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MBA TV, Episode five

Posted by Adcoms on 28 January 2009

The latest episode of MBA TV is here. In this episode we feature some of the highlights of the annual Global Energy Summit hosted by the London Business School Energy Club. The Club has over 1200 active members who are interested in all aspects of the energy sector. Each year, the Club runs events for students, alumni, and members of the energy industry. These events include speaker sessions, career forums, site visits, social events, and the Energy Club’s flagship event, The Global Energy Summit.

The summit titled ‘Energising the future: Identifying Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges’, allowed energy leaders to engage in thought-provoking debate and provide their views on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. 

The summit included sessions on:

  • ‘Capitalising on the Future of Energy’ with a keynote from Jeremy Rifkin, Foundation of Economic trends,
  • ‘Capturing Value through Biofuels’, and
  • ‘The Changing Landscape of Oil and Gas.

MBA TV went along to speak with some of the Summit attendees.

Why I like this school ...

Posted by Don on 26 January 2009

Not only because since today we are the (joint) number 1 bschool according to the latest FT MBA Ranking (rankings are all relative) but the amount of connections you get. Today we had an alumn speaking in the internet marketing class who leads EMEA for google. His presentation was very interesting, to the point and informative. Great takeaways about not only the company but using AdWords and AdSense.

Then there are plenty of interesting postings on the portal - imagine an active online community posting valuable information for all kinds of areas of interest (finance, consulting, industry). This includes research from Goldman and Dt. Bank, market research fom BCG and Bain, oil and gas exploration reports and a lot more.

Oh yes, and there are funny postings. I especially liked this one:

A friend of mine has moved to the UK and is seeking modelling work (female)....please drop me a line if you have any useful contacts / information  regrading agencies in the London area.

PS: The world really is small. Remember the person I mentioned in the beginning of January in the article "Lucky"? He read my blog and asked to be put in touch with me. Online communities really do work.

Take care,

Don

Whew, where do I begin?

Posted by Nick on 22 January 2009

I can't even remember when the last time I blogged was, either on the school's blog or my personal one.  I'm sure the school admins are regretting selecting me as a blogger... I shall do my best to redeem myself in the coming term.

It is impossible to write about everything I've been up to in the last few months.  I suppose you will have to be satisfied with a list of highlights.  So, without further ado:

  • First term's classes - well, what is there to say?  They are over (with the exception of Corporate Finace which has extended a few weeks into this term).  I am amazed, I mean positively floored, at how much I've learned since school began in August.  And this was only the first term!  I can now use various frameworks to analyze a company's strategy, calculate bond prices, explain to you how exactly a company handles warranties in its accounting books, and why exactly Lehman Brothers is like an unlucky camel*.  WACC and CAPM are no longer meaningless acronyms, and I can tell you everything there is to know about women's lifestyle magazines**. 

  • Exams - pure stress, but good outcomes overall.  Apparently in professor-speak, "This year's exam will be exactly the same as last year's" really means, "They will in no way shape or form be similar".  Se la vie.  Overall, I got good grades, and I learned more in the week studying for exams than I think I did all term.
  • Travel - What would be the point of living in London if you couldn't travel frequently?  I continued sailing with the London Business School Sailing Club in the Solent Sun Sail Regattas.  I gotta tell you, sailing in the English Channel in the middle of November is a freezing cold, wet experience.  It was lovely!  At the end of the term, a college buddy from the US came over and we spent a week partying in London and Amsterdam.  Good times had by all.  I went home to Philadelphia for my first Christmas there in four years, and then I spent a fantastic (but cold!) week in Morocco with some classmates.  Marrakesh and Fes were spectacular, but I advice you to A) not go in January... you are NEVER warm as most buildings are not heated, and B) don't let the snake charmer guy put a King Cobra around your neck.  I don't care if he tells you it doesn't bite and had its venom removed that day!!  It is still a highly unpleasant experience which may require a change of pants afterwards!!
  • Internship recuiting - now the real fun begins.  Almost every day one or more companies are here on campus to give presentations about themselves and recruit for summer internships.  It is a strange sight: well dressed students walking around campus in, dressed for the corporate part, trying desperately to hide their neuroticism ("Did you hear anything from XYZ company yet!?"), and sporting the bloodshot eyes that come with trying to balance five core courses (Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunites, Managing Organizational Behavior, Corporate Finance, Marketing, and Decision and Risk Analysis), 1-3 electives, company presentations, internship research, and the general "networking" that is required to land said internship.  At this time of year, most students subsist on a diet consisting purely of chicken skewers, spring rolls, crab puffs, or any other h'or durve that the school's catering facilities provides at the networking functions.  I personally am going for industry, not banking or consulting, so my real fun doesn't begin for another week or so, though I have started attending presentations (to learn about the companies, not for the free food, I swear).

