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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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Exchange - Half Way

Posted by Vipul on 27 February 2010

I have been on exchange in India for almost 2 months now. It’s been a very interesting and different experience. I certainly am happy that I came here. My main aim in coming here was to look for work in India. Through a reciprocal agreement with London Business School, ISB allows exchange students to appear for placements. I have had a few interviews and am pleased to say that I am treated as an equal here in every aspect. I haven’t found a job yet, but that’s just a matter of time.

I have managed to squeeze in some travel. In a last minute decision (90 mins before departure!) I caught a bus to Bangalore and spent the weekend with an old friend. I was very impressed with the quality of life in Bangalore. It’s a beautiful city. Then I spent 5 days with my family in Uttar Pradesh. The work load here is heavy, but you can always find some time for the important things. I even managed to see Ooty in the Nilgiris (Blue Mountains) in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. There’s nothing like sitting with the locals and eating curd-rice off a Banana leaf in a beautiful hill town.

The parties at ISB have been good, if a bit subdued. Everyone is in placement-mode. Hence not many people actually turn up for parties these days. Still, I have to praise the Student Life Council for a stellar effort. The odd thing is that parties don’t actually come to life before 2AM. Talk about culture shock! There was a huge party thrown by the dean to celebrate ISB’s elevated ranking in the Financial Times. That was amazing!

I am staying in a 4-bedroom apartment or ‘quad’. All my flatmates or ‘quadies’ are local ISB students. They are the best bunch of people. I have done a lot of great partying with them. They are very accommodating and very willing to help me settle in. They are excellent friends! I highly recommend living in close-quarters with local students while on exchange.

Despite all the learning and fun here, I do miss life at London Business School. I can’t believe I’m missing Tattoo!! I even missed the Tech Summit! There’s nothing like life in central London. It’s such a lively place – Hyderabad sure can’t match it. I really like ISB, but I can’t wait to be back in London in April and hang-out with all my great friends from London Business School!

McLaren Formula One team at LBS

Posted by Luiz on 26 February 2010

Business schools are known for hosting panels with famous speakers to discuss current business and economic issues. It has not been different at LBS. We recently had two great events on campus: the Private Equity conference (http://foliostop.com/pec) and the Marketing Fast Moving Consumer Goods summit (http://www.londonfmcgsummit.com). Just to name a few, other speakers that we had on campus that I enjoyed seeing were George Soros and Jim O’Neill (head of research at Goldman Sachs and who coined the term BRIC).

But I had been warned that at LBS I should expect the unexpected. So it was to my delight that this week we had the McLaren Formula One team on campus! One of our 2011 classmates worked for a Formula One team and was able to bring to campus this unique event. They talked about their business model, brand management, competitors (by the way, they admitted that Ferrari is a stronger brand), and how to manage having two world champion drivers on the same team. The only bad part of the day is that I failed at naming all McLaren world champions at an initial quiz so I didn’t win the Lewis Hamilton cap signed by him!

Party time, Tattoo is coming!

Posted by Samuel on 26 February 2010

Tatoo v2 After the extenuating and stressing internship hunt of these past few months, we all deserve a break.

Fortunately, this Saturday the school will host one of its flagship events: Tattoo! What is it? A huge party where the majority of the campus community and all the regional clubs will be involved. Here are a few numbers to hunch about the size of this event: 1,100+ partygoers, 20+ regional clubs representing 50+ nationalities. Each club will serve specialities from their countries and perform some kind of entertainment.

Without further due, I can tell the world what will be the delicacies and gastronomic specialities offered by the French club. Cheese, bien sur, and the classic dish of French cuisine, the Quiche Lorraine (a baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust). With this year strong delegation of French coming from oversees territories (Reunion Island and New Caledonia), you will have your share of Creole specialities as well. To top it all, partygoers will be entertain by a fantastic.... Accordionist! I’m not sure that it will really represent the French music style and diversity, but for sure, it’ll be fun to hear ;-)

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Posted by Jenny on 19 February 2010

For first year students at London Business School, December to June is internship hunting time. Now halfway through the process, here’s my rather candid take on what it’s been like:

NOVEMBER: Career Services keep on talking about preparing for internship applications. We shrug and think to ourselves summer is too far away. We travel, meet people, go to parties and of course go to class (not in that order). Meanwhile, our CVs get slighted, butchered, and then resurrected—all in a good way—by Career Services. We feel invincible; life is good.

