Posts Tagged ‘MiM’
What a break! Myanmar…is…amazing! To think that this country was largely closed for so many years, yet possesses such hidden and endangered monumental pieces of history, it deserves your visit. After my NEO survey (you do this early in your LBS MBA life) suggested I needed more adventure, I decided to go on the trek to Myanmar instead of the more popular Japan trek because of the former’s unique appeal; lay on top of that the lure of original Asian food and my continued interest in frontier markets. After grueling exams, a block week and minimal sleep, Myanmar did not let me down.
My serious notes (Quick takes on the economy, banking system and real estate market)…
- The country reminds me of Ethiopia. Rather, what Ethiopia could be in a few years with a little flexibility towards foreign investments. Myanmar, a country of c.60mn people, is seen by some investors as the next growth frontier (IMF: 7.3% GDP growth in 2015) given its relatively lower wealth in the South East Asian region and the still basic nature of goods and services currently available.
- As with many countries when they start opening up with an intention to attract tourists, the airport, hotels and restaurants are some of the early areas that attract investments. Myanmar possesses quite a decent and functional airport (significantly better than that of my home country, Nigeria) as well as a number of high quality hotels and restaurants connected by very good roads. The conscious attempt to develop the country with tourists in mind is quite apparent. While we went during low season, the number of hotels/resorts and feedback from locals suggests things gather significant momentum between August-January.
- On a separate note, we heard about a heating up in the real estate market, largely demand-side driven. As I dug further on this issue, I discovered from locals that Myanmar is predominantly a cash-based economy. Also, real savings rate is negative, at the regulated 8%, considering inflation is 11-12%. Therefore, most of the professionals I met mentioned locals keep stacks of cash and/or gold at home or invest in real estate given the lack of low risk alternatives. This means that while the locals may be concerned about a bubble, the heating up could be sustained until maybe structural changes are made to improve the intermediation of the banking system.
- While the average Nigerian has 3-4 bank accounts, it’s not uncommon to find a local here with no bank account; and where he/she does, its one bank account with balances sometimes as low as $10 equivalent.
- The Kenyan government can take a cue from Myanmar on the negative implications of lending and deposit rate caps (13% and 8% respectively in Myanmar), to observe the stifling impact on credit availability to the private sector.
- The banking system, with 14 private banks, is largely dominated by big business men, partly due to a shortage of alternative funding sources for their businesses. There are 14 other government-linked banking entities. Commodities (gold and other precious materials) are a key driver of economic activity and one professional mentioned that the military still has back-end control despite the 2015 elections which further entrenched democracy in the country.
- The most incredible thing I discovered is that loan sharks here lend for as high as 12% per month. Even when the loan is collateralized with gold (sometimes kept in mattresses), the lending rate drops to only 8% per month! These monthly rates are almost equivalent to 100-150% per annum on the same principal, ex fees (NB: In Africa, micro lending rates tend to range 2-5% per month, on average). Clearly prohibitive and points to the weak intermediation role of the banks in this economy. One professional mentioned 1) that banks often ask for 200% loan collateralization, 2) prefer this to be land, and 3) the banks rarely have credit committees. Consensus seemed to be building among the locals that a banking crisis may be around the corner.
Was this post too boring for you? Then get on my LBS Student Blog page to read Part 2 – My fun notes!
The great business thinker Milton Friedman once said “the business of business is business”. Perhaps at the time this was true but I must admit that this idea has never sat comfortably with me. In fact, I positively disagree with it – with a passion. Business, businesspeople and business education have the most phenomenal power to impact positive change in the world. Business school equips students with skills and knowledge to act as global citizens, charged to support those less fortunate. In my opinion, “the business of business is responsibility”. I refer to responsibility in all its facets. Responsibility to drive stakeholder value, to ensure good customer experience, to protect consumer rights and to deal responsibly with both employees and clients. But the responsibility of good business extends further – to use our skills and experience to support those in society that require assistance; whether this be through giving time, financial assistance or guidance. CEO of cloud computing giant SalesForce, Mark Benioff, devised the 1:1:1 model of integrated corporate philanthropy. The model is a commitment to contribute 1% of equity, 1% of employee hours and 1% of product back to the community it serves and has now been adopted by over 700 companies worldwide. During my Silicon Valley GIFT with LBS, I was privileged to see the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in South San Francisco; a world-class medical facility that not only treats thousands of sick children each year but is committed to improving children’s health worldwide. The project is a testament to Benioff’s commitment to philanthropy, CSR and the ‘business of responsibility’.
