2013 London Business School MiM Q&A with Ivan Anderson, Alex Salter and Daniel Lay

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lindagtwLinda Abraham: Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s Q&A. First I want to welcome all applicants to the Q&A today and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about London Business School’s Masters in Management program. It is critical for your decision making process, as well as, your admissions chances that you know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask experts, both the admissions officers, the career services recruiter and of course students in the MiM program, about this wonderful program. 

I also want to give a special welcome to Ivan Anderson, Client Services Manager at the Masters in Management; Alex Salter, Recruitment and Admissions Manager at the Masters in Management at London Business School; and Daniel Lay, Career Services Recruiter Lead for the Masters in Management at London Business School. 

Also joining us, two MiM 2013 student ambassadors, Joao Matos Pereira and Celine Chao. Joao was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. He studied Pharmacy as an undergraduate and had some entrepreneurial experience prior to joining London Business School. He chose the MiM to improve his management skills and to pursue his international career as a strategy consultant. 

Celine was born and raised in Washington, DC. She majored in the classics and spent semesters abroad in both Italy and Greece. Prior to attending London Business School, Celine worked in the employment law department of a full-service law firm and interacted closely with the firm's local business clients and in-house counsel. Inspired by the dynamism of the clients they work with, she wanted to challenge herself by exploring a career in business. Celine hopes to use her new perspectives and skills acquired at London Business School to pursue a career in industries, specifically the technology sector. 

Thanks to everyone for joining. I'm going to take advantage of my position as moderator and ask the first question. What's new at London Business School's Masters in Management program?

daniellayDaniel Lay: New in Career Services for this year, we've got an Industry-Focused Recruitment Fair, which is actually taking place tomorrow night, which we are really excited about. We have got a variety of companies attending that, such as Google, and the number of startups, what we've seen is over the last 12 months, grew interest in the startup businesses here in London. We've got a number of those coming along with tomorrow night. That is quite new, and we are reflecting the market trends that we are seeing and where we are seeing a lot of our students wanting to come and explore opportunities.

Linda Abraham: Are there any new companies recruiting for the Masters in Management program? Are you seeing growth in recruiters, growth in numbers?

Daniel Lay: We are definitely seeing a growth across consulting. We have just actually published the MiM 2012 Employment Report which is actually live now on our website. Prospective students should definitely check that out to see how the most recent graduating class has done. We saw a growth there in the consulting area, particularly across top-tier strategy firms, and also a bit of a growth in media and technology. We have seen a number of hires at Google for example and one or two into Apple. I have yet to give you some names in the consulting field. Still some of the traditional hirers such as BCG and McKinsey, but the numbers that they have actually taken have grown as we have developed a relationship over the time that the program has been running, where it's now very much a target program for those firms and the firms of that ilk. 

There has been real development there, and the growth outside of the traditional route has definitely been in some of the startups. Also, we've seen and what is also reflected in the employment report, is people are going to start their own ventures which have been very exciting. I'm sure that the guys from the program office would focus more the entrepreneurship element that is new on the program. We've seen the interest from the students and have obviously then responded to that with some actual content on the curriculum.

Linda Abraham: Alex and Ivan, maybe one of you can talk to us about the new entrepreneurial elements in the MiM program and maybe the other one, you can decide among yourselves, can talk to us about other new elements of the MiM program?

ivanandersonIvan Anderson: I can start and talk a bit about the new entrepreneurial experiences, but it also ties into one of the newer elements of our international reach of the program. Basically, we have an entrepreneurial event each year during the spring term of the academic year where students compete in a competition, where they design their own organizations and their own products and they pitch their products in the various different inventions that they design to alumni. There is a panel of judges who decides and rank the ideas, as well as, the business ideas, etc. At the end, the winners receive a prize of some sort. 

That ties into the international reach because this year we have included two global, international field trips on the program where students will have the opportunity to travel to Paris and Brussels for international field trip treks where they will visit a variety of various different companies and learn about the ins and outs and the operations of those organizations, as well as, network with individuals who work there and just learn a bit more about the organizations in those countries.

Linda Abraham: Is that a required element or is it an elective element?

