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« September 2006 | Main | November 2006 »

About the Workload

Posted by Martha on 30 October 2006

Stream_b_30th_oct_week_task_listPicture: This is the task list for the following week that Grace Vera Cruz, our stream academic representative puts together every week.

Now it is getting difficult. Let me quickly describe our regular workload:

Mandarin is one of the most demanding classes. We have a two-hour session on Monday and a two and a half-hour session on Thursday. I devoted about three hours to prepare for class last week. The most difficult part is by far learning the Chinese characters. We are only six in the group and the learning experience is fantastic.

All other classes: Finance, Financial Accounting, Ethics, Strategy and Economics, include a three-hour lesson plus the corresponding reading and assignment.

Every week, we submit a Finance assignment (3 hours minimum to prepare).

Every two weeks we submit one for Financial Accounting (2.5 hours to prepare).

Ethics and Strategy involve reading a case and getting ready for class discussion. (2 hours to prepare each). We always discuss the cases in detail. The debate is rewarding and really, this is the best aspect of the class because we get to know how others think.

Managerial Economics has been a challenging class for those who, like me have no previous knowledge on the subject. Jean-Pierre Benoit, our visiting professor, makes us think beyond the conventional frame of things.

Last weekend I worked on getting ready for the Economics mid-term exam on Thursday, putting the Finance's first graded project together, the Finance and Financial Accounting assignments. I devoted over 15 hours to school. Can you believe that? Most people work on assignments on Thursday after Strategy however; I devote the rest of that day to Mandarin.

I am working a lot but I am also learning a lot. This is the peak of the first term. It is only one and a half months to go and there are so many things to come.

I will publish more next time.

Sailing in the Solent

Posted by Stephen on 28 October 2006

Last weekend was my first yacht racing experience with the Sailing Club. We headed down to Portsmouth on the south coast on Friday. The regatta we were participating in didn't start until the next day, but as we were mostly inexperienced sailors we felt it prudent to have a practice before the other boats arrived.

In terms of the weather, it probably wasn't an ideal weekend to be learning how to sail. We were facing force 5 winds for much of the time and lots of rain. However, with a very experienced skipper, who also proved to be an extremely effective teacher, we soon got the hang of it.

The regatta consisted of around 30 boats with 2 races on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. The races took place in the sea between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight and involved sailing around a set course.

To our amazement we were actually in the lead of the final race on Sunday, that was until the race was cancelled when somebody went overboard on one of the other boats. Anyway, this experience has definitely given me the taste for sailing and I am planning to go again with the club in a couple of weeks. 

Racing was a great experience and a real physical challenge. It is a very strange feeling to be clinging onto the boat with the driving wind and rain in your face. You certainly don't have chance to feel cold when you are racing. Especially, with the skipper shouting orders every minute! 

Follow this link for all the photos -


Feedback anyone?

Posted by Manish on 28 October 2006

How many times has your feedback gone into a blackhole ? I've felt that feedback is no more than a formality on many occasions.

London Business School has been asking us for feedback regularly. The programme office, the professors, professional and social clubs have all asked for feedback. We have been encouraged to be vocal about our thoughts on everything.

What stood out for me was how quickly our feedback was acted upon. Professors have now started asking for feedback every 2 weeks. One of them even asks for feedback at the end of every class. So the changes are taking place in real time. We get a summary of feedback at the beginning of the next class so we generally know where the class barometer is. Of course they can't act on everything right away and our expectations have been managed rather well.

Most often future classes will benefit from the bigger changes that aren't easy to make. That been said, our class is benefiting from the changes made per the previous class' recommendations (thanks 07s). One of them, I believe, is that out streams will not be shuffled around at the end of term 1. They had a hard time adjusting to the new dynamics at one of the worst times of the year( summer recruitment season). Lets see how that plays out for us.

Creating Opportunities in an Evolving Business World

Posted by Martha on 23 October 2006


The most fascinating event up to now was the Women in Business Conference on Friday: Creating Opportunities in an Evolving Business World.

