Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Audrey Koh       

London Business School   

A tropical islander with a taste for fresh, piquant, and satisfying dishes, and a passion for beach sports, sun-tanning and fishing (for big game).

Hometown:  Singapore, Singapore

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a penchant for food challenges – everything from the Korean spicy Ramen challenge, to eating bugs, to eating 15 burgers in one go, to consuming a Trinidad Scorpion (which I immediately regretted).

Undergraduate School and Major:

Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations, University of Sydney

Bachelor’s Degree (Honours) in Social Sciences, National University of Singapore

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Regional Content Lead (Asia Pacific), foodpanda (Delivery Hero)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I felt that the biggest accomplishment in my career does not measure quantitatively, but qualitatively in building a fantastic ten-member regional team, each member from each of our APAC markets, from scratch. Also, we (at foodora and foodpanda) are one of the first in the food delivery/tech business to develop a content marketing team that covers all marketing channels, rather than the conventional focus per channel (for example, a social media specialist that looks at content and also bidding). The efforts did pay off, as we have just won the Social Media Excellence Award as Best Food Delivery Service in Malaysia.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? It is difficult to meet or expand your friend network as you go older, but the MBA classmates I have met so far have gone beyond just being friendly ­– everyone goes beyond to help each other in their move to London (sharing housing tips, banking tips, food tips, and other school admin matters)! Moreover, I was quickly inducted into the community right after I received my admissions acceptance.

Aside from your classmates, 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 key factor was the supportiveness that LBS had lent during the whole process of applying to the admissions. I had a great impression of LBS when I visited the campus before my applications. I met one of the admissions officers, who gave an assessment on my application and also offered to have a look at my CV. I also had a very enjoyable interview process – thanks to an invite to interact with alumni and admits from other rounds and also interactions with my interviewer and my admissions officer. Having worked in a university, I felt that the mark of a good B-school does not only come from its academics or the student community, but also to the extent that the school supports the student during the whole course. This is even more important to me as I am looking to switch careers, and a supportive school with a wide global network is very important to me. Also, this made me felt welcomed and safe moving to London.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Impact consulting. Also, the Wine and Spirits Appreciation Club, because I really love whisky.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I felt that in my career I lacked a lot of quantitative training and I realized the importance of performance measurement and asset management as I went up in my career. While I could have done a few courses here and there, an MBA provides the discipline and the right training ground for a well-rounded quant training and also the networking for future career prospects.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I decided that the MBA was the only way that I am able to access the finance and consulting industries, and that the post-MBA salaries was more than enough to cover the school and living fees.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Cornell, Oxford

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized the following: 1) the global reach of the school; 2) how open the school is to new and innovative ideas; and 3) the career opportunities each school could provide (through their career centre support or their school network). I used to read reviews on several websites such as Poets and Quants and GMATClub, and also reached out to the schools personally (like visiting the campus or dropping in on events when I can) to talk to the faculty and admissions staff.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The defining moment of my life was when I was given a restructuring and relocation notice six months into moving to Hong Kong for work.

I was forging a stable career path for myself in Hong Kong, having moved from Singapore and from the public sector into a tech one. I was doing what I love in social media and developing strategies that I wanted to see results from. The restructuring entailed that I was to move to a new country (Bangkok) in two weeks, lose my current team, move into a new and modified role (albeit a promotion), and to build a whole new marketing team on my own. It was difficult for me to grasp these changes, but I decided to take the plunge and made the move instead of quitting.

A year after, I had built a whole new team of ten and rebranded foodpanda across ten APAC markets. Through this experience, I have gotten to learn so much more about myself and increased my resilience and tenacity.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?  In the three years after I graduate, I foresee myself developing relevant skills as a management consultant in a reputable firm. Management consulting, with its exposure to a spectrum of challenges across business types, is the best training ground for problem-solving and interpersonal skills.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in Bangkok has opened my eyes to the transformative and equalisation possibilities when technology is adopted, but only 29% of the 89% of Thai leaders who want to digitally transform their business are equipped with adequate knowledge (2017 Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study). Small-medium business success will not only contribute to emerging economies GDP but will also impact families positively – like my own father who founded an engineering company during Singapore’s economic development and raised us on its success. In five years I hope to be leading a team of consultants focusing on helping small medium businesses improve their business process.

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