By Andi Frkovich, MBA2020
I have a truly diverse study group both in terms of nationality and work background. Working with them and learning from each of them has been one of the best parts of the MBA.
For me, the most fun thing about my experience has been having the time and the opportunity to experiment and explore new passions. Before coming to LBS, I was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. I started off leading a team of about 40 sailors in conducting high-risk evolutions at sea (things like helicopter landings and supply transfers). After that, I led a team of shipboard engineers. My final role was to lead teams of about 20 sailors in conducting security escorts of shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf.
I was attracted to LBS’s emphasis on internationalism. As an undergraduate major in Arabic language & Middle Eastern studies, gaining an international perspective and meeting people from different backgrounds has always been a priority for me.
Let me tell you more about Study Group A9
Trishala is British/Indian with an Economics and Politics degree from Durham University. Prior to joining the MBA she worked at Accenture. Joonil is South Korean and was involved in corporate management at Samsung. He has a Degree in Business Administration from Seoul National University. Natalie, also from the US, and holds a Degree in Business Administration worked as a Marketing Procurement Senior Specialist for TD Ameritrade. Rodrigo is Mexican. A former strategy advisor at Transpower New Zealand. He studied International Business in Mexico.
Trishala Iychettira, British/Indian
Strategy Consultant, Accenture, London
My study group has been of huge benefit from both academic and extracurricular standpoints. I contributed to the various projects we needed to undertake as a group in terms 1 and 2. These experiences were beneficial as I learnt about industries/types of work I hadn’t experienced and improved skill-sets. For example, I learnt a lot about marketing and the Navy from Natalie and Andi respectively, while Joonil explained financial concepts that were harder for me to fully grasp from lectures.
We also found ways to use our differing strengths to help each other outside of project work.
Andi was well-versed in dealing with conflict while in the Navy, while difficult conversations made me uncomfortable or emotional. Andi equipped me with methods to face conflict better and take emotions out of the mix, which proved invaluable in subsequent conversations. On the other hand, Andi wanted to get into consulting but did not know how to translate her experiences in the military into use-cases for her CV and consulting interviews. I helped her bridge some of these perceived gaps by reviewing her CV and giving her application advice. Furthermore, Natalie and I helped each other prepare for summer internship interviews in big tech and were delighted when we both secured internships at our dream companies.
Joonil Jung, South Korean
Financial Analyst, Samsung Electronics
I met invaluable friends through the study group. Throughout my first year, we took classes together, worked on group assignments, and learned a lot about each other. The study group helped me learn how to work with foreign colleagues.
Staying together for a year and doing different kinds of assignments was like working at a real job. This experience has become a great asset for me when I work for overseas corporations after graduation.
My study group consists of people from Asia, North America, and Europe, and each has worked in various fields such as Finance, Consulting, Marketing, and Banking.
I was able to learn various perspectives and problem-solving methods by taking classes and doing group tasks with people from various regions and working experiences. In particular, when we do assignments on a specific field in which a member has worked, it was helpful to hear their practical experiences. In addition to eating together and sometimes drinking, we got to know a lot about each other, and I could ask about each other’s country and work experience more comfortably. Listening to someone who has actually experienced a country or job that I don’t know in detail was more valuable than just reading articles.
Natalie Anillo, American
Marketing Procurement Senior Specialist, TD Ameritrade
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 recognized 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.
Rodrigo Hernandez, Mexican
Corporate Strategy Advisor, Transpower New Zealand
My study group has been an instrumental part of my first-year experience. We did every group assignment together and assisted each other in pursuing our MBA goals. I have benefited from their sector, geographic and industry expertise, but more importantly from the different professional and personal experiences that they have gone through before starting the programme.
My study group has five people, and they have helped me in many different ways (though most notably):
- An American marketer who has helped me understand Fintech and supported my goals to move towards a role in Technology
- An Indian/British management consultant who has refined my consulting skills and also made me understand the UK Market
- An American military veteran who has shifted the way I approach, analyse and overcome challenges
- A Korean business manager who has demonstrated me the importance of listening to others and the importance of working as a group.
The geographic, professional and personal diversity has meant that I have been able to draw wisdom and knowledge from their experiences that I would not have had the chance to learn from otherwise.