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The time of goodbyes and welcomes

Summer is the time of changes in the world of admissions. On Friday 14 July we said goodbye to the MBA2017 class who had their official congregation ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London. It was a bitter sweet day. On one hand we celebrated the success of the MBA2017 class who have completed their MBA and are about to embark on new and exciting adventures all around the world; on the other hand we also had to send them our farewells as we’ll no longer bump into them on campus. We will definitely miss that! It’s been two years since we first welcomed the class on campus at their official Orientation day and it has been an incredible two years watching them go through their transformational MBA journey. This class has had a real positive impact on the LBS community and it is hard to only mention a few reasons why they are such a great bunch. BUT my two favorite highlights from this class has been its take on inclusion and diversity.

The Women in Business Club officially launched the Man-bassador scheme which aims to encourage both men and women to openly discuss issues regarding gender diversity. The scheme has created opportunities for all students to learn how to be a successful male ally, and promote the message of equality to fellow students. This very important initiative from the Women in Business Club will be carried over to this year’s presidents who are continuing to build bridges and include allies in the discussion. Speaking of diversity and inclusion, the MBA2017 class has also been instrumental in propelling the Out in Business Club. Their mission is to raise awareness of the LGBT+ community, promote diversity and facilitate interaction between its members and other LGBT+ business networks. Last year the club organised the biggest ever EurOut conference, attracting more than 200 students from 45 leading global business schools and universities and speakers from BCG (the event’s lead sponsor), McKinsey, Cisco, Google, KPMG, Telegraph Group and Mishcon de Reya just to name a few. It has been an incredible experience watching the Out in Business club grow both in size and presence (the intake of openly LGBT+ students at LBS has more than trebled since 2010) and I am confident that the club will continue to make a positive contribution not only to LBS, but to the wider community as well.

The MBA2017 class have of course been involved in many, many more activites and causes, and these are just a couple of my personal highlights. So while we say goodbye to an amazing class, we are also saying hello to a brand new MBA class,  something we in admissions are really excited about! We have been working with the new class since our first application deadline in September and in just a few weeks we welcome all 430 of them on campus. The new class will be as diverse as previous MBA classes, with students from over 70 different nationalities and of course from a variety of different professional backgrounds.

I was privileged to meet some of the new members of the MBA2019 class last month when I went to the annual Forte Foundation conference. At London Business School we invite our Forte Scholarship recipients to join the conference and this year we had four of our MBA2019 admits attending. Inspirational as always, this year the conference was hosted by Amazon in their home town of Seattle, Washington. Whether it was Amazon, the amazing line-up of speakers or the Forte Foundation’s amazing brand, this year’s conference ended up completely sold out! It was attended by more than 600 incoming or current MBA women from over 40 different schools in North America and Europe.  Four of those 600 attendees are starting their MBA at LBS in just a few weeks:

-          Sherry, a brand manager for Clif Bar in California and a wine enthusiast. Enthusiast is actually a real understatement, Sherry has not only worked in vineyards in Napa, she is also named after two wines…Sherry Rose. Sherry’s marketing experience will be extremely valuable for her classmates at LBS, but so will her experience in wine, particularly in the Wine and Spirits club!

- Neressa is a scientist at BioMarin Pharmaceiticals Inc, a biotechnology company which focuses on treatments for rare genetic diseases that mostly affect children. Neressa’s unique science background in a very male-dominated world will provide different perspectives to the classroom discussions. Neressa will bring a completely unique set of skills to her class.

-          Elsa, a finance major who started her career on the trading floor, but later moved into retail in merchandice planning at Macy’s in New York. She is also a keen football player which she will have plenty of opportunities to pursue in the UK.

And finally we were also joined by Shannon, a Boeing engineer specifically in charge of  designing the galleys on 737 air crafts. As part of my trip to Seattle I went to visit Boeing and now fully appreciate the immense complexity of Shannon’s work in designing and building air crafts. So there they are, four women from the MBA2019 class at London Business School each bringing a unique and diverse perspective to their new community. As part of my job I have read most of the applications from the new class and I can tell you that Sherry, Neressa, Elsa and Shannon will be joining a great group of unique and diverse individuals.

So while we were sad to say goodbye to the MBA2017s we also celebrated their achievements and we look forward to welcome the new group of MBAs who are all keen to make an impact on the LBS community.

Forte Conference - fellows