Dr. Crystal Ruff
London Business School
“For me, coming into the MBA, I had not taken a university business course… Ever! (I came here for a 100% complimentary skill set). And as a result, it was challenging to get up to speed with many of the other students. I was writing accounting exams with accountants! And I remember making a kind of “Business Dictionary” in the first few months of new terminology and what it meant… But I worked hard and caught up and ended up doing well. Let that be a lesson to those readers who are scared of the new material and are unsure whether to proceed because of this fear. Do it! Jump in! The words will come – make your own “Business Dictionaries” – Better yet, forge your own business path! You will be glad you did.”
Hometown: Hamilton, Canada
1) University College London: PhD Neuroscience
2) McMaster University: Summa Cum Laude BSc Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? University Health Network, Toronto: Fehlings Lab – Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Reneuron Group, London (Surrey)
Where will you be working after graduation? TBD
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School
1) Co-President – Healthcare Club: Grew club to over 3000 members (~30% increase from previous years) and instituted Advisory Board.
2) Featured as only student in LBS Scholarship Video
3) Featured in Life@LBS
4) Highlighted in LBS Women’s Recruitment campaign and LBS Blog (Attached)
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Overall, I have been very fortunate to be a part of the LBS community and to enjoy the benefits – both academic and extracurricular – of this MBA. When thinking of the achievement that I am most proud of, two major opportunities come to mind:
1) Each year, as an extracurricular event, LBS links with TED and produces an accredited TEDx at LBS conference. Last year, I was very fortunate to be selected as one of only two students – from over 30 applicants in an “American Idol”-style competition – to give a TEDx talk on the future of medicine. What school gives that sort of opportunity to its students?
2) Secondly, on a strange and interesting note, I am now officially a Guinness World Record holder, thanks again to LBS. Each year, our (90% international) student body gets together to produce a multi-cultural “Tattoo” event to showcase the many cultures that make up our community. This year, as a prelude to this, the student association organized a Guinness World Record event, where LBS students from 72 different nationalities got together and sang “Imagine,” by John Lennon. We now share the official Guinness World Record for most different nationalities singing a popular music song.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Professionally, I have also been very fortunate. As part of my work with stem cells in the Fehlings Lab in Toronto Canada, my work received some focus. Not only was I featured on Canadian National news as an expert in stem cell and regenerative medicine, but I was also able to write a report for the White House on the future of science and technology. I think it is really exciting that my work could have made it into the hands of Barack Obama and his team and that I could have the chance to shape opinion of some of our world’s most influential people.
Who is your favorite professor? Favorite MBA Courses? Good Question – Picking a favourite professor or course at LBS is like picking a favourite Ice Cream; they are all amazing, and the difference in flavours is what makes each great and unique. And LBS has some of the best ice cream in the world!
Whether it is discussing one’s purpose in media class, or exploring our paths to power in the class of the same name, or even negotiating a salary increase as part of a negotiations and bargaining class, you can count on the first rate instructors and world-leading content to translate to real-world success.
And no “favourites” list would be complete without discussing LBS’ new Healthcare elective. Three Professors on our Advisory Board worked very hard on this one to bring outstanding speakers and first rate content. And we are working as a team to expand this elective and really grow Healthcare within the LBS community and beyond.
Why did you choose this business school? LBS is consistently ranked in the top handful of business schools. In terms of content and professors (see above), it is top of the line. It is smack dab in the heart of one of the biggest global centres. I can go to morning meetings with Fortune 500 companies (over 75% have offices in London), hit up a free museum at lunch to see the Rosetta Stone or a Picasso, and then head out to the world’s leading financial district or newest biotech incubators in the afternoon. On the weekends, I can go for a run in the Queen’s Rose Garden in Regent’s Park or hop on a 20 euro flight and go skiing in the Alps or play Volleyball in Majorca. Where else in the world can you have this richness of experience?
On top of that, my friends and colleagues are leaders from around the world. There is no longer a place I can visit where I do not have a native friend. The gift of a truly global network is one that you won’t find in many other MBAs.
I chose LBS for the life it affords me and for the richness of experiences and networks it has given.
What did you enjoy most about business school? Definitely the experience. Any top rate business school will teach you amazing business skills. I think that equally important are the connections you make and the friendships you forge. At LBS, because of the proximity to the rest of Europe, we are very fortunate to go on several “treks” to foreign destinations. There is a saying that “the world is a book, and one who does not travel reads only one page.” In many more ways than one, LBS has offered me a library!
What was the most surprising thing about business school? I think the most surprising thing was probably one of my favourite experiences: going in to business school, everyone sends emails with little profiles in them to say hello to the rest of the class. And EVERYONE at LBS is exceptional!
In my class, we have an ex-counterintelligence officer-turned Lawyer, a diver who dismantled bombs underwater and fought offshore pirates, a journalist for the BBC, a fighter pilot, a gentleman who built infrastructure in Africa and all sorts of interesting people. I am convinced I used to sit beside the real-life Tony Stark… And, despite this wealth of skill, experience and, frankly, intimidating achievement… There is amazing humility and camaraderie. We have all become close friends and share this fantastic, holistic community. I think the most surprising thing was that all of these different people from different countries with different skills could really become one amazing and cohesive team!
What was the hardest part of business school? For me, coming into the MBA, I had not taken a university business course… Ever! (I came here for a 100% complimentary skill set). And as a result, it was challenging to get up to speed with many of the other students. I was writing accounting exams with accountants! And I remember making a kind of “Business Dictionary” in the first few months of new terminology and what it meant… But I worked hard and caught up and ended up doing well. Let that be a lesson to those readers who are scared of the new material and are unsure whether to proceed because of this fear. Do it! Jump in! The words will come – make your own “Business Dictionaries” – Better yet, forge your own business path! You will be glad you did.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…” I saw the immediate need in the Biotech communities for someone with skills in both science and business.”
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…in med school.”
Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? The one who can fail gracefully and then get back up like it never happened.
What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to eventually be CEO of a Pharma Company and own some stem cell clinics.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I have been VERY blessed to have the most amazing family you can ask for! Ever since I was a little girl, they supported me and taught me that no dream was too big… And tolerated 6-year-old Crystal’s “Science Experiments” in the garage…
On top of that, I have had some excellent mentors who have given me opportunities beyond my wildest dreams! And friends and a (soon-to-be) husband who challenge, push, support and grow together with me… It’s been quite an amazing journey and I have been very fortunate to have some of the world’s best people alongside.
Fun fact about yourself: (Well, now you know) I am a Guinness World Record Holder
Favorite book: The Definitive Book of Body Language; In the Company of Women; anything by Malcolm Gladwell, CS Lewis or JK Rowling
Favorite movie: Pass… Maybe something Super-hero-y…
Favorite musical performer: Katy Perry or Beyonce
Favorite television show: Carnivale (an old HBO show but a goodie!)
Favorite vacation spot: So far, Maui… But I continue to look for new places and adventures!
Hobbies? Hiking and Adventuring
What made Crystal such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?
“From the moment Crystal joined the school she has played a significant role in our community. Her enthusiasm has been a catalyst for many of us across the School. Crystal brings to the London Business School classroom a significant background in the sciences and healthcare and I know that she has been an active contributor not only to our clubs and societies but also to the learning experience of others here at the School. Learning from others is a key tenant of the MBA programme and Crystal embodies this. She supports others to learning from her own experience, knowledge and with her support, but has also taken every opportunity to develop herself with the resources that the programme has made available to her.” — Erica Hensens, Programme Director, MBA programme, London Business School
strong>DON’T MISS: CLASS OF 2016: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST GRADUATING MBAS