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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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Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Posted by Rebecca on 08 December 2008

December! Finally the heart of darkness (November) is over, miraculously the sun is shining and the Christmas lights are twinkling.  There is something magical about London at Christmas, something akin to the holidays that have been immortalized in so many movies.  The streets are coated with blue and white lights (Westminster is particularly proud of its street decorating ability), the pubs are serving hot cider, and there is enough mincemeat to sink a ship.  Last week I was brave enough to venture into Harrods’s Christmas floor, and its tacky glory was enough to tip me over to full-on holiday cheer mode.  My iPod has been on “Swinging Holiday Playlist” ever since. 

On Saturday I went to Borough Market, which might as well be Christmas headquarters: dozens of mulled wine booths, Christmas tree stands, mandarin oranges, roasted chestnuts, Christmas pudding, choirs and Salvation Army jingle bells.  It put me in the right mood for what was the pinnacle event of my holiday season so far: Santa Pub Crawl.

Okay, close your eyes for a moment. Actually scratch that because you need to read this, so open them again.  Imagine you are a weary shopper taking the tube home, when all of a sudden you run into  430 people clad in Mr. and Mrs. Claus outfits pouring into Baker Street tube station, riding the escalator and singing Jingle Bells in unison. At this point, they are orderly and mostly sober Santas:

IMG_0439    

Later on you venture out into Piccadilly Circus and run into the same 400 Santas (there were some casualties), only they have been hitting the eggnog a little hard and have hijacked several unsuspecting tourists (some Santas forgot that Christmas is about giving, not taking).  They seem to be singing two or three different carols at once, and is it just your imagination or is Mrs Claus’ skirt  a little shorter?

 

IMG_0441 


'Tis the season to celebrate, and no one takes partying as seriously as b-school students.  I am grateful for our three week break coming up - it will give me time to recover and prepare (both mentally and physically) for whatever 2009 has in store. 

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.

Bape

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

Trying New Things and Being Entrepreneurial

Posted by Matthew on 03 December 2008

Being American, I tended not to travel so much before my MBA.  I had not experienced all of the cultural wonders that would become available to me attending such a diverse school.  Since arriving here, I have attended Carneval parties, Hanami parties, Beaujolais parties, Diwali, a random Wicken event (not school or club sponsored) that I probably would prefer not mentioning, and other parties and events that I never even knew existed.  Nonetheless, sometimes it is also fun to share a little bit of my own culture with others -- thus American Thanksgiving (not to be confused with Canadian Thanksgiving which occurs on Sundays and celebrates the harvest).  My friends and I (about 40 of us) had a huge feast in a flat in London that put my own family's Thanksgivings to shame.  The highlight was a Turducken (a deboned chicken stuffed in a deboned duck stuffed in a Turkey and roasted with stuffing for 12 hours).  I can say that it was tasty, and I am now thinking whether this could become tastier with the addition of pigeons or pheasants or other random fowl.  It was also great seeing the looks on all the faces of my non-American friends at the veritable table of goodness laid before their eyes.  So, if you come here, experience other cultures but also share the best of your own.


Sidenotes:

1)  You may have noticed that I never talk about academics anymore -- well, as a 2nd year, my life is now down to breaking my life in to units of time and trying to count down the days until I head to exchange in Sydney, Australia.  I plan on bringing a bathing suit, a surfboard, 3 shorts, 3 shirts, and a pair of flippers.

2)  Been brainstorming with friends trying to come up with cool ideas -- there is my standard open up a Mexican restaurant in London and then open up its sister Brunch-only restaurant; trying to produce an alternative pirate musical; or opening up Italian eateries in Mexico targeting the untapped Italian Ex-Pat in Mexico who can't handle spicy population.

Turducken

London-Paris in 12 hours

Posted by Don on 27 November 2008

A few weeks ago I did an amazing trip ... well, sort of ...

So I had once more a trip laid out to Paris to attend a family dinner (of my girlfriend). This is a very efficient affair – leave the office at 3pm on Friday, take the Eurostar at 4.30 and arrive in Paris at 7pm. So far so good.

Just a minor detail: On Thursday a truck loaded with some highly inflammable liquid decided to overturn in the tunnel and start burning. So the whole day Friday (and only Friday, calculate the odds of that – exactly the day I wanted to travel!!!) the Eurostar did not run. Of course all flights were either full or cost the equivalent of a ticket to Thailand (return!). But my very understanding and helpful colleagues of my second internship quickly came to the rescue: train and ferry. Calculating the time via Dover/Calais however was not something I looked forward to. There is however a speedferry directly to Boulogne and maybe there might be a train directly to Paris from there. The internet showed that the 2.20 pm ferry was already full but after I called them I got a seat (“we added some additional capacity” - what does that mean for a ferry???).

