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LBS (London): Calling all Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!!

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MBA so far – A story best told living it [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2016, 11:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: MBA so far – A story best told living it
There is a popular connotation in Nigeria called ‘J.J.C.’, short for ‘Jolly Just Come’, which is used to describe a newbie to a particular environment. For a country I felt instinctively attuned to, I have had so many ‘Soji Just Come’ moments in the U.K. so far, and there are still many to come.

Flying into London for school couldn’t have felt any more natural. I felt like I was back at home; home to a country where I had often traveled to make investment pitches to multiple frontier and emerging market funds in my role as Head of Nigeria Research and Lead Sub-Saharan Africa Banking Analyst at Renaissance Capital. Those trips involved many black cabs and tube runs, great meals in some of the best restaurants London has to offer and accommodation in top rated hotels in Central London.

Still basking in the euphoria of arriving London to meet proper sunshine, my first week was relaxed and I visited all my favorite spots and lived life forgetting I wasn’t swiping the corporate card anymore. Then reality dawned. Looking at my cash burn rate after just a week, I realized I had to change tact swiftly. This meant that for one who’s cooking skills were low, I needed to find a sustainable solution, quickly. Luckily, London had many affordable solutions, including some Nigerian ones! But it is in the plethora of options that I have found some of my biggest challenges and learning points settling into London.

Beyond feeding, I needed to find an apartment. I needed to figure out the most cost effective transport solution; and for such a regular question, there was surprisingly no straight forward answer. Do I get the rail card? What of the student oyster? Travel card, PAYG, off-peak, banks etc. Then came energy bills, water bills, TV bills, council tax, heating, dry cleaning etc. and the list goes on. We had not even gotten to orientation day and I was already feeling overwhelmed. But I wasn’t alone. With >90% of the MBA2018 set being international students, almost everyone had similar questions. The discovery of Slack (the chat app) kept the community alive and the discussions structured in groups.

My SJC moments have been plentiful but the often generous assistance of alumni and current students has meant that these moments have reduced. Now that my settling down phase is largely done, another phase, which brings a different kind of busy than what I have been used to, has commenced. 8:15am classes, late night tutorials and language classes, cases, assignments, career events, leadership skills trainings, PLP sessions, club interviews and events, parties, exams, stock pitches, networking etc. Indeed, one’s MBA story is probably best told while living it. Watch this space and follow my MBA journey through what has been an exciting time at London Business School!

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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3 expectations vs reality of MBA life [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2016, 13:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: 3 expectations vs reality of MBA life
First I will introduce myself as this is my first post here: my name is Bruna, I am Brazilian and guess what… I was assigned to Stream B at LBS! I got a triple B here but still don’t know if the Program Office did it on purpose.

Before starting the MBA, especially after looking at the Programme Content, I had some expectations about how my student life would be. Some were totally mistaken and I’ll tell you all about this now.

 

1.Workload and Homework
 

Expectation: I knew the MBA was going to be busy with many different activities, but somehow we can’t really believe when others advise us… You look at the school website, the core courses and the program structure and it all seems totally manageable, totally fine! After all, we all had to work more than 10 hours a day, weekends and holidays occasionally. Of course, it takes some time to adapt to a new routine, but once it is established, I was sure it was going to be smooth.

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Source: yourreactionsgifs.tumblr.com

 

Reality: Actually, there is no such thing as routine here! When you think you understood your weekly schedule, they just change everything on the next week. Thought I would never have classes at 8:15 in the morning, now I am having it for the next… well, have to check my schedule again. By the way, during the MBA you are going to say and hear this a lot! You are going to learn all about scheduling apps and methods to set up meetings. Get ready and find some space to install many apps in your mobile!

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Source: reddit.com

 

2. Corporate Finance classes
 

Expectation: I do not have a Finance background and I knew a lot of my classmates would be aiming to intern in Finance positions. This meant high-level Finance courses since the beginning, no surprise! I thought it would be very, very, very hard to follow the classes.

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Source: brunosayswhat.tumblr.com

 

Reality: I just loved the Corporate Finance classes! And I also think my whole class fell in love with our teacher Anna Pavlova, who read a Finance poem in our first class and proved we can have some fun in class (not as much as in a beach drinking piña coladas, but still…). Not that the content is easy, but it is taught in a way that everybody learns it smoothly.

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Source: giphy.com

 

 

3. Non-traditional post-MBA career opportunities
 

Expectation: My initial post-MBA goal is to continue working in Tech and Telecom and I thought it would be very hard to find opportunities for MBAs outside of the traditional Finance and Consulting industries.

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Source: simpsonsworld.com

 

Reality: Turns out that not only Finance and Consulting companies are talking about technology, but also the Tech & Media Club is one of the most active professional clubs at LBS. We seriously believe David Morris does not sleep! We get at least 2-3 career opportunities a week from him. And there are also jobs and networking opportunities coming from so many other Clubs: Industry, Net Impact, Energy, Infrastructure & Construction, Sports Business, and many regional Clubs.

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Source: unbounce.com

 

So, after all my research (I did a lot, believe me! Or look at GMAT Club and you’ll see it) before the MBA, I still had some wrong expectations. But it turns out to be really amazing and much better than I imagined! I am sure I did the right choice when I decided for LBS. I recommend you do a profound research and analyse how prepared you are before you start this journey. Then, just open your mind and dive into a new adventure.

 

Please leave any questions or comments bellow. I’ll be very happy to read and reply!

