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I once read that one of the reasons women should undertake an MBA programme was because the alleged “bro-ski” or fraternity culture of business school prepares you for the male executive suite. On one hand I understand the argument. If you are surrounded by this type of culture for a couple of years you may very well grow a thick skin, handle critique better, become less emotional. All the stereotypes we associate men with and assume women don’t have or can’t handle (I don’t necessarily think this is true, but for the sake of this argument I am going to make general assumptions). On the other hand the statement implies that executive suites are always going to be dominated by men, and in order for women, to be successful they should conform to the male-like norms of the C-suite.
The assumption that all business schools have a cut-throat, ruthless environment is wrong. In fact, I would argue it is the exact opposite at London Business School. Our global community with nationalities from over 130 different countries creates an environment where different perspectives are a crucial part of the learning. In order to be successful at London Business School you will need to respect the collaborative nature of the school by building bridges rather than competing with your peers. I can say with confidence that the entire school community is collaborative, open-minded and inclusive. When you meet alumni or current students of the school they would be able to confirm this statement. We don’t believe that women should go to business school so they can “do business like a man… with men” I doubt that would go down well with most women. Instead women, just like men should pursue an MBA programme because they want to invest in themselves, their personal development, their career and lifelong network. However, women who are pursuing MBA programmes also have certain opportunities to change the c-suite and make a positive impact on gender equality.
It’s been said many times that business schools play an important role in creating the pipeline of women leaders. I couldn’t agree more. As a top business school we are educating future global leaders. Leaders of large international organisations who will go on to shape the business of the future. The more women who go on to graduate from business schools the more women we are able to promote into leadership roles. The more women we have in leadership roles the more opportunities we have to change outdated c-suite norms, in-equality in pay, maternity leave policies and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I am not implying that business schools are a single solution, but it can act as a very powerful and important catalyst.
I am very proud to work at a world-leading institution where promoting women in business is high on the agenda. Our faculty are producing great research on the topic of gender in-equality, we have a prominent student-led Women in Business club, the School is a long-time member of the Forte Foundation and we have recently launched our own “Manbassador scheme” asking men to pledge their support to gender parity. Just last weekend our team hosted the annual Women in Business Weekend for future women on the MBA programme. We welcomed a group of MBA candidates to join us in London for a weekend of faculty lectures, sightseeing in London, afternoon tea (we are in London after all) and to participate in our 17th annual Women in Business Conference.
These are just some examples of the many activities we do every year as a school to promote women inbusiness. We are making good progress as a school by educating more and more women and bringing them into senior positions once they graduate, but we still have a way to go. Being part of the MBA recruitment & admissions team, I and the rest of our team are responsible for bringing in talented and ambitious women who are going to shape the future of leadership. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job. It creates an enormous sense of purpose knowing that we are part of helping someone achieve their goals in life, but also helping to foster positive change in gender in-equality. I have a very special interest in bringing more women to business school as I sit on the School Advisory Council for the Forte Foundation and also chair its European School Advisory group. Through the School’s work with the Forte Foundation we collaborate with major corporations, other top business schools and influential non-profit organisations to direct talented women towards leadership roles in business.
I care deeply about this cultural shift and I look forward to continuing our work as change agents not only at London Business School, but across other schools and organisations.
Over the last three months, not a day has gone by without a new article mentioning all the different changes business schools are making to their admissions processes. With many collective years selection experience in the London Business School MBA Admissions Committee, we have seen a lot of changes and trends come and go. The recent trend of schools reducing their application essay requirement looks here to stay. We have dropped an essay and now require just one.
I have quite firm views on what I want us to learn from an application and therefore what questions we should ask candidates. We carefully consider how all the different elements fit together in to our overall admissions process.
A top MBA is a career and indeed life-changing experience. So for us, a question about aspirations is key – even if, by the transformative nature of an MBA, those aspirations will change during your studies.
