Posts Tagged ‘Global network’

Silicon Valley – the name has engendered legendary status in recent decades as the global hub for innovation and technology. And our week in the Valley certainly didn’t disappoint! I was very fortunate to be selected to attend the Global Immersion Field Trip based out of San Francisco and the stellar line-up of big tech companies, start-ups and venture capital firms, carefully allocated into a jam-packed schedule, kept us busy from dawn until dusk. Highlights of the trip included a presentation at Andreessen Horowitz by partner Todd Ludwack, an ex-exec of eBay. A16Z (as it is known in the industry) is a VC powerhouse based in Menlo Park, with successful exits in household brands such as Skype, Groupon and Instagram to name just a few. Ludwack shared with us frameworks with which to analyse digital platform propositions and investments (the likes of Uber and AirBnB) as well as some lessons-learned from his time at the VC house. In particular, he led an interesting discussion on first and second order effects when it comes to making investments – not only predicting outcomes as the business expands across markets but predicting secondary consequences of these changes that may have knock-on effects in new markets or sectors. Contrastingly, a small-group presentation at SoftTech VC led to fascinating insights into a firm that invests in very early stage ventures – when an entrepreneur may be armed with justa dream and a prototype – and whose expertise has led to some of the greatest edtech, platforms and wearable successes to emerge from the Bay Area (think FitBit, EventBrite and Twitter).

Later in the week, we had the ‘inverse experience’ through visits to several start-ups, a great opportunity to see the entrepreneurial space from a different perspective. We were treated to passionate presentations by entrepreneurs and co-founders from promising ventures such as DoubleDutch (a firm revolutionising live engagement marketing) from people that have grown a vision and personally tackled problems across the whole gamut of organisational functions.

Another fantastic visit included a tour and panel discussion at Pinterest. Everything you hear about working life in the Valley – the funky office space, the sushi chef slicing uramaki in the centre of the workspace, bicycles covered in flowers hanging from the ceiling, an endless mountain of muffins and cakes overflowing in open-plan kitchens filled with employees animatedly schmoozing in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops. As soon as we walked into the office, our cohort was ‘Pinterested’ – challenging staff to ping-pong and table football games in the lobby. But when we finally got down to business, the managers we met knew their business analytics backwards – from potential opportunities for growth using existing profit drivers right down to what would be trending in the coming season for middle-agedmales in Tokyo.

Singularity University is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not really a university but a
think-tank and it doesn’t really focus on one technology but rather how many different emerging technologies can be leveraged and interfaced in order to drive growth and solve global challenges. A presentation by ardent futurist Darlene Damm opened our minds to new research in areas that will transform the way we live in the coming years – artificial intelligence and machine learning, bioengineering and regenerative medicine, big data and augmented reality were just a few of the topics touched upon during our workshop. The focus at Singularity is on “exponential tech” – technologies whose adoption and development can have skyrocketing impact in all industries across all markets. A hands-on session also gave us the opportunity  to see some of these new technologies in action – from having a chat with a cognitive robot to running around with Virtual Reality goggles, fully immersed in another dimension. One of the great take-homes for me from SU was a new way of thinking about technology application. As a non-gamer I was excited to see that research was underway to use VR headsets in the provision of palliative care and pain management for burns victims and other trauma patients. SU encourages students and professionals to ask the big questions. They don’t claim to have all the answers but they promote great vision, ‘moonshot thinking’ and alternative ways to think about, apply and leverage new technologies to impact meaningful change in the world.