Ivan Anderson: It is not a required element. It is very much so an elective element where students have the opportunity—basically, they either register or submit an application. They apply for the global immersion field trips and they are selected based on certain criteria. But the students can talk to you more about the criteria because they're actually going through the process right now of applying.

alexsalter-1Alex Salter: [I wanted to add] more to do with the application criteria, the changes that we have this year, which we hope will bring about a more dynamic student body to our Masters in Management program. As you know, the Masters in Management is aimed at recent graduates and currently this year, we are opening the class to those that have up to one year full-time post-graduate corporate work experience or less than two years of experience in the non-traditional business role. Joao would be a great example of that coming from a pharmaceutical background. We also made some changes in accepting both the GMAT and the GRE which is new to the program this year. We are the first London Business School program that is doing this at the moment.

Linda Abraham: Celine and Joao, can you tell us a little bit about how you came to choose the MiM program?

celinechao-1Celine Chao: I chose the program because I was looking for starting my first steps in introduction to business. I had first looked at the MBA for London Business School and since I didn’t have the five plus years or the required business experience to add to an MBA, I found the Masters in Management. I started talking with student ambassadors and previous students and that just started me on that path.

joaomatospereira-1Joao Matos Pereira: As you said in the presentation, I had some entrepreneurial experience, but I felt I missed the true business knowledge and I wanted to perfect this knowledge. The Masters in Management was the choice I made because it was in London which is the capital of Europe per se, because the faculty was really good, and the quality of the people that I would encounter at LBS would be really high. So far, I'm not disappointed at all. All my expectations were met and I believe that it met my goals of improving management skills, of allowing me to pursue a career in consulting on an international environment. That's basically it.

Linda Abraham: We have one question from Sunny who asks "I wanted to know, what are the main differences between the MiM program and the conventional MBA program?"

Alex Salter: With regards our MiM program, it really is a pre-experience program for more recent graduates in the last couple of years. The MBA at London Business School, I can certainly say you will be required to have a minimum of two years work experience and it's actually unusual to see students on the program contributing at that level. The average work experience on that program has risen year and year. At the moment it's just about six years work experience. So we really are filling the gap in the market. People are graduating more recently looking for that practical business experience, whilst they might not have the practical experience themselves. It may only be in a number of internships that they have undertaken.

Ivan Anderson: Basically, just to mirror what Alex was saying in reference to the idea that it is a pre-experience program and it's designed for recent undergraduates who don’t have a great deal of work experience versus the MBA which is for more seasoned or mid-level professionals. But also, I definitely think the differences between the MBA and the Masters in Management specifically is that we equip individuals who come from various different undergraduate disciplines with the skills and the knowledge, as well as, the tools that they need in order to really begin and to make their impact on the business world. 

Versus the MBA which is slightly different where individuals either use the MBA to shift careers or to move up to the next level within their career. Versus the MiM which is designed to really give young professionals that are just entering the market the extra competitive edge that they need in order to really make an impact.

Linda Abraham: I know that Celine and Joao did not come from a business undergrad background. Is this program primarily for undergrads who do not have business degrees or would it be redundant for people who already have undergraduate business degrees?

Ivan Anderson: I can speak a bit about it and I think Celine will definitely be a great person to talk about it because she doesn’t come from a business background and she can really reflect on the things that she has learned. But to answer your question in reference to whether or not students need a business background, the short answer to that is no, absolutely not. Because basically, the idea of the MiM program is that we take students from all different disciplines and we equip them with the knowledge that they need. So we start from foundational courses, but it's not foundational in the sense where it's very theoretical. It's foundational in the sense where you mix theory and practice. That's one of the more unique aspects of the program. 

As well as, if an individual has a business background or they majored in business management or management, etc, from what we've heard from many applicants who have actually come on the program, they have said that it's not a repeat of what they have learned in undergrad because one of the best aspects of our program is that it's extremely practical vs. if you are an undergraduate business major or a finance major, etc, it's very theoretical. 

Basically, graduates who do have business backgrounds always say that "The program is pretty unique and special for us." It helps them to bridge the knowledge that they learned in undergrad and also to give them a different perspective because it does provide that practicality aspect to it. But I will let Celine speak more about her experience since she comes from a humanities and classics background.

Linda Abraham: Celine, coming from a classics background, how did you adjust to the rigors of a highly-quantitative business program and could you comment on the switch?

