Posts by Jamie
Diversity is good for business, this much we know. Studies have shown that companies which embrace diversity have better performance, both human and financial. Seems like a no-brainer, right? In thinking about gender diversity, why is it then that we have yet to see an equal number of men and women in the boardroom, or the pay gap narrowing? There is no question that there’s work to be done to make this happen, and business schools are in a position to do so. My colleague Stephanie Thrane’s recent blog post Why we need more women in business schools sums up our role well: “As a top business school we are educating future global leaders. Leaders of large international organisations who will go on to shape the business of the future. The more women who go on to graduate from business schools the more women we are able to promote into leadership roles. The more women we have in leadership roles the more opportunities we have to change outdated c-suite norms, in-equality in pay, maternity leave policies and the list goes on.”
So, how as a business school can we help to build this pipeline? London Business School continues to take steps to ensure equal representation of women within the community, with initiatives including increasing the proportion of applications from female faculty shortlisted for interview for untenured positions, encouraging female applicants to apply through initiatives with the Women in Business Club and also enhanced scholarships, easier identification of classroom case studies with female protagonists, and through covering equality and diversity from day one in the classroom at Orientation.
It’s vital that professionals from all backgrounds and demographics engage in the conversation of gender equality, and this is a conversation in which both men and women need to be involved – they each make-up half of the world’s population, so makes sense that each is at the table. We need to discuss how gender, and the stereotyping and bias which may come along with it, affects the way in which we work, and how our perceptions of gender may positively and negatively affect our organisations.
And it’s not just professionals who should be taking into account these considerations. In thinking about the pipeline it’s vital that students are also engaged in this discussion. In this post, MiM2017 Lola Wajskop shares her experience in looking at the issue of gender equality in the classroom:
Diversity matters. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: building and nurturing diverse teams – both in universities and in the workplace – is not only the right thing to do, it also makes business sense. I’ve been passionate about gender diversity specifically ever since I read Lean In, the first book of Sheryl Sandberg (if you haven’t read it: I strongly recommend it!). The book opened my eyes to many issues related to gender equality. Over the past few years I’ve focused on the issue of women in engineering and tech and decided to take action: before joining LBS, I launched “Yes She Can” with my friend Lola, an initiative aimed at attracting more female students into STEM education.
When I decided to pursue a second masters, I carefully studied the “MiM landscape”, considering which business school should I apply to? London Business School was my absolute first choice: the school had a stellar academic reputation, but I was even more attracted by its effort to build a community as diverse as possible. The school really understands that the quality of our experience is proportional to the level of diversity in the classroom – whether nationalities, backgrounds, aspirations or gender.
I strongly believe that business schools, and especially LBS, are major players in the fight for gender equality. The reason is simple: if we joined the MiM programme, it is because at some point in the near future we would like to manage – manage organisations, manage people, manage countries (who knows?!). This makes it very likely that a significant part of the class will aim for leadership positions during their careers. If business schools foster a culture and a community where gender equality is a high priority, where people understand and talk about why diversity matters in the workplace, it is likely that these same people – my friends – will actively seek to recreate a similar culture in the organisations that they join or create. Basically, we’ll leave the world in a better place than we found it. And LBS definitely aims to do just that.
Gender parity is a top priority at the faculty level (where I know it is a topic that is researched thoroughly), and on the student side, too. As an example, I was attending last week the annual “Multiple:X” conference of the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. When I got there, I was shocked by the small number of women attending – the room was largely dominated by men, perhaps not surprising knowing that finance is one of those fields that is dominated by men. But then I realised that the students organising the event actively tried to promote equality and get women engaged in the event:
(1) the speakers and panellists included women – and I was very pleased to hear from most of my friends attending that their one favourite speaker was a woman, Zeina Bain, Managing Director at the Carlyle Group;
(2) there was a panel dedicated entirely to gender diversity in the workplace,
(3) there was a good mix of male and female presenters represented, including my friends Stefan and Rachel, and they both did an incredible job at keeping the day going. This is just one example, but it truly represents what the school and its community stands for: we actively look to make a difference, as often as we can.
