Posted on February 3, 2015

LBS MiF Experience – a Swiss Candidate Shares His Story


Manual, a Swiss candidate with a degree in business administration, worked as a senior business development manager at a bank in Switzerland when he decided to pursue MiF from the prestigious London Business School. He partnered with MER ( myEssayReview) for his application and was accepted into the program. Manual has recently graduated with distinction from the MiF program of LBS. Also, he is recently promoted to the CEO of his company.

In a chat with Poonam, Manual shares the following:

  • His Application Journeys
  • The Most Challenging Part of the Application Process
  • His Dream School, LBS
  • His LBS Experience
  • Work-Life-School Balance
  • His favorite Books & and his upcoming wedding

Poonam: Congratulations on graduating from your dream school LBS. How does it feel?

Manual: First, I wish you all the best for 2015! Thank you so much, Poonam! I felt amazing after graduating, and it was a great achievement for me. I am excited to get married soon, in June 2015. So instead of studying for LBS, I am busy with my wedding preparations these days.

Poonam: That's wonderful! Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What do you do now?

Manual: I am Swiss and grew up in Switzerland, where I still live and work. I reside in the eastern part of the country, while I work in Zurich and Zug. It takes me around 1-2 hours by train to commute to my offices. I just became the CEO of a company that provides quantitative investment strategies executed with ETFs. I wrote my Master's thesis at LBS about such a strategy (i.e., systematic trend following).

At 15, I did an apprenticeship at a local bank called Raiffeisen. Later, I made an education at the Academy of St. Gallen as a banking expert. I then obtained my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a specialization in corporate finance and investments from the University of Applied Sciences in St. Gallen. I did all my education while working part-time.; I have never been a full-time student.

Poonam: Congrats again on your current position. Looking back, when did you start thinking about MiF?

Manual: I always knew I wanted to pursue a Master's degree. So as I approached the end of my Bachelor's studies, I started considering enrolling in the MiF program at the LBS. At that time, I also bought my first GMAT books. I purchased many books from different providers, but I will recommend the Manhattan series for the quantitative part. Furthermore, I really liked e-GMAT for the verbal part. Generally, Beat the GMAT was also a helpful resource.

Poonam: You applied only to MiF LBS. Why was LBS your dream school? How was it the best 'fit' for you?

Manual: That is true. I did only apply to LBS.  LBS is one of the world's leading business schools with an outstanding reputation. Moreover, LBS offers a fantastic range of electives, including investments and quantitative finance, which align with my goals. Fortunately, London is not too far from Switzerland, allowing me to study in London while working in Zurich.

Additionally,   I wanted to improve my English and study in an English-speaking environment. Also, London is a great city. Overall, LBS was a perfect fit for me!

Poonam: I agree. Manual, could you tell us how challenging it was to manage attending school in London while working full-time in Switzerland these past two years?

Manual: As you can imagine, it was definitely not a dull time for me. It was pretty intense to fly to London every other week in the first year and once a week in the second year. Traveling, studying, preparing assignments, and constantly working kept me very busy and challenged.

Poonam: What was your favorite thing about LBS? And if there was one thing you could change about the program, what would it be?

Manual: I had the opportunity to meet with some very interesting people, such as students and professors. The global network that LBS offers is incredible. I also enjoyed the wide range of electives, although the time slots in which they were offered were not at all convenient for a commuter like me. So if I could change anything, I would change these time slots. That could have made my life much easier.

Poonam: I understand. Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the school admissions process? How did you overcome that challenge? How would you advise other applicants who are facing similar challenges?

Manual: For me the most challenging part for me was the GMAT. Although I had excellent grades in my Bachelor's degree and an attractive CV, the crucial factor for me was the GMAT. So. I spent a lot of time studying for this exam. I mainly struggled with the vocabulary in the verbal part. You get many text passages related to agriculture, biotechnology, medicine, or natural sciences. With my background, I was unfamiliar with the associated vocabulary at all. Therefore, I started to read many articles and magazines related to those subjects. And Poonam, you helped me a lot to shape my application essays.

Poonam: Thank you. What are your favorite non-school books?  What are your hobbies?

Manual: I love reading finance books. My favorite books are related to systematic investing and behavioral finance. Some of my favorite authors are George Soros, Benoit Mandelbrot, Perry Kaufmann, Daniel Kahneman, and Michael Covel. Besides reading, I enjoy playing basketball and piano or going for walks with my parents' German shepherd if I have some free time.

Poonam: Thank you, Manual, for sharing your story with us. I wish you good luck in your new position as a CEO and the exciting new phase in your personal life with your upcoming wedding. Congratulations again. I am so happy for you.

Click here for Manual’s testimonial of MER Services

Note:  You can connect with Manual via LinkedIn or by email at

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam is among the top 5 most-reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

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