Meet London Business School’s Class of 2019

Vishal Jha 

London Business School 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I live by two questions ‘why?’ and ‘why not?’.

Hometown: Delhi (India)

Fun Fact About Yourself: As a child, I wanted to grow up to become either a NASA scientist or a traffic cop.

Undergraduate School and Major: Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee – Mechanical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 

Schlumberger (Dec 2008- Nov 2010): Field Engineer Wireline (Reservoir Evaluation service), Yemen

Shell (Dec 2010 – Jul 2017): Analyst/Associate: New Business Development, Associate: Project Office (Divestments), India and The Netherlands

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Prior to my MBA, I was involved in a project office responsible to drive a strategic $30 billion divestment programme at Shell. In summer of 2016, I led an effort to propose additional asset sale candidates to bolster the programme. To deliver on such a high visibility project in a time and resource constrained environment required collaboration across a professionally diverse team of 10. We had around four weeks to deliver during European summer vacations with virtually no boundary conditions. As a lead, my role was to develop the approach, assign responsibilities and synthesize outputs from different focal points to generate recommendations. Additionally, I also embedded myself in work-streams that were resource constrained to ensure sustained progress. To me, the experience emphasized the importance of pre-planning and displaying flexibility when leading teams. This might require temporarily acting as a contributor to ensure progress towards the end goal.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  Don’t go solo in your business school application process. An analysis of almost a dozen unsuccessful applications to various schools and multiple GMAT attempts revealed my suboptimal approach to MBA applications. Given the level of competition at the top business schools, it is necessary to optimize every aspect of your application.

An important way to ensure this is to create the right influences through a carefully cultivated support system that will help and push you along the way. If, for example, you are preparing for GMAT, then find peers to prepare with. Only ask people to recommend you who are deeply sympathetic to your cause. Always get your partner or your closest friends to vet and double-vet your essays. Finally, feel free to share your thoughts and dilemmas with people around you as you never know who might offer that vital nugget of advice that could significantly enhance your application. In the future, you are going to lead businesses and I don’t know of any successful business that is run solo.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The ability to strike a balance between personal and professional needs. Opting for London Business School not only fulfilled my desire to attain a business degree at a world class school, but also allowed my partner to continue her successful professional career through a new and exciting role based in the City of London. Without a doubt, it was the only school that allowed me to meet our combined needs.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?  I hope to have developed a few career options that wouldn’t have been possible without London Business School and London.     

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