Posts Tagged ‘Social’

Today I finally understood what it meant by the journey is the destination. I have always contemplated the thought and rationally agreed with it but my actions were not always reflective of this notion.

Life somehow always seemed to be too busy. First it was about studying for the final years of high school to attain a good score for university. Then it was about doing well while doing masses of extracurricular while in university so I could go on to law school after (Something that I had thought I wanted at the time). Fast forward a few years, it became about applying for Masters programme. Last term it was about networking, job hunting, keeping afloat of my masters, playing touch rugby for the school, doing things for Impact Consulting board, pouring drinks as a sundowner crew member and the list goes on (these are some awesome things you can get involved with here at London Business School- I will be blogging about my experiences with them).

There never seemed to be a break.

And the truth is, for an ambitious person, there will never be a break. Once a target is reached, we just set a higher one for ourselves. The cycle persists.

For 2015, I decided that it was time I realised I needed to also ENJOY the journey. The journey was going to continue regardless of how I travelled and this applies to all of us. I didn’t need to travel first class but I just wanted to have a damn good time while travelling. I wanted to look back and not wish I hadn’t worried so much as I have retrospectively viewed parts of my youth. I wanted to look back and say I tried those things that interested me.

I wanted to look back and confidently think that I had given the journey my all.

That I wouldn’t change a thing and, heck, it was an AWESOME journey.

Yesterday I was reading an article about parkour and being the adventurous person that I am, I have ALWAYS wanted to try parkour every since I knew it existed as a form of sport. I never actually went and did it because I was always too caught up with the destination.

Today I changed that and I went to a parkour session. It was two hours of intense fun. With a looming marketing exam, the commute to and fro plus time there was a big ‘sacrifice’ but I am so glad I took that leap (pun intended). It was today that it hit me. The journey IS the destination. Or at least a very big and important part of it. What you do everyday for a perceived end goal (e.g. for many of us here and future students it would be getting our ‘dream’ job) has to be balanced with things you enjoy in life. Otherwise what is the point? If you live in blind pursuance of this goal, neglecting everything and everyone else that is important to you then you may reach that goal –great but you will look back and wish you had let yourself enjoy along the way. It might mean a bit less time spent on the goal but you had fun, you made meaning and you experienced life along the way.

I write this here because business school is an all-consuming activity. It is so easy to come to the London Business School and get sucked into the busyness of life here without allowing yourself some time to do what you enjoy, to make the journey here awesome. Absolutely me-guilty as charged last semester. This is especially the case for the MiF and MiM students who are only on campus for one year. It is definitely a tough juggling act to do all London Business School things plus make room for your own interests.

As someone who is now halfway through my Masters here, I hope you as readers, whatever programme you are thinking of applying for or will be entering, heed this advice. Remember to set time aside to enjoy. Enjoyment may come in different forms for you than your friends at school but be bold. Go spend time doing those things you are interested in or love. Of course, I am not saying drop the thought of business school and your career plans. All I am advocating for is that you make some time each week to do something you like.

Today I went parkour alone and left knowing a bunch of new friends with a determined goal of going back next week. I had so much fun doing something that interested me and has given me energy and motivation even for other aspects of life.

Be honest with yourself.

What do you enjoy? Will you allow yourself to invest time in it?’

 

Ps. if you do not know what parkour is, this video will give you a better understanding.

What I did was no where near as advanced, it mainly involved gymnastic benches, metal structures and lots of foam mats!

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Mother’s Little Helper

Posted by: Will

As soon as you get comfortable meeting everyone at school and getting into the swing of things, the heavy workload slaps you in the face a little bit. It reminded me that this is work, a lot of work, and most of it is pretty difficult too. This of course arrives at the twilight of our honeymoon.

The honeymoon of business school is loaded with drinks, new faces, optimism, and a willingness to do everything, because you pretty much can do everything. This, I believe, is the root of the much talked about “fear of missing out.” I promise, you will miss out. Money runs out, time runs out, motivation runs out, and you might even run out too when the cases begin to pile up.

