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Calm before the storm

Posted by Sean on 28 September 2006

The campus seems to have an eerie calm about it this week. It could be just in my mind, but I feel like things are about to get a bit more hectic. The month of September is really just for first year MBAs and is filled with skills development, career workshops, and two classes that are preparatory for the official Autumn term. It has been a lot of fun, very informative, and also manageable. The Autumn term, rumoured to be overloaded with work, starts next week. This week we have all been given our class binders and have purchased the books. The pre-reading for the full schedule of classes that start next week (Finance, Financial Accounting, Economics, Strategy, Ethics, and Spanish for me), will take up my weekend and then some.

It is also the time when the second year students are returning to campus, and the clubs are really starting to get under way. Our inboxes are constantly filled with emails about the various clubs, and invites to all of the first meetings and kick-off parties. Tonight is the Club Fair, which coincides with our first Sundowners (the free student bar every Thursday night), so it should be a great time. I am really looking forward to the clubs getting under way and these new classes, but three weeks from now, I may be sorely missing September… I should buckle my seatbelt tightly, as things are about to take off at light speed.

The End of Business Statistics

Posted by Martha on 27 September 2006

Our Business Statistics lessons have just finished however the work seems to have just started: we have two big projects ahead.

One of them is an individual assignment and the other one a group project. Both of them are about correlations and regressions and mainly "thought".

Business_statistic_b6_presentation_sep_2Today, our last day, was devoted to 45 minutes on Portfolio Analysis, 3.5 hours of team work on a tiny but interesting project and 2 hours on group presentations. Guess what! B6 was on the top four teams! (see Catalina Stefanescu, the lecturer, Diogo and myself paying attention to Rajat, Vivek and Andrew). It was a great experience.

Business_statistics_b3_the_best_sep_27thHowever, I can only praise the magnificent work group B3 did (names of participants to come however, please see the picture with the bottle of champagne). They got the right data, the right thought process and a nice outline: they were the best team.

Business Statistics was useful, structured and dynamic! I learnt a lot from the lectures, workshops, today's project and I specially learnt a lot from my colleagues.

Writing With Impact

Posted by Martha on 27 September 2006

Business_writing_sep_26th_062Yesterday was the last of two sessions on Writing With Impact successfully delivered by Elspeth Dugdale, who works for iOpener. I will quickly tell what we did and what we learnt. (See Elspeth coaching Mario and Grace and Sindee smiling).

We all answered a test on writing prior to the start of the course and I my score was not impressive. However in two 3.5 hour sessions, we learnt business writing tips such as "Make your bottom line your top line" and "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail". We also learnt how to prepare a Cover Letter (for a CV), the five steps to go about writing an essay and specific tips for writing an e-mail. It all looked simple to start with, however the session really helped structure the key concepts and set them in practice.

Business_writing_sep_26th_061Finally, we will be asked to answer a second test. We all expect better results. (See Poncho and I, one more time, two Mexicans enjoying our time).

A Walk in the Park

Posted by Stephen on 22 September 2006

This is the bit they don't mention in the glossy brochures, at least the brochures that I read.

The volunteer day happens at the end of orientation week. It is an opportunity for teams of MBAs to be let loose in  the local community, to provide a service that will benefit the local people or environment.

05_balsam_team_2_sept_1st_06jpgMy group travelled to Bushy Park, which is one of London's numerous Royal Parks and forms part of the Hampton Court estate. It was a great opportunity to get to know some new classmates, whilst doing some manual labour.

Our task was to clear a section of river and as you can see I wasted no time in getting stuck into the task in-hand. Thankfully, I had a supervisor (Peter) and a lifeguard (Christophe) on the river bank to ensure my safety and generally watch over proceedings.

07_balsam_team_2_sept_1st_06I was also grateful that the park manager (Mark) recognised that we were not used to physical labour and didn't push us too hard. Afterwards, we all went for a well deserved drink in the local pub.

Obviously, not all the teams had such a tough job. When I was standing in the river, I would have given anything to swap with the team mucking out the pig pen at the city farm. But I did get to see a new part of London and it was a great day out.

