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Watching home change from abroad

Posted by Melanie on 28 January 2008

I've been vicariously following the presidential primaries through friends and family back home. Exciting times we live in, with candidates that are so clearly different. Very curious how things will play out, as I haven't picked a side yet. I like hearing how others feel about them.

Just a reminder to those US citizens who are abroad now: https://www.votefromabroad.org


Posted by Melanie on 27 January 2008

I haven't written much despite all the activity since I've been back, I know. Part of my new year's resolution was to become extremely focused on my internship search. I came back to the milkround reviewing CVs and cover letters, over and over, between friends and classmates, with current consultants, with career advisors, etc etc.

Although they say that networking is not as important for consulting firms as for banks, I've found that it is the only real way to understand the differences in the work and cultures of each company. Plus, I've managed secure some speakers and leads for the Responsible Careers Conference.

Ah yes, that is coming along quite well too. We have several panelists confirmed, the keynote speaker (woo hoo!) secured, and my team getting all fired up. I remember feeling so nervous about it last September, when I got the position of Conference Chair, and now I can see it all coming together. Great feeling.

True that my social life has changed. It hasn't gotten "worse" though, as one might imagine. I've been working late nights at school with a good support group - all with the same intensity of drive and focus. Many dinners from Ali Baba and the Light of India.  Lots of laughs and great friendships brewing in the these study rooms. It's two months of this, I tell myself, and hopefully I'll be reaping the rewards soon enough. A trip to Portugal is booked for March, and spring break comes right after.

Speaking of spring break, the Kenya Trip has been disbanded due to the unstable situation there. The Africa Club promises they will still host a trip there once things settle down. It was disappointing that our plans to visit Kenya fell through, but really the largest disappointment for me is that the political situation has escalated to where it is now. I wonder to myself, what is it that we should be doing about it from here? What can we do about it once we're important business people in big companies and governments in the future? Just something to think about, as we refocus our attention to another holiday destination...

The first weeks of Spring term for us 2nd years

Posted by Martha on 25 January 2008

Jan_25_08_014_blog Jan_25_08_006_blog Jan_25_08_005_blogJan_25_08_003_blog_2

Mohit's farewell party became hillarious when Shri invited Mohit for a dance. Khizar Khan was enthusiastic about the event too. On the other hand, our Brand Management week was made of friendly encounters after a long time no see.

Still Jet Lagged But Enjoying My Year 2

Posted by Martha on 25 January 2008

Jan_25_08_016 Jan_25_08_015_blog I came back from Mexico three weeks ago to dive into my Brand Management course. It was a very interesting and cool block week. Two weeks ago, I started two more electives: Financing the Entrepreneurial Business and Venture Capital & Private Equity. Although there is overlap, each course has its own style, cases and passionate professors. I am revisiting Finance concepts I had managed to forget and partnering with people I like and can learn from for group work.

Last term was difficult for various reasons: came back exhausted from two summer internships, did lots of work for the Consulting Club and even took somehow part of the Milk Round for full-time jobs. This term, having spent a full month of freedom and love in Mexico, I feel revitalised (though with a never-ending jet-lag).

I am devoting my time to school work, my second year project, running, the club and myself. I will give swimming and tennis a try too. 6 1-hr swimming lessons at 7:00am on Mondays at the school's pool for £30 seems not bad though too early for the least exciting day of the week.

Last Wednesday we had one of our best Consulting Club meetings at the Hob Goblin by school (see pictures). We laughed a lot, had a good meal and a few drinks. I have enjoyed and learnt a lot from my contribution to the club. This role is by far one of the best experiences I have had at London Business School.

This term is looking really good. We are all set with job offers and only a few courses. I am having a fantastic time!


Posted by Don on 18 January 2008

Hi all,

Quick word on applications: you need TIME!!! I had done the process once before for the Hong Kong applications but again it took ages. The banks all have differently working application systems and want to know an astonishing amount of information! Be ready to provide high school grades!

Term has started again and we are on the way learning about entrepreneurial opportunities, organisational behaviour, marketing, risk analysis and, of course, finance. So this term is less number-heavy and more fluffy – but we have the interviews to prepare for. Anyhow – for the finance and consulting applicants it will all be over after February, one way or another. It remains to be seen how much the current economic developments, read recession, in the US will affect the summer internship hiring.

