MBA Program: London Business School
Current Location: London, United Kingdom
Current Company and Title: Goldman Sachs, Executive Director
Why did you choose to earn your MBA at this business school? The London Business School MBA is highly respected globally. After attending some of the MBA information events, it became clear to me that LBS really did provide a diverse international experience, as well as being taught by world-class faculty. The fact that less than 10% of my MBA class was British demonstrated that, irrespective of its location, LBS’ commitment to delivering an internationally diverse experience was evident in the numbers.
I wanted to transition into banking, and the opportunity to be based in one of the financial capitals of the world provided the perfect platform to efficiently explore relevant networking opportunities. That said, it was this proximity to some of the world’s top employers that opened doors to alternative career paths across many other industries. Ultimately, I followed through with banking, but seeing the range of opportunities that became available was a testament to the continued pulling power of London Business School.
Pretend you are an ambassador giving a tour at your business school. Name one place you would show a candidate and why was it so important to you? For me, I would have to show the candidate two places, one being academic and the other social. These would be the Sammy Ofer Centre and The Windsor Castle.
One thing that has stayed with me since graduating is the world-class business school experience I had over the two years. This ranged from the quality of the teaching in lectures, to the depth and breadth of professional experiences and stories from my classmates. Another thing that stood out to me was the international exposure that the LBS Masters programmes provided. This included the Global Business Experience (GBE), where we had the unique opportunity to spend time helping small businesses in Yangon, Myanmar. It is hard to show all of this in a tour. By walking through the new Sammy Ofer Centre, which is a combination of the iconic Marylebone Town Hall and a new state-of-the-art learning environment, you can see that it embodies both the rich history of LBS and its status as a leading school.
As for The Windsor Castle, this is not a reference to the royal residences based in Windsor but instead The Windsor Castle pub that is closely attached to campus. There is even a secret door from campus that leads to the back entrance of the pub! London Business School fosters a genuine community feel. From the start of the programme, you are embraced as part of this community, from both current students and alumni. Thinking back to the late studying sessions, student-led professional campus event,s or even just the regular Thursday sundowners, heading to The Windsor Castle served as a reminder of both the collegiate and personal nature that permeates the London Business School experience.
What was your favorite class and what lesson do you use from it in your role? Before joining LBS, I had the chance to attend a taster faculty masterclass delivered by Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship. Costas is widely regarded as one of the leading business and strategy speakers in the world and regularly ranks among the top 50 business thinkers. From this session alone, I knew I would have to find a class of his when I started at LBS.
Strategic Innovation, taught by Costas, was one of the best classes I took and his humorous and energetic delivery style brought his classes to life. Costas has an ability to explain his strategic frameworks in a very practical and effective manner, which allowed us to quickly develop a deeper toolkit to utilize when thinking about how companies can dynamically adapt to stay relevant and maintain success.
My current role in Private Wealth Management has a significant entrepreneurial focus. I am responsible for both the growth of my book of business and the management of my client’s assets. My financial technical knowledge helps with the asset management, but I regularly think back to the frameworks and business models discussed in this class when thinking about how to stay relevant with my clients and grow the business.
What was your best memory during your MBA program? As cliché as this will sound, it is very hard to pick a single best memory. First, getting to know the six classmates who formed my study group is a great memory in itself. My study group hailed from Brazil, France, US, Myanmar and Canada. It has been wonderful to discover, share, and learn more about their personal journeys.
Then there was the three months spent studying at HKUST in Hong Kong and exploring Southeast Asia, as well as learning to play Rugby and joining classmates to compete against other MBA schools at tournaments such as MBAT in France.. Also, I want to make a special mention to the LBS Tattoo event, which is our annual cultural extravaganza celebrating the diversity of the school. This memory is extra special because during my time as vice-chair of the Africa Business Club, I helped lead us to victory and win that year’s annual talent show finale
To sum up my best memories in one theme, it would be the diversity experienced on the LBS MBA programme. There were countless memorable experiences and lessons learned with my classmates, now friends, who are based all over the world. Their international professional experiences and willingness to bring their cultures to campus is something that is hard to replicate, especially outside the intimate setting of London Business School.
What is one thing about the MBA program that you wish you had known when you applied? Once you begin the MBA, you quickly realise that it is going to be a challenge keeping up with the sheer volume of activities happening from the very start of the programme. These included lectures and assignments, group projects, running campus events, networking with classmates and recruiters, joining international treks, and (of course) all the social activities. It became quite easy to end up going with the flow and following activities and paths that seemed to be most popular without always mapping them to my own personal plan.
If I were to go back and do it again, I would take a strategic approach to choosing where to spend the time and perhaps spend more time getting to know more of the teaching faculty. Although it is good to be open to new experiences and opportunities, good time management is needed to ensure you aren’t swept away by all of the activities. It will also allow you to maximize as many of the opportunities made available to you.
What has been your biggest professional achievement? One achievement, in particular, that stands out happened quite early in my career. At the time, I was at Thomson Reuters. Following the acquisition of a company that provided complex derivative pricing services, I was selected as part of a two-person team to lead the expansion across Europe. After only a few weeks spent at the company’s Parisian HQ – completing a very quick, but intense deep-dive into all things quantitative financial derivative pricing across all financial asset classes – I flew back to London and became the go-to person to cover the whole of Northern Europe! The eventual outcome was a successful expansion of our commercial presence across some of the largest financial institutions and integration of these services into the wider company offering.
However, it is my commitment to addressing racial inequalities and helping to progress opportunities for those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantages where I see as some of my biggest achievements. For over ten years, I have been a mentor, trustee and director with long-standing charities that have dedicated their efforts to this cause. It is truly rewarding to see the joy of students – and their parents –after gaining social and career advancements that very often may have felt beyond their reach.
Sitting on the steering committee of the EMEA Firmwide Black Network (FBN) at Goldman Sachs, along with several Inclusion & Diversity Committees, provides a platform to continue this work professionally and contributes to the significant efforts being made to tackle inequalities within the workplace. I have been involved in the recently launched LBS Black in Business Club, created to cultivate an environment that promotes the representation, well-being, and advancement of Black professionals in business. I have been impressed with the quality of activities that the Club has organised and I’m looking forward to seeing how the club continues to thrive.
What advice would you give to a prospective student to help them earn a spot in your business school? I would simplify it to three things:
1) Give yourself time to prepare for both the application and the interview process. Know how you would like to contribute to the school and bring your true self to the table.
2) Take time to reflect on the reasons why you want to undertake an MBA. Do not underestimate the time it takes to pull all the different parts of your application together. The last thing you want is to submit a rushed application that does not effectively communicate your story.
3) As the students run a lot of campus activity, think about where your skills could be utilized and how you could contribute to the school community. This also shows you have taken the time to understand the school. As for authenticity, ultimately, you want to make sure that LBS is right for you and being yourself will give you the best opportunity to discover that early on.
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