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Friday, 12 September 2014

Covent Garden is steeped in history, and so are the pubs that reside here. From pre-World War establishments to rebuilt beauties, there’s a pub for almost everyone in the area. Grab a pint and feast your eyes on the interesting architecture. Pubs not your thing? Check out the rest of Covent Garden!

Punch & Judy: The Punch & Judy is full of history, from the puppet play that gave the pub its name to the original brickwork that survived the blitz. You can even take your drink up to watch the street performers from the balcony.

Lamb & Flag: The Lamb & Flag is cozy, family friendly, and full of literary history. Charles Dickens used to be a regular here, so grab a pint and bask in the history on what has been a pub site since 1772.

Nell of Old Drury: Close to many of the great theatres in Covent Garden, Nell of Old Drury is yet another great historical pub in the area. So if you’re soaking up the nearby culture, why not grab a post-theatre drink?

White Lion Pub: Full of great pub food and real ales, the White Lion Pub is a popular spot for locals in the area, from office workers to musicians at the Royal Opera House. The fantastic architecture will welcome you in for a pint, no matter where you’re from.

Marquess of Anglesey: These premises have been licensed since 1663 and offer great pub food and cask ales. The building had to be mostly rebuilt after bomb damage during WWII, and some shrapnel damage is still visible!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The call of caffeine is a strong one, and Covent Garden answers it with some fantastic options. Whether you go for the tried and true Monmouth Coffee or something new, there’s a caffeine fix for everyone. 

Notes Music & Bakery: This cozy, chic cafe is the perfect place to enjoy your flat white. However, Notes is well-known among regulars for more than just its coffee - they have an excellent wine selection as well as a delicious, seasonal food menu.

Salt Espresso & Tea: Salt Espresso uses Square Mile Roasters blend and is dedicated to the perfect coffee experience. They also carry a great variety of loose leaf teas from Waterloo Tea. For an excellent brew of coffee or tea, head to Salt.

Monmouth Coffee Company: Monmouth travels the world to discover the best coffee, and their dedication shows. Coffee shops from all over London brew Monmouth, so why not grab a cup from the original company?

Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels: For anyone who has never seen Neals Yard, the establishments in this yard are the epitome of “hidden gem.” This French wine bar and restaurant is famous among regulars for its coffee, but don’t forget about the great food.

Paul: This bakery with excellent coffee has history going back to 1889 in France. Enjoy the chic, laid back atmosphere and smells of the traditional baking processes of this family-owned establishment.

Not near Covent Garden, or want to know where all the best coffee is in London - period? Check out our other Neighborhood Guides!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

From upscale retail to lively markets, Covent Garden has all the shopping you could hope for. Go from the world’s largest Apple store, to shops dedicated to beloved cartoon characters, to one of the most brilliant tea shops in Greater London.

Apple Store: The store opened up at this prestigious address by the Covent Garden market as the the largest Apple store in the world. Apple’s signature techie look is combined with restored stone flooring and original brickwork.

Covent Garden Markets: From handmade goods and artwork to antiques and sweets, the markets around Covent Garden are extensively stocked by a wide variety of vendors. If the Camden markets aren’t your style, Covent Garden might be for you!

Whittard: This branch of Whittard is home to over 130 varieties of loose leaf tea, as well as coffee and other delicious drinks. Don’t forget all of the tools it takes to brew the perfect cup of tea for yourself! Whittard is a must-see for tea enthusiasts.

The Tintin Shop: If you’re a fan of Tintin, the Tintin Shop is a must-see. Dedicated entirely to the character and his friends, you can find everything from books, posters, and t-shirts to stationary, figures, and even crockery in here.

Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop: Benjamin Pollock ran a theatrical print shop in Hoxton, and was loved by local children and adults alike. After his death in 1937 others have carried the shop on in his name, and today it is a wonderland of theatrical toys and collectibles.

Not staying near Covent Garden? Take a look a the rest of our London Neighborhood Guides!

Monday, 8 September 2014

We're moving forward with more neighborhood guides for London's top spots - Covent Garden is up next and it should be a doozy! Covent Garden is one of the most visited areas of London, both by tourists & people who live here. With so much to see and do, it's nice to get a quick overview before you head out and get overwhelmed.