The End of Our First Class

Posted by Martha on 22 September 2006

London_bs_week_3_sep_06001 Last week was the easiest up now. We had too long days of Business Statistics, which is taught in a dynamic and complete manner. First we have a 3-hour lecture, then a 1.5-hour tutorial session and finally a 1.5-hour practical workshop.

The tutorial session is well led by Adina Popescu (in red), who is a knowledgeable and friendly Ph.D. Candidate in Economics.

London_bs_week_3_sep_06002We had some Strategic Problem Solving and our last session on Understanding General Management.

See Dan O'Brien's smile next to Peter Moran, our Understanding General Manager lecturer.

Dan is a happy Australian whose last job was manager at an entertainment company. Surprisingly, he is also able to read and converse in Chinese Mandarin and Thai.


Some of us attended Stephen's invitation to The Elbow Room and had a great time together with a bunch of teenagers.

See Poncho (another nice Mexican) holding a glass of beer and Vaggelis from Greece (in white) enjoying their time.

The alternative London guide

Posted by Stephen on 21 September 2006

As I have lived in London for the past 5 years I feel that I should show my new friends some of the sights of London. But I don't mean the Tower of London or Madam Tussauds, rather the best places to party!

Last Wednesday we took a trip down to Brick Lane for an evening of curry and beer. The venue was actually recommended by Dan (thanks Dan), who is one of my study group colleagues. I highly recommend trying it out - http://www.tayyabs.co.uk/about_us.htm

Brick_lane_drinksAfter the curry we went to a couple of student style bars on Brick Lane. You can see from the Vibe Bars website that it isn't a run of the mill kind of place. I think they were having a 1920s night when we arrived including people in 20s dress, music and dancing. It is also the only place I've heard the theme to Happy Days played by a DJ - http://www.vibe-bar.co.uk/index.flashed.html

Last night we went on a tour of Angel. This area is full of great bars and restaurants. We started at a Japanese noodle bar called Wagamamas for some food and Japanese beer - http://www.wagamama.com/food.php

Angelic_drinks Then we went to one of my favorite bars in Angel called the Angelic. This place is great for lazy Sunday afternoons, reading the newspaper and eating a Sunday dinner. I also love the fact that they play audio of classic English comedy like Fawlty Towers in the bathrooms.

Elbowroom_drinksAfter the Angelic it was time for a real student night at the Elbow Rooms. Quite a few people from our year turned up and we had a great time. The place is a bar, disco and pool lounge. So whether you want to drink, dance or play pool this is the place to go -  http://www.theelbowroom.co.uk/

And how bad do I feel after all this?

Oh, we also did some work this week. More about that next time.

A Good Party

Posted by Martha on 18 September 2006

This little blog is just to illustrate a series of tiny but important events last week.


Diogo, my team member from Portugal, got his 1st set of Business Cards.

You can see the happiness in his eyes!

We all get our 1st set of 100 London Business School cards for free.

Vivek stood up and presented our thought process on how to answer "Should London Business School open a campus in Asia?"London_bs_rajats_birthday_sep_06_3_2

It was Rajat's birthday. We celebrated at The Globe. Rajat was happy, Peter happier than Rajat, at least that we can tell by his smile and Andrew got the rain.


On Friday, Edouard Jozan, a nice French gentleman, organized, together with his flatmates Kristian and Peter, a party at their glamorous house. The picture on the left is not the best one but I am on it.  London_bs_party_sep_18th_06_3_2

See a good picture and Edouard with glasses on the right.

Our Leadership Class, Among Others

Posted by Martha on 15 September 2006

London_bs_week_3_sep_06_08Here is a picture of my team and finally Vivek in black!

This is the end of the 3rd week. I enjoyed the week and learnt however I am so happy that it is the weekend! and today is the Mexican Independence Day so that I shall celebrate tonight.

Business Statistics was cool (delivered by a rather professional individual: Catalina Stefanescu), Strategic Problem Solving was fantastic (delivered by a highly energetic man: Yiorgos Mylonadis), Understanding General Management was fast, as usual, and well led by Peter Moran.

Sean and Manish have told the story of our Leadership class already.

London_bs_glam_simulation_sep_06_7 The Business Simulation was really a play, in which we were somehow being filmed by a professional coacher, who then gave us one to one feedback on our performance.