I was the champion of the Leveraging Female Success Factors panel. As the champion I made sure logistics ran smooth however it was the moderator and panellists we did the real work. My panel was delivered by the ladies on the picture (from left to right):

Lynda Gratton (Professor of Management Practice at London Business School)

Hope Greenfield (Chief Learning Officer at Lehman Brothers)

Amanda Jobbins (Vice President of Marketing, EMEA, Symantec) and

Fiona Price, Entrepreneur

Wib_conference_oct_06_12The first question by Lynda was: "is there a female success factor after all?" She said research shows there are not many differences between men and women in business except for the ways to network, communicate and manage stress.

For instance: "men network with people they should, however, we network with people we like". Interesting, isn't it? The panel was full of statements like this.

One success factor was "Balance and Perspective". Hope said "I can make the time for the things that are important enough for me".

For example, Fiona (in pink) rowed for 8 years for up to three hours a day (on normal working days). If these senior busy women can do it, we MBAs should be able to do it as well.

(Following their advice, on Sunday I ran two hours around Hyde Park, the Kensington Gardens and Regent's Park. I enjoyed the long run even while under the rain and I felt great throughout the day. It helps to add balance)

Wib_conference_oct_06_07 Lynda later on summarized the panel by eight success factors, which I will publish on the Women in Business web site later on this week.

The Women in Business Executive Team (Tanya Ahluwalia, Amy Donahue, Joanne Howarth, Louise Melikian, Tulika Raj and Mélanie Robinson) and all volunteers did a tremendous work putting this event together. Well done! The conference was a highly motivating and inspiring experience for all.

The First 90 Days

Posted by Guillaume on 19 October 2006

Well that’s it. I have reached the “first 90 days” milestone in my marketing manager role at American Express Europe. Executive-targeted books tell you that it’s the critical period to have an impact. It sure is true at the “C” level (CEO, CFO…) but less so at my level, especially because, as a credit card marketing newbie, it feels like you need 2 years to know what you’re doing.

Having said that, the first months are still crucial to make a good initial impression, discover the company, blend in, and show your potential. Especially in a rotation program like the one I’m enrolled in, with just six months to “prove myself”.

So what have these 3 months been like? I worked mostly on defining the strategy for SBS in Europe in 2007 that has now been agreed by regional and international leadership – this has also earned me a warm thank you note from the VPs involved, which is always nice. In general, I like Amex, working with bright people and having the opportunity to challenge the status quo as well as being challenged.

Wait a minute!... He has been brain-washed, hasn’t he?

Well, you can think so as I’m actually back from a week of orientation sessions for the MBA campus recruit intake of this year held at HQ in New York (sort of the MBA orientation in less crazy). While this was not enough to “brain-format” a critical European (French?) mind, this surely was a great way to learn more about the company (esp. the US business which I had not been exposed to), meet the great people who’ve been hired this year (90 or so) and reflect on the differences between US and International divisions.

Back to the first 90 days thing, I also realized that I’m now on for the last 90 days! Of my rotation in London that is. These 3 months are going to contrast with the first part as I am now focusing on the management and implementation of a project (related to above strategic work).

I’m sorry if this sounds quite a vague job description, I'm sure readers of this blog would appreciate to know more about the kind of jobs and responsibilities you get after 2 years at London Business School. Unfortunately, I cannot give more details and this post is already flirting with misconduct according to company guidelines. By the way, “blogging while employed” could be an interesting topic for the Ethics class which opens the London MBA program – certainly a topic more relevant to “junior” hires than Enron-like white-collar crime. Just look at how many students are posting content here or on their own blog.


Let me now finish this post on a more cheerful and personal note: my wife and I have had a blast in NYC and we are looking forward to living there next year! I can’t believe it’s been 3 months already and that we’ll be moving to Sydney in 3 months. And! We’ve finally “flown” the London Eye last month! I highly recommend it – so much for the brain washing.

Stage 1 Application Deadline – Tomorrow!

Posted by Adcoms on 19 October 2006

The Stage 1 application deadline is just around the corner (Friday 20 October at 5pm – London

time).  If you are planning to submit in Stage 1, our advice is not to leave it right up until the last minute to submit your application.  The hour or so before the deadline tends to be EXTREMELY busy on the server!

Confirmation of receipt

Once you have submitted your application you will receive official confirmation via email. Please don’t contact the Programme Office asking for confirmation of receipt of GMAT, references or transcripts. Due to the large volumes of mail that we receive during this period we cannot offer this confirmation.  If any of your supplementary materials fail to arrive with us, you will be notified by a member of the Admission team.