Another example would be the ManBassador programme. Born within the Women in Business Club, ManBassadors are a group of male students who actively pledge to support the gender equality cause. It is one of my favourite initiatives at LBS – how can a conversation about gender be useful if only women are taking part in it? My friend Jake organised a ManBassador lunch a few weeks ago, during which about 15 MiM students – men and women – discussed gender parity issues and shared experiences about. I loved it. My male friends were listening carefully, sometimes surprised by what we were telling them, sometimes angry to realise that women had to face such adversity. They shared their experiences and how gender roles are viewed in their home countries. It was an eye-opening conversation for many, and definitely a valuable experience for everyone who was there.
Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the incredible support of my female friends here at LBS. We know that women are stronger when they support each other, and I truly learned the importance of this support during this year. My friend Sara, for example, who is doing the Masters in Financial Analysis, is my #1 fan. When I have interviews, she jumps for joy. When I had my first job offers, she kept on telling me how proud she was and how much I deserved it. Having a strong group of strong women supporting each other is one of these things that I got from LBS and that will (hopefully) follow me during the rest of my life, and it’s a pretty invaluable gift.
My last point would be that LBS is an excellent platform for you to experiment and train yourself for your future career. Try, practice and jump on every occasion to build your self-confidence. Not a big fan of public speaking? Stretch yourself and share your point of view in class. Never liked taking the lead in a group? Go and take ownership of as many projects as you can in your study group. You’re here to learn, fail (sometimes) and progress (always). This is your chance to build the best version of yourself: when you leave LBS, it will be with confidence and with a crowd of incredible women cheering on you.
See more about Women at LBS
Last week I joined our MiM2015s in a seminar run by our Careers Team about reinvigorating your job search. This session included discussion around how students can tailor their job search, finding roles which match with their interests and skills, and how to put themselves forward as the best individuals for the job. During the session, we also had the chance to hear from a panel of MiM alumni who shared what their job search journeys looked when they were students on the MiM.
As I sat in the lecture theatre taking in the helpful tips and advice, I started to ask myself: is the journey to a job much different to the journey to postgraduate studies? I found there are some similarities in considerations to take regardless of whether you’re applying for a place in the MiM or a spot in a graduate scheme at a multinational company:
- Be sure: is this the right decision for you? We’ve spoken before in this blog about the importance of conducting your research and due diligence prior to applying. You’ll be making both time and financial commitments in pursuing your graduate studies. You need to be sure you’ll be doing so in the place that’s the best fit for you and will allow you to achieve your goals. Both admissions teams and recruiters will be able to see, through your application essays or personal statements and eventually interview, whether you feel the school or company you’re applying to is your number one priority. If not, they may ask themselves why you are applying for something you’re only 50% sure about, and why should they care if you don’t seem to? So make sure you do your research to ensure this is the right decision for you, and in doing so:
- Ask: dig in and ask questions. Take the time to speak with members of the school or work communities you’re looking to join. There are many opportunities to engage with members of the MiM community, be it with a Student Ambassador over email, an Admissions Team regional manager via an online webinar, or an alumnus/a at an information session. Use the knowledge gained through these discussions to gain a valuable insight into what the student experience is like or what the Admissions Team is looking for in candidates. Then when you apply:
- Do: more than just regurgitate facts. Yes, we want to see that you’ve researched the programme and School, as this demonstrates your motivation and genuine interest to join us, but we don’t want to see that you’ve just read the brochure or website. While there may be many applicants who want to join a certain professional club or run for a particular class representative role, what do these positions mean to you and how will you contribute? If you’ve studied business already, why continue with a second degree? If you come from a non-business background, how will the curriculum support your transition into the business world? Just as recruiters will want, admissions teams want to see that you don’t just know the facts about the programme or School, but that you’ve taken the time to go a layer deeper to explore what the potential offerings mean to you. So ensure that you illustrate this motivation and:
- Think: what can you do to maximise your chances? Whether you are applying for graduate studies or a job, you are one of many candidates. This is a hard truth but a truth nonetheless. As such, you want to make sure you stand out and put your best foot forward. Review the eligibility requirements – do you meet these? If so, from what you know through your discussions with a school’s admissions team or company’s HR representatives, what are they looking for beyond this? Are there particular qualities or soft skills that may help you to pass through the application review stage to interview? Once you do and are selected to join this face-to-face conversation:
- Prove: what you’re capable of and tailor your pitch. Use real life examples to prove that you have the technical and soft skills the school or company is looking for. Share your successes and, if appropriate, your failures to illustrate what you’ve learned from your experiences thus far and how those learnings will support your ability to succeed in either the classroom or the workplace. Don’t forget to tailor your pitch; whether in person or written in an application, ensure that you are conveying your passion and motivation to join that particular school or company and how your skills and personality are right for the seat or role.