Celine Chao: It was definitely a challenge especially in our first term because those who don't have that quantitative background need to catch up, so it's a steep learning curve. But at the same time, I think you actually gain a lot more as well, because coming from a more humanities perspective, even in our study groups or in classes, the discussion can switch based on the pre-experiences of the students that are there. So I think it's a really nice mix when you have people coming from an economics background mixed with someone who has majored in English. It's been really refreshing in that sense. I found it really challenging, but of course, you might have to do a little more reading from the textbook in that sense.

Linda Abraham: It probably takes a little bit more time to do some of the problems also, I can imagine.

Celine Chao: Yes, but everyone is so supportive which has been really, really nice. You can just go to any one of your classmates and ask, "Can you please explain this set of problem to me?" So it's been really good.

Linda Abraham: Joao, you apparently have worked in an entrepreneurial setting for a couple of years, but your background was more of the sciences and liberal arts. How did you find the adjustment to a business curriculum?

Joao Matos Pereira: As a science undergraduate, it's also very quantitative. We have a lot of math so I would say that the transition was not as tough as Celine's. But definitely on the first term you need to pick up, especially the economic and business terms that you are not used to. But I would say that for people who have science backgrounds, the transition is not as tough. With the support of everyone, it's manageable.

Linda Abraham: We have some questions from the applicants here. First, Mandy asks, "How critical are the letters of recommendation with the application?"

Alex Salter: I would say that the application process is certainly holistic in that we do look at every element from the GMAT to the essays, all the way to each of the references. I would say with the referees, the important thing is to pick people that know you, whether that it be in an academic or a professional capacity, and not just to pick the people that you think are going to be attractive to us such as the managing director of the company who don’t know you well, then it's not going to add any weight to your application. Choose carefully and we do prefer one academic and one professional reference, but we do realize that this is not always possible. Some people do want to choose two academic references. I think you should just bear in mind of course that you don’t want it to be a repeat of information from one to the other. They should really show off your strongest suits.

Linda Abraham: So title is not that important. It's more how well the recommender knows you.

Alex Salter: Yes, certainly. As I said with title, you do want someone who knows you well. At the same time, you don’t want someone who just says that they know you in a personal capacity, but certainly someone that knows you well enough to be able to comment on your strengths, whether they be analytical strengths or your teamwork or leadership skills.

Linda Abraham: I wrote last year, and the applicants may be interested, on the American President’s Day, I wrote a blog post entitled "The President Wrote My Letter of Recommendation." It tongue and cheek addresses this question as to what constitutes a good letter of recommendation and pokes a little bit of fun at somebody who thinks that if you were to get a letter of recommendation from somebody with a great title, even the president (that probably is a little tougher—though it would probably be a good one), then what could make a really good recommendation and it addresses this question too. 

Back to the questions from the applicants, what is the kind of interaction between the MiM class and the MBA class?

Joao Matos Pereira: The London Business School is a quite unique campus. In that sense, the interaction between the MiM class and the MBA class is quite intense. Also, there are a lot of clubs in the school that are mainly run by MBAs where you can, if you want to take part of the community, you can interact with them. Also, the MiM has another thing that for me was helpful and for other colleagues also, which is the MBA mentoring program, which is when you come to LBS, you're assigned a mentor, an MBA mentor, who has some sort of experience in the areas you want to pursue professionally. I would say that in terms of collaboration and interaction socially and professionally, it's quite intense and quite productive.

Celine Chao: I guess just on a more personal note, you get to know them through either clubs or being a MiM mentee. It's really quite interesting because you are interested in the same thing and you kind of see your progression five years down the line. Talking more in-depth about how they got to where they are today has been really a great experience.

Linda Abraham: Really one of the distinguishing features at London Business School is that the business school clubs are open to any student at the business school. It's just not that there's a MiM entrepreneurship club and an MBA entrepreneurship club and an executive MBA entrepreneurship club. There is one entrepreneurship club and everybody participates. Is that correct?

Ivan Anderson: Absolutely, yes. There are various different clubs and activities available on campus. It's not segregated in regards to, "Okay, this club is only just for the EMBA program students. This club is only for the Masters in Management students." No. The campus itself and the community itself, it's very much inclusive of all programs, so all students from all of our seven degree programs are all able to interact in the same clubs and interact with each other in various different campus activities.

