Wednesday, December 28, 2005

On making the right choice

Lots of people made me very nervous during the admissions process. Everybody seemed to be applying to at least 3 programs. The questions I heard most often were
  • "But what if you don't get into London Business School?"
  • "But why don't you apply to Harvard?"
  • "Why don't you go to INSEAD?"
I always said that I really wanted to go to London Business School and I didn't intend to spend $1,000 in application fees! Also, I applied in R1 to ensure I would have enough time to apply to other schools in subsequent rounds if my initial plan failed.

For me, there are many reasons to pick London Business School over any other school. Even now, it breaks my heart that my best friends are spread out over all continents from Sydney to Miami to Pnomh Penh to Zurich. I'm sure Harvard and Berkeley have excellent people and a great alumni network, but I want to live in London after my MBA, and what's the point of having great friends if all of them are located in Silicon Valley or Toronto and I see them only every 5 years?

Then of course, there is London! Frankly, I miss London very much. Last year, my boyfriend lived there and I went to visit him almost every weekend. He lived in St John's Wood and we would often pass by LBS on our strolls through Regent's Park. We would eat aromatic crispy duck in Soho, biryani rice in Brick Lane and chill out in Caffè Nero :-). It was always clear to me that I had to go and live in London.

I think what made my application successful was that I had a very clear goal in mind and imagined being at LBS already while writing the application. I would dream about where to live, which electives to choose, which clubs to join etc.. Once I applied to a scholarship to the Philippines and I did the same. Though I hadn't even sent the application, I would read the Manila Times on the internet, check out the best places to eat in Manila and the best surf spots in Luzon :-). And it worked.

I do have some advice to current applicants though: let them know you're eager, but make sure you show you have other options ;-). I used a few tricks actually because I was also hoping for a scholarship. I did say in my application that I was applying to several other schools (which wasn't true at that point but could have been true at a later stage) and I did have my GMAT scores sent to Harvard, Chicago, Haas and INSEAD to show I was also looking at other top schools. In my conversations with alumni, I would say that LBS was definitely my top choice, but that without a scholarship I might have to go to another school because I couldn't fund LBS (which was definitely true). I don't know if that's why I received a scholarship in the end, but I'm sure it didn't do any harm :-).

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

It's a long way to London Business School...

The year 2005 has ended with exciting news: I have been admitted to the MBA class of 2008 at London Business School and will move to London next summer! I am so happy. I seem to be in an unusual MBA blogger situation though: I can't talk about my anxious fight for admission but I can't talk about the MBA programme yet either ;-).

So what do I intend to talk about till I start the course?
  • I will definitely give advice to current applicants since I've finished the application process myself only recently and can tell retrospective stories about choosing the right school, the GMAT, essay-writing, and the interview
  • I want to tell stories about moving to London with my (non-EU)- partner, a problem that I'm sure many of us will be facing in terms of job search by the partner (though obviously we are extremely excited and happy about moving to London)
  • Till I start the MBA I have 7 months of very hard work ahead of me and I would like to share my struggles to remain the person my friends and family love while working 70h weeks away from home for the management consultancy I've been working for over the last 1 1/2 years (I can't really name names because it is one famous for its dedication to confidentiality ;-) ). With these stories, maybe I can even give insights to current MBA students planning to work in a global management consultancy
I've been reading lots of blogs from other LBS students and applicants over the last weeks and it has been extremely helpful for me. So I am excited to start the first MBA2008 blog and I hope many join me along the way! Till then happy new year to everyone!