As a business school student from a non-profit background, creating impact has always been of the utmost importance to me. Following my time with the LBS in California, I took the opportunity to connect with a NY-based child health charitable foundation. Together with a team of counsellors and medical personnel, we brought 50 children suffering from cancer to Orlando for a week of fun and respite. Many of these children have interrupted intense chemotherapy sessions and prolonged hospital stays (think 6months plus), at the approval of their physicians, to spend a few days relaxing on rollercoasters and eating ice-cream in Florida’s winter sun. Most of these children are bald, many are wheelchair-bound and several are constantly wired to medical machinery and monitors. Imagine, therefore, people’s surprise as they watched us scream our way through roller-coaster rides and dance alongside characters at the Disney parades. Days were spent zooming around The Magic Kingdom, SeaWorld and the Universal Studio Parks. Nights were spent sleepless – administering drugs, prepping gastric tubes and dealing with medical complications. Armed with open-access trips to ToysRUs, skip-the-queue passes at all amusement parks and fireworks displays galore, the trip of a lifetime was had by all and unbridled happiness permeated the entire experience. Although fun and laughter hasn’t yet been scientifically-proven to cure cancer, there is no doubt that all the kids returned home with a fresh hope, renewed smiles and greater strength to battle and overcome their challenges. Many of our kids are already back in hospitals across the US undergoing treatment – I wish them all well and a New Year filled with only much happiness and good health!
The London Business School is committed to “changing the way the world does business” and an integral facet of this pledge is to positively impact society. LBS’ trifecta: The Volunteers Club, Net Impact Club and Impact Consulting Club offer some of our best talent to the community; giving guidance, time and resources to support local non-profits and social enterprises. It is something about which our school community is incredibly proud and for many students, involvement in these clubs is the start of a lifelong pursuit in driving impact from operations to the boardroom, and a commitment to solving communal and global challenges. LBS is a school committed to holistic business education – an institution that creates leaders who solve problems using their minds as well as their hearts.
Wishing all our readers – students, potential students, alums and supporters – a very happy and successful 2017!
Where to even start? It’s been a whirlwind first 6 weeks at the London Business School! From meeting an incredibly diverse cohort at Orientation to an away-day building rafts in Gilwell Park. From a plethora of soft-skill sessions including public speaking, networking and social media courses to the real academic nuts and bolts of finance, accounting and data analytics – my experience at the LBS so far can be described as nothing other than jam-packed excitement. Coming from a background in Biochemical Engineering, it has been an incredible opportunity for me to dive deep into the world of business.
This total immersion has come in a variety of formats that have collectively given me a really holistic view of the business world. I keep up to date by skimming the FT and WSJ on a daily basis, spend time browsing through articles in the Harvard Business Review and McKinsey Insights and even having a look at specialist journals for pharma and biotech where my passion for business really lies.
But all this pales in comparison to the business exposure I have gained from my first few weeks at LBS. From MBA and alumni mentors to club events, I have met so many people on very different paths with exciting stories to tell. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Bloomsbury Publishing – the publisher of the Harry Potter series, next week I look forward to hearing the inventor of the global Invisalign orthodontic phenomena talk about his strategy to entrepreneurial success.
The diversity of backgrounds is what makes life at LBS so exciting and it’s then that you begin to realise that the name of the game is very much ‘networking’. More than the world-class faculty, the beautiful Regent’s Park campus, the prestigious business school, the rigorous academics and the abundance of clubs and events, the real magic of LBS lies in its people. The diversity of its student body, the cultivation of a global alumni network and the culture of relationship-building is what makes the LBS experience truly unique. The MiM has only just begun but already a life-changing transformation is underway.
Today I confirmed my place on the Silicon Valley Global Immersion Field Trip, an academic and professional excursion in December to San Francisco to learn from the innovators at Stanford, the tech geniuses of Google and Facebook and the VCs that hunt down ‘the next big thing. But between now and December, there’s still the Healthcare Conference, the IMPACTathon, company presentations, Diwali Party, Sundowners galore, recruitment evenings, exams and interviews. Life here is hectic but there’s no doubt in my mind, the LBS has a lot more in store for me…
John F. Kennedy — ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’
Having spoken and worked with admissions managers in recruitment, I learned that when they review applications, they often look for how applicants may bring value to the classroom and the wider LBS community.