Overall, my experience at London Business School so far has been almost entirely positive.  I absolutely made one of the best decisions of my life coming here, and I am already sad that time is flying by so quickly.  The summer is fast approaching, and with that graduation after that.  I know it really still is 1.5 years away, but it feels too close nonetheless.


Alright, time to head up to Sundowners.  AB InBev is hosting it tonight and providing copious amounts of delicious, free beer.  Lets hope they have some internship opportunities afterall! 

* Quote of the term - "Lehman Brothers is like unlucky camel who gets screwed by polar bear" ~one of my professors

** No, I am not generally in the habit of reading Vogue, Cosmo, or Marie Claire... my group did a market research report for Managerial Economics on the UK's Women's Lifestyle Magazine market.  Needless to say, I will NEVER go into the publishing industry.

Blogger Rebecca shares her experience on study groups in the MBA

Posted by Adcoms on 22 January 2009

The MBA admissions team is often asked about the teaching and learning methods used during the MBA. At London Business School we use a variety of methods to equip students with the skills they need to become a successful business leader. When MBA students arrive at London Business School, they’re assigned to a study group of six or seven people from a diverse range of cultural and professional backgrounds. The study group will work together throughout the first year and achieve around 50 per cent of their first year grade together.

To give you an inside perspective on how study groups operate, we asked Rebecca, a regular MBA2010 blogger to share her experiences.

Q. Does the study group only work together when completing projects and assignments?

A. Most of our work together is for projects and assignments, but we also get together to
study for exams. Also, often in class we do break-out exercises or simulations which are usually organized by study groups.

Q. How often does the study group meet?

A. It really depends on the group. Our group meets once a week all together (there are 6 of us) for 30 minutes to organize ourselves – sort out which assignments are due, check in on the status of various projects and discuss whether we need to meet again later in the week (either as a whole group or in parts). Typically I will meet with one or two other members again for a couple of hours to work on an assignment or project. 

Q. Does each study group vote for a leader?

A. Again, each group is different. We assign a different leader each month. That person is responsible for booking a meeting room, setting the agenda, managing the discussion and emailing out notes or decisions afterwards. We also assign a leader and a 2nd in command for each course. They are responsible for staying on top of assignments for that course and bringing in the other members of the team to help out as necessary. They also organize study sessions for that course leading up to the exam. 

Q. How well do you think the study group model works?

A. Overall our study group works really well. We couldn’t be more different, and I admit I was worried at the beginning of the year because I wasn’t sure how we would all get along given our styles and personalities are so different. But we have a lot of respect for each other and we each bring a different and complementary strength to the team. Each of us is reliable – I know that if one of them says they will look after something it will get done to a high standard. This relieves a lot of stress and makes the whole learning experience a lot more enjoyable.

Rebecca

To find out more about study groups you can watch Meet Study Group D5 on our website video store.

Diversity

Posted by Don on 18 January 2009

Much has been written and said about the diversity of the people here at LBS - and it is true! I have mentioned the various professional backgrounds before - regardless of what career you are targeting - chances are that more than one person will have experience in this field.
Now we have a lot of exchange students here as well. This makes for an interesting, fresh mix. The evening classes also include more people who do a part-time degree while working, which further enhances classroom discussion (most of the time ;-)
Added to that - the additional benefits from an international student body are that in almost every city (certainly every country) there are people you know and could stay with. A number of us have already started doing trips to visit their friends in other countries.
For a long time I had wanted to do martial arts again - mainly for enhancing my flexibility. A new first-year student had sent out mails regarding training together. Turns out he is a Kung-Fu instructor. We did a 2-hour session - I am still hurting but it was great!
Diverse backgrounds work in many ways.
Take care,
Don

New term

Posted by Don on 14 January 2009

Hi all,
the new term has started. There were a lot of courses that really interested me, but I decided to focus on doing only a few courses but doing them well. The danger is always to overload yourself and then feeling stressed. So this term I am focusing on fixed income instruments and the management of bond portfolios as well as internet marketing. All 3 courses are looking really good - the bond portfolio managment course even includes dinner (!).
Interview invitations have started rolling in for the first-year students so we are busy doing mock interviews. It will definitely be a stressful interviewing season - the more preparation the better.
It is great to seeing many familiar faces - soon, very soon it will already be over ...
Take care,
Don

Milkround Musings

Posted by Joyce on 08 January 2009

In MBA vernacular, milkround is what we lovingly refer to as the month of January. In January, classes and homework go on hiatus while career-search activities reach peak concentration.

