Post#31: Sloan Commencement @LBS – the journey begins #lbs_sloan

Sloan Commencement @LBS – the journey begins.

Finally the day has arrived.   61 of us (Sloan Fellows) from 28 different nations arrived in London to start our Sloan Journey at London Business School on 6th Jan 2014.  Kudos to our admissions team for getting together such a brilliant class with an average work experience of 15 years and with such a great diversity – engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, bankers, politicians, military, non-profit –you name it and we have atleast one person with relevant experience in the class.

It has been 2 weeks since the programme started and it has been both hectic as well as fun for me to be back in the classroom after working for13 years. It was mixed feelings on day one as we embarked on the Sloan journey. We started with orientation on day 1 and it was very well organised by the programme office. The classroom layout was in place with our nameplates arranged on the desks.

We got started with the ‘Executive Leadership’ course, which focussed on NEO personality assessment and 360 degree survey results that we completed prior to arriving here.  One of the key reasons for doing Sloan for most people was to become more self-aware than ever before. Both NEO and 360 are a step in that direction where NEO tells you what you think of yourself while 360 survey tells you what others think of yourself.  I heard from most of my classmates that they received a more honest feedback through 360 survey after leaving the organisation than they were with the organisations. The course requires you to write a personal development plan in which you address some of the areas of improvement. We also had an interesting real life case to solve as part of this course.  Case solving is interesting and this is where diversity plays a key part, as you get to different viewpoints on specific topic.

In the first week we were also grouped into study groups. A typical study group consists of five students – key criteria being geography & industry function. My study group consisted of a British, Chinese, Japanese and myself. This group will do all the group exercises together for the core courses. The idea is that you will become an effective team player by working in groups with different dynamics. I personally never worked with a Japanese and was glad that I had a Japanese in my study group.

We also got trained on speed-reading. Speed-reading teaches you techniques on how to get through loads of reading materials quickly and effectively. One has to read a lot of preparatory materials for each class and it is practically impossible to get through all of this by reading word-by-word or line-by-line. After speaking to a few alumni, I decided to focus most of my reading on courses that will be critical for my next role. I have decided to put most efforts into these courses and kind of do speed-reading while preparing for other courses.

Other activities in week 1 included opening dinner on day 1, a class photo and a networking event with alumni that gave some useful insights/tips for getting through the Sloan courses.

Week two was more hectic with a few other core courses like ‘understanding top management’, ‘marketing’ and ‘Managing People & Organisations’ starting this week. We had a lot of prep work as well as some group exercises to do during this week. Week two also had a briefing from ‘Career Services’ on using the online ‘Portal’ for creating CV and applying for jobs. There will be more events from career services on networking, CV & cover letter writing in the coming weeks.

Week two ended with a team-building event in an offsite event for two days at a hotel in Windsor. Team building event was lot of fun while getting to know more about each other in the class, learning more about the values of leadership and the importance of teamwork.

I have a lot of reading to do for the next week and also registered for a few club events.  I will try to post regular updates atleast once a month so that I can provide some useful insights to prospective students. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if you need any specific information. I think the application process for next class will be open soon, good luck to all prospective applicants.

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