Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Jacob Appelbaum

London Business School

Adventurous small island clam farmer trading board shorts for business school.”

Hometown: Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Fun Fact About Yourself: For the past eleven years I have lived on several remote Pacific atolls with populations between 300 and 27,000. Moving to London is a major change!

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Dartmouth College

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Manager, Marshall Islands Mariculture Farm. I ran a small business on Majuro Atoll, the capital of the Marshall Islands, growing 100% aquacultured giant clams, corals and other marine invertebrates for the aquarium industry.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:Running a business in a remote island setting forced me to be resilient, resourceful and adaptable, while working with live animals meant constant surprises and challenges. During my time managing the Mariculture Farm, I was able to more than double the number of species that we grew and exported. Developing effective methods to grow one particular snail species took over a year of repeated failures with incremental improvements coming from experimentation with new techniques and discussions with colleagues throughout the region. When we finally succeeded and started exporting them in large numbers, it felt like a great victory.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Diverse! Throughout my interactions with alumni, current students and my classmates, I have been impressed by the wide variety of backgrounds represented in both geographical locations and prior work experience. I always enjoy working with and learning from people from cultures and backgrounds different than my own so for me this was a major factor in my attraction to LBS and I look forward to getting to know more of my classmates as the program commences.

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 diversity and international nature of the program was paramount in my decision-making, but I was also drawn by its flexibility. As I am planning to change careers, the opportunity to do multiple internships and projects will help me build connections and gain critical experience.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most excited about taking part in the Global Business Experience. Exploring the business environment and challenges in another part of the world will be a great opportunity to further broaden my horizons and apply classroom learning to real scenarios.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My recent work gave me a crash course in business management and after several years I was looking to broaden my horizons and expand on my experiences. An MBA offers the perfect opportunity to build on my existing knowledge while allowing me to transition to a new career.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? An MBA is a significant investment of both time and money, so it was not a decision to take lightly. Researching career outcomes and speaking with alumni, however, gave me the confidence to move forward without reservations.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Tuck, Kellogg, Darden

How did you determine your fit at various schools?

I was interested in finding a school with a diverse student body, a collaborative atmosphere, a wide variety of electives, and strong support for partners. I reviewed information on program websites and other sources including Poets & Quants. Unfortunately, due to my remote location, I wasn’t able to visit schools before applying but I reached out to alumni and current students and found them a valuable resource to learn more about each school’s program, culture, and career opportunities.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Moving to Tokelau (a small group of Pacific atolls near Samoa) for five months to conduct research for my undergraduate thesis had an enormous impact on my life. Living on a remote atoll with only 300 residents was a transformative experience. My love for the Pacific and excitement about the challenges of working in remote developing countries led to years of amazing opportunities and experiences.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduating, I hope to continue working on issues affecting the developing world. Although I am drawn to the renewable energy sector, I also have interests in other areas and plan to use my time at LBS to explore a variety of options and opportunities.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I plan to be working hard to establish myself as a leader in my chosen field. Most of all, I hope to be continuing to learn and challenge myself every day.

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