2017 CLASS DRAWN BY PROGRAM’S STRONG GLOBAL COMPOSITION
For many 2017 class members, the two-year program sold them on LBS. Peter Mackie, who already holds a master’s in international banking and finance, wanted more time to figure out the “best next step” for his career. “The second year will allow me the opportunity to undertake a couple of internships in different industry segments (having always worked in financial services) that will help my career prospects and allows me to really test whether the goals I have laid out will be right for me,” he explains.
LBS’ fusion of various nationalities – held together by a team-driven approach – also generated favorable reviews from incoming students. For Cuba’s Bartumeut, such an atmosphere was the best way for her to learn. “Reflecting on my business undergraduate years and my 3+ years at BCG, I learned the most through interactions with my peers, particularly those that came from very different backgrounds.” At the same time, Australia’s Sunderland bought into the global nature of the education. “In an increasingly interconnected world, I believe the opportunities and challenges of the future will be discovered and addressed by diverse groups working together to challenge the status quo,” Sunderland writes. “I chose London Business School because through its international diversity the school provides a platform for the kind of creative collaboration that will generate the perspectives and ideas that are needed for the 21st century.”
It takes time for students to adjust to this very different structure, however. “Nothing quite prepared me for the many nationalities, languages, professional backgrounds, life experiences, goals, and aspirations I encountered when I first met my classmates at the London Business School Admits Weekend,” acknowledges Gemma Doyle, an Essex-trained attorney who has worked in Paris and London. The silver lining, of course, is that students can practice what they learn, risk-free. “With language classes and so many international students, it should be easy to practice [my language skills],” Mackie points out.
As always, there is the lure of London for the ambitious and adventurous. How important is London to global commerce and finance? A 2014 Deloitte report looked at the 250 largest companies with a global or regional headquarters in Europe – and found that 40% were based in London. To put that in perspective, New York City was home to 25% of the largest firms headquartered in North America. With capital and investors galore – coupled with a burgeoning tech startup scene in East London and nearby Silicon Fen – London has emerged as a entrepreneur’s dream. “The city has always been a financial powerhouse, but now is home to a growing tech hub and entrepreneurial scene,” says Komaki Foster. “From a location perspective,” adds Israel’s Alon, “London, a vibrant European capital, is optimal because this is where I’d like to work post MBA. It’s also close to employers, making it that much easier to go to companies’ open days and to interview when time comes.”
CLASS TO FILL IN “BLANK PIECE OF PAPER”
As the 2017 Class gets down to business, each comes with their own hopes. Some are looking to build a network that “you could call in the middle of the night and discuss your burning issues” or share a meal no matter to what corner of the globe I’m travelling.” Others plan to fully capitalize on their experience. “Upon graduation,” Doyle vows, “I want to look back knowing I really made use of the proverbial blank piece of paper London Business School offered me.”
Some, like Tara Park, have set rather specific goals. An art junkie who worked as an administrator at Christie’s, Park wants her business training to inform her artistic tastes. “Historically speaking, the people who bought art were collectors who spent years developing an eye. Recently, however, the people buying (contemporary) art are more likely to be financiers who analyze the trends, understand the market and know how to structure their purchases in the most advantageous way possible. My goal is to develop a deeper understanding of the financial context that informs these decisions so that I can anticipate how this new breed of art buyer will behave.”
Barty Pleydell-Bouverie, a neuroscience Ph.D. who most recently worked for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, is already experiencing the push-pull that haunts so many business students. “I want to maintain a focus on my overall aim of African business development. At the same time I want to be open to new and exciting ideas. I want to meet smart and interesting people, but I don’t want to lose touch with my prior life. I want to intern as much as possible to experience a wide range of work environments, but not at the expense of my core curriculum. And I want to throw myself whole-hearted in school life while keeping my wife way out in front at the top of my priority list…Ultimately, I want to use these two years at London Business School to crystallize and consolidate a pragmatic way forward within the somewhat idealistic environment of aspiration that I have nurtured up to now.”
For the Class of 2017, one thing’s for sure: Their experience probably won’t go as planned. And they’ll be better for it, believes Tiiram Sunderland . “I am sure that in two years time, when I look back at my MBA programme, it will be the experiences I never expected that that will turn out to be my greatest discoveries and achievements.”
To read profiles of incoming London Business School students – along with their advice on tackling GMAT, applications, and interviews – click on the student links below.