End of Year Reflections: My Journey as a MiM Scholar

Written By, Carmen Schliesser, MiM2024

One and a half years ago, I almost did not apply to LBS at all based on the belief that I would not receive an acceptance letter, let alone a scholarship. I still find it hard to believe that this journey was real.

Studying in an environment that allows you to explore your potential is a huge privilege – one that many will never have the chance to truly experience. It requires a strong support system around you, as the LBS and Laidlaw communities, as well as my family and friends, have provided to me. Being a part of these unique communities and partaking in various roles has been a vital accelerator for further personal and professional growth.

My journey would have never happened without the extensive support of the Laidlaw Foundation and the people around me. On average, this path would have taken me 180 years. This is precisely why it is both precious and hurtful to reflect on my journey: Hand in hand with immense gratefulness goes the pain that the majority of students with similar backgrounds like mine will never be exposed to this opportunity, no matter how bright, smart, and motivated they are. Academic and professional paths are still very much determined by the socio-economic background. If this sounds similar to your path and the challenges you’ve experienced, please reach out to me via Linkedin.

Therefore, a central part of my LBS journey has been supporting first-generation, low-income applicants in my role as a student ambassador. Allocating more time and resources where most required can make a difference. Yet, this equally led me to deep dive into the many issues that require change, specifically before and during the application journey.

Another key part of the impact the scholarship allowed me to have was our joint initiative with the Westerwelle Foundation. The foundation fosters entrepreneurs globally through various programs and offers startup hubs in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Tunisia. Having been a mentor to African founders for over a year myself, I knew this was an incredibly rewarding and insightful experience. Sharing this opportunity was a great way to connect two outstanding communities for a mentoring relationship.

The Laidlaw Scholars Network, both within the programme and through external events, played a crucial role in my development. Through network events and corporate visits, for example at the LinkedIn Headquarters, the foundation further fostered our growth. Above all, meeting the amazing Lord Laidlaw and Susanna Kempe, CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation, was a privilege in itself. The inspiration, motivation, and wealth of challenging stories one would sense in the joint meetings with the Laidlaw community were unparalleled.

The Laidlaw Scholarship has been a life-changing experience. As I move forward in my career, I remain committed to supporting others from similar backgrounds. Looking ahead, this support from Laidlaw is what allows me to pursue an exchange term at the Stern School of Business at New York University (NYU) this fall. Looking back, the Laidlaw scholarship was the first domino that got everything rolling.

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