Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Peacocks, BP and Kevin Bacon

"Peacocks, BP and Kevin Bacon" read one of the slides we used today in group debate on Corporate Social Responsibility.
Confused? Let me then start afresh.

Each Monday morning our stream has Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility. The best thing about the course this year is a group debate that is held each lecture on a separate topic.
For instance, last Monday two groups presented pros and cons of bribery (should a company use bribery when it operates in a country where bribery is common practice). And though the "pro" group brought chocolates for the whole audience, they lost. Sorry, guys, I voted for you :)
It looked like touchy-feely side won all the time. So when we gathered last week to prepare our presentation on the pro side of "The only social responsibility of a law-abiding business is to maximize shareholders' value" the general mood was: "There's no way we can win this, so why not have some fun?"
In order to prepare we had four group meetings, each time with a new central idea, including:
1) Milton Friedman (he is the father of "profit as the only social responsibility"),
2) The Godfather ("It's nothing personal, Sonny, it's strictly business"),
3) video with Warren Buffett giving his money to Gates foundation not as a businessman but as a person,
4) wheel of fortune ...
...and somehow ended up with peacocks (all the credit goes to the President of the Poker Club who presented it to us late on Sunday evening between two deals).

So what do peacocks, BP and Kevin Bacon have in common?
Basically peacocks use bright feathers to attract peahens. And modern companies use social responsibility to attract customers. And everything you can think of, even social responsibility, can be linked in less than 6 steps to Kevin Bacon- ahem, to Profit Maximization.
The "good" team that prepared slides independently was arguing that businesses should be socially responsible. Why? Well, because it's profitable to the companies... gotcha!
For the first time this term in our stream, "bad" guys has won the debate :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Isle of Wight

Term start on Monday with Ethics and Finance. This means that Pre-Term is over and we will get much busier.
Meanwhile I wanted to post a couple of photos from my weekend trip to the Isle of Wight:
Beaches of Ryde during low-tide

A man and a gull

One of the famous white cliffs (near Sandown)

One evening I saw a lots of people on the esplanade: everyone was looking in their binoculars and making photos and videos. I asked a lady why were their doing that and she said, "That's the cruise ship, can't you see. It means that people are going on holiday. Come on, where's your camera? That's important!"
So I made a photo too :)

Cruise ship


Isle of Wight penguin :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Set your aspirations high

London Business School offers a challenging assignment for the first years: it is called the Shadow project. The student has to observe an executive for up to 5 days and write a report about the experience. And since now it is optional (luckily, for many) people come with all sort of creative ideas. One of my classmates wants to shadow Steve Jobs! All I can say is "Wow! Good luck, man!" and will follow his route to the destination with great interest :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Textbooks and most recommended books

Long-long time ago when I was applying to business school I wanted to find out which textbooks are used in the study process and what other reading professors recommend. If there's someone out there who is as curious for books as me, the following lists are for you.

First-term textbooks:
  • Business Statistics: Quantitative Methods for Decision Makers (4th ed) by Mik Wisniewski
  • Strategy: Contemporary Strategy Analysis: Concepts, techniques, applications (6th ed) by Robert M. Grant
  • Corporate Finance: Principles of Corporate Finance (8th ed) by Brealey, Myers & Allen
  • Financial Accounting: Financial Accounting (6th ed) by Harrison and Horngrenn
  • Managerial Economics: Principles of Microeconomics (Version 4) by N. G. Mankiw
Most recommended books (students' survey, top-15)
  1. The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
  2. Good to Great by Jim Collins
  3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  4. The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman
  5. Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis
  6. Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter
  7. The Innovator's Dilemma/Solution by Clay Christensen
  8. The New Business Road Test by John Mullins
  9. Are You Ready to Succeed? by Srikumar Rao
  10. Barbarians at the gate by Bruan Burrough
  11. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  12. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
  13. The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto
  14. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  15. When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein
I have only read 6 out of the Top-15 list before, so long way to go! (keeping in mind that the whole survey mentions more than 250 titles)

Away Day

We had our Away Day today: Streams A&B (~160 people) enjoyed the whole day of outdoor activities. I've been told that it's gonna be great, but I could never imagine how great!

