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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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Two years later: was my MBA worth pursuing?

Posted by Martha on 26 August 2008

2008_aug_cambodia_97 Just came back from a thirty-day trip in Southeast Asia and I will continue to travel for a few more days before landing in Dubai for a full-time job. I could say my ability to enjoy time off has dramatically improved – thanks to the MBA. Without empty pages on my passport, after two marathons, and with lots of new friends and rewarding memories, the MBA has been a package of experiences.

Needless to say, I also discovered the business world – after a few years in oil rigs. Obviously, I have also broadened my set of skills, particularly those of teamwork and business judgement. Yet, the biggest impact of the MBA has been at a personal level: a change of mindset. I feel more ownership over my professional career and life than I did before. I have also genuinely learnt to appreciate the balance and combination of work and pleasure.

No need to make this blog entry long – the MBA was worth pursuing and wise to choose London Business School.

I'm an Alum already?

Posted by Manish on 25 August 2008

For most part, graduation is a celebration that reminds you of the wonderful journey you have just completed and even the few mentions of the word 'alumni' only serve to remind you of the relationship you continue to have with school and all the people you have met during that journey.

However, when I logged into Portal a couple of days ago it looked dreadfully different. My life and identity on Portal had been taken away in one smooth operation. That's when it fully and finally registered that I was indeed no longer a student but an alumnus.

A warm welcome to the MBA2010s and to the new brigade of bloggers who seem to have got off to a dashing start. I hope to continue posting on this blog as my journey into the corporate world begins on Sept 1st.

Gelato Mio Grand Opening

Posted by Jerome on 16 July 2008

Last week was the grand opening of Gelato Mio, the first outlet of this new chain of gelato stores. What's so special about that? Well that is a London Business School MBA2009 and his wife MIFFT2008 who are starting that business! You have probably read on that blog that the 1st year of the MBA (especially the autumn term) is quite busy and that the fulltime master in finance programme is too. That is entirely true, so that shows you how determined these 2 students (namely Carlo and Simone) are! On the video you see the outcome and how successful the opening was, but what is not shown is how much time has been spent on studying the market, defining the project, financing it, finding a strategic location, bidding and negociating for a lease, registering to the local authorities, finding a chef, arranging the supply chain, advertising,... All that knowing that before September, neither Carlo nor Simone lived in London!
And now you're saying "Enough, enough, you're gonna make me cry. This is just another ice cream shop, it's never gonna work in London". Well that would be a big mistake. It's not icecream, it's gelati (Carlo explains the difference very well on the video) and it tastes damn good.
On the day it was open gelato bar from 2-5 PM, so needless to say I took the opportunity to try a few flavours (out of the 20+ available). And they are damn good, hard to say which one is best. I would shortlist pistacchio and hazzelnut though. When you go there, you have to try at least one of these.
For those of you who are going to the Notting Hill Carnaval (the day before school starts!) get off the tube at Holland Park, take a right and walk for 2 minutes, you're there! And don't forget to ask for a loyalty card, you will need one!

I've said my goodbyes..

Posted by Manish on 12 July 2008

It felt strange yesterday to empty out my locker and return the keys to the office. Clearly quite contrary to the day I arrived to pick up my locker number and keys. Simple task which mark the beginning and end of our time at school. I also recycled my binders yesterday (yes we love doing that here), and while I cleared out my bookcase I was reminded of how much we have learnt in the last 2 years.

Some of my colleagues have started working already. From the looks of it, the transition back into work life is not an easy one, especially if you have had such a good time for 2 years. I am fortunate to have a few more weeks off for traveling before I set off into the career I have chosen. Thankfully too, I am going to be based in London so I don't feel like I am being separated from this lovely school environment. It will be close at hand if I have the longing to go back and sit in class or hang around the quad. It won't be the same though. We were the fabric of this place for the last 2 years and now we go join the fabric of a community of 28000 alumni.

As a freshly minted MBA, I can only say one thing to readers who are wondering whether or not the 2 year MBA is worth it. I echo the sentiments of all my peers when I say that it as been the best and biggest life altering experience of my life. It takes sacrifices and hardships but it is a supremely NPV positive project.

Duke Duke Duke!!!!!

Posted by Stuart on 22 April 2008

Somewhere in a land far far away, a team of brave warriors came together to take on the biggest challenge of them all.....the 2008 MBA World Rugby Championships.

These warriors landing on foreign shores, training hard and training well in order to achieve what had for so long eluded them - a place in the grand final of the World Champs.

Following an intense period of training both on and off the pitch, the LBS Rugby Football Club fielded two extremely capable and prepared teams for the 2 day event hosted by Duke University in Danville. Given our performance from the previous year, we started from a medium position in the seedings, with both teams pitched against competent opponents.

