LSE Master’s in Management Student Gets a Taste for the MBA Classroom

LSE Master’s in Management Student Gets a Taste for the MBA Classroom

Nancy Peng is a student on the Global Master’s in Management (GMiM) program at London School of Economics  (LSE), having previously completed a BSc in Marketing Management at Lancaster University. An exciting element of her master’s at LSE is the MBA exchange program, where students on the GMiM program can spend a term abroad in their second year at a university of their choice from 10 partner schools in the US, Europe, or Asia. Nancy chose Cornell University, where she joined an MBA class and selected several electives offered by the school. She talks about her experience on the GMiM and the highs and lows of her MBA classroom experience.

I was born an international baby, raised speaking two different languages, and have lived in several countries. This instilled in me a strong desire to work overseas and I felt that having a master’s degree would give me an edge over candidates in most countries. I believe that a Master’s in Management  will provide me with the tools necessary to become a better manager. Great managers should be able to manage a team with a diversified skill-set. The Master’s in Management offered me the opportunity to better understand what those skills are and how to utilize them in the workplace.

The Global Master’s in Management (GMiM) program at LSE is very different from MiMs at most business schools. It’s a social science institution, which not only teaches students how to apply learnings, but how to think critically about them and go beyond what is already established. The MBA exchange program offered as part of the degree was a key factor in my decision to choose the GMiM as it’s the only program in the UK which allows master’s level students to attend MBA classes.

One of the main benefits of choosing to enrol on an MBA program is the ability to expand your network. The Ithaca region in upstate New York, where Cornell is located, is one of the fastest growing start-up regions in the US. There are many incubators and accelerators as well as entrepreneurship hubs. Many MBA graduates have gone on to create their own companies and Cornell has an extremely supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, arranging many networking events and presentations for MBA students. This had great appeal for me. During my MBA exchange I’ve had the opportunity to meet with partners at venture capitalist funds which has expanded my network immensely. As well as being an Ivy League institution, Cornell University is also a great finance institution, an area which I really wanted to work in.

I had many expectations before walking into the MBA classroom. Being one of the youngest in the MBA program with little work experience, I expected to feel very intimidated. However, I quickly realized an MBA classroom was no different from those of LSE’s GMiM, except for one element: Cornell’s education was heavily focused on case studies whilst the curriculum at LSE focused more on theoretical underpinnings. 

Cornell’s MBA program is renowned for its finance focus. One of my highlights has been the ability to merge my interests in entrepreneurship and finance in a class which immensely enhanced my understanding of the start-up fundraising process. In addition, I will be attending the Cornell Entrepreneurship Summit as well as a Digital Transformation Hackathon over the next couple of weeks, giving me an opportunity to put the skills I’ve learned in the MBA classroom into practice.

I have experienced a gender imbalance in the MBA classroom as in most of my groups I’ve been the only woman. That can be overwhelming at first. However, I haven’t felt disadvantaged. My contributions and ideas have always been respected. I’m often able to offer an alternative perspective because of my age and gender, which I’ve found is appreciated. Because of this, the course has given me the confidence to share my ideas in a male-dominated environment, which is hugely beneficial to my future career as I plan to eventually start a company in the male-dominated tech sector.

In this classroom I have quickly noticed people respect and value fresh and novel ideas and not just experience. A lot of full-time MBA students are looking for a career change, and to get out of their comfort zones. I believe this has been my contribution to the program. I feel my time at the LSE Department of Management has made me particularly well-equipped to tackle those challenges by pushing me to critically evaluate ideas as well as generate new ones and share them confidently.

Studying in an MBA classroom has tested my leadership skills and ability to work in a group. I have learned how to be more proactive in distributing and asking for feedback, but most importantly, I’ve developed better leadership skills and ability to adapt with different team members to get the best engagement from them. My master’s in management has expanded my skillset and taught me some lessons which are invaluable; the ability to think critically and manage a team of individuals with diversified capabilities. Moreover, it has taught me how to deal with team conflict and high and difficult client demands.

I was born and raised in France by Chinese parents. I moved to the UK for my undergraduate studies and was lucky enough to spend a year in Hong Kong during that time. Since I was 17 years old, I have moved to different cities every year. I’ve always loved travelling and living in different countries, so this experience is a great opportunity to assess whether I would like to work in the US in the future.

In the short term, I plan to work in a global high-tech or software company in their business development or consultancy division. In the future, I’d like to start my own company possibly focusing on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry.

Written by Julia Gilmore

Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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