The exact wordings of the essay questions on the application vary from year to year, but they are designed to help admissions managers to evaluate the following:
Are you bringing in experience, professional and academic, that is rare among members of the community (N.B. the community of current students, and not the application pool)?
When I was putting together my application for the MiM, I reached out to students in the programme via email and read their profiles (available online). I realized that what differentiated me from the pack was my experience in public service, combined with internships in varied fields (tech start-ups, government, and laws). Using that piece of insight, I started to develop a narrative for my personal statement.
Can you demonstrate that you have exemplified the core values (communal, courageous, engaged, ambitious and eclectic) of London Business School, and will continue to do so when you are here?
While LBS, just like all the other great institutions, celebrates diversity and uniqueness, it also appreciates recruiting prospects that can unify under some greater, esteemed values. They just wanted to know what drives your decisions and actions when under pressure. Over the course of my study at LBS, there had been moments that were stressful, and I was very fortunate to have colleagues that truly exemplified those core values. They made my life so much easier (and I hope I did theirs, too). I figured that’s why LBS is interested in the values that you uphold and embrace. Knowing why the School asks this question, I hope this gives you some ideas for which professional experience you’d like to share in your application.
Do you show, through your application, convincing motivation behind your application and your qualifications aligned to the requirements?
I personally find this to be the simplest and, yet at the same time, the toughest question to answer. Simplest because the answer could be as simple as “I want to be a consultant and studying at LBS would help me achieve this goal.” Toughest because it is very easy to see through it if you don’t have a strong case for it. My best advice is to take time and think through this most important question (I’ve briefly touched on this topic in my first post), then answer as honestly as you can (and should).
What do you add to the (London Business School) community?
Don’t overthink on this one. If you are an avid basketball player as I am, feel free tell them you’re interested in joining basketball club on campus and help organise events. If you have a knack of building connection with people and/or have an extensive network in a particular field, then the community might benefit from you when you bring in guest speakers in lectures or on-campus events. If you have spent the last five years studying a particular subject, the class certainly could benefit from your sharing of knowledge and in-class participation.
Write your application from the perspective of the admissions committee; include details that are relevant to them, and leave out things that would distract them from appreciating your uniqueness. The application should be succinct to a point that, when they are done with reading it, they should be able to identify you in your own category.
The ability to create and communicate your own brand is highly valued by the admissions committee, as well as prospective employers. It shows self-awareness, strong analytical and communication skills, and a healthy dose of self-confidence – skills that reflect problem-solving capability. Being able to communicate your brand in a way that emphasizes your value to the organization (e.g. London Business School) is even better.
As a Student Ambassador, I often get questions from prospective students around the world. They always go like this:
“My name is xxx, and I came from x country, and have done xxx. Do you think I have a good chance of getting in London Business School?”
That’s a fair question, but not the right one to ask if they really want to attend London Business School. For those whose profiles meet the minimum requirements, I would ask them:
“What do you want, and how would London Business School help you achieve that?”
Life is a journey without a clear path, and business school is only one pit stop along the way. The last thing you want to do is to chance the course of your career without an idea of where you want to go. Therefore, the question to ask is “how can London Business School help me achieve my goals?”
Your past reflects what your goals might be, and your achievements indicates the likeliness that you would succeed, but what really matters is where you are going from there. At London Business School, students are diverse not only due to their backgrounds, but also their purpose of coming here. Some are here to secure a job in prestigious corporate or professional careers, some are here to meet future business partners, and a (very) rare few came here simply to have a memorable learning experience. London Business School is such an unique place, because most of these people would find what they have sought.
Just a month into my MiM year at London Business School, I completed a consulting project with a technology start-up, started one with a fellow MiM student, took on executive roles in student clubs and became a Student Ambassador. Opportunities are abundant at the School, and it is easy to loose yourself in these seemingly hard-to-pass-on chances. To get the most out of your time at the School, however, you must know exactly why are you here. For me, I understand that my passion is in strategy and problem solving. I worked with these start-ups, not because I wanted to build the next Uber or Instagram, but because I wanted real-life opportunities to practice my consulting and execution skills. I am therefore seeking ways to do exactly that.
Once you understand your goals, then you would really have a chance to not only get admitted, but also succeed at London Business School. While the school life is fun, it is also demanding and could become stressful to those without a clear action plan. These students tend to sign up for too many (irrelevant) company presentations, join way too many clubs, and try to attend social events every week while attempting to meet the assignment deadlines. They obviously do not know what they want and where they are going.
