Friday, April 25, 2008

Subprime Primer

Here's a really good (read: black humor) explanation of the subprime crisis. Click here and it will open in Google Docs. I know the subprime mess is old news now, but I like the presentation and wanted to share it. There's some foul language in there, so beware.

I've got it from Greg Mankiw's blog, so thanks!

Friday, April 18, 2008

First impression: London Business School

It's almost been a week since I've been back from Europe, but I'll keep writing about my experience while I was in London, and hope it will be useful for folks subscribed to this blog.

If you are an admitted student, you can email one of the two admissions officers and they would help you visit the LBS campus. In my case I wasn't so lucky since the school was on easter break and I wasn't able to attend any classes. Usually they help you sit in a class with the current MIF students and feel the atmosphere.

My wife and I walked to the school after getting off at the Baker Street station. It's a 5 minute walk from the tube station, pretty convenient. The lobby area is in the Sainsbury Building, which is the glorious building overlooking Regent's Park which is pictured below. BTW, you might want to open the campus map in another window by clicking here.

This glorious building is unfortunately not the building that MIFs hang out all the time, as it belongs to the MBA program. MIF classrooms and the program offices are located in the less glorious Plowden Building which is at the bottom of the pdf map you have just opened. You don't see the pictures of the Plowden Building anywhere, since Sainsbury does a much better job at marketing the school with its White House looking facade.

I had a chance to sit down with one of the admissions officers for 15 minutes or so, and then I met with a current MIF FT student who comes from a similar background as I do. I will try to convey some of his words of wisdom here.

About the grades, he said usually the top 10% of the class gets an A, and in a typical class it's the people who have experience in the subject matter (i.e. accountants do well in accounting class) that would get an A. Having that said, unless you are thinking about going to a consulting venue, your graduating grade does not matter. Most of the students are focused on finding a job rather than grades anyways.

Second topic was about finding a job. His impressions were slightly different than another alumnus I've talked to earlier, and he said about a total of 30-40% of students would find jobs during the milk rounds, and the rest would be through individual efforts. He said he was concerned about finding a job before coming to London, but he is more relaxed now as he thinks it will not be a problem. His suggestion was to find a full time job and not an internship that you can try to convert to a full time position later because most investment banks would not be able to convert internships to jobs right away due to their hiring quotas.

I'm not going to go into all the rants and raves we both had about how expensive London is. You can pretty much imagine that part of the conversation.

I should say that I wasn't impressed with the interiors of the building, especially when compared to the school I've attended in the US. I guess I was expecting a little better than low quality wall to wall carpets and fake wood paneling from the 80's. I think they could do much better with the muchos dolares they charge to their students. I didn't have a chance to see a classroom and any other facilities so no comments there. That being said, I've been to a school with stellar facilities and crappy rankings, and I would much rather go to a school with the best ranking around with not so great facilities.

There are other things I want to talk about related to daily boring activities that you'll need to do once you're in London, such as bank accounts, getting a phone, transportation, and renting. These will have to wait for another post since it's already been a pretty long post.

Cheers mates! ;)

PS: I've lost my camera while in London, so I had to lift the pictures on this page from Flickr. Kudos to original authors of these pictures, which could be seen here and here.

PPS: I've got a new camera! ;)