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Getting involved on campus: Planning the Healthcare Club Conference [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2016, 09:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: Getting involved on campus: Planning the Healthcare Club Conference
Two months have passed since I started my MBA – time flies! I am enjoying London, my classes, and the diverse learning environment in my stream and study group. I have also tried to get involved in extracurricular activities on campus, and one I am most excited about is the Healthcare Club.

This semester, I am working as a committee member of Healthcare Club and organizing its flagship event – Global Healthcare Conference 2016, which will be focused on “precision medicine,” a transformative treatment methodology that involves tailoring patient care based on the unique characteristics of the individual.

Being a conference organizer has been a rewarding experience so far. While I do have many other responsibilities (e.g., classes, assignments, recruiting, etc.), working on the conference has been a way for me to build many skills that I have aimed to develop. Specifically, I’m working with a team of peers from other streams and programs, getting hands-on experience organizing an event, and networking with healthcare professionals, some of whom will be the speakers at our event. For a person like me with very specific and focused professional background (I was a tax adviser before LBS – advised companies to ‘optimize’ their tax costs), this is a great opportunity to expand my points of view and refine my leadership skills.

I am also very excited about the content of our conference this year, as I am from Japan, which is one of the most aged countries in the world. We currently have 10 million people who are more than 80 years old, and I am excited to learn about how some of the developments in healthcare can help these people, both in terms of better outcomes and value.

We have assembled a diverse line-up of speakers from across the industry who can bring unique perspectives on precision medicine. The conference is sponsored by A.T. Kearney and BCG and held from1800 on 21st November at the Royal College of Physicians located in opposite side of Regent’s Park from LBS campus.

If you’re interested in attending, click the link below to purchase tickets -

https://lbs.pickevent.com/EN/HealthcareConference2016/

If you have any questions about this conference, please feel free to contact me (tedatsune.mba2018@london.edu).

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Diversity @ LBS [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2016, 10:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: Diversity @ LBS
Whenever I ask my classmates why they chose LBS, almost without fail, they’ll mention the diversity of our class. Our cohort spans a tremendous range of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations and professional backgrounds. Even in London, our Baker Street bubble stands out for its head-spinning internationalism and inclusiveness.

I am proud to be part of such an institution. Just two months into my MBA, here are some personal highlights, particularly on the LGBT+ front:

National Coming Out Day! On October 11 this year, LBS celebrated National Coming Out Day for the first time ever. NCOD is an annual, global celebration of the LGBT+ community and an opportunity to reflect on the civil rights successes of the past and the progress still to come. LBS celebrated in the most visible way possible with over 2000 rainbow stickers distributed around campus. It was tremendous to see lecture theatres, students and staff all plastered in symbols of ally-ship.

CONNECT community and mentoring! The LGBT+ community at LBS is strong and well-connected. Multiple times a year the Out in Business Club brings LBS alumni back together and it’s inspiring to hear where people have gone and the success they have achieved as out and proud professionals in the workplace. The first CONNECT event in 2016 coincided with the launch of our mentoring programme which pairs up current LGBT+ LBS students with mentors in relevant industries.

EurOUT conference! At the Out in Business Club, we are gearing up for our biggest event of the year. EurOUT 2016 (18 -20 November) is Europe’s leading LGBT business conference, attended by almost 300 B-school students and professionals. The conference is multifaceted, encompassing recruiting, community building and thought leadership on LGBT issues. This year LBS is hosting the Prime Minister of Luxembourg as well as a line-up of top LGBT business leaders. Check it out at http://www.eurout.biz/

If you’d like to hear more about LGBT+ events at LBS, or diversity on campus in general, come to one of LBS’s regular  campus information sessions.  The Out in Business Club has a booth there and we look forward to meeting you!

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Random musings… [#permalink]

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New post 12 Dec 2016, 13:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: Random musings…
I made it! We made it through what has been nothing short of an extraordinary past few months. As the saying goes – time does fly when you’re having fun. But I remember vividly, days when I was drowning under mountain high and rising to-do lists and all I could say was: one way or another, I’ll make it to term end, and here we are. I must say, that nothing can sufficiently describe to anyone, the experience of the London Business School MBA other than simply experiencing it; and so far, many of my mates will agree it’s been busier than even a full-time job!

As I type this up, it’s the night just after a marathon weekend of final exams – grueling! Many are gearing up for what will be a phenomenal week at one of LBS’s flagship December treks, in Val Thorens – the Snow Trek (FOMO). Many are setting out with friends anew to countries around Europe and elsewhere, and others heading back home to family and friends. For others, it’s the perfect time to finally explore the UK and get out of the Baker Street bubble. And for some, it will be a holiday busy with case preps, interview preparations, networking, retrospection, planning for what comes next…and reading The Goal (-_-).

I envy the MBA2019s. As an MBA Student Ambassador, it was exciting to congratulate some of those who recently received their admission offers from LBS. More exciting however, is that they will be first to explore the revamped LBS MBA offering. The option to waive the language exit requirement and tailor your core courses are some of the brilliant changes to the core MBA programme I sometimes wish were retrospective. Nevertheless, just as I found it reassuring to hear alumni say how much better the MBA is now versus when they were here, I’m glad I can already convey a similar message to the incoming class.

How do you think about impact? So, we all want to be successful but to what end? What is the essence of our success and what will its impact be? As I draw the curtains on term 1 and look forward to an exciting year ahead, it is perhaps pertinent to draw on Stephen Covey’s Habit 2 in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – Begin with the end in mind. Framing the end is often an ongoing process (and the GLAM course required us to do this) but it’s important to have it in mind as a guide for today’s actions. Excel’s Solver won’t optimize for you here (#DMDjokes).