Before asking the question “would I get in,” ask yourself:
“How would London Business School help me in my journey?”
In my next post, I will talk about the questions that we (and the admissions officers) ask when we review applications.
On September 4, the members of the Masters in Management class of 2015, the programme’s largest and most diverse group of students yet, first stepped on the LBS campus in central London as official members of the school community.
This day marked the beginning of an intensive twelve months course – and already the first two weeks of the program (orientation and foundations) have been truly intensive. Before the start of lectures and seminars, a lot of value is put on gaining the relevant soft skills relevant for the recruitment process and on building strong bonds with fellow classmates and students from the school’s other programs.
Orientation encompasses two days of a variety of events. Being guests in London’s City Hall, we were fortunate to listen to valuable insights from London Business School Dean Sir Andrew Likierman and Simon Hay, CEO of consumer science company Dunnhumby. Moreover, our first sundowners, LBS very own tradition of bringing students together for a drink on campus on Thursday nights offered the opportunity to get to know fellow students and alumni better and begin to build a network.
Throughout the first days on campus, new students are being welcomed by staff, current students and alumni who share their thoughts on how to profit the most from the resources of London Business School. During MiM Away Day, study groups - teams of five to six students who will work on group assignments together throughout the first four months of the journey – have to meet several challenges in an outdoor park to later on enhance group performance in the class room.
The fall term, for many students filled with application deadlines for positions in consulting and finance, encompasses four different courses: Finance, Financial Accounting, Leadership in Organisations, and Management Analysis and Systems. The curriculum is complemented with various workshops to enhance CVs, job applications and to work on one’s soft skills.
So far, two words come to mind, when I reflect upon my experience during the first few days here at LBS.
Diversity: The Masters in Management class of 2015 is diverse in various respects. Students from all continents and from undergraduate disciplines ranging from art history to nuclear physics come together in London to learn from one another and share their experience. Which is also quite exceptional for a business school is that 40% of the incoming class is female. Having studied business administration at a small German business school during my undergraduate years, the opportunity to work on group assignments and case studies with students from different academic and regional backgrounds was one of the main reasons for me to choose London Business School. Now, I am looking forward to learn from the experience of a civil engineer from Lebanon, an economics major from Bulgaria, a fashion technologist from India, a finance major from China, and a business student from Switzerland in my study group.
Proactiveness: Even though only a few weeks have passed since the beginning of the term, I am really impressed by the proactiveness of my fellow students. My classmates have given tours of the Tate Modern, helped one another when moving in, organized study groups to prepare for case studies and finance interviews, and set up weekly yoga classes. I hope that this proactiveness will continue for the upcoming 11 months to enrich the MiM experience of every individual class member.
I have recently started my Masters in Management study at London Business School. I wanted to pen down my experience with application in the hope that it will be useful to prospective students.
A key idea to understand while applying to graduate schools, and business schools in particular is that the selection is not solely based on your past performance and future potential, but also your fit with the university.
Many students are baffled why they could not gain admission with very good academic and professional record. Fit is a very important factor as it determines how well you represent what the university stands for and if they can see you as a flag-bearer for the school. This can seem alien to many students where admission is granted based purely on performance in specific entrance examinations.
Resume Overview: http://www.linkedin.com/in/akasina9
Test Scores: GMAT – 730/800, TOEFL – 115/120, GRE – 324/340
- Creating a career path: Have a clear career plan (preferably both in the short-term and the long-term, both in alignment with each other)
- Check the prerequisites: As much cliched as it might sound, ensure that you satisfy all the prerequisites in terms of academic and professional requirements. If in doubt, contact the admissions representatives before you begin your application. It can save a lot of wasted effort if done upfront
- Take the required standardized tests: Give yourself enough time to prepare well for the standardized tests such as GMAT. Though they are not the sole guarantors of your admission, a good GMAT score goes a long a way in creating a favorable impression of your application
- CV: Keep your CV concise, current, accurate and gap-free. Refer to this post for tips about writing a better CV
- Essays: Be as authentic as possible in your essays. Do not try to blow things out of proportion or fake your way through. The admissions committee is experienced enough to call your bluff. Before attempting to write your essay, research well about the school and about yourself – in terms of what you want to do and what the school has to offer. This results not only in a much more cogent essay but also in understanding your fit for the school
- Recommendations: Recommendations carry an enormous weight to your application. A well written and insightful recommendation from a manager who knows you well is much better than a generic recommendation from a CEO. And a self-written recommendation is a strict no-no. Refer to this post for a better understanding about recommendations
- Interview: Interviews are logical extensions of the application. The admissions committee was impressed by your application and has decided to get to know you better to assess you, your abilities and your fit. As long as you were authentic through the application process, this should not be stressful for you. However, it pays to know your application inside out and think of possible questions that the interviewer might have as he/she reads your application. If possible, participate in some mock-interviews, and always have background information about the interviewer
Tips for applicants:
- Think thoroughly and deeply regarding what you want do in your career. Discuss with colleagues, friends, family and as many people as possible. It gives you a greater clarity about your priorities and definitely shows in your applications
- For the GMAT, I strongly recommend two books: (1) The Official GMAT Guide, and (2) Kaplan GMAT Premier. For the AWA section, have a generic format (available online as well as in the recommended books)
- Be authentic. I cannot stress on this enough. Know what you want and be true to that. If you get rejected because you were true to yourself, it just means that the school might not be ideal for you
- Graduate school application is a give-and-take process. Schools are competing as fiercely for you as you are competing for them
- Reach out to current and former students, and student ambassadors from the program you are targeting. Getting their views gives an inside perspective on things which will be invaluable
Most of the views expressed above are my personal views, their appropriateness depends solely on their use and the nature of the user.
