Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2025

LBS’ London campus is on the doorstep of Regents Park

LEARNING HOW TO DO BUSINESS EVERYWHERE

Looking ahead, the Class of 2025 plans to pursue a wide range of careers after earning their MBAs, Precious Kilimo, a biologist by training, is working towards a career in healthcare investing, preferably with a philanthropic bent. Fernanda Camilo Aguiar expects to build on her experience helping others make financial decisions on a more global scale.  At the same time, Viktor Hainski is committed to building on his advocacy for social impact diversity.

“My biggest aspiration is to catalyze positive change and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable global future. At BlackRock, I worked on some of the firm’s first ESG investment strategies and gained experience with sustainability, which I hope to build on during my time at LBS. After my MBA, I aspire to work in a role which would allow me to drive business growth while also contributing to the decarbonization of the global economy. Additionally, I am committed to supporting diversity of all kinds and I will remain a key advocate for diversity and inclusion throughout my career.”

Hainski won’t find a better model for how diversity can enhance teamwork and knowledge than the London Business School. Think 50-60 countries represented per class – a place, Hainski says, enables MBAs to “operate at a global scale with local know-how.”

“The LBS MBA program allows students to build an insider perspective on doing business everywhere around the globe. If one day, my classmates decide to start a business in Bangkok, Dubai or Santiago, chances are someone from our MBA cohort will be able to help!”

STUDY GROUPS REINFORCE DIVERSITY

Or, in the words of Nicholas Latifi, his classmates’ business experiences will help him “understand how business principles are applied in different business and geographical contexts.” At London Business School, MBAs don’t need to travel the world to gain these insights. They just stay in one place, keep an open mind, and listen to those around them. Most of all, they follow Fatema Salim Haveliwalla’s dictum: “It is often more effective to build upon existing knowledge than to start anew.”

“On an MBA program, you learn as much, if not more, from your fellow students as you do from the faculty,” adds Chris Town. “London Business School attracts the brightest talent from across the world, where no single cultural, personal, or professional background dominates. Such an environment guarantees exposure to varied perspectives on how to approach a problem, encourages innovative thinking, and challenges our own biases and assumptions. This ultimately enriches our overall educational journey. Other programs, where a single nationality or professional background dominate the student body, can’t compete with this experience.”

The foundation of LBS’ diversity starts in the study group, says Michelle Gil, a ’22 grad who joined McKinsey & Company. Here, MBAs are placed in six-member teams, where every individual hails from a different country. This exposes students to differences that ultimately produce holistic viewpoints.

“There are not many business schools where that is possible,” she adds. “Not to mention the variety of occupational, cultural and life-experience backgrounds of my peers: I’d never been surrounded by such diverse people before, in an environment where literally every single person had something unique to teach you. Being a part of such a diverse community was the perfect preparation for joining McKinsey!”

London

LIVING LA VIDA LONDON

Overall, the Class of 2025 boasts 63 nationalities – and 487 students overall. Women account for 43% of the class, with each member averaging five years of work experience. As a whole, 29% of the class last worked in Consulting, with Financial Services veterans taking up a 21% share. Information Technology and Retail and Luxury Good professionals each make up 8% of the class, with Healthcare, Energy, Manufacturing, Public Sector, and Logistics also represented in the class. Surprisingly, the largest segment of the class – 18% — come from North America. Southeast Asia and Central and South America are home to 17% of the class, with South Asia (i.e. India) just a point behind at 16%. Europe is responsible for 18% of the class, with the UK constituting a 6% share overall. The rest of the class includes students from the Middle East (6%), Africa (4%), and Oceania (4%).

In As You Like It, William Shakespeare wrote that “All the world’s a stage.” And you won’t find a grander stage than London…with an asterisk. After all, the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in London has shrunk from 18 to 9 since 2010. Still, the United Kingdom, as a whole, hosts 76 of the 500 companies with the highest annual revenues in Europe. London, in particular, represents a third of the UK’s GDP – and the largest GDP of any city in Europe. Among the Class of 2025 members, London possesses a number of different appeals – with possibilities leading off the list.

“London truly is the global stage which adds a lot to the MBA – you get a great insight into the different pathways your career can take and the myriad of ways you can have impact in society, business, and within your community,” says Ed Vickers-Willis. “The huge breadth of internship opportunities London offers, be it in sport, social impact or tech, is something I’m really looking forward to and was a major differentiator from other programs!”

Call it a “high-octane hub” in the words of Fatema Salim Haveliwalla or a “global leader in technology, media, luxury, and healthcare,” says Chris Town. Most of all, it is a melting pot, with every imaginable choice at students’ disposal.

