Meet The London Business School MBA Class of 2017

Balam Krishnakanth

Krishnakanth Balam

London Business School

Hometown: Bangalore, India

Undergraduate School and Major: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore;

Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic Engineering)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

 EmployerJob TitlePeriodLocation
1)Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)Senior Officer, CleantechAug 2009 to Jul 2012Singapore
EDB is a government agency under Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. It is responsible for devising policies and attracting foreign investments to develop various industries in Singapore, thereby leading to GDP growth and job creation.

 

2)Embrace InnovationsBusiness Development ManagerAug 2012 to Jul 2014Bangalore
Embrace InnovationsAssociate Director, Business DevelopmentAug 2014 to Jun 2015Bangalore
Embrace Innovations is an award-winning social enterprise developing disruptive healthcare technologies for emerging markets, starting with an innovative low-cost incubator to save premature babies. The company has already helped more than 150,000 babies. It is a for-profit venture and funded by VCs like Vinod Khosla and Marc Benioff.

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? A few things that particularly helped me – and advice that I would pass on to others – includes taking the GMAT as early as possible, even a year earlier if you can. Preparing for the GMAT could be stressful enough and you will not want the burden of the applications weighing you down even further. I took my GMAT a few years back and can’t even imagine my stress levels if I had left that until the application season.

Do also take as many full-length practice tests as possible, at least until you feel comfortable with the length of the test (even better if you can take it at around the same time as your scheduled test time). I had taken about 10 full-length tests before the big day and I would probably pick this as the single biggest contributor to better performance on the test. It built my stamina, taught me to let go off questions at the right time, and gave me the confidence on exam day that I am walking into a similar environment.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Needless to say, an MBA degree is a huge investment, both in terms of money as well as personal energy. If you are sure you would like to do an MBA, my advice would be to pick schools where you think you will be most happy and satisfied and where you know you have a chance of getting in. Rankings are always a decent place to start in order to get that first short list. After I had my first short list, I spoke with 2-3 current students or alumni at those schools and read their student blogs to get a better sense. My advice would be to not apply for more than 4 or 5 schools in a given round; the whole process can be really draining.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? I have three valuable tips on hindsight:

  • Do start and finish the first drafts of your essays as early as possible and I mean reasonably good first drafts. This way, you can send them out to friends in your MBA circles for feedback. Equally important, I feel that revisiting essays a few weeks later with a fresh pair of eyes really improves the quality of one’s written work.
  • Practise interviews with other people. While practising in front of a mirror or recording your answers definitely helps, doing 2-3 mock interviews with other people will really give you that edge when interview invites kick in.
  • Do be patient and never lose your self-confidence, irrespective of the outcome.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose the London Business School for my full-time MBA. The class size of 400 students across 60-70 nationalities offered the ideal combination of being small enough to develop some great friendships while offering an extremely global perspective of business. I also wanted to be in a leading global city with access to a wide network of industries, people and opportunities, and London is right up there. Professionally, I am interested in social entrepreneurship in the area of mental health and well-being. Both London, as well as London Business School, offer some of the best resources in this regard – from the school’s incubator (which is amongst the best in London) to an amazing support network of faculty, alumni and staff.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? This one is a difficult question, something I have been thinking about as I have been gearing up for orientation. There is so much I am hoping to get out of the program. At the top would probably be developing many life-long, genuine friendships with other students – the kind of friends you could call in the middle of the night and discuss your burning issues. I would also like to try out an idea or two as a social entrepreneur in the area of mental health and well-being. I cannot imagine a more perfect environment to get all the support and resources that would bring these ideas to fruition. Having also come from a niche background, I am looking to broaden my perspective of global business and gain a toolkit to address various business issues. Fundamentally, I hope that underlying my MBA would be incredible experiences that would push me out of my comfort zone and develop me personally and professionally. To quote the ending words of my London Business School essay, “To me, the LBS and its collaborative community represent infinite energy and endless possibilities that coalesce to create a perfect environment for challenging my limits and giving me the confidence to take greater risks and change the world for the better as a social entrepreneur.”