An MBA at LBS isn’t just about learning strategy, finance, marketing and operations. It’s about learning how to say “no” and feeling completely comfortable with it. A prerequisite for the course, in my opinion, is to understand yourself and what you enjoy. It’s incredibly important to get your fill, regardless of what it is, and make sure it’s outside of campus. For me, it’s skateboarding and basketball. They keep me sane as long as I don’t break my ankles trying to do so.

Personal development is inevitable going through the LBS course. It’s important to remember during the stress that it is all part of the bigger education, whether you’re graded or not.

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Almost two years ago I started my MBA. The application process for it started a year or so before that. I remember being bewildered by the number of business schools to choose from and that, aside from location and their ranking, they all seemed pretty much the same. Students and alumni at every school claimed they were amongst the best for reputation, for recruiting, and for academics. And to an extent these claims were all true.

But that didn’t help me narrow down my application list. Instead, my application short list was based largely on the impression made by the wholly unrepresentative sample of students and alumni that I met from each of these schools. It seemed like the best method at the time.

With hindsight, now I can confirm that, yes, the top schools are all very similar on the surface. But with a little digging it’s possible to find a large number of differences between business schools. Those differences may be small things like whether a school hosts free drinks each week or how you select your electives. As you add up all these differences though and then compare schools, you’ll definitely see distinct pictures of the schools emerge.

Why should you care? The first reason is that you’ll likely be studying there for two years. That’s a decent chunk of time so it’s in your interest to find the place best suited for you. That can be hard; you may not know what is ‘best’ for you now. Also, chances are that if you enjoy business school at one place, you would probably fit in and be happy at another school too. But still, the little things can make the difference between a good time and a great time.

The second reason, and arguably more important (or at least more Machiavellian), is that it will help with your application to that school. If you have a good knowledge of what really sets that business school apart, that will impress in your essays and application.

So what actually are the differences between the top business schools? You could ask questions like ‘What’s the best thing about this school?’ or ‘What’s the worst thing?’ Boring! I often asked these types of questions and I would get similar responses at whatever school I visited. But I want to make life easier for you. Here’s where I’ve observed some big differences between top business schools. It would be in your interest to think about and learn the answers to these questions before applying to your chosen business schools.

Academics

Is the school better at any particular subject area?
Every business school offers courses across every subject area. But some schools excel at certain areas. Kellogg is known for marketing, LBS is known for finance. In these departments at these schools, you’ll likely benefit from better professors; more elective options; and access to influential outside speakers. You may not necessarily improve your employment prospects in these fields (nor harm them in others), but it could mean you get a far better education in these subject areas. The subsequent benefit being that you become more knowledgeable and better connected than your peers at other business schools in that subject area.

How rigorous are the classes and how many hours outside of class are required?
Some schools have a higher workload than others. This can also vary within subject areas at a school, for example, finance courses may require more outside work than marketing courses. Academic rigour is good, but if you’re constantly hitting the books in the library, when do you get to take part in clubs, socialise with classmates, and search for the post-MBA job? There is more to the MBA than just the academics.

A word of caution: it’s a universal truth that the workload of MBA students initially is high, so making a comparison against the first semester won’t be useful. Instead, ask about the workload after the first semester or after the first year.

How many core classes are required?
Some schools require you to take a prescribed list of classes in your first year, with little exception. Others provide you with more flexibility. If you’re looking for a well-rounded learning experience, the former is good. But if you want to become an operations management guru, you may want the latter so that you can skip straight to the electives that matter.

Are their streams/sections/cohorts? How are they chosen? How do people interact and socialise within the sections and between sections?
Most business schools have some concept of a section: a group of 60-90 students you do the majority of your classes with. Usually schools try and create a mini version of the United Nations by amassing a variety of nationalities and professions. The personalities of sections even with a school can vary significantly, so what you hear from current students may not be reflective of your own experience. But nevertheless, find out whether people enjoyed it.