Both the Red (Warrior) Team and the Blue Team fought hard through terrible weather conditions in their initial matches, successfully securing positions in the quarter final and knocking out the Harvard 'B' Team, an important step in reclaiming the club position following the HBS dominance at the previous London tournament. Due to the fantastic playing skills and points accumulation, LBS 'A' (Blue Team) managed to finish top on the first day, and was seeded in the number one spot going forward to the final day activities.

The final day was a question of survival, with many members of the Red and Blue team broken and new recruits actively sought for some of the most prestigious positions on the field. These brave new warriors fought with verve and vigour, taking with them the team spirit into battle and successfully suppressing formidable opponents including Wharton 'A' who had already assumed a position in the final, only to be thrashed by the more capable and passionate LBS Blue Team.

Despite their dominance at the London tournament, HBS were nowhere to be seen in the final and an all-European showdown ensued with London pitched against the 2007 winners, UCD Smurfit in what was to be an epic battle. Running bravely through the mud the LBS warriors fought hard against a team of younger, fitter and well drilled opponents. Although at the final whistle the score-line reflected a Smurfit victory, no-one watching the match or leaving the field could be in any doubt as to the passion and thirst for the game shown by the LBS RFC.

The female RFC also did astonishingly well, almost bringing home the crown but unfortunately pipped at the post by North American teams who had a legacy of success and a much stronger level of experience.

The first final in ten years and a fantastic positioning of all teams in the final 16 is something to be extremely proud of. If you are going to join ANY of the clubs next year, then make sure it is the RFC. A brand of brothers (and sisters) who will go out of their way to support each other, battle for each other and show the true spirit of LBS...friends for life and without doubt the best network there is in any business school bar none.

Warriors Unite!!



LBS Men's Rugby Club


Why did you choose London Business School?.....

Posted by Stuart on 23 September 2007

......the question I heard most during the 'Ambassador Tours' I did this weekend for the Open House Event at the school.

Open House Events

I was asked (very nicely) by someone from the Admissions Committee if I would not mind helping out on a Saturday lunchtime, showing prospective students around the school campus. I deliberated, wondered if I had space in my schedule, then realised that free lunch and beers in the Windsor were the highly prized award - SOLD! On a more serious note, I actually did want to get the chance to take people around MY school, somewhere I am proud of, and have the opportunity to chat in real terms as to why I chose the school over my other choices.

So we toured the campus and I was indeed bombarded by a number of questions from eager students, wanting to discover the 'real deal' about the school, the MBA programme and the reasons of a bona fide student for choosing the 'London Advantage'. I was somewhat surprised at some of the questions and when asked what the school indemnity policy was ("should I fall out of a library window or something"!!) politely pointed I was merely a glorified tour guide, moving on quickly to talk about my own spin on why London Business School is the best 'fit ' for me:

1. I personally believe it is the only top tier school that really does manage to get the right 'work hard/play 
    hard' balance and enables its students to develop a capture on work/life balance from the start.

2. The international diversity really IS a unique selling point over the US equivalent and as a Brit I am
    genuinely an 'ethnic minority' for the first time in my own country! There is not another school in the
    world that can claim to have 91% international diversity in terms of the host country whilst still managing
    to be located in one of the key cities in the world....plenty of European schools obviously have a great
    international mix but very few of these can boast a 2 year program OR major city anywhere nearby.

3. The students, school and staff do not take themselves too seriously and everyone knows exactly what a
    great brand London Business School without needing to 'sell' the school at every opportunity. It is a
    great place to learn, an amazing community to be a part of and an AWESOME place to socialise!

4.   Top MBA + London life + Great People = A Fantastic Experience......enough said I feel

Now before anyone reading this writes to the Admissions Committee asking how much I am being paid to put this stuff in my blog, I want to point out we are given a completely free reign when blogging and all of the above has been extracted from the dark recesses of my brain....I am a pretty honest type of bloke, and certainly not afraid to speak my mind when something does not work (as BT customer services will tell you!) but it just happens that the school has got it right and I am happy to have no gripes at this point.

So if you really want to know why people choose the school just pop along and ask us - the great thing about having such a diverse mix of people is that everyone will have a slightly different spin on it. The only real way to find out the 'weighted average' of opinions is to keep asking as many London MBAs as you can get your hands on and then read the reviews....that is what I did and can happily say it was 100% the right choice for me.

Roll on the 'London Advantage Oktoberfest' next weekend and please remember if you are going to attend an event that I happen to be doing tours at, I know NOTHING about indemnity or insurance!!!!

