Posts Tagged ‘Sloan’

Should I do my MBA at Harvard, London Business School, Wharton, or just carry on with my job and forget about this whole MBA business?

The 2015 Financial Times ranking came out today with the top three business Schools in the world being Harvard, London Business School and Wharton.

FT Rankings

 

Before I answer the question “Do I need an MBA”, I have a question for you. Why do companies value MBA graduates from these business schools?

Do you think it is because they have a good education? Do you think it is because they are clever? Do you think it is because they have demonstrated some sort of social skills?

Of course these factors are important, but you can also have all of these things without an MBA.

I mean let’s take a step back and ask, what is the point of an MBA? You can pick up Josh Kauffman’s book ‘The Personal MBA’, do some online courses and get the material off a friend and you are pretty much learning the exact same thing right?

Well there are many arguments for an MBA, one of the main ones being the network you build, but the most interesting one I will focus on will be something I didn’t initially think of before having this conversation with one of the leading Strategy professors at London Business School.

Before I tell you what our discussion was about, I first need to explain the concept of a firm’s signalling policy. If a company like Facebook has a great project that they think they can make money out of, (e.g. the Occulus Rift), they can take on some debt to finance and invest in this project. When a company that size takes on the right amount of debt, the “markets” usually react positively. This is because people in the “market” are considered as “clever” and know that well established companies are only going to take on debt if they are sure they have a good project. In other words, they are putting their money where their mouth is, rather than being all talk and just make an announcement saying “we have a great project coming up that will make us a lot of money”.

In the same way an MBA student is kind of like a company. He/she takes on debt to pay his/her MBA tuition fees, which can take on numbers such as £60k+. Firms see this as a signal and place their trust in an MBA student’s abilities. They are thus willing to pay them six figure salaries as the signalling concept shows how strongly the MBA believes in his/her potential.

A lot of the world is based on beliefs and expectations of the future. This is just some food for thought for those who hear about how much it costs to do an MBA and think “Do I really need an MBA”..  “I mean Wow, that is a lot of dollar”.

Posted 26/01/2015

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The day finally arrived, long awaited and eagerly anticipated, when I entered the London Business School as one of the 52 Sloan fellows of the 2013 class. Each different, from 22 different countries yet similar in being a well accomplished, experienced professional and a risk taker out to maneuver their careers to new heights and with a burning desire to be more self aware and to learn.

Apart from the incredible mix of very distinguished classmates the other striking thing about the early days at LBS was the precision of planning and coordination by the program office in managing the whole orientation process and thereon in the most smooth and seamless manner, and why not, coming to a world class institute you expect that and they deliver more, giving you the first taste of what it means to be studying at a top of the line institute. This is only the beginning and you experience the quality in every sphere, especially the professors with their very latest insights from the corporate and academic worlds.

To sum it up, the first impression is that you made the right choice and all the hard work put in getting admitted is worth the effort. So now is the time to immerse yourself in this amazing environment for learning, self-awareness and development.

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THE SLOAN WAR GAMES

Posted by: Ritu

Term 1 ended in a tizzy! I have never had a more challenging academic tenure or a more demanding social life, packed neatly into 3 months. Come April, I packed memories of my Term 1 ‘all-nighters’ in the library and the Windsor Castle pub and headed home. Term 2 will definitely be easier…

Term 2 whizzed past in a ‘motion blur’! The core courses were significantly reduced and my electives occupied a significant mind and time share. Electives meant studying with a new cohort of people – with a new study group of mixed blood… from courses across the school. This was a bitter-sweet experience! The term 1 battlefield was still fresh with blood shed during Sloan study group ‘guns and roses’ sessions. We had called each other names and sworn ‘life-long’ enmity, yet combated deadlines together in the still of the ‘last’ hour, drunken each other under the table and sometimes even found soul mates! And here was this new cohort of young blood (MiMs, MIFs, MBAs and Exec MBAs) to deal with to pass Term 2 electives. Let the war-games begin!

If you have studied business education or worked in a study group before, I have probably lost you to nostalgia already. Some of you might even be calling your soul-mate long distance just about now! So adieus amigos!

For the rest of you, study groups are extremely tricky swamps. ‘No-hierarchy’ flat groups, forced together without any ‘for-profit’ motivations… often resembling ‘headless’ chickens with sharp and shiny canine teeth!

However, interacting with the younger LBS blood in Term 2 study groups made me come face to face with my ‘mirror-mirror on the wall’ moment…

In one’s twenties, a business program mirrors ‘who and what’ to expect in your new workplace and arms you with ammunition to best deal with the external enemy to reach given goals.

