Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Ishita Prabhu, Alliance Manchester

Ishita Prabhu

University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I enjoy painting on oil, acrylic and watercolours on canvas, glass and paper. I am even a trained and certified Bharatanatyam dancer from The Nalanda Dance Research Centre.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Chartered Accountant – The Institute of Chartered Accountant of India

Bachelor of Commerce – University of Mumbai

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:  Ernst & Young – Strategy and Transaction, Senior Associate

What club or extracurricular activity excites you most at this school? Working and participating with people from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds is not just restricted to academics but also extends into taking part in engaging competitions. I have actively participated in case competitions and have qualified as a finalist in the following;

  • Qualified as one of the top three teams of the AMBS Capita Case Competition.
  • Quarter finalist for the Amazon Pathways Case Competition.

I paint in oil & acrylic on canvas and have recently shared few of my paintings with AMBS, which will be displayed in the Business School.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Alliance Manchester’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school? Why was it so important to you? It was AMBS’ glorious history, the leadership team headed by distinguished Professor Fiona Devine, and its eminent Advisory Board attracted me to this business school.

AMBS’ unique style of teaching via what is now come to be known as the “Manchester Method” of working on real life consultancy projects was a decisive factor in choosing AMBS for my MBA program.

I believe it is important to choose and be in the company of those who are inherently truthful, aspirational, and self-motivated achievers. This blossoms your persona and performance. AMBS has always shown its trust in its students. The Business School awarded me with the Alliance Manchester Business School Forté Foundation Fellows Programme Scholarship, signifying their trust in me and a gesture of encouragement, to pursue my goals.

What makes Manchester such a great place to earn an MBA? How have you taken advantage of Manchester to further your business education? I come from Mumbai, India. Though I have been to the UK earlier and lived in London for a short time during my summer school program at LSE, this is my first visit to the city of Manchester.

I landed in Manchester on 2nd November 2020, when the city was in COVID lockdown. Yet, my transition from Mumbai to Manchester has been smooth and seamless. This is due to the proactive guidance and support from the Admission Team at AMBS.

Manchester’s history as a world-leader in enterprise, innovation, and creativity is inspiring. What appealed to me most was a signage I came across at a construction site while I was exploring the city streets. It read “Restoring the Past and Building the Future”. This to me reflected the philosophy and core value of the city of Manchester, where I find ancient heritage buildings standing juxtaposed with modern towering buildings. A city which respects and revers the past, celebrates the present and heralds the future. Manchester is a city with character and culture. This instantly cemented my sense of belonging to this city.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far? My years with EY have been professionally invigorating and educative. Every assignment was   unique in its structure and they challenged every principle of business modeling and enterprise valuation. Each assignment stood differentiated by variables like industry, size, legal structure, and geography. Each assignment was thus professionally fulfilling and satisfying. Having said that, I wish to share a business idea where I played a lead role, though this was beyond the realm and scope of my engagement. This new domain was art valuation.

The idea of venturing into art valuation instantly drew me towards it due to my ardent interest and hobby in painting. I paint in oil and acrylic on canvas. As a lead, I was entrusted the task of marshalling an action plan in this respect.

EY’s large corporate client base, which spread across its varied domains of Consultancy, Due Diligence, Taxation, Investment Banking, and Advisory, offered a captive pool of business owners, business leaders, top corporate executives and HNI, many of whom hold investments and interests in art. They could be thus offered our services in art valuation. Since EY had, as then, no in-house expertise for valuation of art, it was suggested we associate and collaborate with a reputed art house in this field.

I worked on this assignment single-handed whilst at the same time working alongside other assignments. I worked on this art assignment reporting directly to our partner and finally evolved thought leadership on this subject.

Following this exercise, EY has since then positioned itself to offer professional services for valuation of art. This entire exercise and its final fruition has been one of my most memorable and cherished professional accomplishments.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I earnestly believe in the saying, “It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.” ― Roy T. Bennett

What, Where, How, and When: How far we will reach in our life depends on the choices we make at every stage of our life. I believe in moving ahead and scaling up higher heights as only then only will my horizon extend and my landscape broaden. I realised that if I had to go far beyond my domain expertise in business valuation and also traverse a global landscape, I will have to be well-versed in the principles and practices of management as well as being aware of and sensitive to diverse cultural beliefs and ethnic practices.

Young managers-to-be, like me, need to be fortified with the nuances of management as well as its cultural and regional orientations. My MBA will impart in me a good grasp of domain knowledge and sharpened management skills.

Having answered the question, let me mention that, at my core, lies the qualities and beliefs from my family,. I learned to trust, be grateful, and to be courageous from my grandparents and to aspire, soar and be tenacious from my parents and my elder brother. I am inspired to move ahead in building upon the gift of a sound upbringing, good education, and human values I received from them and contribute to larger public good, economic progress, and social change. My MBA is a step forward in this goal.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My years with “EY” have been educational and transformative. I had exciting opportunities to work on high-profile assignments and marquee deals. I believe these experiences prepared me to balance heavy workloads, stringent deadlines, and stressful situations. I have benefitted from learning best global work practices along with cultivating client relationships

I have empirically witnessed that knowledge is strength, practice is perfection, and a motivated team is a multiplier. I have learnt the value of being a patient and attentive listener and of being keenly observant. These experiences have reinforced the importance of acknowledging and respecting the role and functions of every individual. My mind has been imprinted with the relevance of good, organized work process and documenting work for expeditious flow and easier back check as best global practices. These learnings prepared me to tackle stiff deadlines, heavy workloads, and stressing situations. Cultivating and maintaining good client relations has also been an important learning opportunity at EY. In a way, these learnings prepared me for the intensive and collaborative academic MBA program.

While at EY and during my stay in London — when I studied at the “London School of Economics” in their Summer School Program — I noted the enormous opportunities beckoning in the globalised world. This motivated me to venture beyond my shores in India for higher learnings and transition to a wider canvas.

I then concluded that I should arm myself with an MBA to fast forward myself to my career goal to be a good business leader.