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MBA TV - Episode seven

Posted by Adcoms on 19 March 2009

Episode seven of MBA TV is here!

Recruitment activities take place throughout the year, and in this episode we focus on the Industry Careers Fair, when many of our recruiters visit campus to introduce their company and meet our students.

The bi-annual Industry Careers Fair held each spring and autumn term attracts an impressive variety of recruiters from across the industry sector.

This episode includes interviews with Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and Whirlpool, as well as Jurek Sikorski, Associate Director of Career Services and current MBA students.  

Download Industry Careers Fair brochure

Venturing into New Territory

Posted by Rebecca on 18 March 2009

Sometimes people do things that I really don’t understand, like finding the motivation to enrol in an early morning boot camp fitness program, or making their own sushi at home when there are plenty of excellent restaurants just waiting to deliver.  I include case competitions in this category.  Give up a weekend to do more work solving a hypothetical (or improbable) business situation under time pressure with a team of type A personalities under the watchful eyes of outside experts for the glory of winning a certificate?  I must be missing something, because case competitions are a staple of business school life and invariably dozens of people sign up for each one.

So it was with an open if somewhat sceptical mind that I agreed at the last minute to join a team for the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC).  VCIC is different than most classic case competition formats in that it attempts to model the venture capital experience in 48 hours:

  • The teams are given 3 – 5 business plans from real start-up companies.
  • The actual entrepreneurs give their pitch to the group and then each team has 15 minutes to conduct a Q&A due diligence session.
  • Each team then must pick a start-up, decide how much money to invest and on what terms. The entrepreneur and the team meet one last time for a 15 minute negotiation on the term sheet in hopes of striking a deal.
  • The whole process is observed by experienced venture capitalists that grill each team’s thought process and term sheet after the negotiations.

As someone who knows very little about venture capital it was a great learning experience both in terms of evaluating a start-up as well as structuring an early stage investment.  But for me the best part of the experience was our team – I got a chance to work with a group of very talented people whose backgrounds and strengths are very different than mine, and I learned more from them in 48 hours than I did in several weeks of class.

The first round was a frenzy of internet research, financial modelling and late night brainstorming sessions.  We were the underdogs compared to other the teams with prior VC experience, but in the end we surprised ourselves by winning both first place and the Entrepreneurs’ Choice award. And we won a lot more than a certificate: two bottles of champagne and an expense paid trip to represent the school in the next round at NYU Stern.

After heeding some advice from our VC judges, we jetted off to NYC for round two.  The semi-finals were equally intense and the competition was fierce.  We spent one day holed up in the New York Public Library thinking about the merits of iPhone applications versus cloud computing.  We didn’t win in the end, but we had a lot of laughs along the way.  Better yet, we got to enjoy the rest of the weekend in NYC. This is not to say that I will be signing up for every case competition, but it goes to show that it’s worth trying something before passing judgement.  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going shopping for raw fish and rice.

Turning tides

Posted by Charlotte on 09 March 2009

My MBA experience has completely shifted this term.  My priorities have changed and my outlook is not the same as it was.  Last term work was my priority and I felt that the MBA was just very time-consuming.  I went home to Boston for 3 weeks over Christmas and I couldn’t bear to pick up a book, let alone look at a number.  I realised I had been missing old friends and I was desperately in need of recharging my batteries.

Thankfully I survived the initiation tests to get to the rewards of this term.  And wow, what a term.  How can I summarise it in a sentence?  Interviews, suits, jobs, rugby matches, discovering the alumni bond, party organising, Sundowners, a trip to Paris, Sundowners and more parties.

There’s not much of classes in all of that and yet classes have been great.  Marketing and Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities are all getting to the crux of what makes businesses tick.  However, I have learnt far more from doing interviews than I have in any class.  I spent the first few weeks absorbed in ‘cracking cases’, the standard method of interviewing for consulting companies where a business problem is thrown at you and you have half an hour to draw together all of your knowledge and wit and come up with reasonable assumptions on how the problem can be fixed.  It is extremely strategic, a lot of fun and thankfully the preparation paid off since I am lucky enough to have an internship offer from a consulting firm for the summer.