At a more mature age (and you thought I would reveal our age? Fat chance!), a business program mirrors ‘who and what’ we have become fighting that workplace. It arms us with ammunition to best deal with the internal strife and redefine goals (as we all know by now – monetary goals are mere carrots; there has to be more to this rat race).

Term 3 will be all about stepping back from the battlefield, arriving at that elusive goal that would probably define a deeper meaning and lunging forward.

As the Sloan class of 2012 dives inward, the clock is relentlessly ticking away and we must remember to savour the last few months with our sworn enemies and soul mates! For, at the end of the day, isn’t that what life’s really about?

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China: No Substitute for Being There

Posted by: Lee-Ann
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Recently, the Sloan 2012 class went to Shanghai, China to complete an international assignment.  I was thrilled to go as I’d never been to China and it had always seemed very exotic and inaccessible to me.   Although excited to see China, I was unconvinced it was necessary for the assignment.  After all, I’d found tons of information on my subject in the library, in class and online—the environment and its impact on the economy.  As it turned out, though, this was the very best part of the trip—seeing and hearing about the subject for myself.  Much has been written on the topic, but speaking with experts living and working in China added a personal dimension I could never get from academic papers or from trade journals.  Even better, those we spoke with showed a surprising amount of candor and openness I was not expecting.  I grew up in an age of wariness about China, its human rights and its perhaps menacing global motives that gave me a sort of black and white film view of China.  During my time there, though, the movie turned to full color.

I’d been told that Shanghai is not really representative of the real China.  I saw this for myself.  Everything there is big, big, big.  The buildings are tall and shiny, the roads wide and sweeping, the container port massive (and built in only 1.5 years!) and the bridge to the port so long we were over water for a full 30 minutes.  Big, big, big, just like the economy.  On the other hand, though, I saw some very homely things.  On my first morning there, I woke up early and decided to walk on the (very wide and very long) shopping street near the hotel.  There were no stores open, but I saw hundreds of people.  Why?  They were dancing!  Some dancing traditional Chinese dances, some be-bopping to pop, and yet others cutting a rug to country and western.  Who knew?  This is a way for many Chinese, especially the older ones, to get exercise.  I was enchanted by the whole thing.

The people in the class had different observations on the trip, with highlights varying for each.  For me, seeing it in person, and interacting with people in a variety of stations and positions made the trip worthwhile.  The picture of China in my mind’s eye has altered forever.

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Now that’s a blog Ritu! Obviously, my new Sloan BFF (read: my co-author) knows how to do this ‘blog thing’…which quite frankly, scares me to death!

Putting myself out there on social media, and just being open about myself are not things that come naturally to an ex-US Air Force officer, but Sloan is teaching me… boy is it teaching me.  Learning to be self-aware and stepping out of our comfort zones are watchwords in the program.

The word ‘naked’ (see, I would never have thought to use that!) is incredibly apt.  Never have I, or (I would imagine) the rest of the class exposed our inner thoughts and desires to people we have known for such a short period of time, but that’s just what has happened.  Heck, I haven’t talked this intimately about myself to people I’ve known most of my life!  And surprisingly it’s been a liberating experience, even comforting! We’re all coming from the same base of uncertainty, so it just doesn’t seem so hard.  Even team-building exercises (for me, it was acting in a play—I was Margaret Thatcher, although I sounded more like the Queen) that just months ago I would have absolutely hated, have seemed, well… fun.

It’s thrilling to do this journey with the 51 other wonderful people–people I study with, party with, and just hang out with.  We have a way to go, but the “crash of Sloan 2012” has propelled us a good way ahead already.  Even though I haven’t cleared away the fog that’s been surrounding me for years and figured out where I’m going from here, my friends and classmates say they can see things for/about me I can’t see for myself yet.  I can’t wait to see what they see—the rest of the year has such promise!

Yes, the Sloan will celebrate me!

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Only a few days ago, all 52 of us sat ensconced in our comfort zones trying to reach out to our to-be classmates, somewhat reticently, on linked-in. Then in January, we all crashed into each other… 51 strangers privy to our dreams and fears, exposed to our lacunas and party to our strengths. Its probably the most naked most of us have ever felt!

But there was another person lurking in the shadows of LT10 (lecture theatre 10). I would catch a glimpse at times, but couldn’t put a name to her face. Oddly familiar…strangely new! The more I was made to introspect, the more familiar this person became. Somewhere in the middle of week 5, I befriended her. I had crashed into myself!

