*warning, if you're an MBA2010, this will spoil whatever it is that I'll say during Orientation. You can stop reading now and read it after Wednesday if you want to be surprised.*
So last year I wrote this post on what advice I would give the incoming class, and since I've been asked to be part of the alumni panel at MBA2010 Orientation this week, I thought it prudent to check out what I'd written last year. And you know what? It's good stuff, which I know is tooting my own horn (although most of the advice comes from a group of people, not just me). But useful. So I'll copy the whole thing down here again, as much as a reminder to myself about what I want to say at Orientation as advice for the incoming class.
From last year's post (original here):
* Remember what you came here to do. I
wrote down what I thought I wanted to get out of my time at LBS, and
promised I'd try and fit as many things as I could in, and would only
do things that I'd love doing and got excited about. It is easy getting
sidetracked with everything that's going on, and that goes in
particular for jobs. I've been to Milkround presentations where I had
no business going to, just because I felt I should go to them. Just
because everyone else jumps into the river, doesn't mean you have to
also. Or something like this. You get my drift.
* Put learning before grades.
LBS is a grade-non-disclosure school which means no one except for you
will ever see your grades. Take advantage of this. Stretch yourself. I
took electives which I otherwise never would have taken. An internship
that was unpaid but was invaluable in figuring out what I wanted to do
next. Learning sometimes doesn't correlate with grades (and good
internships don't always correlate with earning lots of money), some of
my classes where I got the worst grades I learned the most from.
Always, always put learning before grades.
* Give back. I
believe in 'what goes around, comes around'; if you can help someone
else, do. It's good karma. If you are less altruistically inclined,
remember this: it will come back to you in spades, but not in ways you
can imagine now. If you trip someone up, they will remember and who
knows, they might just give a negative recommendation to their friends
who works for company X that you are just dying to work for.
I have since thought of a few more:
* Have fun and lighten up a
little. Life's not that serious. Neither is an MBA. Work hard, but also
leave plenty of time to enjoy the good things in life
* Go outside
your comfort zone in terms of friends. If you come to LBS, there will
be around 60 other nationalities with you. And people from professional
backgrounds you had no idea even existed. Don't stick with what you
know. Or who you know. Venture out, get to know different cultures and
I asked a few of my fellow alumni, and they came up with this (thanks to H, M and J and yes, the list is censored a bit):
* The best stuff happens outside of class
* If you have never lived in England before, read Kate Fox's Watching the English. It will make life a lot easier
* If you are single, this is probably the last chance you will have to meet large numbers of people of the opposite sex. [Natasja's edit: especially if you're female I would think, the male/female ratio is 75/25]
Only nerds, gifted individuals and private equity wannabes want to be
on dean's list. Nobody likes a wannabe. Everyone loves a nerd.
* Decide on your grading philosophy today.
* Try to focus on learning. Not grades. Learn to build your intuition, not memorize formulas.
Don't stare at the female professors. They will notice and they will
remember (Natasja's edit: huh? Ehm. I don't personally have any
experience with this, but will take my friend's word for this)
* There are good cheap eats in London. You just have to find them. Asking helps.
* There is life beyond Marylebone Road (aka the Bubble). Not just at night and in clubs. Explore.
* Get involved in clubs. This extends your network and allows you to apply the skills you are learning.
Accept that the only way to make lots of money is to have no life.
Work-life balance mean fine tuning budget/expenditure balance.
* London is the world's most expensive city. Accept it now and stop whinging about it.
Understand that this is an opportunity to learn about yourself and
consider your next steps. you have another forty working years after
graduation to work. Don't fill your first year with too many electives
as you will change your mind after your summer internship in any case.
This is not your home and yes it is overcast here most the time – we
all already know that, you're not telling us anything we don't know
yet. Take advantage of the free museums, concerts, cheap arts and drama."
Oh, and if you're going to London Business School (must remember to be on brand and not say LBS all the time), you'll be seeing loads of this: