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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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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.)

The English Cut Suit and Hip Hop

Posted by Joyce on 04 December 2008

Today was a very incongruous day. 

Inside one of London's most revered bespoke tailoring firms, I shook hands with a record producer who sells sneakers on sushi-bar-style conveyor belts as part of his hip hop clothing line. 

My decision to come to London Business School was predicated on getting exposed to different examples and avenues of success when it comes to business. One could argue that location isn't important anymore... given how connected the world is online. But tell that to the century-old shops on London's "Golden Mile of Tailoring", or the young, mega-star jetsetters who want their suits made the old-fashioned way.

Stepping into Anderson & Sheppard felt like stepping into a time machine. Their history is steeped in the pages of their appointment books and the patterns that hang on the rails of the cutting room. Seeing it all resurfaced a question I've been pondering for awhile now: are we too fixated on this notion of "growth"? Much of what we learn here in business school is concerned with growing revenues, growing profit, growing market share, etc. But what about doing things simply and excellently, without the ambition of global expansion? Would that exclude you from being "a successful business"? I think I have my answer. When you're the best in the world at what you do, the world comes to you.

So, many thanks to the people Anderson & Sheppard who patiently explained how everything worked in their cutting room. Student life can be hectic, but I definitely recommend visiting some of the local or more traditional firms in and around London (in addition to the time we spend courting our large corporate partners). This is London--there aren't many other places in the world where tradition and history so seamlessly co-exist with cutting edge modern times.

To end, here is a picture of sneakers on a conveyor belt.

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(Photo Credit: BAPEXCLUSIVE store in Tokyo. Taken from www.bape.com)

Internship 1

Posted by Don on 27 November 2008

Now, with some months between my first internship and now I wanted to share some impressions:

And so it started, the long awaited internship experience. We all met on the first day for the usual brainwashing of how great the bank is – and later headed out to Lama island for some team building activities. First impression – wow, everyone is so young! Especially the Asian analysts!

The activities on the island were nice – just the sun and humidity made for an exhausting experience. The final dinner at the beach on Lantau island however created a very chilled out atmosphere to meet people.

The rest of the week was spent on training which was delivered by an external training company and was very good. We even had to do an exam at the end of the week. The training was rounded up by 2 hours of intensive Bloomberg training which was very very good.

Second week Monday morning we finally started. Me and two analysts were picked up by the desk head of the Equity Derivatives Trading desk. He introduced us to everyone – I got to sit with the Hong Kong Equities Options desk first. I felt quite comfortable – hey, I have a Eurex Trader Licence and use to teach options 10 years ago. I quickly realized however that I know absolutely nothing about options – not on the level these guys trade at. So I sat, watched and filled page after page with things I picked up – and more with questions. The guys were very helpful and supportive – but also asked little quizzes (Black-Scholes by heart anyone? Does correlation increase or decrease in falling markets? Why?). I managed to also sit with a lot of other desks, e.g. Derivative Sales, Complex Equity, Exotics, Warrants, Cash Equity, Program Trading, Delta 1, Synthetic Equity and so on. In parallel the training company started a FX simulation and in teams of 2 we had to manage a portfolio of $10mn. We could change the allocation into EUR, YEN, CAD and AUD – but obviously had to back up our choices (and should make money). My partner and me spent a lot of time in the beginning agreeing on an approach and which type of research we would be reading (there is a ton of available research – and we were both very busy at our desks).

My desk had given me a few small projects – so I quickly taught myself Visual Basic for Excel (especially automating Bloomberg tasks out of Excel) and created several tools for the guys to save them some time.

Tip:

-          make sure the guys on your desk are happy. Bringing them coffee/lunch/whatever is an easy way to make them happy. One guy complained that he felt like a secretary doing that – unsurprisingly he did not get an offer. It is not about getting lunch – but about the attitude. What are you willing to do to get this job? At Accenture I was a manager and had 25 people working for me – here I was getting lunch. But I wanted to get this job – and compared to calculating the non-linear shift of the volatility surface and the impact on the vega P/L (my project), getting lunch was easy.

-          Create tools to make life easy for the people who decide your fate.

-          Connect to the people, and connect to all.

-          Identify the MDs and make sure you spoke to all of them before you leave.

-          Handing over business cards leaves a professional impression.