It was also an effective way to bring out the best and the nastiest behaviour when under pressure, when out of our comfort zone, when trying to deliver the best product ever among fake competitors.

The Leadership course at London Business School is hands-on, effective and rewarding.

Why are good B schools expensive ?

Posted by Manish on 15 September 2006

So we are at the end of (real) week 2 of school. And now it is becoming evident that London Business School charges me a large sum of money for a (good) reason.

Our most recent super experience was a simulation. The school (as part of one course) arranged for a professional executive development team from the United States (i think!) to spend an entire day with us running a simulated industry where 6 student teams represented one company each. We had to come up with a business strategy (under defined constraints) and run our companies. Each person in my group assumed a certain responsibility (like marketing or sales or finance) and took decisions on a quarterly basis to move the company in the desired direction. At the end of each quarter our decisions were submitted and results were computed by the simulation to determine where our company stood.

I was the finance guy in my group (because i knew least about it and wanted to learn). Let me give an example of how real this simulation was. We received letters from our financers that we were in deep s*** because we went over a certain debt-to-equity ratio. They refused to lend us more money and we needed more money to fund out marketing, operations, and R&D plans. This was really real. It was our company and it was failing. That is exactly how it made me, the finance guy, feel.

We got our act together and cut costs, reduced budgets, put some bets on our decisions and got out of it alive.

All in all, it was one of the best learning experiences I have had. Replace this with 1 lecture each on the things we did and we wouldnt be able to come even close.

Now my point is that all this costs a lot of money. So you are really paying for these experiences. So when you pick your school, please dont pitch one school against the other based on how much it charges in tuition. Find out what your tuition is going to pay for and make an informed "investment".

(edited to fix typo) 

Personal Improvement Starts Now

Posted by Sean on 13 September 2006

Agggh! I get a little busy, and realise that the other bloggers are stealing all my potential material! All first year MBAs are going through a pretty similar September programme, so I’ll just have to beat the others in talking about GLAM!

Yesterday we had our first GLAM class (Global Leadership Assessment for Managers). GLAM is a bit of a ‘touchy feely’ course, but its inclusion in our first month says a lot for how London Business School hopes to improve us over the next two years. As you might know, a 360 review (one aspect of GLAM) is an assessment from all different types of co-workers (bosses, peers, subordinates, clients, etc). It is anonymous and contributors are encouraged to give grades and written commentary as feedback on how you work with others. During the summer, this survey was distributed to everyone’s co-workers in their last job. The results of this 360 review along with some other emotional intelligence and personality profiling were part of yesterday’s first GLAM session. These types of assessments, being conducted at the outset of our MBA, really reflect what London Business School hopes we take away from our experience here. Starting the programme with this type of review gave me a reality check on how I am perceived by my peers. It has provided me with a base from which to personally develop (no improvement needed in my case, just development, haha). Learning practical business skills through the case studies and lectures is one aim of the programme, but also reflecting on our strengths, weaknesses, and focusing on improving ourselves to be better managers, leaders, and colleagues carries just as much importance.

The end of the 2nd week

Posted by Martha on 10 September 2006


Half Friday was devoted to building our CV. My re-designed CV seems to belong to a different person.

Now, a formal introduction to my study group: from left to right we can see Diogo from Portugal, Peter from Bulgaria, Andrew from the USA, Rajat from India and my self, Mexican...and Vivek, who took the picture, Indian/British. I shall post a new picture with Vivek next time.

I devoted this weekend to running, my CV, some Business Statistics readings and enjoying London! I am all happy!

B-school and MBA: why is it different from other programmes

Posted by Manish on 09 September 2006

We have been through a week of classes and workshops (including a CV workshop in the 1st week - can you believe that!) and now some of the simple differences between an MBA programme and a traditional degree are becoming clear.

I'm probably going to restate the obvious, but for someone looking for a "What happens in b-school" primer, this could be a start. Heres 2 things that have stood out clearly.