No visit to Silicon Valley would be complete without a visit to Apple HQ or the Googleplex. At Apple we had the opportunity to meet two senior product managers and following several presentations had the opportunity to ask some of life’s most pertinent questions – why did Apple choose to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7? What’s the thinking behind the TouchBar on the new Macbook Pro? Why doesn’t Apple expand its portfolio of products? These questions may seem trivial but what lies behind them is masses of market research carefully formulated into intricate strategy applied to product design. The outcome is one of the world’s most beloved brands that plans the user experience right down to the carefully-engineered iPhone box that builds a one-second anticipation when lifting the lid for the first time. As someone with a non-profit background in the health space, I was particularly excited to hear from a lead at Apple’s Accessibility team. Apple  are constantly trying to add new features or extras to their products to ensure that they are functional for all members of society.  This goes far beyond adjusting font size for the visually impaired and ranges from ‘AssistiveTouch’ head-movement-controlled touchpads for people suffering with cerebral palsy to syncing devices with hearing aids to enable better quality conversations for those with partial deafness. Thankfully many never have the need to enter Settings>General>Accessibility on our iPhones but take a look at the impressive plethora of adaptations Apple works on to ensure accessibility and quality user experience for all users regardless of capability.

The Googleplex has a mythical status in the professional world. Ball-ponds at work. Croissant buffets lining the corridors. Self-driving cars whizzing around the parking lot, darting in between parked Google Maps vehicles with their iconic rooftop cameras. All this may be true. But this is not what stood out for me at Google. Several months ago I read Schmidt and Rosenberg’s “How Google Works” – a fantastic read for anyone with a keen interest in organisational behaviour and a passion for understanding how the world’s source of knowledge operates. The take-home message from the book was that Google is all about people and the culture they foster amongst their employees. This could not have been seen more clearly than on our visit to Mountain View at the Google HQ. We had the chance to chat with several LBS alums that are working out there in a range of roles from product management to business strategy. What came across most strongly was their love for Google and the freedom they have to pursue new opportunities and ‘self-actualise’ (in Maslow OB terminology). Googlers, as they are known, strive to maintain an entrepreneurial outlook in the face of global operations; a tremendous feat. They do this by giving their employees autonomy to be creative, to innovate and to follow their passions. The result of such policies (including 20% Time – the commandment for all Googlers to spend a fifth of their time in the pursuit of innovative projects – that according to employees results in working 120% of the time!) are some world-changing products including Gmail. Much food for thought to be gleaned from our time at the Googleplex in hiring talented people and allowing their enthusiasm and self-motivation to shine.

Visits to Electronic Arts (the world renowned EA gaming company), the beautiful Stanford University and their Design School, Autodesk and among others topped off an incredible week but it would be remiss not to make special mention of the LBS alum community in the Bay Area. It was fantastic for our cohort to meet the incredible populations of LBSers and our supporters based out in the San Francisco area. One of the major plugs of our school is the global network of contacts as alumni forge their international professional careers. Indebted to the school for the education, life skills and opportunities afforded to us, it is really wonderful to meet LBSers from across the professional spectrum who offer advice, guidance, time, friendship and professional support. The large networking evening was particularly lively and enjoyable and was a great opportunity to link with those in the finance, consulting, technology and start-up spaces – united by our common love and gratitude to the London Business School. A big thank you to the Admin team – in particular Kelly and Fiona – for making such a wonderful, busy and exciting trip possible!




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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!


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In 1873 it took 80 days to travel around the world. People ended up emotionally drained, physically knackered, significantly poorer, with no willingness to ever venture anywhere further than the local pub.

But nowadays, our attitude has changed, with some seeking beneficial tax regimes (hello Cayman islands!!), and others just not wanting to miss a single day of Oktoberfest, while sparing some time to gnaw granite of financial science in the middle of Marylebone.

So what about LBS commuters? How far would they go (literally) to get an LBS degree?

I have asked my fellow dot com students (I hope by now it is a tiny bit clearer that “com” stand for “commuting”) about the pros & cons of airplane lifestyle and any recommendations they could conjure up for those interested. Oddly enough, out of the course of 73, 13% commute, which brings it to exactly 9.5 students… Another fascinating fact – I sent my enquiry to most of the 9.5, but everyone who replied (3) commute from the same place – Germany (please make your conclusions yourself).

So lets start!