Review and short listing decisions

Once received, the applications will be processed and reviewed by our highly experienced Admissions team who will select candidates for interview. These decisions will be sent out via email on 17 November.

Watch out for a posting on interviews coming soon!

Exchange at Kellogg

Posted by Payton on 17 October 2006

I arrived in Chicago a few weeks ago and Kellogg has been a blast ever since.  Granted, it's already snowed, hailed, rained and tornado'd, but everyone here seems to keep a pretty good attitude.

I had a little mishap with my class selection upon beginning, but I'm still pretty happy with the classes I'm taking - Market Strategy, VC/PE, Entrpreneurship & New Ventures and Values Based Leadership.  So far, the professors are great and class participation is really good.  However, I was hoping to get into some smaller classes than our 1st year core curriculum, but we still have about 60 students in each class.  Hopefully my classes back at LBS next term will be smaller.

Chicago is a great town, but it's actually kind of nice being 30 minutes outside the city in Evanston.  You definitely get a collegial feel being together on a large college campus and almost every night you can run into someone at a local bar in town.  However, they could learn a thing or two from London about how to put a proper pub together!

Strategy and Women in Business Events

Posted by Martha on 16 October 2006

London_bs_oct_0604I will tell of two relevant events last week: our Strategy class and an event organized by the Women in Business Club. Strategy is led by a nice Mexican: Lourdes Sosa.

Our first class started with a video of Madonna and was rather interactive. We loved it. Picture: Sauro, from Italy and Lourdes, from México.

Strategy_class_oct_06Joysy John opened the case related to a start-up operation in Tanzania. She was in favour and a bunch of others against. It was a good and enjoyable learning experience.  Picture: Joysy John, from India.

Women_in_business_event_oct_06_1Last Tuesday, the Women in Business club organized a round table with London Business School graduates who have struggled but succeeded to balance work and personal life. Five women shared their experiences, we listened, asked questions, got to know them. Picture: panellists.

Women_in_business_event_oct_06_4A member of the audience asked whether the effort to combine personal and corporate life was worth it and the answer was straightforward: they wouldn't do it if it was not worth it. I enjoyed the event, which was very well organized by Melanie Robinson, MBA 2007. Picture: Grace (in white), stream B academic representative, Sarah Wilkinson (black and white), JEMBA 2000, COO of IT Division, Lehman Brothers and Melanie Robinson (black only), event organizer.

People like Lourdes, Joysy and Melanie made things happen last week.

Citigroup Valuation Weekend

Posted by Stephen on 16 October 2006

Sorry fellow bloggers, I'm getting a bit blog happy this week. The problem is that there is too much going on to talk about.

Last weekend mainly consisted of a company valuation workshop. This training was organised by the school's finance club and was available to 100 students, for a very small cost. The training took place on Saturday and Sunday between 09.00 and 16.00, at Citigroup's offices in Canary Wharf. We covered various company valuation techniques such as DCF and comparable company analysis. It sounds quite technical, and it was.

I found the training really useful and interesting. It has certainly opened my eyes to the world of Investment Banking. I was also happy to get back to the real world and to get a feeling for how all the academic knowledge is actually applied. 

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Posted by Stephen on 15 October 2006

Last night was one of the biggest events in the school calendar - Tattoo. The main feature is that every country represented by the student population puts together a stall providing food and drink typical of the country.

As the name of the event suggests, there are also lots of London Business School tattoos being applied on various body parts. If you can't make the connection between these 2 features, don't worry neither can I.

All I will say is that this was the best event that I've been to so far at the school. Thanks to the student association organisers and all the stalls who provided me with food and drink!

Here are the pictures. You know who you are!

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The Storm

Posted by Sean on 14 October 2006

My last entry was about this eerie feeling of calm I had just before the Autumn term, knowing that something dangerous and scary was just around the corner. The Autumn term has hit with a vengeance, and all I can say is ‘I asked for it’. The course load is packed, with most students taking 5 core courses and a language. Each course meets once a week for 3 hours, which doesn’t actually sound like a lot. 18 hours in the classroom each week is about 40 hours less than I was putting in at the office. But the classroom work isn’t even the beginning of it.