So, with this abundance of options, it is difficult to go wrong when it comes to choosing a restaurant. Covent Garden is home to pies, Italian, pancakes, and pizza - just to name a few. So treat your tastebuds and try a few of these finds!

Battersea Pie Station: Tucked away down some stairs in the Covent Garden market, just look for a sign that says “The Pie Shop.” The no-frills Battersea Pie Station packs a delicious punch with every item on its menu.

Polpo Covent Garden: The first branch of this tapas-style Italian restaurant opened in London in 2009, and has since expanded throughout Greater London thanks to its popularity. Polpo uses fresh ingredients, and quite often there’s a queue for tables.

Dishoom: An old fashioned Bombay cafe in the heart of London, Dishoom is locally famous for their breakfasts - their bacon naan rolls are fantastic. However, they have an equally delicious lunch menu.

My Old Dutch: Warm, bright, and family friendly, My Old Dutch is passionate about pancakes. Offering sweet and savory pancakes, as well as traditional Dutch starters, it is the perfect place to get your pancake fix with a few friends and some family.

Fire and Stone: A modern take on the classic pizzeria, Fire and Stone offers mouth-watering flavor combinations that have been inspired by cultures around the world. They use the freshest ingredients, and also offer starters, salads, and wine.

Cafe Chutney: Located on the lower level of the Covent Garden Market, Cafe Chutney is an all-day restaurant serving Indian cuisine. We recommend grabbing a table outside to watch the market crowds as you enjoy your meal.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen: There’s nothing quite like a well-made hamburger with a gourmet twist. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen will satisfy your cravings and then some with their burgers loaded down with fresh, tasty ingredients.

Big Easy Bar B.Q. and Crabshack: Barbecue prepared using the best selection of meats possible, an American Gulf Coast-inspired atmosphere, and live music every night of the week combine to make a BBQ joint impossible to resist.

21: 21 is a restaurant and bar that spans three floors of the Covent Garden Market building, including an impressive balcony. You can enjoy your Italian and well-made cocktails on the terrace before a show, since you’re already in theatreland!

Masala Zone: This chain of restaurants is rapidly expanding throughout London, each decorated with a separate theme. The menu is populated with street-food-type snacks, wraps, grills, curried noodles, curry, and rice plates, amongst others. You can also usually catch a great discount special.

Friday, 5 September 2014

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As priceless as the memories of a study or internship abroad experience are… the travel itself can come with a steep price tag. It takes a lot of saving to be able to temporarily relocate to a new country, so being smart with your money shouldn't stop as soon as you’re abroad. We have 10 money saving tips to help you stretch your dollar as you travel.

1. Make your own meals as often as possible
This rule is true almost anywhere in the world: the grocery store is going to be cheaper than a restaurant. All you need is some space in a refrigerator and you can save hundreds of dollars a month. Seriously - refills in restaurants abroad are not free. Eating at home also makes it easier to eat healthy.

2. Get a credit card without international transaction fees
Cards like the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card are meant for going abroad - no international transaction fees! That phrase will soon be music to your ears. Using a credit card abroad with international transaction fees could very easily double the money you think you are spending - even before calculating the exchange rate. Ouch.

3. Withdraw cash in large amounts with an affiliate bank
If you can, find an affiliate bank abroad (for example, Bank of America is partnered with Barclays in the UK - no extra flat fee for withdrawing cash from their ATMs) and only withdraw cash from those ATMs. Use that zero international transaction fee credit card as much as possible, but the necessity of keeping cash on you will still be there - so bring along your debit card. Take out large amounts of cash as few times as possible - this will lower any fees you may still have to pay.

4. Communicate back home for free
Don’t waste money on long-distance calling. No matter where you are abroad, all you need is an internet connection (or unlimited data on a SIM card) to talk with the family and friends back home. We already have a great list of free apps and online services to use. Don’t keep putting $20 (or £20/€20, which is worse) on a calling card every week or month. With technology today, there are more resources than ever before for reaching someone overseas! (However, its still nice to send postcards occasionally.)