Maybe it’s just me, but there is something unsettling about the term milkround. For one, milk delivery is in decline, a nostalgic fragment of a bygone era. For another, it implies that we as students only treat this as a matter of going through the motions: suit up, show up, hope you make an impression, then onto the house next door.

Before setting foot on this campus, the excitement and enthusiasm about our future careers could barely be contained. They drove us here, we minted them in our application essays and we prepared for the possibility of new pursuits. And now? Well, unless you’re really turned on by the calcium-enriching power of milk, milkround might not be the best descriptor of how January fits into your career goals.

In a way, I can understand how the term first got started. Both logistically and out of fairness, it makes sense to give students and employers a uniform recruitment schedule. It saves students from wondering whether a more suitable job will crop up three months later, and it gives employers equal access to students. Unfortunately, it might mean getting worn out from attending presentation after presentation or repeating your "elevator speech" one too many times.

I’m not suggesting that recruitment ought to happen differently. If being methodical works, it works. I only worry about the bright-eyed intentions we all started off with. Perhaps I am reading too much into the word, but maybe invoking the euphemism says more about our social collective than we want to acknowledge.

(If you’ve made it through all the semantics in this post, dear reader, I thank you! If nothing else, I know these extended musings driven entirely by one word would have made my former English teachers proud.)

Happy new year! Starting with a block week

Posted by Melanie on 07 January 2009

As much as I was dreading having to come back to school again, and especially back to the 1 degree London weather, the block week in Bertini's Pricing Strategy has been a good one.

First of all, it's great to see old smiling faces from my stream-mates again. There's a good chunk of Stream B 09s in this class for some reason. Perhaps we all loved his Aqualisa case so much. (summary : target the plumbers, not the end users of UK showers.) We all caught up on each others' travels, especially since many people's plans had been changed due to the cancellation of the India Club's Yatra trip. Turned out, some people regrouped in China instead!

Marco Bertini has been just as lively as we had remembered. And the course, just as interesting. Though still slightly jet-lagged, I haven't had any issue keeping my attention throughout the 6 hours of class per day. He mixes it up quite well, with a break-out hour into groups to discuss the cases, and insightful guest speakers.

Today's case and guest speaker were fascinating. We started off the day, discussing the pricing dilemma that XM Satellite Radio faced: how to price their new service to the US market. The situation was pretty complex. We weighed the options around subscription vs advertisement supported revenues, and factored in the need to subsidize the radio units themselves. The decision has proven to be tough to make, as both XM and Sirius Satellite Radio have both been suffering heavy losses the past years. Which makes me wonder... was this business even viable at all?

In the afternoon, we discussed a live case on the pricing of the London 2012 tickets. Till this week, I hadn't known that the Beijing Games suffered from empty stadium seats, mostly, due to poor choices in ticket pricing and distribution. We were lucky enough to have Paul Williamson of the Games' Organising Committee join us as a guest speaker today.  With his previous experience in sports ticketing as a Director at Ticketmaster, he shared a lot of insight into the real-world uses of price segmentation. As the Olympics are a non-profit event, he has to juggle the financial needs, promote a positive image, and maintain the "fairness" and accessibility of the games to everyone. What would you pay for tickets to the opening ceremony? What about a handball match between Uzbekistan and Ghana?

So far, my first block week has been well worth coming back early for. Let's see how I feel the night before I have to submit all the assignments. :) 

Lucky

Posted by Don on 04 January 2009

Hi all,

a very happy new year 2009, first of all.

I want to begin this new year with an observation I made yesterday. It reminded me how lucky and fortunate we, studying at London Business School, really are, despite the occasional bout of frustration.

I visited a Confucian temple in Shanghai yesterday. It was very beautiful, laid out with a rock garden around a little lake, a pagoda and the oldest library in Shanghai. Next to the main hall there are several trees onto which people can hang their prayers and wishes. Most of them are in Chinese but one, half in Chinese half in English, caught my attention. It read that the person was hoping and praying to be able to be admitted into the MBA program of London Business School in 2009.

It reminded me how much a lot of people are longing for what we are doing.

Take care, and have a wonderful and fantastic start.
Don