What a week. It isn't easy to get up so early anymore. The female MBAs were particularly hard hit since the Women in Business Club organised daily breakfasts with investment banks for us starting at 8:30, while the guys only had to come in by 10. But I'm not complaining, it was very nice to meet the representatives in a relaxed and personal setting, since the mixed recruiting presentations are crazy. There can be up to 200 people trying to speak to 5-10 representatives, and often they don't have any representatives of the departments some are interested in.
Overall I met some very nice people though and think I have formed a very good view of where to apply and where not to apply. I was very positively surprised by Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, they were extremely approachable, down to earth and friendly. Apart from that, the investment bank that made a great impression was Morgan Stanley, they were very friendly and professional. Lehman is tomorrow and knowing them I'm sure they'll bring along many alumni.
But today was consulting day, I skipped all the presentations and enjoyed my time in the gym and in my bed :-), but of course I went to the McKinsey presentation in the evening. Though I may not be the most objective person in the world on this matter, I think they had the best presentation of all companies so far. They brought many consultants from the London Office, the BTO, the Corporate Finance Practice (all of them LBS alumni), and invited all of the students from the classes of 2007 and 2008 who worked or interned there before. Then they even had a director from the London office who heads the Private Equity practice as a speaker. I was watching the event to see how I would like it if I was an uninformed student and I think I would have liked it a lot and I would have thought it is the best company to work for :-). I hope many of my class get to intern there.
I'm also collecting a bit of information about Private Equity and Hedge Funds on the side. I'm not actively looking for anything there, but I thought it makes sense to have good information about it. The funny thing is that here everybody tells you "you can only get into PE through networking", and I have just been told by a Permira guy I know that this is complete bullshit (his words). Maybe it's true for the small funds in London, but he said hiring works almost exclusively through headhunters, but that if they're hiring, direct speculative applications can work as well. So I've made up my mind that it is better to listen to someone who has been working at Permira for 5 years than business school students. I'm not looking into PE though, because I don't think it solves the consulting problem of travel and I think it makes more sense to do it with a lot of business experience, otherwise you just end up being a normal hard working Associate doing the same job one would do in an ibank.
Next week a very high profile speaker is coming to campus - Ana Botin from Banesto/Grupo Santander! I think she was voted Europe's most powerful businesswoman by the FT and I have signed up to go to the event. Things are going to be crazy next week, classes will start again and everybody is busy writing cover letters, preparing interviews or networking. No idea how this will work! But it definitely is an exciting time.
One resource for those preparing for finance interviews that might be helpful:
McKinsey on Finance special M&A issue
Good luck everyone! I think I won't post as much these days as I don't want to talk about what is happening until I know for sure what is happening, but some exciting things are going on and I am slowly but surely seeing how great my decision to come to London Business School was :-).