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Learning from friends

Posted by Steve on 20 October 2009

To most people, The Egremont is the name of a quiet local pub in a seaside town in West Sussex, an hour south of London.  This weekend however, the Egremont was the name chosen by my team, competing in the annual Chicago Booth IPO Challenge.

The competition involves receiving a case full of information at 4pm on Saturday and having 24 hours to put together a pitch book and then hopefully be selected for the final by a panel of judges in Chicago. Our team consisted of four mates from my stream and me and as per the rules, only two could have M&A experience.  I can honestly say I have never learnt so much between the hours of 4pm and 2am on a saturday evening, and time has rarely gone so annoyingly quickly.

The competition underscores some real LBS MBA messages, one being that you do as much learning out of the classroom as you do in it....working alongside seasoned professionals who previously worked for top banks and consultancies was one of the best learning experiences I have had.  Another is that if you get involved in things, the MBA is even more fun but there would be uproar if the faculty put on a 24h class, we find the 8.15 starts hard enough.

So, whilst the downside was missing X-Factor, the upsides far far far outweighed it...and we're being flown to Chicago for the final!

Dude, where's my blog?

Posted by Jenny on 12 October 2009

I’m back to popping pills again – Flu vs Moi Round 2. I’ve realised that I’m going to be a weakling in this town. Cold weather + Booze + Thinking I’m Superwoman = Softee Jenny. I’ve become a valued customer at Boots.

Oh and right, this is my first blog post here. Hello, uhm, LBS MBA applicants. If you want a blow by blow of what's been happening, I apologise but you won't find it in my blogs.

Yeah it has been darn busy in school, but I’m surviving. Classes, homeworks, study group meetings, club events, parties. Right now I actually should be doing my Corporate Finance homework but I figured a looming 4pm deadline will make me work faster later. I’m all about efficiency. That and I can’t stop watching Californication. After the third successive episode I have resigned to the fact that I am doing a marathon. Talk about escalation of commitment.

I know, I know, I’m in school to learn, but actually I’ve realised that my main goal here is to figure out what I want to do with my life. I know I said in my MBA application that I EXACTLY knew what I wanted to do post-MBA, but seriously, didn’t we all? After meeting 400 amazing people from more than 50 countries, we are bound to re-assess our goals. It’s inevitable.

Now what I didn’t see coming was that LBS would actually tell me two important things about myself so early in the programme: One is that I was bound for derailment once upon a time. Two is that I am an idiot.

Derailment is, I learned from GLAM course, an organisational behaviour term for being a - errr I'm not sure if I'm allowed to use certain words here, so let's say - a "monkey" and not knowing it, thus causing you your promotion or even your job. This is classic for superstars who get promoted early and start thinking that they’re a god. I plead guilty. This was years ago when I was still in Manila and I blamed my boss, my clients and even IFRS for my poor performance after my promotion. Sorry, Boss Who Must Not Be Named, I blamed you for years but I have come to realise that the truth is I wasn’t ready then. And I was a monkey. (Wow, my first public apology. Hallelujah.)

And second point – I’m an idiot. I was told that I was an idiot for not living in the moment. At first I couldn’t wrap my tiny brain around it but the arguments are quite compelling and apparently according to a professor it’s a fad these days. Do whatever you want then think about the consequences later. Trust your gut feel and make quicker, more accurate decisions. Gladwell even wrote a book on it, on how wonderful blinking is, LOL. Years ago I thought I was being an idiot when I was not thinking things through, but now I am thinking things through and still I’m an idiot. Oh how times have changed. Yes, I’m an idiot—planning and thinking and all—but see it landed me here in London and I could see a bright light 5, 10 years from now, so I guess I’m happy with being an idiot… Or am I? [Insert mixed feelings here]. I really don’t know how to end this thought. Nor this paragraph. Nor this blog post. Good thing is I have two years to think about it.

Clubs kick-off

Posted by Samuel on 09 October 2009

For the last few weeks, we had a wide range of clubs kick-off events held on campus. The diversity of the students clubs is truly amazing. Think about something, anything! I’m sure that there is a club already there to satisfy your wildest interests. From the Africa club to the salsa club, from the consulting club to the finance club, from the Iceland alumni club to the wine and cheese club...

I attended several kick-off events, but there’s one in particular that I didn’t want to miss: the entrepreneurship club kick-off.

For this year's kick-off, the club had done a great job: they successfully invited Tony and Maureen Wheeler for a Q&A session. For those who (still?) don’t know them, Tony and Maureen Wheeler are the founders of Lonely Planet Publications. Tony is an alum of London Business School (MSC05) and together with his wife Maureen they created the highly successful Lonely Planet travel guides.  They met on a bench in Regent's Park and in 1972 then went travelling overland across Europe and Asia to Australia.  It is after this trip that they created a travel guide and sold it to bookshops to add to their 27 cents and camera they had when they first arrived in Australia.  The book sold out within one week and was followed by a second guide that was equally successful.  That was the birth of their world famous guides and the rest, as they say, is history.

It‘s great to have the chance to get some insights from such successful entrepreneurs. They managed to turn their initial idea into a company currently publishing more than 500 different titles. Still, they managed to keep their initial passion and enthusiasm alive after all those years. What’s their secret?!

Why I chose London Business School – 3/3

Posted by Sanjeev on 06 October 2009

Honestly I haven’t been more conscious of my financial health until some rudimentary arithmetic allowed me to visualize the impact of pursuing MBA studies on my balance sheet (at least for the duration of the course). The location and duration of your MBA programme (actually prestige of the school too; please don’t label me narcissistic or pretentious for saying so) will have a bearing on the financial squeeze you will face. This is an unavoidable eventuality or should I say a necessary evil (but wasn’t the greed for money the root of all Evil!). The weak dollar and pound in a global economic melt-down did work in my favour!

Leaving aside the financial matters, for me an MBA is a significant social investment too and that brings me to the final dimension governing my choice of business school. By now I had settled for 2 schools from the original list of 8. By virtue of its location, studying in London was a big draw due to proximity (in terms of ease and cost of accessibility) to places of travel in UK and Europe. I had travelled to some place in Europe for work and was enamoured by its old-world charm and history that I found was diminishing in the rapidly modernizing Asian economies. Such diversity was hard to find in North America either.

London Business School is at the heart of cosmopolitan London and offers a vibrant and bustling social life.  Additionally, London Business School offers a plethora of student clubs to hone one’s professional skills and nurture one’s sporting/artistic talents. It may seem like blowing one’s trumpet but check out The Sundowners Club to discover for your-self another unique facet of social life at London Business School.

I knew for the above reasons (please see the previous posts on this topic as well), when I was offered a place on the programme, that I had to look no further.