Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

David Tshulak

London Business School

Terrified of sounding like a contestant on The Apprentice.”

Hometown: London, UK

Fun Fact About Yourself: I served as a Midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve despite being constantly seasick

Undergraduate School and Major: BA Music, Durham University

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Big Content, Founder & Consultant

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a TV producer, convincing representatives in the DPRK (never call it North Korea), to let Michael Palin of Monty Python fame into the country for a travel documentary.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Modest. Like all top MBA programmes, LBS attracts super high achievers who’ve already done remarkable things early on in their careers – yet nobody boasts about it]

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? Ultimately it was about choosing the school with the strongest post-MBA employment prospects. With its outstanding reputation in the business world, proximity to top recruiters, and impressive alumni network, I feel confident that LBS will provide the best possible launchpad for the next stage in my career

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Based on their mission statement, it has to be the Wine & Spirits Club: “Our goal is to help you appreciate wine as much as possible!”

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I’ve had a fun and rewarding eight years in various media-related roles. Some of the most memorable include: scouting beach locations in Jamaica, composing a theme tune for a property series that briefly aired in Norway, and leading a team responsible for inventing new TV show ideas that we pitched all over the world. I think there comes a point in the entertainment industry where, to progress beyond a certain level, one needs a sharper set of commercial skills that can’t be gained from within the creative environment. For me, the MBA will allow me to fill-in my knowledge gaps and enable me to continue on the next stage of my career.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Is this a trick question? I used the NPV method, obviously.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Judge (Cambridge)

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Based on the typical MBA student profile, my background didn’t make me an obvious fit for any school! But that never bothered me. Asides from prioritising the employment prospects mentioned above, I took the time to visit my shortlisted options –attending open-days, sampling lectures, and talking to current students and professors. I also went for coffee with alumni to hear about their experiences, and talked to potential recruiters to make sure my career goals were realistic.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My career-defining moment came when I finished my undergrad and was faced with a dilemma. Should I accept my offer on a grad scheme with a global consulting firm, or join the BBC as a runner on Strictly Come Dancing (a.k.a Dancing with the Stars)? In other words, should I take a safe and certain career with a respectable starting salary; or a menial role, barely above minimum wage, in an industry not known for job security? As you’ve guessed, I chose the latter. Despite a tough climb to the top, I don’t regret my decision for a minute. Along the way I gained invaluable skills that I may not have gained had I gone straight into a corporate environment – in particular, the entrepreneurial savvy that comes with regularly seeking the next freelance opportunity.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? Go for a really nice meal to celebrate.

Where do you see yourself in five years? If all goes to plan, I’ll be in a role that I love, still living in Walthamstow (East London), just swapping my casual media wardrobe for slightly smarter attire.

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