Finally we had to say good-bye to the 56th floor and the view and head over to Singapore. My 4th time there but my first time working. Being in Singapore somehow always feels like a vacation – on the weekend you never wear more than shorts and T-Shirt.

A word about the accommodation: serviced apartment in Hong Kong. Not big but very nice and sufficient – I did not spend much time there anyhow. The view however was fantastic – the skyline of Hong Kong is very unique sight.

The view was not as good in Singapore – but the apartment mind-blowing. Two entry doors leading to a square-layout designer flat in Zen style. Elements of stone, wood, glass and steel were used as walls and the floor. Two Loewe flat screens and two Bose sound-systems, to a huge relaxing bed and a shower and bathtub only separated by glass from the bed (“the idea is to watch”) made for a extremely relaxing time (when we had time to be in the apartment!). The second desk had a very different type of work – I worked on multiple presentations at the same time, listened in to client calls and did write-ups of research calls. I got exposure not only to Debt but also FX as well as commodities. At the same time we were running, in teams of two, an FX portfolio which we needed to do our final presentation on. So the last days were crazy with finishing up on desk projects, continuing to meet people and putting together a presentation on why we traded the way we did and what we learned.

After the internship I went for a nice sunny relaxing vacation in Indonesia – scuba diving of the coast of Manado. It was there, on the balcony of our bungalow, that the bank called to tell me that I had an offer! What fantastic news after a day of diving and seeing sharks! Especially so as the conversion rates were significantly lower than last year – something that was confirmed when I returned to London.

Yours,

Don

Tips for milkround

Posted by Don on 27 November 2008

Time flies … soon the next Hong Kong finance career trek will leave for Asia and xmas is already upon us. So I was thinking back to last year and the milkround which will soon come up for the first years:

It is a marathon and you need to be prepared for it. It can be frustrating which you need to be prepared for mentally and spiritually. Oh – and those people who are quite arrogant and dis-respectful during the recruiting? Yes, what goes around (usually) comes around. With one or two exceptions those who got on everyone's nerves by interrupting ongoing conversations and by "hijacking" the conversation did not turn out very successful. The experience is frustrating – but my advice is observe and move on. Don't waste time or energy.

Even if you are not successful initially – do not despair! Keep on working and keep your spirits high! Two stories for that:

One friend of mine was not successful in interviews (although smart and knowledgeable). He continued to look and landed a great internship as a fund of funds manager. Another one kept on looking and found a great job in derivatives trading. Still another friend suffered the same fate but got word that a hedge fund had previously hired people from London Business School. He looked the up – and realized this guy was a buddy from the Rugby club he had played with on every game and tour. A few emails later he had an interview and thereafter the internship!

Don't let anyone tell you "it is impossible". I vividly remember the former executive team of the private equity club announcing that nobody without prior "strong experience" in a PE firm would be able to get an internship in this area. A good friend of mine did not really pay attention to this but rather worked his network and got an invitation. He studied valuation and models with a stream mate and – landed the internship. Impossible is nothing – and USE YOUR NETWORK.

For me not everything went perfectly – but I went to sales-trading in Hong Kong and Singapore at one of the strongest players in Asia. I also secured a second internship at a hedge fund in London.

Yours,

Don

On Personal Attention at London Business School

Posted by Kobby on 31 October 2008

Even though London Business School enrols hundreds of people in its degree programs, the school gives its MBA students a lot of individual attention. I certainly didn’t expect as much personal attention as I’ve enjoyed, and I've been pleasantly surprised. So far, I have had one-to-one sessions to discuss my CV, my life and career goals, and some of my personality traits among others.

I showed up at my CV one-to-one session half-expecting a quick glance through my achievements and perhaps a pat on my back. No such luck. Instead, I sat and visibly cringed as the lady from career services read my résumé out loud. I quickly decided that the CV needed (a lot) more work and signed up for "CV Surgery," a second individual appointment where another pair of eyes and mouth read my CV out loud again. But this time, I cringed less.

I also signed up for one of the prized one-to-one sessions with Mohan Mohan Mohan (that's his name, honest). Mohan is a wise, old man, a retired P&G executive with enough energy to power the campus for a week. He spends some of his time counselling London Business School students on their life and career goals. We chatted for an hour about what really matters to me – contributing to Africa’s development and its economic boom, which I'm betting will happen in my lifetime – and discussed career options that could help me realize these goals. Like many other students who’ve met Mohan, I left with a greater sense of purpose and new ideas for how to navigate an uncertain job market and get all I want out of my MBA.