If I am honest, I am less keen on the quirkier questions I have seen some schools use.
The application form and essays are a great introduction to you, offering information on your life and career so far and a little on your hopes and dreams. But the real story-telling opportunity in the LBS process comes with the alumni interview. Every successful applicant has an alumni interview, but not all applicants are selected for interview and not all interviewees are successful. We gain a HUGE amount from the interview process and love having our alumni conduct them, so that you can learn a huge amount about life at LBS too!
We don’t stand still – we are a business school and innovation is vital. It’s in our DNA. So this year we are introducing a video submission element for all candidates who reach the interview stage. This was not a decision we took lightly. We’ve been considering making this introduction for a couple of years. We piloted the process last year with a few candidates, to help us assess English language skills. But this year we are going all-out and using the videos to help us learn a lot more about you.
I want to take this opportunity to reassure all interviewees that we are being very thoughtful about how we use this exciting new addition to our process. The team have carefully considered what our expectations are and the limitations of the new addition. We recognise that we need to consider cultural differences, as we do with everything, because we have such an international community. Some people will feel a lot more comfortable than others filming themselves answering questions. And some professional backgrounds train you to carry out such activities. We are NOT looking to use this as a tool to disqualify candidates or ‘catch you out’. Quite the opposite – it is another opportunity to shine and help us get to know you. Don’t even worry (too much) if you don’t time your answers perfectly – we won’t deduct points. We just want to see how you perform on both the prepared question and the unprepared section. We love meeting candidates at events, but it’s not possible to meet you all, so this helps us see you in action.
We have really enjoyed watching the first few submissions. Alongside the application, GMAT / GRE and alumni interview, we have a lot of data points to consider. We believe that we are very well equipped to make the big admissions decisions and honestly think we have one of the most thorough admissions processes in the MBA world. And hopefully one of the most challenging but enjoyable for applicants!
The LBS MBA is a highly collaborative programme, requiring huge levels of contribution from all students. Everyone has to add something. So every admit decision we make is huge for us. We care passionately about who makes it through to the final class. We want to recruit the 430 candidates who best fit our amazing, collaborative, global community.
We are excited about getting to know you better – and through the supporting materials included with the video software, you can learn more about us too.
If you have just completed the video submission, well done. If you are about to record it, good luck. And if you have yet to apply yet…what’s stopping you?
Whether you are at the crucial research stage or in the process of applying for our MBA programme, the Recruitment Team at London Business School (LBS) can offer you a wealth of support.
1. WE CAN HELP YOU WITH YOUR RESEARCH INTO THE MBA PROGRAMME
We understand that it can take weeks, months and even at times years, for candidates to decide on whether to do an MBA and which school to choose.
Therefore we are here to answer any questions or queries you may have concerning the LBS MBA programme. We can send you further details or any information requested to help you understand all the great features and benefits of the programme. We will share with you, what we look for in an MBA candidate. It is advised to start your research by looking at our recently updated MBA brochure.
2. WE CAN HELP YOU BY REVIEWING YOUR CV
Secondly we can help decipher whether the MBA will be the best programme for you based on your experience. We do this by conducting an informal CV review.
This is not an admissions decision, rather a tailored advice based on reviewing your academic and professional background. Admission is based on the whole application.
3. WE CAN ARRANGE 1-TO-1 CONSULTATION MEETINGS OR PHONE CHATS
Having a phone conversation or meeting you in person will give us an opportunity to offer you tailored advice and support that will help you to submit a competitive application.
We also hold informal MBA drop-in sessions on campus, where you can talk to a member of the Admissions Team and our Student Ambassadors. These events take place every Monday and Friday (beginning promptly at 14:30) and last one hour, and include Q&A and campus tour (weather permitting). There is no need to register in advance, simply report to our main Reception at around 14:20. We also have monthly information sessions on campus where you can meet the MBA Recruitment and Admissions Team, together with current MBA students and MBA Alumni. We also hold international information sessions; to find out which city we are visiting next, visit our website.
