By Malak Hammoud, Recruitment Manager – MiM, GMiM, MFA
Nuria Riechenberg comes from a multi-cultural background being German/Spanish and growing up in Luxembourg. She has always sought out international experiences both academically and professionally, completing her undergraduate degree in the US at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia studying Economics, Japanese and Mathematics. By studying Japanese she wanted to push the frontiers of her cultural sensitivities and explore the Asia region. Nuria also completed an exchange year in Tokyo and decided to return there once graduating to further explore the region. Given her economics background, she was always drawn to the public sector. She started her career with two 6-month placements in the public sector at the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tokyo and the second being at the EU Delegation in New York. She then entered the private sector world through a transition supported by LBS.
Was there anything in particular that drove you to choose the Global Masters in Management (GMiM) programme at LBS?
“It was a combination of both the GMiM curriculum and LBS brand that made the choice right for me. What attracted me to LBS was the hands-on practical coursework in business, as well LBS being a leading global business institution. I came from a public sector background so I wanted to bridge the gap in my business knowledge. From accounting to financial analysis and how to work in Excel – I found these areas not so emphasised in other Masters programmes that I had applied to at the time. From my research I found other universities to be much more academic but I was honestly more interested in the hands-on experience which LBS had to offer. In addition, the London aspect was very appealing to me. Having spent the last few years between the United States and Asia I was craving being back in Europe, and London was that perfect balance, it was fairly close to home but still had the metropolitan vibrant business centre which is similar to places like New York and Tokyo. What drew me to the GMiM – apart from the fact that LBS is a leader in academic excellence – was the geographical component of having the opportunity to spend a year in Shanghai. Having spent time in Japan and being exposed to that culture I couldn’t deny how important China is as a neighbour in that region. I was very keen to compliment the exposure I already had with experience in China, as it was playing a much more prominent role on the global stage. For me that was the main motivation for choosing the GMiM. It was a truly unique combination”.
Having experienced studying at LBS, what do you have to say about the style of teaching here?
“All professors would really challenge us as students, and would gives us the tools to try it out for ourselves, which enabled the hands-on environment. One of the most amazing courses that I took was the marketing course where we played a game on how to allocate marketing spend across different products to receive the highest return on investment. It was a great way of applying all the concepts that we’d learned into a realistic and practical situation. It wasn’t the only course where I experienced that. I had the strategy class where we did a case study for an actual company, Sofar Sounds, and the data analysis course where we had to build models. The hands-on aspect of learning at LBS is always a rewarding challenge, and one that LBS is known for. My experience at Fudan was similar in the sense that it was still practical. I remember in my second year I was doing an E-commerce course working with the statistical programme R to analyse certain data, so it was still hands on at Fudan as well. However, I would say the most interesting part was the cultural experience for me during the second year”.
How did the GMiM align with your careers goals?
“LBS and its focus on consulting supported me enormously by getting my foot through the door into strategy consulting, which I got during my placement at BCG. The fact that the programme was two years long gave me the opportunity to apply for an internship during the summer which allowed me to explore if I actually wanted to go into consulting and see if it was something I wanted to pursue or not. The fact that we had so many resources on campus like MBA peer leaders, consultant tours, support on case practice, meant it was a perfect environment to test out consulting as a career. Eventually when I did the internship and I got the offer, I was sure it was something I wanted to do for a few years after graduation which is what I ended up doing.
The GMiM in particular gives you the tools and also the opportunity to explore if a particular sector is something you actually want to do – which is different from the MiM where you don’t really get the exploration opportunity because you either go for it or you don’t. I really liked that aspect about the GMiM because I’ve always been that person that takes their time in deciding what I really want to do in my life and career, so that was very aligned with my personal approach. As my cohort were the first year to complete the two-year programme, it was a challenge understanding that I had two years and that I shouldn’t panic when I see that my MiM peers are receiving job offers within the first year. I remember the first semester at LBS when the one-year programmes were all getting swept away by the recruitment process and as GMiM students we had to remind ourselves of the reasons why we made a commitment to the two years – and for me it paid off.
I would say take advantage of the fact that it’s a two-year programme which is such a good opportunity for exploration. Take the time to explore all the industries that you are interested in, and don’t get too worried or swept up in that that first year because you will have the second year to really explore what you want to do. Some of the happiest GMiMs that I know only got their jobs during their second year”.
What Careers Centre support did you benefit the most from?
“I basically found myself a champion in the Career Centre, Margaret O’Neill, who is no longer at LBS but she was my personal champion. She supported me with everything in this whole process and she was brilliant. I managed to establish that relationship and in return it gave me so much. Having a mentor is an incredible resource because they are very invested in your success and progression which was one of the highlights for me during the programme journey. To this day, my CV template is the same and it’s now ingrained in me how to write a good cover letter and it’s all due to the intensive coaching I got through the Careers Centre.”
What impact does the LBS global network have?
“I have reached out to quite a few LBS alumni for coffee chats for when I’m exploring potential opportunities. What I’ve found is that everyone is very happy to lend you an ear and share insights, which is a very tangible benefit you get once you go from being a student to an alumni. For me also very practically, both at BCG and where I’m at now, there are strong LBS alumni communities. It becomes like a community within a company – it’s added support. For example, at BCG one of my closest mentors was an LBS MBA, I knew him from my time at LBS and he became that person I could go to speak to and seek guidance from. Similarly, at my current company, we have quite a few employees who have come from LBS and it’s just a different connection. It’s an extra added layer of trust that you get which is really nice”.
What were some of your the biggest gains from the two year programme?
“I would say ultimately it was gaining the network. Having now continued my career in London it’s been super rewarding to see your peers from LBS go down very different walks in life; one of my classmates launched his own business and the other one is excelling as a sales trader. The kind of people that LBS has helped shape is so inspiring and after all these years we have stayed connected and close. It’s so easy to stay connected when LBS makes an effort to host alumni events and get-togethers, which enable you to form a bond that lasts for many years beyond your graduation which is very special. As a student, there was so much to be involved in. I was very involved in the Business and Government Club and that was because of my background of my one-year experience in the public sector. I took on a leading role in that committee and helped organise the first Trek which was to the European Union Institutions in Brussels and Luxemburg, so I was very involved in that. I acquired so many skills during the organisation of the Trek – it required a different type of management organisation that I had never done before.”
We’re here to help: To support you in making the right decision when considering the GMiM programme we recommend reaching out to our Student Ambassadors and alumni who are happy to share their experiences and reflections. To gain more information about the programme structure, application process and requirements, get in touch with the recruitment team. They offer 1:1 consultations and profile feedback to support you in submitting the strongest application possible.