The final term of our degree at London Business School is already here! The MIM’s are back on the London Business School campus for the last time, with new study groups and some spectacular weather. It was really nice to see our classmates again and learn about where they had travelled to during the break.
We have just finished our first week of classes, owing to a Bank Holiday weekend for Easter. Our classes for this term include Strategic Analysis taught by Chris Coleridge, Entrepreneurial Management taught by Ben Hallen, Applied Microeconomics and Management Accounting. In particular, the Discovery Project assignment in our Entrepreneurial Management class is going to be one of the highlights of our term, as we will work in our study groups to present a 3-D physical prototype of our solutions to customer problems in a trade show. Various members of the schools network will attend this show to share their opinions about our solutions.
We also have several events and guest speaker series taking place this term. The Family Business Club has Alex Sharpe and Peter Leach speaking about the challenges and opportunities of working in a family business, whilst the Industry and Marketing Clubs have invited Laurent Philippe from Proctor and Gamble to give us insights about P&G’s strategy to build winning brand equities.
Finally, the MIM’s are also looking forward to the GIFTS Trips for the term, to Stockholm, Madrid and Paris. I’m really looking forward to going to Paris, as the focus on the trip is “customer experience” and we will be visiting the offices of Disneyland and Hermes. Overall, I have had an amazing experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish my final term at London Business School!
This past week, all of us here on the Masters in Management class had the chance to participate in Business Immersion Week. Some of the companies that we got to visit included Universal Music Group, Mastercard, Unilever, Deloitte, Net-a-Porter, Rackspace, The Pentland Group, Yahoo!, Bow & Arrow Consulting, and many others! The goal of the week was to give us insight into industries and companies that we might not have thought about or looked at before and I personally learned quite a lot.
During our visit to Universal Music Group, for example, we started off the day with an amazing breakfast and even some free CD’s by some of the labels stars!
(My desperately needed coffee and a CD to go along with it!)
Afterwards, we got to hear from Global Head of New Business, Olivier Robert-Murphy. Murphy gave us an amazing presentation on how Universal Music has continued to stay at the head of the industry despite all the challenges they’ve faced from the era of digitalization. He also gave some amazing examples of some brand partnership cases his team had worked on!
Another company I got to visit was Internet giant Yahoo! In a presentation by members of their corporate and business development team, my fellow classmates and I got to hear about all the new initiatives and developments Yahoo had been working on in the past year to help keep it among top companies at the forefront of internet search and content sources today.
Finally, on Friday, another group of Masters in Management students and myself got to visit the headquarters of RackSpace cloud and hosting providers nearby London. We heard from another LBS alumnus about the cloud and hosting industries and how Rackspace had managed to position itself to become such a top contender in the past 15 years. We also got to have a tour around their amazing headquarter buildings! Some of the amenities “Rackers” (as they call them) are offered include an amazing cafeteria and games room, a private employee kitchen, company-wide foam gunfights, and even a Mini Cooper near the first floor lounge!
(MiM’s hanging out in Rackspace HQ)
So, all in all, I had a wonderful time on all of my company visits and really got a great overview into some business industries I hadn’t truly considered before! Hopefully next year’s MiM recruits can help plan another amazing Business Immersion Week for our following class!