Julia Smolnova
Moscow, Russia. Rugby School. DLMBA Managements, Tanaka Business School, Imperial College. GDL, University of Law
Studying at Rugby School helped me to enter one of the world’s best universities — Imperial College
Main page / Success stories / Abay Serkebayev

Abay Serkebayev

Abay Serkebayev

Why LBS?

Should I do my MBA at Harvard, London Business School, Wharton, or just carry on with my job and forget about this whole MBA business?

The Financial Times ranking came out today with the top three business Schools in the world being Harvard, London Business School and Wharton.

Before I answered the question «Do I need an MBA at LBS?» I initially asked myself. Why do companies value MBA graduates from top business schools? How it would valuable in Kazakhstan in comparison with other business schools over the globe?

Some want to gain specific skills, some to get their dream job and some are here to expand their horizons. But essentially, as you’ve probably heard before, experience is completely what you make of it. Reviewed famous alumni of London Business Scholl, I understood that LBS is a privileged environment tailoring my experience to interests and aspirations. For me — my goal was threefold — meet ambitious, globally-orientated people. People...this is really what LBS is about. Brilliant students from all points on the compass, there aren’t many other places in the world where you’ll find that density of diversity and talent. However, don’t come here solely to build a network — come here to LBS to make friends, build lifelong relationships and talk to as many diverse people as possible. I sure, LBS is an amazing place to build my network, but more importantly, it is a unique environment to build long-term relationships with people from across the globe that it’d be difficult to meet otherwise — rather just «networking».

Well, there are many arguments for LBS, one of the main ones being the best alumni network, but the most interesting one I will focus on will be something I didn’t initially think of before having this conversation with one of the leading league of professors at London Business School.

Can you please tell us about process of Executive MBA studying at LBS?

Reality came very quickly. LBS is not a holiday. Landing in London the night before the first day of orientation, I literally had no time to catch my breath before I was swept into the whirlwind that is London Business School! It wasn’t just the fact that we accounted for more than 50 nationalities, it was the languages, the experiences, the undergrad majors, the internships, the perspectives. Coupled with the fact that everyone was incredibly warm, curious, open, energetic, and just plain fun, I knew that this was going to be one of the best years of my life.

I quickly learnt the art of time management looking at the school website, the core courses and the program structure and it all seems totally manageable. After all, I had to work more than 12 hours a day, weekends and holidays occasionally. The huge number of activities I had to attend on a daily basis. Class, club activities, recruiter events, case study sessions, parties, sundowners etc.. Of course, it takes some time to adapt to a new routine, but once it is established, I was sure it was going to be smooth.

One of the most appealing aspects of London Business School and The Executive MBA is the focus they have on teaching and experiencing international business.

In order to have an interesting class discussion, some courses require pre-work. I didn’t have fast reading skills to cope with this. Various courses require solving cases or problems with your study group, knowing LBS puts a lot of effort in developing this mentality. All study groups represent a perfect mix in terms of geographies, background, languages, interests and future aspirations working together.

I have a Finance & Math background but I knew a lot of my classmates would be aiming to intern in Finance positions. This meant high-level Finance courses since the beginning. I thought it would be very, very, very hard to follow the classes.

Year 1 had a pre-defined core timetable, which followed regular blocks on alternate weekends. I spent the three semesters working through compulsory core modules that provide a wide range of subject matter. Each study weekend is spent together with EMBA class. Looking back, its easy to understand why everyone in the class had such a close connection and acted more like a family than simply colleagues as we spent so much time together.

Year 2 is totally different. In fact, compared to your fellow EMBA classmates, the 2nd year will likely be a totally different experience for each and everyone. That is because year 2 is all about electives, so you get to focus on the subjects that you are really passionate about. With so many permutations and combinations, no one student will have the same timetable — selecting your timetable is a challenge in itself since it is difficult to narrow down subject selection with so much great content on offer.

Electives also offer a practical upside since students can select the format of electives to fit within their needs, for example weekend classes versus block week electives. Furthermore, electives are all cross stream so you will be mixed with students from MBA, Sloan and MiF programmes which opens doors to more valuable connections.

The courses were heavy, but very informative and excellent. The quality of professors continued to amaze.

I survived)

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