Posts Tagged ‘Life at London Business School’
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!
Kicking back after a long day at work, I found myself reflecting on how fast time has flown and how my experience at LBS this year compares to that of last year. We have just crossed over the halfway point of year 2, semester 1. Still only a few weeks in, I found myself waking up on Saturday mornings feeling a little disorientated, not having the need to dash off to the LT-10 lecture theatre for the usual 8:15 am tea and catch-up with classmates ahead our second consecutive full day of lectures.
Year 1 had a pre-defined core timetable, which followed regular blocks on alternate weekends. We spent the three semesters working through compulsory core modules that provide a wide range of subject matter. Each study weekend is spent together with your EMBA class. Looking back, its easy to understand why everyone in the class had such a close connection and acted more like a family than simply colleagues as we spent so much time together
Year 2 is totally different. In fact, compared to your fellow EMBA classmates, the 2nd year will likely be a totally different experience for each and everyone. That is because year 2 is all about electives, so you get to focus on the subjects that you are really passionate about. With so many permutations and combinations, no one student will have the same timetable – selecting your timetable is a challenge in itself since it is difficult to narrow down subject selection with so much great content on offer.
Electives also offer a practical upside since students can select the format of electives to fit within their needs, for example weekend classes versus block week electives. Furthermore, electives are all cross stream so you will be mixed with students from MBA, Sloan and MiF programmes which opens doors to more valuable connections.
Year 2 is still pretty fresh but so far it has continued to be a great experience. I have thus far completed Financial Statement Analysis and am half way through World Economy: Problems and Prospects. The content for both has been extremely relevant with practical applications to real life current business affairs. It is only a few more weeks before I take off to Dubai for a block week elective on “Strategic Thinking”.
As with the start of every new term, there is a fresh set of openings to join clubs and opportunities to apply for positions on various executive committees. I have been lucky enough to secure a position on the executive committee of the Investment Management Club, which is one of the largest and most active clubs at LBS. There will be much more to share on this, but in the meantime be sure to join the club as there are lots in the pipeline for the year ahead…
We didn’t even realise the second term had ended. We had gone through three modules of pretty heavy topics in the last three months. Maybe it was because of the last quarter of the financial year, which in India ends on March 31st.
After a month-long winter break, we kicked off the January module with an accounting exam. This was followed by three courses running in parallel – a first for us until now. Macroeconomics, Strategy and Decision Risk Analysis. We had exceptional professors for all three courses, but these are subjects most people have no experience with. We really had to focus to keep up.
The January module included an amazing boat party which I already talked about in my last post. One good thing is that the program team decided to do the February module at the Sofitel Palm. This is a gorgeous hotel right next to the Atlantis on the Palm in Marina. It certainly added a bit of glamour to the course.
The batch after us were having their first Dubai module at the same time, and they were at the same venue as well. We got plenty of chances to interact with the incoming batch over the week. We even had a mixer at the Sofitel. Alumni were also invited for good measure. The program team worked overtime to ensure a smooth experience, although a sandstorm brought in some drama towards the end of the module.
The March module was only four days long and went by quickly. The career-related events were happening in full steam with Mariam joining the London Business School team. Everyone seemed to appreciate it. Dubai was starting to heat up as well. We also went through some experimentation with catering vendors, and I was the de facto vegetarian club representative. Fun times.
The courses were heavy, but very informative and excellent. The quality of professors continues to amaze. I used the learnings from the strategy class and was able to significantly improve the working of my business.
On the networking front, the EMBA program continues to exceed expectations. I have actually been able to do business with some of my classmates and even have a couple of offers for funding my start-up. This has given me a lot of confidence in the strength of the network.
As the third term begins, I am filled with a sense of nostalgia and excitement. Nostalgia, because seven modules are over and we have only three left. How time has flown! Excitement, because it will be time for electives soon. I can’t wait to attend classes in London, New York and Hong Kong. Meet new people, learn new things and explore new cities. Here’s to an exceptional third term!
I decided to write this post to reflect on the tremendous amount of opportunities I have been a part of since I started the MiF program 9 months ago. More specifically, I’d like to share with you my experience at LBS this past week alone.
Granted, the quality of the MiF program is top-notch (as ranked #1 by the Financial Times for a consecutive of years). What truly amazes me is the diversity and inclusion at LBS – the people, the cultures, and the opportunities.
Practitioner Courses (Monday & Wednesday)
In addition to the core courses and the elective courses, LBS students have the options to take practitioner courses, which are courses run by experienced industry practitioners. Starting this week, I have two weekly practitioner courses in my calendar: Advanced Financial Modeling and Social Entrepreneurship.
The Advanced Financial Modeling course teaches the mechanics of financial modeling and equips students with the tools to perform various and practical financial structuring and modeling tasks as done in most investment banks.
The Social Entrepreneurship course aims to provide students a comprehensive introduction to the field of social entrepreneurship, and to identify the opportunities and challenges of a career in social entrepreneurship.
These are two very distinctive courses; one is more technical and the other is more entrepreneurial. As I am currently working on two part-time projects, one for a financial advisory firm and the other for a not-for-profit organization, I find these practitioner courses especially valuable.
The LBS Sundowners happen every Thursday evening, from 6:45pm to 8:30pm. Faculty, students and alumni gather at The Nash lounge for free beer and wine. Since one of the 8 rules set by the Sundownders Crew is “What happens in the Nash stays in the Nash”, I won’t go into further details. Just know that Sundowners is probably one of the most beloved things for the LBS community.
TEDxLondon Business School (Thursday & Friday)
Something I genuinely enjoy doing is volunteering. Despite my schedules during Term 1 and 2 were mostly packed with classes and recruitment, I always try to find the time and opportunities to volunteer – such as teaching primary and secondary students business skills, fundraising for Toy Drive and conducting mock interviews for high school students.