Above all else:
- Showcase: your authentic self. Throughout the admissions process, we are looking to understand who you are as an individual and how you will fit in with our community. What do you have to gain? What do you have to contribute? While there are many applicants looking to join the MiM to support their professional ambitions, what they want to achieve, and how they plan to achieve this, very much differs person to person. We don’t want to hear that you’re interested in a particular industry or company because that’s what you think we want to hear. We’re more interested in understanding your passions and what drives you, and what makes you, well, you!
So if you’re thinking of applying to join the MiM or Global MiM, take the time to do your research, tailor your application, and illustrate you have skills we’re looking to bring into the classroom. And perhaps next year you’ll be meeting with our Careers Team to discuss your recruitment strategy and finding the best job for you.
Like many of you reading this blog hope to be, once upon a time I was an international student studying in London. Being a student in England, and indeed any new country, can be a life-changing experience. As I sit here today on my East Coast train on the way to Durham University (to meet with prospective applicants), I am reminded of my time here as a student discovering my new environment.
If you have applied or followed any LBS news, you will know the School has five key values that we hope will guide students, faculty and staff in everything that we do. Values extend beyond LBS, and to understand, and hopefully appreciate, the culture you live in, you must understand its values. My colleague Lisa wrote in her recent blog post that it’s common to enter into a new environment with expectations, and possibly prejudices, of what the people, food and culture will be like. While these pre-conceived notions may or may not prove to be truthful for you, as a student in a foreign country it’s important, and really a responsibility, that you take the time to discover this for yourself.
As you start to explore your life as a student at London Business School you will soon realise there is A LOT to do in London! I’ve been living here for nearly six years and there are still cities, landmarks, museums, restaurants and so much more that I have yet to experience and see. With all of the offerings that London provides we sometimes forget as visitors to this great city that there is so much outside of our postcode of NW1, and indeed an entire country to explore.
As you consider applying for postgraduate studies, take the time to think about not just the city but the country you are moving to. Yes, London is a unique and interesting place to live, but it is not representative of the entire United Kingdom, just as New York City is not of the United States or Paris the whole of France. To understand the UK – its history, its people and its values – it is important that you go beyond our Baker Street campus and explore what make this country different to probably many places that you to have been to before.
You may even be surprised by what you find!
If you are planning to apply for the Masters in Management you will notice that an interview is required for anyone who may eventually be accepted to the programme. Why do we interview? It is important that we have a good understanding of who we would like to see enter the MiM classroom; we are interested in seeing candidates who are keen to learn from those around them, and willing to share their experiences and expertise. In addition to understanding how you may fit, the interview is also a time for us to probe questions that may have been raised during the initial application review; for example, is the candidate truly motivated to study at LBS? Do they have realistic expectations of how we can support their professional and/or personal development? While we do get a glimpse of this in the application, the interview is really the opportunity for us to see whether what’s written on paper jumps off in person, and whether the candidate is right for the MiM.
