2017 Best MBAs: Anvi Shah, Cambridge (Judge)

Meet Anvi Shah of Cambridge and Poets & Quants Best & Brightest 2017. “An enthusiastic ball of sunshine, that thrives on strong relationships and loves a fine challenge!”

Anvi Shah

Cambridge Judge Business School

An enthusiastic ball of sunshine, that thrives on strong relationships and loves a fine challenge!”

Age: 26

Hometown: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Fun fact about yourself: I have jumped off a plane at 12000 ft., I have dived into the Indian Ocean and I have trekked up Machu Picchu in Peru.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelors in Chemical Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

Prasol Chemicals Ltd. : Executive Director

FitPermit : Co-Founder

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? CJBS has a 1 year MBA program that commences in fall, and I used the summer of 2016 to train, develop and handover my duties to my successors in both my companies i.e. Prasol Chemicals Ltd. And FitPermit.

Where will you be working after graduation? Amazon EU – Consumer Leadership Development Program.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Women’s Leadership Initiative- Marketing and Communications Officer

TedX Oxbridge – Sponsorship Head

Judge May ball – Entertainment Head

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am extremely proud of being in the leadership committee of three initiatives I strongly believe in. First is creating awareness and driving a change in perception towards women in leadership roles, through debates, workshops, and a conference with a panel of inspiring business leaders. Second, is the ability to build a communication pipeline between Cambridge and Oxford, to encourage a healthy exchange of intellectual ideas and to build a strong network. The flagship event for this cooperation is the TedX conference that forms a great platform for Oxbridge students to learn from industry pioneers and peers. Last, I believe all work must be balanced out with fun, and I am currently working with the team, to ensure we can give my classmates, a night of well-deserved, unparalleled fun coupled with unforgettable memories.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The biggest achievement in my professional journey so far, is having the courage to launch my own start-up called FitPermit. Through my own weight loss journey of close to 25 kgs, I discovered my undeniable passion towards fitness. However, it was only through my working life at Prasol, that I realized how the work hours and the extensive travel made health an ignored aspect of corporate life. Having closely worked with people through this struggle I was aware of all the multiple excuses people made to avoid hitting the gym. This is when I chanced upon the idea of creating a workout option that has a solution to each of these overused excuses. I launched ‘FitPermit’ — a tech-fitness aggregator that was ideated such that it gave users a large variety of options ranging from Zumba to Krav Maga to Yoga. Additionally, due to the size of Mumbai and its logistic difficulties, FitPermit offered the user a chance to work out anywhere, at any time, across the entire city. Lastly it also gave people that shied away from making large investments towards their fitness, the affordable option to pay-as-you-go.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Management Praxis – ‘refers to the minute-by-minute challenges of managing, and to the awareness of both ourselves and others that this requires.’

The biggest insight from this class was a statement that rings a bell from my first week at school “My world is not your world.” While it is easier to extrapolate your assumptions to the context of the person you’re dealing with, it is not always the right approach to go with. Instead, it is important to make yourself discussable (i.e. your habits, individual needs, assumptions, group processes) to the group or individual you’re working with. This ensures an open form of communication which leads to a much more efficient and effective team.

Why did you choose this business school? While every business school I visited harped about diversity, I only really understood what diversity meant when I visited CJBS on Interview Day. Within two hours, I met a classmate directly reporting to the Argentinian Vice President; a Senior Manager at Ted Baker from L.A.; a consultant from Dubai; and a chemicals expert from Japan! I knew the value such a diverse group could add to my learning experience and this was a strong factor for me, towards picking this school.

