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« February 2008 | Main | April 2008 »

BU Tech Strategy Case Competition

Posted by Manish on 30 March 2008

I'm proud to announce that the London Business School team (Rene Plug, Sasa Brcerevic, Tobias Schweiger and me) have finished in the 3rd place (out of 16 teams) at the BU Tech Strategy Case competition. We are still in Boston recovering from the celebration last night.

http://www.casecomp.blogspot.com/

Boston

Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities Trade Show

Posted by Melanie on 14 March 2008

So tonight was the big night - where everyone showcased their work from the term, researching unmet needs in the market and coming up with viable products to meet those needs. Our group, having identified our tendency to develop good content but not deliver the best way, had made a commitment to do well on this project this term. But as the term went, with milkround and loads of other commitments, it had fallen by the wayside for sometime.  Amazingly enough, the last couple of days we pooled together as a whole team and created... the SUPASNACKA.

What I was most proud of was seeing our most quiet group member get passionate about the project. Though nervous about pitching to the angel investors judging our work, he mustered up that passion in his presentation, and it showed!  One of the VC guys even left his card with us. At the end of the night, there was a prize handed out for the best idea. Guess who took that prize home from Stream B. :)

Cheers to group love!Img_1553Dsc_0169 Dsc_0211_2 Dsc_0171 Dsc_0206

Where Next for Corporate Responsibility?

Posted by Melanie on 11 March 2008

London Business School hosts a distinguished speaker series about every two months. This week it was the Chairman and CEO of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. (Concidently, he's from Villach, a little Austrian-Dolomite town I've driven through many times).

Prior to the event, there was a discussion on the Responsible Business Club board about wheter of not we should challenge the him regarding the controversy around their baby-milk substitutes, which is related to a boycott since 1977.  Though not confronted with this particular topic directly, Hr. Brabeck handled the brand issue swimmingly well. Acknowledged the issues, apologized for their mistakes, and called for people to judge them based on what they are doing now. Perhaps, companies (and people) learn from hard lessons...what matters is the reaction, no? Are consumers forgiving if disasters are handled well? Are shareholders forgiving?

Snippets from his speech I particularly liked:

"... more and more people have realized that Corporate Responsibility cannot be an add on to the business, but needs to be a part of the core business strategy."

He covered a handful of initiatives Nestle is championing around water conservation and women empowerment in developing countries. Then went on to close with...

"Do we do all these things for a business reason? Yes.

Are we doing it in a way that bring poor people out of poverty, creates a sustainble environment, and brings about better nutrition? Yes

And what makes them sustainable is that they aren't done with charity contributions, or grants, which always have an end point and often don't reach scale. They are a part of a business process which can be sustained for decades without outside support."

That just sounds so right.

Milton Keynes Half-Marathon

Posted by Martha on 09 March 2008

Dsc01536_v2 Dsc01541_v2Dsc00336_4 A week ago, five of us travelled to Milton Keynes for a half-marathon. Steve McCurry rented a black Golf at Streetcar, and drove us there and back. The race route was hilly and with a few narrow paths but enjoyable. By chance, we ran into Nely Villegas, a Mexican studying at UCL and attending Entrepreneurship at London Business School. The six of us - all with different fitness levels, proudly made it in under two hours (and a few minutes). It is the first time I am in a race with friends and I really liked it. Karen kept smiling throughout the race and pushing me beyond my speed boundaries. Nely and I will likely run Paris marathon together next April and that will be awesome!

The Belle of the Winter Ball

Posted by Matthew on 05 March 2008

So, I really should attend more social events here. There are quite a few of them. I have been going to about 50% of things. I mean, what can I say, putting up a 150-word blog once a month can be a full-time job. Anyways, I did go to the Winter Ball. And it was a lot of fun. The theme was James Bond and Casino Royale, and since I have had martinis in the past, I considered myself qualified to go. Everyone was dressed up and they had a poker tournament (one item of note is that in the actual book, they played baccarat and not poker). It was a great time. The thing is... great times like these require selfless people who are willing to put in a lot of work to plan -- to effectively receive nothing in return. Yes, I do work for LBS by posting blogs, but I get the line on the CV, the fan club, and job offers. For planning something that will adequately entertain over 300 people with live music, food, and drinks, somebody must put in a lot of work. For our class, that person is Hilary. She put in a lot of time to make sure that everything turned out perfectly. She also happens to be in my stream, and she consistently plans social events for our stream that are always fun. So much so that even I started showing up. So, if you are a prospective 2010 or beyond, you might want to think about what you can do to make your class as fun as possible. Maybe you can be the next Hilary.