Are there study groups? Do they matter?
Some schools place you into a study group that you keep for your entire first year. These are an even smaller cross-section of your stream. Other schools change study groups every semester or even in every course. There are tradeoffs between the two approaches: the same study group for the entire year can lead to great friendships, it’s also easier to share the workload around. On the otherhand, you miss out on working with a greater variety of personality types and may miss out on friendships being formed.

Some schools have courses where a large percentage of your grade is based on work you do as a study group. At other schools it’s just an informal group for discussing the classwork. Think about which you prefer and find out which approach your business school takes.

Are there any unique requirements?
LBS and INSEAD both require you to learn a second or third language. Some schools have components that require you to study overseas for a week as an international business experience. Is this something you want? Or is it an unnecessary burden for you?

What are the campus facilities like?
Places like Columbia, NYU and LBS are in the heart of major cities. It’s a great experience being in New York and London, but it comes with the concession of being constrained by space. Some schools also share their facilities with undergrad students. Does that then mean it becomes a challenge to find a desk or study room in the library? Or perhaps the bench press in the gym is always in use.

How are electives allocated?
Some business schools have a bidding system, at others you must rank your preferred courses, others still probably leave it to some mystic incantations to determine which courses you’re allocated. It’s important to know how courses are allocated to better understand whether you’ll be able to get on the courses you want.

Who are the good professors and will I be able to study with them?
Every business school has its rockstar professors who feature on various top lists. Chances are you want to take a course offered by one of these professors. But will you be able to? Some of these professors only teach to the Executive MBAs, or teach at a satellite campus on the other side of the globe, or they only teach once a year (which may then clash with your overseas exchange/extended internship/beach holiday). Even if you overcome those hurdles, can you then get on the course (see previous question)? In short, if there is a particular professor you want to study under, find out how easy it is to take their courses.

Clubs

What clubs are on campus?
Clubs are a great way to learn and extend your ability in both professional and social pursuits. If you’re founding a startup, get involved with the tech and entrepreneur clubs, or if you want to become a consultant, join the consulting club. They’ll help you immensely move ahead in your chosen industry. They’re also a fantastic way to meet people and have fun. I immensely enjoyed my two years as part of the rugby club.

Of course, if a club isn’t on campus, you could always start one and you’ll certainly gain some great skills in doing so, but those skills may be more in organisation and admin than in the actual industry, sport or hobby.

Which ones are active? In what way are they active?
Even if a club exists on campus, how active is it? If they’re only organising activities or meeting once a semester, it’s not going to be a great place to meet people and develop new skills or have fun. On the otherhand, an active club is a fantastic way to meet new classmates, network with alumni and learn about an industry or have fun taking part in a sport or hobby. Also find out what the club does, for example, if it’s the media club, do they just organise a yearly conference and a trek somewhere, or do they also organise more regular events.

Are there fees for joining or attending events?
Some clubs charge membership fees for covering their costs. These can sometimes be in excess of $200 per club, especially for sports clubs. Sometimes clubs may charge to attend visiting speakers on campus. I would say that almost always it’s worth whatever the club is asking. But perhaps those fees are the difference between exploring an area you’re vaguely interested in, and not.

Extracurricular

Can I go on exchange or study overseas?
There are many benefits to studying in another location and many schools provide that opportunity. Some schools offer exchanges to other business schools around the world: LBS students can go on exchange to over 30 partner schools. Other schools offer the opportunity to study at satellite campuses around the world: INSEAD students often split their time between France and Singapore campuses.

Where can I go? How likely is it that I will get to go to my desired place?
If it’s an important factor being able to study away from the main business school campus, you want to find out how easy it is to take advantage of that opportunity. Exchange schools may only have one or two places available to students from your business school and these may been hotly sought after by your fellow classmates. Is the decision based on grades, essays, interviews, or something else? Imagine the disappointment if you select a business school for its exchange programme, only to then discover that you can’t go to your desired place.