In my hurry-sickness of yesteryears, an almost terminal condition (curable by Sloan I am told!), I had never really gotten the time to sit back and figure out the ‘WHO, WHAT and HOW’ that defined brand ‘me’.

After a few cold Windsor beers on Thursdays, you can often hear a Sloan fellow marvel at ‘how well he/she has gotten to know the 51 others, so soon’. But if you close your eyes real tight (ok I am being a girl here) you will be amazed at how well you are getting to know yourself.

I see my negatives and strive to turn them around. The stuff new age ideal leaders are made of – all in the new me! The Sloan will change me!

But the fact is that I am always a little late! (Personal Development Plan: better time management :()

My dream job, eulogy, timeline…and all the ‘soft’ stuff most investment bankers and consultants hate…reeks of me! So is the challenge really to ‘change’ myself… or is the Sloan really about ‘celebrating’ myself? Strengthen my strengths or weaken my weaknesses?

(Carrie Bradshaw would probably end with that open-ended question!)

I am inclined to work on my strengths. Everyday, the 51others help me find my strengths (and the elusive chalice of leadership :)). I grow in their tall shadow… And celebrate each moment at Sloan 2012.

Yes, the Sloan will ‘celebrate’ me!

My co-author (Lee-Ann) is a strong as nails Colonel (well most of the times!). I crashed into her before I came to London. The electronic media brought us together and we have already built memories together in London that will last a lifetime… Go Colonel…

Read about Lee-Ann’s Sloan journey so far.

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As one of the ambassadors for my MiF PT 2013 course I participate in open-door events for the prospective students. I noticed that many of those who drop in to ask questions, grab a brochure and have some coffee + biscuits, exhibit high interest in the school without a firm awareness of which programme they would like to apply for.

So if you aspire to be a part of the LBS community and haven’t a clue which programme suits you most, the below test will help you quickly figure out your personal path of the least resistance in the school.

Which movies are you more likely to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon ??
(a)
“The Godfather”, “La Dolce Vita”, “Avengers Assemble”, “American Beauty”
(b)
“Margin Call”, “Wall Street”, “I don’t know how she does it”, “American Psyco”
(c)
“I am number 4”, “Horrible bosses”, “Thank you for smoking”, “Captain America”
(d)
“Inception”, “Fast & Furious”, “Jeux d’Enfants”, “American Pie”

How do you get to work every morning ??
(a)
“My chauffer Edward calls on me, but honestly, I would much rather cycle to save the environment”
(b) “I get a cab from my Chelsea flat to the City / Canary Wharf” or “I usually just walk – its not too far from Pimlico to Mayfair”
(c) “I am trying to use public transport to save up for an upcoming considerable investment into my further education”
(d) “I don’t have a job yet – still writing my thesis”

How would your friends describe you ??
(a) Mature and classy
(b) Adventurous and urbane
(c) Tenacious and suave
(d) Motivated and agile

ANSWERS
- mostly (a): sharpen your strategic thinking with Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy designed for successful leaders with more than a dozen years of experience;
- mostly (b): dont wait any longer to apply for the world’s premier and ultimate qualification, turning you into a true Master of Finance;
- mostly (c): boost & accelerate your career by giving MBA / EMBA a bite;
- mostly (d): widen your horizons and get noticed with Masters in Management.

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It is going to be really nice to share some of my thoughts over the Sloan year.

It’s been quite a journey till now, it seems like yesterday that we were all arriving from different parts of the world to start this very different year … but it has already been 4 months now ! So much has happened … the feeling of first day at LBS, looking for a place to live by myself for the next year, the overwhelming orientation day where you leave school totally exhausted by the amount of things and people you met in such a short time … it all happened so fast.

It will be an awkward blog in the first couple of days … because I’ll try to remember this past 4 months in short stories, bouncing back and forward in time in order to capture the most meaningful days of what really means this Sloan year for me …

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In General

Posted by: Kristen

Although I’m always a bit wary of generalizations, I believe they can and do serve a purpose. For example, in marketing we constantly speak of a target demographic or market segment. By definition, these are populations for whom a given trait is generally true. Hence, generalizations can be useful, but they can also be limiting unless we recognize their constraints.

