Meet The London Business School MBA Class of 2017

Members of London Business School's Class of 2017

Members of London Business School’s Class of 2017

If you were going to London Business School this year, here are some of the remarkable MBA classmates you would sit next to in class.

Sivan Alon, an Israeli, studied in The Netherlands and imported goods from China for distribution throughout Northern Europe. Cuba’s Leisy Bartumeut earned an undergrad degree at Wharton before moving to the Boston Consulting Group, where she identified potential partners for the Gates Foundation. Komaki Foster, who has already mastered Japanese, French, Mandarin, and English, returns to LBS after a four-year stint as an aide to Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards.

Farai Mwamuka, a Zimbabwe native, managed artists for Grand Hustle Records before moving onto roles as a McKinsey consultant and the executive assistant to the CEO for a leading South African mining company. And Tiiram Sunderland, who already holds two master’s degrees, helped draft Australian policy towards South Asian nations as an executive officer in the nation’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


London is a melting pot, a financial and creative epicenter, a symbol of refinement and perseverance, and London Business School, is pretty much a reflection of the city itself, a gateway to Europe and the larger world. Some 92% of the students in the Class of 2017 come from outside the United Kingdom and represent 68 nationalities. For David Simpson, LBS’ admissions director, the remarkable variety of the student population is the school’s calling card.

“The MBA class of 2017 is set to be more international than ever. We have carefully planned so that there is no dominant nationality and huge diversity on the program. Cultural and professional diversity are the elements our students really value; they get to meet and build connections with individuals from all over the world, all of whom bring their own unique experience to the program.”

LBS Admissions Director David SImpson

LBS Admissions Director David Simpson

The 417-member class arrives with a 701 average GMAT, up a point from the Class of 2016, with GMATs ranging from 600 to 780. And there were improvements in other areas, adds Simpson. “We’re pleased to see yet another increase in the number of women joining the MBA, at 37% compared to 36% last year. We offer scholarships including some in partnership with organisations such as the 30% Club and Forte Foundation, to outstanding women with proven academic and professional achievements.”

As undergrads, many 2017 class members earned degrees in business, finance, economics, and engineering. Professionally, the highest percentage of the class worked in consulting (29%) and finance (28%). In addition, you’ll find large swaths who worked in energy (7%), public sector and non-profits (6%), retail and luxury good (4%), engineering (4%), healthcare (3%), military (2%), and aerospace and automotive (2%). According to Simpson, this represents a slight shift in student backgrounds. “As usual, a good proportion of students have come from the finance and consultancy sectors, with an increase in students from top strategy consulting firms including McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company,  and The Boston Consulting Group. However, it is particularly pleasing to see a huge range of other professional backgrounds as well, including students from the military, energy, healthcare and luxury and retail. We’re also delighted to see some entrepreneurs join us too – they are an essential part of the class.”


Despite its moderate size, LBS offers over 100 student clubs. One big surprise for Simpson is how much the Class of 2017 has already embraced extracurriculars. “One thing that’s really special is that this year’s students seem more enthusiastic than ever to get involved in the school community. Many have expressed interest to join the school’s student clubs and activities. The EurOUT conference, Women in Business Club, Africa Business Club and Retail and Luxury Club are just some students have mentioned.”

Unlike many European programs, LBS offers a two-year curriculum that enables students to explore career options more deeply. That said, it is a flexible curriculum, with students free to graduate at the 15- or 18-month marks (though most stay for the 21-month duration). Each year, nearly a third of LBS students take part in a unique exchange program, where students can spend a term studying at one of more than 30 business schools ranging from Wharton and Columbia to HEC Paris and CEIBS. Students also take part in a week-long Global Business Experience, where they travel to such locations as Peru and South Africa to work with area entrepreneurs. In true global spirit, LBS students are also expected to master a second language by graduation.

Even more, graduates are paid handsomely for their education. In the new Forbes MBA rankings, London Business School ranked #1 among non-American two-year MBA programs due to their graduates’ gains in earnings. For example, LBS’ Class of 2010 entered the program making $78,000. Five years after graduation, their incomes had skyrocketed to $210,000 — $51,000 higher than runner-up IESE. Even more, this higher pay represented a $102,100 gain after tuition and lost income were factored into the equation. LBS even outperformed one-year programs such as INSEAD, IMD and Cambridge Judge when it came to five-year ROI.

Go to next page to see student profiles of this year’s incoming class. 

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