Useless facts about London Business School, part 2

Another phenomenon I’ve spotted in the 007-class at London Business School: on average, in week 4 (so last week) and week 5 (this week) people get their first haircuts, making the guys looking all sharp again (they seem to be mostly the guys that are getting haircuts).

Today we’ve gotten the 007 MBA facebook, so naturally a lot of time was spent looking at pictures of people we see every day. The photographers did a good job though, making everyone looking really smart (and it’s especially poignant when you think that a lot of people were wearing shorts underneath their suitjacket-shirt-tie ;-). Apparently (but this is a wild rumour, it could be wholly unsubstantiated) that this book is used to make rankings of the most desirable guys and gals…. but I suspect KV might know more about this ;-)

I escaped…

…into the normal world today, albeit for a few hours. I bought a season ticket to Rubens: The Making of an Artist at the National Gallery today and enjoyed for a few hours the company of what I think is one of the greatest painters of all time.It felt strangely alien, being in this totally different world, not at all connected with confidence intervals, NPV’s or Porter’s Five Forces. None of the usual familiar faces, just me and Peter-Paul (and the other visitors to the exhibition). And it was heaven. I love the way Rubens paints every single muscle in a body, the vivid colors he uses (love his red especially) and he is in my view the all-time winner of the number one prize in the dead-body-painting contest. The exhibition is set up to track Rubens’ skills as a painter in the first 15 years of his career and I think the Gallery did a marvelous job bringing the paintings together and showing the progress he made as an artist.
Being in this wholly unconnected world (although Rubens was also a shrewd businessman and a one-time diplomat) made me see clearer what goes on in my MBA world, and gave me some much needed perspective. It’s so easy getting caught up in this whole MBA-thing and I guess although I knew that going in, it didn’t prevent me from getting caught up in it anyway.

For reviews of the exhibition, read this article in the Times, or this one, a review in the Guardian and this one in the Guardian by Simon Schama.

Useless facts about London Business School, part 1

Facts you never wanted to know about London Business School, but that I find interesting/surprising/why the h**l didn’t anyone tell me about these before I came out?/annoying and since this is my blog, I’ve decided to write them down.

* B-school is a prime hunting ground for freebies. So far the list of freebies includes free t-shirts (three and counting), mugs (one), pens (at least 8, I lost count), food (at least 8 meals already), entertainment (talent night, sundowners once a week), alcohol (see sundowners, once a week), bags (one), photo albums (one), newspapers (Wall Street Journal daily) and magazines (Time Out Student, B-week). Would it be horrible if I said that I’d love for a company to distibute pencils instead of pens? I love writing with pencils and it’ll make you stand out from the company-crowd. And I need some more pencils. Give me some pencils!

* Certain study rooms are definitely better than other rooms, but that secret is best kept to myself, since otherwise I’ll never get a spot in them…

* Of all the places in and around campus to eat, the Biz is definitely the best place to grab something. For 4 pounds you get a hot meal, with tea/coffee and soft drinks and as much salad as you can eat. I know of one blogger that lives of these meals (and it ain’t me)…

* Although not particular for London Business School, this is something I want to mention since no one warned me about this: be aware of the post-admissions blues. Once you’re admitted, figured out where you want to go and got your finances in order, you hit a slump. Work somehow isn’t exciting knowing that you’ll leave in a couple of months, and you’re not at b-school yet. Be warned. Find something fun to do in the meantime. Sell your stuff. Go out with your friends as often as you can, since once you hit b-school you will have hardly any time left for that.

* Why is it that percentage wise more women than men are single at b-school? Is this just a London phenomenon? Or does this happen at all schools? Has it got something to do with the biological clock?

* Will there ever be a part two to this useless facts? Hmmm, dunno. Depends on whether I will think of more stuff and I can say with a 95% confidence interval that I probably will (yes, this is all meant as an elaborate diversion in order to prevent me from doing my Stats homework).

Johnny rocks!

Read the Times tonight and they had a great feature article on the new film biopic on Johnny Cash — Walk The Line (for a trailer, click here) which is currently playing at the London Film Festival and it looks fab. Sadly I can’t go and see it now, and it won’t come out til January 06 over here :-( I *LOVE* Johnny Cash’s music, in fact, my laptop is named Johnny after the Man in Black. I can’t wait til this movie comes out.

Time for a mid-term evaluation

London Business School *loves* evaluations, we fill out one after each course, some lecturers want one after each lecture and the Programma Office seems to want evals at random intervals. So, I decided to write my own evaluation of the MBA so far, based on the criteria I had before I applied to b-schools. [ranking from 1 to 5, 1 being the worst to 5 being the top]

1) International aspects of the school
Rank: 5 out of 5
This definitely scores top marks. There is no one culture that dominates the campus, and with over 50 nationalities in our class, there’s always a national, religious or cultural holiday to celebrate. I’ve learned so much about Indian customs, Peruvian drinks, Iranian food and American ways of doing things and it feels like the United Nations!

