I worked in consulting before business school, and the choice to do an MBA was very much my own. I wanted time to reassess my priorities, to fill the gaps in my learning in areas like marketing and organisational behaviour, and to immerse myself with a group of diverse people. London Business School offered all this, and time out of the workplace seemed a small price to pay.
I had already transferred to London within my company’s Global Mobility Programme. I love living here – it is one of the true global capitals, and location was one factor which made choosing London Business School so easy. Secondly, the MBA, and indeed the entire campus, is an eclectic community with people attending from all over the world. In consulting, people tend to have similar profiles and I wanted the chance to work in a more multi-faceted environment. Most importantly, perhaps, the alumni I spoke with during my decision process simply lit up when they talked about the School. Their passion and enthusiasm was infectious, so much so that I felt part of the place before I even started the programme.
The diversity that was promised has been fulfilled in so many ways. My study group alone included an American ex-professional footballer; a South Korean who worked as telecoms director for his family business; an Indian entrepreneur working with NGOs and charities; a British real estate consultant; a Venezuelan consultant; and a Portuguese media professional from the fixed telecoms / TV sector. Working together with people from so many different backgrounds was a huge learning curve. After initially trying to do everything together, we quickly realised it was imperative to build trust and split the work. We gave each project to someone less experienced in the subject area, and got somebody more experienced to review it. It was a very effective support system, and it freed up time for all our extra-curricular involvements.
Interacting with so many different people meant I had to find my own distinct leadership style. In such an environment you quickly learn how to influence people and get your opinion heard. I’m now more confident and assertive – something which my friends have pointed out. Getting involved around campus was a wonderful way to try out emerging leadership skills in a relatively safe environment. In addition to representing the School as a Student Ambassador I was also involved in the Portugal club, in communications and marketing for a newly emerging Photography club, and on the organising committee for Tattoo – a massive annual event which celebrates the School’s diversity.
LBS opens up so many opportunities that one never ceases to wonder what impact it will have in the world. The people, the community and the diversity of London Business School never fails to surprise me; this is a place where I learnt much more than I ever expected.