4. WE WILL GIVE YOU THE NECESSARY APPLICATION GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT
Whether that’s reminding you of the upcoming deadline dates, giving you some top tips on how to strengthen your application or sending you more information on the requirements for the programme; we are here to help you submit a strong application. We advise you to take a look at the recently published essay questions.
At all points right up until you submit an application, we are happy to help you begin your journey to becoming a successful student on the next class!
Get the conversation started today! Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again. When the London Business School campus welcomes MBA admitted candidates into the LBS community. This year, we had over 150 MBA2018s and their partners attend a wide array of events showcasing the incredible city of London as well as the MBA programme’s offerings.
The first day of Welcome Weekend consisted of engaging presentations from our Career Centre, the MBA programme team and Student Ambassadors. Additionally, two of our world-class faculty members, Professor Rajesh Chandy and associate Professor Daniel Effron, led interactive lectures filled with lively debates. Following a day of engaging sessions and ‘Speed Networking’, admits and partners experienced their first evening Sundowners, an LBS tradition. MBA2018s then danced the night away to a live performance by ‘No Donuts for Hilda’, an LBS alumni band.
A highlight of the weekend included the ‘Entrepreneurship Session’ where we learned about an MBA2015 and his children’s literacy initiative, Pobble. Also featured in the session was MBA2015 student Graeme Burns, who talked about the student initiative, London Entrepreneurship Review.
Congratulations on your acceptance into the class of MBA2018 admits!
We look forward to seeing you soon at Orientation in August.
One of the most fulfilling parts of our work in the Admissions Team is knowing how much the MBA is going to change our students’ lives. This is especially true for the many students who join us looking to make a career shift from non-business backgrounds. Although such candidates have a lot more work to do, especially in the first year core courses such as accounting and finance, taking the longer route within a 15-21 month MBA programme enables students to make some big career transitions. To see their educational progression and growth is fantastic. And as you will read in the following piece, Portia moving from the BBC to McKinsey & Co is a great example of that!
Portia Williams: From broadcast to the boardroom!
“I was working as a broadcast journalist at the BBC in London. I had been a journalist for almost seven years, mostly focusing on news and current affairs across the Middle East and North Africa.
I wanted a new challenge and found that the opportunities offered by business school really appealed to me. I was also impressed by the experience of my some of my peers who took MBAs and by their personal development during and following the course.
It’s unusual to even consider applying to business school without experience in industries like finance or consulting or an academic background in disciplines like business or engineering, all of which are already very male-dominated. This means that a lot of great potential candidates don’t even consider applying.
To women considering business school, I’d say, be open-minded! There’s so much out there when you start thinking about business. Just because you didn’t study commerce or haven’t worked at a bank doesn’t mean that you won’t have an amazing experience at business school or that there aren’t fantastic professional opportunities out there for you as a result of having done a course like this. London Business School is a great place for women to study. There are some really inspiring and supportive women here both among the student body and in the faculty.
I’ve really enjoyed the learning component. The MBA has taught me a lot in terms of academic content but even more importantly, it’s altered my outlook. I now think about problems in a completely different way to how I did before starting this course. I’ve also really enjoyed making lots of new friends! It’s a real privilege to be able to study with so many impressive, energetic and fun people from around the world.
One of my academic highlights was an elective course called “Leading Teams and Organisations”. Each of the sessions involved interactive workshops with different groups of classmates from different programmes. It was an extraordinary shared learning experience that I don’t think you could replicate outside of the MBA classroom.
Negotiation and bargaining with Dr Lisa Shu transformed the way I approached negotiating by helped me to think about potential conflicts in a completely different and much more positive light. Taking part in simulated negotiation situations with our classmates each week meant we could try out different tactics and approaches in what felt like a safe environment.
