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This blog is for MBA applicants who want to know more about life as part of the London Business School community. The site is managed by the MBA Admissions Team with content provided by students and alumni.

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Last activities

Posted by Don on 28 June 2009

So – the MBA is over. The final course, after the speech-writing GLDP (Global Leadership Development Program, a course including various aspects such as writing, presentation and other soft-skills training), was a block week in International Finance. Its lecturer regularly receives awards from students as best faculty – and we were not disappointed. Prof. Uppal is very approachable and friendly, yet also very very knowledgeable – even compared to the high caliber of finance faculty at LBS. He gave the impression of being able to teach any finance course in any area (option/fixed income/valuations/currencies) at a very high level. He also spent a lot of time on the case discussion, making sure everyone understood the solution and the way it was reached.

Additionally Prof. Uppal spent 10 minutes of each class talking about life and life changing events. This was fascinating as it shed a light on very interesting, moving and touching events, people and lives while at the same time offering perspectives from a seasoned professor with a lot of experience in life. The only unfortunate thing was that this class was almost to good to be taught in a block week – there was so much additional reading that a normal format might have been better.

I added a weekend training course to become a Dive Medic – increasing my knowledge of Decompression Sickness, CPR and wound suturing to be able to handle dive emergencies better. This also included a dry dive in a recompression chamber to 40 meters which was very funny.

The following two weeks I spent with my team mates on finishing the second year project. I was very fortunate to work with two great guys on a very interesting subject – a Funded Search to acquire a medium-sized German company. This investment idea originated at Stanford and has become quite standardized in the US. First-round investors invest $20,000 on average to fund a search process for up to two years. Equity step-up and right of first refusal ensure that the risk is offset by quite a lot of advantages. The whole report was quite long but very substantial. In the current climate we were unfortunately not able to secure enough investors – the other two wanted to really do this full-time after the MBA. We however agreed to keep in touch regularly regarding the funded search and see if the situation will improve in a few years. The only real challenge was the current economic climate and the drying-up of credit – there is certainly no lack of potential target companies.

When I look back on the MBA then it is this I will miss most – working together with great people on very different projects, each bringing different skills and experiences to the table. Having dinner together and working until late at night or during the weekend, trying to deliver the best possible result. Very similar to the consulting world, actually, but with very different topics.

So we went to the MBA Program office together to hand in our report - and the MBA was over. Unbelievable - it went amazingly fast. So many things to do - so many activities and events to attend, trips to go on, people to meet. Now it is all over - and a new chapter begins.

MBA TV, Episode eleven

Posted by Adcoms on 01 June 2009

The latest episode of MBA TV is here.

Studying at London Business School gives our MBAs a truly global experience. Their classmates hail from over 60 countries, as well as being taught by world-class faculty from more than 30 countries. As if this wasn’t enough, we have one of the world’s largest International Exchange Programmes (IEP).

Each year around a third of second-year MBAs take the opportunity to spend a term abroad at one of over 30 partner schools, travelling as far afield as China, India, South Africa and Australia, building new business networks and experiencing a new culture.

In this episode we take a closer look at the IEP including:
• An interview with Stephen Chadwick, Student Services Manager on the IEP
• Coverage of the Exchange Fair, where first year MBAs can meet students who have already lived the exchange experience and alumni from partner schools
• Insights from MBAs who’ve returned from exchange.

For more information on the International Exchange Programme visit our MBA programme page

1YP

Posted by Rebecca on 27 May 2009

This is a very busy time of year.  I know, all the bloggers are starting to sound like a broken record on this subject, but it’s true.  The amount of work and activity seems to increase with each passing semester.  At the moment I’m juggling three upcoming exams, a report for our Managing Organisational Behaviour Audit client, plus all the activity that comes with being an Academic rep and involved with the Media Club.  And then there is the small matter of my 1st Year Project. 

Each year professors post research topics of interest to them as 1YPs.  Students can apply, and if selected, earn an elective credit after successfully completing the paper / case study / analysis.  One of them caught my eye: the Evolution of Organizational Forms and Employment Patterns in the Film Industry (1900-2008).  I applied and was awarded the project. 

This happened back in February.  Since then I have learned several “fun facts”:

  • In 1990 over 36,000 scripts were registered with the Writers Guild of America; less than 1% was made into movies.
  • While everyone enjoys playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” he is not, in fact, the most connected person in Hollywood.  That honour belongs to a porn star.
  • I am the only student who signed up for a 1st year project.

