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Click here for an updated interview: Early Career Management and European MBA Programs with Jamie Wright [Episode 249]
Over the last ten years we have seen a lot more options in graduate management education. I’ve highlighted some on previous shows like the recent shows we have had on the CEMS Masters in International Management or UVA’s MS in Global Commerce or MIT’s MS in Business Analytics.
Today it’s my pleasure to have back on Admissions Straight Talk Jamie Wright, Senior Recruitment and Admissions Manager at London Business School – Early Career Programs. She has been working with London Business School’s early career programs since 2009 and became the Senior Recruitment and Admissions Manager in 2012. She’s joining us today to discuss the expanding and evolving menu of early career options at London Business School. Welcome!
Can you give us an overview of the three early career options? [2:10]
Our flagship program is the Masters in Management (MiM), which is a one-year general management degree focusing on the fundamentals of business (finance, economics, marketing, entrepreneurship, leadership, etc), all with an aim to help students pursue careers in business. Most grads go into finance or consulting, but we’re seeing more of an interest in industry roles (tech, entrepreneurship, healthcare, etc).
The Global Masters in Management is a two-year degree. Students spend the first year in London, then go to Shanghai and spend the second year at Fudan University. At the end of the program, they receive two degrees: a MiM from LBS and a masters in International Business from Fudan University. Students gain insight into how business is done in both Europe and Asia.
The newest program is the Masters in Finance Analytics (MFA). It’s a specialist degree within the early career program, intended for students from heavily quantitative backgrounds (math, tech, finance, engineering).
Is knowledge of Chinese required for the Global MiM? [4:39]
It’s not required. We’re seeing people with various ranges of skills in Mandarin (some have studied abroad). We do offer language courses through the program, so it’s a great way for students to develop their skills together.
What is the difference between the MiM and an MBA? [5:50]
On average at LBS, MBA students have five to six years of work experience, which they are expected to bring into the classroom. Most early career students have internship experience, but not that same exposure to the business world.
Both programs address business fundamentals (the MBA program in the first of two years).
If I’m a potential applicant, how do I know when I’m better off going for the MiM or the MBA? [7:40]
It’s a very personal decision. Some companies and industries prefer MBAs, and it can be difficult to gauge at the early career stage if you’ll need an MBA someday in order to advance in your career.
If you have a dream job right out of college and you see the potential for promotion, it might be worth pursuing that and then going for the MBA later. But if you don’t quite know the direction you want, and you want to explore the recruiting landscape, or if you need to develop your business acumen or your soft skills, the early career programs can be a great support.
What if I did a MiM and then realized later that I need an MBA – could I go straight into the second year of the MBA program? [10:40]
There’s not currently a way to do that at LBS. But we are starting to see MiM grads go on to MBA programs in the US and Asia – to gain new networks, different faculty insights, and a new perspective. They’ve already had a European perspective.
How is the MFA different from the Masters in Finance at LBS? [11:40]
They’re aimed at people at two different points in their career. The MFA is for individuals who have less than one year of experience. And the Masters in Finance is for experienced professionals – on average, six years of work experience. They’re expected to bring that experience into the classroom.
How is the curriculum different? [13:00]
The MFA is more introductory. The curriculum is based around five pillars: corporate finance, asset management, accounting, financial markets, and financial econometrics.
You mentioned that most MiM grads go into finance and consulting, while the recruiting is diversifying. What careers do Global MiM grads go into? [14:30]
Actually, the first class of GMiM students just went to Shanghai for the second year of their program, so it’s too early for employment information.
But we will be running webinars this year with students there to see what their life is like in Shanghai.
Can you share any success stories from MiM grads?
We see success in many different ways. [16:05]
I was in Poland last week to meet with alumni, and saw an alum who’d worked with Goldman Sachs in London, and moved to a private equity firm just opening a new office in Warsaw. So he’s drawing on his experience and starting a new venture at the same time.
We have a lot of interesting stories of entrepreneurs. About 30 companies have been developed by MiM grads in diverse areas: a high-end shoe company, online services, a mobile salon (which recently partnered with designers for London Fashion Week). It’s interesting to see the directions students are going.
Have grads had success getting jobs outside the EU, or in the UK if they’re not UK citizens? [19:05]
Visa issues can complicate the search, but we have a fantastic career center. You need to be flexible (regarding location and company).
Students who are most successful in the job search are those who understand that there’s a Plan A, and five routes to get there. And if it doesn’t work, there’s Plan B, and a lot of routes to get there. And that flexibility is relevant to location as well.
There are a lot of opportunities at LBS, and we encourage students to take advantage of them to explore their interests. We also have a great alumni community in 42 countries – there’s always someone to talk to. Lots of resources, lots of opportunities.
Are you concerned about the impact of Brexit on LBS’s ability to place students in the coming years? [23:10]
It’s definitely something we’re keeping an eye on. Our career center is talking to hiring managers and doing research. We don’t have a lot to go on at this point.
The two areas for us will be hiring practices and immigration. We will continue to keep an eye on this as it develops.
What are the early career programs looking for in applicants? [25:10]
Applicants for all three programs need to meet basic entry requirements: GPA, GMAT/GRE, English proficiency.
Beyond that, we’re looking for individuals who are motivated to excel in the community here, can demonstrate that they motivated themselves to succeed in their undergrad careers (both inside and outside of the classroom); people who are engaged; people who are ambitious, and have pushed themselves to excel both in and out of the classroom. That out-of-the-classroom engagement can be professional, community service, sports, music – we’re looking for people who are passionate and have pursued those passions.
Do you have any preference when it comes to the GRE or GMAT? [27:35]
For the MFA, the CFA level 1 can substitute for the GRE or GMAT.
There are some industries (such as consulting) that prefer the GMAT, so if that’s your goal, it is worth going for the GMAT.
For the MFA, because we want students from very strong quantitative backgrounds, we look closely at applicants’ undergraduate programs.
What do you wish applicants understood? [30:00]
The main thing we’re trying to do is connect the dots: how your undergrad experience led to the MiM/MFA and how that will lead to your career, your rationale for pursuing the experiences you’ve had, and how the masters will fit.
We want to get a sense of your story and your voice: who you are as an individual. Not the voice you think we want to hear at the business school – but your voice.
What can applicants expect at the interview? [32:10]
The interview is competency-based. The interviewer will have read your application in depth. You may be asked about your experiences – why you pursued XYZ internship, what your motivation is to pursue the degree and career you’re interested in.
Do you have any tips for students applying for 2017, or looking ahead to 2018? [33:50]
For current juniors: use the time to prepare for the GMAT/GRE. And take some time to do research on the programs. We have student ambassadors – speak to students and alumni about the programs.
For seniors applying this year: keep in touch with us. Send us your CV for review. Don’t get overwhelmed with the application – look at each piece one at a time. Prepare for the GMAT one section at a time. Take some time to reflect on the application questions, and think about whether this is the right program for you. The MiM and MFA have two essays, and the GMiM also has a video component.
And stay in touch with us – ask us questions. We’re happy to give advice.
If you have any concerns over whether the early career degree is the right path, we’re happy to talk with you! We ultimately want you to submit the best application you can. [38:00]
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