Being part of the TELL Series Committee allowed me to meet with a number of extremely successful and very inspiring European entrepreneurs and to hear their stories first hand. It was also a great way to get to know other students from outside of my stream and programme.
I went on the 2015 trip to Moscow and St Petersburg. I’d wanted to visit Russia for as long as I can remember but had been waiting until I had the chance to go with Russians. It was fantastic to be able to get their insights into life there and experience the country with them.
My Global Business Experience was in South Africa. We spent a week doing a really fascinating project working with micro-entrepreneurs in the Alexandra Township in Johannesburg. It was interesting and challenging in equal parts. We also got to learn about the history of South Africa while we were there through trips and lectures and about what’s happening with business and the economy through visits to various businesses there.
I am currently on exchange at NYU’s Leonard Stern School of Management in New York. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get to spend four months living and studying in a different country. Upon graduation I’m going to join McKinsey and Company as a consultant in their London office. It’s a role I’m looking forward to and one I don’t think I would have even considered if it hadn’t been for going to LBS.”
I am fortunate to read a lot of excellent applications from very strong MBA candidates. But sometimes we come across amazing people who are going to change the world for the better.
When I first read Crystal’s application, I knew she was one of those people. It is really important for us that we have professionals in the class from all walks of life. Consultants, bankers and engineers are at the heart of every class. But people like Crystal and our students with medical backgrounds whose work saves lives, help to make the London Business School MBA community the very special place it is.
We are building a strong focus on healthcare through a range of different activities at London Business School.
I was delighted to see the introduction of a new healthcare elective last year. ‘Managing Healthcare’ is taught by a team of the School’s expert faculty, visiting faculty and guest speakers. The course summary states: “With increased demand and pressure to reduce costs, healthcare delivery systems across the globe are under pressure to find ways to increase quality and widen access, while simultaneously reducing cost. The aim of the course is to explore the challenges these competing goals create and to throw light on how they can be best managed. In so doing the course seeks to identify opportunities in health care for managers, entrepreneurs and policy makers. This course draws substantially from the research and consulting expertise of the team of instructors teaching it.”
As well as that elective students like Crystal have access to electives at partner schools, such as Business Opportunities in Bioprocessing & Life Science at University College London.
Crystal is President of the School’s Healthcare Club. With over 3000 student, alumni & staff members, the club is one of the largest and most active professional clubs on campus. Their activities encompass all Life Sciences areas including healthcare provision, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals & medical technology. Members of the Healthcare Club are active in a wide range of sectors including entrepreneurship, industry, consulting, banking, venture capital & private equity.
Crystal Ruff – ‘The best decision I’ve ever made’
“Prior to joining the MBA programme I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University Hospital Network in Toronto, Canada. Although it was an exciting time for my field, it was becoming increasingly evident that a PhD would not be enough to progress to where I wanted to go. It was clear that the future of medicine lies at the junction between business and commercialization skills and the technological know-how.
As a woman deciding to go to business school there are very specific barriers. Gender balance is still not evenly represented in the MBA class – although I think this year at LBS, my study group was the first amongst business schools to have more women than men! It can also be more difficult for women to penetrate the traditional “boys clubs” and we also face certain unconscious biases and stereotypes in the professional world. (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8gz-jxjCmg)
But here at LBS, we are working to change that. The school is working very hard to foster an empowering environment that supports both men and women in their business dreams, and it is really reflected in the amazing and diverse student body that we can boast of.
My advice to women would be: Do it! Jump in with both feet! It will be the best decision you ever made. London Business School is one of the most gender balanced of all the major universities. We have thriving Women in Business Club that has both men and women members and events. We are diverse and inclusive at the school – boasting 90% international students. Actually, we recently even broke a Guinness world record surrounding this – “most different nationalities singing a popular music song”. That is a typical Friday here – LBS has literally made many of its women (and men too!) Guinness World Record holders.
