Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2021

Prateek Gupta

London Business School

“A digital enthusiast with a passion to solve social problems.”

Hometown: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: Pursuing my passion for basketball, as a part of the college basketball team, I got a chance to play with the Indian National Basketball team.

Undergraduate School and Major: Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Production and Industrial Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: McKinsey & Company, Senior Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a part of an engagement team at McKinsey, I designed a programme to address the problem of youth-unemployment by up-skilling roughly 7000 Indian youth, helping them secure gainful employment.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Multifaceted. Everyone has pursued so many diverse experiences that it’s hard to stereotype anyone. From a banker who is a cricketer to a family business owner who is also a musician, there are always a few interesting sides to everyone.

What is the best part of coming to London to earn your MBA? The rich cultural exposure (arts, music, and theatre) that London will provide. Pursuing theatre in college has made me appreciate the value that cultural exposure provides, both personally and professionally.

Aside from your classmate and location, 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 of nationalities with no one dominant nationality. Having worked primarily in India so far, with brief stints abroad, I realized that in today’s global world one needs a global perspective and global network. This was one of the key reasons I wanted a global MBA. The most efficient way to get this global experience is to have peers from as many nationalities as possible, where no one nationality comprises more than 25% of the MBA class. Otherwise, in my opinion, the culture becomes heavily skewed to the dominant nationality.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The Technology Club at LBS. Having worked extensively on the Internet of Things (IoT), through the club, I look forward to developing knowledge and creating collaboration opportunities between LBS students and several IoT startups in London and abroad.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What is the average number of legs per dog in London?

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Having worked in strategy consulting for four-and-a-half years, I realized I needed some formal training to hone my strategy consulting, technology management and leadership skills. My mentors at McKinsey were also supportive that an MBA would be a great way to upskill myself, equipping me with the right tools and frameworks to leverage the power of digital to help Indian companies stay relevant and grow.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I used a method of elimination to shortlist LBS. First, I only considered top schools (M7, LBS, INSEAD, Yale SOM). Second, as diversity of nationalities was a top priority for me, I focused on European business schools. They also had more favourable VISA arrangements from my perspective, as the element of uncertainty associated with the H1B lottery in the US would have been too frustrating for me. I also wanted to be as close to my family in India as possible. I knew I wanted a big city experience and a two-year MBA programme. I feel a one-year MBA programme would have been too fast-paced for me and wouldn’t have allowed me to experiment via internships. Additionally, LBS has a very strong record for placing students in consulting, making it a perfect fit for me.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? While working with clients on IoT-strategy projects in the US and Germany, I witnessed how companies are taking bold steps, such as rebuilding their IT architecture and forging partnerships to leverage IoT to create innovative products, boost operational efficiency, and develop new businesses. Identifying this emerging opportunity, I helped set up McKinsey’s IoT-practice in India/ASEAN.

This experience shaped my short-term goals by highlighting the innumerable exciting applications of IoT/digital across industries (smart-home, connected-car, connected-health, etc.) and the vast untapped market in India/ASEAN for digital technologies (expected to reach ~$40Bn by 2025).

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I will return to McKinsey’s India-office and grow to Partner, applying global best practices to enable Indian organizations to leverage digital to create innovative-products, build efficient operations, and develop new businesses.

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