Whether you’re interviewing for a master’s programme or a job, interviewing can be a nerve-racking prospect. But it doesn’t have to be. While being in the somewhat artificial environment of an interview (how often in your everyday life are you required to describe yourself or answer hypothetical questions?) can cause concern in many candidates, there are ways that you can minimise this stress.
Interviewing is certainly an art, one which you will develop as you advance in your career. How can you begin to sculpt your interview technique? Here are few suggestions:
- Know your pitch: you are at the interview to sell yourself – your experiences, passions, motivations – and to confirm to the interviewer that you are the best candidate for either the programme or job. You know yourself best, so don’t be afraid to shine! If interviewing for the MiM you should ensure that you re-read your application as you will be probed on examples you have written, so be sure to brush up as you may not have looked at your application since submitting it. But make sure that you don’t repeat the examples you wrote in the application verbatim; think of new stories and relevant experiences that you can share.
- Know who you’re pitching to: while you don’t need to know your interviewer’s entire life journey from LinkedIn, ensure that you have a good understanding of who is interviewing you – what is their profile, why might they be interviewing you – particularly if you are interviewed by a member of our alumni community. Some research will also allow you to prepare insightful questions, which your interviewer will be expecting. If you don’t know who will be interviewing you, feel free to ask.
- Show your interest: make sure you do your research. You should know about the school and programme you are applying to. From what you know about the MiM curriculum and structure how it will support your academic and career development? How do you hope to get involved with the campus community? Be sure to demonstrate that you are keen, and that this is the place for you.
- Consider possible answers in advance: depending on the industry and company you’re applying for, chances are your interviewer will want to know about how you will fit in within their environment, and whether you have the intellect to contribute and succeed. If interviewing for the MiM you can expect to be probed on your past experiences, and how learnings from those experiences would support situations you may encounter in the classroom. While you cannot guess every question you may be asked as our interviewers adapt their questions to the candidate, you can come prepared to discuss how you can use your academic, extra-curricular and any professional experience to support your MiM experience, and possible situations you may encounter in business school. And while you should be prepared, don’t rehearse the exact answers. Listen to the questions you are being asked and adapt your ideas and answers to the question.
- Ask questions: what concerns do you have, if any? It is fine to voice concerns or any questions you may have, your interviewer will be expecting it and the one hour you have together will be the perfect opportunity to get all of your questions answered before receiving a final decision.
And don’t forget, while you may not feel confident on the inside, you know yourself best and why you have applied for that programme or job – don’t be afraid to let it show!
Your CV, the written elevator pitch. Trying to sell your achievements, experience and skill-set on one piece of paper can be challenging, and whether you’re submitting your CV for a postgraduate degree or job application, it’s important to understand how you can best promote yourself as the best candidate.
The Masters in Management team review hundreds of CVs each year from prospective students and applicants and we have seen it all – CVs with poems, CVs with quotes, CVs with too much personal information, a bad example of this is including irrelevant information such as blood type. You should share information that will allow the reader to have a better insight into who you are, and what you can offer.
If you’re currently preparing your CV to submit for an eligibility assessment or for your application and want to know what we look for (and what we don’t), here are a few tips to consider:
- Keep it concise. Your CV should serve as an experience highlights piece. If included in your application we’ll see your transcripts, and your CV should highlight your degree title and major/minor and also overall grades. You should aim to keep it limited to one page, two at the very max. Unless you’ve had 20 years of experience you shouldn’t need any more space than that!
- Keep it current. We’re interested in understanding your undergraduate career to date, so it is unnecessary to include any positions held before your first year of your undergraduate studies.
- Keep it accurate. Avoid misleading the reader. If you were selected to participate in a case competition but didn’t in the end, make it clear. Likewise if you participated in a one week company insight programme, make evident the beginning and end dates, so that it is clear to the reader.
