MBA blog

MBA blog: A truly global business experience


Stepping off the plane in Johannesburg, I already had my flip flops on and was ready for a week-long vacation. I spent the previous few months on an academic exchange in cold Philadelphia, and was ready for sunshine.

I chose Johannesburg as my destination for London Business School’s Global Business Experience because I had never been to South Africa and was in need of warm weather. What I didn’t expect was how much I would learn from this week and how the experience has shaped my outlook on business and life.

A group of 90 students from London Business School were brought to Johannesburg to learn about entrepreneurship in an emerging market. We put into practice what we’ve learned in the MBA so far by helping a micro-entrepreneur in the township of Alexandra, a place Nelson Mandela once called home. The stark contrast in poverty was seen immediately as we drove from our hotel in Sandton to Alexandra, and as we got to know our micro-entrepreneurs and their businesses, we discovered the opportunity to make a positive impact on many lives. This ‘on-the-ground’ work was supplemented by meetings with senior management at companies in Johannesburg, ranging from General Electric to SAB Miller to Deloitte. Our discussions with these businesses highlighted the work multinational companies are doing on the continent, and how they are working to help African entrepreneurs build scale and become leading organizations.

As I was applying to different MBA programs, I understood that LBS emphasized the diversity of its class (both professionally and culturally) and its global perspective on business. And while the London classroom hits you with its global outlook on day one, I didn’t quite appreciate how important these were until going to Johannesburg, working with fellow students on a consulting project, and learning about business in Africa. The Global Business Experience has made me realize just how connected the world is, which is critical for any company in any country, and how much I can actually help entrepreneurs grow their own business.

Our class assignments and case studies require students to analyze information from various perspectives and think critically to recommend an optimal solution. But it’s a different experience when you put it into practice, and yet very rewarding when you learn how impactful your work can actually be. In the case of our micro-entrepreneur Moses, who has been running a TV/radio repair business for the past 20 years, I hope our team’s recommendations will ensure he continues to operate profitably for the next 20 years, particularly with the upcoming regulatory changes.

Did I get the sunshine I was hoping for during this week? Yes, and also had a few burns to prove it. But more than that, I started to build a network in South Africa (and found a potential job opportunity if I choose to pursue it). I learned that I truly value a global perspective on business and life, and will take this to heart for years to come, professionally with jobs and companies I interact with and personally through travelling and the people I meet. I also learned about entrepreneurship first-hand from a relatively successful entrepreneur in a very difficult business environment, and the skills and attitude that he portrayed are something we can all incorporate into our lives, wherever that may lead us.

For more information on the Global Business Experience click here

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?