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Forté Forum Event Series this Fall

Posted by Martha on 26 August 2008

Forté is coming to cities across the country with our Forum series, featuring top women business leaders sharing candid advice drawn from their own career experiences. They'll be joined by admissions officers from the top MBA schools, who will answer questions and give advice about the admissions process.

The event includes plenty of time to mingle with corporate and school representatives for one-on-one networking opportunities.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Chicago, Sept. 8th (register by Sept. 5th)

Boston. Sept. 9th (register by Sept. 5th)

Washington, DC, Sept. 10th (register by Sept. 5th)

Los Angeles, Sept. 15th (register by Sept. 12th)

San Francisco, Sept. 16th (register by Sept. 12th)

Houston, Sept. 17th (register by Sept. 12th)

Atlanta, Sept. 18th (register by Sept. 12th)

New York, Sept. 23rd (register by Sept. 19th)

New York, Sept. 24th (register by Sept. 19th)

London, Oct. 7th (register by Oct. 3)

To register for any of these events, visit http://www.fortefoundation.org/forum

This fall, our Forum events will feature business leaders like Aruna Singh, Vice President at Merrill Lynch & Co.; Valerie Grubb, Vice President of Operations & Initiatives at NBC Universal; Johanna McChesney, CEO of Isis Maternity; Dana Dillon-Townes, Assistant Brand Manager at L'Oreal.

Interact virtually and experience our online resources for women considering pursuing an MBA — Visit http://www.fortefoundation.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_ue_mba_online to access our Podcast series, upcoming Forum webinars and Pre-MBA blog.

Forté Foundation is dedicated to encouraging women to pursue careers in business leadership by providing access to information, scholarships and networking opportunities. Forté is backed by 27 leading corporations, 37 top business schools in the U.S. and abroad, and The Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®).

For more information, please contact me at jessica@fortefoundation.org

India Business Forum Conference

Posted by Debasri on 01 June 2008

1 On 24 April 2008, the India Business Forum, one of the most active clubs at London Business School dealing with a wide range of issues related to the region, held their annual flagship conference in London. This year's theme was India: Still Untapped.

Please read below the press release* for this year's conference.

2_2India: Still Untapped

Six and a half years after the publication of Goldman Sachs’ BRIC report that catalysed interest in India, the sixth annual conference of the India Business Forum of the London Business School examined the challenges and prospects for the Indian economy in the current economic climate.

The mood was one of cautious optimism. Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP, highlighted the regional breadth of the Indian economy and its youthful population as key drivers of growth for multinational corporations. He categorised the country as “underbranded”. This mood of optimism was also echoed by R. Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director of Tata Sons who felt the boom in the economy still lay in the future.

Chandrashekhar Bhave, Chairman of SEBI also suggested that activity in Indian capital markets was likely to grow with the potential for a junior market for small enterprises, foreign listings in India and increased trading in derivative instruments in India.

However, there was a recognition of the challenges faced by the Indian economy. Jim O’Neill, Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs and author of the BRIC report suggested that India was not outperforming the other BRIC economies. Indeed, he felt that there was a need for a greater push in education if India is to achieve its potential.

Most panelists also agreed that valuation of equities and real estate in India was high and that there was likely to be a correction (but not a crash in asset prices). Real estate was seen as vulnerable to price rises in raw materials that exceed the rate of inflation. However, as Ravi Raheja, Group President of the K. Raheja Corporation, pointed out, although returns are likely to be lower than in the recent past they are still good and investors need to manage their expectations. Other panellists suggested that investors may find more attractive returns in tier 2 developers.

Panel discussions also focussed on the politically sensitive retail sector. Vinod Sawhny, President and COO of Bharti Retail, emphasised the breadth of the retail opportunity in India, from the food to the luxury sectors. Panelists like Shashank Singh of Apax Partners acknowledged the macro drivers of growth but felt that current restrictions on foreign investment were impeding growth. Other risks highlighted by the panellists were the low margins and the fact that the retail sector was over-reliant on the metros. Vibha Paul Rishi, Executive Director of PepsiCo, suggested that local retailers were re-inventing themselves and were part of the changes in this sector.

Finally, speakers and panellists discussed the “decoupling” of the Indian economy. Jim O’Neil pointed out that while India was not immune the slowdown, it would probably be less badly affected than the other BRIC economies because much of its demand was locally generated. However, he cautioned that reductions in leverage could affect infrastructure investment and that the budget deficit in India gave the government less room for fiscal manoeuvre than the other BRIC economies to stimulate the growth.

* Acknowledgement to Nikhil Narayanan, MBA2008 for the press release.