Linda Abraham: Vasileios has a question. "Do I have to sit for the essay and integrated reasoning sections of the GMAT in order for the GMAT score to be valid for you or is the score in the quant and verbal sections sufficient?"

Alex Salter: With regards to the GMAT sections, and you do need to ensure that you are completing the quantitative, the verbal and the AWA sections, the integrated reasoning section is not a compulsory element or certainly not one that we are currently using to judge your overall performance. It's expected that you complete the analytical writing section of the GMAT score also.

Linda Abraham: The next question has to do with grades and it has two components. What can an applicant do who has poor grades? That's one component. Maybe Alex you can take that one. The next one I think is more for Daniel and that is how important are one's undergraduate grades in the job hunt?

Alex Salter: Concerning lower grades, I would say with regards to lower grades as you know, we do look for the equivalent of a 2.1 or a minimum of 3.4 GPA for the course. If the grades are on the lower end of that, and we do expect students to be able to demonstrate excellence in other areas, they should also be aware that they are competing against people that are able to show -- that have all these characteristics. So they should bear that in mind and they shouldn’t just focus on the fact that their grades are perhaps on the lower end. We would look for them to be able to address that in their essays and get an explanation as to why this is the case.

Linda Abraham: The specific questioner in terms of the low grades on the acceptance end asks how can he cope with a 2.2 grade. I assume that would probably be equivalent to less than a 3.0 on the US GPA scale. Would that be an application killer off the bat or would you consider other aspects of the application to potentially compensate?

Alex Salter: We do certainly consider all elements of an application, feeding into their holistic overview. For us 2.2, not necessarily an application killer straight off the bat but as I said, they should bear in mind that they are competing with people that do meet all the prerequisites of the course. The academic element of the course can be quite rigorous, so if they do have perhaps the lower end of the degree spectrum they should really be looking to have a lot higher GMAT and really demonstrate that they would be able to cope with the academic rigor.

Linda Abraham: Daniel, how do undergraduate grades affect the job search for MiM graduates?

Daniel Lay: I think it's important that people recognize that when you're doing a job search, recruiters will take into account your entire academic record and top-tier recruiters will be looking for stellar academic performance. Really, I mean they're going back to high school grades now very much so in what is becoming a hugely-crowded graduate market. They're looking for the best of the best and really looking for -- top recruiters tend to look for the same sort of talent. 

When it comes to things like 2.2's, I think it's important that people understand that doing a master's program, whether it's with us or with another business school, won't necessarily mask what has gone before. Recruiters will drill down into that record, so you'd need to be fully understanding of that and have a very good pitch around extenuating circumstances and as to why perhaps performance as an undergraduate wasn’t as strong. Maybe you've got a really good high school record, so maybe everything has been graded up until undergrad. There are ways around it, but I think it's key that people understand that the market is so competitive that they will take these things into account very much so. 

When you're in the “milk-round” recruitment period where you're maybe just sending in applications through CVs, cover letters, application forms, lots of recruiters you have to have a 2.1 to get through the screening process. So by that very definition, if you have a 2.2, they don’t always take into -- some firms do, but if we're talking about the big investment banks, big strat consulting firms, they don’t necessarily look at 2.2's so you wouldn’t even make it through the first cut. 

When you're going off cycle a bit, maybe looking at career opportunities into the new year and outside of that milk round, where it's quite a faceless approach if you like, you may be talking to people more, networking more. That's where, if you've got other relevance on your CV, you are able to sell yourself and pitch yourself better. The 2.2 for some recruiters doesn’t become as big of a deal, but I think it's something that we would want to talk students through prior to them making a definitive decision to come on the program. 

It's definitely one of the things that the admissions team would highlight to me, for us to then have a further conversation around career goals. Because we want to be realistic and say, if you're absolute dream is McKinsey, it's unlikely that they would look at your application unless you got like a 790 GMAT or something to go with it. Perhaps you got a 2.2 at somewhere like Oxford or Cambridge here. That you've got a very, very strong profile and you can then explain the rationale behind what they would see as a lower performance at undergrad.

Linda Abraham: Hypothetically, if a person with a 2.2 were to be accepted to London Business School and at London Business School's MiM program, excels, the employee would also look at that.