The main challenges of commuting?:
You always have to fly Friday/Sunday, never get the cheapest flight, and miss the social events during the week”. Awww Marco, now everyone will understand who I meant when I mentioned Oktoberfest
That could be the weather this winter. British airports are very well known for their “rapid reaction times” to deal with snow
Sleep deprivation – and making decisions about what to pack every fortnight

Advantages of commuting?:
You can always claim to be treated specially
My company lets me have the days off when I need to travel without the need to take holidays. Could be worse right?
You don´t need to get a visa, new flat or anything else that is required for people relocating to London. So it´s a lot less stressful at the beginning but you have constant stress of commuting

: “If you really hate travelling, don’t commute” – I LOVE this one
: “Get company sponsorship as you have to pay for a lot for travel costs
: “In the unlikely event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down automatically…

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As an aspiring entrepreneur, LBS was really a simple choice for me. I wanted a b-school that gave me a global business perspective. Understanding how the global supply chain works in our modern age is key for my future success. Where else can I learn about globalization and build international contacts in the most diverse b-school in the world? With more than 66 nationalities in my MBA class, I don’t need to look far away!

What also grabbed my attention was the curriculum. The first year is spent enforcing core managerial concepts such as strategy and corporate finance, which can be waived under certain circumstances. As for the second year, there are so many options! Starting from exchange programs, with more than 30 partner schools around the world, to electives which will really help me build my business such as Managing the Growing Business. I also have the chance to spend my summer at the Entrepreneurship Summer School, which allows me to test the feasibility of some the ideas that I have and be able to develop a business plan by the time I graduate!

Being the #1 MBA program in the world, LBS is THE place for me to build my skill set and contacts. By the end of the program, the world better be ready for me!

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I did struggle to decide… between the different schools. Going to London sounded scary to me as people kept on telling me about its stagnant economy, the conservative and uptight style, and even the endless raining days. However, I finally made the decision and came here, and now I am pretty sure that it was indeed one of the best choices that I’ve ever made in my life. Well, why I chose to be here? 

I chose LBS, for the global mind. Sometimes it’s just so easy to consider that global equals the U.S. But you know, it’s not, at all. In LBS, British students were never quantitatively preponderant. As a matter of fact, in our class – MBA 2013, we have 405 students from 66 countries speaking 45 languages. Impressive! Huh? As for my study group, we six persons are from Australia, Israel, Serbia, Spain, US, and China. Working in such global teams, how could it be possible of one person not be able to get a truly global view? 

I chose LBS, for its academic rigor. There is no doubt that LBS has very strong finance programs. Also, the school highly values teaching as well as researches. The core courses are well structured to provide us with solid foundation of finance. See, just at this moment, I have a thick binder of corporate finance on my desk, and pages-long cases are waiting for me. It’s challenging, maybe a bit overwhelming…but we came here to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone, didn’t we?  

Last but not least, I chose LBS because of London. “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. “ This was from Samuel Johnson and was put at the very first line of Lonely Planet London. So many things are going on here. A lot of fun, every minute. London is crowded, quiet, historical, modern, financial, artistic…It’s so dynamic, and such a cosmopolitan city.

In one word, simply trust your own feelings when you choose the school, just like choosing your partner. Choose the one that YOU like most, no matter what others say.

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It’s only the beginning…

Posted by: Martim
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Preparing for the start of the term basically means two things: Going through hell to find an apartment, and then on the way back pass through orientation week. The flat hunting begins nicely enough; you’ve just arrived in London, it’s the big city, lots of people and things to do (and pints!). Then you begin getting on those green Minis and start hearing the Foxtons people telling you “soooo, your LBS?! Yes, you’re the 8th person I’ve shown apartments too! You’re a little late mate…” You see one apartment, then two, then four, then ten; Too expensive, too gloomy, too far, too close. Just when you start to despair, luck for some reason knocks on your door (not the doors you have so rationally and diligently been knocking on mind you).

Orientation week is a lot of fun, I must say from the start. However, it is brutal. Be prepared to memorize 293 names (just because 400 is not feasible), and then forget them altogether, going through embarrassing “hum, so what is your name again?” You meet your study group, and go through some purposefully organized “games” in which you end up getting to know your real friends. Looking back, it has been an incredible two weeks. And it is only the beginning!

