Friday, March 31, 2006

Tuition fees are going down!!

I have been hoping for the sterling to go down significantly for years and now it seems it might finally be happening, just in time before the first BIG chunk of tuition fees is due. The strong sterling killed me in my student years in St Andrews (ever tried to get by on a budget of £270 per month in the UK?) and now there is hope it won't hurt me another time!

According to an FT article , a list of bad news about the UK economy is pushing the sterling down:
  • a record £10.96bn current account deficit in the fourth quarter of 2005, or 3.6 per cent of gross domestic product
  • a decline in mortgage approvals
  • US short-term rates rising above the UK's for the first time since January 2001
On the other hand, the German economy seems to be picking up, with Porsche sales rising sharply and business confidence on record highs. The reason I'm following this closely is of course the tuition fees. Over the last month, tuition fees at LBS have fallen from €61,700 to €60,200. I'm strongly hoping for the sterling to fall below the €1.40 mark to push tuition fees down even further. Looking at current currency futures this is very likely.

Obviously, I don't want the UK economy to go down too much since I want to stay in London after the MBA. But still I think the end of the strong sterling is good news for all international students at LBS, alleged to make up 91% of the class.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Congrats to R2 admits!

By now all the R2 admits have received their offers, congratulations!! It's great to see the number of admits jump up! The first thing I did was to check what countries people come from. The class is getting more and more diverse!

Some other interesting statistics
- the current
female share among admits is 29%, a great improvement compared to recent years (and decades, obviously)! LBS seems to be approaching US levels. I believe it's thanks to the generous women scholarships offered by LBS and several investment banks!

- Surprisingly enough, the number of admits has only jumped by +88, while there were 140 admits initially in R1. I always thought R2 was the biggest round? What happened? Update: Apparently it took a while to include all admits into the directory. In fact, the number of admits in R2 was around 220 vs. 140 in R1.

- It seems though that about 40 admits from R1 never paid the commitment fee so the number of R1 admits as shown on the portal is down to 100. On the one hand, the yield of 71% in R1 doesn't sound good for LBS. Or is this good? I don't really have a comparison.

Work is crazy at the moment so I don't have much to write much on here, but I look forward to meeting everyone at the admits weekend in May and I'm counting down the days till August 28th!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Relationships and management consulting

Last year the head of my company gave a moving speech to all the newly recruited analysts and associates. He wanted to make the point that being analytical and smart won't be enough in the future. He told the story of a team that had been complaining about the client project leader. They said he was inept and slowed down the whole project. They didn't know why he was so uncooperative and unmotivated. He went there to talk to some clients and find out what was going wrong. The response he got from the client employees was that everybody in the house knew that the project leader's child had had an accident and was in intensive care - except the consultants. The point he wanted to make was that we wouldn't get anywhere in this job if we couldn't connect to our clients and show interest and empathy to everybody we worked with. I think it is terrific that he wants to change company culture and make us focus more on personal relationships. On the other hand, I don't see how it is going to work.

If you want to be a management consultant, you need to accept sleeping away from home at least 3 nights per week, usually from Monday to at least Thursday. You are likely to work 14-16h per day and have no private life during the week. The type of people who are least likely to mind this lifestyle are those who suffer the least from lack of contact with friends and family. I am supposed to work when I have the flu, when it's my mother's birthday, I only get to see my cute nephew (see picture) a couple of hours on the weekend and I have to miss my boyfriend .... and then I'm supposed to care if my client's wife has depression or his child is ill? I just think there is an inherent contradiction here. Those people who really care about relationships and friendship cannot be happy in such a job and are likely to leave after a couple of years. I still think people who don't mind being away from family and friends 5 days a week for years are complete freaks. That's why I think consultants who've been in the job for a long time are unlikely to be compassionate about other people's personal problems, as they are insensitive even to their own.

That's why I'm very eager to change jobs post-MBA. I am afraid I might turn into more of a freak if I stay (and if not I'll be unhappy most of the time). Now it's only 3-4 more months of work, which is excellent. I've also started a new project now with much much nicer people than in my last two projects so I'm very happy and know that the weeks will fly by. Soon I will enjoy the admits weekend and then pack my bags and move to London!