And then there’s the location. London is an amazing city and was one of the primary reasons I chose the School. Where else in the world can you nip out to Regent’s Park on your lunch hour for a picnic, go see the Rosetta Stone at your local museum and then go meet C-Suite Business, finance and industry leaders in the afternoon? There are no other cities in the world as internationally renowned as London and it makes the LBS experience even richer.
The most enjoyable part of my experience has definitely been the friends I’ve met and the networking. You can learn business skills anywhere, but at the end of the day, what really counts is your network. I have an army of the smartest, most successful people in the world behind me. Where can you NOT go, what door is NOT unlocked by the LBS key?
My favourite courses by far have been in organisational behaviour. Time and time again, when I meet the most senior leaders, I always have a habit of asking them “what do you wish you knew at my age?” and without fail – they all say… “Technical skills can only get you so far – if you want to be a senior leader, you MUST learn to manage people as well as do your tasks”. These courses prepare you for that.
Along with one other colleague, I am President of this year’s Healthcare Club. This year, we have seen the club grow in number and scope, we have introduced three new officers and several jobs in response to student demand, and have also instituted the first ever Advisory Board to help ensure the future of the club. We’ve been able to get amazing speakers, such as the CEOs of BUPA, Johnson and Johnson, Chairman of the NHS, and other C-Level executives that I would have never have dreamed of meeting otherwise in my wildest dreams! The LBS Brand has really opened doors that I hadn’t thought were possible!
If you decide to study your MBA at LBS, take advantage of the Treks – I have been to Turkey, Ireland, Prague, Hiking in Ben Nevis, to Paris, Bangkok, Cambodia and Spain. My passport looks like a child’s colouring book with all of the colourful stamps. There is just nowhere else in the world that you could nip off to Croatia for the weekend (forgot that one) or Moscow for a quick shopping visit. It is truly an international hub!”
The Women in Business Club strives to celebrate and advance women’s leadership in business. It is one of the largest and most active clubs on campus. With more than 500 student members and 60 events per year, the club provides excellent networking, skills development and recruitment opportunities. The club strives for an inclusive conversation about gender equality in business, inviting both men and women to take part in the conversation. Over the past year, the Women in Business Club has organised: recruitment events, personal development workshops, career panels, networking and social events as well as the annual flagship event: the LBS Women in Business Conference.
Carola Gruenert: LBS is as a place where you are respected and challenged in your views and thinking!
“Throughout my studies, I have been an active member of the LBS Women in Business Club Executive Committee. Currently, in my second year, I am Co-President of the club and lead an Executive Committee of more than 30 men and women who shape the agenda of the club.
As member of the ExCo and as Club Co-President I have had the chance to set up events that cater to the club member’s and my own interest: Bringing speakers to campus to talk about their experience and share their insights, as well as connecting the students across programmes. This year, we made a significant contribution to making the conversation about women empowerment and advancement more inclusive, including men in the conversation. We now have men in the ExCo and launched a ManBassador programme.
Taking on a leadership position as a Club President, allowed me to work on my management and leadership style. I was able to execute my ideas and have an impact on the school community. Also, it enabled me to meet even more members of the School community and broaden my network.
I am also a peer leader at LBS. As a peer leader, I support fellow students who seek a career in Management Consulting in preparing them for the recruiting process. The one-on-one coaching and mock-interview sessions that I hold have been a great experience for me. On the one hand I had the chance to build meaningful relationships with classmates who I otherwise have not met, and on the other hand I could work on my interviewing and coaching skills and learn from the people I work with. To me, the peer leader programme is only one example of the strong LBS community. We are all at LBS to learn, develop and seek new opportunities. While at times, we are perhaps competing against each other for the same job opportunities, the support that you receive from your classmates and the broader LBS community and alumni prevails.