All of these findings are interesting to recite, but somewhat intuitive including the last fact.  I say this because all of my fellow classmates are bright enough to know the basic math for return on investment.  I apparently skipped that Finance lecture and neglected to calculate that an 8,000 word research report on what I will call a niche topic may not be the best use of hours and hours and hours of time. 

So why did I sign up for a 1YP on this particular topic?  That seems to be a popular question.  A number of conversations have followed a similar pattern.

Friend: “want to grab a drink?”
Me: “can’t. I have to write another 5,000 words of my research paper for my 1YP.”
Friend:  “what’s a 1YP? And why would you sign up for more work?”

Or this one –

Me: “can you help me find a book on power networks?”
Librarian: “sure. Is this for a second year project?”
Me: “no, a first year project.”
Librarian: “They’re making you do first year projects now, too?”
Me: “no, I signed up for one.”
Librarian: “wow.  Why?”

One of the things that drew me to the 1YP was the flexibility to work on an elective credit on my own, at my own pace.  Of course, in reality that means waiting until the 11th hour to start researching and writing (if you are one of those people who stick to a disciplined schedule and finish things on time, I’m sorry but we can’t be friends). 

But as I approach the homestretch (1500 more words to go!), I realise that the answer to the question “why?” is because this obscure topic interests me: I want a job in media, and this is what the paper is about after all.  And there is something oddly satisfying about writing a report with a word count in the thousands with a bibliography that goes on for pages.  Sort of like running a marathon (not that I’ve done it) – mildly masochistic but somehow rewarding. 

This fall the faculty will no doubt post another slate of 1YPs, and for any MBA 2011 thinking about applying, feel free to come talk to me.  In the meantime, information sessions are being held for the 2nd Year Project, which are mandatory for graduation.  I think I'll finish this one before thinking about the next one.   

Today, I attended my last class at London Business School.

Posted by Melanie on 18 April 2009

I remember thinking what a drag it might be to end with a course that required 8 cases, lectures till 6pm, homework, mind-expanding questions, business and academic readings, and a Sunday morning exam. But now I'm thrilled to have ended on such a positive and enlightening note, inspired by International Finance professor, Raman Uppal.

I think I finally understand the CAPM model. I learned how to hedge against currency exchange risk and country risk. I plowed through those 8 cases and became closer friends with four other stream B-ers. (I've also put on a couple of kgs snacking on cookies and Bombay mix to keep alert in lecture.) But what I'll remember most is the way Professor Uppal closed each of his lectures with a little snippit of philosophy on life.

In is introduction email to the class, a couple of weeks before we started, he wrote:
"So, I now have two objectives in teaching the course on International Finance. First, I wish to imbed in your head a systematic structure for thinking about all issues related to international financial markets and international corporate finance.
...
My second objective is to help you to think about your life and to help you change it in a direction that you want."

And he left us with a healthy reading list. I picked up "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World," an autobiography by a former Microsoft executive that went on to start Rooms to Read, a dynamic charity that has built thousands of libraries and hundreds of schools for children in developing countries. I was reminded again of my original reasons for coming to do my MBA in the first place.

So with those snippits of wisdom (and a new list of book recommendations), I'll be leaving London Business School with much of what I wanted to achieve, and a positive outlook on the new direction in my life post-MBA. "One step at a time," I have to remind myself when I start getting anxious about those dreams.

Next step? Discovering the ancient secrets of Bukhara and Samarkand...Samarkand

Watch, engage and debate on new business channel

Posted by Adcoms on 14 April 2009

London Business School, Google and Telegraph.co.uk have formed a partnership to provide unique bite-sized insights from some of the UK’s leading organisations via a new YouTube channel called Survival of The Fastest.

Survival of The Fastest has been designed as an online thought leadership community for business leaders, offering credible insights into management areas ranging from finance and marketing to e-Commerce.

As the academic partner, London Business School has made available a number of its world-class faculty who have each provided concise video contributions discussing different ways of ‘speeding up’ in the slowdown. For example;

• How can medium to large businesses remain nimble and maintain competitive advantage in a downturn?
• Should marketers focus on gaining share in today’s climate?
• What is the value of online strategy?