The first task we did was to climb a 30 feet high pole in a group of four, stand on top of it and lean backwards, holding each other (to form so called "flower"). I passed every single stage from "Never-ever" to "OK, if everyone's gonna try I want to try it too". It turned out that the hardest part for me was actually climbing to the top: my left arm ached, I had doubts about my security rope and couldn't help thinking "How am I going to stand on top?". Did I mention that the pole was very shaky? But once I clambered there (I decided to go second and it was a good idea because there's nothing better than a friend's helping hand) the rest became easy: wait for other people to climb, hold tight, lean and then let go. I loved it!

The second task was similar: we had to climb the pole in pairs and jump from it together to a trapeze. If I haven't done the "flower" exercise I would never thought of trying this one. We did a spectacular leap, but barely touched trapeze with the tips. And some of my groupmates undertook two or three attempts! Could you imagine? Perfectionists! :)
The third task was to walk on ropes around a specially prepared area without touching the ground. In this case we needed to think of an algorithm since the necessary support ropes were in short supply.

After that we had to assemble a puzzle on time. The task was split: we had to figure out how to assemble the puzzle in the first place, then to make up a way of dismantling it and assembling back together and (last but not least!) do this as fast as possible. In the end we did it in 17 seconds, but I've heard there was another team who did it in 10!
And the last exercise was getting a "solution" for a blindfolded "client". The solution was in the middle of the "acid lake" which noone could go in. The only way to get there was build a rope system, and guide the blindfolded client towards the answer. A very hard exercise indeed and I was amazed how well out team did it!

We had very good briefings after each task and came up with insightful analysis. It was also very interesting to observe how people tend to react in challenging situations: some listen, some begin to express themselves (all at once), some take lead, some drop out, some propose the ideas, some just go and do it. Great way to find out more about your classmates (and yourself)!
This fantastic day ended with a training in juggling and a barbeque :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Final number of students

Following my posts on admission figures and since this was a "hot" topic for some of you, here are some interesting figures from today's presentation by David Simpson.
Last year London Business School received about two thousand applications. They interviewed about half of that number. I haven't got a clue of how many people were admitted, but now we have 315 students in our class.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Orientation: day one

We were at school for the first day today and the most exiting part of it was finding out which stream and which study group you ended up in. Nobody would have been concerned about that if it was not for the second very question in the F.A.Q. section of Welcome Pack:
Q: Can I change my study group?
A: NO, man! You are stuck with those people for the whole Year One!
And it went on and on for three more pages about how you should resolve conflicts in your group, how you should manage it and how you should survive it... No wonder some people were keeping their fingers crossed and prayed for nice groupmates. I was not among those since
a) no point in worring about things I have no impact on, and
b) I believe that all people can get on well together as long as they are ready to compromise (the latter can be a problem, yes).
Funny thing: three LBS bloggers turned to be in one Stream! I hope there will be more bloggers joining the club because we will need the diversified views on the LBS life ;)
After the Sorting we had a class photo taken then a barbeque and after that most people headed off to a nearby pub. Do we really need to start classes? I will enjoy some more parties, definitely!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Settling in London

It’s been a week and a half since I am in London. And what a time it has been!

I arrived at Heathrow late on Monday evening and headed off to Russell Square for a weekly stay at the International Hall (I’ll write a comparison of that one to the International Student House in some later post, but shortly, if you can choose, pick International Hall). On Saturday I’ve signed the contract and moved to Angie’s place. Thanks to her, I’ve been saved from viewing a dozen of flats a day, like some of my classmates are doing right now. Talking of flat hunting: London Business School students organize pre-term fortnight of FlatHunters’ Pub Crawl.

What it’s like? It is two weeks of partying, meeting your future classmates (some 50-70 people show up every night), discovering new types of drinks (for instance, I tried Fruli and Pimm's, the latter is on the left), and practicing English. Yes, of course, people look for flatmates (we have nametags and those who are looking for flatmates draw a triangle on it) and share flat hunting experiences (like what agents are the best, how high the rent is this year). The strongest ones even go to a club afterwards: I know people who were doing that several nights in a row! Everyone seems to find flatmates really fast: last Tuesday there were lots of people looking for someone to share with – and most of them had flatmate when I talked to them on Wednesday.

The weather in London is rather cool and rainy (I haven’t used my umbrella during any of the previous visits – now I need it a lot and cannot help wondering if last ts I’ve only seen the “marketing” side of London, you know). But due to that I decided to go and visit some museums. So far I’ve been to the British museum (enjoyed the Asian collection there ad briefly visited others), National gallery (added Claude and Turner to the artists whose works I like) and Science museum (it’s awesome and also a paradise for kids).

