2021 MBAs To Watch: Giri Kesavan, London Business School

Giri Kesavan

London Business School

Creative and energetic – I love connecting people to opportunities!”

Hometown: London, UK

Fun fact about yourself: I’m an avid climber and love anything to do with hiking/trekking!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Imperial College London, MEng Electronic Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Deutsche Bank, Assistant Vice President

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? American Express, London & Digital Boost, London

Where will you be working after graduation? Strategy Manager, Product at Sky

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Chair, LBS Technology Sector SteerCo, LBS Tech & Media Careers
  • Co-President Tech & Media Club
  • MBA Academic Representative (MBA2021)
  • MBA Student Ambassador
  • Peer Leader for Technology

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My time at LBS has been defined by bringing a new technology focus to the school. Working across Careers, faculty, industry, staff, and students over the past year I designed a new MBA concentration in Technology & Analytics, opening up opportunities for our students to pick up the skills needed to succeed in technology careers. The new Tech focus led to the creation of a strategic steering committee at the school that I chair focused on Technology Education & Careers across our degree programmes. LBS has always been about student-led impact on the community, and the result of these efforts led to a record 28% Full-Time employment for MBA2020 into Tech careers and 44% MBA2021 internships in the sector, paving the way forward for Technology at LBS.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my summer internship, I worked as the Head of Product for a Startup called Digital Boost (a venture between Founders4Schools and BCG Digital Ventures) focusing on connecting SMEs in the UK with tech-savvy volunteers to help out on key areas such as SEO, E-Commerce and Digital Analytics. I defined the premium journey for partnering organisations working closely with Digital Boost & Google, and it was fantastic to see how the platform we created was used to connect people to digital opportunity and drive the UK’s digital ecosystem.

Why did you choose this business school? LBS is a very personal school focused on student-impact and peer learning. From the very start of my application journey, the personal element of the school shone through. At LBS I don’t feel that I’m in an MBA programme run by an ‘administration’ – rather I’m part of a shared experience, working together with the school and its students to create opportunity. I wanted to be in a school that championed student-led impact and where I could have a very personal and tailored journey – and LBS was the place to make that happen!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Victor DeMiguel (Professor, Management Science & Operations). Victor teaches the Business Analytics Tailored Core class. I loved how he brought analytics to life with practical case studies, real-world examples, simulations, and group projects. For me, it really embodied the approach of applicable management science and how we could use our classroom knowledge within industry.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? To be honest, it was treks in general! Talk to any LBS student and it’s all about treks. From action packed ski-trips, cultural treks out to Japan, city-breaks in Europe and professional treks to connect students to industry on a global scale, our tradition of student-travel, both personal and professional, is a key aspect of the LBS MBA experience!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Pace myself. I think the whole MBA experience has been a whirlwind, both personal and professional. It has been fantastic to be involved in so much at LBS, and I’m thrilled at how supportive the school has been on championing all the initiatives in Tech. However, I think looking back, pacing myself and allowing time to reflect on what was actually happening would have been great. It has been one initiative after the other at LBS and I’ve felt constantly on the run for 2 years. I need to take some more pauses!

What is the biggest myth about your school? It would be that we’re focused on London. One of the key strengths of LBS is that we have a global mindset at all areas of the school, from academics to careers. We’re not just focused on London, but use London as a launchpad for global thinking, global careers and global conversations. I love how connected we are to the whole world across all our initiatives and it truly creates a unique MBA experience!

What surprised you the most about business school? How flexible everything is! At undergrad we’re used to a very structured mode of thinking and learning. Indeed, at LBS, it’s not about teaching what to think, but rather how to think. I was surprised by how flexible the course actually was, the degree of involvement that students had in tailoring the experience, and how open the school was to change. We might be a small school, but we cause global impact – and I really didn’t realise the extent of this sentiment until I joined LBS.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Being myself. Easy to say, hard to actually do. I applied to LBS after talking to many current students and alumni so I could really understand the culture of the school. I found that I fundamentally identified exceptionally well with LBS and that shone through in the application. Simply put, I was genuinely excited about the prospect of going to LBS! My application and essays were not scripted. Rather, they were written straight from the heart – and I think this authentic approach really stood out (and it’s something I’d suggest for all applicants to consider!).

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Asmita Gupta (MBA2021). Asmita really embodies everything that I love about London Business School! She’s collaborative and not competitive (even when we were literally applying to the same internships), always willing to help and truly championing the initiatives I was trying to launch at the school. She was always on hand as a sounding board for honest advice – in addition to being supportive through the ups and downs of the whole MBA experience!

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Honestly, the online environment has opened up new and interesting opportunities that have elevated the MBA experience. LBS rapidly switched to an online model once COVID-19 hit – and took the opportunity to create value directly as a result of the online experience. We’ve had a huge number of influential international guest speakers (after all, its far easier to hop on a call rather than fly to London!), new virtual project opportunities (I spent two months virtually in Uganda consulting for a fintech), and new and interesting ways to keep the class connected.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Nisha Desai. One of my professional recommenders for the MBA programme at LBS, Nisha and I worked together at Deutsche Bank for 4 years. Our conversations always went beyond work – and more looking at interpersonal dynamics and how the organisation worked and really focused on strategy across all levels of business. I really built up an interest in learning management as a science and to dig deeper into organisations – sparking the interest for the MBA!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Professionally, I’d love to be in a creative role within Technology, focusing on Product Management. Mixing business and technical skills, such a role builds upon my MBA at LBS especially given our focus on tech at the school. Further, I’d also love to see LBS go from strength to strength in the Tech sector, and I want to support the school in coming years to ensure that LBS is top choice for global employers keen to work with an amazing group of business school graduates.

What made Giri such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Giri is someone who takes on a challenge and will find a way to get things done without dwelling on roadblocks and pushback. He is someone who can build relationships and bring people with him from across the school, which is no mean feat. An example of this is establishing a Technology Steering Group consisting of faculty, Career Centre, alumni, and various school departments to champion the world of technology as a career for LBS students. This has subsequently led to the creation of a Technology & Analytics Concentration added to the MBA and numerous other initiatives in the pipeline. When he isn’t busy as co-President of the Tech & Media Club, Giri is a superstar Student Ambassador, helping to advise hundreds of applicants to the programme.”

David Morris
Head of Technology & Media Careers, Degree Education and Career Centre
London Business School



Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.