 So having arrived at work at 8 am I left a mere 2 hours later to head out to the train station. I managed to mix up King’s Cross and Charing Cross and missed a train but still got to Dover in time. A taxi quickly brought me to the foot passenger pick-up spot. About 20 people were waiting already to enter a 10 seater bus (with luggage!) and to be driven 50 meters! (For ‘security reasons’ we were not allowed to simply walk on. I think they are not really happy about non-car-driving passengers).

After waiting an hour we finally boarded the ferry and left an hour late. The trip was smooth and nice - the de-boarding took another hour. As there were no cabs in sight we (a small group of 6 people who met on the ferry) walked to the train station where we scrambled to get a seat on the last TGV to Paris.

At least the weather was nice and the English and French countryside is a pleasant sight. Door to door the trip ended up being just over 12 hours - which is the same time it takes from Hong Kong, Singapore or Bangkok to London ... :-)

MBA TV, Episode three

Posted by Adcoms on 18 November 2008


The latest episode of MBA TV is now available to view. In this episode filmed on Volunteer Day we catch up with three groups of students who took part in three very different voluntary projects. Life as an MBA student is certainly never dull, from getting their hands dirty with some hard work at Kensington Gardens to getting creative to come up with a unique ‘one-off’ gift idea for Oxfam.


• A group of our students took part in an ‘apprentice type task’ to develop unique experiences to be sold by Oxfam. If you’re interested in finding out more visit https://www.oxfam.org.uk/donate/experiences/index.html
• You can also find out more about the project in Kensington Gardens and the work some of our students did at Gable Hall School by clicking on the following links 
http://www.creative-partnerships.com/
http://www.gablehall.com/main.aspx

Hop Skip and a Jump

Posted by Rebecca on 10 November 2008

It’s amazing how far you can get from London in two and a half hours.  You can hop on a train or a plane and be in an entirely different place: new language, new scenery, new culture.  I’ve travelled a lot, but usually it took a little more time and effort to get to somewhere really different.  As a kid growing up in Calgary, we would drive for 3 hours and get to… Edmonton.  Or for a real thrill you could drive east and hit… Saskatchewan.  Woohoo!  Road trip to Regina!

This is the second time I’ve gone to school in London, the first being London, Ontario.  Sure, a two hour drive from London (ON) will get you somewhere very different: Detroit.  For many Canadians, this is indeed an adventure into foreign territory (“quick - roll up the windows and drive the speed limit! Don’t brake until we make it back to free healthcare and Tim Hortons!”).   Things were a little more interesting when I lived in San Francisco. Several hours in a car will get you deep into wine country, skiing in Tahoe or across the bridge to Oakland during rush hour.  Seattle and Phoenix are both two hours away by plane – rain or shine, a change of scenery.  But this pales in comparison to the adventures on London’s (UK) doorstep.

In early October I took the Eurorail to Paris for the weekend.  This was only about 2 weeks after the fire in the Chunnel, and you could still smell the smoke as we passed underground.  When we emerged, the sun was shining in France and I swear there was a waft of fresh baguettes and cigarettes.   New language, new currency, new country – all mine for the weekend. 

A few weeks later I hopped on an Easyjet plane to Barcelona.  In less than three hours I was drinking Spanish wine and eating manchego cheese in a restaurant off Las Ramblas.  We spent the weekend walking around the city, visiting the Picasso museum, shopping at ZARA and enjoying more Spanish wine.  On Friday I’m going back to Spain, but this time to Madrid.  

I realize all this travelling may sound indulgent.  You might be thinking “when does she study?” Sure there’s a lot of work – assignments, group work, and exams.  But it’s also true that the MBA experience is more than just classes and networking events. Next semester our stream has Thursdays and Fridays off and we would be foolish to waste this good fortune, particularly given the Ryanair and EasyJet seat sales.  Flights to Rome for £20? Marrakesh for £40? I’m in. 