All the best to all of you,

Wherever you are,


Hong Kong Finance Career Trek - Day 5

Posted by Don on 16 January 2008

The resounding topic today was – tiredness. The week was taking its toll (of course it had nothing to do with Lang Kwai Fong).

We happily met at noon in front of Macquarie Bank and were updated on the strategies of this Australian bank which can call Asia its “home turf”. After the investment banking introduction a trader explained the usage of adaptive algorithms, specific for Asian markets, and how Macquarie tries to generate profit from it.

After a nice lunch we went to the event of Deutsche Bank which was great as they concentrated on networking. This reduced the pressure and gave everyone a chance to talk to the people they wanted to talk to. Funny story – again making my point about the observation regarding the US schools we met. The following conversation took place between a guy from Tepper and an employee at Deutsche Bank:

Student: I have a background in Software Engineering. Do you think I can be a success in markets? [argl! You must convince him, not ask him!!!]

DB: Well, sure, we have a lot of diversity. What are you interested in?

Student: Derivatives, options. DB: What do you know about options?

Student: Well, I have not taken the course yet. [!!!!!!!]

DB: Well, I recommend you take the course….

My point: Be prepared and be smart. Convince them that they must hire you!

The day ended, again, in Lang Kwai Fong, this time at my favourite Lebanese take away at 3 am in the morning …. A great trip! I continued to Shanghai where I spent Christmas and New Year – and met up again with Mike and Irfan from the trip. This signifies one of the greatest advantages of London Business School: All BSchools claim to be very international. London Business School is. It does not get more international than for a Chinese/American, a Kenya/Canadian and a German/English guy to study in London, do a career trek to Hong Kong and meet again in Shanghai.

Milkround Madness!!

Posted by Stuart on 16 January 2008

This will be possibly the shortest blog I will ever send.....time is money at this particular point in my MBA career - literally!

The "Milkround" is the recruiting season that we are all now heavily involved with. The scene:

1. One MBA student (without a finance/business background)
2. 100s of companies to potentially apply to with presentations every day and deadlines to meet
3. 4+ core course and 2 electives this term (one at UCL on exchange)
4. 24h in the day

If you think the maths don't really add up, you would ordinarily be correct. But this is business school, somehow there does seem to be 25h in the day if you look really hard and are super-duper organised!

My top tips for the milkround:

1. Start early (November is preferable)
2. Rest well on Christmas break
3. Have a good idea of what you want to do (being a financi-consultanti-industry type employee does not really work!)
4. Have CVs and cover letters prepared for each choice
5. Do your research
6. Keep smiling - there IS light at the end of the tunnel!

Now off to meet the deadlines for the Capital Group/Amgen and Wellington Management!

More to follow I hope.....

Hong Kong Finance Career Trek - Day 4

Posted by Don on 15 January 2008

We started off at Temasek this morning who, the only company except Toyota with a AAA rating) can look back at an CAGR of 18% per year. The 120 investment professionals look for opportunities mainly in Asia but increasingly world-wide. When making an investment Temasek does not only go for the ride but instead takes an active interests and tries to leverage its existing contacts and client base. Especially in the light of the recent acquisitions of Temasek this meeting was very timely and interesting.

Afterwards we headed to Credit Suisse where we met again the people we had met already on Campus for the CS Asia meeting. Kurt Ersoy, a director of Equity Derivatives highlighted the mix of cultures, the mobility and the diversity at CS. A bank whose offerings spans wealth management, investment banking, all kinds of derivatives and fixed income trading as well as real estate financing has a lot of exciting career opportunities to offer. Again – the Asian growth opportunities were emphasized. Splitting into groups we had smaller sessions with employees from the equities and fixed income side as well as investment banking.

This time we had to rush as the next event was JP Morgan. We convened and listened to an MD in investment banking who told us of the key differentiators of the company as well as recent success stories. The successful interaction of financial input, control, partnership and people is very important at JP Morgan.