Daniel Lay: They would.

Linda Abraham: If the record in the MiM was mediocre, then they'd draw a different conclusion.

Daniel Lay: Yes, absolutely. I think again, it's all about the recruiting timeframe. So take into account that when you're applying to big banks and big consulting firms, you're doing that literally from the first day you're on campus, so you have not started the program really.

Linda Abraham: So there’s really intense competition.

Daniel Lay: Yes. No one can really judge whether you have performed on the MiM program because you have not actually really started it. They're going to be saying that, "We can really only go on your undergrad -- it's great that you've been accepted to LBS. That obviously shows a sign of high performance so we would expect you to be good." But if they haven’t -- as I'm sure you'll be aware, a lot of them would just have a filter that you have to have a 2.1. If you don’t hit it, you're out of the cycle or out of that application process. 

But off cycle is then when you can start to talk in a bit more detail. You might have been on the program for three months, six months, and you're talking to recruiters outside of that full recruiting period, then absolutely, you can then start to talk very much around what you've been doing on the program, the club societies that you're really excelling in. So it's different pitches if you like, at different times of year.

Linda Abraham: That makes perfect sense. Thank you very much. Let's go back to the applicant questions. Truyen asks, "I have an interest in entrepreneurship and strategy." What does the MiM program offer to somebody like Truyen and what are the advantages of the MiM program?

Ivan Anderson: In reference to entrepreneurship, we have actually an entrepreneurial management course that we offer during the third term of the academic year that talks all about the field and various different ventures, how various different ventures are started, and as well as, bringing together all of the knowledge. Also at the end of the course, students will be able to participate in a project where they develop an idea and pitch it to a panel of judges. In reference to strategy, there are a couple of different opportunities in the MiM program in the school in regards to learning more about strategy. We have a strategic analysis course. We have various different courses in the program that deal with strategy. But also, there's the opportunity to join one of the student clubs which allows you to network with MBA students and perhaps even other MiM students who have work experience, that have worked in strategy, or worked in consulting, etc. So there are many opportunities to really develop and learn the various different interests that an applicant might have.

Linda Abraham: Joao, I know are interested in entrepreneurship and I think you are also hoping to go into consulting. How would you answer that question?

Joao Matos Pereira: I believe in terms of entrepreneurship, there are two words that we need to remember here. One is LBS incubator and the second is networking. So the first one, the LBS incubator is something that LBS offers where if you have a good idea, the school will support you for one year after you graduate with all the technical and expertise you need. The second word is networking, because here at LBS you have a lot of talent. You can go to the guys. You can talk to them and discuss ideas. But you also have the alumni network which is really, really big and really, really supportive and you can talk to them. You can ask them for funds. You can present ideas. So in that sense, LBS will give you the tools if you have a good idea to be successful. 

In terms of strategy, my background was entrepreneurship in the pharmaceutical industry and now I moved to strategy consulting. What I believe LBS offers in that area is the knowledge you'll need to be successful in the first couple of years. What I think will give you the edge is that LBS is really practical so when you get a job, your learning curve won't be as steep as the other guys that you are competing against because you know what you are supposed to do. I believe that transitioning from one to the other is not that difficult even though -- because if you are talking about multi-consulting firms that have small offices, they are entrepreneurs themselves, so you can help the firm develop and some firms really value your entrepreneurship. I think that's what I can add to this conversation.

Linda Abraham: Celine, do you have something to add? Are you hoping to get into consulting or entrepreneurship and how do you feel that the MiM program is helping you?

Celine Chao: I think Daniel always says that you kind of dance with this idea of consulting at some point during the program and certainly it's always good when you're looking to do case studies. Just this whole sense of building on your analytical thinking and problem solving has been a great experience.

Linda Abraham: Saurabh asks, is the access to alumni same as for the MBA program?

Alex Salter: In terms of the alumni network, it's certainly the same. The alumni is using, just like our portal login access, even to ask questions about ideas that they have or they're looking for advice, whether it be with regards to visas or businesses that are looking to start up, they reach out for an alumni network using the portal resources. That access is the same regardless what program that you'd come and join us on. Certainly on campus, you look forward to get to know people that are going to be your fellow alumni in the future, such as the MBA students who won't graduate at the same time as you, but will become a part of your alumni network.