DECEMBER: Applications for Asian offices of the bulge-bracket firms become due. We hastily write our Cover Letters and submit 6 applications in a day. We go on our Christmas vacation and internships are relegated to the back of our minds.

JANUARY: We come back from vacation all suited-up. At the Corporate Partners Week, we elbow our way to the side of the bosses from Goldman and McKinsey and ask them intelligent questions—the same questions we will ask the bosses from Morgan Stanley and BCG. Meanwhile, we still aren’t sure what we really want to do so we follow the crowd and submit our applications to all the biggest companies in the market.

FEBRUARY: Companies start shortlisting interviewees or—to put it another way—they start sending out rejection letters. At interviews, we proclaim our love for our potential employers while at the Windsor we proclaim ourselves as the King (or Queen) of Dings (TM by Mayank & Co.). We start philosophizing the meaning of rejections in life as Career Services assures us that job offers peak in April and May so we should not lose hope. Meanwhile, we act on our Plans B and C (and D) and apply to all job postings in the Portal—much like throwing wet paper towels onto a wall and seeing (hoping) that at least one would stick.

Now it’s still February so I have to end my errr….narrative here. Some of us have been fortunate to land positions—which might be not our first choice, but we’re grateful nonetheless. Some of us are still riding it out but regardless of the stage we are in the process, one thing’s for sure: this internship hunt has so far been exciting, quite stressful and surprisingly self-revealing. (In my case, I’ve learned that I need to read the FT and the Economist more. That and that I’m more likely to land a job in finance than in the non-profit sector. But that’s an entirely different story altogether.) In any case I’m still hoping that in my next blog I would say something in the lines of, March, April, May: Everyone gets offers for their dream jobs and we all live happily ever after. Riiiight. I’ll keep you posted on that.

________

Having said that, there actually IS life beyond internship applications.

One of the good things about doing your MBA is the many opportunities you get to meet bigwigs from big companies. The FMCG Summit on the 25th of February is a good example. The conference boasts of speakers from established companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Unilever and other interesting companies such as Sense Worldwide and Dunnhumby. Alan Moore, author of Communities Dominate Brands, will come to speak as well. Conferences like this are good opportunities to network with leaders, alumni and students and you never know – it might be your lucky day and a conference just might lead to a golden job offer.

________

And then there are the exchange programmes. To apply, we have to submit by March 1st a 500-word essay for each school we’re interested in (maximum of 3) and we have to convincingly write why Columbia, Chicago, or whichever school we have our eyes set on, is right for us (it’s like MBA applications all over again). I’ve been working on my essays and here are my top 7 reasons (7, not 10 because I can only think of 7 – you probably have more) why I want to go on exchange to Columbia (and no, these will not go into my essay):

7. It doesn’t rain as much in New York.

6. I want to do the cheesy Sex and the City tour.

5. I need a break from fish and chips.

4. American TV shows.

3. They call their tomatoes to-may-toes and not to-maa-toes.

2. They sell kebabs and hotdogs outside the school.

And the number one reason why I want to go on exchange to Columbia is…

1. If you’re at the TOP there’s nowhere else to go but down (to the next best thing). Oh yeah. 

FT rates LBS MBA Numero Uno!

Posted by sanjeev sharma on 17 February 2010

"Humility is a strange thing. The minute you think you've got it, you've lost it."

