Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Alisha Chowdhury, London Business School

Alisha Chowdhury

London Business School

“I am a Bangladeshi-American-Cajun-Muslim woman passionate about financial equality and independence.”

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Fun Fact About Yourself: I sing soul/funk music.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018 with a double major in Economics and Political Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Wafra, Private Equity Associate

What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA degree? London is one of the financial centers of the word and provides a unique intersection between New York, America’s financial capital, and Europe.

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? I believe diversity of thought, race, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic background is crucial for future leadership of companies across the world. What drew me to LBS was the international nature of the school. As an American, I was asked why I did not apply to American business schools for my MBA. One of the main reasons is because I was seeking an environment that is truly diverse and one that could help me foster relationships with future global leaders. One of the crucial elements of an MBA is relationship building. By developing a global network, you can achieve much more with your career and future businesses. Because of LBS, I envision a future where if I need to connect with someone in any country, like Brazil for example, to talk about an agri-tech start up, I can contact an LBS classmate who can provide the relevant insights on regulation, business, funding, and more. With the largest demographic only making up approximately 15-20% of the student body, LBS embodies diversity and diversity is the future of global business.

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? One of my goals after my MBA is to launch an education technology platform focused on providing greater financial literacy to young girls across the world. I was attracted to the opportunities at LBS for new entrepreneurs, particularly the programs like LBS Launchpad. While other business schools offer startup incubation platforms, LBS’ incubation platform is unique because of the location and connectivity with U.S. and European investors and startups. I hope to launch my startup in the U.K. and expand across the European region and then later, globally.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at London Business School? I am excited to be involved in LBS’ Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC). As an investor, I understand the importance of accessing capital. In IEPC, I hope to share the knowledge I have developed in private equity and seek mentorship from peers who have experience of building startups. I plan to utilize the LBS Launchpad, a pre-accelerator program at LBS that will help me in the early stages of my EdTech platform that I hope to develop during my MBA.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I am proud to be a female investor igniting change in the finance industry. When interviewing for finance internships in college, I saw no one like me. I was demoralized in the interview process; I felt I would not fit in. However, my mentors motivated me to continue the process. My ability to overcome this fear led me to not only succeed as an investor but also carry the torch in increasing diversity in the industry. At my former employer, I helped create a diversity and inclusion (D&I) committee and spearheaded an initiative to donate over $150,000 to two organizations focused on increasing D&I in finance. In addition, I mentor college women interested in investing by providing interview preparation and career advice. Through these experiences, I have developed leadership, confidence, and grit. I went from being the young girl who was scared to go to an interview to the female investor sparking change in the financial sector.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I recently read a book called Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty. The last two years have been challenging for many people in so many ways. I personally found myself lost in work and losing touch with the meaning of some of my personal relationships. The book taught me how to work through mental roadblocks and empowered me to find a balance between work and my personal life. In addition, it taught me ways to manage stressful situations and find positivity and gratitude in difficult times. As someone who is an aspiring founder of my own company, there will be many moments in my career filled with stress, questions of prioritization, and challenges but Shetty’s book has taught me ways to manage and see things with more of a “glass half full” mentality.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?  I have spent my career in finance working at mission-driven financial institutions where I have developed my investment acumen, relationship management skills, and leadership capabilities. I started my career at Vanguard, creator of the index fund. To form a deeper understanding of the private markets, I later joined the private equity firm Wafra. As a private equity associate, I developed expertise in pitching investments, establishing business plans and budgets, and understanding company finances. The knowledge I have cultivated from my career will be critical for business building, but I believe the academic teachings and network from an MBA at LBS will be the crucial next step for my personal and professional development as an entrepreneur. Post-MBA, I plan to launch a global education technology platform focused on providing young girls in primary and secondary school with a basic finance curriculum. In the long term, I plan to launch my own mission-oriented private capital fund that will invest in female entrepreneurs and female fund managers.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into London Business School’s MBA program? Be honest about what you want to discover during your MBA. It is okay to not have a set path going into your MBA. In your application, discuss how LBS’ courses, clubs, and communities will help you further discover and redefine your career path.

DON’T MISS: MEET LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL’S MBA CLASS OF 2024

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