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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

Young Enterprise Volunteer Day

Posted by Pak on 03 October 2008

Today I have taken part in the "Young Enterprise Company Programme" volunteer work organized jointly by the School and the Young Enterprise.

Young Enterprise is a business and enterprise education charity. It works with many schools in London to building a better-motivated and enterprising workforce, at the same time making a real difference to the existing lives and future potential of young people who live and attend school in their area.

My team consists of 3 people, Vivek, Chien Wen and me. Each school has some students who would like to start a business and to sell products. Our role was really to share with them from strategy and execution perspectives, how should they go about doing that. Each team was given around 2 hours to think about what we could share with the target school, based on some background information about the schools, students and their ideas. Then we made our ways to the assigned schools.

My team went to the Maria Fidelis Convent School. Waiting for us were 14 smart and motivated 16-17 years old teenagers (oh my...feel I am so OLD now). We had a very interactive session with them, have them speak up their ideas, shared with them perspectives on formulation of ideas, strategy, organisation structure and skill maps. We even provided them some templates for their subsequent planning and execution.

What surprised me the most was that they were able to come up with ideas on what companies need to consider when thinking of selling a new product (market size, marketing, pricing, costing, customer segments...etc). I think they just need guidance along the way to ensure they are on track and implement what they have thought about.

This is the first time I participated at such program and we would like to arrange with the school/ Young Enterprise to have regular sessions with the students so to follow through with their progress.

Though I have 6 deadlines on next Monday, spending my only free school day of the week is definitely worth it!

2% of credits finished! (The first week is over)...

Posted by Nick on 07 September 2008

Well, the first week of my London Business School MBA is over.  We are finished with Understanding General Management (someone in the class calculated that that means we are finished with 2% of our total credits) and I will soon be finished with Business Statistics.  I really wish I had opted out of statistics (or sadistics as my Grandfather called it from his days at Wharton) because, though things are worded in the form of business problems, once you distill out the data, the stuff we are learning is very basic for anyone who has studied engineering.  I suppose the only thing I am getting out of the class are some new tricks on Excel which I didn't know about; new tricks that I am sure will come in great handy over the next few years. Nick_on_tube_2

When not in class, I've been spending time with my classmates.  Activities have included drinking at The Windsor, drinking at The Volunteer, drinking at The Hobgoblin, drinking at the school's own MBAr, or going down to Picadilly Circus to go... you guessed it... drinking.  Again, keeping in mind that in the MBA student world, drinking together is an important part of the course and is thus referred to as networking.

My first class, Understanding General Management, was quite interesting.  The course was only a week long because it followed the block format which some classes are offered in here.  Basically, by taking a class from 9am-5pm, we can finish the whole class in as little as 3 days.  This of course wouldn't work (I don't think) for something like Finance 2, but for a course like UGM, its just fine. We started UGM with a case study on Honda.  In the b-school world, its probably once of most famous of all cases.  We were assigned to read 'Honda (A)' which paints a very rosy picture of how Sochiro Honda and his cohort Takeo Fujisawa conquered the American motorcycle market in the mid-1970's.  By the time class discussions began, most of us ignorant students were of the mindset that Honda was a 'superman' in terms.  They had entered the US marketplace with such skill, foresight, and wisdom that clearly, as we are all aspiring future managers, we should emulated their overall strategy. After the discussion died down a little, the Honda (B) case study was handed out to us and we were given the chance to read it.  Boy, did it paint a different picture of Honda.  Wisdom was replaced with recklessness, strategy was replaced with shear luck.  Most of the class enjoyed this image of Honda much more; it painted the founders of the company as men; men with flaws, and in a sense showed us that regular people can accomplish great things.  Another purpose of the dual-case study was to teach us that we should not always believe everything we read in case studies; the bias or intention of the author determines how the final article portrays a company, not reality.  In truth, I expect that the read Honda and Fujisawa lay somewhere between Honda (A) and Honda (B), but I guess we'll never know.

Airline_simulation_winners_2During the course, we also studying Apple vs. IBM, American Express, People Express (a discount airline that went bankrupt in the '80s), and the Body Shop.  The People Express day was probably the most interesting.  We broke out into our study groups to run an Airline Management Simulation program on the computer.  Each team controlled general management matrices such as % revenues to spend on marketing, number of new hires, etc. and the aim was to get the highest stock price after 9 years of operation.  After our first try, we were allowed to sit and reformulate our strategy.  In the end, the winning team received a magnum of champagne, which was promptly imbibed in class.  See, us MBA students even network during classes. Well, that's it for now.  I have more drinking networking to go and do.  Haha, actually no, I'm kidding... its only 10 in the morning.  I have to go and finish writing up my study group's recommendations for a fictional Chinese food restaurant called Red Dragon.  For Business Statistics we had to advise the restaurant on a policy to offer a 10 pound (still can't figure out how to type pounds sterling on my US keyboard) certificate to customers in a 10 mile radius when their orders were late, and what time limit to place on that guarantee.  Actually a pretty fun exercise, so I guess I am getting something out of Sadistics Statistics after all.

