Friday, 20 January 2017

It's Recruitment Season!

Happy new year folks! I can't believe it's already 2017. So since my last post last month, I had the joy of finishing exams, spending an awesome week on the ski trek (great skiing in Val Thorens and partying!) and travelling to Iceland and Ireland over December. Oh and catching up on sleep - precious sleep that is now back to being a distant memory.

Like most other MBAs planning on trying consulting for the summer, I meant to do some work on cover letters over the holidays....but didn't. So my 2017 started with churning out cover letters. McKinsey, AT Kearney and Strategy& have their applications due the first week of January. Bain and BCG and others follow only a couple of days later. During this time, as expected, Careers Centre was especially crowded. You had to come an hour before a drop-in session at least, if you wanted any chance of seeing a consulting or finance sector coach. Actually, this is probably still the case since we're still in the thick of structured recruitment season.

The last couple of weeks have been filled with writing and re-writing cover letters and CVs, formal recruitment and networking events, invitation-only recuitment events (breakfast for BCG, dinner for Bain) and applications. Through it all, for those of us recruiting for consulting, case practice after case practice and fit interview practice.

Great sources of people to practice cases with:

  • Consulting peer leaders (PLPs) through careers centre - these are MBAs who are sponsored consultants and those who interned in consulting last summer
  • LBS Rugby Club - if you still need a reason to join, this would be a big one! The Rugby Club assigned mentors to members according to what you were recruiting for and provides sessions where you can do interview practice for your particular recruitment sector with second years
  • LBS Women in Business Club (men totally welcome!) - similarly, WIB assigns second year mentors for what you're recruiting in to help you through the entire process
  • Consultant classmates
  • Friends who are recruiting for consulting as well

MBB also offers one-on-one coaching sessions if you get shortlisted for Round 1 interviews. I have never in my life prepared so much for interviews before!

This week is Round 1 interview week, which kicked off as early as Monday depending on which office people were recruiting for. Everyone seems to be in a suit practically daily! Thankfully classes this term have so far been very cruisey so 100% focus is on recruiting. Corporates with structured programs have applications due next week so the cycle continues (until offers are in the bag)!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Crazy Rush to the End of Term 1

It's completely insane how Term 1 is already over. We have 3 exams to do over this weekend and then that's it. This week has been a crazy whirl of final classes, exam tutorials, final assignments (strategy assignments are pretty killer), more recruiting events, study, study....study.

It has been an exhilarating, stressful, fun, frustrating, exciting, tiring and 1000% intense term. I confess to being just a little bit sad (but also very relieved) that it's over. Apparently from here on it geets easier and easier. Though next term is summer recruiting term which is a totally different kind of stress. There is already a sense of pressure and urgency as Career Centre sends out email after email announcing summer internship postings, Corporate Partner Week event signups, reminders to go see them, interview and application advice. Though really January 8th is not that far away.

On a happier note the famous LBS annual Snow Trek is right after the exams - this coming Monday! 120 of us heading to France - it'll be a real riot. Fun events include an ugly sweater competition (though I haven't had time to acquire one), and er...animal onesies? I'm fully expecting drama, scandal, and loads of partying (and skiing)!

Now to get over these pesky exams...

Monday, 28 November 2016

Consulting Recruitment Opportunities at LBS

So Round 1 results are out for the LBS Class of 2019 so congrats to all the new LBS MBA Admits - you made it!!! If you decide to go ahead with an MBA at LBS, it will be the start of one of the most challenging, intense, fun and exhilarating periods of your life.

That said since I've had a few PMs regarding school choice from admits, I thought I should perhaps do a quick post primarily for those who are looking at doing consulting post-MBA and aren't sure if LBS is a good choice - which is where I was last year, having to decide between LBS and INSEAD (see previous post about this here).

I'd like to say that thanks to the great folks on the GMAT Club forums, I made the right decision in deciding on where to go by looking at location first. I want to work in London post MBA, not Singapore or France, and if so, picking London was definitely the right thing to do.

The London offices of big consulting firms do a lot of activity on campus at LBS - and I seriously mean a lot. It's not just the "official" events through Careers Services, but they do many "unofficial" events through the clubs at LBS e.g. Women in Business Club, Healthcare Club, Military in Business Club, Rugby Clubs. For instance just next week alone I have 5 McKinsey events on campus - comprising of 3 coffee chats, and 2 interview training sessions. Plus a Bain coffee chat and a Strategy& offsite event.

Before the start of the MBA and early in August I had already been to events at both Bain and BCG's offices (BCG is walking distance to LBS btw!). Since then there have been numerous meetings with BCG, Bain, AT Kearney, Strategy& and Roland Berger, just to name a few. When BCG told us "you'll see us so often you'll get sick of us" at the very beginning - they meant it. What does this mean? It means that you'll get to know the London office of the consulting firms very well - excellent if you wish to work in the London office post-MBA, not so good if you wish to work at other offices.

That's not to say that you can't get a spot in the London office if you were to attend another school, but I'd say it definitely looks like you're in a more advantageous position being at LBS. And in fact, the largest proportion of summer interns and full-time hires at the London office are from LBS. Contrast this to the consulting firms in Singapore where the larger proportion are INSEAD alums.

Additionally, since LBS has a 15-21 month program, it means an opportunity for an internship. Since entering the MBA and having talked to a lot of people, attended a lot of different events etc, I am no longer 100% certain I want to do consulting post-MBA. In fact, you'll find that those who know that they definitely want to do a certain job post-MBA are very rare - everyone will change their minds 100+ times over first term. Hence the opportunity to do an internship in consulting and test out your future job is a pretty handy thing to be able to do - which of course you can't get with a 1 year program.

