By Priyal Keni (MBA2024)
It’s 11am – I’m just out of morning class, rushing to the Student Lounge in the Sammy Ofer Center. Amidst the mad rush of students, it is a real challenge to grab a lucky spot and settle down before it gets too busy during the break. I grab a coffee and greet a few people before I finally open my laptop to look at my packed calendar for the day. Back-to-back meetings, coffee chats and a dinner to attend. My phone’s constantly buzzing with over 30 messages and a dozen emails that need my immediate attention.
However, before getting to any of them, I am tempted to open a fresh tab and start penning down this blog. 30 minutes have been blocked on my calendar to finally break the long hiatus since I wrote my last blog! Don’t get me wrong – I love writing! I had presumed that quitting a full-time job and getting back to student life would give me more control over my schedule, allowing me to write more often.
But boy, I was so wrong! What I just described to you is a typical day in the life of a business school student. If I were to summarize it in one sentence, I would simply put it as – Everything, Everywhere, All at Once!
In August 2022, when I hopped onto a one-way flight to London, I was determined to conclude my MBA within 1.5 years and get back to working full-time again. But then in Term 1, as I often jokingly say, LBS happened! I switched gears and decided to fully embrace student life and all its craziness, uncertainty, and ambiguity for the entire duration of the program.
The MBA is less about crossing the finish line and more about the path you take to get there. It’s all about the journey. Personally, for me, the overall experience has been demanding, yet transformative in more ways than one. My first and biggest piece of advice for anyone planning to embark upon this journey or already on it is – CHALLENGE YOURSELF EVERYDAY with the abundant opportunities that LBS has to offer. Take risks and make mistakes. Don’t shy away from making bold decisions.
It’s honestly tough to capture what the past 1.5 years have been like in an 800-word blog. The highly infectious energy at LBS has built in me an ever-growing tenacity to get involved in bigger and more impactful initiatives, motivating me to do things I could never have imagined back in 2022. This brings me to my second key piece of advice – always have an OPEN MIND and be prepared to EXPLORE UNCHARTERED TERRITORIES.
At the beginning my plan was simple – do the MBA, build a network, and ultimately secure my dream job. And like most MBA students my north star stayed the same, with recruiting always being a priority. But along the way, accomplishing milestones such as being invited to the UK parliament to receive the UK-India Achiever’s award, being at the forefront of some of the most impactful decisions taken at LBS as the President of the Student Association, being a member of the school’s first philanthropy council and leading the Laidlaw Foundation’s Women in Business society across different business schools has only been possible because I chose to fully immerse in the myriad of opportunities that LBS has to offer.
Amidst the countless sleepless nights and moments of exhaustion, discovering newfound confidence of pushing my limits, and facing every challenge that came my way with a positive attitude has been a personal win. My third key piece of advice? DREAM BIG – you will be amazed by how much you can achieve in a short time if you put your mind and heart to it.
In one of the recent Leadership Incubator sessions, a key question we were asked was – “What is the legacy you want to leave behind in your current leadership role?”. Reflecting on this made me realize that even as students we have tremendous power to initiate changes during our time on campus that can positively impact students for many years to come. At the same time, it also sunk in that it’s only 5 months until Congregation.
The thrill of starting a new chapter of working in Consulting in London post the MBA excites me, but I must admit that I am going to miss the chaos of this buzzing student life. With some of my peers graduating early, farewells have already begun. Goodbyes are hard – but the joy of finding life-long friends among people who were strangers just a few months ago is something I will always cherish.
As I write the last line of this blog, I nod my head and smile, recalling something an MBA2022 had told me when I was applying to LBS: “2 years will fly in a blink”. Well yes, they have!