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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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The end of the second autumn term

Posted by Martha on 20 December 2007

2007_dec_familia_y_marthita My second autumn term at London Business School ended a couple of weeks ago. I am now in Mexico, enjoying a great life! (see my sisters and mom in picture)

Last term, I invested most of my time in activities related to the Consulting Club, lectures and travelling. There was some running and even some learning about opportunities in Private Equity and Venture Capital (surprisingly, the job search never ends)

My experience as head of training for the Executive Committee of the Consulting Club was really worth it. The club is really demanding, being the biggest club on campus, and is also a great opportunity to help and learn. Last term only, we delivered over 670x30-minute 'crack-a-case' training sessions and improved the quality of trainers by recruiting more experienced 2nd-year students to help out. This is a considerable improvement over last year's figures. I am really proud of this

My electives were Project Management, Analysis of Marketing and Decision Making, and Thinking Strategically. The latter, delivered by Jean-Pierre Benoit (one of the best professors at school) became one of my favorite lectures in the MBA programme

I continue to appreciate living in London, able to travel to other European countries so easily and even enjoy such a dramatic weather. Last term, my mother and aunt came to visit and we went around France, Spain and Netherlands. Again, a great time

The good habit of long-runs over the weekends has come back as we prepare for Paris Marathon in April 6. I am so excited and hoping I do better this year

Finally, the never-ending job search might actually have ended, difficult to tell. There are some untapped opportunities I cannot neglect and must try

A Mexican in the Middle East

Posted by Martha on 14 September 2007

Aug_20_21004Places: I work in Abu Dhabi from Monday to Thursday evening. The rest of the time I work and enjoy my stay in Dubai. The trip between the two cities takes an average of ninety minutes. Note that the time could be dramatically reduced by those who drive at 160 kph, which is a pretty normal speed in UAE.

People: Mostly passionate Lebanese who travel back home almost every weekend. Lucky them! There are also many others who come from Germany, UK and other interesting Middle Eastern places.

Aaron Deste, former COO at Schlumberger and currently based in London, is my job manager. I am happy and lucky to have him as our shared background makes me feel 'at home'. Aaron is smart, practical and just 'cool' about everything.

My official mentor is Ibrahim El-Hussein, leader of the Energy Practice in Middle East. He is obviously bright and very supportive.

Chady Zein (see picture) is my junior mentor, a gentleman from Lebanon, who with only a year in the firm appears to me incredibly competent. Chady has done a great job getting me up to speed and leading by example. He is the source of my inspiration.

Hotels: I tried a few and decided that the Grosvenor House is the way to go. Rooms and suites are of a high standard, service could not be better and, food and gym are really good.

Running: Steady but limited to a few kilometers per week. I am afraid food and drinks have outpaced burnt calories and will need to get back to normal very soon.

Life: Simply great. Tonight I am meeting Nivi and Neville, two current classmates, for drinks at the Budda Bar, also in the hotel. I am expecting it to be great!

New bloggers, welcome to the best business school in the world!

Posted by Martha on 14 September 2007

I am moved by reading the posts of the new bloggers. Welcome to London Business School!

I can't believe time went by so quickly. A tiny Mexican already a second-year MBA. I am looking forward to being back on campus after two 8-week internships. My experience this summer was hilarious but school awaits. I will be there soon to meet all these new 'younger' people who are like me, eager to learn, be and do better.

See you all very soon.

Cool Dubai

Posted by Martha on 18 August 2007

Dubai_aug_07_11645C is more tolerable than I thought. In fact, the weather has been really cool by desert standards: only between 40 and 45C.

I arrived to Booz Allen Hamilton Dubai two weeks ago and immediately joined an oil & gas project. In spite of six years of oil & gas experience, I am learning a lot about the industry and the consulting world. I am using my experience and business school tools on top of everything I am learning here. At the moment, my team is out of town but we will meet in Abu Dhabi next week for what I hope will be intense teamwork and thought leadership.

I am excited about everything. There are lots of people with different nationalities working on different projects. It feels diverse and busy. Projects are big, interesting and with significant impact on the region's development. The office is huge, new and with lots of heal thy and non-healthy food.

Dubai is better than I could remember. Tall building rising across the sandy landscape and ever more great places to shop, eat and look around. Did I mention night-life?

Rewarding experience at BP Solar this summer

Posted by Martha on 27 July 2007

Today is the end of my seventh week at BP Solar. My experience was rewarding and worth it.

I was recruited, together with three other London Business School colleagues, to become a Helios Summer Intern. BP's Global MBA Program aims to recruit experienced professionals with an interest in a long-term career at BP and with the potential to become the future top leaders of the organization. My experience has been good for the following reasons:

I have met great people. Brooks Preston, the Global Business Development Manager for BP Solar, who was a great coach. Helios fellows like Carlos Reyes who already work full-time at BP and gave me great insight into the group and career as a whole. And, intense personalities like Deb Grubbe, Vice-president of Safety at BP, to whom I was really pleased to talk specially due to my passion for Safety.