Pre-MBA socialising

Posted by Vipul on 06 September 2008

Just a quick note on the social activities I was involved in within the London Business School community before starting the term.

Early April 2008, I posted a note on the discussion forum inside the portal. The title was "Are you in the Southern Hemisphere?". I got many responses from people in South America. I was a little disappointed by the lack of responses from Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Anyway, the point is, I was traveling to South America and NZ in June and wanted to meet fellow admits. This way, I got in touch with a whole bunch of stellar people!

Late April 2008, Al Danks (an Alumnus) organized a dinner for the London MBA community in Melbourne. It was a great way to meet 2 of my fellow admits from Melbourne: Pranav and Richard, and at the same time socialize with the Alumni community.

Mid May 2008, At the recommendation of Al Danks, we (Pranav, Richard and I) went to a talk by Dr. Lynda Gratton (http://www.lyndagratton.com/) on her thought-provoking new book "Hotspots". The main idea is that organizations tend to have areas (or hotspots) where creativity blooms. Have a look at her website! Met many other Alumni and industry representatives there.

Early June 2008, Juan Antonio, Juan Pablo and Adolfo (All MBA 2010 students from Peru) bought me the best pisco sours in Lima! Then we went to a concert by a Peruvian fusion band. All-in-all it was an interesting, pisco filled night. Juan Antonio still insists on reminding me of how much I drank!

Late June 2008, Luis (MBA 2010 from Chile) picked me up from Santiago airport and drove me to his family house in Viña del Mar (not to be confused with Valparaiso!). I sampled Carménère - a very smooth wine produced largely in Chile (originally from France) and Abalone (called 'Loco' in Spanish) - an incredibly tasty sea snail which was, until recently, banned in Chile. Then we hit the casino and stumbled home at 4AM. Luis was nice enough to let me displace him from his room.

Next Day, Sebastian (another MBA 2010) met me in Santiago and gave me the grand tour of the city. We capped the evening with fantastic pizza and wine in Las Condes. Few days later, Sebastian took me to a trendy night spot, which served $5 martinis!!! Needless to say, I stumbled back to the hotel pretty late at night.

Just before the start of term, there was the Flat Hunters' Pub crawl! The funnest event this side of Rio! And it actually works - I found both my flatmates there. Check out the website: http://londonpubcrawl.blogspot.com/

D-Day -1

Posted by Charlotte on 26 August 2008

I've had to go into hibernation this weekend in order to recover from the Flathunters' Pubcrawl in time for tomorrow; I had actually developed jet-lag from all of our efforts to prove that the whole of London does not shut down at 11pm. It's been a lot of fun and a great chance to get to know people but I suppose we're just like any regular group of students, if slightly (barely) more mature.
The group is great. Still resolutely international. Not as many consultants and bankers as I necessarily expected - a good show of 'industry' too. Everyone clearly has an ability to have fun but you can also see that behind it all people have put a lot into being here and will be extremely buckled down and focused as of tomorrow. I have a feeling it's going to be an inspiring atmosphere.
Anyway, I think I'm nearly ready. I've filled in all the forms, joined the gym, got my laptop working at school and stocked up the fridge. And I've written farewell emails to all of my friends. We got this email from the Admissions team "...you should expect to be on campus from 8.30 to 17.30 from Monday to Friday for the whole of September. Needless to say, the courses you are taking will require some study out of the classroom so you should expect to be pretty busy during this time with little time for any non-MBA related activites!” (their exclamation mark). Sounds like we're signing our lives away!

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.

Summer Ball rocks to No Donuts for Hilda

Posted by Adcoms on 08 July 2008

The line-up might change every year, as may the playlist, but one thing that doesn't change is the presence of the London Business School Band - No Donuts for Hilda - at all the major social events in the calendar. Whether it's the MBA Tournament in Paris, MBA Admits Weekend, a Thursday night in Sundowners or the Summer and Winter Ball, you'll always find them playing to a packed house of students, staff and faculty.

