We would like to thank all of the MBA students who contributed to the this blog over the years, your posts were insightful and enjoyable.
This blog is now closed. However we will shortly be launching a new weekly blog, written by business school professors. So please continue to come back to read the new blog and share your comments. Read more
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This is my final blog post, while I have also finished the final two exams of my MBA. It has been a tough five-year journey of studying part time at Edinburgh Business School, while living in Australia and holding down a full-time job. I have been grateful for the opportunities to engage in unique experiences during my MBA, which have pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow. One of those unique experiences was becoming a regular contributor for the FT’s MBA blog. Read more
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As the FT closes its MBA blog to students, I was asked to think about what I have learnt from blogging. Read more
Review, reflect and record those lessons relevant to developing your job © Image by Getty
I am doing final preparations for the last two MBA exams that will bring an end to a five year journey. It has taken me longer than most as I have studied part time (while working full time), and chose to specialise in strategic planning, which required additional electives to be completed. At the end I will have gained rich business acumen, concepts and frameworks relevant to my career. Read more
Cultural insights: Cambridge Judge has offered experiences beyond the core MBA subjects © Getty
In the weeks before I left South Africa to join the MBA programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, I often questioned whether the benefits of such a programme would exceed the time and monetary investment required. But how do you really measure the benefit? Read more
The Scottish highlands: tough team challenges helps to develop management skills © Image by Getty
The work started before the actual adventures when all MBAs completed a self and peer assessment on their team roles. Essentially, you are evaluated on the basis of your own and others’ perceptions of your work style, and categorised into one of nine classifications or a combination. My top three results were resource investigator (outgoing), plant (creative) and shaper (drive). After receiving custom tailored reports, MBAs were then assigned to teams. Read more
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The US election this year has highlighted the divisions in the country. But it is not alone. My classmates here at Copenhagen Business School, who come from more than 20 different countries around the world, all chimed in after the election with stories of similar division and upheaval. Read more
LBS Tattoo: the annual event organised by the school celebrates diversity © London Business School
A programme with a diverse student body and high MBA ranking position will attract the best talent from all over the world, so students will get a very international experience. It is a guarantee that you will be challenged no matter what your background or impressive record. You will constantly have to think and work outside of your comfort zone. Asking for other people’s advice and learning from each other’s experiences is key to succeeding. In the classroom, everything is tailored to foster collaboration: you rarely have the answer on your own, but it can be found among your peers. Read more
It seems many already have an opinion about the value of an MBA – “it is a cash cow” or “why don’t you just send some emails on LinkedIn, schmooze at networking cocktails, and take an online finance course?” I beg to differ, and I say that especially as a woman.
Despite recent efforts by companies to recruit more women into the C-Suite, fewer women choose to pursue a post-graduate business degree compared with men. Out of my 327 peers at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School, for example, 36 per cent are female. And yet, while that number may seem low to some, it is still higher than other European MBA programmes. Workplace equality may have progressed over the past few decades, but the gendered workforce and misguided expectations on women persist. Read more
Team spirit: EMBA team members need to find the best way to work and communicate with each other
The challenge is how to juggle the demands of a full time job, dedicating late nights and weekends to school work, making time for loved ones and squeezing whatever hours are left in the week to maintaining some sanity. Beyond collaborating on cases, presentations and reports, the team affords the space for learning, inspiring and challenging each other, and a support system even when dealing with life challenges. Read more
Mixed crowd: Haas business school aims to do more than just pay lip service to inclusion © Image by Getty
Since starting the evening and weekend MBA programme at Haas, I have found that the combination of work and classes has made me more engaged in both pursuits. My brain is constantly thinking about applications of our coursework to my job and at work I have seen frameworks I have learnt in classes click into place. Read more
When pursuing an MBA you will walk away with a reputable qualification, strong business acumen, a rich understanding of macro trends and robust decision and problem solving skills.
