By Natalie Anillo, MBA2020
Marketing Procurement Senior Specialist, TD Ameritrade
I decided to do an MBA because I wanted to transition my career in industry (from financial services to tech) and function (from supporting marketing to actually doing the marketing myself). I also wanted a more global role at an international company, as I had been working in a very US-focused company.
From a personal growth perspective, I wanted to study outside the US and get the opportunity to live in a new country. LBS was a strong match for this. LBS’s very diverse student body from all over the world and its focus on global business showed me that I would truly learn a lot about working in business on the global stage. LBS’s recognition as one of the top business schools globally also attracted top tech companies to the school to recruit, many of which have locations in London. London is such an international city that even if I decided to move back to the US after the MBA, I felt I would still have plenty of opportunities to do so.
I also liked that the clubs, treks, and student activities were fully led by students here, unlike many other business schools I looked at, which opened students up to new leadership opportunities. The student body seemed to also be very engaged and friendly – particularly when I would be moving to London without knowing a soul there. I believed that this was a school where I could see both personal and professional growth.
My study group has been a fantastic experience. We came in not knowing each other at all and came out really being there to support one another. I recognised where my strengths and weaknesses in both business and in working with a group were through the work with my study group. I then had the opportunity to work on those weaknesses throughout the year and improve on them.
We all gave feedback to one another to improve. In general, our study group was also just always there for one another. If you needed someone to ask a project question to, someone to talk to during the break in class, or someone to hang out with on the weekend, they were always there. We even did a study group ladies trip recently (the boys were invited but all were busy). The people in my study group have become some of my closest friends in this programme.
Our study group was very diverse – in nationality, gender, past work experience, and personality. I learned a lot about how different cultures act through the study group, and it was helpful to have each other’s perspectives on class projects based on our own cultural backgrounds. I think I will be able to work better with people with cultural differences from myself based on this.
Our differing professional backgrounds also were extremely helpful when it came to class projects – we could each teach one another about the subject we were most familiar with. Differing personalities is typically the most challenging part of any group project, but through it all, we learned how to work well together. I think this will really help me in working with people with different ways of working or personalities from myself in the future.
The highlight so far was karaoke with our study group. Seeing my Korean study group member (Joonil) and his wife sing every single word of “Gangnam Style” in full excitement was priceless.
In order to build rapport and relationships with my study group, we spent a lot of time in group meetings talking to each other to get to know one another. We also arranged study group events outside of class projects – we did a lunch, two dinners, a karaoke night, Andi and I went to visit Trish on exchange in Madrid this year for a weekend, Rodro and I just got back from a safari in South Africa together, Andi just finished helping me move flats, and we’re currently planning a dinner this week. The away day at the beginning of the first year was also a great way for us to just jump right into getting to know each other and bond right off the bat. Through all the group projects, we showed each other that we could trust one another. If someone said he or she would do something, they did it. That allowed us to build trust quickly.
Last year, I was on the women’s touch rugby team and one of the VP Events of the Marketing Club. This year, I’m a Tech Peer Leader and on the Sundowners Crew. All of these experiences have been great. They have enabled me to meet tons of other students (across all programmes) and make some great friends. The Marketing Club also enabled me to form relationships with external companies of interest and build my leadership skills in organising events, which I was able to talk about in internship interviews.
If I was to offer advice to applicants considering LBS vs other programmes, I’d tell them to think about the top three things they want to get out of the MBA programme, then assess each programme against those goals. There are so many great programmes out there that I think it can get overwhelming to assess them based on all of the criteria out there being marketed. It helps to really narrow it down to the key goals and which school can meet those best. It’s a significant investment of both time and money, so you want to make sure you’re meeting your goals!