A typical day for me now will start at 6am and end near midnight. Sounds crazy huh? But actually, the time flies by. I start the day with self study, run to class for a case discussion, then to a working lunch session with my study group, then off to another class, then back to studying, then home for some dinner, then more work/emails/chat until I think I am ready for the next day. And each day is different. Just this week, I had two career coaching sessions, attended the kickoff meetings for three clubs, attended a professional club meeting explaining an industry, attended two library sessions to learn about various databases, stood on a Q&A panel for an MBA information session, attended the Dean’s State of the School Address, went out to dinner with my study group, and spent a few hours at the pub.

Sounds exhausting… This week was also the beginning of a global consulting competition which I am doing with a subset of my study group. We received the case on Wednesday, met to discuss and prepare all day Friday, and are meeting a couple more times in the next few days to prepare questions for 60 minutes of simulation interviews with the case CFO, COO, and Marketing Director.

I have also embarked on an exciting research project with a professor at the school’s Private Equity Institute and three other students. In addition to research work on the project, we also met this week with the project’s sponsors, and an economist specialising in emerging markets to help us with our research.

It’s a lot of work, but just what I came to London Business School for. And for all the work, there is plenty of fun as well. Today kicks off Tattoo! I am sure another blogger will give a full report. Plenty of work and fun, just looking for some sleep one of these days.

The 'Real' Windsor Castle

Posted by Manish on 10 October 2006

What comes to your mind when you hear someone say Windsor Castle ? The British Monarchy? The Queen ?

Try this on anyone in London Business School and there is only one thing that comes to their mind. The Real Windsor Castle. Windsor

This institution is second home to most students at London Business School. It is a pub but, to most, calling it a pub is disrespectful. Now London has a massive pub culture. That can be a huge topic of discussion by itself but we'll stick to Windsor castle for now. Windsor castle shares a wall with the school building. There is a back alley from within school that has a 'private' school entrance to the pub. Now that's what I call customer service. (I'll try o get a picture of this special entrance soon)

After 6pm on most days people head straight to Windsor to chat with other students (you'll even find professors here). The ambience at Windsor is very welcoming. It's a small place but it has plenty of room for students. On any day you can find groups of people tucked away around small tables with tall glasses of golden lager or dark ale and the odds are high that the discussion centers around finance or accounting or some big investment bank or consulting firm (don't quote me on that though). People come to Windsor to eat, to drink and to have a good time. But a lot of people also come here to network. I won't be surprised if the best ideas for projects have been developed at Windsor. 

I was at Windsor with my study group the other day. We decided to head there to cool our brains off after a harrowing session of business statistics. See how an place like The Windsor Castle can offer so much more than beer. This is the de facto hang out for most study groups. People do venture elsewhere too (like 'The Volunteer' - a short 5 minute walk) but I personally like the cozier and cheaper Windsor.

Windsor is part of our world class institution. I think we should get a credit for spending a certain number of hours at the Windsor because you tend to learn so much over there anyways. I doubt if the programme office will buy that though.

Shrikant Shenoy, MBA2008, says

The Windsor Castle, with its combination of friendly staff, cosy atmosphere, and good food is a good place to hang out. But the fact that it is actually physically attached to the school, and usually full of school people means that it has an appeal and a pull akin to the gravitational pull of a black hole!

Can't make it to an event? Post your questions online

Posted by Adcoms on 09 October 2006

Don't forget to log onto our online chat taking place tomorrow (Tuesday, 10 October, 18.00 London time) and put your questions to our panel of admissions reps, career consultants and students (Including non-other than our MBA blogger - Natasja).

So, if you have been reading Natasja's bloggings and have a question you would like to put to her, this is your chance. Likewise, for any of those last minute questions prior to the Stage 1 deadline, this is a great opportunity to put them to our admissions team.

The panel will also include Diane Morgan of our Career Service, who will be able to field any questions on recruitment at London Business School.

The line up:-


  • David Simpson, Senior Manager, MBA Marketing and Admisisons
  • Felicity Irvine - MBA Marketing and Admissions Officer for Asia & Africa


  • Diane Morgan – Associate Director, Career Services. Diane's specialist areas of recruitment include the Energy, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), Retail, Healthcare, Pharma and Biotech industries.