Meet the London Business School Everest team

Posted by Adcoms on 28 May 2008

For those of you that have been reading our blog for a while, you may remember how we told you about the London Business School team who succesfully climbed Mount Everest in May 2007. In doing so, Tori James became the youngest British female to reach the summit as well as the first ever Welsh woman, and Omar Samra (MBA 2007) became the first ever Egyptian to climb Everest. To mark the one year anniversary of this achievement, team leader Ben Stephens (MBA 2007) and his girlfriend Tori James will be sharing their experiences of the world’s highest mountain.

Find out what life in the ‘death zone’ is really like and view some spectacular photography and video footage of the expedition, at

"Everest: our climb to the roof of the world"
Thursday, May 29, 2008
6:30 pm – Pay Bar
7.30pm - Talk
Unicorn Theatre, London, SE1 2HZ (near London Bridge)

Tickets £12.50 when you buy online
Tickets available on the door subject to availability (£15)
More details and tickets available at http://everest2007expedition.eventbrite.com

The Responsible Careers Conference is coming up!

Posted by Melanie on 12 April 2008

Our team has been working on this since September. And wow, have we come a long way since then. It's going to be a great program, with attendees from the entire UK MBA Community. You can check out the agenda details and buy your tickets here: http://www.londonresponsiblebusiness.org.uk

People, Planet, Profits: How Responsible Business Impacts our Careers

The Responsible Business Club would like to invite you to its annual conference. The event is an opportunity to meet business leaders and learn how their careers have increasingly focused on issues of responsibility and sustainability. You will also be able to connect with many prominent organisations that are looking for support in responding to the call for responsibility in business.

Topics include:

  Business & Climate Change   Emerging Markets   Business & Government   Sustainable Finance   Careers Fair       

Organisations participating include:

ARUP, Unilever, Cadbury-Schweppes, Cisco Systems, Accenture, UNDP, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank.

Where Next for Corporate Responsibility?

Posted by Melanie on 11 March 2008

London Business School hosts a distinguished speaker series about every two months. This week it was the Chairman and CEO of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. (Concidently, he's from Villach, a little Austrian-Dolomite town I've driven through many times).

Prior to the event, there was a discussion on the Responsible Business Club board about wheter of not we should challenge the him regarding the controversy around their baby-milk substitutes, which is related to a boycott since 1977.  Though not confronted with this particular topic directly, Hr. Brabeck handled the brand issue swimmingly well. Acknowledged the issues, apologized for their mistakes, and called for people to judge them based on what they are doing now. Perhaps, companies (and people) learn from hard lessons...what matters is the reaction, no? Are consumers forgiving if disasters are handled well? Are shareholders forgiving?

Snippets from his speech I particularly liked:

"... more and more people have realized that Corporate Responsibility cannot be an add on to the business, but needs to be a part of the core business strategy."

He covered a handful of initiatives Nestle is championing around water conservation and women empowerment in developing countries. Then went on to close with...

"Do we do all these things for a business reason? Yes.

Are we doing it in a way that bring poor people out of poverty, creates a sustainble environment, and brings about better nutrition? Yes

And what makes them sustainable is that they aren't done with charity contributions, or grants, which always have an end point and often don't reach scale. They are a part of a business process which can be sustained for decades without outside support."

That just sounds so right.


Posted by Don on 05 March 2008

Another reason for getting into a top business school presented itself tonight. I had first heard about Nassim Taleb when the head of the FX trading desk of Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong advised me to read his books. Ever since then I have realized not only how intelligent but also how famous this author and options trader is.

Tonight he gave a lecture at school (Mr. Taleb is a visiting professor at London Business School) and it was of course fully booked. But experience has shown that usually there is always a way. So 5 of us patiently waited and hoped that some people would not come. And it happened and we went in. It was definitely a very interesting lecture – for once a professor who discards modern portfolio theory as useless in real-life markets.

Once more – my two main reasons (apart from facilitating the career switch into finance) for doing the MBA are the network of people you build and the speakers on campus. Two weeks ago the CEO of Boucheron, THE French luxury company was on campus to present his career. He is an alum and we talked to him afterwards. This is unique and no way I would have ever had a leisurely chat with this guy – were it not for this environment.

Take care,



Posted by Melanie on 27 January 2008

I haven't written much despite all the activity since I've been back, I know. Part of my new year's resolution was to become extremely focused on my internship search. I came back to the milkround reviewing CVs and cover letters, over and over, between friends and classmates, with current consultants, with career advisors, etc etc.

Although they say that networking is not as important for consulting firms as for banks, I've found that it is the only real way to understand the differences in the work and cultures of each company. Plus, I've managed secure some speakers and leads for the Responsible Careers Conference.

