Electives: Enhancing Your Area of Interest

As part of the recruitment and admissions team, we often receive questions about how electives work, the bidding system, course selection, and attendance. Luckily, Roli Majiyagbe (SLN2023), who recently completed her elective portfolio and the Sloan programme, has generously offered to provide an in-depth overview of the elective process, format, and preferred course choices. Her guidance is sure to help all the students navigate the elective process with ease.

Could you please tell us a little bit about your background and what were your motivations before you started the Sloan programme.

Roli Majiyagbe

Roli: In terms of my professional background, I have over two decades of experience that encompasses corporate affairs, stakeholder relations and industry advocacy in Nigeria’s energy sector. Inspired by the leaders I had been fortunate to work with, I decided to take a career break to re-skill and re-set. I wanted to learn about the frameworks and theories that underpin leadership and successful strategy formulation and use this knowledge to shape and drive initiatives for positive social impact. The opportunity to do this at LBS in a diverse cohort with deep expertise, tapping into the knowledge and research from renowned faculty, was exciting.

Could you please describe what an elective is and when you start taking those within Sloan?

Roli: Electives are courses that students choose to take, outside of the core courses, to complete the credit requirement for a programme of study. The Sloan, for example, requires a minimum credit of 180 and a maximum of 205. Core courses make up 103 credits, and the rest are made up through electives. Some electives are worth 11 credits, others are 6 credits.

The great thing about electives is that they are a way to enrich your learning experience by choosing subjects that are of interest to you. That interest is usually driven by career aspirations, but sometimes it’s due to a curiosity about a particular subject area. Additionally, electives allow for a rich and diverse classroom experience, with students across all LBS programmes participating.

Electives are taken during the summer (March-June) and autumn (August-December) terms of the Sloan programme.

There are around 70+ electives to choose from that take place in different formats (block week, mid-week, end-week). How was the selection process and how many electives could you choose?

Roli: The selection process requires students to bid for their chosen electives on the Electives Management System (EMS). This provides a list of all courses available to your programme and further information on faculty, learning outcomes, assessments and any prerequisites for a course. Some course overviews also contain student feedback on their experiences, which I found useful.

Based on the credit requirements for Sloan, I could choose a minimum of 7 electives and a maximum of 9.5 (for example, 9 electives worth 11 credits and 1 worth 6 credits).

With my motivations for Sloan in mind, I chose electives that aligned with my professional aspirations and interests. I wanted to take electives that would equip me with a broader understanding of conceptual frameworks around the energy transition, organisational behaviour, motivating people: teams, organisations & individuals, stakeholder engagement strategies and social impact, so I looked for courses which addressed these themes. I also paid attention to the teaching faculty and their profiles. I didn’t pay much attention to the different formats when choosing courses as the timing was not an issue for me.

Once Sloan started, I knew I would struggle to balance more than 3 summer electives with the demands of core courses and other personal commitments I had in the first half of the programme. I chose to do 5 electives in the autumn term, where core courses are minimal. This included a Global Experience in Buenos Aires, which was one of the highlights of my Sloan experience.

As a Sloan student, you have the chance to choose electives in London and Dubai. Have you taken any in Dubai? If not, has anyone in your class taken one?

Roli: All my electives took place on the London campus. Some members of my cohort took the Real Estate Finance & FinTech block-week electives in Dubai. I know of others who would have liked to participate but experienced visa constraints.

There is a mix of students in the class, from Leadership students up to MBA/ MIFs. Who was part of your elective cohort?

Roli: Across all my elective cohorts, the majority were MBAs which is no surprise as they make up the majority of the student population at LBS. My electives also included international exchange students, EMBA London, Dubai & Global, MiFs, MiMs and MAMs. This made for interesting class and group discussions, with diverse perspectives.

Was there any course/ faculty that exceeded your expectations?

Roli: I enjoyed all my electives and gained tremendous insight from the professors and guest speakers, but the experiences that stand out in my memory are from my Innovation for Impact course and the Global Experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Innovation for Impact course, taught by Prof. Rajesh Chandy and Nick Hughes, focused on how businesses can create a positive impact at scale. What was unique about this class was the co-teaching by Rajesh and Nick during each session. Rajesh brought the academic perspective and years of research on innovation decisions that drive impact. Nick brought the industry/entrepreneurial perspective, having achieved success at driving positive impact at multinationals and as a social entrepreneur. I thought this was a refreshing approach to teaching and learning at a business school.

The theme for the GE in Buenos Aires was ‘Managing through Crisis and Volatility’. My country, Nigeria, has similar political and economic challenges (and opportunities) to Argentina so I was keen to learn about strategies businesses were taking to survive and thrive in such climes. Prof. Dominic Holder was great – very well-connected, knowledgeable and passionate about Argentinian people and business. The best part of the GE was learning and socialising with fellow students from other programmes: EMBAs (London & Dubai), and MBAs.

What advice would you have for the upcoming Sloan candidates?

Roli: There is a plethora of options for electives and it might seem daunting to choose.

My advice to Sloans is to think about their motivations for taking Sloan and what they want to achieve. Are you looking to advance in a particular career or industry? Are you looking to experience and learn from a particular faculty member? Is networking with students across other programmes a priority? Do you want to challenge yourself by experimenting and exploring subjects outside your comfort zone? Are you flexible with timing and able to knuckle into demanding workloads or do you have family or other personal commitments that constrain your time? Do you have other considerations? For example, someone I spoke to chose her electives based on the weighting of group assessments versus individual ones, preferring the latter to the former as she wanted more flexibility in how she used her time in preparing for, and submitting, her assignments.

In summary, choose electives that suit your priorities.

For more insights into the type of electives you can choose within the Sloan programme, click here.

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