2023 MBA To Watch: Kanika Bhachawat, London Business School

Kanika Bhachawat

London Business School

“Someone who is always ready to try new things!”

Hometown: Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh (India)

Fun fact about yourself: I played field hockey competitively for 12 years.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Economics Honors, Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University

PGD in Liberal Arts, Young India Fellowship, Ashoka University

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Deloitte Consulting, Senior Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Amazon Studios (Prime Video), London

Where will you be working after graduation? Amazon

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Student Association Advocacy Officer, SVP at India Club, VP at Tech and Media Club, Peer Leader for Tech industry

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As the Student Association Advocacy Lead, I represent the student voice in LBS’ decision-making process for anything related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). Having worked on D&I challenges in the Deloitte Strategy team, I wanted to continue working in this area. This was the perfect opportunity to not only create an impact on my class or the other programs during my tenure, but also to have a lasting impact on LBS for years to come. This ranged from pushing ourselves to do better on D&I metrics such as increasing gender and socio-economic diversity to pushing forward the school’s commitment to creating a safe and inclusive community for all students. We did the latter by implementing the school’s bullying and harassment policy and safe reporting tool. It has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling roles I have had. One of the key things I have learnt in this role is that, in order to make organizational change, it’s key to get buy-in from all your stakeholders and to move the needle forward at the same time.

We are currently in the process of planning the second LBS Speak Out week, an annual event dedicated to addressing the issue of harassment and bullying, and our commitment to not tolerating that within the LBS community. The aim of the event is to raise awareness and provide education on an important issue which, if left unchecked, can affect the community and the overall student experience.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I would say it was helping a UK-based banking client set up a large-scale cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to digitize their procurement processes. Due to the complexity of the project, which had begun before I joined the team, the implementation had been delayed. Consequently, this delayed vendor payments and led to significant interest payments. To solve this issue, the client had hired 35-40 third-party contractors to support data entry and processing. However, gaps in communication between the client and the third-party contractors resulted in several inconsistencies and even more delays.

I worked very closely with the client to understand their expectations and, accordingly, conducted workshop sessions for all the contractors. I communicated potential user challenges to the ERP technology team that allowed them to make changes early on in the implementation lifecycle, thereby reducing any future delays. This resulted in a 140% increase in efficiency in processing vendor payments. It was a challenging yet a fulfilling role, as it was my first time managing such a large team and really gave me a real-life 101 in stakeholder management.

Why did you choose this business school? In the long term, I see myself as a global business leader and therefore wanted my MBA experience to give me that global exposure. LBS came out as a clear winner there. During my conversations with alumni and students, each of them impressed upon me the fact that LBS focuses on a global mindset from the get-go. Moreover, the school has such an international student body, which translates into having a strong alumni network across countries. The MBA is not just a 2-year journey but a long-term investment that provides you with a base for professional success. Hence, having a global alumni network was a key factor in my decision-making process. The global mindset is also reflected in the school curriculum, which provides a host of perspectives. Additionally, being based in London was a win-win. Not only is the city a melting pot of cultures and professions, but also offers easy access to international travel (since traveling was a grad school goal for me it worked perfectly!)

Who was your favorite MBA professor?

Professor Aneeta Rattan was my favorite MBA professor. I met her first when I took her elective ‘Diversity Science for Leaders’. The elective was centred around discussing the complex issues of diversity, our stereotypes/biases, and social identities to create inclusive environments across organizations. The course was particularly impactful because of the safe environment Aneeta was able to create for everyone in the class to engage. Additionally, Aneeta really customized the class to the LBS experience, which made the class and discussions more real. I have also had the opportunity to interact with her outside class in the capacity as a Student Association Advocacy Lead. She has always been a fantastic mentor and guided me so I can make informed decisions in my role.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Another course that I enjoyed was the Brand Management class taught by Professor Simona Botti. Simona brings with her vast industry knowledge and, as a result, the class is highly engaging and interactive. I also appreciated the different guest speakers who were invited for each class. They tied the brand management challenge we talked about in class to how they were navigating the issue in their respective companies, which enriched the learning significantly.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? This is a tough one! I guess I would say the Diwali Ball (Diwali was always my favourite holiday growing up, so I am a little biased!). Diwali Ball, hosted by the LBS India Club every year, is one of the biggest and most coveted events on campus. It was nice to share and celebrate a little piece of my culture with my friends. With everyone dressing in Indian wear and performing some kickass dances to Bollywood numbers, it is definitely a memory that I will look back on very fondly.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? As I was focused on switching careers from consulting to tech, I only applied to be on the ExCo of the Tech and Media Club so I could focus on recruiting and networking in tech. With the benefit of hindsight, while I attended most club (professional or social) events that I was interested in, I think it would have really helped me hone my leadership qualities. This would’ve helped me get to know more people across batches, especially if I had applied for an ExCo in some of the social clubs that I really enjoyed being a part of. I was, however, able to focus on more club leadership positions in my second year.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the things I had heard was that LBS has a strong campus culture even though there is no on-campus residence and there is so much to do in London outside of school. This is very true about LBS, so a reality rather than a myth. There are always club events being hosted on campus and students take a lot initiative in bringing the class together. Moreover, what also helps is that majority of the class is not from UK or has not lived in UK before, so everyone is excited to go out of the way and create that campus life.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? London has something to offer for everyone but for me it would be the theatre!

What surprised you the most about business school? On getting admitted to LBS, the one piece of advice that I got was that prioritization is key. While I had prepared myself for this, I didn’t realize how true and stressful it was to prioritize until I actually started business school. There are so many opportunities out there – professional or social – it can be very overwhelming to have to choose between the two or three events happening at the same time. Learning how to prioritize is a useful skill and I know that having mastered it at business school will help me in my career.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Applying to business schools can be extremely overwhelming so it’s important to know how to tell your story. The LBS application, in specific, is fairly long and all-encompassing. What gave me edge in my LBS application was that I was able to bring out my personality, not only in the application and essays, but also in the interview.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jennifer Silvestre. She is extremely hard working and such a go-getter – a female entrepreneur whom I look up to. She is kind, compassionate, and always there to cheer you on.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Be an entrepreneur.
  2. Give a TED talk.

What made Kanika such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“As a School, we are committed to a learning environment in which all members of our community can thrive and belong. To make this happen, we need students whose passion and beliefs align with this. Within our students, we then need leadership voices to speak up and assert this commitment, as well as challenge us to make sure we are doing the very best we can. Kanika’s dedication to our community has been exactly this. From the start of her MBA journey, Kanika has been a voice for her fellow students to promote the importance of diversity and inclusion as a non-negotiable for everyone’s success. In speaking up for others, Kanika has not only fulfilled her role as Advocacy and Ethics Officer for the Student Association, she has also taken seriously her role in holding the School to account for the commitments made to diversity, inclusion and belonging. At LBS, these are not just words that we use; they are values we live and actions we take in everything we do. Kanika has been a driving force behind this during her MBA, championing causes that have made a tangible difference to her classmates now, and that will continue to hold importance in years to come. When we ask our students to think about the legacy they want to leave, we do so with people like Kanika in mind. With the commitment she has shown in the last 2 years, I know that our students today and in the years to come will all have more enriching and valuable experiences on the MBA.”

Helen Foley
MBA Program Director
London Business School

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF MBAS TO WATCH IN 2023

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