Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
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Stanford GSB | Ms. Future Tech Exec
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Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech
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Cornell Johnson | Mr. FinTech Startup
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UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
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Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
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Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
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Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
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Columbia | Mr. CPA
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Harvard | Mr. Health Clinic Founder
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A Londoner’s MBA: My First Month At LBS

London Business School sent 41% of its 2017 graduating class into the consulting profession. File photo

Nikki Gupta, originally from India, grew up in Saudi Arabia and London before starting her MBA at London Business School. She is a new recruit into the 2020 class and will be sharing snippets of her day to day on what it’s like to have a London MBA experience.

As I write this, I’m finishing my first month in London Business School’s MBA program. Looking back, I’m amazed at just how much I have done in four weeks. I have received some (shocking) results of my personality tests; worked on many assignments with my study group; participated all day business simulations playing an executive team member of a low cost carrier; and written my own eulogy.

Through all of this, I can’t help but reflect on experiences I could not have predicted before I started. This is a rundown of some of these realisations:

LBS AND LONDON ARE PERFECT TOGETHER

First, let me give you some context: I grew up in London. I went to school in the suburbs and did my undergraduate degree in central London. So I have a sense of what ticks Londoners off. LBS has struck me as a unique bubble of a world very different from those other segments of my London life. The difference comes along the dimension of people. In one day of classes at LBS, I meet far more nationalities than I would anywhere else in the city of London. All the stereotypes of Londoners being grumpy, reserved, and always in a rush do not apply to the day-to-day at LBS. Instead you get the perfect marriage – London’s location, influence and buzz combined with LBS’s warmth and almost refreshingly friendly presence.

I would urge future applicants to avoid making LBS synonymous with any unfavourable experiences they may have had in London. Don’t just judge London as a city; come to the LBS campus, speak to the students and even sample a lecture to see how LBS and London thrive together.

“GETTING TO KNOW YOURSELF” IS DELIBERATE AT LBS

I’ll be honest, I thought learning about yourself was one of those things all MBAs help you do by osmosis – not by instruction. In my first week, we were put through Global Leadership Assessment for Managers (the GLAM course). It was so much more human than it sounds. We each got results from our personality tests that showed us how much of each kind of trait we possess. While I expected some things – such as my high levels of anxiety – I was surprised by other results, such as high imagination and low openness. I could see how these scores manifested themselves in areas such how I contributed to my study group or why I felt less-than-confident sometimes.

Nikki Gupta

After the test, LBS gave us a gift: one-on-one sessions with executive coaches. 488 of us multiplied by thirty minutes with an executive coach each is a staggeringly expensive investment that LBS was making to help us grow. In my thirty minutes, I came away feeling understood and prepared. In three days I knew who I was, who I wanted to be, and how to get there.

LBS IS REALLY NOT ALL FINANCE AND CONSULTING

I want to defend LBS against this label. Yes, LBS excels in facilitating these career paths, but it is far from being exclusive to them. I don’t have ambitions to work in either area. I want to work in education technology – and I already have my next month booked up with peer leader sessions with alumni in technology, presentations from Amazon and Google and multiple coffees with experts who work minutes from the school at the offices of Microsoft and Pi-top. David Morris who heads up careers in technology, could barely fit the possibilities into his presentation to us. There was one common thread to his message: If you want to work in technology, London is the place to be. The sheer number of incubators, meetups, VCs, hackathons and workshops just minutes away from school mean you can literally get your foot through the door and ask for internships. If you are not looking at finance or consulting, my advice is to find alumni who have the job you want and ask them if their business school helped them get there. It’s a simple question and it was a big deciding factor for me.

All in all, it has been a great month. My sleep cycle is all over the place from the scattered timetable and self-inflicted late nights, I am already over on my entertainment budget for the month and my mattress has finally arrived. I start the fundamental courses this week and look forward to sharing more snippets in my next post.

Nikki is a former Math tutor and startup founder who is currently starting the MBA program at London Business School. Her startup was in Education Technology and after four tumultuous years, she wants to use the MBA gain some big business perspective. Having been self employed her whole life, she wants to work as a Product Manager in EdTech post MBA. 

DON’T MISS: A LONDONER’S MBA: ANGST & ACHIEVEMENT ON ORIENTATION WEEK