Meet The Imperial MBA Class Of 2019

India Love

Imperial College Business School

Hometown: Born in Water Valley, Mississippi and spent adulthood in New York City

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can beatbox on the flute.

Undergraduate School and Major: NYU in flute performance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:  Senior Travel Manager at Andela Inc.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In my last role as a senior travel manager, I am proud that I was able to respond to the travel ban in the US that had an effect on our international colleague’s ability to obtain US visas and the US Customs border experience due to increased scrutiny. I responded by proactively seeking counsel from internal and external immigration lawyers, ensuring company compliance based on guidelines set by Customs Border Patrol, and designing a workshop to prepare our colleagues which helped mitigate the circumstances.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Our class is fearless. This is demonstrated across the class in different ways. They cast away fears to go sky diving, worked and traveled in different countries, learned new languages, challenged boundaries, and ultimately took a leap of faith by changing their life trajectory to pursue an MBA at Imperial College in London.

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? I consider myself a citizen of the world. I was interested in a program that would position me for a globally-oriented career. I felt being stationed in London at a prestigious university with a great MBA program would bolster that ability. We have amazing international trips to Denmark and Zambia built into our program, which allow us to see business from two different perspectives. I’m incredibly excited! Despite being a one-year programme, there are lots of opportunities to tailor the programme to your goals early on, including extracurricular activities, career clubs, and various professional development seminars and workshops. In addition to that, there’s the surprise element of guest speakers and adventures with my classmates to further elevate my experience. This is exactly what I was looking for, and I feel the programme is advancing my personal and professional development.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I hope this does not sound narcissistic, but I’m very excited about the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Club, where I am the President. The committee is phenomenal and we’ve been having a lot of fun with the re-branding of the club. There are a lot of events that we’re working on that I am excited about, from VC speakers to fun pitch sessions to participating in Women’s Entrepreneurship Week. We’re just getting started and there’s more to come.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I’m the first generation in my family who has had the privilege to get a Master’s degree. Overall, I felt encouraged as I bear witness to the explosion of women and minorities rising the ranks of leadership and entrepreneurship. I wanted to partake in that and felt that an MBA would equip me with the right skills to pivot from operations to consulting and entrepreneurship. I felt the degree would transcend borders and brand my intellectual capital to all types of companies and organisations internationally. I weighed the pros and cons. The investment seemed worthwhile.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I looked at the opportunity cost of what I likely would have continued to earn without an MBA for the next five years. Then I measured that against the average earnings post-MBA in the career paths I am considering. I was expecting the investment in the one-year programme to be recovered within five years or less, which my research proved that it would. Furthermore, Imperial made the investment in me as I was a recipient of the Forte Fellow and Entrepreneur Scholarships, which made the decision that much easier!

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Colombia Business School, London Business School, and Waseda University.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Location is extremely important to me. Having lived in New York City for over a decade, I valued a cosmopolitan environment with no compromise on diversity and opportunities. School culture was also important, and I wanted to feel that I could be myself and provide my unique perspective being of African American descent. Imperial provided the perfect environment, delivering the enriching experience that I had anticipated. I am inspired daily by my classmates from different corners of the world across a variety of industries. The coursework is challenging, and the programme provides many opportunities to implement those learnings.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I grew up in Water Valley, Mississippi. However, growing up, I was determined to be the first in my ancestral line to leave and plant roots in New York City. The day I landed at Newark Airport and drove through the Holland Tunnel to get to Manhattan was my defining moment because I knew at that point I’d never be the same because I had just proven the world to be as vast I had imagined it would be as a child. After that, quoting Emerson, I’ve continued to go “where there is no path and leave a trail”.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? The exciting part is that I’m open, but with where I am currently I think I will end up in a globally-oriented career pursuing strategy, diversity & inclusion, or operations in a tech company or startup. I also plan to continue building my brand Minority Fortune into its own consultancy. Furthermore, I’m excited about driving change from a grassroots level within my community and within organisations. I will leverage the skillsets taught from the MBA and the network cultivated within the programme to assist in those goals.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Ideally, my work would be contributing to my personal mission of increasing and substantiating the spending power of African Americans, currently at $1.1 trillion USD. The primary goal is to operate my own consulting business to large organisations. On a personal level, I would have run a marathon and traveled to 70 countries by that point.

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