By Rachel McConnell – London Business School’s Meet Project Lead
Every year we admit thousands of high-calibre candidates from across the world to our eleven Masters programmes. The first rounds of admits receive their offers as early as November which is nine months ahead of their programme start date.
These admits are strangers to each other. They’re full of questions, expectations, and excitement. How can we answer their questions, help to integrate them into the LBS community, and empower them to share their experiences and create a community with each other?
Most Schools rely on an assortment of Facebook or LinkedIn Groups to help admits make their first introductions. Admits then rely on a disconnected ecosystem of group chats using WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, or Slack to build the foundation of their community through ongoing conversations. These self-organised communication groups start long after admission (last year’s MBA admits’ chat did not start until April), are challenging for them to self-police (invite links get leaked – who’s this stranger that just joined?) and promote (who do we share the link with?), aren’t inclusive (how do I know my whole class is here?) and are difficult to keep track of (I need to check WhatsApp for X, but Telegram for Y, and Facebook for Z). We wanted to do better.
Enter, Meet LBS.
This year we’ve offered all of our admits a new virtual campus which provides one space for networking, group chat communications, and events across programmes. Here, admits can find and connect with their classmates, current students, and admin teams, as well as having a secure space where they can speak privately and build an admit-led community.
Since we launched three months ago (straight after first round offers were made), thirty admits have volunteered to lead the community-building for their classes. They’ve been busy self-organising over 50 events and getting to grips with what Meet LBS has to offer. Meet’s CEO, Matthew Brooke-Hitching, and I sat down with our admit community builders to talk about their experiences so far.
How are you finding your admit experience so far?
They were all surprised to have been immersed into the community from the start:
“Meet LBS has been amazing. I was expecting no engagement from LBS for 6/7 months so it’s been really awesome to be greeted with a platform with so much organisation and intention behind it […] it’s been phenomenally easy to connect with people on Meet – I’ve got friends even before I’ve sorted my visa!” – Neha (MBA2023)
“Honestly, I’m loving it. My friends are still waiting for replies from their universities and I’ve spoken to 80 people, maybe more, and not just people from Early Careers, even the MBAs. I’m loving my experience so far and I can’t imagine what more LBS has in store for me going forward.” – Suryansh (MiM2022)
“Meet has been a phenomenal platform for us to be a part of. Getting to know each other as admits is a massive advantage and the events are so fun and engaging. It’s been really easy on Meet to interact and look for people based on similar interests, where they’re working, or where they’re based. I’ve seen the experiences at other colleges and they don’t come close to the experience I’m having.” – Aaryaman (MFA2022)
“You completely raised the standard. I am definitely more integrated into the LBS community than I expected – I didn’t see it coming.” Divyendu (MiM2022)
What’s been your personal highlight?
Our admits have utilised their new LBS community to clarify their professional direction after business school:
“I’m someone who is extremely confused about post-MBA plans. Through Meet I was able to get in touch with a number of colleagues who gave me insights into consulting, data analytics, finance roles, people who work in investment banking… getting perspectives from people through one-to-ones and ‘Ask Me Anything’ events has been great!” Jai (MBA2023)
“The professional direction events have really helped me understand where I can go next. I’m still doing my undergrad but talking to people in consulting or investment banking with real experience is really useful to understand the work culture. I have a much better idea of what I want to work towards than I did when I applied.” – Suryansh (MiM2022)
They’ve been exposed to London Business School’s 90+ clubs and societies:
“I wasn’t expecting to be so immersed in LBS so early – it’s almost as if I’m there already. I feel like I’m part of the Black in Business (BiB) club. They even asked me to volunteer at the Women in Business conference! I attended one great BiB event with the head of a multi-asset investment strategy firm and the President of BiB offered to pass on my CV to him after I asked a question.” – Nicolette (MIFFT2022)
They’ve loved having direct access to their Admissions Team and the Visas and Financial Aid team:
