DIVERSE COHORT REFLECTS LONDON’S COSMOPOLITAN ETHOS
The global nature of London Business School is also a major plus, despite some student apprehension over the recent Brexit vote. With no single nationality exceeding 15% of the class, an LBS classroom resembles the United Nations, where an array of backgrounds and viewpoints spur spirited and insightful discussions that examine issues from 30,000 feet down to the ground “Having lived overseas professionally multiple times,” explains Lew, “I deeply value the diversity of viewpoints and experiences for personal and professional growth.” For students looking to operate on the world stage, LBS is the perfect place to test their language skills and find peers who can act as guides and sounding boards. “This broad student base adds a unique perspective to every aspect of business school, in addition to creating a truly global alumni network,” Adlard says.
Alas, nationality isn’t the only form of diversity that students experience on the LBS campus. Aaron So, who worked in strategy for Australia’s largest supermarket chain, touted how inclusive the program was in many other areas too. “London Business School works hard to ensure a rich representation of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and age in its faculty and classes. I was particularly impressed by the school’s investment in this area with its Diversity Working Group, Diversity Annual Report, portfolio of scholarships and many student clubs such as Out in Business (LGBT), Women in Business and the Emerging Markets Club.”
In the end, London was often the deciding factor for many students. For one, the city can sometimes feel like the center of the business universe, with nearly three of every four Fortune 500 companies keeping a presence there. This makes the city a prime site to build relationships with target employers — with LBS’ proximity making it a quick trek for recruiters too. The city’s size and scope make it easy to find industry experts (not to mention potential sources of investment capital). London also offers several unexpected amenities too. “Many of my dream employers run their international operations out of London,” Solanke explains. “The time zone and distance are ideal for keeping in touch with my family and friends back in Nigeria; I can also easily maintain a lot of the business relationships I have made over the years (top management of African corporates are often in London for business or pleasure); and lastly, London is ideal for making short stay travels around Europe and elsewhere. For me, no other school ticked as many boxes as London Business School.”
Academically, the curriculum includes some unique wrinkles. One of the most popular is the Global Business Experience (GBE), where students travel abroad to absorb business practices in other countries and apply what they learned to various businesses. Like many well-heeled urban programs, LBS provides various programs catering to specialized student needs. “My passion and expertise is within the luxury retail sector,” explains McKlish. “Naturally I was drawn to LBS’ Walpole Luxury Management program, which offers unparalleled access to industry leaders, one-to-one mentoring and specialized training.”
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND IMPACT INVESTING GROWING INCREASINGLY ATTRACTIVE
The Class of 2018 arrives at the Regent’s Park campus with aspirations grander than a 10 word job or a six figure income. Instead, they are looking to channel their passions into helping others —and hoping b-school inspires a path. That is certainly true of Adlard, who lists health and fitness as his passions. “I’ve seen how life-changing it can be for someone when they improve their health and I want to bring this feeling to the people who suffer daily, yet unnecessarily, due to lifestyle related illnesses. I don’t yet know the best way to approach this challenge, but hopefully at LBS I will be able to pull inspiration from my classmates and teachers.”
McKlish hopes to make a similar impact on the investment and think take side by funding “new retail ventures which creates positive impact for how people consume and interact with brands.” Others, however, intend to direct their energies towards more local concerns. Galvez, for example, intends to strengthen the investment management industry in her native Peru by expanding services available there. At the same time, Stoneham is looking to “address the financial challenges faced by charities, governments and NGOs looking to expand their services to the disadvantaged and vulnerable or for environmental gains.”
According to Simpson, such ambitions have increasingly become the norm at LBS. “There is an increase in the number of people who want to start their own businesses. Social entrepreneurship and impact investing are now more commonly mentioned aspirations.”
When it comes to how they want to be remembered after two years at LBS, the Class of 2018 sound remarkably similar to their predecessors. Some carry modest, yet universal, aspirations. “I would like them to know me as someone who makes the most of each day, who is passionate and energetic, and who they would like to invite to a dinner party,” says Adlard. Others, like Solanke, are more specific in what they hope to achieve. “I would like my peers and current students to attest that through my leadership of the Africa Club, London Business School hosted undoubtedly the best ever Africa Business Summit in its history.” As with any class, LBS has its share of disruptors — the classmates who ultimately blaze a trail and leave the world better than they found it. “Many of us will walk into business school envisaging and dreaming of changing the world around us,” explains Dar. “Ultimately, I hope that my peers will come to think of me as someone who can genuinely implement such change.”
To read profiles of incoming London Business School students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.