I had to rush off as I had a private meeting afterwards. In the evening we again met at the Red Bar and had invited all alumni currently in Hong Kong. This event then moved to Lang Kwai Fong into an interesting bar and continued …

Hong Kong Finance Career Trek - Day 3

Posted by Don on 14 January 2008

After a leisurely morning we met at noon to attend the event at Morgan Stanley. After a video (Thiri, an 06 alumn, is getting famous in the video!) the employees explained the possible career options. Especially the market of equity derivatives is exploding, due to tycoons using leverage and hedge funds modelling volatility expectations. Regarding China they mentioned that the developments, in a historical context, were just a reversion to the mean.

We had a free slot afterwards to enjoy some very delicious dim sum before we reconvened for Lehman Brothers. John Dere, an MD in Equities, used an overview of the history of Lehman in FI and securities as well as his own career development to help us understand the options in the growing Asian markets. Other attendees from ECM, FI and IM further encouraged us to seek out the chances in Asia.

By now we were all rather tired so this evening was rather uneventful and (at least I) went to bed really early.

Milk round

Posted by Don on 13 January 2008

Hi all,

For those of you looking for a mobile phone and wireless portable broadband – I have had excellent experiences with 3. Although there seem to have been problems in the past, right now their network is excellent and I have had very good coverage wherever I go. Additionally the team around store manager Paul in the Baker Street shop is very friendly and accommodating. Oh – and the deals are very good as well! Definitely worthwhile to check it out!

Milk round: All the big companies come to campus for 45 minutes presentation and 45 minutes networking. Make no mistake: If you had not met some of the company representatives you stood a slim chance of making an impression. The greatest chances had those who could walk up to someone of the company and greet them again. All in all I was happy about the Hong Kong experience which had been more intense but also more productive.

Several observations:

- Student asks an IBanker: So, what is the lifestyle in investment banking? [argl! You should know that by now!!]

- Student barges into a group, no introduction, and steps right in front of the employee of bank XY and says: Here is my business card! [no comment]

- Group of students talk to an employee. Afterwards they want to shake hands. Both hands extended, suddenly someone shoots out a hand from behind the group and grabs the recruiters hand and shakes it firmly!

Bottom line: As well as recruiters remembering people they like, they also remember people they do not like.

Back to next term tomorrow!

All the best, wherever you are.


Hong Kong Finance Career Trek - Day 2

Posted by Don on 13 January 2008

I convinced Paul to take the ferry in the morning and it was as great as the previous day.

Our first appointment today was with Citibank who sent a very senior and convincing investment banker, Mark Renton. Instead of telling us how great Citibank is he focused on his view on the Asian economies. He alluded to the global credit crisis and the fundamental change in capital markets and how businesses will have to deal with it. He mentioned the issues of collaboration or competition between China and India, the advent of Vietnam and Indonesia and the rising importance of SWF from Asia and the Middle East. This was excellent as all of us learned a lot and picked up valuable pieces of information.

After a quick break we attended the session of HSBC who, despite a lot of effort of our group, had only confirmed us at the last minute. After the HSBC presentation we ventured back (the maps in our trip bible book proved very valuable) and attended the event at UBS. In a great conference room with arguably the best view of all bank we listened to a panel of high-ranking employees who related to the unique positioning of UBS in Asia, especially in the area of wealth management.

This time I convinced some of our group to take the Star Ferry and all loved it. To finish this second day we went to one of the nicest places in Hong Kong to have a sundowner – the Felix Bar in the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon. After a great G/T I left to meet old friends from Accenture; time for a great Japanese Dinner.

Hong Kong Finance Career Trek - Day 1

Posted by Don on 12 January 2008

Waking up in the morning back in Asia was a fantastic feeling. I needed to get some toiletries and hunted for a 7/11 – in shorts and flip/flops. This must be the only metropolis in the world where you can do that!

As we took the subway and met in front of the Merrill Lynch building it became apparent that while back in London the most important item to carry around was an umbrella, in Hong Kong it were your shades! What a welcome change!

Merrill Lynch hosted a really interesting event and highlighted the tremendous opportunities available in both investment banking and markets in Asia. After the presentation and ample networking opportunities we went down and tried to make sense of the streets of Hong Kong. The great thing about Hong Kong – the financial district is really small. It is no problem to walk from one bank to the other. Additionally – no one walks the streets, you walk through shopping malls. As strange as it sounds – you can literally get from one tower to any other tower via shopping malls.