Ah yes, that is coming along quite well too. We have several panelists confirmed, the keynote speaker (woo hoo!) secured, and my team getting all fired up. I remember feeling so nervous about it last September, when I got the position of Conference Chair, and now I can see it all coming together. Great feeling.

True that my social life has changed. It hasn't gotten "worse" though, as one might imagine. I've been working late nights at school with a good support group - all with the same intensity of drive and focus. Many dinners from Ali Baba and the Light of India.  Lots of laughs and great friendships brewing in the these study rooms. It's two months of this, I tell myself, and hopefully I'll be reaping the rewards soon enough. A trip to Portugal is booked for March, and spring break comes right after.

Speaking of spring break, the Kenya Trip has been disbanded due to the unstable situation there. The Africa Club promises they will still host a trip there once things settle down. It was disappointing that our plans to visit Kenya fell through, but really the largest disappointment for me is that the political situation has escalated to where it is now. I wonder to myself, what is it that we should be doing about it from here? What can we do about it once we're important business people in big companies and governments in the future? Just something to think about, as we refocus our attention to another holiday destination...

Imma gonna meet Al Gore

Posted by Melanie on 26 November 2007

Thanks to the negotiation skills and persistance of fellow blogger, Stuart, I and several other LBSers will be attending the What If? Conference with Keynote Speaker, Mr. Al Gore himself. Amazing that even my most far-out dreams may actually be realized here at London Business School.
Let's just say we're not paying the original £1695 to attend this conference. Who else will be there? Jeff Swartz of Timberland, Alejandro Gutierrez of ARUP, Patagonia, Nokia, Unilever, Think MTV, Gib Bulloch of Accenture's Development Program... All my dream companies in one place :)

And the follow up:
here's a post of the question that Stuart posed to Mr. Gore, and the answer. Thanks to Jerome for the video editing!


London Leadership Series

Posted by Debasri on 18 November 2007

On 13 November, Ian Davis, Managing Director of McKinsey & Company, came to London Business School, as part of the London Leadership Series and shared with students and staff, some key thoughts that he said was a gift to London Business School, for the many gifted individuals that the school has given the firm.

Some of the key themes that he shared with us were as follows:

Growth: Companies are obsessed with growth and the capital markets reward it. He believes that the threat, in the short run, to growth is the slowdown in the US housing market and its effect on decreasing consumption demand, especially in the light of trade contagion between the US and other countries. However, he is personally very optimistic about the future, especially about the role of Asia and other emerging economies in fuelling this growth. The primary take-aways from his message were that countries with good education infrastructure and companies with skills to manage culturally diverse workforce will be the leaders of tomorrow’s growth. Some of the sectors that he believes will fuel global growth in future are infrastructure and retail/ consumer (especially in emerging markets), healthcare and knowledge based services.

Managing Risk: Organizations will have to rethink the way they perceive, price and manage risk. The definition of risk needs to extend beyond business and financial risk, and will need to incorporate reputational, organizational and geo-political risk. While the current crisis in the financial services industry will lead to a redefinition and repricing of financial risk, Mr. Davis fears that the next crisis will be from the unwinding of certain nations and thus in the form of political risk. And as had happened in the liquidity crisis, the global economy, will yet again, be perhaps caught unaware.

Focus on Talent: Talent is the set of capabilities, attitudes, attributes and characteristics that make organizations function effectively and efficiently. Mr. Davis pointed out that nations and organizations, especially those in emerging markets with increasingly face the challenges of not having a history of capital markets and of not having a culture of corporate management. In this scenario, how effectively companies manage globally and culturally diverse workforce and customer bases will become the key success factor. Not only that, he believes that the competitiveness of emerging markets will increasing shift from a pure cost advantage to one in which they will start leveraging their talent pool.

Technology & Internet: Mr. Davis believes that technology today has become a foundation of capability and that the internet has become much more pervasive than before. This is a significant development and the use of technology will perhaps shape the way business is conducted in the future.

Fads: Debt has always been cheaper than equity and Mr. Davis believes that fuelled by private equity activity, capital markets are today the ‘in’ thing. Whilst he recognizes the importance of capital markets in the development and smooth functioning of the global economy, he does make a point of mentioning that obsession with capital markets today is indeed a fad.

Some other points that came out, in the Q&A section, were issues related to rejuvenation of success, of why companies succeed for only the short term, the importance of company boards in transparent, responsible decision making and the challenges he faces everyday to create a common culture at McKinsey & Company, in which leadership of thought and leadership co-exist.

It was indeed an intellectually rewarding experience to hear, in person, the man who leads an organization that can safely be said to be today’s thought leader.