2) The curriculum & faculty
Rank: 4 out of 5
So far, so good. We’re on the core courses, and we’re covering the stuff I figured belongs to an MBA education: finance, financial accounting, strategy, managerial economics and organisational behaviour. What impresses me is that professors know what others are teaching and refer to that, and that all professors seem to be very open to suggestions for change.

3) The social life
Rank: 5 out of 5
Wow… this is awesome. There’s something on for everyone, if you like going to pubs or clubs or cities in Europe, or cities in the UK. This weekend features two Halloween parties, last weekend Diwali, weekend before that Tattoo.

4) My classmates
Rank: 5 out of 5
Wow again. Programme Office did a good job picking the people they did. I haven’t met any a**holes yet, everyone’s been helpful, nice, friendly, humourous (some more than others).

5) Help regarding my career
Rank: 5 out of 5
Again: full marks. Even though my career is going to be somewhat oddball, there are so many resources to help me figure out a) what I want to do and b) how I will get there. The CV surgeries that we’ve been offered have been very helpful and I *love* the coaching sessions.

Is there nothing negative I’ve got to say? Hmmm, there are a few things, such as assignments seeming to pop out of nowhere and all at once, some scheduling difficulties (like stats classes conflicting with Tattoo, although this got sorted out), and the cafe on campus is swamped every break, making it hard to get my tea that I so desperately need to keep going, plus their choice of sandwiches isn’t fab… but then again, the Biz restaurant has great food

One improvement I would like to suggest to the Program Office is to give courses in stress management. Everyone around me seems so stressed out, it’s beginning to scare me. And the worst is that although I’ve got a lot on my plate, I feel I’m not stressed out enough compared to all these other guys…
Al has written a great piece on the stress or no-stress phenomenon, read it here.

Yesterday saw the opening of the Rubens: A Master in the Making exhibition at the National Gallery and I’ve bought season tickets. Hopefully, I’ll have some time this weekend to go down and see it, although that might be rough as our first mid-term is up next week.

PS My heart goes out to those folks who applied R1 (deadline last Friday) and are now waiting for the interview decision, hang in there!

PS 2 Shout out to Futureguru…. please write some more, we miss you!

Signing off for today

This is the last post for today, I’m signing off. I haven’t done nearly as much as I should’ve done, or probably even could’ve done, I reckon my goals for today were a tad to ambitious. So, I’ll make myself a cuppa tea now and retire to do my financial accounting homework and then off to bed, so I’ll be fresh and ready for tomorrow. Sleep tight!

Blogging through the Sunday

Taking my cue from Guillaume who blogged his way through a day of MBA, I’m going to blog my way through this Sunday afternoon.
I’ve booked a study room for me and one of my two housemates, and the program is as follows:
* work on my CV which is due tomorrow morning at 9 am;
* work on my Managerial Economics homework for tomorrow, which involves reading, thinking and prepping a case;
* work on my Finance tutorial assignment, due tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm;
* work on my Financial Accounting assignment, due Tuesday morning at 9 am.
Since procrastination is my middle name, I’m posting links to two articles from the Guardian, one about the Frieze and one about the upcoming Rubens exhibition.
OK, on to finishing my CV… see ya later.
PS Last night’s Diwali party rocked, I had a great time and I’m still partially deaf and my legs hurt from dancing so much!

I’m going to try and write a post without mentioning

…that horrible b-word (read on to the end of this post if you insist on knowing what the b-word is) (or no, I’ll just let you guys guess).

Looking back on this week, there’s so much I want to write about, so apologies in advance that I’m sounding a bit all over the place, but I suppose that’s the way my life feels right now, I actually slept 14 hours last night, I guess I needed the rest.

Last Thursday I went to a talk with Sally Greene, who owns amongst others the Old Vic theatre (of Kevin Spacey fame amongst others), and she was fabulous! I have seldom met a person that is so themself, by lack of a better word. What I personally got out of seeing her and hearing her talk is that it’s alright to be yourself in business, which I think especially rings true for women in business. Connected to that, one of the themes at the Women in Business conference was about being a woman in business, and not emulating male behaviours. It was a good conference, but I was just to tired to get everything out of it that I could.

Today I took full advantage of living in London and went to the Frieze Art Fair and it rocked. I need to find myself a suga-daddy to be able to afford the art that I liked… My favourite artist was James Nares, I would *love* to have a painting of his on my walls!

Tonight’s the India Club Diwali party, which is one of the biggest and best on campus (where did I hear that before? See also the Tattoo entry), with food, an Indian DJ and all you can drink. And then tomorrow I really do need to start doing some serious studying…

A variety of spice

Tattoo was fabulous!!! I had such a great time. It’s meant a celebration of the diverse cultures at London Business School and it truly was. I had Israeli, Portugese, German and African food, heard a great band, saw a Latin American parade, took part in our Indian dance performance (went well) and had salsa lessons. And ended up with a tattoo (won’t say where). It was a great party, definitely one of the highlights of my time here so far. If you want to get a little taster, have a look at KV’s weblog, he’s put some great pictures on there.