I have learned a lot about the business, BP and myself. I developed self-awareness at a steep rate. My mind was more mature, or at least more ready. A safe environment and transparent communication with Brooks contributed too.

Finally, my project was particularly challenging in different ways and very material. I am pleased with the results and proud of what we accomplished. I am so glad I came to BP this summer.

Next week is the final week of my internship. On Thursday, twelve of us will present our achievements in front of a panel. We will have both technical and competencies-based interviews. I will do my best; wish me luck.

London Business School Sailing Team Victorious Again!

Posted by Martha on 27 July 2007

Londonbusinessschool_crew_victory_c Londonbusinessschool_spinnaker Our sailors have scored another big victory!  This past weekend in Portsmouth, London Business School took the grand prize at the International Business Schools Regatta (IBSR), hosted by Cranfield School of Management. Racing over two very intense days in a fleet of 21 yachts, the student team scored a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 1st place, in the four races.  The competition was stiff and despite a strong performance on the opening day, any one of the top four yachts could have won the regatta by winning the final race.  Especially close was the London Business School Alumni crew, who pipped Durham and Smurfit (Dublin) for 2nd place overall! This is the first time that London Business School has won the IBSR.

Hot on the heels of a student crew victory in the Athens Global MBA trophy in April, the IBSR prize firmly places London Business School as a favourite to deliver an unprecedented treble this year. In September business schools will once again race at the SDA Bocconi MBA Cup in Portofino, the final major trophy of the year. We expect to once again see the London Business School spinnaker flying proudly at the front of the fleet!

Congratulations to the student crew: Bruce Clibborn (skipper), Lottos Gutierrez, Edouard Jozan, Cristi Micu, Jose Moreno & Lucia Lopez-Rua, Richelle Twomey and Diego Echave (MBA 2009). 

Congratulations also to the alumni crew: Klaus Rasmussen (skipper), Mark Buckle, Rob Cotterill, Syn-Yee Ooi, Matteo Pozzi, David Salzman, Roland Schotte and Michele Trusolino.

See attached pictures of the student crew celebrating their victory, and click here for more pictures of the event:
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Edouard Jozan and Brendon Moss on behalf of the Sailing Club at London Business School

An evening with Benjamin Zander

Posted by Martha on 06 July 2007

Three London Business School students organised an evening with Benjamin Zander. He is full of life.

Benjamin empowered us to opt for possibility rather than resignation or anger. He suggested ways to generate "out of the box" ideas by pondering "what assumptions am I making that I don't know that I am making?".

He then told us the secret of life: it is all invented. "Who am I being that that person's eyes are not shining?". Then he explained Rule # 6: "Don't take yourself so damn seriously".

Finally, we all sang "Ode to Joy" in German. Unbelievable. He fortunately empowered us not to fear mistakes but believe them fascinating.

He played the piano, I remembered how much I enjoy classical music, he fined tuned a musician's cello style and I realised "possibility is only one sentence away".

It was a great evening. Join him if you have the opportunity. Benjamin, by the way, was just a guest speaker to the Creativity and Personal Mastery class at school.

My Summer Internship

Posted by Martha on 28 June 2007

Bp_june001_copy Almost three weeks ago, I joined BP Solar as a Helios Summer Intern. It has been both awesome and tricky. Awesome because I am finally back to work -after one and a half years-, Solar Energy is one of the fastest growing markets at the moment -therefore extremely exciting- and BP is simply a great environment to be in. Not to mention my boss, who is a really smart and cool man. His name is Brooks Preston, who holds an MBA from Stanford.

The tricky issues are the fact that I started working two weeks before the last final exam was due and the novelty of commuting. I had little sleep and did little running but survived and I am almost back to normal. This weekend in Amsterdam will fill me back with energy!

About Commuting. I commute a total of three hours every day. Yes, three hours! And, it is tiring but there is plenty of time for introspection.

Finally, prior to Business School, I held different technical and operational roles throughout my six years in Oilfield. Now I realise that the transition to where I am now -at BP-, would have been very difficult without the MBA. Therefore, I am very pleased that I decided to take two years of my life for further development and exploration of alternative career opportunities. I think it is worth it!

Our Field Trips + End of Markstrat

Posted by Martha on 27 May 2007

Almost 3 weeks ago stream B -about 70 enthusiastic students- travelled to Leipzig for our Operations Management trip to Porsche. The factory was awesome and those nights out were some of the best. Other streams are travelling to Italy next weekend while others have just been to Amsterdam.

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These are all good learning experiences that happen to be great night outs too. A highlight of the class, other than our Italian professor Andrea Masini, was the on-line Littlefield simulation. It was constructive but also fun and for some people even addictive. Needless to say, most teams did better than the "donothing" team, which shows we actually learnt something!