Let’s take for example the trait of height and look at the figure below.  The figure shows two normal distributions of height, one for males and one for females. The average height for women is 65 inches (5.4 feet or 165 cm) and for men it is 70 inches (5.8 feet or 178 cm). So, it’s true that men are generally, on average, taller than women. If we were to consider the sizes of clothes that men and women would need, we might even say something like “Well, men are taller than women, so men’s clothes should be longer.” This is fine, and we are in fact speaking about the population means for whom the majority of men and women would be near and for whom this statement would be true.

Figure from http://www.usablestats.com/lessons/normal, with my own dashed lines added at the means.

However, let’s look at the tail ends of these distributions. While the tallest man is taller than the tallest woman, the area under the pink curve but to the right of the blue dotted line represents the number of women who are taller than the average man. By stating that “men are taller than women,” we ignore all these women in the tail end of the distribution for whom it is not true. From a business perspective, our generalization may cause us to miss out on a potential niche market (clothes for tall women), but from a cultural perspective this further impacts the way we may feel about ourselves or anyone in a tail end.  The generalization, though true on average, implies that if men are taller than women, then women who are taller than the average man are somehow not as “womanly.” Similarly, men who are shorter than the average woman may not feel as “manly.”

In business, generalizations are a way of life. We use them constantly to describe our target demographics and their wants and needs which can be quite useful in determining what goods or services to provide. But the key is not to forget that while something may be true for the average customer, there will always be those for whom it isn’t. Knowing the average customer is important, but knowing only the average customer is limiting. By ignoring a tail end, we may miss out on valuable opportunities for inclusion both as businesses and as societies.

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First note: a reflection after two months

Posted by: Angela
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Sitting in the Library, I just finished my final paper on Strategy. With a deep breath, I realized it is more than two months since I joined the Sloan Program here at London Business School. I never realized how fast time flies, and thought it might be a good time now to reflect.

First impression of London
I have been traveling to London a couple of times before, but have never really loved the city as I do now – the international environment, the accepting colleagues, the elegant temperament, the academic atmosphere, and the beautiful Regent’s Park and school campus. All above has become so attractive to me and I really appreciate the chance to stay here for the entire year.

An overwhelming first two weeks
The first two weeks were exciting and overwhelming, I wasn’t have time to really imagine how the program would look like, already a lot of self assessment and reflection with the leadership course and executive coach sessions both from the course and career services. Indeed, I felt like a re-discovering of myself, and really put time reflecting deeply the purpose of life which I didn’t do for the busy of work. Sometimes we tend to be too busy as managers and forget purposeful actions in life.

World class faculty team
For me, one of the most important factors in choosing a B-School is the faculty team. I’m very happy that we got a good team of faculty and professors, a team with very diversified, energized and inspiring teaching styles.

A highly committed, global elites classmates team
If all above I talked about are conditions and environment that school provided. Most importantly I want to share the last thing I reflected which is how impressed I am by my classmates.

The average working experience of our class is 17 years. Come from 22 countries, pause the successful career, and invest a valuable time here in London full time with education, can you imagine how committed this group of people have? They are more engaged, very proactive and full of energy. During these two months, I not only learned from professors but also I learned quite a lot from each of my classmates, and every time when I joined our discussions and activities, I gained a lot of energy and encouragement. Not to tell you the long stories, I want to share two examples:

•    “The London 10K” initiative
Among many initiatives from our classmates, one of the activities I joined was the Sloan 2011 running team for London 10K initiated and coached by two of my classmates Perry and Sharad. Being a person never really tried to run over 1km, I never thought I would consider or even dare to do any exercise and run a long distance like 10km. However, I am very impressed by their spirit – quote from Perry: “Remember – the Sloan transformation does not have to be merely relegated to the professional arena..”. Now I have really enjoyed the challenge, and I assure you they are really good and patient coaches.

•    SA survey
Good news we received this week was winning the SA survey completion, being probably the most senior group of students, you might deem we sometimes either ignore or slow in small things like survey. When I reflected on this result, three things I think really worked:
o    Again, this showed a highly committed group of people we have in the class.
o    A highly collaborative team and leadership – we all want and proud of working together as a team.
o    A truly leadership – a sense of purpose we all believe – a proposal to donate the prize to the Japan fund for the earthquake.
All I want to say is thanks the admissions team for recruiting such a great group of people into the class. I am, indeed feel very proud being part of the team.

As I believed in the beginning of the program, joining Sloan program at London Business School is the best decision I made so far in life, and it will help me to make better decision in the future. I truly believe 2011 will be a memorable year, a unique experience, and a year of transforming ourselves. And I look forward the coming 9 months ahead!

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