Okay, this post is as random as the title suggests but I think it has achieved its objective nonetheless – to give an insight into the LBS MBA student experience. Thus, to you, my Japanese friends, and those gearing up for the Japan trek: ‘Meri-Kurisumasu’ and ‘Yoi otoshi o’! Sayonara!

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My random study group – American engineer, Brazilian banker, British pharmacist, Nigerian equity analyst, Indian PR consultant, Italian consultant

 

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Term 1 ends. Random musings. [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2016, 15:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: Term 1 ends. Random musings.
I survived! We made it through what has been nothing short of an extraordinary past few months. As the saying goes – time does fly when you’re having fun. But I remember vividly, days when I was drowning under mountain high and rising to-do lists and all I could say was: one way or another, I’ll make it to term end, and here we are. I must say, that nothing can sufficiently describe to anyone, the experience of the London Business School MBA other than simply experiencing it; and so far, many of my mates will agree it’s been busier than even a full-time job!

As I type this up, it’s the night just after a marathon weekend of final exams – grueling! Many are gearing up for what will be a phenomenal week at one of LBS’s flagship December treks, in Val Thorens – the Snow Trek (FOMO). Many are setting out with friends anew to countries around Europe and elsewhere, and others heading back home to family and friends. For others, it’s the perfect time to finally explore the UK and get out of the Baker Street bubble. And for some, it will be a holiday busy with case preps, interview preparations, networking, retrospection, planning for what comes next…and reading The Goal (-_-).

I envy the MBA2019s. As an MBA Student Ambassador, I was excited to congratulate some of those who recently received their admission offers from LBS. More exciting however, is that they will be first to explore the revamped LBS MBA offering. The option to waive the language exit requirement and tailor your core courses are some of the brilliant changes to the core MBA programme I sometimes wish were retrospective. Nevertheless, just as I found it reassuring to hear alumni say how much better the MBA is, now versus when they were here, I’m glad I can already convey a similar message to the incoming class.

How do you think about impact? So, we all want to be successful but to what end? What is the essence of our success and what will its impact be? As I draw the curtains on term 1 and look forward to an exciting year ahead, it is perhaps pertinent to draw on Stephen Covey’s Habit 2 in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – Begin with the end in mind. Framing the end is often an ongoing process (and the GLAM course required us to do this) but it’s important to have it in mind as a guide for today’s actions and decisions. Excel’s Solver won’t optimize for you here (#DMDjokes).

Okay, this post is as random as the title suggests but I think it has achieved its objective nonetheless – to give an insight into the LBS MBA student experience. Thus, to you, my Japanese friends, and those gearing up for the Japan trek: ‘Meri-Kurisumasu’ and ‘Yoi otoshi o’! Sayonara!

Image
My random study group – American engineer, Brazilian banker, British pharmacist, Nigerian equity analyst, Indian PR consultant, Italian consultant

 

Image
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Silicon Valley – musings from the Googleplex [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jan 2017, 06:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: Silicon Valley – musings from the Googleplex
Silicon Valley – the name has engendered legendary status in recent decades as the global hub for innovation and technology. And our week in the Valley certainly didn’t disappoint! I was very fortunate to be selected to attend the Global Immersion Field Trip based out of San Francisco and the stellar line-up of big tech companies, start-ups and venture capital firms, carefully allocated into a jam-packed schedule, kept us busy from dawn until dusk. Highlights of the trip included a presentation at Andreessen Horowitz by partner Todd Ludwack, an ex-exec of eBay. A16Z (as it is known in the industry) is a VC powerhouse based in Menlo Park, with successful exits in household brands such as Skype, Groupon and Instagram to name just a few. Ludwack shared with us frameworks with which to analyse digital platform propositions and investments (the likes of Uber and AirBnB) as well as some lessons-learned from his time at the VC house. In particular, he led an interesting discussion on first and second order effects when it comes to making investments – not only predicting outcomes as the business expands across markets but predicting secondary consequences of these changes that may have knock-on effects in new markets or sectors. Contrastingly, a small-group presentation at SoftTech VC led to fascinating insights into a firm that invests in very early stage ventures – when an entrepreneur may be armed with just a dream and a prototype – and whose expertise has led to some of the greatest edtech, platforms and wearable successes to emerge from the Bay Area (think FitBit, EventBrite and Twitter).

 

Later in the week, we had the ‘inverse experience’ through visits to several start-ups, a great opportunity to see the entrepreneurial space from a different perspective. We were treated to passionate presentations by entrepreneurs and co-founders from promising ventures such as DoubleDutch (a firm revolutionising live engagement marketing) from people that have grown a vision and personally tackled problems across the whole gamut of organisational functions.

 

Another fantastic visit included a tour and panel discussion at Pinterest. Everything you hear about working life in the Valley – the funky office space, the sushi chef slicing uramaki in the centre of the workspace, bicycles covered in flowers hanging from the ceiling, an endless mountain of muffins and cakes overflowing in open-plan kitchens filled with employees animatedly schmoozing in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops. As soon as we walked into the office, our cohort was ‘Pinterested’ – challenging staff to ping-pong and table football games in the lobby. But when we finally got down to business, the managers we met knew their business analytics backwards – from potential opportunities for growth using existing profit drivers right down to what would be trending in the coming season for middle-aged males in Tokyo.