  • Natasja Giezen, MBA2007, and MBA blogger. Currently on exchange at NYU-Stern in New York. You can read much more about Natasja here on the blog.
  • Dana McNabb - MBA2007. From Canada. Just started Year 2 of the MBA last week. Dana worked as a Marketing Manager for General Mills in Canada prior to the MBA. Dana is involved in many of the student clubs at London Business School from sporting to social to business and is co-President on the Marketing Club at London Business School. Dana spent her summer internship working with Nestlé in Switzerland and has recently returned from a student organised trip to the Munich Beer Fest. Dana will spend the Spring term on international exchange at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney.
  • Asbjørn Kastaniegaard – MBA2007 from Denmark. Asbjørn worked as a General Manager with A.P. Moller - Maersk prior to the MBA. Asbjørn is also involved with several student clubs at London Business School from business to more social. He is also one of the lead guitarists in the London Business School student band which was invited to perform at the May 2006 MBAT (Business School Olympics) hosted at ISA, France. He and his wife are both in London accompanied by their one year old daughter. Asbjørn spent his summer internship working with Bain Consulting in Sweden.

This online eventis being hosted by Accepted.com.  For details of how to log on and take part, please go to http://www.accepted.com/chat/schedule.aspx#mba

It's Not a Sprint

Posted by Stephen on 08 October 2006

Today, I took part in a half marathon organised by the Henley-on-Thames rugby club . It was a bright autumn day, perfect for running. The only problem was that my training regime was disrupted by Sundowners drinks on Friday night and my friends birthday last night. We spent Saturday night celebrating at a local pub called 'Filthy Mcnastys'. Luckily, I had the sense not to continue drinking at a late night bar afterwards, instead opting for a relatively early night. So after getting up what seemed like only about 2 hours after going to sleep, we drove out of London for the start of the race. Henley_half_marathon_012Henley_half_marathon_020 Henley_half_marathon_005Henley_half_marathon_022 Henley_half_marathon_028

By the time we arrived I wasn't feeling 100%, but I soon warmed up. The race went through some very picturesque English countryside, including a stretch down the Thames and another section through the centre of Henley-on-Thames.

I finished the course in just under 1:37. Considering, the training regime this was slightly surprising. The race was very well organised and the setting was great. Sometimes, it's a nice change to get out of London for a day out. I also have to mention my fiancee who drove us there and generally acted as my support team. Thanks Eimear!

It's now Sunday evening and time for some MBA homework. The past week has seen a change in pace of the course and it now seems to be a 7 day a week effort to keep things under control. The content of the course is not difficult, but the volume is fairly high and I expect it to rise next week. Time management and discipline are required to keep on top of things.

Although I have started working 7 days a week, I still have time to do things like the half marathon. Also, I haven't yet reverted to working late at night like some of my colleagues. Perhaps, I value my sleep more than others, or perhaps its because I avoid most of the 'optional reading'. Or maybe its because like long distance running - the MBA is not a sprint and you don't want to peak or burnout too fast.

One tip I will give for prospective MBA students. It would definitely be an idea to start reading some business books to get a head start on the optional reading. Things like Enron, Liars Poker, Barbarians at the Gate. These are very interesting books and highly applicable to the course material.

The end of some and the start of others

Posted by Martha on 05 October 2006

London_bs_oct_0610The major event for B6 - my team - was the final group project for Business Statistics. We devoted several hours of individual and teamwork to the assignment before the due date. However, we did not experience effective teamwork till the very last day.

Rajat - one of my team mates - quoted at 01:36 hours that night: "I don’t think I could have made a better report myself. I don’t think we could have made such a report even if one of us was not there. The report has a bit of everyone in it". Picture: Diogo, Andrew, Rajat and myself towards the end of that night.

On Monday we were filmed on the spot while delivering a couple of three minute presentations for our Best Practice Presentations and Communications session.

London_bs_oct_0605 We started our language courses. I am learning Mandarin together with other six people, one of them is Andrew - my team mate. Andrew and I are learning Mandarin from scratch, which makes it more challenging but also more exciting. We will learn about 1,000 characters within 150 hours. See our current Chinese Pronunciation Guide. Picture: One of our two Chinese tutors and two Mandarin students, who from Germany, one from Chile.

London_bs_oct_0613We also started four other core courses: Ethics, Finance, Financial Accounting and Strategy. We read at least one case per class to prepare for high quality discussions. This week we worked harder, the days went faster and we all learnt more about each other. Picture: Ethics class participants voting on a case.