Are there weekly drinks?
I think weekly drinks are universally offered at business schools around the world. They’re a great focal point for your class to come together and catch up with people you haven’t seen during the last week (or longer). Often students from different programmes attend, often faculty attend as well, so it can be a great place to meet new and interesting people. But not all drinks sessions are created equal. Ask if many people attend these. And ask if they cost to attend (some charge a fee per semester or year).

What treks are typically offered? Will they break the bank?
MBA students love treks. What is a trek? It’s a fancy word for a trip and they broadly fall into two categories: business treks and social treks. Business treks usually focus on visiting companies in certain industries, for example to New York for finance, Silicon Valley for technology, or Paris for luxury goods. Whereas social treks are about experiencing a new place and socialising with your classmates. Often classmates from the country you’re visiting organise the social treks; it’s a special experience travelling with friends who know all the hot spots to visit!

Treks are a great eye-opening experience and were one of my favourite things at business school. Some treks are generally offered every year, but some only take place when someone can be organised enough. Ask where the most popular treks go (perhaps start planning your holidays now?). Ask how tough it is to get a place on them (there is sometimes a cap, especially on business treks). And ask how much more they’re going to send you into debt. On second thought, you may not want to know.

Jobs

Do the employers I want to hire me recruit from this school?
Don’t take it for granted. I heard of one top consulting company not recruiting from a top US school for a number of years after a certain incident. Also, some locations are better at recruiting for certain industries, for example, the percentage of graduates going into the tech sector from Stanford and Berkeley is much higher than most other MBA schools.

How many people have those employers historically taken? How does that compare with other schools?
One school may have 10 graduates hired each year from a certain company. If this is the company you want to work for, then this may sound great. But ask at another school and you may find 20 were hired from there. Potentially this means that the company has a preference for hiring from the second school and you may be better off there. But you need to look beyond just the base numbers. Take into consideration the class sise. Also, how many of those 20 hires are returning employees? If most of them are returning, maybe the better school for you is the one that only had 10 graduates hired. But take all of this with a grain of salt, as company preferences and hiring tendencies can change from year to year.

How good is the Career Services department at finding potential jobs for you?
There’s many ways to find a job, but one of the fastest and easiest is when your Career Services department is able to get companies recruiting at school and advertising directly on your school website. If the Career Services department is good at this, it may indicate those companies have a preference for hiring candidates from your school.

How good is the Career Services department at preparing you for interviews and jobs?
Good Career Services departments will also run a range of other activities and workshops to help prepare you for your interviews and jobs. These could be: networking and information sessions with companies; help with preparing your resume; practice interviews; practice case studies; practical skills for when you start your internship. Make sure to ask about what the Career Services department does to help students and also ask whether students got any benefit from it.

Other

Do you want to live in that city?
For me, this is one of the most important factors in choosing a school. Perhaps the most important. Your school’s city or town is where you’re going to live for the next two years. Perhaps you want the restaurants, nightclubs, and everything else that the big cities offer. Or maybe you’re happy living amongst the trees in New England.

The location of your school will also likely determine where your post-MBA job is: a West Coast school will get you a West Coast job; an East Coast school gets you an East Coast job; and a European school most likely gets you a European job. This is because it’s much easier networking and interviewing with employers when you’re in the same location. This is obvious if you’re in different countries. But you could be surprised by the difference even between New York and Philadelphia if you’re looking to find a job in New York. It’s much easier and cheaper catching the subway than catching a train from Philadelphia for a coffee chat in Manhattan.

Does the school provide much financial help?
An MBA is a big financial investment and often you’re going to need financial help to pay for it. To what extent does your school help you? It may be that they have a large endowment and most students are provided some sort of scholarship. Or maybe the school has partnerships with banks or other institutions to offer you loans. Not all schools are able to offer this financial support, so if it’s important to you, make sure to ask.

Conclusion

There are no doubt many more questions you could ask to learn more about the differences between business schools. In fact, comment below on what other differences you’ve discovered.

Now that you have a better understanding of where the differences, my final advice is to dig deeper and find what makes your potential business schools different from each other. It’ll stand you in good stead for your application and to have a great time doing your MBA.