 

Singularity University is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not really a university but a think-tank and it doesn’t really focus on one technology but rather how many different emerging technologies can be leveraged and interfaced in order to drive growth and solve global challenges. A presentation by ardent futurist Darlene Damm opened our minds to new research in areas that will transform the way we live in the coming years – artificial intelligence and machine learning, bioengineering and regenerative medicine, big data and augmented reality were just a few of the topics touched upon during our workshop. The focus at Singularity is on “exponential tech” – technologies whose adoption and development can have skyrocketing impact in all industries across all markets. A hands-on session also gave us the opportunity  to see some of these new technologies in action – from having a chat with a cognitive robot to running around with Virtual Reality goggles, fully immersed in another dimension. One of the great take-homes for me from SU was a new way of thinking about technology application. As a non-gamer I was excited to see that research was underway to use VR headsets in the provision of palliative care and pain management for burns victims and other trauma patients. SU encourages students and professionals to ask the big questions. They don’t claim to have all the answers but they promote great vision, ‘moonshot thinking’ and alternative ways to think about, apply and leverage new technologies to impact meaningful change in the world.

 

No visit to Silicon Valley would be complete without a visit to Apple HQ or the Googleplex. At Apple we had the opportunity to meet two senior product managers and following several presentations had the opportunity to ask some of life’s most pertinent questions – why did Apple choose to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7? What’s the thinking behind the TouchBar on the new Macbook Pro? Why doesn’t Apple expand its portfolio of products? These questions may seem trivial but what lies behind them is masses of market research carefully formulated into intricate strategy applied to product design. The outcome is one of the world’s most beloved brands that plans the user experience right down to the carefully-engineered iPhone box that builds a one-second anticipation when lifting the lid for the first time. As someone with a non-profit background in the health space, I was particularly excited to hear from a lead at Apple’s Accessibility team. Apple  are constantly trying to add new features or extras to their products to ensure that they are functional for all members of society.  This goes far beyond adjusting font size for the visually impaired and ranges from ‘AssistiveTouch’ head-movement-controlled touchpads for people suffering with cerebral palsy to syncing devices with hearing aids to enable better quality conversations for those with partial deafness. Thankfully many never have the need to enter Settings>General>Accessibility on our iPhones but take a look at the impressive plethora of adaptations Apple works on to ensure accessibility and quality user experience for all users regardless of capability.

The Googleplex has a mythical status in the professional world. Ball-ponds at work. Croissant buffets lining the corridors. Self-driving cars whizzing around the parking lot, darting in between parked Google Maps vehicles with their iconic rooftop cameras. All this may be true. But this is not what stood out for me at Google. Several months ago I read Schmidt and Rosenberg’s “How Google Works” – a fantastic read for anyone with a keen interest in organisational behaviour and a passion for understanding how the world’s source of knowledge operates. The take-home message from the book was that Google is all about people and the culture they foster amongst their employees. This could not have been seen more clearly than on our visit to Mountain View at the Google HQ. We had the chance to chat with several LBS alums that are working out there in a range of roles from product management to business strategy. What came across most strongly was their love for Google and the freedom they have to pursue new opportunities and ‘self-actualise’ (in Maslow OB terminology). Googlers, as they are known, strive to maintain an entrepreneurial outlook in the face of global operations; a tremendous feat. They do this by giving their employees autonomy to be creative, to innovate and to follow their passions. The result of such policies (including 20% Time – the commandment for all Googlers to spend a fifth of their time in the pursuit of innovative projects – that according to employees results in working 120% of the time!) are some world-changing products including Gmail. Much food for thought to be gleaned from our time at the Googleplex in hiring talented people and allowing their enthusiasm and self-motivation to shine.

 

Visits to Electronic Arts (the world renowned EA gaming company), the beautiful Stanford University and their Design School, Autodesk and Shop.co among others topped off an incredible week but it would be remiss not to make special mention of the LBS alum community in the Bay Area. It was fantastic for our cohort to meet the incredible populations of LBSers and our supporters based out in the San Francisco area. One of the major plugs of our school is the global network of contacts as alumni forge their international professional careers. Indebted to the school for the education, life skills and opportunities afforded to us, it is really wonderful to meet LBSers from across the professional spectrum who offer advice, guidance, time, friendship and professional support. The large networking evening was particularly lively and enjoyable and was a great opportunity to link with those in the finance, consulting, technology and start-up spaces – united by our common love and gratitude to the London Business School. A big thank you to the Admin team – in particular Kelly and Fiona – for making such a wonderful, busy and exciting trip possible!

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This time last year [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2017, 03:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: This time last year
Bumping into my LBS interviewer last week brought back fond if somewhat traumatic memories from this time last year when I was going through the MBA application process.

Now things have calmed down a little after an exciting, exhausting, formative first term, I wanted to share three quotes that recently made an impression on me, and their relevance to my application experience.

1. “Unless a leader knows where they are going, any road will take them there” – Theodore Levitt

I came across this quote in the reading for my Marketing class last week. It reminded me of how useful I found writing my application essay.

LBS has one compulsory question, similar to those at other top programs: what are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these?

The essay was one of the most time-consuming parts of the application. But it was also a rare chance to stop and question why I had gone down certain paths. For instance, it helped me articulate that I am motivated by chances to have high-level impact addressing social issues like inequality, and that this had informed decisions like moving from teaching to consulting.