The end of Markstrat was quite an event for B6 -my study group-. Markstrat is a simulation that resembles a business environment in which firms compete for market share, launch products to market and aim for the highest stock price index. Teams -study groups- made decisions over several periods without really knowing the dynamics of the simulation. Just like in the real world of business, we had to make educated guesses, based on past data.

Peter Kolev, Diogo Vasconcelos, Rajat Maaker, Vivek Kohli and Andrew Bate, my study group members, beat everyone else by reaching the highest stock price index. Stories like this don't happen by chance. A lot of planning, effort, passion, individual and teamwork went into it. Well done team!

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Marthita Marathon

Posted by Martha on 27 April 2007

Difficult to believe but I made it to the finish line after 5 hours. This was my first marathon, which filled me with great excitement on the day. However, my smile only lasted about 20 miles, after which, it was really difficult to keep going. The running club and Steve -blogger-, did a great job getting me ready for the day. Other than my foot injury, it all went as planned. I am thankful to those who supported me on-line and in practice. It was a fantastic experience; I already want to do it again.

Pictures: 17 hrs before the start of the race, I went to pick my number and bought a couple of souvenirs. Minutes before the race, drinking, thoughtful. And, after...

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End of Spring, Beginning of Summer

Posted by Martha on 16 April 2007

Last term went too quickly. Summer job search was exciting, time-consuming, tough but fun.

After a couple of tests, we celebrated the end of last term with Salsa and Sangria, an annual event organized by the Spanish and Latin American clubs. We listened to some "flamenco", "Los Hombres G" and salsa, of course. We had a great time!

The break was quick and short too. Time just flies. Some people went to Japan, others to South Africa; I travelled across The Netherlands and Belgium. Bruges was awesome.

We just came back last week. Seven courses this term seems to put me under lots of pressure but I am, once again, excited by the experience. My electives are Finance 2, Strategy 2 and Mandarin - my favourite subject. We will see how it goes!

Last of all, the marathon is next Sunday. I hope my "injured" foot does not let me down.

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The Greek Party

Posted by Martha on 18 March 2007

Julie Velissaratou shortlisted a few to attend a Greek party at No. 5 Cavendish Square. Greek music, which seemed Arabic to me, was really good. We had a great time! Greeks from everywhere and non-Greeks like me danced a little, drank a little and had lots of fun.

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What did I do last week?

Posted by Martha on 17 March 2007

First of all, I sprained my ankle due to 'overuse' and have not run for days. I hope I can soon recover for the marathon in April. -Feel free to sponsor me please!-.

On Monday we had our last Decision and Risk Analysis workshop, then Mandarin in the afternoon, which was enlightening as usual. Next week we have our final Mandarin oral test. Khizar Khan and I are aiming to practice over the weekend trying not to make a fool of ourselves.

On Tuesday morning I attended breakfast with Costas Mitropoulos, founder and CEO of
Kantor, the first cosulting firm in Greece. He spoke of challenges in Eastern Europe and how he went about starting his firm. It was a very pleasant discussion.

Our major task for the week was to prepare for a Trade Show as part of our DEO (Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities) class. The objectives of the project were to discover unmet needs and develop a prototype to demonstrate our idea to challenging judges. It was hard work to get it done and fun to be there for two hours, listening to Rajat's pitching.

John Mullins, our DEO professor, did a great job preparing us for this event. He even brought the press (Rajat's favourite moment of the show) and an interesting audience of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. He is passionate about instructing and got the key learning points across really well. I enjoyed the cases and meeting the ’entrepreneurs in the cases' themselves.

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Some Winter Ball Pictures

Posted by Martha on 07 March 2007

Nicola Blue and team did a great job putting the event together, like Manish said in his last post. I cannot help adding some pictures to this web space for you to get a taste of it. It was dynamic and fun. Even Haitong, our Mandarin professor, was there. I had a great time!

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A bit more on our lectures

Posted by Martha on 23 February 2007

Feb_07_dra_lecture_5_copyDecision and Risk Analysis, delivered by Bert De Reyck, has become my favourite lecture. Bert is dynamic, friendly and fun. He is constantly testing our decisions.

Last Wednesday he challenged Aishwarya Dahanukar (from India, whose last job was Consulting for Ernst & Young in Germany) to bet for whether a tack would fall pin up or pin down. She even lost £20. Crazy!

We worked on a wine-related case and we even got to taste a bit of Freemark Abbey’s fine wine. I am truly enjoying and at the same time learning a lot from the class.

Feb_07_diogo_guinness_project_copy_1 Other than that, Diogo, Peter and I hung around school for hours tasting beer while working on our Marketing project: segmentation, targeting and positioning for Guinness.

Last of all, Steve is organizing a 20-mile run tomorrow. I will tell you whether I made it or not next week.