The afternoon event was hosted by Goldman Sachs where the current head of Asia, Dave Ryan gave us a view of careers at Goldman by describing his experiences in the firm over time. Subsequently a panel of associates answered questions. We were not alone this time – students from Chicago GSB as well as from Tepper (Bschool of Carnegie Mellon) were present as well. And we were surprised: by objective observation our group came across as more professional and better prepared (i.e. by the quality of the questions we asked). This definitely reflects on the preparation we did prior to the trip and also highlights that if London Business School has a problem than it is that our brand is undervalued!

In the late afternoon we ventured into Soho and took the escalators which go all the way to the top. This was my 3rd time in Hong Kong and it was fantastic and intense to be back. The first time was the beginning of my very first backpacking trip – the start of the adventure. Back then I was quite inexperienced in a lot of things which just a year later should become very ordinary (such as traveling on your own for extended periods of time, not knowing where to stay the following nights etc.). The second time was when I was working in Shanghai and my parents came to visit me – I met them in Hong Kong. Now, job hunting in suit and tie was definitely a very different but not unpleasant event. We finished the day in the Red Bar with drink and employees of Olympus Capital, a PE firm. And what surprise – as it turned out the guy I was talking to had previously worked with my current flat mate at Booz Allen! Small world!

Still jet-lagged we soon left the bar and I took the Star Ferry back to Kowloon. Taking the Star Ferry and smelling the salty air of Hong Kong harbor while watching the skyline of the island was the perfect way to finish the day.

Milk Round

Posted by Debasri on 11 January 2008

I have more respect for what Matt writes than what he says and I tend to agree, to a great extent with most of what he has to say about the milk round. In the absence of the Hollywood writers, I will gallantly come to his rescue (talk about 'times, they are a changing') and add point 6.

6) Try and make it to the gym or buy larger clothes. With all the free and fattening food, the suits might increasingly become a bit tough to breathe in. And in case you are doing up your wardrobe now, I'd recommend you buy one a size larger. That being said and done, I’ll get to why I started writing this post in any case.

When we came to school, we were being narrated horror stories by those in the 08 batch and before of how difficult it will be to speak to company representatives at the networking event, of how friends turn into foes and how elbows are overworked (from either elbowing in or others out of circles surrounding the company representatives) and the 6-pack goes sore from being jibed at. I tend to understand what would cause such behaviour, but that does not necessarily mean that I agree with it.

My own, personal, first hand experience at these events have been markedly different. And the few others I have discussed this with also tend to agree with me. The atmosphere was obviously tense and purposeful, and the US economy, together with the mortgageholders could not have better timed their performances, but at the same time we all remembered that we are human beings in an educated and civilised society. I didn’t have to push anyone and nor was I pushed around, I got to speak to whoever I wanted to without anyone trying to outspeak or outwit me and every time I tried ‘breaking into’ a group, someone did indeed make place for me !

I am not going to attempt to analyse this experience beyond what it was, but I am glad that at the end of the day, we all chose to continue to be who we are and not transform ourselves into attention seeking, self aggrandizing, individualistic monsters.

The Milk Round

Posted by Matthew on 08 January 2008

So... vacation has ended (Italy was great though I am still getting feeling back in my neck after snowboarding), and we have now started Corporate Partners Week, or On-Campus Recruiting, or some even call it The Milk Round. This is the period when all of the big companies come to campus to peddle their wares and look for a lucky few interns for the summer. While there are many presentations, only a third of the class will actually get their summer associate positions through this process though many more than a third are trying very hard. So the following is what I have gleamed so far:


1) Everyone here thinks they are awesome. Most aren't. Most people are effectively the same exact person on paper -- graduated form university and spent 3 to 6 years working at a bank/consulting firm/random company. What you (as a current LBS applicant) can do now is... differentiate yourself as much as possible before you start school. Now is the time to compete in an Ironman Triathlon (Will) or start a charity that helps Malawi orphans avoid adoption by Madonna. Because really, being the 2009 Representative to the XY Club is not going to be that separating factor. I think most people will realize this soon when we all get rejected more often than a young American couple seeking a home loan.