Enjoy these links and if you feel London is right for you then we hope to see some of around NW1!

FT MBA Rankings

London Business School News

Wikipedia - London Business School 

Planning ahead

Posted by Melanie on 22 September 2007

I just bought my ticket home to Houston. Four-hundred and fifty pounds. It’s not so much the money that has me torn inside, but the indecision on what I want to do with those precious 3 weeks over the holidays. There were just too many options.

- Treks with classmates to the Middle East, Africa, or South America, for me to finally make it to those regions of the globe
- Spending time with alumni and contacts in China to get a better foothold there for possible summer internship leads
- Backpacking anywhere with a old friend
- Doing smaller trips in and around Great Britain and Continental Europe
- Getting ready for the milk round (not!)

Okay okay, those were the options because in reality, the most important thing for me over winter holidays is to be home with family. Sometimes I think the reason why I’ve been able to handle being nomadic for the last several years is because I still have home base waiting for me. I know that my thirteen cousins will all reconvene for xmas dinner – whether or not we do it for religious reasons.

So yes, this Christmas season, like every year (except for the year I spent in India), I will be shopping with my younger brother and sister for presents, wrapping them up at the last minute. I will be having a bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup (phô) the afternoon I land home. I will be staying up till morning playing uno (house rules) with my cousins. I will be home for just a few weeks of the year, but I’ll be home.

(Perhaps, very indicative to my choice for work-life balance... can I really handle the consulting world?)

Life as a newly-minted alumna

Posted by Natasja on 22 August 2007

Wow. That's it. After two years of hard work, lots of fun and laughter, the occasional frustrational moment (I seem to recall the Financial Accounting final exam wasn't my brightest moment), making a ton of new friends, meeting the most amazing people, finding a direction in my professional life that makes me happy and fulfilled, living in New York for 4 months, and finally graduating, I'm now officially an alumna of LBS. It still feels a bit odd saying that, I still have to get used to it.

Many people have asked me what the best thing about the whole MBA experience was, and I find that an incredibly hard question to answer. I can't point to one thing, there have been so many highlights. On the academic side I have been fortunate to learn all I wanted to learn and a lot more that I didn't even know existed! On the people side I've met the most amazing people, both on the student as well as on the staff side, and I'm lucky to have made some very very good friends. On the extracurricular side, I've been able to be involved with a number of clubs and activities such as the Student Ambassadorship, the Marketing Club and the Yearbook, which were very fulfilling (but did not make life to juggle sometimes ;-)). In terms of finding out what I wanted to do post-MBA, I think I've cracked it. I've started working for a small branding and design consultancy in London and I'm loving my job. So for now: all's well that ends well. I'll try and check in occasionally and give updates on life post-MBA but in the meantime it's back to the MBA2008s, and of course I'm looking forward to the MBA2009 bloggers!

The First 90 Days

Posted by Guillaume on 19 October 2006

Well that’s it. I have reached the “first 90 days” milestone in my marketing manager role at American Express Europe. Executive-targeted books tell you that it’s the critical period to have an impact. It sure is true at the “C” level (CEO, CFO…) but less so at my level, especially because, as a credit card marketing newbie, it feels like you need 2 years to know what you’re doing.

Having said that, the first months are still crucial to make a good initial impression, discover the company, blend in, and show your potential. Especially in a rotation program like the one I’m enrolled in, with just six months to “prove myself”.

So what have these 3 months been like? I worked mostly on defining the strategy for SBS in Europe in 2007 that has now been agreed by regional and international leadership – this has also earned me a warm thank you note from the VPs involved, which is always nice. In general, I like Amex, working with bright people and having the opportunity to challenge the status quo as well as being challenged.

Wait a minute!... He has been brain-washed, hasn’t he?

Well, you can think so as I’m actually back from a week of orientation sessions for the MBA campus recruit intake of this year held at HQ in New York (sort of the MBA orientation in less crazy). While this was not enough to “brain-format” a critical European (French?) mind, this surely was a great way to learn more about the company (esp. the US business which I had not been exposed to), meet the great people who’ve been hired this year (90 or so) and reflect on the differences between US and International divisions.

Back to the first 90 days thing, I also realized that I’m now on for the last 90 days! Of my rotation in London that is. These 3 months are going to contrast with the first part as I am now focusing on the management and implementation of a project (related to above strategic work).

I’m sorry if this sounds quite a vague job description, I'm sure readers of this blog would appreciate to know more about the kind of jobs and responsibilities you get after 2 years at London Business School. Unfortunately, I cannot give more details and this post is already flirting with misconduct according to company guidelines. By the way, “blogging while employed” could be an interesting topic for the Ethics class which opens the London MBA program – certainly a topic more relevant to “junior” hires than Enron-like white-collar crime. Just look at how many students are posting content here or on their own blog.