It can be tempting to tell the school what you think they want to hear. True, the essay tests your ability to form a compelling narrative. But more so, it tests that you have clear career objectives and that the MBA can support these. It’s therefore a far more important tool for the applicant than for the school, given the significant investment an MBA represents.

2. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn

Business schools differ on countless dimensions, from the city to the curriculum. But above all, the people make an MBA and so it is vital to find a school with the right fit.

Most schools offer chances to engage with student life before you apply. LBS did a great job here. I visited a class on statistics. The school paired me with MBA students who provided really great advice. And I even got the chance to go to a campus talk with Lord Browne, former CEO of BP and prominent thinker on business ethics.

I personally wanted to attend a school with an international flavour and I’m excited to now be part of a cohort with 76 nationalities, six in my study group alone. My classmates range from professional cricketers to fashion designers to surgeons and our case discussions have showed me the diverse perspectives that you can approach any problem with. I also wanted a longer course with time to delve into interest areas; at LBS you can develop a concentration through your elective choices and I plan to concentrate in economics.

Whatever your goals there is a school for you – just take the time to find it!

3. “Shipping beats perfection” – Khan Academy

This quote is a development principle at Khan Academy, one of the most striking examples of a business school graduate taking practical, entrepreneurial steps to impact social change.

It reminds me of my GMAT preparations – and not only because I used Khan Academy to brush up on algebra. Looking back on my application, I could have shipped things sooner. I delayed taking the GMAT for too long and was left with a pressured few months approaching the deadline.

There are lots of moving parts in the application; it takes time to arrange referees, get transcripts, polish your CV, complete the online form, take language tests etc. So book that test date. Sort out the easy things like transcripts. And get friends to skim over your essays beforeyou think they are perfect. Whether planning to apply next round or next year, it pays to start now.

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Reflections on the LBS MFA [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2017, 05:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: Reflections on the LBS MFA
During Orientation on Day 1 at LBS, we were tasked to introduce the person next to us and “why they were here” to the group, based on a brief conversation with them. After spending 7 brutal months working in investment banking, I misguidedly and jokingly remarked that “I was here for a holiday.”

Disclaimer: LBS is certainly not a holiday, but in many regards, my experience has shared many of the characteristics of my what ideal holiday involves. For me, it has been a voyage of discovery – new people, new cultures, expanding horizons. In this piece, I’ll take you along with me on parts of my journey – but take my experiences with a pinch of salt – everyone is different and what has applied to me, may not apply to you or your aspirations.

To start, I think it’s very important to be defined about what you’re looking to get out of Business School and when you’re here, recognise that everyone is here for different reasons. Some want to gain specific skills, some to get their dream job and some are here to expand their horizons. But essentially, as you’ve probably heard before, your experience is completely what you make of it. Unlike your undergraduate, LBS is a privileged environment where you can completely tailor your experience to your interests and aspirations. For me – my goal was threefold –  meet ambitious, globally-orientated people, open my mind and expand my opportunity set.

But what about the MFA course – as the first ever class. The course is finance heavy and will teach you a rounded toolkit to succeed in the finance world. Being the new kids on the block affords us many opportunities and growing pains alike. The course has been carefully considered and built by faculty and recruiters, but as a new programme there will be areas which can be developed., and being the first cohort gives us the opportunity to work with the Progamme Office and school to add extras and give constructive feedback which will help improve future years. The Programme Office (Lisa, Miles and Lucie) have been particularly amazing in working with us to include additions into the programme – whatever we’ve asked for, they’ve tried best to get it for us – from lectures on private equity and fintech to more spaces in electives. While many of our suggestions won’t be included in our programme (because our ideas aren’t always feasible), we’ve help build the future MFA.

Recruiting…a student’s favourite buzz word. While most of our class wants to go into banking, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only option. Being in London, the worlds most global city, you can build a career in anything – and for me, a big part of coming to LBS has been the incredible opportunity set it gives you. It’s important to have a plan but it’s equally important to be flexible and adaptable – so take the opportunity to explore different industries or other career paths. Furthermore, be bold, innovative and cheeky in your career search. For an international student without the right to work in the EU (like me), finding a job will be more difficult but “turn your competitive disadvantage into an advantage” and approach the job search with more tenacity and imagination. Lastly, on getting a job, DON’T STRESS OUT. You may not get your dream job initially but then the skills you learn will be transferable – view your first job as a mere stepping stone to your dream. Most importantly, if you don’t wish to follow in the banking/consulting career path, don’t let yourself be perturbed by all the noise around everyone else recruiting for those roles.

People…this is really what LBS is about. Our class is 80 brilliant students from 37 countries, there aren’t many other places in the world where you’ll find that density of diversity and talent. However, don’t come here solely to build a network – come here to LBS to make friends, build lifelong relationships and talk to as many diverse people as possible. LBS is an amazing place to build your network, but more importantly, it is a unique environment to build long-term relationships with people from across the globe that it’d be difficult to meet otherwise – rather just “networking”, I’ve been focused on making friends with the idea that networks will naturally come from that. Furthermore, if you want to meet lots of interesting people, you have to be engaged and somewhat strategic – often the seemingly least exciting roles are actually the ones which give you the most exposure (i.e. put your hand up to be a class representative or serving drinks at Sundowners). One of LBS’s biggest strengths is the sense of community it fosters – both while you’re at school and after school as an alumnus. As the youngest bunch of students on campus, we’re in the privileged position where we have a ton of learn from the more experienced members of the community and it’s important to leverage that – people are incredibly generous in mentoring students beginning their career because most successful professionals were mentored as some point. That being said, it’s important not to be discouraged by our youth, we also have things to teach and sometimes the “, inexperienced” point of view provides a lot of insight that experience tends to overlook. With that in mind, reach out to students on different programmes and alumni (regardless of their seniority) and they’re generally incredibly open to meeting and being helpful – chances are they had people who helped them along during their early careers so they want to pay it forward.