This Thursday and Friday, I had the pleasure to volunteer for the annual TEDxLBS conference. On Thursday, the volunteers gathered at Royal Geographical Society to set up the venue, sort the 500 goodie bags and badges, and ensure everything is ready for the next day. Within five hours, we allocated over five thousands of goodies into five hundred bags for the attendees. Supply chain, time management, and manpower – all the hard work goes into the gift bags for tomorrow.
TEDxLBS is a whole-day event from 9:30 to 19:00, with 15 talks on a wide range of topics (finance, science, technology, art, music, Africa, and leadership). The theme of TEDxLBS 2015 is KALEIDOSCOPE: Kalos, Eidos, Skopeo (Beauty, Shape, Examine) – the observation of beautiful forms.
The volunteer team arrived at Royal Geographical Society by 7:15am on Friday. I was responsible for registration, sponsor booth and ushering. Although I missed half of the talks, I was very happy to see the audiences being inspired by the speakers. Through TEDxLBS, we gain the kaleidoscope to explore and reflect new colors and perspectives.
If you missed the conference, don’t worry. The TEDxLBS videos will be available online in a couple of weeks!
LBS Hackathon Bootcamp (Saturday)
Having spent six years of my life living in Silicon Valley, I’ve always been interested in technology and innovation. The LBS Hackathon is a weekend long event where people passionate about entrepreneurship come together to create products from ideas. The actual LBS Hackathon is going to be held next weekend, but the Hackathon team is very thoughtful to organize a Bootcamp to get everyone prepared, technically and mentally.
During the one-day Bootcamp, participants from LBS and outside of LBS gathered to learn the multiple aspects of creating a startup. We had speakers and attendees who are entrepreneurs, scientists, lawyers, doctors and “business people”. From coding 101 to fundraising and legal, business model canvas to product design & MVP creation. The speakers particularly emphasize the importance and value of people. “Most of the startups fail not because of the product, but because of the people.”
I am impressed by how much I’ve learned within only one day. I can’t wait for the LBS Hackthon next weekend!
MBAT Volleyball Practice (Sunday)
One month after I joined LBS in August 2014, I met a few MBA2015 students who went to the MBAT in 2014. They all agreed that it was one of their best experiences at LBS. I therefore made sure that I don’t miss out on this special opportunity (the tickets were sold within seconds)!
“The MBA Tournament (MBAT) is the biggest and best inter-school sporting event of the modern ages.” It’s the annual sport tournaments where all the top business schools compete with each other on a physical level. “The illustrious House LBS has historically dominated this tournie of business school champions and we intend to continue to #OwnTheThrone!”
As MBAT is approaching in two weeks, the LBS teams are practicing frequently and hard. On Sunday afternoon, after I visited Hampstead Village with my PEVC study group, I joined the Volleyball team at Regents Park for a practice session. We are incredibly excited to #OwnTheThrone for LBS at HEC Paris!
Here it is. A glimpse into a week of my life at LBS. I hope this article has provided you some new perspectives about the endless possibilities at London Business School.
Masters in Finance is more than finance.
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.
It is day 4 since I came back from Mumbai Global Business Experience(GBE).
I am still sinking in how much I’ve learned in a week. There were many moments when I thought that GBE was the highlight of my 2-year MBA. I got to know so many classmates in such a short time and their amazing stories. I got to work with them and to learn from them, be it observing how they handled pressure, how they convinced the team to accept new ideas, or how they approached projects. I realized what a smart yet empathic group of people they are and how lucky I am to work with them.
I also got to know an India so different from what I learned before. I thought India would be very much like China, for both being the two most populous countries in the world, and both having fast economic growth as emerging economies. Therefore I was expecting to see a Shanghai in Mumbai.
But soon I realized that was not true.
On my way from the airport to the hotel, I saw so many temples on the street. I later learned that 90% of Indians are religious. I know this number of people in China may be atheism. I also saw most of Indians on street were wearing Sari proudly. Now when you are in China, unless it is a holiday or a big occasion, it will be weird to wear Tang Clothes, which is equivalent to Sari.
The biggest difference comes from the poverty level in both countries. I don’t know if it is because I was not exposed to similar situation in China before or because India indeed has deeper poverty level. I was surprised to learn people still having to live in darkness at night due to lack of electricity and I was shocked to see a whole family had to squeeze in a tiny and dirty place in the slum.
But I was not overtaken by these. On the contrary, I was struck by Indians’ resilience and optimism, when I learned that villagers are becoming entrepreneurs to sell solar light lamp to their community, when I saw that top talents gave up their high-paid jobs in London and returned to the country to help those people, and when I learned that people living in the slum work very hard hoping that one day they or their children will leave slum and move to the tall building next to it.
At the end of my visit, I realize what Mumbai presented to me may not be the metropolitan city as I imagined; but it gave me something much more memorable, be it the joy of working with my classmates, the hospitality from every Indian we met and the smiles on their face regardless of where they live, and the enthusiasm of social entrepreneurs who believe that they can make a difference in their country.
I believe that this experience will live with me for a very long time. So while I am still recovering from it physically, imagining getting up at 3am to catch a flight to visit the village and preparing presentation until mid-night for most of the week, emotionally and intellectually I have gained so much and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Mumbai GBE is just a miniature of my whole MBA life/work. The past two－year has been a growing and stretching experience for me. I’ve constantly challenged myself to come out of my comfort zone, be it learning/enjoying a technically challenging course, working hard to balance between academic and work, or staying open-minded and inquisitive to the world. While sometimes I felt that the challenge was beyond what I could take, but as a proverb says “life will never will give you more than you can take”, in the end I always conquered the challenges and I did it with pride. So if this is not enough from my MBA experience, what else could I ask for?