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As my mother told me, when I was still in her womb, she was shifted to three hospitals due to some last minute complications. So I have quite a history of travelling right from the beginning. But it took me another 17 years to meet people of a different country. You can blame it on Indian humid weather or my parents’ depleted bank balance. And while travelling around the world, I found that I was more comfortable (read challenged) with bowing in front of Singaporeans or greeting people as ‘Monsieur’ or ‘Madame’ rather than confining myself to folding hands, the Indian way of greeting people.

When my work stopped challenging me, I started looking for avenues where I can get challenged, but still feel belonged. And here I found London Business School. I attended many drop-in sessions and met many alumni of London Business School and what most attracted me other than the glow in their eyes when they speak about the school was that I never met two people of same Nationality or professional background. Right from that moment, I knew that London Business School is the plane I want to board and travel with passengers of different nationalities.

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Third block week in London with two mid terms and a presentation down and there is much more to go…

Got to see the best of London with best people – Our London classmates and school had arranged networking events all through the week to meet and greet with other MBA programmes, especially our Asia class. Thanks for organizing!

Lot of work, lot of fun and NO sleep – all in all, very rewarding. I am looking forward to next block week in NYC – please check in with me in a couple of weeks!

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First day at school… again.

Posted by: Kennedy
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It’s been more than 11 years since I left Uni. First day back to school was like the first day at school again, I felt excited, nervous, happy, worried, relax and tense. When I walked towards the school’s entrance, I was greeted by many very well positioned welcome signs. They directed me to the Sainsbury’s building where I was given a warm welcome by Linden Selby. She gave me a precious souvenir from the school – a nice magnetic name tag, with my name, the title of the programme, graduation year and the logo of the two schools. The tag signified that I am now a family member of the two business schools. This was the moment when everything finally sank in: “I am now embarking on a life changing experience. Nobody knows how it is going work out at the end, but one thing for sure – it is going to be great!!”

With the name tag nicely secured on my suit jacket, I started walking towards the lecture theatre area where I spent most of the time during the orientation week. While walking up the stairs, the sense of excitement was building up rapidly. I could hear the sound of people chatting got louder and louder every step of the way. When I opened the door and entered the refreshment area, I was greeted by my new classmates and the first lesson began (although the school didn’t explicitly say it): How to effectively remember the name and face of the person you have just met and the conversation you had with that person, then multiply this by 75? No matter what level you are, this does really sharpen your social skills. The good news was that everyone genuinely wanted to get to know each other well. So it was a great atmosphere.

The first week of lectures was amazing! I attended a class visit a few months back and the experience was great. However people couldn’t help but thinking that the school might have arranged the best lectures for the visits, but they are wrong! All the lectures were equally as good. The applause from the class at the end of each lecture clearly reflected this. It was an amazing experience, I have learnt a lot and I felt very inspired to apply the learning at work.

One of the advantages of being an EMBA Global is that we have an average of 11 years of global work experience, so we can relate to the topics and discussions in class. More importantly, people who are here want to be here, so everyone was very engaged. We were asking constructive questions, giving insightful comments and challenging assumptions professionally. Despite the rigorous schedule and extra curriculum activities, no one fell asleep in class despite the lack of it!

Among all the core courses in the first term, “Executive Leadership” and “Leadership and Organisational Change” were my favourites, where as “Financial Accounting” was my least favourite (no offense Professor, I am just telling the truth). However the first week of class changed my perception to Financial Accounting. The professor turned this seemingly boring, dull and complex subject into a very interesting and easily understandable subject. Well… come to think it, it shouldn’t be a surprise, right? Now Financial Accounting is one of my favourite, in spite of the heavy homework ;)

The orientation week went pass really quickly. It was the last day before I knew it. It has been a fun week. It has been great! I have learnt a lot. I have met a lot of nice people. So I am looking forward to the next class week in New York. See you there!

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