What else?
  • Bought a computer – Lenovo T60 with WinXP. I’ve relied on IBM laptops all my working life and never had any problems (so far so good).
  • Opened an HSBC bank account: my appointment was scheduled a week after than my call to the bank and the whole process was nice and smooth and took about an hour.
  • Had an assessment at LBS Fitness Centre and swam my usual 3km per week.
  • Registered with the police.
  • Found out how to make free calls to Moscow.
  • Took an accounting textbook from the library and will make myself read three introductory chapters before the course start (but there are so many things happening here that I simply don’t have much time to sit and read).
  • Tried Indian food for the first time and liked it!
Despite the fact that there are still some things to do (like registering with a GP), I’m feeling "all settled".
Orientation starts next week on Monday!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

LBS reference verification checks process

London Business School performs reference verification checks for all of the admitted students. This year they sent e-mails to recommenders in the end of July.

To my mind this is strange because of two things:
1) July-August are holiday months, so most people are away and unable to reply promptly.
2) It's too late to perform any actual checks. Suppose they find something about someone - and the person has already paid a big amount of fees, resigned from job, got visa, moved to London...

This process is not advertised and I only discoverd that because one of my recommenders had changed a job, so his e-mail was no longer valid and I got a request of his current address from admission officer. I submitted the new e-mail and of course wrote\called all of my four recommenders.

You may wonder why am I talking about four recommenders while the school requires just two recommendations? And no, my recommenders don't do extreme programming ;) (for eXtreme Programmers a common practice is to work in pairs). I got two recommenders last year and two more the year before that. That's probably why some schools do not like reapplicants - they have to perform double amount of checks on them :)

Two recommenders replied to the school, before they got my e-mails.
Two others returned from holidays, made a heroic attempt to scan their "in" and "spam" folders (you may imagine how many letters a high-level manager would have after two or three weeks away) and... haven't found anything LBS-confirmation-related there. Both of them were the recent recommenders... you see the pattern too, don't you?
So I wrote to admission officer asking [for trouble] her whether the remaining confirmations were needed, and she sent the long-awaited e-mails. Hopefully the replies will fly back next Monday - the same day when I head to London myself.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Exemption exam in Business Statistics

Small number of posts lately doesn't mean nothing interesting is happening with me. Just the opposite! That's why I'm finally posting this after midnight on Sunday :)

This time I wanted to write about exemption exams at London Business School.
The School gives us 4 options:
  • Managerial Economics (by Masters degree in Economics)
  • Financial Accounting (by an appropriate professional qualification in Accounting)
  • Business Statistics (by eligibility test)
  • IT for Business Value (by exam in Autumn Semester)
All current students recommend to exempt as much as you can.
I cannot get away from Economics and Accounting, so I applied for the Statistic test in the beginning of July, was one of the first to get it and started solving right away (only two weeks time for the test).
I didn't have a text book (Mik Wisniewski Quantitative Methods for Decision Makers), but I was armed with *rusty-dusty* prior knowledge of statistics and internet connection.

If you are (or will be) in the same shoes, have a look at the following links:
To my *mathematical* mind the test was rather hard. Results will be out in the end of August and I'll let you know how I did.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

London Business School HSBC loan

The second most important thing in pre-MBA is finding money to finance the course. When I first met a number of admits couple of years ago they were all saying: “Don’t worry about money, get in first, and finances will be sorted automatically”. Yes, upon acceptance to Stanford you fill a questionnaire and the bank says: “You will need the following amount of money. Here you are”. But things are not like that in Europe. Loans are harder to get and scholarships are scarce (in LBS this year ~25% of the class got a scholarship – “only” or “whole” depends on what side of the fence you are). Thus you should start thinking about money before you secure the place in the next class.

Disclaimer: I will write everything I know about the HSBC loan scheme so it is no use asking me for additional guidance. This information is true to the best of my knowledge and up-to-date in June 2007. If you have any other questions, you’d better contact the program officials.

  • Maximum amount is £50,000;
  • No co-signer or guaranties required;
  • Repayment starts 6 months after the course completion;
  • No penalties for early repayment.

Myth: Insert-your-country-here nationals have particular difficulties in getting the loan and are often refused.
Truth: Only the nationals of Myanmar cannot benefit from this scheme (this has something to do with the list of money-laundering countries). People from all other countries will have no difficulties in receiving the loan once they apply wisely and provide all the necessary documents.