Linda Abraham: Another question from a different Saurabh who asks, "What is the percentage of the class that arrives without any work experience?" Do you like to see that applicants have had internship experience?

Alex Salter: It's about 50/50 percent of the class split between having internship and not having internship experience. I would say internships can certainly add, not just weight to applications, but weight when you're looking to do a job search. For example, if you're interested in consulting or investment banking, then it really is quite important to have some kind of experience and to be able to sell to the recruiter why you believe you would fit in that kind of organization. 

But not all students do have internships and certainly some will have work experience. Some people do things like four-day placements with Deloitte for example or they might just have a more generic undergraduate work experience, even an experience of working in their student associations or undergraduate or as treasurers for example.

Linda Abraham: Saurabh also asks, "What about part-time work experience?" Do you consider part-time work experience or part-time entrepreneurial experience as relevant work experience? It depends on the quality of the experience that would determine the relevance of the work experience but I assume you weigh that also.

Alex Salter: It certainly can add weight to an application, certainly with entrepreneurial experience. For example, if someone started their own website or their own card business design, we realize it's not always going to be a full-time project that they're working on. It's something that they're working on alongside their studies. It's certainly something that can be taken into account. As you said, it does depend on the nature and the relevance of the experience.

Daniel Lay: We get this a lot around internships and the role that they play on people's job hunts. It's definitely becoming more and more apparent from recruiters that there is that demand for people with internships on their CV. Again, the competitive nature of the graduate market here in London is really to make yourself stand out from the crowd. I think if you have some solid internship experience on your CV, it does really help. Consulting firms for example, would like potentially a bit of consulting experience, but also a variety of experiences. If you think about obviously what consulting is all about from actually going in there and doing it as your job, working on different projects, then having a variety of work experience on your CV would be quite advantageous. 

With banks, I think we are definitely seeing a shift towards, almost you have to have done a banking internship to really be attractive to the bulge brackets coupled with ideally quantitative undergraduate degrees and so on. That's maybe a bit of a sweeping generalization, but that’s what we have seen in the people that they have shortlisted for interview. So it's definitely something people should give a lot of thought to. It will enhance your CV. 

Again, it's this whole package, that you have a great master's degree, a really solid undergraduate performance and some really interesting internships and exciting extracurricular activities. I know that's the dream CV, but that's becoming more and more in the crowded market that you need to standout. So I would encourage people that may be looking to join a master's degree in September, over the coming summer, if you're thinking my CV is maybe a little light, try and get some experience. 

Obviously, it's not always that people can get the big brand names on their CV, but any experience that you can then demonstrate, that you've been able to put into practice the competencies, etc, you've worked in teams, you've worked on projects, you've worked under pressure, et. All the things in your practical experiences that you can then talk to recruiters about, that is definitely going to hold your application in terms of jobs and also when applying to the program will definitely hold those applications in good stead.

Linda Abraham: I think that's a great answer. A question from Clara which I think is probably concerning a lot of MiM applicants and that is, many people are concerned about opportunity for foreigners to stay and work in the UK after graduation.

Daniel Lay: It's a hot topic as it always is. The post-study work visa that some applicants might have been or might have heard of which allows you to stay and work in the UK for two years were scrapped back in February of last year. So that's been gone for nearly a year and it was replaced with, to stay in the UK and work full time post graduation, you need sponsorship from a company. Currently in the UK, there are approximately 25,000 companies who sponsor non-EU nationals but it's not always as simple as that. You can look on the UK Border Agency website and see this great long list of companies. There's still a huge amount of education that the school is doing. We do that in partnership with the UK Border Agency and other immigration lawyers. Pumping out information to recruiters is about actually how easy it is that if you're a Tier 2 license holder, and that's when I refer to 25,000 or so companies, that's what they are. They'll be a Tier 2 license holder. If you're on that list, you can actually quite easily hire non-EU graduates from the likes of London Business School. 

Now, some companies get it and have been doing it for years, the big banks, big consulting firms. It's not necessarily an issue. We work very much with the smaller firms and some of the larger firms. It's quite surprising—lots of the big industry firms that we've all heard of and have global footprints, etc, that they’re still very wary when it comes to sponsorship of graduates from outside the EU. 

