Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Ryan Owens, London Business School

Ryan Owens

London Business School

“An Olympic Medalist starting a new journey into the world beyond professional sport.”

Hometown: Manchester, United Kingdom

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I spent the past 11 years of my life building toward an event that lasted a total of 51 seconds at Tokyo 2020

Undergraduate School and Major: None – Withdrew from Undergraduate degree to pursue my cycling career

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Great Britain Cycling Team – Podium Athlete

What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA degree? London is one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world. I grew up locally and have never ceased to be fascinated by both the history and the city’s constant evolution. There are so many opportunities and paths to take for a great career in London, every borough has its offering, from startups to big tech, government, and finance.

London Business School is one of the most culturally and professionally diverse MBA programs in the world. How do you see these global perspectives enhancing the value of your business education over the next two years? One of the big draws for me in choosing to attend LBS is the opportunity to join and learn from the perspectives of the international cohort. This global networking has begun before I even officially start my MBA, with many proactive members taking the lead to plan events already. Major international events, such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, have shown me the magic that can happen when diverse cultures come together. In taking the next steps in my career I wanted to join a class that emulates that exciting and collaborative global environment.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of London Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? LBS has a very flexible program, with the ability to tailor the course not only through the choice of electives but through options within the core curriculum itself. As an MBA candidate joining with what could be perceived as an unconventional career background, this held massive appeal. From early on in the program, I will be able to choose areas of interest to delve into and can be selective with experiences to support my transition into a business career in a way that is hard to find at many other schools.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at London Business School? I’m excited to join the Sports Business Club. I’ve had a love for sport my entire life and it’s provided me with some wonderful opportunities. I’ve always been inspired by the inner workings of sporting organisations and would enjoy the opportunity to combine my past experiences with new skills in this area. I’ll be using the MBA to pivot careers and can see the Sports Business Club’s activities really helping me to bridge my transferrable skills from my past career to where I’m hoping to go next.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Winning Olympic Silver at Tokyo 2020 is my biggest accomplishment but not just at face value. In March 2020, I was unofficially selected for Tokyo 2020. One week later the Olympics were postponed, and I was told I would have to spend the next year earning my place back all over again. Spending 18 months training through lockdowns, cancelled events, and constant uncertainty made the step onto the podium in Tokyo feel that much more special.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? Range by David Epstein. Many MBAs are going into the uncertainty of a career switch and David Epstein dispels any doubts you may have by laying out the many benefits of a ‘generalist’ life experience. It’s packed with some fascinating stories of career switchers in many industries, so will resonate whatever your background. Having read his other book The Sports Gene as an upcoming young athlete, Epstein’s books have always seemed to find me at the point in my life when they’ll have the biggest impact. Reading Range has given me confidence in feeling different as I head to business school this summer.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?  I’ve spent the past 7 years of my professional career working towards a very specific goal of winning a medal at the Olympic Games. Achieving that goal in Tokyo last year left me feeling very content with my sporting career to date. Whilst I’m not completely closing the door on that chapter of my life, I’m keen to explore my potential in a new field. I’m staying open to all options as I start my MBA but have an initial draw to strategy consulting. The teamwork, commitment to excellence and drive to dig deep into problems utilised in consulting emulate my favourite elements of life as an athlete.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into London Business School’s MBA program? Find a current student or alum whose background has similarities to your own. Everybody I reached out to in the LBS network was incredibly supportive and generous with their time. It was truly a standout draw for choosing to attend. The most beneficial conversations I had were with those who had been in my shoes in the past. It was tricky to find an exact match in my case, but I ended up reaching out to a former NFL player and LBS alum, an ex-military student ambassador, and members of the LBS Cycling Club. All were very thorough in their advice and guidance, and I was often linked further to other members of the network who were most appropriate to support with specific questions. As a result of all of these conversations, nothing was a mystery when I came to applying and interviewing.


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