Drawback #1: How much can you apply for?
Take two thirds of your net income (take the past 12 months figures without bonuses* and divide by 12). This is what HSBC will consider the maximum amount you’ll be able to repay after getting a job post-MBA.
*you’d better clarify if bonuses should be included or not, because I am not sure

Based on current interest rate of 7.75% and repayment period of 84 months (7 years) for two-year MBA program HSBC gives the following figures:
Amount £20,000 - monthly repayments: £371
Amount £30,000 - monthly repayments: £557
Amount £40,000 - monthly repayments: £743
Amount £50,000 - monthly repayments: £928
Don’t ask me how they got those figures. I tried to check, but the method I was taught at university is not working here, so I will probably have to get an MBA to understand this.

Drawback #2: You cannot apply for the maximum amount
I know people whose salary allowed applying for £50,000, who applied for it and were rejected.
Actually in borderline cases the bank takes into account multiple things apart from your current salary: likelihood of getting employment in the UK once graduated and other financial commitments.
If you know a safe maximum amount to apply for – you’re welcome to write it in comments.

Drawback #3: You need to show the bank how you will pay for the rest of your course
For example, you apply for £40,000 and after estimating all costs you need another £40,000 for living. You will have to show the bank that you have secured those £40,000.

What documents you’ll need to apply for the loan:
  • A copy of passport main page (this is for identification purposes. I applied for the loan with one passport and exchanged it after that because it expired – this is fine)
  • Copies of all bank statements for the previous 3 months (take care and do not have any overdraft on your accounts)
  • Evidence of earnings for the previous 12 months (salary slips or tax documents or a letter on original letterhead from your employer)
  • Proof of current residential address
  • Proof of permanent residential address for non-UK residents if different from above
  • Other evidence for any funds you have to put towards the cost of the course
  • Filled application
  • The photocopy of everything above (to use by LBS)

Other useful things:
  • All the documents should be issued in English or officially translated.
  • There is a question in the application whether you own a property or assets and the estimated value of those. Your words will be taken for granted if you won’t use this property\assets towards the cost of the course. Otherwise you will have to provide a recent valuation.
  • It is assumed that you will provide the bank statement from which your salary incomings will be clear or explain why you cannot provide this statement.
  • By the way, I found that explanatory letters work very well. Read your complete application out loud and if there are some questions remaining spend one more piece of paper to address them.
  • If the bank decides you asked for too much – they will reject your application.
  • If you secure the loan for tuition fees you will not be able to use it towards any other purposes (e.g. living expenses).
  • LBS takes the administration fee of 1% of the loan. This fee is only charged if you agree to take the loan (because you may apply, secure the loan and then find other sources and decide not to take the loan – in this case administration fee is not charged).

Success story: I initially gathered the documents for about three months – the time was spent on budget calculation, providing evidence of other funds and official translation of the documents.
I sent the pack to school by courier in the end of April. In two days I got an e-mail with confirmation of delivery and additional question from financial aid officer. After we clarified the question she sent my application to the bank – and in less than a week there was a positive answer.
I suppose that if you apply later, say in August, it may take longer to get the answer, but all in all the decision process is rather fast.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

15 advices for public speakers

Check out this Doug Lawrence post on Guy's blog.
  1. Circulate with your audience.
  2. Command attention.
  3. Snarl.
  4. Bite your tongue.
  5. Always perform a sound check before you speak.
  6. Use your eyes all the time.
  7. Move away from center to make your point.
  8. Get quiet.
  9. “Underline” certain words with a pause or repetition.
  10. Take a risk and be vulnerable.
  11. Tee it higher.
  12. Know when it’s time to go.
  13. Use Q and A as an “encore.”
  14. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
  15. Perform for a hero.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Getting Things Done

After Al Martine’s post I’ve decided to finally read Getting Things Done by David Allen. And... thank you, Al, that’s a very useful reading for future MBAs!

What I took from the book:
  • Free you mind for creative thinking by organizing your commitments: write them down and don’t rewind them over in over in your head
  • Create lists of what you should do, whom are you waiting for reply, what you may want to do someday
  • Write actions, e.g. “call to book the table” instead of “birthday dinner”. Always ask “what’s the next action?”
  • Instantly do things that you can accomplish in less than two minutes. If it will take more time, add them to your lists
  • Review the lists regularly
  • And a lot more…
I’ve reorganized my lists in Backpack (see earlier post) and the methodology is now working for me! Two lists are my favorite: what I am waiting from someone and Projects - to get a higher perspective on what’s going on.
If interested then check out this Wikipedia entry for more details and tools to implement this methodology (I’d like to try the Lotus Notes tool next).