- Keep it gap free. If you graduated six months ago but don’t tell us what you’ve been doing since, we’ll wonder why you’ve not been using the time to further yourself personally or professionally. You don’t want for the reader of your CV to have more questions than answers by the time they get to the bottom of the page, so make sure you you’ve accounted for your whereabouts.
I hope these few tips will help as you look to prepare your CV. And don’t forget, you can always submit your CV if you have any questions about your eligibility, or whether this is the right programme for you.
In last week’s post, my colleague Nicoleta provided an insight into the types of candidates we look for on the Masters in Management. So now that you have identified yourself as a good fit, you may think that you should apply straight away. While this is one option, deciding whether you intend to pursue your postgraduate studies is a big decision and a big commitment. As such, you’ll want to take time to carry out a proper ‘RDRP’ –that is Research, Discussion, Reflection, and Preparation. What does this mean? Let me walk you through each stage step by step.
By following our Admissions Blog and reviewing the advice given by our Admissions Teams you have already made a great first step in your London Business School and MiM research. But by no means should you start and end your research here.
Now I am going to say something which may surprise you but do ensure that you research other schools and programmes. You need to be able to compare curriculums, campuses, faculty, student bodies, and so much more in order to understand whether you may be a good fit for them and them a good fit for you. A few things to think about:
Visit each campus – is it an environment that will allow you to learn and thrive in? If you can’t travel to visit campus, does the school or programme offer online information sessions or virtual tours?
Reach out to students and alumni – what did they value most from their experience? Was their experience similar to what you’re looking for?
Examine the programme structure – does the curriculum focus on theoretical, practical or applied tuition, or a combination? Do the faculty have experience in academia and the external business environment? Is that important to you?
Consider the network – do you want to have an international career and do you need a community that can reach different markets and industries?
Speak with admissions teams – how would they assess your profile and would they encourage you to apply?
What do you want to achieve – are you looking for professional development, personal development, or both? Will the programme help you get that?
These are just a few of the many questions you should be asking yourself and those connected to the schools you are interested in. Now is the time to be asking questions so don’t be afraid to do so.
Once you have asked yourself these important questions and determined which schools and programmes you feel will give you what you’re looking for, discuss your findings with those around you. If you will be receiving financial support from family, do discuss tuition fees and living expenses early in the decision-making process. Pursuing your postgraduate studies can be a big financial commitment and if you are planning to receive support from family you’ll need to decide what this support will look like.
And for those of you who may be moving away from home, possibly for the first time, you will want to discuss how the distance may affect your relationships with family and friends. Will they be able to visit you? Will you be able to return home during school breaks? Do discuss the challenges the distance may cause and how you will cope with these challenges.
You may also want to speak with friends or peers who are also planning to pursue postgraduate studies. How have they been conducting their research and what have they found? While it can be helpful to speak with those who are going through the same process, do remember that this is an individual one and that each person you speak with may have a different rationale for pursuing their studies or applying to a particular programme.
After discussing your plans with those around you, reflect. Reflect on your discussions, reflect on your research. As I mentioned earlier, this is a big decision and one not to be taken lightly. You may find that after conducting your research and carrying out discussions that you have discovered a different path to pursue, one that you may not have considered early on. If this is the case, you may then need to then go back to step one to conduct further research into entry requirements and application processes, for example.
Ensure that you reflect as well on the challenges – personal, academic, and professional – that you may face during your postgraduate studies and what you will do overcome them.
Once you have decided your target schools and programmes, the next step will be to prepare your applications. Do remember that each application can be very different – some programmes require GMAT, others GRE. Some require a personal statement, others multiple essays. Some require an interview, others may not. Make sure you check entry requirements and application timelines, whether they are rolling or staged admissions. If you have to prepare for entrance exams, you may need to begin preparing your application months earlier than for programmes that don’t require these exams. Make yourself a timeline for each programme you are applying to and before you know it, your applications will be submitted.