2nd Year Isn't So Bad

Posted by Matthew on 06 November 2008

So, I think that the MBA office should really push the 2nd Year of the MBA more in its advertising.  It pretty much involves a lot of traveling and kickin' it.  Thus far this term, I have yet to spend a weekend in London.  I have been living like a consultant -- Monday through Wednesday in London and then spending the rest of my time in another country -- mostly the U.S.  I noticed that the 2010's gave an account of a day in their lives, but I won't bother you with mine -- it involves mostly sleeping, drinking, and flying right now.


Other highlights of the term include:

US Election Party:  Many Americans got together to watch the Election returns at the Chicago Rib Shack and this was one of the best nights I have had in London.  Despite the fact that I had the audacity to hope for a full plate of ribs, we all drank beers (negra modelo), played election bingo, and anxiously awaited the returns.  I ended up getting home at 630 am -- Investment Banker style.

Weekend in New York highlighted by a meal in Per Se.  Sometimes you have to rough it.

Halloween in Boston with a major party at Boston College.  Now, going to a grad school that lacks undergrads can often make you forget what a precious commodity undergrads are.  So young, excitable, and ready to party.  Maybe this is what the Masters in Management program is designed to fix.  I dressed up as Willy Wonka.  It seemed appropriately creepy, and I do like chocolate.

Paintball:  I get to paintball this Saturday for a friend's birthday.  I have never actually been paintballing before, and I think that this will be a lot of fun.  Though I am concerned that the others will have higher expectations of me since I "served" in the armed forces.  They really shouldn't.  I don't do anything well.

So, one should remember that the 2nd year is a lot of fun.  The 1st year just doesn't allow for the free time required for me to properly enjoy myself.

How would you like your November?

Posted by Vipul on 02 November 2008

Double-decker buses are honking, dogs are barking, cold rain is falling, study-group mates are wrestling in the courtyard, Airbus A3XX’s are mysteriously missing from London skies and Papa-Smurf is having a hard time washing off the blue body paint. Suddenly, a loud scream pierces the air. It’s an MBA student hurling himself 160 ft through the air, at the mercy of mother-gravity. Today is your typical November day.

My predecessors tell tales of November. This is the month when study-groups witness their members engaged in hand-to-hand combat over task allocations. Multiple assignments are due. Final exams approach. And, if you were smart (or stupid) enough to volunteer at a club, chances are you are organizing some conference or party. In short, November is a very stressful month.

As Jann said in her blog, the key is to take a deep-breath. To that end, November was welcomed by multiple parties. The Monitor group hosted Sundowners on Thursday (3 hours of drinking). The class of MBA 2010 hosted Halloween on Friday (4 hours + after party till sunrise). And the India club hosted a Diwali party on Saturday (4.5 hours + after party till sunrise). Hopefully these have washed away the cobwebs of October and we can start afresh in November (…yeah right! Talk to the guy with the nasty hangover).

More de-stress events are on in November! A de-stress day where the school is offering free 15-minute neck & shoulder massages has seen school servers experience a massive load of email requests. My study group (and I recommend every group does this) is getting together for a home cooked meal to kick off November and reaffirm our fraternal love for one-another. The Rugby club is going to INSEAD to pummel them on home-turf (together with a band of supporters who will, no doubt, increase the alcohol demand in that part of France). The women’s rugby team is off for a weekend in “sunny” Glasgow. Some of us might try and catch some sun in the Canary Islands (“sun” means any temperature above 10 degrees Celsius).

Despite the gloomy-omen of unseasonal snowfall in October, November won’t be as bad as we make it out to be! Just get out there and “take a deep breath” (--quote attributed to Jann--). Also, let me reassure you, no one has committed suicide - some of us went bungee jumping today

Parlez-Vous Francais?

Posted by Rebecca on 26 September 2008

One of the main reasons I applied to London Business School is because of its global ambitions, of which the language requirement plays a very important role. Everyone is required to speak at least a second language.This can be a very ambitious goal for Brits and North Americans, but I have many classmates who are picking up a 3 or 4th language “just for fun”. Why stop with just Portuguese, English and German? Why not learn Japanese, too?

Originally I had ambitions to learn a new language from scratch.  Sometime in April while I was working in Dubai I thought it would be cool to study Arabic.  In August, inspired by the Olympics, I got excited about learning Mandarin.  Then September rolled around and the reality of both the workload and all the great electives on offer set in: do I really want the most stressful part of my MBA experience to be the language requirement?  So I decided to be a lazy Canadian and brush up on my French instead. 