So, we thought it was time they got a mention on this blog. Here they are playing at last Saturday night's Summer Ball, the traditional end of year party. And if you watch this and want to hear more, you can find extra clips on their You Tube site at http://www.youtube.com/user/LBSBAND

Mountain Biking Around London

Posted by Martha on 25 May 2008

Yesterday I took a 4-hr mountain biking course for beginners with Surrey Hills. The place is a two-hour drive away though only fifty miles from St. John's Wood. There are bikes and relevant gear (helmet, gloves and water bottle) for rent thus it seemed all quite easy. I got no pictures but promise the forest was beautiful and the trails challenging. I learnt a few basic maneuvers (e.g. moving along the bike, braking, corners) which I tried to set in practice unsuccessfully, evidenced by my biggest fall ever. Fortunately I came out in a reasonable shape though not spotless. I strongly recommend the experience but definitely upon practice in easier terrain and preferably on your own bike.

Some other MBAT notes

Posted by Martha on 15 May 2008

Mbat_2008_472I should also add a few lines on my MBAT experience. Awesome!

I was part of the x-country race in which twelve of us ran seven kilometres across hills and mud around the HEC campus. I was also the captain of track & field events: 100, 400, and 1,500 meters; long jump; shot put and relay. In both: x-country and track & field, London Business School came first.

Indeed, there were some very skilled people out there, for example: Christian Wentzel got medals in the 100-meter race, relay, long jump and shot put, while Karen Milligan came second in x-country and first in the 1,500-meter race. People like Peter Biskup also did a great job putting the teams together and coordinating the events on the day.

It is by far one of the best events of my MBA experience and strongly encourage you all to be an active part of it in any way you can.

Bringing home the gold

Posted by Melanie on 14 May 2008

An LBS three-peat it was at MBAT this year - our annual European MBA "Olympics"

For me, the experience was not quite what I had expected it to be. The nine hour bus ride over wasn't as long as I had dreaded. With stops before the border crossing (and almost leaving a couple people behind), a train container ride under the channel, some inter-bus activity (to be left unnamed), and lots of laughs.

The first night there, the teams all danced to the tunes of No Donuts for Hilda, our official band. I turned in early tBoozbuso make sure to rest up for the next day's activities. Spent the morning watching the badmitton tournement, along with the basketball team (kick another school's @ss), and the rock climbing team scaling up the wall of the gym. Around 11, I headed over to the lake, where the football, tennis and rugby games were happening. Also where our big red Booz(e) bus was parked.

The women's football started playing our first game at 11:30 - two beautiful goals by the unstoppable strikers - our team captain, and our macroeconomics professor :)  A bit after half-time, I subbed in for who usually is my defense partner. Less than two minutes into the game, I found myself on the floor, having attempted to take on the opposition, holding onto a very sorely sprained left knee. That was it, I was out of the games, and out of the whole weekend's competitions.

Heartbreaking to say the least. All those Saturday morning football trainings. All those 50 hours of salsa preparation. But after coming to terms with it, I realized things could've been worse and I should enjoy the good weather and the relaxation of being a spectator. I could even be one of the judges for the salsa competition.   

SalsateamLuckily, one of the salsaros' girlfriend was a pro dancer, and learned in 4 hours what we learned in 4 weeks. No one could even tell she was the sub. And our team brought home the bronze! Tough competition, I'd say. I'm happy to see that the team did their best show ever.

FootballprepAnd the Women's football team? The next games, they finished 9-0 and 6-0. 5-1 in the semi-finals. And 3-0 in the finals on Sunday! They brought home the gold!  And so did the men's football team too!! 

Though I didn't get to participate as much as I had anticipated, I know I have lots to look forward to next year. With Apples (my awesomest study group mate) and Stella (a fellow Texan) as the new Student Association sports reps, we're bound to have an even better time!

Beautiful European Places

Posted by Martha on 01 May 2008

2008_april_europe_800_copy 2008_april_europe_498_copyAfter twelve weeks of hard work, I decided to take a break in Nice, Monte-Carlo and Luzerne. These places are so beautiful. For months I limited my weekends to Amsterdam and London and only by accident I ended up in Southern Europe, from where I moved to Switzerland by mere luck. I liked Switzerland and Monaco the most. Luzerne is so small and authentic, and with places like Mount Pilatus (2,132 meters high). Monte-Carlo is charming and just beautiful, and only a few minutes from Nice. This time I limited my travel to Europe because I had to be back in London for my last school term. Yet, there are many others who are either already working, or taking a long time off to do more serious travelling around Asia or South America. Indeed, our flexible MBA programme has given us a broad range of options to develop and enjoy.

Duke Duke Duke!!!!!

Posted by Stuart on 22 April 2008

Somewhere in a land far far away, a team of brave warriors came together to take on the biggest challenge of them all.....the 2008 MBA World Rugby Championships.