5. Get the best SIM card deals for in-country communication
If at all possible, get your smart phone unlocked at home and take it abroad with you. (I ended up taking my father’s old smartphone after his upgrade, since that was the only phone we could get unlocked by the phone company.) SIM card plans abroad are generally very good value for what you need. If you happen to be traveling within the UK, we already have a list of the best pay-as-you-go phone plans. £15 for unlimited data and more calls and texts than I could ever use per month? You can bet I signed up for that!

6. Show your student ID everywhere
In Europe, there are student discounts everywhere. Just get into the habit of showing it at any attraction or activity you happen to be at. Whether you run across the occasional paid museum in London, or are headed to the movies - try it on everything! You can even apply for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) which may be recognized in more places than your university’s card.

7. Go for cost and space efficient souvenirs
Sure, that sparkly miniature snow globe of the Eiffel Tower looks amazing and the huge plastic beer mug with the floating leprechaun from Ireland will get a laugh back home… But how, exactly, are you going to fit all of these things in your suitcase? No one wants to pay for an overweight or extra checked bag. The space-hogging souvenirs also cause you to spend too much cash. Instead, grab all the free maps, restaurant menus, pub and brewery tour coasters, and tour pamphlets possible. Postcards, small art prints, and similar items are usually quite cheap. The bonus to all of these great, low-cost memories? They’re flat for easy packing! (And when you get home, they make great scrapbooking material. Even if you don’t feel creative, slip them into clear sleeves in a binder - instant memory book to show friends and family!)

8. Use budget travel services
One of the main reasons to go abroad for school or an internship is to travel. Take advantage of the other nearby countries as often as possible without breaking the bank by grabbing tickets from budget travel companies like Ryanair or Megabus. If you’re spending the weekend in a new location, check Hostelworld for a place to stay that won’t break your bank.
For your semi-permanent residence in your host country, don’t forget FlatClub! We can help you find accommodation for your abroad program with one our many hosts.

9. Utilize free walking tours when you travel
You would not believe how many free things there are to do when you travel. London may be known for its free museums, but free activities are all over Europe. Sandeman’s New Europe Tours are found in 18 cities throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. If your vacation spot isn’t listed on Sandeman’s website, all it takes is a little searching on Google to find other free tours such as this Rome Free Walking Tour!

10. Meet Groupon, Livingsocial, Viator: your new best friends
Don’t forget to set your new city for Groupon and Livingsocial to your new host city. There are food, attraction, and experience deals on that you may never have heard about otherwise. Viator mainly offers deals for activities in tourist destinations. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, Groupon and Livingsocial both have great package deals on offer as well, many times with flights included. If you get used to researching every short trip as you plan, it won’t take long before you become a money-saving pro for holidays!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

(at no cost!)

Recent changes in the economy, the digital revolution, and government support has increased the number of graduates and alumni who make the career decision to become entrepreneurs. Many of them decide to do so after gaining experience within a company.

A survey conducted by London Business School Career Services in 2012 found that 7% of graduates answered YES to the question: 'Are you an entrepreneur?' when asked upon graduation, while 50% answered YES within 5 years from graduating.

Universities must adapt to this changing business reality in order to stay relevant.

Benefits of supporting entrepreneurs:
  • Success stories which are associated with the university
  • Proof of the business potential in your university
  • Entrepreneurs are natural networkers, and act as multipliers within and in connection to other communities
  • PR exposure – in 2012 London Business School was featured twice in Forbes, one of these was an interview with Nitzan Yudan regarding how LBS supported him in starting a business
  • Keep alumni connected to the school as mentors 
  • Attract new applicants to the school
  • Recruitment and work experience for students
  • Fundraising opportunities when the business become successful 
What entrepreneurs need:
The main need of entrepreneurs is access to networks and reputation. These two components are crucial to make the first sales as a company, and establish a brand. The other needs of entrepreneurs are to minimize cost, and maximize resources.

The plan below requires ZERO direct costs from the university, and was successfully implemented by London Business School.

Step 1: Reputation
Helping entrepreneurs build their reputation can be quite simple for a university; it’s mainly to do with the prestige associated with the university itself. If you help to promote your entrepreneurs, through any university channel, you will aid them in building their reputation. A simple solution is a page on the university pages with a list of companies, logo, and short description of business started by alumni of the university. This will not only help the entrepreneurs reputation, but will also help the ranking of their websites in search engines such as Google.