Je suis desolée, mon amour, mais je ne t’aime plus.  Je suis infatuée avec Jacques Cousteau.*

In order to meet the language requirement, you must pass a test for Level 2 in any language you choose. The definition of Level 2 is a bit ambiguous, but at a minimum you should be able to talk to native speakers without making a total fool out of yourself (note: this could prove challenging for me as I sometimes struggle with this in English).   

Excusez-moi, madame.   Vous avez un morceau de jambon entre vos dents.  Un moment – je vais vous aider.*

The school offers elective courses in most languages or you can choose to pay £1000 for each course.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend an elective credit on French, so my roommate Dan (another Canadian) suggested an alternative: take classes through Alliance Français and try to pass the requirement early.

L’habit ne fait pas le moine, mais les talons hauts font la femme.*

Enrolling in classes required writing a paragraph (topic: talk about a recent trip you took with a friend.  My friend and I went to la piscine, we ate une baguette, rode le Metro and we also watched Amelie), and have a brief conversation with an instructor. He talked for about 5 minutes, of which I understood very little, and then looked at me expectantly.  Only two words came to mind: 1) Something close to "zut alors".  2) D’accord.   With that I ended up in French classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Pamplemousse. Pamplemousse. Pamplemousse.  Pamplemousse.* (seriously, one of my favorite things about learning French is having a legitimate reason to use the word “Pamplemousse”on a regular basis). 

Clearly I have some work to do.  My advice for any “monolingual” people applying for next year is to start studying now or take an intensive language course over the summer.  It will save you a lot of time and money once school starts.

*Apologies to all the French speakers for my appalling grasp of your language.  Hopefully I’ll improve!

I've been rather lax...

Posted by Nick on 23 September 2008

I've been rather lax with regard to my blog posting.  When I was researching schools, I would follow some bloggers' blogs almost religiously and I found myself getting annoyed/disappointed when they would stop posting or post intermittently.  Being a blogger myself, I understood only too well how difficult it is to post on a regular basis; sometimes you are too busy and sometimes you just lack inspiration.  That said, I made a promise to myself that once the MBA started, I would keep posting on a regular basis because I know how much reading others' blogs helped me.

I've decided to take a crack a "Day in the life" post.  The difficult thing about this however is that each day in the life of an MBA student is so varied that it is difficult to write about a typical day.  The best approach to this will probably be to write a series of these; the reader will then be able to see how different each day can be.

So, here's my last Thursday in detail -

7:00 am - alarm goes off.  During the first two weeks of school, I had absolutely no problem getting out of bed.  I think that was due to the excitement aspect of being back in school again.  Now the excitement has worn off and I'm cursing the alarm clock.  While eating my cereal, I read CNN.com and FT.com to see how much more of the financial world has collapsed today.  Crazy stuff going on!  I make a mental note to start looking at alternative careers to finance, because the prospect of getting an internship in finance this summers seems rather dim.  Quick shower to wake myself up, and then its time for stats.

8:00 - 11:30 am - Sit in front of Excel trying to determine the statistical model that predicts store profits for a fictitious retailer called Store24.  The possible variables include management tenure, crew tenure, number of local competitors, sales, etc., etc.  After a few hours, of trying to figure out which root power gives the better adjusted R squared value for our model, I pack up my computer to head to school.

11:30 - 11:45 am - Walk (quickly) from my flat in Saint John's Wood to campus.  I love the walk... St. John's Wood is a beautiful area and along the way I pass some Middle Eastern shops which I buy stuff like hummus in.  Today though I'm in a hurry, so I pass by quickly.

11:50 - 12:30 pm - One on one CV review session (oops, I'm 5 minutes late!).  After being given instruction on exactly how the "London Business School CV format" works, everyone in our class prepared a new and improved CV (or resume as we say in the US).  Career Services is one of the most important aspects at any top MBA program, and at London Business School they are top notch.  I sit down with a woman from career services and we go over my new resume achievement point by achievement point.  She has lots of constructive things to say, and I go home with a CV covered in notes.  I'll have to prepare a second version for another round of "CV surgery" so that I can have a really good CV to post on the school's portal.  The student CVs will all be visible to employers starting sometime in October, so it is important that we get this right.

12:30 - 2:00 pm - Lunch and bit of a break.  I buy a sandwich from The Bite and sit outside in the quad eating and chatting with classmates.  I use some of this time to reply to emails via my trusty new iPhone (I'd say 2/3 of the class has one... we're all followers apparently...)