These warriors landing on foreign shores, training hard and training well in order to achieve what had for so long eluded them - a place in the grand final of the World Champs.

Following an intense period of training both on and off the pitch, the LBS Rugby Football Club fielded two extremely capable and prepared teams for the 2 day event hosted by Duke University in Danville. Given our performance from the previous year, we started from a medium position in the seedings, with both teams pitched against competent opponents.

Both the Red (Warrior) Team and the Blue Team fought hard through terrible weather conditions in their initial matches, successfully securing positions in the quarter final and knocking out the Harvard 'B' Team, an important step in reclaiming the club position following the HBS dominance at the previous London tournament. Due to the fantastic playing skills and points accumulation, LBS 'A' (Blue Team) managed to finish top on the first day, and was seeded in the number one spot going forward to the final day activities.

The final day was a question of survival, with many members of the Red and Blue team broken and new recruits actively sought for some of the most prestigious positions on the field. These brave new warriors fought with verve and vigour, taking with them the team spirit into battle and successfully suppressing formidable opponents including Wharton 'A' who had already assumed a position in the final, only to be thrashed by the more capable and passionate LBS Blue Team.

Despite their dominance at the London tournament, HBS were nowhere to be seen in the final and an all-European showdown ensued with London pitched against the 2007 winners, UCD Smurfit in what was to be an epic battle. Running bravely through the mud the LBS warriors fought hard against a team of younger, fitter and well drilled opponents. Although at the final whistle the score-line reflected a Smurfit victory, no-one watching the match or leaving the field could be in any doubt as to the passion and thirst for the game shown by the LBS RFC.

The female RFC also did astonishingly well, almost bringing home the crown but unfortunately pipped at the post by North American teams who had a legacy of success and a much stronger level of experience.

The first final in ten years and a fantastic positioning of all teams in the final 16 is something to be extremely proud of. If you are going to join ANY of the clubs next year, then make sure it is the RFC. A brand of brothers (and sisters) who will go out of their way to support each other, battle for each other and show the true spirit of LBS...friends for life and without doubt the best network there is in any business school bar none.

Warriors Unite!!



LBS Men's Rugby Club


Milton Keynes Half-Marathon

Posted by Martha on 09 March 2008

Dsc01536_v2 Dsc01541_v2Dsc00336_4 A week ago, five of us travelled to Milton Keynes for a half-marathon. Steve McCurry rented a black Golf at Streetcar, and drove us there and back. The race route was hilly and with a few narrow paths but enjoyable. By chance, we ran into Nely Villegas, a Mexican studying at UCL and attending Entrepreneurship at London Business School. The six of us - all with different fitness levels, proudly made it in under two hours (and a few minutes). It is the first time I am in a race with friends and I really liked it. Karen kept smiling throughout the race and pushing me beyond my speed boundaries. Nely and I will likely run Paris marathon together next April and that will be awesome!

The Belle of the Winter Ball

Posted by Matthew on 05 March 2008

So, I really should attend more social events here. There are quite a few of them. I have been going to about 50% of things. I mean, what can I say, putting up a 150-word blog once a month can be a full-time job. Anyways, I did go to the Winter Ball. And it was a lot of fun. The theme was James Bond and Casino Royale, and since I have had martinis in the past, I considered myself qualified to go. Everyone was dressed up and they had a poker tournament (one item of note is that in the actual book, they played baccarat and not poker). It was a great time. The thing is... great times like these require selfless people who are willing to put in a lot of work to plan -- to effectively receive nothing in return. Yes, I do work for LBS by posting blogs, but I get the line on the CV, the fan club, and job offers. For planning something that will adequately entertain over 300 people with live music, food, and drinks, somebody must put in a lot of work. For our class, that person is Hilary. She put in a lot of time to make sure that everything turned out perfectly. She also happens to be in my stream, and she consistently plans social events for our stream that are always fun. So much so that even I started showing up. So, if you are a prospective 2010 or beyond, you might want to think about what you can do to make your class as fun as possible. Maybe you can be the next Hilary.


1) I will be going to the annual Japan Trip in 3 weeks. I am very excited. Take full advantage of these wonderful trips when you are here.

2) I was asked by the Development Team to write a letter to Alumni panhandling for donations to help fuel the rock and roll lifestyle. I felt that it was about time to expand in to the print medium. I imagine that what comes next is global domination (from the Rupert Murdoch Guide to Life)

3) In May, there is a huge tournament called the MBAT, where numerous business schools compete in sporting events. It sounds like a lot of fun, but it will cost over 400 Pounds to go. I am considering either auctioning off my kidney or my body (whichever gets more money).