- E. D. Hulse

Financial Times 2010 MBA Rankings

Venture Capital Investment Competition

Posted by Steve on 17 February 2010

One of the great things about LBS is all the top competitions we are invited to enter.  The VCIC definitely falls into this category.  The competition is all about real entrepreneurs, real ideas and real venture capitalists, more infrmation is on the link below:

http://www.vcic.unc.edu/

In a nutshell it's like Dragons Den.  We had to act as venture capitalists and had to meet with and assess four real life entrepreneurial ideas and then negotiate and strike a deal with one of them, all while beig evaluated by real venture capitalists.  Fortunately for me, my team won the LBS round and we are now flying to New York for the next round, courtesy of Brown Rudnick, the US law firm who sponsor the competition.

Not only were we provided with a great day of learning and excellent feedback from the VC firms, but copious amounts of champagne and a number of upcoming lunches with the VC firms to help prepare us for the next round.  As a team of five we are very much looking forward to the trip and a chance to prove LBS deserves its place as the world's number 1 MBA

"Full Time" MBA

Posted by Joyce on 21 January 2010

Family and friends like to scoff at my claim that I study full time. Glancing at my calendar, it’s not hard to see why. It's in stark contrast to Alex's calendar several posts down. Important to note is that I did NOT skimp on electives. I’m taking the maximum number allowed, and would take even more if the school let me.


Cal

I suppose one could view this as a testament to the flexibility of year 2. You see correctly—entire months of December and February completely open. And I’m especially tickled by the 72-day stretch between Jan 8 to Mar 22 where I have no classes whatsoever.

A question I sometimes get is "What’s up with your class selection? You’re attending one of the best finance schools in the world and I don’t see a single finance elective."

Consider yourself in the following situation: you majored in finance in undergrad, interned at a combination pension-endowment fund at 22, shuffled your feet for a few months at a brokerage before eventually settling into the world of corporate finance for 5 years. Then you come to London for your MBA and ace your mandatory core finance class without a lick of studying.

My question to you: are you still going to load up on finance electives?

Have I deserted finance in the manner of a burned-out banker? Hardly! I absolutely adore finance, and have every intention of bringing it with me to every new role I take. (Future co-workers beware; I have a tendency to preach the power of NPV like a missionary out for converts.) But I didn’t come to London to become deadlier in something I already do reasonably well. In stereotypical fashion, I was atrocious in strategy, hadn’t a clue about marketing, and networking? I’m that sorry person who walks past the business class section of a plane and wishes with envy in her heart to one day be able to comfortably strike up a conversation or exchange business cards like I always see them doing before take-off.

But anyway, in light of my featherweight schedule, what else do I get up to in between?

  • Technically still on my summer internship, but on reduced hours since Homeland Revenue restricts me to 2.5 days per week. The internship itself has been superb. I was curious about how “business” a work environment could be when the office is a congestion of 4-inch heels and fashion magazines—but oh do they know their business, and have the financial results to prove it. So, do keep your minds tuned to “business” when I reveal that one of my projects had me riffling through French lingerie catalogues for a week...
  • About 1 day a week on Second Year Project. We’re developing a business plan around the winning project from our stream’s Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities tradeshow—hot chocolate! (The good kind, not stuff that comes from a pouch of powder.)
  • Working on the novel / reading other novels. I’d like to say this is totally unrelated to the MBA, but part of it is because my brain screams for genuine fiction after reading yet another Harvard case. Don’t get me wrong, the content and intended lessons make the Harvard cases great tools, but the authors’ attempts to inject meaningless contextual drama is tedium. "Steve Smith admired the skyline from his office window before returning to the glow of his computer screen. He sighed. 11:47pm, 134 unread messages, and an 8 o’clock meeting tomorrow morning where he’d have to present the strategic future of the company. Where to start..." How about starting by getting to the point?
  • Catching up with classmates, getting to hear about everyone’s grand designs. Bonding with my wonderful flatmates Nicole and Don, and enjoying the best that British reality tv has to offer.
  • Lots of sleeping in. Loading up now in anticipation of a return to full time work life.

Sometimes I wonder if this jives with what most people expect a full-time MBA to be like. The only justification I can offer is that you get a lot of built-in “worry time”. In practical terms, that means a lot of time worrying about recruitment, worrying about the economy, worrying about classes, and worrying about how to distract yourself from worrying too much. I suppose those can *sometimes* be legitimate activities, but it’s pretty cool how much time frees up once you stop reading every article in the FT, or brooding over the postings on careers portal.