These are all attributes that should make you stand out from the rest, and more importantly identify you as a strong leader in business. However, I have found this is not always the case. Throughout my MBA journey, and reflecting on my career, I have come across two MBA personas; the silent stealth and special agent. Both are well qualified, but what differentiates them is how they apply what they have learnt: Read more
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The hardest part about doing an MBA is that life gets in the way. Under normal circumstances I have a constant juggle between full-time work, volunteer director work, family responsibilities – including a son with special needs – and a part-time MBA. Under normal circumstances life is busy, often chaotic, but usually manageable. Read more
Pace yourself: Careers should be seen as a marathon not a sprint © Image by Getty
Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott are professors at London Business School and the authors of ‘The 100 Year Life – Living and Working in an Age of Longevity’. In this guest post they look at what MBAs should be thinking about when managing a multi-stage career. Read more
Beijing: Tsinghua University tends to draw a multidimensional class © Image by Getty
One of my favourite elements of life as an MBA student has been the shared experiences with my cohort. As is true of most of the schools represented in this blog space, Tsinghua in Beijing tends to draw something of a multidimensional class every year, which has been extremely worthwhile for me. Read more
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Campus recruiting can be a blur. You may have a plan, but find you really have little idea how things will end: that hedge fund internship you were going to lock down suddenly becomes elusive; the consulting firm you said you would never go back to becomes your home; and the classmates you are competing with for an offer become your family. Read more
Now Chicago Booth is a couple months into the school year, I have had dozens of coffee chats with first-year students who want to start businesses during and after business school. Since I am focusing on entrepreneurship, I have taken many of the classes under that umbrella, and I have been able to advise first-years on how they might plan their MBA experience.
While Booth has many incredible entrepreneurship-specific courses, I encourage all those wanting to found a start-up to take some of Booth’s VC classes too. Some people are surprised when I suggest this. They do not see how building unit models will help them build businesses. But the truth is, MBA entrepreneurs should take advantage of VC courses because they help scrutinise a business plan, delve into the mechanics of fundraising, and develop networks with early-stage financiers. Read more
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I did not plan to be in my thirties, taking on student debt, worrying about what to wear on my first day of school and cycling to class with a heavy bag. But here I am –with more than 300 other MBA students from around the world. Read more
One of the highlights of MIT Sloan orientation week was playing the “beer game”, a role-play simulation that provides a glimpse into supply chain challenges that managers in the real world often face. Hosted by Professor John D Sterman, the game (sadly) involves no real consumption of beer, and instead simulates the production and distribution of beer from the manufacturer to the end customer.
The objective of the game is to meet customer demand for cases of beer through a four stage supply chain – the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer – with minimal expenditure on inventory and backlogs. The challenge for the students managing each link in the chain is to fulfill incoming orders of beer by placing orders with the next upstream party, with inter-party communication and collaboration prohibited. Read more
Doing an MBA is one of those things that will develop my skills and my career. What I have been less prepared for is the wider impact of what I am doing.
In the second semester last year, I did a unit called Managing People and Organisations. It focused on diversity and the future of work. The unit’s main group project was to identify a diversity goal for an organisation and propose a plan to achieve it. My group focused on my workplace and how it could increase gender diversity in its pipeline to senior management. Read more
Maybe some of you have already heard about or even used the business-model-canvas, which was invented by Alexander Osterwalder and his fellow colleagues. For all of those who have not heard about it until now, here is a short video which gives you a brief overview.
With his great analytical mind, would Sherlock Holmes have made a good MBA candidate © Image by Getty
Heading to the City of London’s Old Billingsgate Market on my first day as a London Business School MBA, many thoughts ran through my mind. What would the students there be like? Was I skilled and experienced enough to bring valuable insight? If so, how would I be able to adapt my unusual background to business situations? I went over my time in the military and tried to convince myself that all the soft skills I acquired would help me contribute to the LBS community. Read more
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When I first moved to Sydney, I was amazed at how particular people were about their coffee, and everyone had their favourite barista. The simple process of ordering a coffee was complex – do you have a flat white, cappuccino, piccolo, short black, soya latte etc? But what I found most surprising was how much money people spent on coffee. Read more
Silicon Valley: trek's to places such as the west coast are just some of less traditional ways MBAs secure jobs © Image by Getty
Historically, business schools have had very structured recruiting processes. Mainstream employers, including investment banks, consulting firms and large corporations, would invest heavily in organising on-campus presentations, hosting mixers and invite-only dinners at fancy restaurants and the occasional handing out of doughnuts and apple cider in between lectures, all in an effort to win students attention and create goodwill. Read more
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When starting your MBA programme, week one is something you expect to be memorable. Various thoughts run through your mind: will I get off on the right foot? Will I like my classmates? What did I get myself into? I got this. It is a right of passage. You introduce yourself a million times and put your small talking stamina to the test. Read more