The half-hour I spent discussing my personality with a consultant felt strangely similar to what I imagine therapy feels like. We used my 360-degree personality feedback from my former colleagues at Nielsen as a means to assess my positive traits and identify a handful of “personality challenges,” which could make me a more effective leader. For instance, I’m generally unassertive and can appear indifferent to issues, even when I am interested. Not surprisingly, this is a potential liability for someone who dreams of influencing a continent.

For me, talking to others is one of the best ways for me to think through issues. Be it improving my CV, discussing my life goals and career strategy, or sitting through personality therapy, the one-to-one sessions at London Business School have been as insightful as they have been beneficial.

A summer packed with strategy consulting experience, travel and doing good

Posted by Melanie on 14 October 2008

I came to London Business School wanting to pursue a career in consulting. But I also wanted to find a way to incorporate a way to “do good” in my work. Everyone kept pointing me towards a summer internship with Accenture Development Partnerships. (ADP)

After meeting the ADP interns from the previous year, and the Program Director and Strategy Consulting Partner, Gib Bulloch, I thought, “Wow, what an inspiration! A for-profit entity that’s figured out how to use their core competency to support the global community!”

Accenture Development Partnerships is a separate business unit within Accenture that specifically provides consulting services to Non-Profit organizations, NGO’s, foundations and donor organizations operating in the development sector, helping these organizations achieve their social and economic development goals. 

Through a first-of-its-kind business model, Accenture Development Partnerships, operates on a strictly non-profit basis." Luckily I was one of two people selected for the internship, and soon enough, I was on a plane to South Africa for six weeks. Our client: The Global FoodBanking Network. My mission: To design a pilot rural food bank and the implementation plan. I would be based in Jo’burg, but the pilot would be in Maputaland, a region in the far northeastern corner of the country.

What is food banking? “The Global FoodBanking Network is a charitable organization that works collaboratively to reduce world hunger by securing more food and enhancing the ability to efficiently distribute food through food banks and food bank networks around the globe.” http://www.foodbanking.org/

Their basic model is to take good food from food manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to a food bank, which would then be redistributed to registered charities that can reach those in need.  The donations are usually un-sellable, but perfectly consumable food that would normally go to waste. (e.g. discontinued items , incorrectly labelled finished goods, leftover raw materials). This model has proven to work very well in urban, densely populated areas in the US, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Guatemala, and Columbia.

But in South Africa – a majority of the country’s poverty live in the rural areas. In addition to poverty, these communities are heavily affected by the HIV/AIDs epidemic, leaving orphans, the sick and elderly, and child-headed households as the majority of the population. South Africa needed a Village Food Bank model to help their country.  My job was to help them plan out how to do this.

Two ADP consultants had already been helping the client on their sourcing strategy, so thankfully I had a support team. Over the first weeks, I met the client and many of the key players, interviewed 30+ subject matter experts, and made a whirlwind tour through Maputaland, Durban and Capetown to meet the people on the ground.  I learned that many of their struggles were linked with basic infrastructure issues that we often take for granted: broken water pumps, sandy and gravel roads, lack of electricity.

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Back at the Accenture office, I drew together a detailed design of the project (using a creative five forces as a base structure), and a powerpoint deck for the implementation plan. The Village Food Bank would be supported through agricultural development, creating access to a larger market and sustainable feeding programs. Backyard gardening skills and agricultural scholarships would help them feed themselves in the long run.

The last weeks were filled will collecting the last pieces of data from Maputaland, and plenty of reviews. What inspired me was the vigour that these people showed in wanting to help themselves and their communities. There was hope in their voices because I had actually bothered to follow up on our meetings. To my delight, the finished product was “dynamic” and more than what the client had expected! “You are the future of the world,” he told our team. The work we were doing was a good thing.

The whole experience with ADP was great. I picked up consulting skills, brought significant value to the client and to the community, and had an opportunity to see a bit of South Africa as well. Although ADP isn’t a full-time option, I hope to do similar work on my own in the future. A big thanks to Accenture and to Global FoodBanking Network for the opportunity. Dsc_0113 Dsc_0578 Dsc_0571 Dsc_0770

2010's arrive!

