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On Personal Attention at London Business School

Posted by Kobby on 31 October 2008

Even though London Business School enrols hundreds of people in its degree programs, the school gives its MBA students a lot of individual attention. I certainly didn’t expect as much personal attention as I’ve enjoyed, and I've been pleasantly surprised. So far, I have had one-to-one sessions to discuss my CV, my life and career goals, and some of my personality traits among others.

I showed up at my CV one-to-one session half-expecting a quick glance through my achievements and perhaps a pat on my back. No such luck. Instead, I sat and visibly cringed as the lady from career services read my résumé out loud. I quickly decided that the CV needed (a lot) more work and signed up for "CV Surgery," a second individual appointment where another pair of eyes and mouth read my CV out loud again. But this time, I cringed less.

I also signed up for one of the prized one-to-one sessions with Mohan Mohan Mohan (that's his name, honest). Mohan is a wise, old man, a retired P&G executive with enough energy to power the campus for a week. He spends some of his time counselling London Business School students on their life and career goals. We chatted for an hour about what really matters to me – contributing to Africa’s development and its economic boom, which I'm betting will happen in my lifetime – and discussed career options that could help me realize these goals. Like many other students who’ve met Mohan, I left with a greater sense of purpose and new ideas for how to navigate an uncertain job market and get all I want out of my MBA.

The half-hour I spent discussing my personality with a consultant felt strangely similar to what I imagine therapy feels like. We used my 360-degree personality feedback from my former colleagues at Nielsen as a means to assess my positive traits and identify a handful of “personality challenges,” which could make me a more effective leader. For instance, I’m generally unassertive and can appear indifferent to issues, even when I am interested. Not surprisingly, this is a potential liability for someone who dreams of influencing a continent.

For me, talking to others is one of the best ways for me to think through issues. Be it improving my CV, discussing my life goals and career strategy, or sitting through personality therapy, the one-to-one sessions at London Business School have been as insightful as they have been beneficial.

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