Follow me on Twitter at @jrjclark

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Last Tuesday, the Masters in Management class participated in a commercial innovation competition sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as part of our Strategic Analysis module. Over the past couple of weeks, each of the thirty study groups proposed ideas for innovation in the respiratory or oncology diseases areas targeted at the emerging markets, exploring new business models to complement GSK’s existing and future marketed portfolio of products. On Tuesday, six groups, which had been shortlisted by GlaxoSmithKline, presented to a panel of GSK employees. Some of the ideas proposed were:

  • Encrypted codes on GSK drugs in order to fight drug counterfeiting in China
  • Gamified health education on cervical cancer for young women in India
  • Vending machines with smaller packaging of drugs for easier access in India

The panel prodded students to think deeply about the viability of their proposals asking questions about the unique selling proposition, the size of the gaming market in India, and the feasibility of vending machines in India based on health cards when many in India do not have health cards.

The panel deliberated and 30 minutes later during a drinks session, they announced the winner of £2500, the vending machine idea! The top three groups also win a visit and daylong tour of the GSK offices in London.

GSK competition winners

GSK competition winners

I personally believe the industry collaboration on our strategy project was a wonderful experience. I think I, as well as my fellow Masters in Management students, took these innovation ideas more seriously when industry insiders were seriously considering what we were saying. It was informative to hear the questions they asked and the ideas that really impressed them.

I would like to contrast that competition with the competition seen on the front lawn of LBS on the following Sunday afternoon. The Women in Business Club hosted a fundraiser for their volunteer trip to Sierra Lione, which included a BBQ, flowing taps, and games like three-legged race, balloon toss, and mummy race (involving students hopping around the lawn covered in loo paper). Students of all levels: MBA, Masters in Finance, Masters in Management, and even the Dean were seen competing and watching the fierce competition and ensuing water fights unfold on the sunny afternoon.

Three-legged race line-up

Three-legged race line-up

What do these events have in common, you may ask? I think they show the unique selling proposition of London Business School, that is a harmonious mixture of serious and silly all while promoting healthy and friendly competition. Whoever wins, we all win, because we are sharing in knowledge, learning and laughs.

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MBA Sailing

Posted by: Inna Leontenkova

Prologue (skip unless you and I are acquainted):
The time since I last posted something was somewhat elongated – but not because of me moving country, changing jobs, pouring drinks at the Sundowners. I just could not determine how to better address a subject quite imperative to me – sailing – a very atypical setting for my decisive self. Apologies. The pressure was high as I hoped to paint the world of sailing through the lens I saw it and emphasize how much LBS has refined it (aka “sailing is awesome” and “LBS rocks”). Below is the best I could conjure up – hope my crew will share this view and that it’s not too “heavy” for a bubbly business school blog.

Mark Twain had said something most of us heard and what had been supposedly considered the “stay hungry, stay foolish” of the past: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” A funny thing is that not many realise that this is not where this motivating passage ends. Apparently Mr. Twain went on with “So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Drea­m. Discover.” One of the biggest creative titans used sailing as a metaphor to inspire your behind out of the comfort zone, to create, risk, soak in what life has to offer!!! There must be a good reason to it.

This is all very nice – says my loyal reader – but what does it all have to do with a Business School? I tell you: a business can be compared to a ship (I am all about metaphors today). CEO is the captain who usually goes down with it in case of hitting an “iceberg”. Senior management and yacht racing crews share many job descriptions (strategist, tactician, navigator), for many of which you need specific qualifications from Royal Yachting Association and the like (think CFA, ACCA, MBA). Each specific type of a ship is different (here come the industry specifics); and sailing in different waters around the globe might affect your strategic set up e.g. due to tides (similar to cultural differences in markets); the list can go on. What I am trying to imply here is that a good sailor would make a good entrepreneur and vice versa. There are obviously exceptions to every rule, but when my billion-dollar idea comes to me – the first person I call will be someone from the sailing club.