Posted by Matthew on 20 September 2008

The 2010's have arrived. The campus is much more lively right now since they still have the enthusiasm of people who think that they will get summer internships. This is kind of cute still.

But it also means that this blog is now for the 2011's and beyond. And this unprecedented financial crisis created by a lack of liquidity in the markets that is diminishing the job prospects for 2009's and 2010's creates a definite opportunity for those planning to apply to Business School in the near future. First, academia becomes a pretty good place to shelter yourself from a horrible job market and create value in your CV and intellectual capital for 2 years. Second, people who truly understand what is currently happening and why will have significant advantages in the application process for Business School and more importantly, perhaps, for job interviews in the future.

All job interviews in the foreseeable future are going to focus on what is currently happening. In the few interviews that I have had since the end of my internship, it is clear that having a front row seat to the current events unfolding makes for great interview conversation and an opportunity to demonstrate an understanding. This is clearly the topic preoccupying most people in finance, consulting and industry. Nobody is being spared.

Not that this is all bad for us. Most of us have a had a very good time (2009's) and the 2010's will have a good (if not more stressful time) than us. But they should also permanently enter the job market on an upswing which is the best time to enter. Unless of course the $700bn bailout of the US financial system doesn't work.

But in the meantime, I am going to focus on the positives of the current situation -- the pubs have a lot of great company in the mornings now with all of the "available" bankers getting an early start at the early to close British pubs.

What do you want to do post-MBA? Consulting or Finance? Entrepreneurship or Family Business?

Posted by Vipul on 18 September 2008

I, like most MBA students, am tired of asking and answering this question.  We MBA people need to think outside our frames and come up with new questions. But humour me for a moment by reading my rants around this topic which is so vital to the existence of the species –Studentea NoLifeus.

Like many of my peers, I’m still undecided. So I’ve signed up for almost all professional clubs and their events. I’ve been to events organized by the Innovation club, the Venture Capital club, the Media Club and the Consulting club. I missed out on the Finance 101 sessions, as I was too late in signing up (that’s what I get for not buying an iPhone!).  Over the next week, I am scheduled to make an appearance at the Emerging Markets Club, the Technology Club, the Industry Club, the Family Business Club and the China Interest Club. Sounds like a lot of information? Yes it is! But that’s what I get for being undecided.

The good news is that London Business School is very supportive of people like me. These club meetings tend not to clash with one another. So it is possible to attend all of them. Further conversations with career services, teaching staff, alumni, recruiters and fellow students help a lot in weighing the pros and cons of different career options. I am confident that by November I will have picked a path!

You may cynically comment, “In a month at the school you should have achieved some level of clarity!” Guess what, I have. The first thing “Self Assessment” told me was “Stay away from Finance!” And no, this does not reflect or imply a co-linearity (with or without the confidence intervals) between current market conditions and my professional values. I was told that I am more inclined towards a life of Entrepreneurial Creativity and Technology Focus. However the assessment did not say much about my analytical skills or how well I’d fit into Consulting. That was a little disappointing, since Consulting is high on my list of potential careers.

But all is not lost. I have attended 3 events organised by the Consulting club so far. And honestly, with every event I have felt that Consulting is a good choice for me. The first event was an introduction to the Club and its activities. The second was titled “What is Consulting”. The speaker, an ex-McKinsey consultant, gave a thorough analysis of the profession. The idea of working across industries, geographies and functional levels in the client’s organisation is very appealing to me. It is exciting to be involved in all the different parts of the process of creation, whatever might be getting created. And having worked as a technical-consultant (IT) previously, I can relate to most of what a management consultant would do on day-to-day basis. I can definitely handle the travel!

The third consulting event, which finished just 2 hours ago, was a presentation by A.T. Kearney.  They are corporate partners of the London Business School. What that means is that they work closely with the school in developing consulting skills among students, and in hiring consultants from the school. Every term A.T. Kearney hold an event at the school: The Global Prize (case study competition) in autumn, Team Dynamics in spring and KRISP on KAMPUS in summer. They hold a number of ad-hoc events like case-cracking and speaker series.

One interesting thing I learned from the A.T. Kearney presentation is that they do not send different types of work to different countries. This is great news for me, because I intend to work in India post-MBA. Many companies use India as a dumping-ground for back-office type work. It’s good to know that A.T. Kearney serve local clients and perform the full range of consulting tasks in India. In response to my question about this, they said that their premium fee structure is does not justify using countries purely as cost saving centres. The other bit of good news that I can infer from this is that most international strategy consulting firms in India would probably have a similar stance. I guess I will find out for sure over the next few weeks.

