5 Takeaways from my first year at LBS


By Barbara Sarkis Solon De Mello, MBA 2023

My second year at LBS is starting soon. As I reflect on my experience so far, I would like to share the main learnings I have had. Maybe it can be a source of inspiration for you, when applying to or joining LBS. Let’s dive into it!

Have fun and enjoy unexpected moments!

I know that starting the MBA is a thoughtful process and we tend to plan all the steps, learnings that we want to take from this experience. That is great indeed, but I encourage you to be open to new experiences that will arise. Take the last-minute invitation and jump into it. LBS community gave me opportunity to embrace unexpected moments such as hiking and sleeping in a mountain in Switzerland, playing touch rugby, and doing a bachelorette party in Budapest. Each experience translated into a different learning, but I am proud of being through them for the sake of having fun! Be careful to not get lost in so many planning and save some time for yourself.

Do not let socialising and making friends become a part of your TO DO list.

When I ask prospective students why they want to do an MBA a frequent answer is networking. Yes, LBS will give you opportunities to connect with people from over 80 different nationalities and a huge background diversity. However, do not let the pressure of wanting to connect get in the way of real bonding with others. The majority of students, like me, moved to London and left all friends and family in another continent. It can be overwhelming to start over again because FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real! You want to be in all places with all people, but it is nearly impossible. Try different groups and clubs to find where you feel more comfortable. There will be the right group for studying, partying, eating, travelling, doing sports, visiting art galleries, prepping for interviews, or any other idea that you have. You will have a lot going on, so use these moments to really depressurize and forming connections will be a natural outcome.

Recruiting can be tough, but you will not be alone

Well, recruiting is the most loved and hated part of the MBA, right? Getting your dream job or experimenting with new roles is something that all the students look forward to. Yet, the process to get there can be exhaustive. The summer job carries some peculiarities that are important to discuss.

  • The role is usually created for an MBA student, because it lasts 10-12 weeks. Thus, it will be much more competitive than a full-time position role. Knowing that, I hope you will not push yourself so hard if a rejection comes.
  • It is not a life commitment. Exactly because this is a short-duration internship, do not overthink the opportunities. Of course, prep for your dream job, but if you don’t get it, you can find out another great opportunity. Love or hate your summer, it’s a great opportunity to learn something.
  • Everyone is going through a recruiting journey, so use your support network to help you prep. From reviewing your CV to practicing for interviews, they will be a great resource. Reach out to second year students who got offers at companies that you want to apply and first year students that were doing the same applications than you. It can be a tough journey, but you will make it with the best people by your side.

Give back to the community and you will have even more

In my first year, I decided to join a few clubs as executive committee member. I have joined the Tech & Media Club because I wanted to switch my career to tech and saw several colleagues with the same goal and uncertainty on how to do it. I decided to contribute to organising events focused on recruiting prep with second years. I also joined the Women in Business Club because gender equality is a core value for me, and I want to be part of this change. I organised activities to bond the executive team together and a ball to raise funds for organisations that fight for gender equality. I am also Student Ambassador, talking about my experience to prospective students that want to join LBS. I really wanted to do this because talking to students was a fundamental part of my application to LBS and my understanding that it was the best school for me. I also enjoyed a lot of contributions from other clubs that I was not part of the executive committee! I attended the networking sessions, food pairing, travels organised by clubs, parties, peer-leading sessions focused on recruiting, and many others. I think that contributing and engaging with clubs is one of the best parts of LBS! So, I hope you find it so fulfilling as I did.

Know what you do not want for career, but be open to new ideas

LBS Professor Herminia Ibarra’s research tells that people are good to know what they don’t want anymore, but not so good to know what they want. This happens because you cannot reflect on what you have not yet experienced. She argues that people should act their journey to new thinking instead of thinking their new acting. So, allow yourself to deviate from the plan. Dive deep into what awakens your curiosity. During my first year, the flexibility to choose my classes was a way to understand better what makes me curious and what I don’t like. Another important experience was a part-time job that I did remotely with a start-up from San Francisco, in which I could experience an agile pace of work and be a Product Manager for the first time. My advice is that you allow yourself to deviate from the plan and see where your curiosity wants to guide you.

I hope you build on my learnings and make your own journey even more special!

To learn more about our MBA programme, please visit our website.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *