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Mountbatten Institute Reviewed by Current Intern
I am a current Mountbatten intern, writing this message while I'm at work...it’s a slow day. I've been in London for nine months with the Mountbatten Institute (MB). I'm not going to sugar coat this experience, its hard and frustrating at times, but with the right attitude coming in and throughout, it is well worth the cost.
1) Is Mountbatten a rocket to the top of the corporate ladder, a ticket to Yale Law, or a joke? What is the Mountbatten Institute, really?
2) What's the internship like? Will I work for my sponsor company after MB?
3) What about the Mountbatten MBA?
4) The Post Graduate Certificate (PGC) - What is it and why should I care?
5) Life style and budget? Is £600 a month enough to enjoy London?
6) I've read reviews that said Mountbatten is a joke, that the certificate is a joke, that the experience is not fun at all. What would you say about such scathing remarks?
7) Critiques: Things that sound picky but drive interns insane when they arrive.
What is the Mountbatten Institute, really?
1) The Mountbatten Institute (MB) is designed for graduates with some office experience in any background interested in gaining experience from a credible company in London while getting an academic overview of international business practices. The experience takes place in one of the world's greatest cities, London, England. The majority of interns work for well known banks, however there are also internships in legal, marketing, HR, and PR industries. MB is a business, so it is run with the intention of providing interns with the best possible experience while keeping their personal expenses as low as possible. Beyond the bullet points it adds to your resume, it's a year of self-development. With the right attitude and expectations, MB is awesome.
MB is not very well recognised (like an ivy-league MBA or a competitive graduate rotation program) although post MBs are changing that quickly. MB is not a money making joke pretending to be a university for visa purposes used to sell interns as cheap labor to banks. Every dime spent on the Post Graduate Certificate path comes back to interns through the stipend, rent, education, and activities. You are breaking even financially while gaining one year of experience, help with finding housing in London, and at least a post graduate certificate from an accredited school of management. MB pays £400/mnth for your accommodation and a £600/mnth stipend for a whopping grand total of £1000/mnth for your possibly 40-60 hour work weeks. That is the equivalent of earning close to $15,000 a year. $15,000 a year is legally the poverty line in the United States, however, while with Mountbatten you are living in one of the most expensive cities in the world (and probably easiest place to burn cash on food, entertainment, and travel in the history of MANKIND) London, England. So in affect, you are cheap labor being loaned to UK companies, but, you come out the other end with a year's worth of experience that MB's partner recruitment agency in New York calls 'two years' worth of working experience in any position.
With the right attitude and expectations, MB is awesome.
Post Mountbatten Interview:
- In an interview setting I would say, "Mountbatten is a competitive exchange program for experienced college graduates from a variety of backgrounds seeking international business experience. The Mountbatten Institutes' combination of international experience and education creates a synergy worth 2-3 years of experience in any other normal circumstance."
- I wouldn't say, "MB was a great place for me to figure out I wanted to be a xxxxxxx. Besides, there was a recession, and I've always wanted to party in Europe. The education part was an easy way to get a visa. I don't think I could have worked for company xxxxx without MB." Do not sell yourself short. You are interviewed by your host company before being sponsored which means YOU get the job, not MB. The education is taught at a post graduate level and is fully accredited. The certificate shows you are working towards an MBA qualification or at least are interested in improving your business management acumen.
Opportunity: Describing an interesting experience during an interview, credible work experience on your resume, quality post graduate international business education
Threat: “MB, What’s that?…Next resume.”
What are the internships like?
2) Experience gained from the internships are great for building professionalism, comfort and confidence in highly credible work environments, and the type of attitude and communication skills that bolster your rapport in any professional setting. There is a great variety of internships, the majority of which are positive experiences. One intern writes publications for a Formula One racing team’s PR. She has traveled on a full expense trip to Spain to meet clients. Another intern works for a top notch law firm where he interacts with some of the brightest legal minds in England. Other interns work in a variety of investment banks, learning the in and out of what makes large multinational investment banks tick. There are also horror stories. One intern complains of 10hr work days of repetitive data mining, another of having nothing to do…ever.
Most internships are in supporting areas of a company, e.g. back office operations and managerial support. Typical tasks include getting legal documents signed, doing credit checks on clients, monitoring management data with spread sheet functions, data entry, repetitive number crunching, or double checking economics on transactions. Internships might be in big marketing, legal, or investment banking firms, but they probably won't be involved in the more exciting parts of these fields like interacting with clients, traders, or marketers. Some do, most don't. I thought I was special for getting into my company because it is so renown, however, a quarter of my intake works for the same company. Not to say these internships aren't competitive, just that they aren't equivalent to a front office rotation provided by companies for talent procurement, or being hired directly by a firm for training and development.
In short, you are cheap labor as a Mountbatten Intern but everyone has to start somewhere. If you ever feel like colleagues look down on you during your internship, remember, ignorance and a lack of communication breed contempt. Talk to your colleagues, let them know why you have a looser schedule for class and travel, or why you're looking at a website that doesn't have to do with work because you need tor research a company for a school project, or maybe ask them what they did to get to their position in the bank.
- Taking a financial hit while working long hours just for the opportunity to learn about your company is more than a great talking point in an interview, it builds character and resilience.
Choose your internship wisely:
If the internship doesn't feel right during the interview, be sure to tell Mountbatten you want something else. Think of Mountbatten as your hired recruiter (not a charity handing out work experience). I made the mistake of getting a big yummy financial company on the phone and biting into the first job they offered. With a little more research on the type of roles I would be interested in, I could have asked Mountbatten to find a role closer to my career target, although I've had the opportunity to rotate through various roles so I can't really complain.
- Research, Ask Questions, Don't Settle
Will I work for my sponsor company after MB?
It is rare to get hired by a sponsor company post MB internship. But, that doesn’t mean internships are not a good experience and an excellent mark on a resume. There are those who find work with their host companies, but they are the exception. A few organizations have hired Mountbattens every subsequent year they have had interns, almost like they are using Mountbatten as an inexpensive graduate recruitment agency.
What you can expect from your host company
- You will not know if you will be offered a permanent position with your host company for certain until 4-6wks within the end of the program. Why? A simple motivational tool for a manager in charge of an indentured servant (a Mountbatten Intern) is to hang the possibility of a placement over their head in order to motivate.
- Regardless of post internship work opportunities, the experience gained from, and the references provided by your host company are the real motivation for working hard...not to mention the insatiable urge to perform that all Mountbatten Interns possess.
Is the MBA real? Is it credible? What do current MBA students at Mountbatten really have to say?
3) MB offers a very competitively priced MBA with an internship, and the experience of studying in Bangkok. The MBA is accredited through the management department at St. Mary's UniversityCollege, Twickenham. (St. Mary's College is best known for its sports science, religious, and educational studies) http://www.smuc.ac.uk/.
Reasons current MBA MBs enroled:
- I wanted to get an MBA, live in London, and get some experience in banking.
- I saw that there was an MBA in London and in Bangkok, than I saw the price and knew I wanted it.
- I hadn't studied abroad before, so I chose the MBA because it provided me with over a year's worth of international experience.
- I don't think I would have signed up for this MBA if I were looking for a strongly accedemic program. The MB MBA is more about the experience for me.
Strengths: Immediate application of studies in work place, post MBA resume comes with 1 year of international experience, its only 1.3 years as opposed to 2-3 year full-time MBAs, class sizes are small, the lecturers are well experienced and well accredited, the price is unbeatable, and you gain experience working and learning in the UK and Thailand
Weaknesses: Mountbatten's MBA is young and barely heard of outside of London or in a few firms in New York, other international MBAs allow time for internships or work experience and can come with pay checks and better rapport in the business and academic worlds, the accreditation for the MBA does not transfer to the United States...(they are working on this, and you don't really have to tell anyone)
Is the Post Graduate Certificate a just for work visa access to the UK?
4) The PGC is not a backdoor visa to the UK. PGC classes are taught by the same lecturers as the MBA student's lecturers. The lecturers are hard working, accredited, and have a wealth of real world experience.
Why should I care about the Certificate, I just want the job experience?
The certificate is equivalent to the 1st third of a UK accredited MBA. These credits do not transfer to the US education system, although with coursework, syllabus, and proof of enrolment, US universities might allow credits to transfer. The PGC is accredited through St. Mary's University College, Twickenham. (St. Mary's UniversityCollege is best known for its sports science, religious, and educational studies.) http://www.smuc.ac.uk/
If an intern puts no work into the certificate, the certificate will do nothing for the intern. So, an intern can float through MB gaining work experience and some fun times, but missing out on a great education. A lack of attendance can force MB to revoke an intern’s visa. Most interns in the MB PGC program are not as serious about their studies as MBA students (this is an understatement.) I have taken the PGC very seriously, only missing classes on account of demands from my internship and I can't rave enough about how much this has increased my understanding of my company, industry, management, and the international business environement. Text books and exhilary readings are excellent as some lectures can be catered towards the structure of assignments rather than the information you will be researching to complete those assignments. The PGC gives to you what you put into it. After months of hard work on one of my papers, I received a strong score and great feed back from one of my lecturers. I sent the paper and feed back to one of companies I have applied to and have since had a phone interview and been asked to come in to the office for a recruitment day. Undergraduate education is a pre requisite now a days when companies look at your resume, showing that you are continuing to challenge yourself in academics as well as work and culture gives you that little extra that can put your phone number in a recruiter's rolodex.
- TEXT BOOKS ARE PROVIDED BY THE PROGRAM; DO NOT BUY TEXTBOOKS UNLESS YOU KNOW YOU WILL WANT THEM UPON COMPLETION. LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BUY MY THE TEXTBOOK IF YOU ARE APPLYING FOR 2011.
5) £600/month, which is about £125 a week for food and fun, that’s more than £17 a day. The stipend is a stretch for most, but how much of stretch depends on an intern’s previous level of expendable income and their expectations. Do not expect to travel first class, live in a lavish apartment with expansive rooms, or party like Paris Hilton. You will not receive any help with transportation costs which are £74/month, or internet bills, £8/mnth, or telephone bills, £20/mnth + £40 for buying a UK phone.
Is the Mountbatten Institute a joke?
· With the right attitude and expectations, MB is awesome.
7) Critiques: Things that might sound picky but drive interns insane when they arrive.
a) MB does not provide you with a rail card/transportation card. This would be a small addition to their budget, and a big help for MB interns. Interns can still get by, but must pay £74 a month, based on a random lottery for housing location. The random housing also means new intakes get the smaller rooms for six months, while the interns that have been around for six months get a better chance at choosing their housing arrangement.
b) Interns can't get a rail card or a Student Oyster card (that's a card used for travelling on the subway/tube and bus for a reduced fair meaning the travel card will cost you an extra %30) without an address and a student number. Interns don't receive addresses or student numbers until two weeks after they have arrived, applications for the travel card after that point could take an additional two weeks. Interns must also wait for specific time periods for student Oyster cards as it is not available for rolling application. Annoying!
d) Bank accounts: The program chooses interns' bank, it takes about a month to get a bank account, and it’s about six weeks after arrival that an intern can finally pull cash out. Be prepared for the stress of shopping in a new area of a new city in a new country with a foreign credit card in a currency worth a lot more than the dollar.
e) Library cards: For the nerds and information junkies check out http://www.mountbattenlife.blogspot.com/ for library information. There is a universal card you should apply for once you receive your St. Mary's Student card that MB didn't set me or any of the interns up with. Its a card that allows you access to any university in the UK whilst being a student. Very helpful as you spend maybe 10 days total on the St. Mary's campus where you might have a 10-20min window to use the library.
You will need:
A 16-25 rail card (age range 16-25) for train trips around the UK. It costs money, but three train trips and it pays for itself. www.railcard.co.uk
A student oyster card for travelling around London, this costs £74 a month. www.oystercard.com
Go to a tube station and put the two together through a special application that must be done in person and you will start saving loads money with a cap on traveling for the day set at £4. Trust me, this might be the smartest thing you can do for your budget.
-You will need a good umbrella.
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