London Business School is a great place to study for everyone. Given the diversity of the school – no country is represented by more than 10% – no one feels like a minority. This holds true for nationalities as well as gender. From my experience, I would recommend LBS as a place where you are respected and challenged in your views and thinking. Where everyone can grow and develop and find their niche. Whether you are into Organizational Behaviour classes or prefer something more tangible like Finance classes, you can tailor your curriculum to your interests.
I have to admit that before coming to LBS I had the pre-conception of MBA students being super self-confident, extrovert and having strong opinions. It was a nice surprise to see that actually the students in my class are a balanced mix of introverts and extroverts, and no opinion dominates the discussions, given that we all come from different professional backgrounds and countries. For me, this makes a great learning environment.
Pre-MBA I was a Management Consultant with Oliver Wyman in Munich, Germany. I was a generalist and worked for clients across Europe. I am returning to Oliver Wyman in Munich post MBA as a Management Consultant (project manager) focusing on consulting projects in the retail sector. In the long term I seek to build a portfolio career, keeping management consulting as a substantial part of my portfolio of activities.
In Germany, a Masters degree is highly valued and almost seen as necessary for a successful career. When I finished my Bachelors studies in General Management, I was eager to start working and see “the real world”. I didn’t see the benefit of studying a Masters degree at that time and decided to embark on a career in Management Consulting and return to business school after a few years of work experience . The idea of studying real cases and with students who all had seen “the real world” fascinated me. As my first commitment towards my goal, I took the GMAT – with the GMAT being valid for 5 years, this gave me some flexibility on when I would do the MBA and the confidence of already having completed one of the challenges of getting into a top business school.
A few years later, I was ready for my career break and eager to do an MBA. It seemed like a fantastic opportunity to go abroad and develop my personal skills before transitioning into a manager. The MBA also allowed me time to think about my long term career plans.
It is not a secret that pursuing an MBA is a substantial financial investment. It is an experience and investment that I consider totally worthwhile, but also a decision that one should think through. I think women potentially see this financial investment as a barrier, especially when considering starting a family in the near future.
However, I see the hurdle in making it into a top business school like LBS more challenging than setting up the financing. There are a lot of scholarships available for women in your home country as well as through LBS. Student loans are available as well as firm sponsorships, well paid internships or part-time jobs which you can do during your studies can also contribute to your financing.
In addition, the flexible length of the MBA programme at LBS allows you to get back to work after only 15 months or 18 months, which also reduces the financial burden significantly.”
We were introduced to Nono Mkhondo as the partner of a student in our MBA2014 class. We were all so impressed with her involvement in the School community even then, through her work with the Africa Club. Although delighted that she was an active member of the School community as a partner, we knew that Nono was exactly the kind of person we wanted as a student in the London Business School MBA class. It’s unusual, but not unknown for us to see couples both doing the MBA. We know it adds extra pressure on the family finances, which is why we were delighted that Nono was awarded the Mo Ibrahim African Scholarship, a merit based award for our highest potential African students. Nono has been at the heart of some of the most important and active student clubs and events in her time here and will, I’m sure, go on to be an amazing alumna with a wonderful career.
My MBA: The beginning of a lifetime journey, by Nono Mkhondo
“Prior to my MBA I was Senior Corporate Finance Analyst for Anglo American, based in London. After almost five years in corporate M&A, I started to think about how I could broaden my experience to better position myself for a general management role in the long term. My decision to study an MBA was largely influenced by feedback that I received from friends and family that had completed MBAs about their experiences and the impact the MBA had on their careers. It became apparent to me that it was the right time for me to embark on an MBA to facilitate a career transition before I became too specialised in my industry.
Even though my husband had already done an MBA, I wondered how an MBA would affect our joint goals as a couple. I was concerned about the impact taking two years out of work would have on my career momentum, on my marriage and the timing of my decision to start a family. Since starting the programme, I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of women I have met with children or who have decided to start families during the MBA.