Oh, and if you had any lingering doubt about how much time you’ll have available for all of life’s little extracurriculars, have a think about how much time the average student spends on Facebook.

About LBS international spirit

Posted by Luiz on 19 January 2010

London Business School is recognized as a global school with many international students and faculty. But what’s so special about it? After all, there are other b-schools that have students from over 60 countries and that speak x number of languages. From my experience, what sets apart LBS’s international spirit is:

  • Since there is no major nationality, the mixing among students is very high.
  • Many students have spent a significant amount of time outside their home countries. For instance, on my study group six out of seven people have spent more than two years outside of his or her home country after their undergrad degree. Many even grew up on one country, went to University in another and developed their professional lives on a third country. This reflects on mature students that have a global perspective on business.
  • Students are proud of their culture and like to share that with colleagues. For instance, when the snow club organized a ski trip to Austria in December of last year, a Swiss classmate drove from Switzerland to bring fresh Swiss cheese and pots to cook traditional Swiss fondue for 30 of us; another colleague drove from Munich and brought us specialty local beer that is only sold on his home town of Munich. That is not to mention the now famous yearly spring break trips to: Japan organized by the Japan club, Africa organized by the Africa club, and to Thailand organized by the Sailing club. On top of that, there are country-themed parties during the year: Spanish fiesta (Spanish club), Diwalli party (Indian club), Latin American party (Latin American club), Beaujolais party (French club) and Carnival party (Brazil Club) to name a few. And finally, the mother of all country-themed parties: Tattoo, in which each country presents some of its food, drink, music, dance and other entertainments.

All that makes me feel privileged to be part of such a diverse and international group.

24 Hours of Exchange

Posted by Vipul on 05 January 2010

Disclaimer: I wrote this piece yesterday - but had trouble posting it. Here it is, untainted by my experiences of day 2.

It’s been 24 hours since I arrived at the Indian School of Business. The experience has been interesting so far – quite a contrast to London Business School. Here are some of the things that struck me.

All the support staff address me as “Sir”. This embarrasses as much as it lifts the ego. It’s like I’m a guest at a hotel. I went to boarding school in India and I have done project work with IBM in India – but never have I been called “Sir” except in hotels (and in airlines, but only when I travelled business class).

The infrastructure here is something to write home about. The campus is HUGE. I actually had to lug my suitcase for almost half a mile when the taxi driver dropped me off at the wrong “student village”. There is one excellent buffet-style all-you-can-eat for 90 Rupees (£1.20) restaurant, 2 round-the-clock cafes, and a department store on campus. I have heard wonder-filled stories about how nice the swimming pool and the gym are. In fact these stories have inspired me to set an alarm for 8 AM so I can go see the Gym. There is housing for all students (more than 600 I believe) on campus. I have a bedroom in a 4-bedroom apartment. It is air-conditioned and a maid comes every day to do the dishes. Getting my shirts ironed cost me Rs. 2.50 (yes, 2 rupees and 50 paise). I’m presently “connected” to a gigabit lan network, which unfortunately doesn’t work on my laptop any more. The bad thing is, I’m being forced to use Windows as my operating system. Overall the infrastructure appears way better than that of London Business School.

There were a few things that mildly annoyed me today, but I’m pretty sure I will adapt to those. In the lecture this morning, people would regularly interrupt others. In a networking session, people would literally shoulder me out of their way to speak to the visitor. Communicating with the support staff in English or Hindi is a slight issue – but sign language always works.

