Sunday, 17 January 2016

Dipping a Foot Into Finance & Accounting

For those of us who don't come from finance or accounting backgrounds, the general consensus from alumni and current students is that some pre-MBA prep would be highly beneficial. I can appreciate that, being an over-achiever. After all, I know I would really hate to be the "last" in class when it comes to the finance and accounting core courses.

MOOCs are perfect for this, being free, taught by renowed educational institutions, and entirely flexible. So I've embarked on Introduction to Corporate Finance and Introduction to Financial Accounting on Coursera, taught by Wharton professors. Definitely highly recommended as I now know about the time value of money, annuities, NPV and some of the financial jargon that you would definitely come across in core courses.

In fact, INSEAD recommends doing such courses on Coursera pre-MBA and looking at the content of their 1 week pre-MBA Business Foundations course (€1,800 extra), they cover pretty much the same material for the Finance and Accounting sections. I've also heard that London Business School offers pre-MBA prep quant courses sometime in March, much like INSEAD's Business Foundations course, except that it's online and self-study. So I've figured I might as well get a head start and later when LBS does offer their course, it'll serve as a refresher.

On a side note, Coursera, I'm finding, is a little bit like falling down the rabbit hole. For avid learners it's a gold mine of pretty well-delivered business knowledge and I keep finding more courses I'd like to take. Alas there are only 24 hours in a day and I do still have to work for a living :) That said, I'm going to attempt to try and absorb as much knowledge as I can by July when I move over to London!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

It's Decided

After oscillating between INSEAD and London Business School, I've finally decided to accept my offer to LBS.

It was by no means an easy decision given that they're both elite schools, and my post-MBA goals involve the field that INSEAD is strong in (consulting) in the location that LBS is strong in (London). It came down to evaluating which would give me the highest chances of attaining my post-MBA goal: switching to consulting in London. After all, the whole purpose of a MBA is to help you achieve your future career goals.

For those in the tough position of having been accepted to both LBS and INSEAD like me (now and in future), I found that hearing why people made the school decisions they did helps. So here's why I ended up deciding on LBS:

  1. I'm planning on switching job function, location and industry, which is said to be doable in 10 months for consulting, but is definitely a stretch. Hence, it seemed less risky to give myself more time for job hunting with LBS's longer program and there's the added benefit of being able to better absorb the information that I'm sure to be overloaded with.
  2. Networking is very important in business, and is certainly far more effective when you're actually living in the same city and can meet face-to-face. Plus, based on my experience, there's nothing like local immersion to actually understand the local culture and markets, which would allow me to gel more quickly with my future colleagues in London. Hence, I felt I had to be in London itself.
  3. Looking at INSEAD's placements in consulting, in particular Bain, their students are distributed over various offices around the world, whereas for LBS most went to the London office. This information was gathered from the Bain careers site which showed how many interns Bain took from each school and which office the intern went to. Sample sizes are small but it did give a bit of an idea how each school differed.
  4. mfprado1073 did a rough calculation for me here which showed that my chances of getting into consulting in London were higher with LBS than INSEAD.
  5. I like the internship "try before you buy" concept. I've been researching quite a bit about consulting and while I think I know what to expect, I might wind up really not liking the lifestyle. No better way to find out than actually doing it, which I'd be able to do at LBS.
  6. I like the people from INSEAD whom I've met and the INSEAD network is certainly outstanding, but that just means finding a way to tap into that network by making sure I keep in contact with all these INSEAD alumni :)

I'd like to credit the people I've met through the GMAT Club forums as their views definitely helped make my decision.

Anyway what this means going forward is that this blog is going to revolve around life as an MBA student at LBS :) Class of 2018 here I come!