UPD: Patxi's impressions of the book.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Booz Allen Hamilton Sponsorship Program for Women in Europe

What a fun it is to write on some topic other than “why the scholarship committee should consider you for ZZZ scholarship?”!

I decided to post eligibility criteria and documents required for the Sponsorship application for future applicants because the only other way you can get this is write to the organizer.

To be eligible you should be female, willing to work in a European office of Booz Allen and be admitted to one of the top MBA programs (Columbia, Harvard, IESE, IMD, INSEAD, Kellogg, LBS, MIT, Stern, Oxford, Stanford, Chicago, Wharton, Tuck).

is 3 months before the start of your program: 1 June for September intake, 1 October for January intake.

Required documents
  • Current CV (1 page);
  • Copy of undergraduate university transcript;
  • The original or a notarized copy of the letter of admission to business school;
  • A letter of motivation explaining your interest in management consulting and Booz Allen Hamilton (1-2 pages);
  • Two letters of reference (1-2 pages each).

I found out that reference is needed in the beginning of May, called one of my recommenders to discover that he was flying away for a three-week holiday. Surprise-surprise :)

Moscow: Women in Leadership forum

The month of May passed by under the title of “Scholarship deadline is coming”. Thus I was writing a lot, but not blogging. Meanwhile a couple of useful posts formed in my mind – so I decided to start with a useless one instead :)

Last Thursday (31st of May) I’ve been at the Women in Leadership forum. Of all the presentations I was able to visit, I liked two most: by BCG and by SAP.
BCG uses a zero-risk approach: the firm collects a bunch of consultants and lets them tell stories. Plus the presentation was focused on the older level of the auditory apart from all other firms that were telling about opportunities for undergraduate students.
SAP guy didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t knew before, but, again, he entertained us with a bunch of vivid stories. For example, this one:

A picture worth a thousand words

I’m not sure that every woman goes like that, but… great difference in the attitude, isn’t it? The man did as he was told, but the woman took creative approach and (there were no constraints, right?) spent as much money as she could :)
Once in my child days mom asked me whom I like to go shopping with more.
“Of course, with you”, I said.
“Because when we go with dad to buy bananas, we buy bananas. And when we go with you, we can buy strawberries, pears, apples, and not even buy bananas in the end. Shopping turns into an adventure and fun”.

I have a rule to take something useful from every book that I read and every event where I go. This time was not an exception. I got this:

Pen&torch from Cisco

Most interesting and innovative thoughts come to you at any place. For instance, in the evening when you’re lying half asleep. You have to get up, turn on the light and write it down. How many thoughts have you lost due to laziness or scribbling in the dark? What a great idea to make such a pen!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

R3 Admission Statistics

It seems that R3 Admits have been added to the Portal (congratulation by the way to all newcomers!).
The number is now 349.
Female rate: down to 24%

Statistics for previous rounds are here: R1, R2

UPD: the number dropped to 338.
UPD2: The official admits number for this year will be 316 (information from program manager by Anonymous).

Friday, April 27, 2007

The world works funny

Lately I’ve been searching through the LBS booklets I have at home. In one of them I found a letter (“thank you for you interest in…”) which I received about two years ago. The “Ref. Number” on it seemed strangely familiar. I’ve checked it with my acceptance letter… and it turned out that that is my current student number! (Wow! Who could have imagined that all the history is stored?)

Another funny story is about my application for Chevening Scholarship. I applied for it in two subsequent years. First year I got my rejection straight in November, with original of my diploma. This year I didn’t have a straight feedback. As time went by and all deadlines passed, I understood that this year application was not successful either. So I wrote a number of e-mails to British Council officer asking to send me the rejection letter, which I will need as a proof for future scholarship applications.

In beginning of April I phoned the lady and begged her to send me the letter.