Lastly, a word of getting involved. At the beginning of the course, a lot of people told me not to over-extend myself and get involved in too many things. I listened – I probably shouldn’t have. Be part of as many things as you can possibly fit in! On a one year programme, your time here is limited so make sure to squeeze out every inch of value you can. I’m an Executive Committee member of the Real Estate Club, Africa Club, the Social Representative for the MFA and on the Sundowners committee – I wish I had got more involved in other things. I’ve become a “Yes Man” – I grab any opportunity available from going for a beer, to being part of a competition team or going to a guest talk about something that I didn’t think I would necessarily be interested in.

At the end of the day, I didn’t come to LBS for a long time, I came for a good time – and it’s exceeded all my expectations!

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Tattoo 2017 – the route to Africa Club’s victory [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2017, 05:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: Tattoo 2017 – the route to Africa Club’s victory
This weekend, a team of eight came together to pull off an historic feat for the Africa Club – win the London Business School (LBS) 2017 Tattoo Talent Show. Talk about diversity, the group comprised six nationalities: Russian, Nigerian, Jamaican, South African, British and Moroccan. (If I include Kadotien’s incredible voice over, then add Ivorian to the list). And what brought us together for Tattoo – a love for dancing and a strong desire to portray the beauty of African dance to the LBS community. In a nutshell, the performance not only displayed different African dance moves including Shoki and Azonto, but it was also a story of love crossing boundaries.

I must say that the quality of performances from the other clubs was incredible and choosing the top 3 must have been quite a difficult task for the judges but I’m glad that we won! We won despite having practiced for just a week and one member (guess who?!) having rehearsed all the moves in less than 24hrs before the show. So how did we do it, in the face of skilled professional performances from so many other clubs?

 

  • We had a very dedicated dance captain in Ayo Gabriel, who coordinated the entire process and spent many hours in solo practice at home so that he could successfully pass the skills and energy across to his team. Equally important was that he had a very supportive team: Elena Zhukova and Eme Caiafas provided valuable insights on organization and dance steps; Ellie Stoneham, Monique Cheri Baars and Samantha provided much needed logistics support, particularly in sourcing fabrics and Simba; while Nabil Lahbil provided incredible energy and tremendous help bringing me up to speed with all the moves in less than 24hrs.

[*]There was tremendous passion across the team and the energy was electric. We didn’t set out to win but wanted to put on a really good show for the audience. We were cognizant that we were the last team coming up and wanted to leave a lasting impression on our audience. Through it all, we were buzzing with too many creative ideas for time to allow.[/list]

[*]Though we only met to practice five times, in reality, we put in significantly more hours in private. Speaking for myself, after only joining the team to rehearse our moves on Friday night, I spent time watching dance videos and our recorded sessions at home to master every step in detail. Such was the level of desire to put on an excellent show and to not let my mates down on stage.[/list]
 

Basically, I can summarize our success as being down to four key factors: dedication, team work, passion and hard work. I believe as with many things in life, talent can sometimes be overrated and life’s winners are sometimes those who are willing to put in the hard work that success demands.

On the night, given the spectacular performances, I believe every group was a winner. We all showed the beauty of embracing diversity and team work across the different programmes, and this is what makes the London Business School experience truly special.

Hats off to Professor Tahoun, our special judges and MCs, and to all of you for making #lbsTattoo2017 great again! Special thanks to Akitoye, Matthew, Jonni, Yemi, Solomon, Cheke and the club executives for all their background work making the rest of the Africa Club’s showing at the festival a truly memorable one.

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Africa Club team – winners of LBS Tattoo 2017 Talent Show

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Eight reasons to attend the 2017 LBS Africa Business Summit [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2017, 02:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: Eight reasons to attend the 2017 LBS Africa Business Summit
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Few would disagree that countries in Africa have gone through a rough economic patch over the past two years, particularly the continent’s largest economies. Commodity cycles have played a big part. Poor governance at different levels also. But Africans always rise to the challenge and this time will be no different.

It is against this backdrop that the London Business School (LBS) Africa Club is putting together, yet again, the high impact Africa Business Summit. Themed “Made in Africa”, it’s an attempt to engender discourse on internal solutions to the continent’s unique challenges while celebrating its triumphs. In this vein, on 22 April, at the prestigious London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, we will be hosting some of the best minds from the continent to discuss Africa and Africa-related issues.

So why must you attend the largest student-run conference at LBS?

1. Fact check 1: Do you know which African bank has generated equity returns of 25% on average over the past 15+ years? That’s Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank); and its CEO, Segun Agbaje, will be a keynote speaker on the day. If you’ve never heard him speak then you need to get plugged into his brilliant mind. Watch this. Come and listen to how the bank achieved such an implausible feat amidst volatile political, economic and competitive dynamics in Nigeria, and what catalytic role the bank is playing in shaping the ‘Made in Africa’ narrative. By the way, at LBS, we study a case on GTBank’s organizational culture in Managing Organizational Behavior.