And finally, sailing is one of the most social sports where your inter-personal skills are being truly challenged as you work-eat-sleep in a closed up space with the same bunch of a crew for days or even weeks in a row. For me that resulted in angelic temper (OK I am exaggerating a teeny-tiny bit), meeting amazing people and making true friends I can trust and have crazy fun with.

SO, if you are considering a business school education – maybe you could also try yourself in sailing? I have good news for you – LBS ranks number 1 for two consecutive years in the international MBA racing league! We go places – Caribbean, Mediterranean, Solent, Canaries, San Francisco, chilly Irish sea and luxurious Portofino Harbour – our sailors have done it everywhere.

BUT if you are considering becoming a sailor – maybe you should go to a business school as well? LBS Sailing club & Alumni (featuring Olympic rising stars, African charity entrepreneurs, Abercrombie & Fitch models, Everest climbers to name just a few) are there to give a helping hand and teach you all about what sailing has to offer – freedom, power, teamwork, competition, endurance… and dirty jokes.

Questions?

 

While reflecting on the content of this blog post I was inspired by the below quotes you might also like – all about sailing obviously:
– “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable” by Lucius Annaeus Seneca
– “A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” by Grace Murray Hopper
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“You cannot control the wind but you can adjust the sail” a Yiddish Proverb
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If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” abridged from Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s

Créer le navire,
ce n’est point tisser les toiles,
forger les clous,
lire les astres,
mais bien donner le goût de la mer


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An Amalgamation of Countries, Culture and Community

Posted by: Mihir
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Adam Douglas wasn’t joking when he said the ‘answer to Life, the Universe and Everything’ was 42 because that is exactly the number of nationalities represented in MiM2013 and it has been a blast.

Diversity is an integral part of the school’s values and nothing defines it better than our class of 162 bright minds. For a travel enthusiast such as myself, it has been an exhilarating opportunity to meet and get to know my peers – almost like travelling to 42 nations at once! I have learnt greetings in 10 different languages and you can always find a multi-lingual group of students trying to master each other’s native tongues. But it doesn’t stop there.

The MiM community is truly passionate to share their stories and backgrounds and equally eager to listen to those of others. I am undergoing a synaesthesia of cultural knowledge while having the chance to experience cuisines, music, dance, film and traditions of various countries. In the past ten weeks I celebrated my first Halloween, mastered rudimentary salsa moves, enjoyed an authentic Turkish meal, discovered the significance of Guy Fawkes Day and helped partake in an incredible Thanksgiving dinner; all thanks to my bouillabaisse of global friends. (You know who you are!)

Sharing my own culture has been just as fun when we celebrated Diwali LBS style! As part of the festivities, we performed a choreographed Bollywood dance that was undoubtedly an unforgettable memory for all of us. I was fascinated to see that our team comprised of mostly non-Indians who were exceptionally willing to learn Hindi songs, adorn themselves with traditional Indian clothes and even brave the spicy dishes.

I don’t know what I will discover during the rest of the year, but I have my bucket list of nations I can’t wait to visit… and it’s growing each day!

MiM Diwali Dance Team

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All work and no play make Jack a dull boy…

Posted by: Mihir
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… says the wise old (clichéd) proverb; “but he sure will get the best grade/job along the way” counters the new-age student.  So where does one draw the line and perfect that elusive ‘work-life balance’?

My MiM life is divided into three key components. First, there’s the Academics – course module lectures, seminars, assignments and the personal development program. Career comes next with job applications, interview preparation, company presentations and skill building workshops. Finally I have my Social life; the things I do to fill the time between the former two which would include participating in clubs and societies, sports, hobbies, parties, events and meals with friends.

I don’t need to emphasise the importance of Academics. It’s the main focus of your time here interspersed with following your career goals and next steps after LBS. So with these 2 taking up the bulk of your time and energy, where does it leave the Social aspect?

What I find best about my time so far is that LBS has recognised that we are, after all, human with the innate need to have our share of time away from the ‘grind’. The sundowners are one such example of the university promoting students to mix business with pleasure and mingle with one another. The clubs and societies have also been fantastic opportunities for me to pursue my personal interests outside the core curriculum. There’s no minimum requirement to get involved, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to meet like-minded and yet diverse individuals from different streams and courses.