The on-campus company presentations (called “PPTs (Pun perhaps Intended) – Pre Placement Talks”) fascinated me the most. They were in sharp contrast to the presentations back at London Business School. The invitation email asked me to dress in “business casual”. This made me nervous already. I have been forcibly conditioned to wear a suit and a tie and look super sharp in all company presentations. But I felt very overdressed in a simple business shirt and trousers combination, when I saw people walking in wearing sandals, T-shirts and jeans. It turns out that due to low attendance at some of these events, these presentations have been made compulsory. Every presentation is mandatory for a particular stream of the MBA class, irrespective of whether they have any interest in the company or indeed the industry. No wonder, the enthusiasm levels were somewhat varied. Also the style of asking questions seemed a bit different. For example, the first question from the audience was “Locations?” That’s it. One word. Go figure. I don’t mean to bash ISB or its students – it is a great school with very bright students. All I am saying is that London Business School does a better job of managing crowd interest in presentations.

The people here are very friendly. Its amazing how many people I’ve exchanged phone numbers with today. One my first day at London Business School, I was definitely struggling a little more. Last night I had someone walk half-a-mile with me when she found me wandering around lost, and guided me to my student village. My neighbour showed me around the campus. Someone else kindly took me to dinner and gave me the low down on electives. Everyone is generally very keen to be helpful and friendly. I’m not saying that London Business School is not a friendly place – in fact it is a very friendly place and the people are very helpful. All I’m saying is that ISB is marginally friendlier. This is my first impression.

Now as I finish setting the alarm and plugging in the mosquito repellent, I look forward to another day of lectures, PPTs and meeting great people. Oh and checking out the fabulous pool.

Second stage application deadline for Full-time MBA beginning in August 2010

Posted by Adcoms on 22 December 2009

If you are considering applying for the autumn 2010 intake, the Stage 2 application deadline is Wednesday 6 January 2010 at 17.00 (UK time).  Please give yourself plenty of time to submit your application and try not to leave it to the last minute. In the hour or so before the deadline the server is extremely busy. Stage 2 candidates will receive notification of whether they have been selected for interview via email on 09 February, and Stage 2 interviewed candidates will receive their final admission decision on 25 March.

If you experience any difficulties in submitting your application please follow the Help links within the online application form, or contact our Admissions Office directly at apply.mba@london.edu or telephone  +44 (0)20 7000 7525         

Winter closure dates

Please note the MBA Admissions Office will be closed from 17.00 on Tuesday 23 December until 09.00 on Monday 04 January. 

Common applications questions

Q. Do you require original copies of my transcripts?

Yes, but not yet. We only require copies of your academic transcripts at this application stage. If these documents are not in English then you should provide a translation. If you are extended an offer we will require an official paper transcript and a certified or notarised English translation if not in English. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to retract an offer of admission already made if there is any discrepancy between the transcript copy and the original.

We do not require transcripts for courses that did not contribute to a degree.

We prefer applicants to submit transcripts online. Full instructions can be found within the application form. 

Q. Can you confirm receipt of my GMAT/English test score or other supplementary information?

Please do not contact the Admissions Office for confirmation that your references, university transcripts, GMAT or English test scores have arrived.  We receive hundreds if not thousands of items of post during the run up to the application deadline and to confirm the receipt of these would dramatically slow the admission and reviewing process for all candidates. Once all of the information has been opened and collated, should an application be missing any documents the candidate will be contacted by the Admissions team. 

If you are curious as to the status of your references, this can be checked by logging into your online application account and viewing the Referee Status.

Q. My references / transcripts have been delayed and will not arrive until after the deadline. Will you still accept my application in this stage?

If you submit your application by the Stage 2 deadline, we will accept supplementary materials that arrive during the week following this deadline.  If an item is delayed by more than 1 week your application may be moved into the following Stage so that it can be reviewed with using the full information, but you will be contacted beforehand if this is the case. If you do not hear from the Admissions team you should assume that your application is proceeding in Stage 2.

Wishing you a happy 2010 and the best of luck for your application. 

Interested in submitting an application in Stage Two? Join us for an online chat with members of the admissions team.

Posted by Adcoms on 21 December 2009

If you are planning to apply in Stage Two (deadline: 06 January 2010) then today (Monday 21 December) we’re giving you the opportunity to put your questions to members of the admissions team. Find out all you need to know about transcripts, GMAT scores and references from the comfort of your desk during our online chat.

