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.