My experience at London Business School
Reesha Sodha studied the Masters in Management at London Business School. She's now an assistant brand manager at Proctor & Gamble.
We asked her why she decided to take the course, how she found it, and how it's helped her progress in her career.
Why did you decide to apply for the Masters in Management at London Business School?
The big issue at the time when I applied for business school was the economic climate - the competition for jobs was so fierce that I felt my science degree wasn't enough to make sure I stood out from the crowd.
I wanted to gain real skills that I could use in a job. When you start working after this course, you can hit the ground running.
How did the Masters in Management help you develop your career plans?
There's a massive amount of careers advice at your fingertips at LBS, and the Masters in Management programme is tailored to help you find a job.
The careers resources available to you are far superior to what you can get at undergraduate level because there's a real recognition that you're there to further your career. They measure their success by how many of their graduates get jobs in good companies.
My initial plan was to go into consulting because of the project work, fast pace and because it seemed quite glamorous!
But when I came to LBS, they gave us a crash course in all the options open to us. We were encouraged to really look into what our key skills were, what we were looking for in a job, and how these two things match up.
I realised that working with people was what I wanted to do, and that, while I like it, I didn't want analysis to be the main part of my role. That's when I concluded that consultancy wasn't necessarily for me, as the first few years are very heavy on analysis.
It's very difficult with these graduate schemes to know what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis, but it's important to go into something that you're going to enjoy.
What was the work like?
It was all exam and coursework based - there was no dissertation or thesis.
The curriculum was really broad, and all the modules were compulsory, which was actually a good thing as I got to delve into finance, accounting and marketing, which has given me a great base for my career.
I'd never done anything financial before, and the course is a little more difficult if you don't come from a business background, but it's definitely do-able, and even people who'd studied finance for three years or more still had a lot to learn.
In what ways was it different from doing an undergraduate degree?
One of the main differences from my undergraduate degree was the amount of group work that we did.
At the beginning, we were placed into groups of around five or six, and those were the groups that we had to work with for the rest of the year. Even tasks such as solving financial problem sheets that you could have done on your own were set for us to do as a group.
Knowing that your grade depended on the success of a group was a huge learning curve, but the great thing about the system was that they made sure that the groups were diverse in terms of undergraduate education, job experience and languages - they really try to make them as eclectic as possible.
In the second term, the majority of our work was group work, which was really helpful because you learn to deal with problems you'll face in the workplace , where you don't get to choose your colleagues. Every group will have its problems, and you have to learn to work around them to be successful. That's what management is all about.
What were the social opportunities like?
I'm originally from Manchester, so this was my first time properly living in London. It was so much fun, as LBS has a really vibrant campus.
As a Masters in Management student, you're among the youngest people at school, which is an advantage as you can use the older MBA students as a very useful resource both for networking and advice.
At the beginning of the year we were assigned MBA "buddies" - I met up for coffee several times with mine, and it was great to chat to him as he'd worked at Proctor & Gamble, and had similar interests and aspirations to my own.
What are you doing now?
I got my job as Assistant Brand Manager at Proctor & Gamble the week after I graduated from the course. Marketing is more people-orientated, requires creativity and includes an element of analysis, which is why it suits me well.
At the moment I'm working on Ghost perfume. Things that I do on a day-to-day basis include looking at the visuals that we're using for our next campaign, liaising with the agency about any changes that need to be made, and I often analyse volume forecasts.
What are the key things that you've taken away from your Masters in Management?
Firstly, the basic marketing knowledge which I've used in my job, and also how to analyse financial data. Finance was always a weak point of mine, but now when I sit down with my financial counterpart, I can understand what she's talking about!
The obvious other thing is my job. I wouldn't have got it if I hadn't been to LBS. For starters, I hadn't even considered marketing as a possible career choice before learning about it at LBS. And all the skills I've learnt have made me a much stronger candidate.
For me, the Masters in Management was the perfect stepping stone towards the job I have now. It doesn't give you much thinking time, as you have to make choices fairly quickly while you're there, but what it does give you are the tools you need to make those important decisions.