Visit the Survival of the Fastest community at http://youtube.com/survivalofthefastest

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

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Good stuff

Posted by Don on 26 February 2009

I think I have previously commented on the high level of commitment of most professors here at LBS. I remember from the very first weeks how I would send emails to the finance professor (and also the accounting professor) and they would answer within hours - even on a Sunday!
This continues with very short turnaround times from the professors this term, namely in bond portfolio management and fixed income (both classes highly recommended! Provides the theoretical concepts and the practical application).
So today I tried to meet the professor for Fixed Income who is actually quite famous internationally. He had several people in his office already so I just sent him an email to ask whether he had time tomorrow. I suddenly got a call on my mobile (he actually looked up my phone number!) to apologize (!) and to tell me that he would not be here tomorrow and if I could come in now (which I of course did).
If you previously studied at a state-run uni in Germany (or any other country, for that matter) you will understand why such 'customer relationship management' and service mentality still impresses me deeply.

Today was a 'typical' 2nd year day: 7.15am rugby practice with added fitness training, a quick breakfast and a quick lie-down (what luxury - a nap at 10.30 :-). Then fixed income recap and doing a bit of organizing for the scuba diving club. Now we have sundowners (i.e. free drinks) and then a presentation by the founder of iglu.com, the skiing travel agency. And then the night starts ....

Enjoy life!
Don

Internet marketing

Posted by Don on 19 February 2009

Hi all,
IM is quickly becoming my favorite course this term (despite my focus on finance!). We usually have a guest speaker for half the time, including people from BBC, Facebook, Apple, Sky, Google and more. These deliver very insightful and useful content with a lot of takeaways. In the second half we discuss, based on the chapter in a book which we need to prepare, a wide range of topics from general aspects of how the internet works, how blogs, feeders and aggregators work to topics like online pricing, strategies for Google adwords bidding and more.
The most interesting part is the application though: in a group of 5 we had to contact and convince a small company which does not yet use adwords to work with us. Together with the company we came up with a Pre-Strategy Report containing a company profile but also our approach on what area of the business we are targetting, which keywords we were looking at and how we were going to bid.
We are learning now that it is very much trial-and-error: after setting up the initial ads we have now added several variations of the same add to see which generates the most impressions on Google search as well as on content (i.e. partner) sites. Additionally you can see which keywords have been searched for and how your bidding strategy is working (are you bidding enough to get into the top 3 ads?) You can then concentrate on the most successful ads and keywords, meaning you aim to increase the click-through-rates, i.e. the ratio of people actually clicking on the ad.

All of this does not really mean much to you? No worries - I also had no idea beforehand. The course covers it pretty well and you get a $200 budget from Google to play around with. There are a ton of documents at google as well (search for Google adwords, keyword tool, traffic estimator) and there are a lot of books on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

And, once again, we are all learning from each others' experiences.

So a great class with a lot of tangible takeaways!

Take care,
Don

Take part in a lecture

Posted by Don on 16 February 2009

Hi all,
so one of my classes this term is called Internet Marketing. In this class we explore the different areas of internet marking, including Facebook, BBC online, Youtube, Sky online and others. The lectures explore, along a book, the different aspects of how marketing on the internet differs from "normal" marketing.
As part of the class we are required to blog. So I thought I would tell you the friendfeed room so you can join in to this part and get a better feel of what happens in a class at LBS.

The friendfeed room is http://friendfeed.com/rooms/lbsinternetmarketing0809

Please let me know if this does not work.

Take care,
Don

MBA TV - Episode six

Posted by Adcoms on 13 February 2009

The latest episode of MBA TV is here. London Business School's MBA is about developing people with the knowledge, skills and attributes to become global business leaders. In this episode we take a closer look at GLAM, the Global Leadership Assessment for Managers.  

When students start the MBA Programme, GLAM is the perfect platform to identify their current skill set and start to develop themselves as global leaders.

The course helps students to bridge the gap which many people have between their understanding of new countries and cultures and their ability to lead others in culturally sensitive ways. 

This episode features interviews with MBA students and faculty, as well as footage of the week long course in action.

Read more about GLAM and other MBA core courses.

Fostering Creativity!

Posted by Vipul on 12 February 2009

Ding Ding Ding! No, there’s no ice-cream truck driving up Sussex Place. It’s the sweet sound of … internship rejections. Surprised? I am too. First, I was surprised that so many companies rejected me. Later, I was even more surprised at myself for not feeling too bad about it. I was (and still am) targeting consulting firms for the Summer. But all these rejections mean that, if I don’t get a consulting internship, I can experiment with starting out on my own. There will be no guilt for not trying to land a secure job and there will be no opportunity cost!