“London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world. It is a place where cultures meet and collaborate, which makes it the perfect meeting place for a diverse cohort of MBA students,” explains Viktor Hainski. “There are few other places in the world where you can grab a roti for lunch and jollof rice for dinner on the same street. In London, you will overhear conversations in hundreds of different languages and experience all the cultures of the world in one place. Such a vibrant and diverse city makes for a truly special place to embark on your MBA journey.”

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE PROGRAMME DIRECTOR

What’s next at London Business School? For one, the program has begun searching for a new dean, with François Ortalo-Magné stepping down at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. That’s not the only headline. Earlier this semester, P&Q reached out to Helen Foley, Programme Director, MBA at London Business School for a Q&A. Here are her thoughts on what students can expect in the coming year with the program.

P&Q: What have been the two most important developments in your MBA program over the past year? What type of impact will they have on current and future MBAs?

Helen Foley, London Business School

Foley: “One of our key developments in the last year has been our focus on diversity, inclusion and belonging within the MBA programme, as well as the wider School community. We know that true inclusion is needed to benefit everyone’s experience on the MBA, and this stretches across all elements of the programme. In the classroom, we have increased our promotion of the importance of diversity and inclusion in teaching materials, and in ensuring classroom discussions are challenging but done so in a supportive and safe environment. Outside the classroom, we have focused on diversity and inclusion training, as well as inclusive events – for families, for students from lower income backgrounds, and from a range of cultures. In our community, we have worked with the student body on promoting tolerance and well-being, working closely with our student clubs representing women, students of black heritage, students from LGBTQ+ backgrounds, as well as the Wellbeing Club to promote a learning environment in which all students can thrive.

From a more academic focus, we have reviewed both our core and elective curriculum to ensure that ESG is embedded throughout all our teaching. This has meant looking at business contexts through the lens of environment, social and governmental issues and challenges, not only teaching these elements, but looking at where there are opportunities for our students as the future business leaders of the world. Our new concentration in the area of Sustainability is a highlight of this, as we work to continually develop our curriculum to stay at the cutting edge of both the challenges and opportunities for tomorrow’s business environment.”

P&Q: Give us your one-minute pitch for your business school. What makes you unique?

Foley: “The diversity of London Business School is unmatched. This speaks for itself in the nationalities represented on a typical programme (74 for MBA2024), and the fact that no one nationality dominates. But our diversity goes far beyond the numbers of nationalities. Our classes and our study groups are carefully crafted to bring diversity of experience, of education and of thought to each and every class, study group session, networking event, and career workshop. Students are challenged and encouraged to challenge each other, using their unique experiences to educate those around them, to think twice about problems, and to see things from new perspectives. The value this brings – which we believe cannot be replicated without our commitment to diversity – is what makes the London Business School MBA unique and distinctive in what we do.”

London Business School: MBAs outside the school’s Sammy Ofer Centre in London. Copyright Richard Moran

P&Q: Sustainability has emerged as a major attraction to prospective MBA students. How does your full-time MBA program integrate sustainability across its curriculum?

Foley: “At LBS, we believe that ESG is a fundamental element of all business areas. We strive to have a profound impact on the way the world does business, and the way business impacts the world. For that impact to truly be profound, sustainability must underlie everything we do.

On core courses at LBS, some faculty teach ESG directly, such as in the core course Perspectives of Business Ethics. This 5-session course is taught across 5 subject areas, considering the ethical issues across different business contexts of Accounting, Data, Strategy, Economics and Organisational Behaviour. All other core courses include course materials and content where sustainability or other elements of ESG are the background to the learning objectives of the course.

Many of our Global Experiences – week-long, immersive experiential learning courses – have a distinct focus on sustainability. For the Singapore course, students spend the week looking at Sustainability in Global Value Chain; in Stockholm, the course theme is devoted to Sustainability; and our Kathmandu course is solely focussed on Social Impact. We are very proud of all our Global Experiences, knowing that this approach to applied, experiential learning truly provides a unique and unrivalled opportunity for our students.

Our elective portfolio also provides a breadth and wealth of ESG topics, and we are thrilled to have introduced a new Sustainability concentration for 2023-24. Concentrations allow students to focus their studies in a particular area of interest, with this particular concentration equipping our students to excel in corporate sustainability strategies, sustainability leadership, ESG investing, sustainability consulting, and international development by taking electives such as Finance & Sustainability, Diversity Science for Leaders, Growing Social Enterprise, Using Analytics for Social & Environmental Impact, Marketing for a Better World, Sustainability Leadership: Challenges & Opportunities – to name only a few.

Whether or not students take the full concentration, our MBA students are encouraged throughout their academics to understand the impact and challenges sustainability presents for anyone looking to make an impact in tomorrow’s business environment.

Next Page: Profiles of 12 LBS First-Year MBAs

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