2. Fact check 2: What is the most renowned mobile banking platform in the world that has taken financial services right to the grass roots and transformed an entire generation of people? Think about people living on less than $30 a day but because of the transformational nature of M-Pesa, the financial services sector in Kenya continues to go through massive disruptions which has, on a net basis, been positive for the common man. Bob Collymore, the bold and visionary CEO of Safaricom (40% owned by Vodafone), will also be a keynote speaker and you definitely do not want to miss him. At LBS, if you take the elective on Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets, you get the option to study a case on M-Pesa.

3. Now that your appetite is whet, let me tell you who else will be gracing the stage: Yvonne Ike, Managing Director Investment Banking (SSA ex. RSA) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch; ever lively Charlie Robertson, Global Economist at Renaissance Capital who will be moderating the finance panel; Oba Otudeko, Chairman and Founder of Honeywell Group and Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings Plc; Jay Ireland, President & CEO of GE Africa; and Harold Leenen, Managing Director & Global Head of Transaction Banking (Middle East & Africa) at Deutsche Bank.

4. Fact check 3: What is the largest student-led conference at LBS? The LBS Africa Business Summit, which regularly attracts over 400 delegates and speakers.

5. Moving away from the serious stuff, the gala night will be LITT, and as you probably know, no one parties harder than the Africans!

6. Get your signed autographs from the winners of the LBS 2017 Tattoo Talent Show. In doubt? Watchthe victory performance and read thisinspirational LBS blog post.

7. Meet the representatives of some of the companies that will be receiving the CV book, including BCG, CDC, WorldRemit etc. (NB: you can submit your CV during registration).

8. Meet a diverse pool of LBS alumni with a focused interest on Africa, who are making high impact in the entrepreneurship and corporate space.

Hesitate no longer. Proceed to www.lbsabs.com to get your ticket NOW. Tell a friend to tell a friend! I look forward to hosting and meeting you.

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LBS takes Myanmar! Part 1 – My serious notes [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2017, 19:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: LBS takes Myanmar! Part 1 – My serious notes
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LBS MBA and MIM students in Myanmar (Inle Lake region)

What a break! Myanmar…is…amazing! To think that this country was largely closed for so many years, yet possesses such hidden and endangered monumental pieces of history, it deserves your visit. After my NEO survey (you do this early in your LBS MBA life) suggested I needed more adventure, I decided to go on the trek to Myanmar instead of the more popular Japan trek because of the former’s unique appeal; lay on top of that the lure of original Asian food and my continued interest in frontier markets. After grueling exams, a block week and minimal sleep, Myanmar did not let me down.

My serious notes (Quick takes on the economy, banking system and real estate market)…

  • The country reminds me of Ethiopia. Rather, what Ethiopia could be in a few years with a little flexibility towards foreign investments. Myanmar, a country of c.60mn people, is seen by some investors as the next growth frontier (IMF: 7.3% GDP growth in 2015) given its relatively lower wealth in the South East Asian region and the still basic nature of goods and services currently available.
 

  • As with many countries when they start opening up with an intention to attract tourists, the airport, hotels and restaurants are some of the early areas that attract investments. Myanmar possesses quite a decent and functional airport (significantly better than that of my home country, Nigeria) as well as a number of high quality hotels and restaurants connected by very good roads. The conscious attempt to develop the country with tourists in mind is quite apparent. While we went during low season, the number of hotels/resorts and feedback from locals suggests things gather significant momentum between August-January.
 

  • On a separate note, we heard about a heating up in the real estate market, largely demand-side driven. As I dug further on this issue, I discovered from locals that Myanmar is predominantly a cash-based economy. Also, real savings rate is negative, at the regulated 8%, considering inflation is 11-12%. Therefore, most of the professionals I met mentioned locals keep stacks of cash and/or gold at home or invest in real estate given the lack of low risk alternatives. This means that while the locals may be concerned about a bubble, the heating up could be sustained until maybe structural changes are made to improve the intermediation of the banking system.
 

  • While the average Nigerian has 3-4 bank accounts, it’s not uncommon to find a local here with no bank account; and where he/she does, its one bank account with balances sometimes as low as $10 equivalent.
 

  • The Kenyan government can take a cue from Myanmar on the negative implications of lending and deposit rate caps (13% and 8% respectively in Myanmar), to observe the stifling impact on credit availability to the private sector.
 

  • The banking system, with 14 private banks, is largely dominated by big business men, partly due to a shortage of alternative funding sources for their businesses. There are 14 other government-linked banking entities. Commodities (gold and other precious materials) are a key driver of economic activity and one professional mentioned that the military still has back-end control despite the 2015 elections which further entrenched democracy in the country.
 

  • The most incredible thing I discovered is that loan sharks here lend for as high as 12% per month. Even when the loan is collateralized with gold (sometimes kept in mattresses), the lending rate drops to only 8% per month! These monthly rates are almost equivalent to 100-150% per annum on the same principal, ex fees (NB: In Africa, micro lending rates tend to range 2-5% per month, on average). Clearly prohibitive and points to the weak intermediation role of the banks in this economy. One professional mentioned 1) that banks often ask for 200% loan collateralization, 2) prefer this to be land, and 3) the banks rarely have credit committees. Consensus seemed to be building among the locals that a banking crisis may be around the corner.
 

Was this post too boring for you? Then get on my LBS Student Blog page to read Part 2 – My fun notes!