Event details:
•    Date: Monday 21 December
•    Time: 16.00 GMT – 17.00 GMT
•    Register: http://www.careernomics.com/prs.php?s=MB4b2670db68283c

Just another day in paradise

Posted by Alex on 13 December 2009

The term is now officially over for MBA2011 class and I have just finished my Economics home-exam. I can say with full confidence that it was a life changing period from the very first second. The challenge is to realise what's happening to you. In those four months, I feel that so much has happened. I live in a new country, met lots and lots of different/smart/driven/fun people, dream whole new different dreams (on the professional level of-course ;)), learnt new things (especially for career switchers like myself), eat different food and even wear new clothes once in a while - the locals call it a suit???!!

I was thinking of a way to pass to the readers of this blog the intensity of the programme and to reflect the eye opening experiences I've been through. So I decided to post my calendar for November 2009:

November 2009
It was a really crazy month... In case you ask what have I done in between the meetings scheduled above, I have an good answer: homework, homework, homework, exams preparations, CV rerere-write and job research. 

What's next? Milk-round. This is that happy time of the year when first year MBAs officially start applying for summer internships. Good luck everyone! :)

Santa at LBS

Posted by Luiz on 11 December 2009

Last Saturday I felt a very special feeling for being part of this unique group of people that you find at LBS. And if I had to coin a term for LBS it would be: "Done well, done with style".

Imagine this: 460 LBS students dressed as Santa taking the tube and walking through Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus while chanting carols and taking pictures with kids and tourists. Yes, it all happened after the last exam for the term (for those who waived accounting), as we celebrated the end of the term. And since this was a celebration, stops along the way included two nightclubs.

Kudos to the students who organized this event and raised over £5,000 , which will be donated to an organization that supports orphans, homeless and abandoned children.


New Picture
 New Picture (1)
New Picture (3)
New Picture (4)


The beauty of Sundowners

Posted by Kimmi on 15 November 2009

Oh, sundowners.  How I love thee.  In case you are wondering what Sundowners refers to, it is essentially a standing party of sorts that takes place at LBS every Thursday between 6-830pm.  A group of lovely volunteers from the Senior MBA class serves free (yes, free) wine, champagne, and beer to all LBS students.  It's marvelous.  Given that most students dont have class on Fridays, Sundowners provides the perfect opportunity to close out the week and kickoff the weekend.  My favorite part about Sundowners is the many conversations I hear transpiring - from one extreme to the other.  Here's a select sampling of what I can recall from this Thursday (names disguised, and statements paraphrased):

Conversation 1

Student 1: Flip cup rocks.

Student 2: What is flip cup?

Student 1: Oh, man you don't know what flip cup is?  You are missing out!

Student 1: So what is it?

Student 2: Only the best thing the Americans ever invented.

Moral: Try new things.


Conversation 2

Student 1: I'm flying to New York this weekend to close my deal.

Student 2: That's great, so you sold your business?

Student 1: Yes, just finalizing details.  Got more than I even expected. Ready to start my next venture this summer through Entrepreneurship Summer School. Looking for partners actually.

Student 1: I'm in.

Moral: Don't shy away from the unplanned / unexpected.


Conversation 3:

Student 1: I miss X (some food chain in the US). I want to become one of their franchise owners and expand operations to the East Coast of the US.

Student 2: You know I know the owner?  

Student 1: You're bull*itting me.

Student 2: No, I am serious. My Dad and the owner met in Asia;  I have known the owner for ages.  I can introduce you.

Student 1: Yes, please.  Unreal.  I'm so glad I came to Sundowners.

Moral: Go to Sundowners!


Friday 6 November, Stage 1 interview decision

Posted by Adcoms on 05 November 2009

Thank you for all the applications we received at Stage 1 for the full time MBA class of 2012.  The Admissions Team have been busy reading your applications over the last month and if you have submitted an application, you can expect to receive your decision by the close of business on Friday 6.

All applicants will receive an admissions decision by e-mail.

Good luck!

The MBA Recruitment and Admissions Team