The structure of the LBS MBA provides the necessary flexibility and environment is very supportive. It is definitely possible to have a fulfilling and enriching MBA experience while simultaneously balancing family commitments. There is a high representation of women so you never feel “alone” in any setting and the women I have met on the programme have been an instrumental part of my MBA experience and have inspired me in many ways. The MBA has made me more confident in my own abilities and given me a great platform to learn, grow and experiment in a safe environment.
London is an amazing location for an MBA programme. From a professional development perspective, we have access to business leaders and experts and the ability to network with potential employers on an on-going basis (not merely during recruiting season). It is the perfect gateway to explore the world. The treks and my Global Business Experience (GBE) have been an important part of my development and social experience.
I love the culture of London Business School. It is small and intimate enough for me to develop meaningful relationships with students, alumni and staff-alike and people are generally open-minded and accessible. There are real opportunities to make a difference and have an impact in the community and beyond.
My GBE was an amazing experience. I was particularly impressed by Rajesh Chandy, who facilitated the Mumbai / Pune visit. He was engaging, extremely knowledgeable and insightful but also sensitive and entertaining – a winning combination!
I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to a number of professional and social clubs. These experiences enabled me to engage with students from other programmes and learn to work efficiently and collaboratively in multidisciplinary teams. I also got the chance to experiment with different leadership styles while developing my leadership capabilities. Some examples include, defining the panel and sourcing speakers for the Women in Business Club’s 2015 Conference, sourcing keynotes for the 2015 Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference and as Club Co President for the Africa Club, I was involved with the overall strategy, sponsorship, fundraising, conferences and alumni relations.
Upon graduation, I will be joining Goldman Sachs as Associate in their Investment Banking Division in London. This represents a change in career from Industry to professional services and a change in Industry from Mining to Consumer and Retail.”
“Finding out that I’d received the Mo Ibrahim African Scholarship was probably one of the most memorable moments of my life. It was extremely humbling.”
Do you have an eye for detail and a passion for a career within the luxury goods sector? London Business School’s MBA should be your number one choice. With our Luxury Management programme, taught within our MBA and in partnership with Walpole British Luxury, you’ll have a unique opportunity to gain real experience in successful luxury brands. Find out more about how we support careers within the luxury sector.
I recently caught up with Renita Bakshi, MBA2017 to find out more about her experience on the MBA programme. Renita studied an undergraduate degree in Marketing and International Business at Indiana University- Kelley School of Business. She most recently worked in Planning for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at Tiffany & Co., United States of America.
What are your post MBA goals?
I hope to build a career in an industry that I am most passionate about and eventually be CEO.
Why did you decide to consider business education? And why did you choose to embark on an MBA at that point in your career?
I was looking to transform professionally and personally. While, I was at Tiffany & Co., I noticed that everyone in the C-suite either had an MBA or robust international experience. I knew that if I wanted to grow into a business leader, I needed to garner both and there was no better place to do it than London Business School. Apart from the international student body, LBS provides students with many opportunities to gain global experience. Next year, I am going on exchange to Hong Kong. I want to do my Global Business Experience in Johannesburg, Africa and take block week classes in Dubai. By the end of my MBA, I will have had exposure to doing business across four continents and living in three of most magnificent cities in the world – New York, London and Hong Kong.
Through the MBA, I was also looking to gain exposure to new industries as I had spent five years in the retailing industry. Through the recruiting process, I was able to secure two offers, one from Google and another from Accenture Strategy. I am interning at Google this summer and hopefully at Accenture in the fall. When, I come back from Hong Kong, I am thinking to do a third internship in private equity within the retail space. LBS’ flexible program will allow me to experience three industries – Tech, Consulting and Private Equity and that would not have been possible at any other business school.
Lastly, I was a Marketing and International Business major in undergrad, and wanted to round out my skill set by taking more Finance, Accounting, Operations and Strategy classes which would provide me with a solid business foundation to set me up for success for my long term goals.