London Business School is just great at inspiring creativity. The first year core subject, Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities (DEO), has really got me excited about trying new and daring ventures. Yesterday the deputy chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, Richard Hytner, spoke to our class about creativity. We did a number of exercises that forced us to challenge the norms. He introduced us to some fantastic tools for fostering creativity in our study groups. I particularly liked De Bono’s Hats. I left the class feeling very excited, despite having received two internship rejection emails during the class. I was excited about totally wild ideas: “back packs with beer warmers (yes, this is England)”, “flying without airports” – to name a few. It was really cool to see how creative a bunch of accountants, bankers, doctors and consultants can be.

How will I keep the creative juices flowing? Definitely get my study group to do the Hat analysis of our DEO Trade Show ideas. Get the innovation club to hold wild-idea brainstorming sessions (they can be hilarious and can generate some awesome actionable ideas). Keep attending highly inspirational classes like DEO and Managing Organizational Behaviour (MOB). And, if I can find a good idea, start a company over the summer.

Now off to bed, to rest before my big consulting interview :)

Questions...

Posted by Don on 12 February 2009

Hi all,
some time ago I posted a story about me reading a prayer at a temple in Shanghai - someone who wants to attend LBS. This person then read my blog and we were put in touch. He sent me an email with a couple of very good questions so I thought I would share them - including my (obviously very subjective) answers.

Q: I've been reading your previous post on the MBA blog. Are you of a typical profile in LBS? Manager at Accenture? Options, derivatives ... did you learn those in MBA or did you already know all these prior to joining LBS?
A: The background of the people at LBS is very mixed - and that is the great thing as everyone brings new ideas to the table and approaches problems from different angles. You learn from your classmates but also from people in other programs. I certainly learned a lot here during the MBA, including options and derivatives (I knew a bit beforehand). Especially the finance courses are very thorough.

Q: I worry about my fit at LBS.  What kind of students do you think LBS is looking for?
A: They look for a mixed background. I think there is no 'typical' student. Don't worry at all about your background - we have people from finance, consulting, and industry, speech therapists, F1 drivers, people from the armed forces. Again - I think the mix of people and the different approaches to solving problems is one of the very great benefits of this particular school.

Q: And if there's a single most important question that I'd like you to answer, this will be the one:
What do you think are the traits of a successful student in LBS? IQ, EQ, Networking? What do you think?
A: Networking. The learning aspect is important and you will be able to pick up a lot, but networking and meeting people is the most important thing you can do during your time here. This includes alumni who are really willing to help you out.

Q: In your opinion, what do you think of the academic workload in LBS? Do you really have time to "network"? Do you really have much time for extracurricular activities?
A: It depends on how much time you give it. There are some students who read every single reading. You never see them at networking events or at the pub. Then there are others who mainly socialize and party. Others mainly network with alumni and professionals. I consider the MBA as a toolbox - you construct the program that best fits your needs, especially with the flexibility that the LBS MBA offers. So yes, there is time for extracurricular activities and for networking and both are really important. Meeting new people over a beer or doing sports is, in my opinion, more important than reading all optional readings.

Q: What will you be losing out if you are to complete the course in 15 months (other then sleep, of course). What's the typical hours like in LBS? I recall studying till the wee hours of the night during my undergraduate days. Is LBS going to be a repeat of that?
A: It is a lot of work but definitely can be done in 15 months. You loose out in terms of less choice of courses you might want to take.

Q: What kind of culture is LBS like? Is the atmosphere more collaborative, or competitive? Do people focus more on teamwork or individual contributions? I understand that such characteristics is highly dependent of the individual but if you are viewing LBS as an outsider, what is your feel?
A: I find that most people work well in teams. Even if your study group does not become the best of friends most still find a way to work together productively. So teamwork, also in clubs, works well usually.

Q: LBS has a very good reputation in the consulting industry which I'm keen on. I come with business development background and I have no prior contact in the consulting industry. Is that any big disadvantage?
A: Not at all. Actually the people are very diverse and especially consulting firms value different backgrounds.

Q: And I hope you do not mind asking you some pointed personal questions:
Do you have any regrets joining LBS? Why or why not?
A: The only regret I have is the lack of time - there are so many things to do! Especially in the second year the courses are a lot more interesting, there are many club activities and trips to join! And there is London to explore!

Q: After graduation, what do you think is the ONE THING that you feel you've taken away from LBS which you CANNOT take away from anywhere else? You can form a network of friends anywhere; you can learn the academics anywhere; you can live in London anytime... but what is the ONE THING that you feel you have taken away from LBS which you cannot take away from anywhere else?
A: The opportunity to work together with very smart people from very different ways of life.

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.