2:00 - 3:15 pm - I head over to the Fairbairn Conference room in Plowden for 1hr15mins of "Networking Skills".  Now, don't get me wrong... I see what they were trying to do with this, but most of the students felt that it was kind of a waste of time.  Basically we were told that networking is important, that we should do it, and that we should start doing it now.  Hopefully the next session in October which actually focuses on specific skills such as how to properly introduce yourself, inject (and remove) yourself from a conversation, etc. will be better and more interesting.

3:30 - 6:00 pm - Lorenzo from my study group has booked a meeting room over in A-wing for my study group.  We spend the next 2.5 hours discussing our data analysis for the stats assignment and decide on the best model to use and how we intend to split up the report.  I repeatedly curse myself for not opting out of statistics... all I had to do was take an exam which I would have easily passed having been an engineer, but at the time I thought my stats were pretty rusty, so I'd better re-take the class.

6:10 - 7:00 pm - I cross the street and walk over to the gym.  2000 meters on the rowing machine (that thing finds muscles I never even knew I had), and a few weight machines later, I start the walk home to Saint John's Wood.

7:15 - 8:00pm - get home, shower, change... I've got a date tonight (yes, the MBA still leaves time for romance...)!

8:15pm - arrive at my date's house.  She's cooked dinner for me and her flatmates, all of whom are either lawyers or bankers.  The four of us spend the evening discussing the crazy things going on in the financial world.  The bankers speculate as to whether they will have jobs in the near future or not.  Again, I make a mental note to look into alternative internships to finance. 

Well, that's my first "Day in the life of an MBA student".  I hope it helps you get some idea of what we do in school.  I'll follow this up with others that will give you a better idea of how varied our days are.

A walk in London

Posted by Pak on 06 September 2008

After a week of school, we are ready to get some fresh air in London. A few of us (Martynas, Pavel, Shijie, Wilson and me) went to take a walk in London.

We went to the Millennium Footbridge, walked along the River Thames and areas nearby. After a long walk, we had some tea at a shop nearby (looking at the price they charged for the type of the Chinese tea made me to note down to bring loads of good Chinese tea leaves when I go to Asia next time).

Next we went to Leicester Square and planned to grab some food at the Covent Garden area. After walking around the Covent Garden, we ended up going back to Leicester Square (China town area). We decided to give a Chinese restaurant a try.

During the meal, we shared a bit of the Chinese customs with our friends and about the Midautum Festival, which is next Sunday (14 September). The dishes were average at best, of course compared to what one can get in China/ Hong Kong. Anyhow, we decided to get a moon cake after the meal. Quite lack of variety here. Beside the conventional moon cake, you don't get to see the Snow Skin type version here. Anyhow, Martynas, Pavel, hope that you like it. :)

We planned to have more regular walk around London during future weekends, and hoped to get more people involved.

By the way, for those who like rock band, do check out Martynas' cool band:
http://www.myspace.com/verslorizikosrezervas

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PB & J Meets Its Match

Posted by Rebecca on 04 September 2008

British cuisine gets a lot of flack.  In fact, Jamie Oliver was recently quoted saying “I'm going to be harsh, but I think a lot of English people's food lacks heart. It's bland.”  Apparently he hasn’t been sampling the sandwiches, which are an important staple in every student’s diet. Particularly in London where you might pay a small fortune at a fancy restaurant (i.e., Quizno’s). 

Admittedly I’ve never been a big fan of sandwiches.  As a child I refused to touch the “Big 3”: tuna, peanut butter (in any combination) or egg salad, which left my mother with very few options to pack me for lunch.  She sometimes resorted to sending me Cheeze-Whiz on brown, that famous condiment that would remain shelf-stable even in a nuclear war. Since then sandwiches have been my lunch choice of last resort. 

If only my mother had paid a visit to a local London sandwich shop.  The “Big 3” barely make an appearance amid the fantastic combinations and permutations of ingredients.  The most unbelievable things make their way between two slices of bread.  A sample of sandwiches available today at The Bite, London Business School’s café:

·         Cheddar & Cream Cheese with Celery

·         Roast Salmon & Hollandaise

·         Prawn Mayonnaise

·         Spicy Falafel & Houmous

·         Double Egg & Cress

·         Coronation Chicken (an unnatural shade of yellow, in my opinion)

Not to be outdone, the wraps also make a strong showing:

·         North Atlantic Prawn & Wasabi

·         Duck & Hoisin

·         Falafel & Tabouleh

It’s as though Willy Wonka got tired of Gobstoppers and decided to take a crack at lunch. Yesterday I had a sandwich called the Bugsy – carrot, houmous, rocket (don’t feel bad - I didn’t know what that was, either) and alfalfa sprouts, the day before it was feta, pine nuts and roasted red peppers.   Nuts in a sandwich? What next?!? A classmate approached me today as I stood in front of the shelves.  “What are you doing?” he asked.  “Trying to decide what to have for lunch.” I replied, jingling coins in my hand. “That’s easy,” he said. “A pint.”

