“I was born in Leicester, England, and studied law at London School of Economics. After graduating, I went to work at a top city law firm where I qualified into the mergers and acquisitions practice. Here, I was involved in high-profile and cutting-edge deals which often were game-changing in the UK or Europe market. During this time, I had a growing passion for social impact, especially gender empowerment. This spurred me to co-found the law firm’s social practice, which is now one of the leading practices in the field. As a result of this exposure, I was eventually picked to work with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the world’s largest foundation that works to improve the lives of children, to help work on their impact investing deals and general portfolio.
“During my time at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, I particularly focused on gender and sexual health empowerment in East Africa and India, where our portfolio centred on enabling girls and women to access safe contraception, abortion and education. Impact investing involves a hybrid of the private sector and foundation lenses where we would invest for long-term financial gains but having impact was the driver to our investments. Impact investing will hopefully act as a proof of concept to encourage the private sector to flow more funds into these issues.
“During my time at CIFF, I decided I wanted to develop my finance skills more fully and this was what led me to my MBA journey. After soaking in the experience of LBS through my classmates, academics and student clubs, I chose to remain in London post-MBA and, after completing a summer internship, joined McKinsey & Co’s London office. The majority of my class has chosen to pursue careers in London so I still feel the depth of my cohort and friendships.
The freeing effect of an MBA
“An MBA provided me with the opportunity to explore a genuinely international network and broaden my horizons. I was educated in the UK and the education system here forces you to narrow your learning pursuits quite quickly. This has the overwhelming effect of holding you to choices in your twenties that you made at a far younger age. An MBA pushes back against this and gives you permission to wait, to re-define yourself later and try different things – but also develop a tailored and broad skill set.
“My reason for staying in the UK for my MBA was partly personal – I’d just got married, so staying here was a huge pull even though my husband was very supportive of me going to the US. But I also chose the UK, and London in particular, because the cohort is much more diverse than anything you will find in a US school which is very powerful in terms of your mindset and the opportunity to network and learn about different cultures. And, while an MBA is traditionally more popular in the US market, we are seeing a growing trend of people joining MBAs in Europe.
“Studying for an MBA is transformative. I witnessed how it widens your ambition, which is so important for women in their late twenties who might be overwhelmed by concerns around fertility and childcare and the stability of their career. An MBA made me reconsider what my ‘superficial’ glass ceilings were and forced me to rethink whether I wanted to break them, I did(!), and how that would be possible for me – this feeling was incredibly empowering. Another key element of the MBA was recognising that intelligence is not just IQ, to do well in our future careers we had to develop and begin indexing more on EQ. The MBA provides various opportunities to work your EQ muscle.
London as financial and business super-hub
“There is no other city within Europe that can compete with London in tech and financial services. It will be interesting to see how Brexit impacts that in the long term but, for now, the city is holding its place on the world stage, and it’s much easier to get a job in London if you’re networking on the ground.
“Within the UK, London Business School was the obvious choice for me. Many other schools don’t have the history that London Business School has; neither do they have the cohort or depth of alumni, or such a strong brand. I also explored the INSEAD MBA, which runs a 10-month MBA programme, but the two-year LBS programme gives you much more flexibility and time to explore career opportunities. There are also flexible exit points from 15 months if you decide to get back to work sooner, rather than studying for the full two years.
The power of the London network
“Post-MBA, the benefits of the network have continued as many of the cohort stay in London after their MBA, meaning that you can form a bond that stays strong off campus, both during the programme and long after graduating, and many friends from LBS joined McKinsey at the same time as me. The network in London is always building and always accessible, which has been an important aspect of staying in London for me.
Ask yourself what makes you interesting
“If you are thinking of applying for an MBA, my advice is to give yourself plenty of time for the GMAT – this is not something to be rushed. Also, in your MBA application, really understand what your post-MBA goals are and make sure they are tangible and doable. Know where you are now and be very clear about the five things you need to do to get where you want to be next. This will make your application much stronger.
“Another key thing for LBS is to lean into aspects that make you an interesting person outside of your desire to do business. Think about how you are going to be a socially impactful business leader and how you will bring diversity to the cohort, even if it’s not through your own race, sexuality or gender, think about how you will embrace it.”
Want to find out more about London Business School’s MBA programme? Download the brochure or visit the website for more information.
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