Life at LSE is what you make of it. And for Global Master’s in Management student Inaya Kamal, getting their most out of your degree is about much more than just studying. Here are her lessons for new starters looking to make the best of it.
To those who are coming to LSE with the pure goal of excelling in academia and securing the best grades- I must advise you to stop reading, as I cannot preach on something I have not yet accomplished.
However, for those who wish to excel at LSE by making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I hope you will enjoy reading about one student’s best attempts to do so.
It starts, as it always should, with you.
You are the Chosen One
Once thrown into the tumultuous sea of LSE – wave after wave of careers sessions, classes and social events – you might be desperately clinging on to a sense of balance via ticked boxes and full schedules; while it seems others are navigating it with ease.
When this insecurity mixes with a nauseating amount of self-doubt (I predict around week five) take three deep breaths and remind yourself, you were chosen and you are here for a reason.
The LSE Masters acceptance rate is not a forgiving one, and you made the cut – so speak to your academic advisor, speak to your programme director, and if nothing else re-read your personal statement and speak to yourself. ‘You were chosen for a reason, find that reason and wear it like a shield’.
Pro tip: Everyone around you is just as terrified and overwhelmed as you.
If they are not, check for pulse.
If you are not, check own pulse.
Beyond reason – purpose
At LSE you will develop true appreciation for, or severe dissatisfaction with, the 24 hour day.
These hours will disappear in fractions, segments and chunks that will defy both belief and physics – so, know how you are going to divide them. The first step is prioritising.
Ask yourself, what are you really here for? A career switch? A top notch 1st class degree? An intense desire to answer a burning question by some of the finest minds in the world?
Know your purpose, prioritize it and proportion your time around it.
I was once lucky enough to participate in an event flush with LSE alumni and current students, with one interesting twist – the potential employers wore only their nametags, with no clue as to which corporations they represented. This served as a fascinating social experiment.
Internship-hungry students walked away within half an hour to 45 minutes, disappointed and frustrated at not understanding what ‘purpose’ this served. Meanwhile, I happily loaded up on free appetisers and aperitifs, complimenting the perfect manicure on one woman while showing her the abysmal state of mine. So dear reader, regardless of what you’re after, treat people like humans and not PEZ dispensers for jobs.
While I walked away that evening, with an offer for a Deloitte graduate position, I believe more importantly I walked away with a network of friends and connections.
If you’ve come to LSE to prove you’re intelligent, well done – that was proved the second you got the acceptance letter, you may now return to doing more enjoyable things.
However, if you’ve come to be enlightened, widen your perspectives and to follow the school motto of ‘Rerum Cognoscere Causas – to understand the cause of things’, then I insist you challenge yourself.
If you are of a business background take an anthropology course, a humanities background then perhaps an international trade course and so on.
Although almost every course you will study will start with the assumption of ‘all other things held equal’ the reality is, things are rarely that predictable, often multifaceted in their explanations and almost never “equal” – bringing me to my final point…
Of Passions, Profits and Progress
Of all the immensely successful guest speakers we’ve had the honour to hear from, it is rarely (if ever) their financial success that they are here to discuss. Instead they contribute to our understanding of how ideas can heal the world, and their work as catalysts for change and progress.
From Dambisa Moyo, who rejects the notion of aid grants to Africa being beneficial, to Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed Yunus, these leaders are more focused what they did rather than how much they made.
Therefore, realize this: in order to get full value from your degree, you must start asking, what value can you deliver to the world? Value such that your ideas may outlive you, your innovations change the course of history, and the sum of your actions greater than the sum of your accounts.
As a wise man once said – ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. I wish you all the best and hope in time you will come to use the power of your LSE education with reverence and responsibly
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Inaya Kamal is a Bangladeshi girl with experience of working in Japan and studying in England. She is in the process of completing her Global Master’s in Management (GMiM). Inaya is also the person to contact for LSE’s best napping spots and fixing the dodgy colour printer in the library.