Meet the MBA Class of 2021: Jayshan Ratnakumar, Imperial College

Jayshan Ratnakumar

Imperial College Business School

“I’m creative, resilient and motivated, with a passion to be a force for positive change.”

Hometown: London, UK

Fun Fact About Yourself:

I love to explore my creativity – I play the eastern classical flute, draw and craft and build drones.

I’ve also been inside a nuclear submarine!

Undergraduate School and Major: Imperial College London, Master’s in Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: GreenSpur Wind Ltd – Head of Applied Engineering

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Imperial’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school? Why was it so important to you? Imperial’s MBA was the ideal choice for me as it not only promised to provide me with foundational knowledge to approach business challenges, but more importantly offered me access to the institution’s extensive expertise in entrepreneurship and sustainability. It was important to me to choose a programme that resonated with my ambitions of commercialising innovative technologies to support a sustainable society. Since this is what motivates me, I knew that undertaking the programme could open opportunities for my future career path in this area. Being a part of Imperial College London, the School also has a fantastic pool of STEM-based students and strong ESG agendas and networks which I hope to take part in and contribute to. Finally, Imperial boasts a global community, shaping an inclusive business culture which is a key part of global sustainability.

What club or extracurricular activity excites you most at this school? The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Careers Club is a fantastic community, bringing together the brave entrepreneurial minds of the Business School. As a committee member of the club, I hope to synergise all of the different entrepreneurial activities and initiatives going on within the business school, including the Imperial Enterprise Lab, MBA Connect and Scale Space. Encouraging the growth and effectiveness of this ‘safe space’ community is vital to help inspire Imperial’s minds and for them to collaborate, share, and develop their ideas and best utilise Imperial’s resources. This project is incredibly exciting and I am greatly looking forward to networking with this community.

What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA? How have you taken advantage of London to further your business education? London is one of the most inclusive global cities in the world, welcoming many diverse cultures and minds. This diverse nature is a brilliant way to truly develop a global mindset and provides an unrivaled opportunity to experience and learn from different perspectives. Globalisation is becoming increasingly vital to sustainability and an important part of this process is communicating and collaborating with all communities. London is a city driving sustainable change which resonates with my ambition: the UK government has set ambitious goals for London to become a renewable city by 2050, which presents a number of opportunities for an aspiring entrepreneur. I hope to align my work with UK BEIS strategies and take full advantage of Innovate UK projects.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The startup company I was working at prior to starting the MBA faced serious financial difficulties in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, I took the initiative to write a Government grant application with the hope that this would give the company a financial lifeline. At the same time, I made the difficult decision to leave the company and to apply for Imperial’s MBA programme, as well as for an extremely competitive scholarship.  Fate had it that I had to complete the GMAT, an interview for the scholarship, and submit the £500,000 grant application, all within three consecutive days!

Leading up to this series of tests, I was concerned that by taking on so much, I had jeopardised my likelihood of success in each. I had to put in 100% effort each day so that I could finish the process with no regrets. I’m proud to say that my biggest accomplishment in my career so far was being successful in all three of these challenges. The biggest lesson from this process was the importance of really understanding my “why” and being prepared to test myself as to how far I was willing to go to fulfil my ambitions.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My career began in the defence industry, where I spent a little over three years developing into a lead engineering role that required me to manage the system development and integration of the steam-turbogenerators for the UK’s nuclear deterrent submarines.  I then spent two years at GreenSpur, leading the applied engineering department for its fantastically innovative generator technology for wind turbines, where I developed a desire to influence the strategy of the technology’s route to commercialisation. It was at this point when I was faced with the decision as to whether to completely commit to the engineering discipline, or to bridge into a new function which better fit my ambitions and strengths. It was at this stage in my career that I decided to do an MBA.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? During the final year of my undergraduate degree, I was dealing with a personal issue which played an integral part at that point in my life. This issue arose at a critical moment during my undergraduate exams and I could have easily let it consume me and derail my career. I decided that I did not want to let it dictate my future, nor to have any regrets when I looked back at this stage of my life. I successfully achieved my engineering undergraduate degree which set a strong precedent for all later challenges in life. This resilience has seen me through a number of difficult professional hurdles and has ultimately given me the belief that I can successfully pursue an MBA at a world-class business school.


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