Lastly, there's also the visa issue to consider. While firms are fine with sponsoring full-time visas, getting a visa to work in a country where you don't already have one just for an internship is challenging. It's why unless you already have the rights to work in the US, if you want to intern in the US or work in the US post-MBA, don't do your MBA at LBS. Most firms will not sponsor you for internships - go do your MBA in the US instead.

To sum up my advice to MBA Admits: if you want to work in London, definitely pick LBS for the highest exposure to London offices.

On a completely separate note, I'm absolutely buzzing from the LBS annual hackathon - HackLBS. It was an amazing experience, especially if you've never participated in a hackathon before. I actually pitched an idea, managed to get through the first round, formed a team (got lucky with amazing team members), created a working prototype app and pitched again in the final. I've learnt so many things on leadership, time management, teamwork and presentation this weekend and had a blast doing so. Perhaps if I do find some time, I might do a separate blog post.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Where Has Time Gone? 10 Things I've Learnt in the Last 4 Months

Most MBA blogs tend to have lots of content at the start and then generally fade out in the middle. Now being 4 months into the MBA, I find myself and this blog in the same state. In short, life as an MBA student is so full-on you really don't get a chance to write. I've composed probably 20 or so half-posts in my head on my way to classes, events etc, but none of them have actually made it into proper posts. At the end of the day, you're just so exhausted from juggling everything that blogging gets bumped way down the priority list.

I briefly considered back-posting some of the more interesting things that happened in the last 4 months, but honestly, I doubt these'll see the light of day. So here are 10 things I learnt in the last 4 months:

  1. On Intensity
    You might have thought your previous job was intense, but MBA life is astonishingly more exhausting than you think. There is never enough time to sleep so if you get the opportunity to, take it.
  2. On Priorities
    You need to constantly assess your priorities because b-school really really makes you choose and make tough choices everyday - all cool/interesting/fun/important events can and will happen at the same time. Not used to making tough choices? Tough luck.
  3. On Study Groups
    You might get along really well on a personal level with your study group, but find conflict in working styles. Managing relationships within your study group tends to get more challenging over time - especially when there are 3 group assignments due concurrently. 
  4. On Careers
    The more you talk to other people about careers and what they want to do, the more you're going to end up questioning what you want to do - expect to be completely confused. Rest assured though, majority of folks are feeling exactly the same way
  5. On Classmates
    You will meet people whom you'll wonder why or how they even got into a top b-school - every community has got to have black sheep right? But majority of those you meet are really nice people - at least at LBS :) - so don't let the bad apples get to you
  6. On Assignments
    While it's ideal to do all assignments as a study group, realistically it is far easier to divide and conquer. Most groups tend to go all out on the first few group assignments and then you end up settling into a divide and conquer rhythm.
  7. On Grades
    Yes, everyone knows that grades don't really matter in b-school, but it's hard to keep from trying to maintain at least decent grades. Unfortunately, while the school makes it easy not to fail, it is tough to get good grades without putting in far more effort than it may possibly be worth. Again, priorities. At least in our MBA class, this is a great challenge for most - letting go. And at LBS, expect to do not that great in Strategy.
  8. On Exams
    Mid-terms will sneak up on you before you know it, and so will finals - it feels like we just finished mid-terms yesterday and yet in 3 weeks we have our first final at LBS. Honestly, tie just flies by when you're living from one class/assignment/event to another.
  9. On Treks
    It's definitely worth going for as many as you can - be they social or career-specific. You learn a lot about your fellow classmates during treks. Be warned though that there isn't unlimited space for some of these treks so you need to be quick (e.g. the Snow Trek sold out in under 5mins). Also, the career treks will require you writing applications for them, so it's not just a matter of putting your name down. The treks do mean you will have to plan ahead in terms of scheduling for classes, finding time to do your group and individual assignments, other commitments and studying for exams.
  10. On Entrepreneurship
    The biggest different between entrepreneurs and "wantrepreneurs" is what you actually do about making things happen. Entrepreneurship is trending currently, but reality is not as glamourous. B-school and entrepreneurship do not actually co-exist harmoniously, simply because life as an MBA student eats away at so much precious time that you could spend working on your start-up. As such, if you're a true entrepreneur it might be a good idea to evaluate if b-school is really the right place to be for you.

Monday, 12 September 2016

And so Term 1 Begins

Term 1 has begun. If you're confused, wondering what my post on the last 2 official weeks was, that was pre-term. What that means is that the school is now more crowded with not just MBAs and MiFs, but also the MiMs, MFAs and EMBAs.

It also means that more of the "real" classes are starting. While my schedule doesn't look as full as it was say 2 weeks ago, it's deceptive. There's now more time needed to allocate to doing pre-class preparations, assignments etc. In between that, there are tons of events from Careers. Most of these are currently exploratory events so you can find out more about the various industries. If you're not sure what you want to do post-MBA, I definitely recommend signing up for all these Working In... workshops.

Then there're all the club kick-offs happening. These are where you find out about the various clubs, their activities and what leadership positions are opened. Here your prioritisation skills are definitely put to the test because you'll have several clubs kicking off concurently. Since you can't be at two places at once, you need to decide which one you would actually be interested in playing an active role in.

Elections for various leadership positions have also begun. Stream rep voting ended last week and elections and applications have opened for the Student Association and several clubs. If you think about it, it was only about 4 weeks ago that we began the program so it's really early. I'm finding that things happen very fast here - life as an LBS MBA student might even be faster than working in FMCG ;)