I got it yesterday (exactly when I no longer needed it), but the letter itself was quite interesting. It contained my diploma and some other docs from my application which meant that they haven’t sent me this letter earlier and it hasn’t been lost in the depth of Russian post office which I always blame (ah, this reminds me of an anecdote I will post as a footnote). But the letter – the letter said: “Thank you for your interview for Chevening scholarship. However, we are sorry to inform you…”

I haven’t received an interview invitation, neither attended one. And it makes me wonder – who were they interviewing and why this person did so badly and haven’t won me a scholarship? :)

--- anecdote ---

A week before Christmas a post office received a letter addressed to “Santa Claus”. Since there was no address, the officers opened it and read:

‘Dear Santa Claus,

I leeve in orphanage and now winter came and I have no worm clothz. It is very, very cold now and I can not play with my frends outsaid. Pleaze, can you brin me a Christmas prezent a coat, a hat, glovz and boots? Thank you, thank you, thank you…’

The officers were so touched that they chipped in for the present from their low wages and were able to buy a coat, a hat and boots for the boy. They send that as a present from Santa Claus and a week later another letter came from that very boy. They all gathered to read it out loud:

‘Dear Santa Claus,

Thank you very mush for you prezent. I am warm now I got yor coat and boots and hat. I have not got glovz, but this is sure becoz bad guyz at the post ofis stole them…’

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Made it to the Top10 Best of Blogging Applicants!

Clear Admit BoB
My blog is named 6th in the Best of Blogging competition! Many-many thanks for everyone who voted for me and to ClearAdmit for organizing the competition!
It was a great opportunity to vote for the blogs I love, and I am glad that my voice counted.
Congratulations to Angel Angie and Rungee!!! You both got the well deserved awards for great blogs and effort you put in them!

Angie, thanks a lot for offering the Room Of Inspiration! I appreciate that ;)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Loan, accommodation and other things

Instead of having a week holiday during which I planned to complete my loan application, I spent two weeks in bed with quinsy. Speaking of the bright side – this reminded me that most of the pills and medicine in London can only be bought with a doctor prescription. Thus I compiled a list of my favorite medicines to take with me. Mental note: I will also need to think of a list of all other things I will bring to UK and squeeze it to the minimum (postpone until July).

I haven’t submitted the loan application yet, but I hope to send it next week. It turned out that the account statement couldn’t be notarized if the officer who signed it didn’t write her post. So I had to take the already translated document back to the bank (in another city), find the lady who signed it and ask her to put a stamp with her post on the paper. And then take it back to the notary and wait for another couple of days…

I have also thought about accommodation.

As one of the first year students pointed out, LBS offers 33 places in London University accommodation. The biggest minus is lack of cooking facilities in most of the rooms (I prefer not to eat in a dining room – been there, tasted that, didn’t like it).

Since I have no more than 10% chances of getting the university accommodation, a backup is needed. Flathunter’s Pub Crawl will help – and I have joined the group of volunteers who will organize it!

There are a lot of things going on the LBS Portal. The most interesting one is the topic called “Getting to know you!” where my fellow classmates give a short presentation about themselves. Judging from it I will study with a group of very interesting and diverse people!

Looking ahead there are three things I have to start thinking about: short term accommodation, flight and visa.

I can book accommodation right now. London University International Hall offers rooms for 18 pounds a day. But if I postpone this until later, I can only count on other universities and the price will be 30 pounds a day. Or maybe I will be able to have a sublet room from one of the fellow students? (Any offers for 13-26 of August? ;))

I can fly with Aeroflot or British Airways. Aeroflot flies at a convenient time (arrival on 1 p.m.), but only allows 20kg of free baggage. BA flies at inconvenient time (arrival on 6 a.m. or 11 p.m.), but allows 32kg of free baggage. As far as I understand I won’t have student discounts yet since ISIC will be valid from September 2007.

I will apply for the visa as soon as my passport is ready. I have confirmed with fellow students that I do not need to show the consulate the money for the whole course (fee + living expenses). This means I do not need the outcome of the loan and scholarship applications.

Speaking of scholarships I really need to start writing the essays. There’s only one month before deadline left (OMG!). But I use every opportunity to procrastinate (like writing this post!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Order Business School (by Seth Godin)

Check out the following article NoBS, the end of the MBA by Seth Godin. It is Seth's thought exercise that might be useful to:
  • MBA-haters ("aha, Seth too says that MBA is dead!")
  • MBA-aspirers ("if I get an MBA from *** it will be my silver bullet")
  • MBA-about-thinkers ("what other options have I got? What will I get from the degree?")
  • MBA-admits ("find out what it all about")
And it is also an interesting read!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Reflections on LBS R2 admission statistics

As a follow up to my post about R1 admission figures I decided to post some R2 admission figures and to think about how many places are left for R3 & R4 (please keep in mind that I am not a member of adcom so my suppositions may be completely wrong).
As one of my future classmates pointed out, admits are not be allowed to disclose the actual figures and other information from the portal (I've skipped the agreement first time I logged in, because I wanted to see the portal itself), so I put up some diagrams without any figures.