The simple fact that we have elected social leaders to represent our class to organise events, parties and trips is a testimony to the University’s encouragement to develop outside the classroom as well as inside it. Our weekly MiM bulletins highlight the best places to check out in London – a city with no dearth of locations for idle excursions.

So my ideology? I’m here at London Business School to take in all that I can in my year. So far, it has been a treasure trove of opportunities to gain knowledge and invaluable career advice, but I’m going to make sure that I enjoy the whole package. I’m looking forward to treks to places I have never visited, the annual LBS Tattoo and summer ball,  Diwali & Christmas party (after a superb Halloween event) and making sure that I get a taste of some of the best restaurants in the world that are scattered throughout the city.

So I’ll end with another cliché, “It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters most”.

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Many people would not be surprised to hear that studying in a business school helped me get a new job. But I never expected that it would be co-chairing the school’s black-tie Summer Ball committee, very much unpaid. I was flattered and gracefully accepted (fine I was over the moon, but us “chairs” are not to be seen over-excited about anything). The news came on the 14th of February, when I was working round-the-clock in our French offices, quietly mourning St. Valentine’s celebrations – and alas – there was finally some justice in the world. However for my co-chair this must have been an even more special piece of news, as the event itself fell precisely on his birthday, just another 5 months later.

 

For those whose paths never crossed a single doorstep of a­­ school black-tie Ball – think about graduation after a looooong, hard, demanding but fun year at school, think tuxedos and gowns, adopt the nostalgic “we might never see each-other ever again” feeling. And now turn all this into expectations for your last party at the school. And see it from the organisers’ eyes. Scary?

Enormously, if you have even a tiny hint of responsibility, empathy and consciousness in your nature. Not for our fearless (or foolish) group of 6. We saw the ball as a defining event not only for LBS, but for London’s summer social scene, and committed to not go for second best in anything in our attempt to make this day unforgettable for our classmates. We set out to challenge the famous Oxbridge May balls and themed ours “Great Expectations”. This turned out into a fantastic and challenging experience, which without doubt tested our management, leadership, problem solving, negotiating and number crunching skills better than any exam as well as probed our stamina, creativity, and diplomacy.

 

So what did the LBS Summer Ball committee members spend their free time doing?
- Visiting potential venues all around London (including National History Museum, One Mayfair, Greenwich, Guildhall, British Museum – we even considered a tree house) – check
Doing 3 food tastings a day, some excellent, and some not that much – check
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Manual control of the 1000 purchased tickets – check
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Writing copy for imaginary event hosts to post on their Facebook page – check 
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Meeting up on Sunday early a.m. to decide on a ticket-selling strategy – check
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Reaching out to 100+ small and big companies to get sponsorship – check
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Designing logos, wristbands, tickets and building a website from scratch – check
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Going clubbing to find the best DJ for the event – check
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Stepping outside comfort zone, staying up notoriously late, sometimes disagreeing and still having lots of fun – check

 

11 day countdown is on and I cannot wait, but am already full of bitter sweet memories. Because there is hardly a possibility that I will be involved in organizing next year’s ball. Its also quite probable that I will never get to throw another party of this size and blitz. And there is absolutely no room for doubt that I will ever forget this odyssey to put the LBS SB’12 together.

…and yes, as of 3rd July 2012, we still do have some tickets available…

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The annual alumni sailing challenge

Posted by: James
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The alumni had issued their challenge; can this year’s students beat them in the annual alumni sailing challenge?  It had supposedly been done only once before – and then, the rumour goes, largely because the students had a medal winning/America’s Cup sailor to guide them to victory.  The odds were stacked against us.  One of our crew acknowledged the only boat he had ever been on was a ferry.  But we approached it with optimism and a sense of fun.