Let me now finish this post on a more cheerful and personal note: my wife and I have had a blast in NYC and we are looking forward to living there next year! I can’t believe it’s been 3 months already and that we’ll be moving to Sydney in 3 months. And! We’ve finally “flown” the London Eye last month! I highly recommend it – so much for the brain washing.

And now for something different

Posted by Adcoms on 26 July 2006

One of the unique features of the London Business School MBA is the Shadowing Project, and the Shadowing Project that is being undertaken by Nick Wai, MBA2007, is certainly unique!

Right now as we speak/write, Nick is crossing the Atacama Desert in Chile whilst shadowing Mary Gadams, London Business School alumna and founder and CEO of RacingThePlanet.  Nick has somehow managed to juggle his summer internship position at Reuters in London, with his week-long expedition on the Atacama Crossing, a seven-day, 250-kilometer footrace across the driest place on Earth AND write a diary for the FT.com! 


As Nick states in his diary “One of the features of the programme is the shadowing project, where each of us has to shadow a leader of our own choosing for a week to learn more about leadership in action first hand”.

Wanting to try something a little different with this project, Nick searched through the alumni directory and came across Mary and her company - RacingThePlanet - in the Hong Kong alumni chapter.  Following a brief correspondence, Mary invited Nick to follow one of the races, and the rest is history.

Follow Nick’s daily diary with his introduction, Day 1, and photo gallery.

I’m not sure about racing across a desert, but the Pisco Sours sound great!

One hot Week

Posted by Guillaume on 09 July 2006

Truth is, this week has been really hot here in London, Monday setting the tone with temperatures in the 30 / 35 °C (around 90F). However, what’s making this week really hot for us the graduating class of 2006 (and that includes all programmes: MBA, Sloan, MiF, PhD) is that it’s the last one!

So, before leaving for a week of vacation in Mexico and starting with American Express in London, I came back from my Parisian exile (I had no more credits in the last term) for this great festivity programme.

The Capstone course
For the first time, the school has planned a 3-day wrap-up class taught by two of its most entertaining faculty (Dominic Houlder & Freek Vermeulen). On the menu: case discussions around corporate turnarounds and personal transformation, writing our personal ‘statement of intent’ to capture our commitments, aspirations and how we envision our personal transformation. And for desert, an alumni panel, a drink with the Dean and a study of different leadership styles and transformation à la Gregory Peck (1949 movie Twelve O'Clock High).

I think this was also the first time the student association planned an official disorientation to end our 2 years as they started with drinks and parties: picnic, scavenger hunt, Hawaiian pub crawl and the second football world cup semi-finale.

Here I have to stop and say that the “pillars” of the French Club (of which I happen to be) all met at the Sports Café nearby Trafalgar Square to watch the game among French people -everybody was welcome of course and we spotted a few Mexicans among others. France qualification to the last game (which was not expected at the start of the tournament) is of course adding to the “hotness” of the week. Like the London Italian community did on the night before, the French Londoners gathered to party in Soho (especially in Piccadilly Circus).

But that’s not all. The biggest day of the week, from an academic point of view as well as from the viewpoint of everybody’s parents, was the congregation on Friday: An awesome ceremony in the giant marquee installed on the lawn followed by a great champagne garden party on the front lawn itself were the highlights of the day. Wearing our gowns and hats, we were called to stage to shake the Dean’s hand and receive a certificate (the Degree will be awarded at the end of July). As the date coincided with the commemoration of the 7/7 London attack, 2 minutes of silence were observed at noon.

I appreciated to have my family around, to see all my friends and to meet their families, as others have. Besides, I had a short chat with our Dean, Laura Tyson who is leaving at the end of the year. During her final speech, she claimed to belong to the class of 2006 and promised she’ll be among us for the 5-year reunion. I am looking forward to it.

Summer Ball
Last but not least, the Summer Ball was the true capstone of the week. The theme picked up this year by the organising students was “Venetian Masquerade”. After a garden reception, the evening started by a very nice dinner and ended with an amazing party, all in a formal “black tie” setting on the campus ground. On the dance floor, at the casino table and between the bars and tables, endless discussions and fun sealed not less fun and endless friendships. This was truly a memorable moment for all of us, as the final event of our studies at London Business School and the first of many parties as Alumni.


Posted by Siranoush on 03 June 2006

Just playing on the site....wish I was in London. Rainy day in NY.  Siranoush