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.

Finally

Posted by Nick on 31 August 2008

Wow, what can I say?  I'm finally here.  It's been 20 months since I first mailed my application to London Business School for the MBA Class of 2009.  I spent two months waiting for an interview decision, a month waiting for an admissions decision, five months on the waitlist, and then another month waiting for a deferred admissions decision.  Once I received an offer for the MBA Class of 2010, I had another eleven months to wait for classes to actually begin.  Those were perhaps the longest months of my life, during which time I tried to distract myself with a month-long trip backpacking though Indonesia and another month visiting friends and family back in the States. Needless to say, I had an incredible summer.

Now that I've arrived  in London, moved into my flat, met my classmates, and begun orientation, I'm finding it difficult to express everything I've been feeling lately.  I'm continuously amazed at the variety of my classmates; MBA2010 is represented by 60 different countries and 45 different languages. The level of achievement that some of my classmates have already accomplished is impressive, as well as the mix of different careers.   My classes are filled with surgeons, lawyers, helicopter pilots, bankers, theoretical nuclear physicists, ex-politicians, entrepreneurs, and a famous concert pianist.  I have truly never been surrounded by this many highly accomplished, successful people... and it feels great!

To say I've been busy would be an understatement;  even prior to orientation everyone was busy partying networking, usually in the form of housewarming parties, pub crawling in Marylebone, or clubbing in Piccadilly.  Now that orientation has started, we're spending our days at Lord's Cricket Ground (its like baseball... sorta... but it lasts days) listening to school administrators and alumni talk about what the next 21 months will hold in store for us, and our evenings doing more... erhm... networking.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I've had to find time to go food shopping (for your own sanity, do not do the dollar/pound conversion in your head if you ever come to London... and especially don't do the RMB/pound conversion); set up internet in my apartment flat; register myself with the 1,000 groups, clubs, and activities I'm interested in; and answer the 1.5 billions emails received each day from the school's Portal.  To say I've been busy would be a vast understatement, and I get the feeling that our level of activity now with pale in comparison to how busy we'll be once classes begin next week.

Great First Two Weeks

Posted by Jann on 24 August 2008

     I arrived in London almost two weeks ago and while I was still back home in The Philippines, I was convinced that I was going to look forward to finding a flat, using the Tube, and having four seasons in a year.  I was so excited to experience all these because I haven't had the chance to back home.  In hindsight, however, I may have over done it...30 mins after I've arrived from the airport, I immediately went out and walked miles and miles around London looking for a possible flat, got a Day pass on the Tube, and I seem to have experienced four seasons in a DAY (no, not YEAR) having to put my coat on and taking it off more than a couple of times. (To think it was summer here)  By the end of it, I was exhausted!  I think I've reached my quota, in terms of achieving the things I was looking forward to here, just on my first day.

     But there is one thing I enjoyed and still am enjoying a lot for the first two weeks I've been here.  And that is meeting the other MBA 2010s (and some of the MIF 2009s as well). Whether it be through the Flat Hunter's Pub Crawl, Sundowners, Meet and Greet, or just through London tours, nights out, and flat warming events some small groups organize here and there.

    Classes have not yet started, but I'm learning a lot as I meet my fellow 2010s.  My exposure and expertise is within Industry and a lot of the people I've spoken to were from Finance or Consulting.  I expected not to grasp some of what the others have done previously.  There was an instance where I drew a blank stare when I was told by one person he was doing M&A (I still drew a blank even when he said Mergers & Acquisitions).  Nor did I truly understand someone when he said he did subprime mortgage trading. (I wonder if I even got this correctly). It's quite comforting too that not all people have a grasp of the other functions in Industry especially the uncommon ones like my background.  I do hope that the fact that there is diversity will enrich us in the next 2 years.  Of course, do not forget the cultural sharing which makes for good learning as well.
 
    With the great first two weeks here, I am so looking forward to the next great two years of my life at London Business School.