Besides consulting, I am inclined towards the Technology industry. Being a techy (almost) by birth, I have developed a passion for everything computer related.  Yes, I know, I am perpetrating a stereotype, but one has to be true to oneself! I found that what the Media club had to say overlapped a lot with what I imagine the Technology club would say (when I see them soon). So I might just remain a member of that club – at least till I pick between consulting and technology! In the meanwhile, to develop my knowledge and contacts in the IT Industry, I have joined the organising committee of the Global Security Challenge (http://www.globalsecuritychallenge.com/) – more about that in a later blog!

So, the next steps would be, 1) Attend more club meetings, 2) Form a team for the A. T. Kearney Global Challenge, 3) Meet a career advisor to discuss my thoughts, 4) Attend the “Networking Mindset” session tomorrow and 5) Buy Consulting Club Merchandise!!

And survey says...!

Posted by Joyce on 14 September 2008

“Congratulations, you are remarkably well-suited for a successful career in... [insert target career you’ve had your sights on since starting your MBA].”

Well… something to that effect.

Most of us come into the MBA with a certain level of self-awareness. That is what got us here in the first place, right? Now what, might you ask, would two hours of online surveying tell you about yourself? Well, I have just completed ticking off responses to a deluge of probing questions about my strengths, weaknesses, values, and interests as part of the Career Leader assessment. True to what we were told during our Career Services Orientation, here were some tools we could use for self-assessment and introspection—a critical factor when it comes to landing that dream job.

The survey results, not so surprisingly, didn’t hold many surprises. But before you discount the practical value of such surveys, let me tell you what I did get out of it. For one, it was an absolute pleasure reading such a glowing review about my strengths. For another, I have never seen my weaknesses so eloquently described that they hardly seem to be the severe flaws we tend to think of them as.

The value, as I see it, is not that these results will reveal some startling insight you never knew about yourself. Most of us already know ourselves very well implicitly (and the quality of the classmates I have met so far confirms this.) Rather, what you might get is a nicely-packaged set of words, clauses, and phrases which perhaps express your capabilities better than you could articulate on your own—especially under interview anxiety. Upon reaching the last page of the survey, it struck me that I was holding a precious document filled with killer interview-prep material.

My advice: Do the surveys. Then rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

A summer in finance......

Posted by Stuart on 10 September 2008

This summer has seen a complete and final transformation from my pre-MBA existence. Gone are the daily "ward-rounds" and clinics in the field hospital and in place is the daily morning meeting at 7am followed by a day of catching up with the markets, building/tweaking excel models and speaking on the phone to investors and companies.

Goodbye to the world of military medicine and hello to the world of bulge 'bracket' finance! For those thinking about the summer in this rather different cultural environment a lightning round of top tips:

  • Believe what the year above and alumni tell you. The job you will be doing in the summer is the same job that most have been doing for the 3-5 summers before you. If they say you will be working 6:30am-7pm then it is a reality. If you are looking to IBD the 3am finishes and 9am starts do happen. Think Powerpoint, Face Time and being at the beck-and-call of the MD. Of course this is second-hand information on my part (having been on the markets side all summer) but a pretty consensus opinion from colleagues the other side of the Chinese Wall
  • Make a good impression. It may seem that getting the internship is the first step on a road towards a clear offer and guaranteed career change but this is only about 20-30% of it. Be keen, turn up (just) before the boss and leave (just) after. Points win prizes and brownie points are not earned by coming in after the rest of the team or leaving before. Obvious I agree but some people forget.
  • HR can make or break you. A positive opinion from HR may not make a big difference, but a negative one will definitely count. They are your ally so treat them as well as the MDs and VPs
  • Enjoy the experience, work hard and remember the bank is also there to sell itself to you - take part in the socials, events, drinks and dinners - it is the easiest and best way to network!
  • If you have an offer, celebrate, relax but then the hard decisions really begin. Career Services have posted around 50 new jobs in the past 48h for the full-time recruiting so don't just throw the acceptance letter in just yet

Overall I am happy with my decision although the second internship is starting to bite and taking 'days off' from the internship does not go down amazing well with employers! If you really want to keep your options open then think about doing different roles completely e.g. finance/consulting. But bear in mind this is one of the last chances to have a 'proper' Summer.