Apart from this, it was the strong culture of collaboration — an ethos heavily embedded in the colorful hallways and the magical architecture of the school! While multiple past students highlighted how collaboration was ingrained into every individual’s work ethic, I experienced it first-hand as I prepared for my Amazon interview! There were seven of us competing for the same position in Amazon, working together relentlessly for hours to conduct mock interviews, and give constructive feedback to help each other improve.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I truly enjoyed the peer-to-peer learning that takes places both within the classroom and outside of it. Being one of the younger members of the classroom, I have had the opportunity to seek extremely divergent views with supporting facts for a situation. It is interesting to see how the perspectives of individuals are shaped as a function of several factors the most important one being past experiences.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? The biggest surprise for me was that through all the mountains of work, extracurriculars, and social events, I still had time (or somehow made time) to visit my husband, who is doing his MBA at Said Business School. While people warned me about how difficult it is to manage it all, I was surprised that I could juggle between all my responsibilities with just a little bit of pre-planning and effective time management.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the biggest myths about graduating from a school in UK in a tough economy is the lack of job availability. After coming to CJBS, I realized that there are several opportunities out there for young, bright students from the top school in the UK. However, it is imperative for us as students to be proactive about the job hunt and the networking that goes into it as a preparatory activity. The careers team has been very supportive and helpful. However, the onus of getting a job remains with us students and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of solid focused preparation which was the one thing that helped push me closer to get an offer for my target job!

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret from business school is not taking the time to sit and absorb the whirlwind of things going on around me. Even though I took in everything the business school offered me I was unable to capitalize on the wealth of experiences offered by the broader University. While I truly have made the most of every opportunity that has presented itself, I wish I had pushed myself harder to attend more seminars/ conferences that would further accelerate my learning curve.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire a dear friend of mine, Senorita Li, the most as she has come to this MBA and is excelling at it at the cost of being away from her 6-month-old daughter, who is with her family back in China. It really takes a huge amount of passion, and determination to keep a mother away from her 6-month-old, to pursue career goals. I have a lot of respect for women who have the courage to make a bold move towards their career especially when coming from traditional backdrops such as China or India.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was doing my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. While the program honed me with a strong analytical and logic-driven approach to problem solving, I realized I lacked global perspective and the ability to commercialize innovative products or processes and that an international MBA Program would go a long way in bridging that gap.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…an entrepreneur that would have to face way more failures before reaching the top!”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Coming from a one-year MBA program, the one thing I’d like to give students is the opportunity and focused guidance on helping them discover themselves. Due to the time pressures of this course and the strong need to hit the floor running, the process of unearthing the real ‘you’ is almost hidden under the everyday deliverables. I would like to institute this change through regular workshops aimed at self- development and personal branding.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I believe that through my professional journey thus far, I have shown exemplary leadership skills. I thrive on challenges that push me to new limits and my strength lies in bringing structure to chaos. Harnessing my strengths backed by both my past experiences in the traditional chemical space along with new experiences of working in the innovative tech space, I hope to eventually move back to my home country creating sustainable business’s that empower and benefit the larger society and not just the conventional stakeholders.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my whole family for the constant support that they have given me to achieve all my dreams. As a newlywed coming from India, education after marriage is quite rare! I would especially like to thank my husband who encouraged me to apply to a top international MBA program literally two days before my wedding, and believed in me far beyond my own imagination.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As a well-balanced individual who is reliable, trustworthy, can help solve a problem or two, and if all else fails can help you deal with the problem with a smile!!

Favorite book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Stephen R. Covey

Favorite movie or television show: Inception

Favorite musical performer: Poets of the Fall

Favorite vacation spot: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hobbies? As a trained Indian Classical Vocalist, I love anything to do with music! I am also passionate about travel and culture (have visited 26 countries so far) and adventure sports.

What made Anvi such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Anvi is a positive and upbeat member of the Cambridge MBA class, and always a delight to speak to. She’s leading the TEDx Oxbridge conference team from Cambridge, collaborating successfully with classmates in Cambridge and colleagues in Oxford to organise the event. She has also been an active member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative Student Interest Group. Anvi has been offered a graduate position at Amazon and we’re looking forward to seeing how she progresses through the MBA and beyond.”

Carla Keen

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Cambridge MBA


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