike, and there will even occasionally be some time to sleep, although I’m not so sure about the latter.

I will try to keep you posted about how the week unfolds! In any case, I’m very much looking forward to take another juicy bit of the the Big Apple!


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