This interview is the latest in an Accepted blog series featuring interviews with business students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top programs. And now, introducing Sara Ganz…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Sara: Born in raised in Miami, Florida, I grew up immersed in a cultural hub – studying history, musical theater, art, and literature. After falling in love with strategic business operations during my pre-college internship, I pursued an undergraduate degree in Economics and Psychology at Harvard College.
Accepted: Where are you currently attending school? What year are you?
Sara: I am currently completing a one-year Masters in Financial Analysis degree at London Business School, which is centrally located in London adjacent to Regents Park.
Accepted: How did you know the MFA program at London Business School was the right “fit” for you?
Sara: My older brother graduated from the University of Chicago in 2012 and earned a Masters in Management from London Business School in 2013. My decision to attend LBS was largely reflective of how stellar his experience had been and how much he developed personally and professionally within the scope of his one-year program.
When London Business School announced that they were launching a Masters in Financial Analysis Programme for recent college graduates, I was eager to complement my broad liberal arts undergraduate experience with a specialized finance program, through which I am gaining practical training across financial sectors. London Business School has a remarkably acclaimed faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, a wide array of technological training, and serves as a global hub for innovation, bringing in key thought leaders from around the world. Following my masters, I will be joining The Estée Lauder Companies, a global enterprise in 150 countries. To me, studying in a global environment is advantageous to understanding international business on a more personal level.
Accepted: Looking back at the application process, did you experience any challenges applying internationally?
Sara: As an American, I had a very straightforward visa application process. London Business School provided comprehensive instructions that rendered what I anticipated to be an arduous process quite simple.
Accepted: What are some of your most rewarding extracurricular activities (both before entering LBS and current activities)? How have those activities helped shape your career?
Sara: Since I was young, in addition to the arts, my most rewarding extracurricular activities have been philanthropically oriented. And I have always wanted to work for a company that engages profoundly with community outreach. In addition to believing in the brands they develop, I was drawn to ELC for their continued dedication to innovation, sustainability and prolific giving campaigns. During one of my internships with ELC, I was humbled to work on the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign which was founded in house by Evelyn Lauder in 1992. At both Harvard and London Business School, I launched BCA Campaigns to educate women (and men) about the benefits of early detection after discovering alarming statistics regarding the increasing numbers of women in their 20s and 30s who are at risk for developing breast cancer.
At London Business School, the clubs are inclusive to all academic programs – spanning Early Careers, MBA’s, Executive MBA’s, etc. Therefore, joining these organizations is an amazing way to interact with the broader LBS community. I am on the executive committee for the annual TEDxLondonBusinessSchool conference as well as the Retail & Luxury Goods Club eCommerce conference, both of which will be held this May. I am also a member of Women in Business, Finance Club, Investment Society, Salsa Club, Women’s Touch Rugby Club, and the Sundowners Committee – an organization that plans weekly events for the school community. Through these organizations, I have further developed my strategic planning and time management skills.
Accepted: What have been your favorite aspects of LBS thus far? Has studying in another country been everything you expected?
Sara: Throughout the calendar year, London Business School organizes various Global Immersion Field Trips (called GIFTs) around the world. Recently, I traveled to Hong Kong and Shanghai with fifty classmates. In partnership with Fudan University, we gained firsthand insights into Chinese business practices, negotiation strategies, and techniques to facilitate successful western corporate integration. This was by far the most interesting school trip I have ever been on and one of my favorite LBS experiences. We even had the chance to visit the newly launched Disney Shanghai, which incorporated distinctly Chinese influences into the traditional Disney franchise.
Accepted: Lastly, can you share any tips you may have for U.S. students who are considering applying abroad? Anything you wish you would have known?
Sara: While one-year masters programs are only just beginning to gain traction in the U.S., they have been, and continue to remain, very popular in the UK and EU. In addition to the MBA and EMBA, LBS offers three one-year programs, two for students recently out of college (Masters in Management, Masters in Financial Analysis) and one post-professional (Masters in Finance).
Considering the diversified portfolio of clubs at LBS, many of which organize treks to different parts of the globe, there are innumerable opportunities to travel with your peers and classmates. In addition, by proxy of living in London, traveling around Europe is easy and affordable. I am currently on a train to Paris to visit friends from college for the weekend, and have upcoming trips planned to Prague, Amsterdam, Belgium, Morocco, and Rome. Living in the USA makes traveling abroad quite difficult, and I highly recommend taking the opportunity to study abroad.
At London Business School, I have gained a network of incredible friends – truly inspiring individuals who have not only made this year dynamic, exciting and fun but have also provided a window into their unique cultural backgrounds. Studying in an international classroom is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This year has already been truly transformative, and I am so lucky to be returning to New York next year with such a global network and perspective.
Thank you Sara for sharing your experience with us – we wish you continued success!
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