So we're constantly messaging to them the new procedure which basically, if you're in the UK, is a relatively straightforward process and it's extremely cost-effective. There are also a few parts of it that the government introduced to make it an easy process for the companies i.e., you don’t have to go through the resident labour market test which was always something that put companies off. They've made a few concessions, but it's still a learning process for a lot of these companies. 

We take it upon ourselves. I mean I work quite strongly on this and part of my role would be working with companies to talk them through the process and almost hold their hands and explain to them what they need to do, put them in touch with people from the UKBA. We're very proactive about it, but it's still a little bit of a work in progress. The UK is definitely not shut for business. The government tagline, if you like, is the brightest and the best is what they want to retain. But it's not as straightforward as that. There's an awful lot of education that needs to go to the recruiters and we work in partnership with the UK Border Agency on that. 

Every year we'll still see non-EU MiMs remain in London and not necessarily with big firms that you've heard of. Some of the small firms are definitely coming around to it. I think we need to appreciate they've worked under a certain regulation for a long period of time so this is relatively new. For some of them, no one likes change and it's that hand-holding process and working it through with them, putting them in touch with the right people. There are a lot of legal aspects to it. So hopefully if people wanted to have a look at more information that we're putting out on our website, , they could go there and see what the current status is of visa situations here in the UK and what we're doing to address that.

Linda Abraham: Another very interesting question from Saurabh who asks, "Do you anticipate that MiM graduates...Joao, do you anticipate that you will ultimately go back and get an MBA or do you feel that this is going to be the terminal degree for you, at least in business?

Joao Matos Pereira: That's a discussion we have among MiMs and I believe it's a 50/50 split. Some people want to go back and take the MBA and some people say that's enough and maybe they will do after 10 years like a more senior program like the Sloan or something like that. In my personal opinion, I have some work experience, so right now after the MiM I think I have the basis to work for some time. My plan is to come back after seven or eight years to do a more senior program. But a lot of the MiMs plan to come back after two or three years, so it really depends on your options and what your career goals are. It really depends on you.

Celine Chao: I agree with Joao. I don't think enough MiMs have the time after the MiM program started, have actually there have been enough numbers for a report to go out about that. But certainly it's one of those options that you think about because we do some of the same modules that you might see in MBA, but at the same time they also have more specialized classes in marketing, entrepreneurship, etc.

Linda Abraham: So I guess the jury's out on that one?

Celine Chao: Yes.

Linda Abraham: Alex or Ivan do you have any thoughts on that?

Alex Salter: We need to echo Celine's point that we don’t have enough data at this point at London Business School. I must say management is only in its fifth year now, that's why we're not currently appearing in Financial Times ranking, so that is something that will be up and coming within the next few years. It is certainly something that we do see more mentioned now I would say on applications, particularly people who are looking to perhaps launch themselves entrepreneurially. They are looking to come back and do -- maybe not necessarily at London Business School, but certainly thinking about extending their networks and an MBA is of course a great tool to do that.

Linda Abraham: The next question is "What roles do MiM students play at centers such as the Deloitte Innovation Center?"

Ivan Anderson: If I'm not mistaken, it's still a new project that is taking place at the school. I don’t have 100% knowledge of exactly the roles that MiMs can play and the role that they do have the opportunity to play in the center. However, I will definitely say that [applicants interested should] feel free to drop us an email to ask and I can definitely find out more information and get back to you. But unfortunately I don’t have enough knowledge to speak about the incubator at this time.

Linda Abraham: Joao and Celine, what are your favorite classes at London Business School?

Joao Matos Pereira: So far from the courses we had, I would say marketing is really interesting because I took some marketing classes back in my undergraduate and they were really qualitative. Now, here at LBS, you can add the quantitative part to that, so it turned out to be a science and not like what people traditionally think about marketing. I would say I also really enjoyed management analysis and systems which is basically designing Excel models and coming up with ways of analyzing data. Because I think it's something that's going to be useful in the future and something that's going to allow the MiMs to progress faster in their career path. 

So I would say marketing and MAS, which is Management Analysis and Systems, were the best so far but I'm looking forward on the last term, the summer term. I'm looking forward to strategy which I think will be really, really cool.