Sidenotes:

1) I will be going to the annual Japan Trip in 3 weeks. I am very excited. Take full advantage of these wonderful trips when you are here.

2) I was asked by the Development Team to write a letter to Alumni panhandling for donations to help fuel the rock and roll lifestyle. I felt that it was about time to expand in to the print medium. I imagine that what comes next is global domination (from the Rupert Murdoch Guide to Life)

3) In May, there is a huge tournament called the MBAT, where numerous business schools compete in sporting events. It sounds like a lot of fun, but it will cost over 400 Pounds to go. I am considering either auctioning off my kidney or my body (whichever gets more money).

Joy

Posted by Don on 05 March 2008

Another reason for getting into a top business school presented itself tonight. I had first heard about Nassim Taleb when the head of the FX trading desk of Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong advised me to read his books. Ever since then I have realized not only how intelligent but also how famous this author and options trader is.

Tonight he gave a lecture at school (Mr. Taleb is a visiting professor at London Business School) and it was of course fully booked. But experience has shown that usually there is always a way. So 5 of us patiently waited and hoped that some people would not come. And it happened and we went in. It was definitely a very interesting lecture – for once a professor who discards modern portfolio theory as useless in real-life markets.

Once more – my two main reasons (apart from facilitating the career switch into finance) for doing the MBA are the network of people you build and the speakers on campus. Two weeks ago the CEO of Boucheron, THE French luxury company was on campus to present his career. He is an alum and we talked to him afterwards. This is unique and no way I would have ever had a leisurely chat with this guy – were it not for this environment.

Take care,

Don

Frustration

Posted by Don on 05 March 2008

The milkround is coming to an end, at least for the people interested in finance and consulting. All the big players have made their offers and successful applicants have made their choices. Most of us will be staying in Europe while some (including me :-) will be heading to Asia.

The interviewing process was an emotional rollercoaster and the choice of the companies of who to invite or forward to the next round was not always very transparent - to put it in euphemistic terms. But this is a tough market right now and everyone who has an offer is happy. Those of you who don't - keep it up and come and ask for help and support!

This term has generated additional frustration: some professors manage to consistently exceed the expectations of 99% of all students - unfortunately to the negative. Additionally it is unclear why during the term of interviewing suddenly attendance is taken in class. If the school is unable to organize recruitment in a way that students do not have to miss classes they have paid for and want to attend, the school should at least not punish them for not being there (we are punished anyway by having to read up later and not making any class contributions). One professor has announced to grade down everyone who has not attended his class for 4 times. So students who have more interviews, thus are more successful in the recruiting process and help the school by increasing the placement at top companies are punished for being successful. Nobody has so far been able to explain this paradox to me - including the professor who complained (via email!) about - high-school type behaviour - of students.

Anyhow, some classes are very good and spring break is coming soon! And the Rugby tour to Duke!

All the best,

Don

Short break

Posted by Don on 05 March 2008

During the past weekend some nice events took place. First of all of course the annual London Business School Rugby tournament. The Rugby club really runs this school – those of us who participated took an early sitting in the Finance exam (yuk 7.15 is too early for Modigliani/Miller) and then took a coach to pitches near Heathrow. The London Business School male teams A and B faced Harvard A and B as well as INSEAD while the female team faced Wharton, Columbia and two more teams. The wind was chilling but at least it was not raining.

I played in the B team in the second row scrum. I still don’t really understand much of what is going on so my strategy was to hit anyone really hard who was not wearing my colour. That sort of worked – and I learned that it is beneficial not to have your hand on the ground (people can step on it) and not to fall down (people step on you). But it was great! The girls even won the tournament!

The next weekend my girlfriend and me flew to Munich and went skiing in St. Anton am Arlbergand in Obertauern – both among my favourite skiing areas. The snow was really good and even off-piste skiing and mogul slopes were great. The Sunday we spent in a beergarden in Munich at leisurely 22 degrees before flying back to London.

Last week the rugby team played the alumni - and the students left no doubt on who was better! A great dinner and drinks evening / night followed - all very classical in black tie / suit / dress outfit.

Next up is the Lisbon trip organized by the Portugal trip. There are multiple things happening every weekend – the challenge is to choose which one to take!

Enjoy,

Don