That's all the words of apparent wisdom I have for now. I look forward to other's experiences and if you want to know more just remember those that have trodden the path before as they are generally a good source of independent advice!

Are you ready for school?

Posted by Pak on 01 September 2008

Orientation week is finally over and we are marching towards an intensive month of lessons, clubs presentations, career sessions with the School's Career Services.

A better career is definitely one of the key motivation factors for many of us (or you) who have decided to take the MBA path. Though yet still early along the way, I have already seen the list of career sessions and talks that the School's Career Services has prepared for us. We even had some career related talks during the orientation week! I think my concern now is more on finding time to prepare myself to have a constructive discussion with the Career Services team, rather than not be given the supports and guidance that we need.

Anyhow, just like the many bloggers here have mentioned, the diversity I see in this MBA2010 class is really great. I have met and talked to people from UK (of course), Australia, Canada, Egypt, India, Lithuania, Bulgaria, USA, Italy, France, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Russia, Malaysia, my fellow China friends and many more.... Well, being from Hong Kong, it is really an unique experience for me to meet so many people with so diversified background at 1 place.

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This is a picture taken at the Welcome Party at the end of the orientation week (Thanks for Tadahiro's photo).
Disclaimer: This is not some kind of Asia drinking club...and I don't think there is one in the School.

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!

The summer internship

Posted by Melanie on 09 July 2008

It's been almost a month of summer break already and my life is so different now. I'm already a third through my internship with Booz & Company. They are the management consulting firm that separated their operations from the U.S. Government consulting business, Booz Allen Hamilton, earlier this year. There's a lot of buzz around the change and they say there's a different kind of energy now that they are an independent, more nimble firm. Either way, I'm learning loads.

The first week was a worldwide Summer Associate Orientation spent in the US. 7 from LBS (and strangely, 6 from Stream B) made it out for several days of training, networking with such a diverse & smart group of people, and relaxing in the warm NY sun. Since I've started working at the London office, it's been non-stop. Coincidently, my team is made up of two other LBS alums who have been great at coaching me through the work. It's amazing how much of an "expert" I've become in an financial services industry I barely noticed before. More importantly, I'm picking up and practicing the consulting methodologies needed to convey my message and sell an idea. The next steps after crack-a-case training.

Speaking of crack-a-case... despite the break, there is still activity going on with all the campus clubs. I'm signed up to get training to become a case giver for the Consulting Club next fall. Student Association has been quite good at making sure all the clubs are submitting their activity and budget planning for the year. We've got a lot planned the Responsible Business Club - let's see how much we can get done!

Moving On...

Posted by Matthew on 27 February 2008

When girlfriends have dumped me in the past, I did all that I could really do... I moved on. So, as the milk round has ended for finance, I have now moved on. I was fortunate enough to get a job, so I am excited, but the experience was a humbling one altogether. I was told by one bank that I was too competitive, and yet not competitive enough by another bank. I like that this is an industry where the yin and yang between competition and collegiality is held at such a zen-like balance. As when girls dumped me in the past, I was also told that they didn't find me attractive enough, or they really didn't like that I was flirting with other banks. Recruiting is like dating, and an offer is like their way of saying, "I love you (for a limited time of 10 weeks)."

But this blog is about advice for 2010 and beyond and not necessarily my catharsis, so my advice boils down to this... Take the milk round in stride. Stay confident when rejected. Everyone will get a job. And the best way to get over rejection is to find a better looking bank and make the other banks jealous. Because in the end, revenge feels good too.

As the world turns... we wait by the lines.

Posted by Melanie on 11 February 2008

Getting a call from "private no." has become the highlight, the climax, of the day. Watching classmates, friends briskly excuse themselves from the classroom is the excitement of the day. "Private no." is the HR manager calling to invite one to the next level in the interview process. Banks have been handing out their offers, the golden tickets to a long and prosperous career. Consulting girms have been a bit more dramatic; the added element of the wait. But thankfully it gives time to prep and decompress... sort of.

I have to agree with Scuba Don's tips  - what I've gained the last several weeks, which I hadn't expected, were friendships solidified by us supporting each other on CV & cover letter reviewing, case cracking, and morale boosting. I may not have had the invitation or offer by so-and-so firm, but at least my friends did. Awesome.