Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Nikki Gupta

London Business School

Private tutor turned Edtech startup founder who gets giddy about helping students learn.

Hometown: London, United Kingdom

Fun Fact About Yourself: I followed an ostrich on a quadbike in South Africa once but stopped because I had no clue what I would do if I actually caught up with it!

Undergraduate School and Major: University College London, Math

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: CoFounder of, an EdTech startup that helps high school math students.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Growing MarkIt to a team of 5 from just two cofounders. These were some seriously smart people and they bought our dream and made it their own, often with large personal sacrifices.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? They are incredibly smart. They can describe the most complex technicalities of their industry in the most wonderfully simple manner. This really does reflect how accomplished they are in their industries – they know their stuff!

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? London was of prime importance to me. It is the place to expand your network and spend time with startups to really experience their day-to-day in a grass roots manner.  I knew that not being in this city would mean immersing myself in a purely academic environment that felt more distant from the practical world of business. Since the ultimate goal is to get my dream job in Edtech, I needed to be where Edtech was.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Having attended the Net Impact conference earlier this year, I am very excited to be more involved in the Net Impact club on campus. Hearing the Founder of Bethnal Green Ventures speak at the conference inspired me to look at startups through a lens of social good and sustainable business models. It showed me that there are great companies doing great things for humanity while also delivering returns for investors. This impressed on me how LBS can open my mind and show me different dimensions of EdTech that I might not have explored otherwise.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have been self-employed since I was 18. While running my startup, I saw how this somewhat disjointed background was a big plus, but I felt that my ability to think strategically and deal with ambiguity was lacking. I saw my cofounder (an LBS alum) deal with financial modelling, product road mapping and fund-raising with much more ease than myself. I wanted to have that confidence too. The MBA is a way for me to be better at my future job and handle ambiguity with confidence.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment?I looked at a 20 year trajectory of my career with and without an MBA. I did this by speaking to people who have the job that I want – Chiefs of Product at VC funded startups. I basically pursued them on LinkedIn and pleaded for a 15 minute skype call. It was pretty clear that decades on, those that had the MBA had really benefitted from it in terms of career progression and being able to tap into a powerful network of alums. I knew I did not need one to get my next job, but it became clear that 10 years down the line I would have more opportunities if I did have an MBA.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Cambridge Judge Business School

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I went to campuses and met with students. This is common advice and it is also the best advice I got. The extra step I recommend taking is to reach out specifically to students who are doing what you want to do. When I spoke to MBAs at other schools who were interested in EdTech, I sensed lukewarm responses as perhaps the schools were stronger on other dimensions, or the location made it hard to venture out. I know that LBS is not exactly an EdTech hub, but I found students who wanted to be in EdTech really benefitted from LBS’s London location and how well connected the careers service is with startups of all industries. This is how I made my choice.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The first time my cofounder and I successfully pitched for and secured investment for MarkIt. Until then, we were two starry-eyed people with an idea; that’s when we became a business that someone who was not our parents believed in! It taught me not to underestimate just how much I care about education and the way students learn. It showed me how passion can lead to tangible results and I should never hesitate to channel that.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I want to be a Product Manager in a VC funded EdTech startup

Where do you see yourself in five years? Working with great people, on a great product that makes work not feel like work at all.

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