And fun we had.  The regatta was spread over a series of races on the Saturday and Sunday.  We met on Friday night for some team bonding over pizza and beer.  And then had an early start on the Saturday to practice tacking and gybing and getting everyone use to their positions.  Then, at 10.30 we were off – over the start line and racing for glory!

There’s no need to go into the details of the races.  Though we did have a blast.  There was constant confusion as a barrage of sailing vocab was yelled across the boat – it not always accurate (yes, I’ll take the blame for that).  But the important thing is that we were moving forward and we weren’t last.  We even succeeded at sailing the spinnaker up.  That was great to see the big bag flying and moving us even faster forward.  The final result? The alumni won – not just against us, but against the entire fleet of 17 boats and took home the trophy for doing so.

On the Saturday evening we went out for a dinner with the alumni and this was our real opportunity to get to know them better. It’s a small but strong club where the alumni really make their presence known – this is essential for learning from their experience on the big boats and for lending us a skipper.

I’m looking forward to more racing with the LBS Sailing Club.  And next time we meet, the alumni better be watching out.  We’ll be close on their tail for victory!


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iLBS

Posted by: Wouter

You don’t have to be a fruit lover or carry four iDevices at all times to acknowledge the void the passing of Steve Jobs has created. Virtually everybody who is remotely related to business and/or personal development finds inspiration in some of the legendary tech pirate’s mantras. MBA-students spend the better part of the day on both business and personal growth, so projecting key learnings from the first 6 weeks through quotes of the master can shed some light on LBS-life for applying students. (Noticed there’s even an App in the word applying?)

1. It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.

Honestly, before the program started, I thought I was a citizen of the world with brought interests and a keen understanding of what business and society was about. It was only until I started hearing the million life stories of MBA-peers that I realised how small the micro-cosmos actually was I had been operating in. There is so much going on, and so many things to explore, that it makes one dizzy just to think about it.  Nothing more refreshing than biting for the first time in a new and unfamiliar subject! Understanding bond markets, grasping the dynamics of rugby or seeing for the first time words appearing from behind the previously mysterious Cyrillic letters of a Russian sentence comes close to magic. It’s like the world is finally telling you some of its precious secrets.

2. You can’t connect the dots forward – only backward

Most incoming MBA students march to LBS campus with the determination of an undaunted army: sharp objectives, a clear strategy, and a list of activities/clubs & courses that needed to be attended to guarantee victory. As the weeks roll by, resistance to deviate from the plan lowers. Interest is sparked in areas that were not part of the battle plan… Loss of focus?  Should I panic?

I would argue that you have to follow your gut and try out new things. Take risks. Have faith that whatever you undertake now makes sense, maybe not today but at some point in the future. Join an Art club, date a Kazach girl, eat with your hands, take acting courses, represent your class in a political role or compete in a stock pitch. Executive Summary:   “S  t    r    e    t    c   h   ! “

3 Say no to a thousand things

The previous point doesn’t mean that you don’t have to make choices. Remember the time you went to a nice all-you-can-eat-buffet and you actually tried to eat it all… a stomach ache for sure. It’s essentially about making choices (There’s no Kazach girl in my agenda)! New things don’t come easily, and consume more energy than a tuned Hummer. So choose and engage. Engage and marvel. Marvel and blog (optional).

4. Stay hungry, stay foolish

This one’s so much larger than business school (and doesn’t relate to the all-you-can-eat buffet above). It’s about identity, curiosity, humbleness  and fun. Don’t become the sleek suit you’re wearing, don’t turn into the list of A-brands on your resume.

5. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

V.I.T.A.L. Especially in the MBA context. This study is probably the biggest gift you will ever offer yourself. An endless pile of minutes and resources to find your voice, to carve your personality, to finally chase that dream (job). Don’t get caught by trends (Private Equity seems hotter than the iPhone 5!), peer pressure, time pressure, juice pressure (unlikely). If you want to fool yourself, there are way cheaper ways to do so. You’re smart, check. You’re articulate, check. You’re maybe even good looking… Stop proving points. More importantly it’s you-time, the real you-time! Enjoy.

Wouter 4S

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