Posts Tagged ‘Trek’

It’s a know fact: during the Summer Olympics, not all days are the same. We tend to get more excited about the finals of the 100 meter than about the preliminary rounds of powerlifting (no offense). If the MBA is like an Olympic campaign, where every day is different and exciting in its own way, I think we are gearing up to have one of our absolute highlights events of the program: The Global Business Experience. Months ago, we had to decide where we wanted to go for a week long international assignment in what was portrayed as the Rolls Royce of all field trips. There were five very juicy projects in different corners of the world: entrepreneurship in South Africa, marketing in Istanbul, economics in Hong Kong, strategy in India and an interesting finance in the United States.I decided to join the Boston/New York trek, which has a strong focus on asset management and is lead by an amazing team of LBS faculty and staff. Which business school student can resist the vibration of a place like New York, and the possibility to visit leading companies in their field…

At the time, it seemed far away, and we were more concerned about approaching internships than about this post summer adventure. But as the summer moved on, and preparatory emails were sent to the batch who had decided to join this trek, you felt that a momentum was building.

First came the logistics, and people were discussion whether to travel before or after the “official part”. A bit later came the program, and it was the time to really get excited about the adventure that was lying ahead. Scheduled visits of companies like KKR, NYSE, Baupost Group, Fidelity, Citi and many more are really appealing. I think it’s the part students look forward to the most: to discover these mythic names from the inside. The opportunity get backstage access to these players doesn’t come frequently.

When the preparatory work email flashed up on the screens, we were brought back with the feet on the ground, and we realised instantly that the trip is not going to be like a lazy summer holiday extension. It’s the way it’s supposed to be, the LBS-way: intense, professional, group-oriented and rich from lots of different angles. We were asked to reach out to our network to set up meetings with experts from other companies, in order to fulfill the requirements of a group work that we have to complete. Some memories of our study groups (the interesting small group of people we’ve spent most of our all nighters” work in the first year with) came back to mind. That’s what LBS is about: achieving more, by working together.

Of course, it will have it fair share of networking with alumni and current students alike, and there will even occasionally be some time to sleep, although I’m not so sure about the latter.

I will try to keep you posted about how the week unfolds! In any case, I’m very much looking forward to take another juicy bit of the the Big Apple!

Wouter*

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Weathering the Trek for an EMBA

Posted by: Ronald
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I signed up for the Silicon Valley Trek back in February thinking that I’m potentially one of the few Executive MBAs on any LBS trek and it was a potentially daunting activity. However it presented a great opportunity to connect to other entrepreneurs, VCs, managers and alumni that would never be otherwise possible – at least not in this timeframe. I thundered on and the application was done in good time. By March, it was a Go – and the next I knew, I was already on the plane across the calm pond.

At the Bay, the weather was not accommodating:  the previous day was coloured with torrential rain and a tornado warning. I had brought the weather with me to sunny California. Inside, I stared at the busy schedule. It revealed much about the types of companies and what the week has in store: entrepreneurship, hard choices, big exciting ventures and stories of the Valley’s history of successes. But what I did not realise, was that I learned more about the nature of opportunities, waves of unpredictable milestones and cycle of failures and successes.

The trek group and I were inspired by stories and insights of the way business is done in Bay Area. It is very robust and positive. One serial entrepreneur loves there, because “the culture has had a 70 year head start and it embraces learning from failure”. A striking contrast to the unbelievable strength of active-inertia preventing incumbent media companies embracing the new Internet economy. No matter what the adversities were, entrepreneurs with determination and great people will get somewhere. Even if they fail, they try again – it’s the only way.

After a hectic and rewarding week, the clouds parted over the San Francisco Airport and the sun came out. I looked forward to coming back to London, but I can’t help forecasting that Europe’s culture had a different air to entrepreneurship – it does not interpret past failures as a sign of potential success: “if you sunk the boat before mate, you’ll potentially sink it again”. So, am I heading into another storm? Is it worthwhile to subscribe to the way it’s done in the Valley? If so, how does one go about changing the European mindset? Comments please.

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