Celine Chao: Looking back on term one, I think for myself it was, everything was new so I really enjoyed that challenge. We had accounting management analysis and systems and leadership and organizations. As Joao said, they were all very, very practical. It's something that a first-year analyst might see trying to optimize a model. But I think I would say the same, management analysis and for me leadership because it touched upon things that you might at first think, were common sense, but perhaps later on in our careers would have more application to softer skills that managers need to work on. You learn a lot about your own style of leadership and working in a team which I think is really important going into the workplace.

Linda Abraham: Alex and Ivan, what are you looking for when you get an application? I know it’s not just the GPA. It's not just the GMAT. It's not a specific quantity of work experience. What makes an application jump off your desk in a very positive way?

Alex Salter: As we have touched upon, you do need the basic elements of the program to be able to be competitive. As far as the required elements I would say on an application, the things that can really help you standout are definitely your essays. It's a chance to really inject your personality into the application and the essays often ask multiple questions under the banner of one question. I think it's really important to show that your attention to detail isn’t lacking and you answer all elements of the application questions. It really is a chance for us to also get to know your experiences and what they've done for you. You might have had this fantastic internship, but your essay is really the chance for you to bring it to life on paper, what you've learned and how it's going to take you forward and how it fits into your career goals. So for me, that would definitely be a great way to bring your application to life.

Ivan Anderson: Just to piggyback on what Alex said, I definitely think all of those aspects are important but then also I think there should be -- it's really important I think when I review an application that an individual has really reflected on their previous experiences and also has somewhat of an idea of where they see themselves going. So for example, the idea of career goals perhaps, as well as, just really reflecting and really having a very good understanding of themselves, their values, etc, and how that will help them to be unique in the program and what they can really add to the program. Because when we're selecting students for the program, it's very important that we have diversity, etc. So I think it's very important that applicants have a very good understanding of themselves to really know what they could bring to the program and also what the program can be bring to them so it's somewhat of a two-way street.

Alex Salter: Just to demonstrate your research levels as well. It's really a chance -- we know that the MiM gives you practical elements, but you really need to show us why, what's that actually going to do for you and why specifically the Master's in Management at London Business School, how it's going to enhance your profile. Try to elaborate and not just pick the generic keywords that you see on the website like the strength of the alumni. We know we have fantastic strong alumni ports, what we do sell the school on, but why will that enhance you as a person and what can that do for you?

Linda Abraham: Great advice. Celine and Joao, what do you like best about the MiM program at London Business School? I'm not speaking specifically about classes or groups. What do you think is the best aspect of the program and has the program met or exceeded your expectations and in what ways?

Celine Chao: I definitely think this is an easy question because it's definitely the students here that have totally exceeded anything I had thought of prior to the program. I think you learn so much more. You have entrepreneurs. You have students from all different types of backgrounds and the amount of learning that you do, just being around them and having discussions with them, is just as much as you do in the classroom. So in that respect, it's very much so exceeded my expectations.

Joao Matos Pereira: I agree with Celine when she said that people here are really, really talented. We see that in class because we might be talking about a subject that a couple of us are not familiar, but the level of discussions that are generated in class, they're so intense and deep that you really get interested and you really understand what's going on around you. Not only that but also the people, the former students, and I was quite surprised about that. It's a really active community. People that left the school 10 years ago are still involved and still wanting to help not only in the clubs, but also in your academic life. I was really impressed about that. I would have to say that my expectations for LBS, LBS has exceeded my expectations in terms of the people. In terms of faculty opportunities, it met my expectations, but I must confess my expectations were already really high.

Linda Abraham: So it was tough for the school to meet your expectations because they were already high?

Joao Matos Pereira: Yes, but they did. Exactly.

Linda Abraham: Thank you all again for participating today. Special thanks to Daniel, Ivan and Alex, Celine and Joao for joining us. It's been an excellent session. I really want to thank you applicants and participants for your excellent questions and the panelists for their excellent answers. If you have additional questions for Daniel, Ivan, and Alex or for the London Business School team, please email them to mim@london.edu.

We look forward to seeing you at future Q&A and Events. Visit our event schedule page for our full list of upcoming events and details, or to register. You can also subscribe to our events listby clicking reminders on our event schedule page. 

Once again, thank you again for participating and best of luck with your applications.


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