We had 5 sessions of our General Management class this week. A comparable course in undergrad would have involved a Professor giving lectures week after week coupled with chapters and chapters of reading. I've had several of these in the past. The theme is "here is the concept, now ask me questions and go figure the rest out". In the MBA this pattern/theme does not apply. Our classes have been mostly discussions on some or the other case that highlights a business/management concept. We read the case before the class, prepare some notes on what we read, and show up to class. The professor then starts of by asking questions and highlighting some important points from the case. What ensues is a myriad of thoughts and arguments reflecitng the immensely diverse backgrounds that people come from. We were discussing a case on American Express yesterday (it was about their turnaround in the mid 90s) and lo-and-behold we had someone from AmEx in our class giving us first hand detailed "insider" views on things. That can't be beat by any amount of professorial lecturing. Note that the professor here is merely provoking our thought processes by asking the right questions. The mass of the lecture is left to us to take in any direction we want (albeit with supervision).

Now to my next point - Career development and Jobs. I have never been in a school or programme where this much emphasis was placed on the career development process. B-schools take this bit seriously. Very seriously. Of course they have worked hard and chosen a great bunch of talented and motivated people to become a part of their organization. But a lot of their success depends on our success. We are recreating our CVs, working on crystalizing our goals, and getting ready for some serious recruiting coming up in January '07. The % of students employed at graduation is one figure the career services guys think about morning, day, and night. Now would you want to go to a school where students are left off in the woods to figure out their employment situation? Probably not. So thats major difference number 2.

more later ..   

It beats work

Posted by Stephen on 09 September 2006

The week started with an away day at a purpose built site in the countryside just outside London. There were plenty of challenges designed to test the nerve and provoke insights into yourself and the dynamics of the team. I'm not sure whether it changed me spiritually, but climbing around on the telegraph poles and climbing walls was great fun.



Mba_away_day_056_9   Mba_away_day_073_1The rest of the week involved the start of some core courses, such as Understanding General Management and CV writing. However, we did have plenty of free time, which I used to go jogging in Regents Park and working out in the school gym. I also found time to go out for a meal with my study group on Tuesday and did some serious networking at the Windsor Castle pub on Friday afternoon \ evening.


Here is a picture of the dream team. From left to right we have Eduardo, me, Diana, Priya, Gil, Poncho & Dan.

The Bottle of Champagne

Posted by Martha on 07 September 2006

London_bs_welcome_party_sep_2nd_06_3There goes the end of the second week. We had our first session on UGM (Understanding General Management) last Saturday: a fast and rather interactive 3-hour lecture. We also had a great time on Saturday night. Just as promised: jazz music, an underground DJ, great food and drinks and all of us to happily celebrate (one more time) the beginning of everything.


Monday was our Away Day at the Wokefield Park. We climbed a wall each, went up a tall piece of wood just to hug three others several feet up the air, solved a huge puzzle and even learnt how to joggle.

It was a great teambuilding exercise! Click to see more pictures!



Today during our UGM class, we ran a simulation to evaluate the impact of our decisions on the share price of a start-up company over time. We did it as a team and our instructor, Peter Moran, promised a bottle of champagne to the winner!…and…guess what! we got it! and we did share the champagne…thanks to Diogo, Vivek, Rajat, Andrew and this time, special thanks to Peter Kolev, from Bulgaria, for making this happen.

Other than all that, bought new running shoes at a shop called Run and Become, recommended by Stephen; got myself the Marathon News magazine, which contains the entry form to the Flora London Marathon; went for a couple of 1-hour long runs around Regent’s Park and attended a couple of spinning sessions at the LA Fitness (4 minutes from school). Free time is a pleasure indeed!

Application now live

Posted by Adcoms on 06 September 2006

The new application for the full-time MBA programme beginning in August 2007 is now live. You can check up on our admissions criteria and start your application on the School website.

The first application deadline is 20 October 2006 (17.00 London time).  If you need help with your application do get in touch with our MBA Information Officers at mbainfo@london.edu or telephone +44 (0)20 7000 7500.

Alternatively, why not join us for an online chat on 12 September, 18.00 (London time), in conjunction with Accepted.com, where you will have the chance to put your questions to David Simpson, Senior Marketing and Admissions Manager.

In addition, our admissions team will soon be travelling the world (44 cities across 28 countries) to meet with prospective students at our various information sessions and MBA fairs.  Find your nearest event on our information session webpages.