I hope that you will find this information helpful in your postgraduate study research and, as always, please do not hesitate to post any questions. In the meantime, I’d like to wish you all the best with your application journey!
A very warm hello to everyone out there in the blogosphere! Before getting into my first post I’d like to introduce myself to you. My name is Jamie Wright and I am the Senior Recruitment and Admissions Manager for the Masters in Management. I’ve been with programme since the first class joined in September 2009 and have had the delight of witnessing four incredibly talented, ambitious and successful classes enter and graduate from the programme. During that time I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting with many of you beyond London at events in locations including the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Italy, and Hong Kong, and hope to see those of you India during our trip in November.
As you follow our Admissions Blog you will find (we hope!) informative information that will support your journey as an applicant. But what happens once you submit your application, attend your interview, receive and accept your offer? You then join a 36,000 strong community of motivated, high achieving individuals who aim to have a profound impact on the way the world does business. But before you graduate from the School to leave your mark in the business world you will first enter into a journey, a journey that will make you consider who you are, what is important to you, what you want to achieve and how you will achieve this. And this journey begins with Orientation.
Two weeks ago on Thursday 6th September, the Masters in Management Class of 2014 began their London Business School journey with Orientation in London’s City Hall. This is the first year we have hosted Orientation off-campus, and let me tell you, it was spectacular! Set next to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, with Canary Wharf in sight, City Hall is a perfect representation of what London is all about; the juxtaposition of the old against the new, the historic against the innovative.
Before going into what Orientation is like for the students I’d like to briefly tell you why Orientation is so important to me. Working in admissions we speak with, review and interview hundreds and hundreds of prospective students and applicants each year. One of the greatest joys for me working in this role is getting to see the journey of an applicant, and eventually student and then alumni. We know that you work extremely hard to achieve your dream of studying at LBS, and it’s such a thrill when we are able to see this dream become a reality. Being able to put faces to names when students arrive on that first day makes everything we do worth it, and working with the recently joined Class of 2014 has been, as ever, rewarding, and it was a true pleasure to be able to officially welcome them to community last week.
So on to Orientation. The day kicked-off with an introduction to the School by our Dean Sir Andrew Likierman, which was followed by keynote speaker Dame Amelia Fawcett. Dame Amelia, Chairman of the Hedge Fund Standards Board in London and Non-Executive Chairman of the Guardian Media Group plc., discussed the importance of principles in guiding your professional and personal lives, and how to commitment to these principles when trying to innovate and transform not just your career, but also yourself. These are ideas that students will be asked to explore not only as they begin to define what their careers will look like, but questions they will need to continue asking themselves as they look to develop over the course of their careers.
The remainder of the day consisted of networking, learning about the Student Association, faculty perspectives, and finally concluded with a MiM2013 alumni panel, where members of our recently graduated class discussed the realities of being a MiM – how to balance the school life versus personal life, how to reach out to those alumni who work at your dream company, how to survive Financial Accounting, and ultimately how to get out of the programme and School what you want.
And now the rigorous journey begins. A journey that will see students engaging in 10 modules, careers support, Global Immersion Field Trips, job applications, student treks, networking events, and personal development planning. The next nine months will be challenging and will require you to push yourself in ways you haven’t before. But most of all the next nine months will be rewarding. We often hear students tell us how the MiM is a transformational experience, on not just a professional, but also personal level. A one year programme may not seem like a great amount of time to transform who you are, and we don’t ask you to do this. This will come naturally as you discover your strengths and how you can apply these in your professional and personal lives. Ultimately the MiM will be what you make of it, and you will absolutely get out of it as much as you put in.
So, my question to you is: do you want to take this challenge? Do you see yourself sitting in City Hall next September? If so please get in touch with us today to discuss whether this is the right journey for you. We certainly hope that it will be.