In R1 and R2 nearly an equal number of people were admitted:If we compare the actual number of people who confirmed their R1 admission (including those from waitlist) with the number of R2 admits, the diagram will change:
So... let's suppose that the yield of R2 will be, say, 60%... and no one from R1 & R2 defers their admission... and the class size will be 320... then the number of places for R3 & R4 applicants will be as following:

By the way, current female rate is 26%.

UPD: Last year figures in Angie's post.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Congratulations to R2 LBS admits!

London Business School issued decisions on the R2 admits yesterday and I would like to say "welcome!" to everyone who is in. Special greatings to Mitokondrion :)
And I hope more LBS blogs & bloggers will appear soon ;)

Congratulations to Natasha who has been admitted to Darden - you've earned that admission, girl! Well done :)

Friday, March 09, 2007

I have a mentor now

London Business School has a practice of assigning mentors to the freshly admitted students.
I've got a letter today (been wondering about who my mentor would be from the mid-January)... and... guess, who is it?

1. She is from the same country (this is a good common practice)
2. She is a blogger
OK-OK you've probably already guessed: this is Genie!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Report about the last two months

The winter is nearly over, though the weather here has no clue (as you can see from the picture on the left). Apart from winter sports (and work, of course) there’s not much to report, since I always try to write something MBA-related.

So recently:

  • I’ve met a number of LBS students, including Genie, and (hopefully) future classmates (“hopefully” because all of them have more than one offer). The most interesting discovery for me is that all those people have different backgrounds, so one cannot say that LBS only takes Russians from McKinsey or Morgan Stanley.
  • I’ve got lots of e-mails from rejected applicants, applying applicants and classmates. 95% of all letters in my rusgirl gmailbox came in the last 2 months!
  • I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by amount of paperwork for an HSBC loan. Like a self-respecting iceberg, the checklist of documents for this loan is rather small, but… the application itself requires a lot of supporting documentation, which is not listed, but better be provided. Well, I have been told it is gonna be like this, so don’t take my words as a complaint. I have already passed the stage of “OMG, I’ve got so much to do! I cannot think of it now I will think of it later” and arrived straight to “The later is now”.
  • I’ve discovered that I can tell what stage of application process is solely looking at my blog statistics: in February - GMAT posts go down and interview posts go up. And – strangely to me – more people click on INSEAD label on the right-hand bar than on LBS one! Are they trying to tell me something? :)))

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Reapplication: How I did it

A number of people asked me to share my magic recipes and though there is no magic and there are no recipes I have decided to share some thoughts on reapplication process. Every little helps :)

First step you have to do is think whether you really need an MBA. You now have a list of goals (5 and 20 years plan). Why not begin fulfilling them now? (Just think what would you do if all the business schools in the world suddenly vanished?)
If you fail without an MBA - you'll have more convincing future story for adcoms. But if you succeed, you might not need to write a story at all. Your biographer will do it for you.

OK, you're definite to try again (next round or next year).
Second step - get feedback from adcoms.
There are three possible replies:
  1. Change yourself (strengthen part of your application, align your goals, etc)
  2. Change the essays (adcoms haven't fully understood something in your essays)
  3. Change nothing (you were unlucky and someone got there earlier than you)
You'd better ask and know for sure, before addressing what-you-think-your-weaknesses-are.

Next steps - work on the feedback. Get a new job, launch a new club, travel or learn a new language. Visit the schools. Talk to students and alumni. Go to conferences and tours. Learn about the opportunities various schools can offer, try to find the best fit. Based on that re-evaluate your first choice school. To my mind when you know the school and like it, all the process is much easier.
And don't forget to save a lot of courage and energy before the next try.

I've tried all this on myself. I've changed a job (to the one that gave me new skills and international exposure). I've worked on my weaknesses (working experience and career goals). I've found more powerful recommenders (general manager at the previous workplace and current supervisor). I've read a lot. I've met with people. As a result I wrote stronger essays (and expressed more commitment to the School).

If you really want to know the way... here it is: passion, hard work and a bit of luck.

Good luck to you too!

UPD: There's a very good article by Paul Graham: 'Two Kinds of Judgement'. I suppose it will give you courage for the next attempt :)