Why I moved to London for the Sloan programme

By Luiz Figueiredo Maia, Sloan 2022

Making the decision to move to another country and city for a Masters programme is a big decision, and one that affects your family. A current Sloan student, Luiz Figueiredo Maia, tells us what that experience was like and why he chose to pursue a Sloan Masters at LBS.

I’m from Brazil and have lived for the last 16 years in Rio de Janeiro, the post-card city of the country. It’s also one of the global capitals of the oil & gas industry, in which I’ve been working for my entire career, as an Economist for the giant Brazilian state-owned company Petrobras. From a professional perspective, my story can be summarised as of someone who has a broad understanding of the business, as a result of experiences in units such as finance, natural gas, risk, strategy, and the list goes on…

Currently, I’m on a leave of absence, just like my wife, who has also built a long and successful career in Brazil’s National Development Bank. But why did we take that leave? We agreed that even though our careers had given us enough professional fulfilment, further development would demand us to go bolder. This same rationale applied to the rest of the family: we wanted to take a chance on providing our children with something rare, that would bring a positive impact to the rest of their lives.

Why the Sloan programme?
That said, why did I decide to attend LBS’ Sloan? From my perspective, the LBS Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy Programme is the perfect fit for experienced leaders who want to join a top international business school that aids their transition both professionally and personally.

Why LBS specifically?
Ok, so why LBS? In the decision making process my wife and I went through, the fact that the school is located in London was paramount. We loved the city because of its worldliness, vibe and history. Additionally, we knew the educational and professional opportunities it provided could not easily be found anywhere else.

The logistics of moving to London
Well, that’s all good and dreamful talk so far; what about the tough things about moving to London? They are not insurmountable, but I strongly suggest you to pay attention to them. Remember that if you come from abroad, there will be a natural adaptation process. If your family comes along, emotional challenges, general costs and bureaucratic hurdles multiply.

In terms of housing, for instance, finding a nice, affordable place requires a good amount of research. If you want to live in walking distance of LBS, more energy (and money) should be spent. Wait, there is more: you need to deal with the utility companies, the City Council, the NHS, the schools for your kids, etc.

In a rough simplification of the problem, I would say that things that usually would take months to be assembled, had to be settled in a matter of days. That’s why the sooner you are able to arrive in London, the better. As much as your resources allow, try to get these steps done before class starts, because when it does, you will need to focus on the Sloan journey.

That programme focus is so important because you’re investing a lot of your resources in a pivotal point of your life, so every minute counts! There are lectures, readings, individual and group assignments and social interactions (in this case, for the good of the whole family, not only for you).

So far, as my first term is coming to an end, I can only celebrate the decision to join this 2022 cohort. It’s allowed me to become part of this incredible group of people comprised of colleagues, alumni, guest speakers, staff and professors. By the way, speaking of professors, keep these names in your mind: Herminia, Jessica, David, Nigel. When this time of the year comes to your own cohort, you will understand what I’m talking about.

Before I finish, I’d like to share two simple tips that might help everyone who’s going to become the next Sloan Fellow:

  1. If you bring your children and plan to register them at a public school, be aware that it will only be possible after you have settled a contract to rent (or buy) a place in London.
  2. As soon as you arrive, look for a digital bank to open an account, because they provide a very straightforward and fast way to get that done. If, for any reason, you still want to open an account in a more traditional institution, do it afterwards, since it usually takes much longer. For my family, in particular, the standard digital bank account has covered all our transfer/payment needs.

For those applying to the LBS’ Sloan 2023 cohort, I encourage you to reach out to the Admissions Team or alumni to explore the features of the programme. For those who have already decided and are now going through the application process, the best of luck.

Look forward to seeing you all in January 2023!

If you are thinking of applying to the LBS Sloan January 2023 cohort, the next application deadline is Tuesday 24 May 2022. Please see the website for more details.

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