2) If you have not been networking before The Milk Round, it is already too late. The networking sessions consist of over 150 students reeking of desperation surrounding approximately 5 to 10 company employees. They will likely not remember you from today. Nor is handing off somebody your business card the end game. They probably won't do anything with it unless they ask for it.

3) No groceries for the week. This is a week of free food. Don't do groceries this week. Save yourself that 10 pounds or 100 bucks. Every presentation comes with a bountiful supply of sandwiches. Some even have French macarons which are truly a tasty treat. Go for the hot trays first -- they will be in the most demand.

4) Figure out what you want to do before today. Every company sounds great in a presentation. They will seduce you with talk of their culture, their money, their free food (I might be more susceptible to the latter than most). Research properly what you are interested in before, otherwise you will end up interested in everything during the Milk Round.

5) When a banker asks you if you do modeling, he isn't asking you if you go down the catwalk. I was indeed flattered the first time I was asked before I politely responded that I am not tall enough to do that professionally. Apparently, you should learn how to model before the Milk Round as well.

That is what I have gotten so far. I would have a Top Ten list but the Hollywood Writer's Strike continues, and I can't come up with an extra 5. Peace to my brothers in Hollywood. If the Simpsons or Conan O"Brien needs writers, I am shockingly still unemployed after two days.

Stage 2 Application Deadline - 04 January 2008

Posted by Adcoms on 03 January 2008

Happy New Year to all of the prospective MBA2010's out there!  The MBA Programme Office has now re-opened following the School closure for Christmas and New Year and we are all preparing for this Friday's Stage 2 application deadline.

We have returned to a huge pile of envelopes and courier packages that have arrived over the holiday period, and an increasing number of online application submissions.  For anyone that has contacted the office with a query over their application, we will endeavour to get back to you ASAP, although there is a slight backlog with the office having been closed.  But rest assured that we will be prioritising the urgent questions that are related to the Stage 2 deadline. 

In the meantime, here are a few answers to some of the more common questions that get asked around application deadlines.

Q. Do you require original copies of my transcripts?

- Yes. Applicants must submit an official or certified original transcript of grades from all colleges, universities and professional schools attended. These must include a comprehensive record of completed courses, grades and class of degree received and, if possible, a class ranking. If the original is not in English then you must provide a certified or notarised English translation.

The Admission Committee will not make a final offer of a place on the MBA programme until they are in receipt of the original transcripts referred to in a candidates application.

Q. Can you confirm that the School has received my letter/package/GMAT score?

- Please do not contact the Admissions Office for confirmation that your references, university transcripts, GMAT report or other supplementary materials have arrived.  We receive hundreds if not thousands of items of post during the run up to the application deadline and to confirm the receipt of these would dramatically slow the admission and reviewing process.

Once all of the packages have been opened and collated, should an application be missing any documents the candidate will be contacted by the Admissions team.

If you are concerned about the whereabouts of these materials, please first contact your courier company. If they report that the item has been delivered we will have received the package.

If you are curious as to the status of your references, this can be checked by logging into your online application account and viewing the Referee Status.

Q. My references / transcripts have been delayed and will not arrive until after the Stage 2 deadline. Will you still accept my application in Stage 2?

- If you submit your application by the Stage 2 deadline, we will accept supplementary materials that arrive during the week following this deadline.  If an item is delayed by more than 1 week your application may be moved into the following Stage so that it can be reviewed with using the full information, but you will be contacted beforehand if this is the case. If you do not hear from the Admissions team you should assume that your application is proceeding in Stage 2.

Q. What are London Business School's GMAT and TOEFL insitution codes for use when reporting my score?

GMAT = Z11-J7-50
TOEFL = 0898

Finally, if you are planning on applying for the Stage 2 application deadline please give yourself plenty of time to submit your application and try not to leave it to the last minute. Stage 2 is traditionally the largest of the 4 stages, and several hundred applicants will be working on and submitting applications in the hours and days leading up to the deadline, which can result in the server congestion. 

If you experience any difficulties in submitting your application please follow the Help links within the online application form, or contact our Information Office directly at apply.mba@london.edu or telephone +44 (0)20 7000 7500 

Good luck!