Meet London Business School’s Class of 2019

Sammy Ofer Centre


One of LBS’ signatures has been its flexibility. Although LBS is considered a two-year program, students can complete it in 15, 18, or 21 month increments – a major differentiator in a neighborhood where 1-year programs are the norm. Thanks to these options, says Álvarez García-Peñuela, students can pursue multiple internships or pursue part-time gigs during their second year, which benefits career switchers looking for additional experience.

In turn, David Simpson, Admissions Director for the MBA and Masters in Finance, believes such exit points also cater to students who can’t afford to stay for the full two year program. “Every student can choose what works best for them and can make the decision during the programme rather than being forced to choose before they begin,” he explains. “This is appealing to many students – those who are sponsored and wanted back by their companies before the full two years, those who find a job halfway through their second year and want to get a jump-start and those who wish to start or grow their own business as soon as possible.”

Not surprisingly, Simpson operates by a “one size does not fit all’ motto. He considers the program’s flexibility, together with its global outlook and London locale, to be the strengths that separate LBS from the pack. In an effort to make the program “more practical, rigorous, and relevant,” Simpson tells Poets&Quants that the program is building even more “pathways” and “choice” into the program


LBS Admissions Director David Simpson

“Students will now be able to customise their core studies to fit their sector-specific interests,” he explains. “The revised core includes new courses on digital strategy, and managing responsibly, while many others have also been added. Recruiters tell us that they need students who are comfortable with digital competencies and digital transformation, so we have developed a suite of courses around technology. Being in the heart of London, we thought it was vital to develop a new elective in FinTech, which should prove extremely popular.”

This transformation is being driven by MBA candidates, says Simpson. In recent years, they have been increasingly seeking out schools with expertise and activity in areas like technology, not-for-profit, and luxury retail. In addition, employers like Amazon and Google have pursued LBS students more heavily, requiring the school to further broaden their offerings. “Consulting and Finance remain strong areas for us,” he says, “but we are pleased to see further diversification and send our graduating classes to a wide variety of sectors.”

The school has also taken employer feedback to heart, which has resulted in the development of the London Core Application Practicum (CAP), a hands-on courses where first-years partner with a London-based business on a program. “We wanted our students to have a more integrated and practical learning experience,” Simpson explains. “[It] leverages our unique location to allow students to undertake a diverse set of projects, with a huge variety of organizations all around the city. London is, of course, a great location for multiple sectors including technology, finance, entrepreneurship and more. Students are therefore able to target a company or industry according to what they want to do.”

Still, the global dimension remains the centerpiece of the LBS program. This is embodied by the school’s Global Business Experiences (GBE) held during the second year, where students complete a week-long, theme-based trek in locales ranging from Johannesburg to Shenzhen. According to Simpson, the school recently added Myanmar as one of the seven destinations, tying the trip to the theme of addressing opportunities and risks in frontier markets. And Myanmar isn’t the only addition to the school’s global portfolio this year.

“We are developing the option to offer both a traditional semester international exchange programme and new shorter length exchange opportunities,” he adds, “giving more flexibility for the large proportion of the class who want to spend some of their time overseas to expand their network and global reach.”


The 2017-2018 school year also marks two critical debuts. The first the arrival of François Ortalo-Magné, its new dean on August 1st. The school also opened itsstately Sami Ofer Centre, a renovated town hall and library that will include seminar and office space, along with a lecture theater that can accommodate up to 200 guests. “This is incredibly important and will positively impact the students immensely,” Simpson notes. “We will have more space, new technology and the opportunity to grow our classes.”

In fact, the school intends to increase MBA class size by 60 students over the next two years, Simpson adds, a nod to the school’s increasing popularity as the MBA program celebrates its 50th anniversary during the school year. “We’re planning to make it a very special year across the school,” Simpson concludes, “with even more guest speakers, events and a new portfolio of scholarships. In summary, we’ll be celebrating the impact London Business School has had to date, while also looking forward to ensure we continue to have a profound impact on the way the world does business.”


If you’re looking for a city that shapes commerce and culture, London is hard to beat. In many circles, it has been given the moniker of the financial capital of the world, with every major financial institution maintaining a presence in the city. The same is true of three-quarters of all Fortune 500 firms, with London doubling as the headquarters for world class firms like Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC, and British Airways.

The city is flush with new money as well, with a startup scene that dwarfs most European peers. For example, 12 of Europe’s 17 billion dollar unicorn startups were launched from London, including Shazam and JustEat. Accelerators and incubators are also mushrooming across the city’s startup ecosystem. This includes the Google campus, which houses Seedcamp, where alumni average $1.5 million in VC funding.


For Haigh, who turned Brand Financing into a top three performer in their industry, staying in London to study and work was an easy call. “The location also means that LBS can easily attract some of the best guest lecturers in the world and forge connections with the capital’s businesses. At a practical level, it makes attending interviews, meeting up with mentors and undertaking internships a lot easier too.”

Morgan is one member of the 2019 Class who hopes to break into this ecosystem. For her, success would involve launching a startup during her first year. Adeyemi also plans to take the entrepreneurial route. “Success after my 1st year of business school would be forming deep, meaningful relationships and identifying people who share my passion for socially impactful entrepreneurship with whom I could potentially build a successful business, she says.

In contrast, Álvarez García-Peñuela, like many of his peers, is just hoping to figure out enough to know how to make even more of his second year. His vision of first year success: “Having grasped my core business knowledge and having spent a wonderful year, learning from my peers and helping them to thrive, I have just completed a great internship. I feel in my gut that things are going great and that I have found what I want to do.”


 To read profiles of 12 incoming London Business School students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Student Hometown Undergrad School Employer
 Dolapo Adeyemi  Irawo, Nigeria  University of Lagos  Grolightly Ltd
 Divya Babu  Johannesburg, South Africa  University of Cape Town  OMEM
 Brady Dearden  Princeton Junction, NJ  U.S. Military Academy  U.S. Army
 Amy Dobbin  Sydney, Australia  University of Sydney  Office of the Prime Minister
 Allie Fleder   Westfield, NJ  Columbia University  Americas Society/Council of the Americas
 Sergio Álvarez García-Peñuela  Madrid, Spain  Universidad Autonoma de  Madrid  Hospital Universitario La Paz
 Robert Haigh  London, University  Oxford University  Brand Finance
 Vishal Jha  Delhi, India  Indian Institute of Technology,  Roorkee  Schlumberger
 Amanda Morgan  New York, NY  Oxford University  SP Group
 Fabio Pucci  Napoli, Italy  University of Napoli  Francis Crick Institute
 Sherry Stolar  East Brunswick, NJ  Cornell University  Clif Bar & Company
 Dr. Claire Vassie   Fleet UK  Imperial College  Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Trust

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.