Step 2: Mentoring & Advice
Your alumni network, faculty, and staff can be an outstanding resource for mentoring and advice for entrepreneurs. By facilitating these relationships, both sides benefit.
To set up on a mentoring scheme you require 2 emails:

An email to budding entrepreneurs in the university asking who would like to participate in a mentorship program. Once you’ve collected the interested parties’ information, a simple database can store their info.

To faculty, staff, and alumni (could be part of a newsletter) to ask who would like to participate as a mentor. Collect the information by industry, expertise, and location. A simple database and an online calendar could be a great start. Email your entrepreneurs to register to this programme.

A good idea is also to organize a networking event inviting all mentors and entrepreneurs to the university. Facilitating this relationship is virtually no burden on administration, as once the relationship begins between the mentors and entrepreneurs it develops by itself.

Step 3: Professional Advice
A second level of advice can be made by engaging tax advisors, legal, PR, tech, and marketing agency to provide FREE workshops and support to the university entrepreneurs. They will do it for free in return to the reputation and the opportunity to have paid businesses in the future.

By creating a resource of recommended services by other entrepreneurs, you will be able to save the entrepreneurs much time in sorting out bureaucracy, and allowing them to focus on their business.

Step 4: Setting up an Incubator Programme
To start an incubator programme you only need one room, a table, a few chairs, and a wi-fi connection. That’s it. By facilitating this, the entrepreneurs will already benefit from saving the costs of renting office space, and will be able to have a working environment. While most early stage entrepreneurs still work from home, having an office space they can use & a community they can exchange ideas and knowledge with. Just one room with a tea kettle and wi-fi should be enough for 15-20 companies to begin to grow together, without management strain.

Once this has been started, you’ll be able to develop further interest across departments, from Career Services to the Alumni Office, a rare find with universities.

Step 5: Providing Access to the First Customers
Entrepreneurs strive to spread the word. By promoting their services with the university community, you can help them find their first customers. This can also go beyond the university network to corporations who work closely with the university and other audiences.

Posting on portals, Facebook, LinkedIn and including in newsletters could be a great start.

Step 6: PR and Media Coverage
Your university PR team is constantly looking for success stories and interesting development to make news about the university. Entrepreneurs are constantly looking for opportunities to get media coverage and boost their reputation. By simply connecting these two, you will create success on both sides. Flat Club, an LBS startups, was featured on the Financial Times, Forbes, Management Today, CityAM, and other publications – through a collaboration with the LBS PR team.

Step 7: Fundraising
One of the hardest challenges for entrepreneurs is to raise funding for their business. This is another great opportunity for the university community to facilitate potential interest with angel investors who are related to the university, or through crowd funding platforms.

A growing number of individuals are investing in startups through crowd funding platforms. However, many of them don’t have the time to do proper due diligence and deal sourcing. By connecting your alumni network to entrepreneurs, you help potential investors save time and worry – they are much more likely to invest in someone who graduated from the same university than in a random company.

Organizing quarterly pitching events can be an outstanding networking opportunity for both entrepreneurs and investors. For example, FlatClub's first investors were 2 LBS faculty members, and one of the largest donors of LBS itself!

If you're university is looking to grow alongside your budding entrepreneurs, these steps will help you to facilitate their success - at no cost. If you'd like any more advice on how to best assist entrepreneurs at your university, get in touch with us at

Monday, 1 September 2014

In the "Make Money From Your Stuff" section in this week's Essentials magazine, FlatClub was mentioned as a great way to make some money from your spare room! Voula Kapeleri's story was featured in the article on page 115. Kapeleri didn't want a full-time lodger, so she decided to list her flat in order to host interns one month at a time. It took her a little while to get used to the new people in her space, but she soon began to enjoy meeting the new diverse temporary flatmates. FlatClub is the perfect solution for Kapeleri to draw some extra income from her spare room without a full-time lodger.

The rest of the article lists other ways to make money from the stuff you already own, from renting out almost any sort of item (baby clothes, kitchen appliances, and gardening tools are listed), to selling things to sites like or instead of hassling with Ebay.