We’re in our third week now, and people are starting to get really stressed (and although I’m not particulary stressed, I’m getting stressed out by the thought that maybe I should be stressed out since other people are…. weird, I know, that’s the odd way my brain works). With the truckload of individual and group assignments due, the club activities and extracurricular activities (the consulting club seems to eat a lot of time, but since I’m not actively looking to go back into mainstream consulting, I haven’t taken part in any of the activities yet) and the busy social life, it’s easy to get sucked into the whole maelstrom that is called fulltime MBA experience. However, I’m working on a few basic rules that work for me: (a) do what I like doing (which sounds easier than it is, cause I like doing lots of stuff) and not because I feel I should be doing it; an example for me is going to consulting club events, which I don’t really like but feel I should go to, and I end up not going! (b) do what will help me in building a network; one of the big advantages of being a fulltime student is that there are a whole host of activities available to help you find out more about a particular industry and build a network. Since what I want to do post-MBA is something very close to my heart, for me (a) and (b) usually

collide, making my life a bit easier.

One of the things that are going on in the London Business School community is the Women in Business Conference, which is on this coming Friday. I’m looking forward to that, and I’ll definitely report back on it. Plus, this weekend the India Club is organising a Diwali party and that should be good fun too, again, expect a report back next week.

Edit 1: There’s an event that I haven’t even talked a

bout, it completely slipped my mind, but I just opened my calendar and really want to mention it, since I’m pretty psyched about it. This Thursday, the Centre for Creative Business is organising ‘An evening with Sally Greene‘, who owns a number of theatres in London, including the Old Vic. This should be interesting!

Edit 2: I found an interesting read on creativity and innovation on Businessweek, written by a design guru of Ideo. Talking about Ideo, FastCompany also had an article by the same design guru (these guys are good at pr!), check this out.


No, I’m not so desperate that I’ve run out and got a tattoo, Tattoo is the name of the biggest and best party on the London Business School campus. And it’s on tonight! It’s a celebration of the diversity and there’ll be food from all corners of the world and alcohol from out of this world! We’re performing our Indian Dance again (sorry, I’m too lazy to look up the link, if you scroll down a bit, you’ll find me talking about it) which I’m looking forward to. For the last couple of days the campus has been transformed into party-central, and last night was the Dean’s State of the School speech, followed by a champagne reception. The more active amongst my classmates are out in Regent’s Park now, competing in the Tattoo Olympics, but I’ve decided that it was probably wiser to do some homework for next week, since I have an inkling I won’t be all that fresh and sparkly tomorrow…

Have I mentioned before how much I love being here, in London and at London Business School? I know, terribly corny thing to say and if you can’t stand corny I suggest you stop reading here, since it’s all going downhill from here.

Still reading? Alright! I love the people that I’ve met so far (and although I’ve been on the look out, I’ve yet to meet a complete and utter a**hole), the courses make my brain tingle (in awe sometimes, with joy sometimes, and some courses leave a feeling of pure desperation), I love living with my housemates and entertaining the various guests that we have coming around, I haven’t had black gunk coming out of my nose in at least a month (see one of the earliest posts on London, again, I’m too lazy today to make a link), and I’m excited about a lot of the extracurricular stuff that’s going on. Everyone makes their own MBA experience in a sense, we all take the same core courses, but beyond that, we each make our own choices based on the stuff we like doing. There is so much energy on campus, and I’m thriving. This has definitely been a good decision, going back to school!
Off to home, shower and get ready for Tattoo!

The Loo Factor

Time flies when you’re having fun. And having fun is definitely what I’m doing! Last night Jim Donald, the CEO of Starbucks, came to talk to the MBA2007 students and it was very interesting. I love the idea of business being both a way of making money and doing good and it was fascinating listening to him, although for a European, it was a very American story to listen to, lots of drama.

Yesterday afternoon we had a session on Networking, and that was very helpful. Like the guy who presented it said ‘this isn’t rocket science’, but it was good to be reminded of some things that I know I should do, but have put off til now. Plus, this workshop was an excellent opportunity to open my big mouth again… We were talking about how men seem to be more comfortable networking, and I blurted out ‘well, there is obviously the ‘loo* factor’. Men seem to be doing a lot of business in the loo’ and that has seem to struck a chord with a lot of people, judging by the amount of people that came over and talked to me about it. Maybe I should write a book on it… or do some research! What do you, readers, think? Is there a lot of business done in loos? More by men or more by women?

It’s been busy on other fronts too, courses have started to heat up, I’m starting up a new club (more about that later), I’m starting my basic Japanese classes tonight (not for credit, but out of interest) and most of the clubs are having presentations this week. I’ve signed up for the Women in Business Conference and the Media Summit, which should be interesting. Oh, nearly forgot, I’m also getting involved in the Global Social Venture Competition, not on the entrant side, but on the organising committee. It’s going to be a hot autumn! Off to Strategy class now, more to follow later.

* NB. Loo is the UK word for bathroom