Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Aashi Khemka, Alliance Manchester

Aashi Khemka

University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School

Hometown: Kolkata, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was infected with severe Chicken Pox for the final exams during my undergraduate degree. To avoid postponing my graduation by a year, I made a special request to the Head of the Institute, wrote my exams from a hospital bed, and managed to score merit!

Undergraduate School and Major: 

Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), University of Calcutta

Company Secretary, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India

Chartered Accountancy, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (recently announced to be a post-graduate qualification)      

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Goldman Sachs, Associate (Finance Division)

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? I had no experience working in the UK before starting my MBA. Manchester’s programme offered three consultancy projects with real clients along with an internship. This was a deal-maker for me as I plan to work in the UK after qualifying, and getting to know the country’s working culture was important.

What club or extracurricular activity excites you most at this school? I’m the Vice President of Finance and Communications, Student Council at AMBS. Although my professional career has been around Finance, I had little experience in managing Communications (social media, event updates, newsletters), and the MBA allowed me to explore this creative side within me. The cohort and the academics await the weekly newsletters, which contains success stories and BTS fun stories of classmates.

Besides this, I’m also the Vice President of the Banking & Finance Club, which is student-run. I’m constantly thinking of ideas and events which could benefit the members. I recently organised a peer networking session with three other B-schools in the UK, including students from postgraduate programmes other than MBA. The event was the first-of-its-kind and received an overwhelming response, with registrations crossing 150 students. Opportunities like these, through which you can explore yourself and push your boundaries, keep me excited!

What makes Manchester such a great place to earn an MBA? How have you taken advantage of Manchester to further your business education? Manchester is a great place for an MBA, not only because of the job opportunities and the entrepreneurial vibe of the city but also because of the quality of life and cost of living. It is a truly international city where one can enjoy all parts of life, along with studies. Although I’m flexible to work across the UK, I hope to utilise the valuable connections I’ve made during my MBA at Manchester and obtain full-time employment in the city.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far? I was awarded an ‘Outstanding employee’ at Goldman Sachs for three consecutive years, which is offered only to 5% of employees. This is my proudest achievement for several reasons. First, I got a good understanding of the business and took the initiative to increase the breadth and depth of the projects handled by my team, adding new projects and process improvements through data-driven solutions. I am also proud of the way I dealt with a variety of stakeholders, from C-suite executives to colleagues across different geographies – being respectful towards their problems, having open and honest conversations, and building a good rapport – which goes a long way in building one’s career.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? It was my teenage desire to pursue an MBA. After I started working at Goldman Sachs, I was extremely happy and satisfied with my career progression, learning opportunities, and overall culture of the firm. Therefore, pursuing an MBA became a latent dream. In 2020, my husband got an offer to work in the UK, and that gave me an opportunity to pause and reflect upon my journey. I realised that I had reached a point in my career where I want something more, different and enriching. That’s when I decided to take charge of the circumstance and deepen my business knowledge and network through an MBA.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I was juggling multiple projects at work immediately after a promotion, which took me close to burnout. I was taking a lot on my plate rather than utilise my team’s capacity. Before long, I was working long hours regularly to complete the work. Fortunately, my manager recognised this and worked with me to reduce the workload by bringing two juniors on board. From this experience, I learned to accept my limitations and the value of teamwork – which is imperative given the emphasis on collaboration at AMBS.