But more than that, this term I have really experienced what it means when people say that the MBA is all about building a network.  This isn’t as cheesy as it sounds and it’s not artificial.  Job-hunting has been a truly bonding experience.  We regularly met up in groups to prepare for interviews together even though we were all competing for the same roles.  The 2nd years have been an amazing resource and the alumni I have met have been extremely supportive and just want to help you to get a job in the companies they work for.

I have found my network of friends and contacts growing in so many other ways too.  I have met up with a student from Kellogg on exchange here who has worked for the company I am going to this summer, I’ve met some creative people through the lunchtime photography classes offered by an avid photographer in our year, I’ve been to brunch with the 19 girls in my stream, I’ve shared drinks, songs and dances with the long line of alumni involved in the rugby club after the alumni match last weekend and I’m finding out the talents of my fellow classmates as part of the committee organising this year’s summer ball.  And this is all going to continue in the sun – I’m going to Thailand for 2 weeks over the Easter holidays with the sailing club – can’t wait!

Of Kangaroos and Vegemite Sandwiches

Posted by Matthew on 01 March 2009

Well, it has been a while since I have posted on this blog.  Hope you all missed me.  You might have been wondering if I was so busy because of my rigorous academic schedule (maybe my Mom)...  Well, no.  I decided to spend this term studying abroad in Sydney, Australia.  And it has been well worth it.

I spent the final months in London vigorously preparing and studying for my new adventure.  I watched the Mad Max films and Australia; reviewed Patrick White, and researched recipes for kangaroo.  When I was finally ready, I started my 22 hour voyage to the land down under.  I decided not to live with any other students as I wanted to immerse myself in Aussie culture as much as possible.  So I found an apartment on the beach (literally on the BEACH) and began what has been 6 of the best weeks of my MBA so far.  I spend my days swimming and snorkeling, the sort of general malaise that students possess and the employed lament.  I have also been traveling heavily.

By the time I leave Australia in early April, I will have seen the Australian Open, boated on the rivers in the South Island of New Zealand, flown over Milford Sound, scuba dived at the Great Barrier Reef, hiked through the Daintree Rainforest, driven along the Great Ocean Road, eaten at Tetsuya's restaurant (9th best restaurant in the world according to the 2008 List of World's Best Restaurants), camped at Ayer's Rock, cuddled koalas, hopped with kangaroos, swum with dolphins, and cooked some shrimp on the barbie (numerous times).  So, as you can tell, it has been pretty busy.  Oh, and I also fit a week long diving extravaganza in the Maldives.

And I think I might have also been to a couple of classes on International Business Strategy, New Product Development, and Corporate Governance.  For anyone thinking about studying abroad in the future, Sydney Australia at the Australian School of Business AGSM MBA Program is highly recommended.  Escaping winter in London and the United States is a huge plus, but the students and people here are extremely friendly -- quick to chat over a schooner and show you their wonderful country.  And it also further reinforces that there is only a certain amount of education that occurs in the classroom.  Sometimes, you just need to get out on the beach with friends and enjoy life and travel.

I will be getting back in April to London, but I will not take any more classes.  I will prepare for my future career in banking by once again traveling as much as possible - planned trips to New York, California, India, Barcelona, Paris, Kyoto/Tokyo, a safari in Kenya, and diving in Zanzibar.  So, I highly recommend doing a study abroad while you are at business school.  London Business School encourages it more than any other business school I know and for good reason.  The networks created abroad and the ability to be taught by a different school's faculty and points of view along with the ability to experience more of the world will inevitably make you a better person and a stronger candidate for jobs post business school.  And in this current economic climate, we can all use every advantage we can get.

Conrad Maldives Air