Are there specific barriers you think women face when deciding on whether to go to business school or not?
And what advice would you give women when considering them?
I have seen women with kids and spouses certainly face barriers when deciding to go to business school. I certainly would like to encourage these women as many of my classmates have children, are balancing long distance marriages, and have managed to secure some of the most sought out internships at top consulting or banking firms. It is completely doable and the LBS community is very supportive.
Why is London Business School a good place for women to study?
LBS has ‘Manbassadors’ and a whole ‘He for She’ campaign by which women are seeing men being supportive of both their personal and professional aspirations. The idea is that when these manbassadors and other MBAs return to the workforce, they will continue to be supportive of women.
Tell us about your interaction with other students through study groups?
LBS is a very unique place when it comes to the student body. What makes this experience so special is that we have students from 68 different countries where no one country represents more than ten percent of the class. The class room discussions as a result are amazing because you are literally learning from a world perspective. No one voice or country is dominant. My study group comprises of six students from different countries and industries. I have someone from China and Private Equity, Italy and Management Consulting, India and Tech, Portugal and Civil Engineering, Brazil and Banking, and I am from America with a Retail background. Through the study group experience, you not only learn how to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds but truly get a sense of how business is done across the world.
The LBS community is truly a collaborative and supportive community. About a month ago, a student had a great idea of LBS making a Guinness World Record and hundreds of students from 72 nationalities came together to make this happen. LBS currently holds the world record for the highest number of different nationalities taking part in a popular singalong.
Tell us about your involvement in professional or social clubs. How have you contributed and how have you benefited?
I am extremely involved in the community here and its a great way to make an impact as well as to personally and professionally grow. As the VP of Speaker Series for the Luxury & Retail Goods Club, I organised a Private Equity in Luxury Panel with the Managing Directors of Private Equity companies – Permira, L Capital, the Carlyle Group and with the Boston Consulting Group. I am currently organizing an event called “Inventing the 21st Century Tech Company” with Glory Zhang, CMO, Huawei Consumer BG who has lead taking a Chinese consumer tech company to $20B in five years. I planned the LBS Speed Networking and LBS Olympics to bring together all the programs at LBS. As the VP Logistics of the Women in Business Conference, I am organizing the conference for 350 attendees and the first ever leadership workshops for the attendees. I organized The World Class Temple Tour for 40 classmates introducing them to two world-renowned temples and the Indian culture in London.
I am a part of the Walpole Program in Luxury Management and my mentor is the Head of Reserve Brands at Diageo. Through this program, I have been able to interact with some of the biggest leaders in the industry such as the Managing Director of Harrods and the CEO of Style.com. I am also looking forward to attending the launch of a new report with Walpole Corporate Partner, McKinsey & Company, to look at the key growth drivers of luxury brands in the UK. The report examines how successful British luxury brands have grown, and what it takes to build British luxury brands at each stage, the key growth phases and tools to develop sustainable businesses in the UK and internationally.
In December last year, the MBA Recruitment & Admissions Team had the chance to welcome 60 MBA2018 admitted candidates to London for our first Admits Event for Round 1 candidates. The day was jam packed with presentations starting with a welcome from our Student Association president who highlighted different aspects of student life and activities to get involved with once joining the LBS community. Erica Hensens, Programme Director of the MBA, walked our admitted candidates through the MBA experience. Following Erica, one of our world-class faculty members, Alex Edmans, presented an engaging and interactive lecture focusing on corporate responsibility.
Career Centre then provided an overview of their support and offerings during the MBA programme with a panel of current students from the MBA2016 and MBA2017 classes. To wrap up the sessions, a group of alumni and student ambassadors offered their own perspective of the LBS experience with guest speaker David Saenz, co-founder of the successful Uncover App.
At the end of the day, we celebrated with a dinner cruise on the Thames to view the incredible light displays for the holiday season. We look forward to continuing to develop the class in our upcoming admissions rounds!