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LBS takes Myanmar! Part 2 – My fun notes [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2017, 19:01
FROM LBS Current Students Blog: LBS takes Myanmar! Part 2 – My fun notes
What a break! Myanmar…is…amazing! To think that this country was largely closed for so many years, yet possesses such hidden and endangered monumental pieces of history, it deserves your visit. After my NEO survey (you do this early in your LBS MBA life) suggested I needed more adventure, I decided to go on the trek to Myanmar instead of the more popular Japan trek because of the former’s unique appeal; lay on top of that the lure of original Asian food and my continued interest in frontier markets. After grueling exams, a block week and minimal sleep, Myanmar did not let me down.

Image
Me, trying to get a selfie with some incredible Pagodas in the background

 

My fun notes…

When I took the first stab at this blog post, I had spent two days in the country and was drawing the curtains on an exhausting day in Bagan. Visiting the temples therein were the day’s highlights, coupled with using some of my negotiation skills from local markets in Nigeria to the benefit of my mates in local markets here.

On day 1, we met with a few prospective students of London Business School, had drinks with some diplomats and on-the-ground professionals, and helped ourselves to leisurely meals. I found the history of Myanmar’s political evolution quite interesting and reached the conclusion that solid execution of a clear and consistent economic development plan will be key to keeping the country’s economic momentum going and elevate it on the league of globally minded countries. On a separate note, one interesting observation was that the restaurants tended to have separate or combined Thai, Burmese and Western menus. While not fully sure why this is the case, I think it’s the outcome of receiving such a diverse pool of tourists over the years.

On day 2, we flew a small plane for 60+ minutes to Bagan from Yangon (former capital of Myanmar). Here we spent the day visiting ancient Buddhist temples (about 3,000 remaining vs. peak count of over 10,000), some undergoing refurbishment after a 2016 earthquake caused damage to legendary structures. We also took a horse cart ride round town to see more temples and watch the sunset from atop one of the town’s largest ancient temples. In-between and afterwards, we tried multicultural meals at different restaurants. Coming from London, the perspective on pricing was important. For the quality and volume of food we had, we found London about 3-4x more expensive – no surprises!

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Sun setting picture of temples in Bagan

Day 3 was an early start. 5am and we were off to the fields for a hot air balloon ride across Bagan. The sights were incredible. There were at least 10-15 balloons in the air simultaneously. We found the operational quality outstanding and weren’t surprised to hear the manager of Balloons over Bagan say they operate by UK standards. Watching the sunrise over the many temples that litter Bagan, was, as you can already imagine, nothing short of beautiful. We subsequently grabbed electronic bikes, riding round town to take in more views of the ancient town. Overnight, we took a long bus ride to Inle Lake. Other than being chased by a stray dog late at night, it was a smooth experience.

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Touring Bagan on electric bikes with my MBA mates

Day 4 for me was one for conquering my fears. Since falling off a jet-ski in Miami in 2015, I’ve harbored some fears about extensive and potentially risky water adventures. Discovering that Inle Lake involved a lengthy boat ride renewed some of those extant fears but I braved them and went with the flow. Barring the occasional strong waves which sent the boat tilting one way and an engine misdemeanor in the middle of nowhere, it was a nice sunny ride. The town also boasts some ancient temples, some of which were also under repairs. Subsequently we visited a warm spring resort where I crushed any remaining water-related fears, thanks to encouragement from my MBA mates. This day ended with a cooking class, with some students taking turns to prepare Tempura.

We took an early morning flight on Day 5 to Ngapali (“Napali”), welcomed by video cameras of the local news stations. This was scheduled to be a lazy day. Ngapali’s main highlight is its pristine beach front. If I rated the previous hotels and days’ activities a B (due to my uber-high standards) then this day was definitely an A, with Bagan in close competition. We spent the day on the beach, in the pool and reading books (I was reading Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman, CEO of Baupost Group). As I reflected on the previous two days, I had learnt three things: 1) our fears are for the most part just a mental block, 2) confronting our fears openly in a safe environment where helping hands exist is often a sure winning strategy, and 3) it pays to be open minded, as help can sometimes come from the most unexpected places. The day ended with karaoke on the beach front.

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Clockwise: A fisherman in Inle Lake putting on a show for us; Me in a rice farmer hat after the Inle Lake boat ride; Great shot by Hiroshi after a beautiful day in Ngapali as the sun set

Day 6-7 saw us head back to Yangon. This was another leisurely day spent trying food at really local restaurants, market shopping, visiting the first KFC location (a Zinger burger with fries and a drink costs GBP2.96 vs. GBP4.79 in UK), watching the sunset from the Shwedagon Pagoda (most sacred temple in Myanmar), drinks with the expat community, viewing colonial buildings and the stock exchange (massive building with only four listed stocks), trying out street food and wrapping up with a boat party.

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Wrapping up an excellent trek to Myanmar with a water-fight themed boat party in Yangon

Two random observations:

  • Justin Timberlake is really popular and is probably spoken about every day. If you want to say thank you in Burmese lingua, just say ‘Justintimberlake’ really fast!
 

  • With two students having forgotten their phones in the taxi and each time it was returned to our hotel, I couldn’t help but think the Burmese must be really honest people.
 

Needless to say, this was an incredible trip. Now that London Business School will for the first time offer a Global Business Experience (GBE) trip to Myanmar, this is a country I highly recommend for its unique experiences and growth opportunities.

Till my next post, “pyan tot mel”!

To learn about my serious takeaways from our trip to Myanmar, get on my LBS Student Blog page to read Part 1 – My serious notes.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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LBS takes Myanmar! Part 2 – My fun notes   [#permalink] 09 Apr 2017, 19:01

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