“Another highlight has been the ‘Ask the Visa Team’ huddle. I’ve seen people just dropping their questions and they know they’ll get an answer quickly where before a meeting would have to be scheduled. Whatever questions you have you can simply drop in that huddle and you’re sure you’ll get an answer.” – Shwetabh (MIFFT2022)
Mostly, they have loved getting to know each other and have found their housemates, started building their support systems, and met people from across programmes and from all over the world:
“Yesterday I was talking to a fellow admit about my experience within the Big 4 and we had a 2 hour chat. Meet has allowed us to start building those relationships and breaking the ice. It’s tremendously important to do at the beginning. It’s a head start before arriving.” Matteo (MiFFT2022)
“I think it’s been great to be able to meet people, especially in a virtual environment. It’s helped me create connections from happy hours to consulting case interview prep. It’s nice to have the professional development opportunities as well as the social. I feel like it’s really hit both of those marks really well.” – Zach (MBA2023)
“Of the 250 [MBA candidates] admitted, I would say that I have an acquaintance level with over 75 people already which wouldn’t have been possible without Meet. Without Meet my circle would have been restricted to Mumbai, maybe Delhi, but Meet has really helped me to connect more internationally and with people outside my geographical network – I’m really grateful for that – being able to connect internationally is really wonderful.” – Jai MBA2023
“I have created two huddles, one for accommodation for MiFs and one for admits with partners. The partners group has been especially rewarding as I have been able to connect with people from all over the world in my situation and share my personal experience. I have already created a support system with other admits which has been really nice.” – Tania (MiFFT2022)
“I’ve met so many people. I was anxious I wouldn’t be able to interact with people because I’m not very good at connecting with people virtually. I already feel a part of the LBS community and I’ve made a lot of good friends across different programmes and geographies. That’s been my highlight!” – Gargi (MiM2022)
You’ve been organising events for your class, can you tell us about that?
LBS provided our admit representatives with Zoom accounts and backend access to their shared calendar to empower their self-organisation and promotion of events to each other through Huddles. They’ve loved the independence and trust which has helped them meet people, work on projects together, and get to know the wider LBS community. They’ve even volunteered to run an admit-led welcome week to bring the new admits into their community in April:
“The fact we’ve been given independence and granted access to organise events for our community is amazing, I’m planning loads of events now. Two weeks from now I’m hosting a consulting event and no one is stopping me, there’s no red tape, it’s amazing!” – Heenaa (MBA2023)
“Having the ability to have a shared calendar and a student-led ecosystem is fantastic. I was talking to a friend at another top business school and she was flabbergasted by the interactions I’ve already had. Where most Schools only start networking when they arrive on campus the LBS experience started in mid-December. That is extremely powerful. Your business school experience starts at the point of admission that is the biggest highlight of meet for me.” – Jai (MBA2023)
“The events have been amazing. Being a part of the admit rep group is such a highlight of my experience. I already feel empowered that I’m already helping to build the community before starting at LBS is just amazing. I’m able to reach out to members of the LBS community and bring them in as a guest for a huge event… that is just great!” – Ishita (MiM2022)
“Through hosting events I have improved my public speaking skills and after the event we received lots of positive feedback. The people who attended told me they found it meaningful and fun for them. I’ve made friends and learned new skills.” Cindy (MiM2022)
It’s now been three months since our first admits joined Meet LBS and we’re excited by what’s been achieved in such a short space of time. As the next rounds join us and we get closer to the programme start date we know the community will continue to flourish.
The word is getting out:
“I spoke to someone who said they felt they’ve really lost out by not applying in an earlier round. The later round admits will miss a lot. I’ve participated in 30 events – I join everything I can!” – Matteo (MIFFT2022)
From an LBS admin point of view, Meet has reduced email traffic, helped us consolidate our information and events, made us more accessible, and allowed us to empower our community of admits to effortlessly establish relationships with each other.
A big thank you to our fantastic admit reps for all they’ve done to build the community and for taking the time to answer our questions and give us ideas for how we can make the Meet LBS experience even better.