My reflections on the MBA one year later

By Giri Kesavan, MBA2021

Hard to believe, but this July already marks a whole year since our class of 2021 graduated from the MBA programme at London Business School. A lot has changed in just a year, but ultimately, was it worth it?

For me, the LBS MBA was far more than just a degree, but a true personal and professional transformative journey, that started with the 2 year programme and continues through life-long learning across the school and our alumni community. So what was the impact for me, reflecting back a year later? Here are my top 10!

  1. Driving diverse thinking & perspectives 
    For 2 years, every single day, I was in an environment interacting with 60+ nationalities, and working with classmates from all walks of life. Understanding the perspectives of others, empathy, questioning your own viewpoints and not taking things at face value are key traits that I’ve developed at LBS. Working with cross-functional and diverse teams is now second-nature, and it’s a key skill that’s pivotal in the world of work.

  2. Helping me to find a role that I was actually passionate about 
    Through the programme, I truly discovered what I actually found engaging, fulfilling, interesting and challenging from a career perspective. It was no longer just about having a job just for the pay check, but finding something that I truly loved to do. The MBA was instrumental in helping me pivot from Finance into a fantastic role at Sky covering Tech, Media, Product Management and Strategy.

  3. Enabling me to create impact, whatever the sector and whatever the industry
    I still remember a comment that was made from one of my management team following my interviews at Sky:
    ”We couldn’t really pin down one specific skill that got you the job, and you had no experience in Media, but we knew you had the potential to create impact.”
    The MBA enabled me to work with multiple sectors, across multiple geographies, do multiple internships, and work with individuals across organisations. The MBA taught me how to create impact whatever the environment I’m in (as again, that’s what we did on a day to day basis in the programme!) and career wise, that was instrumental in any job interviews.

  4. Developing self-confidence & building communication skill
    Ah a good slide deck and presentation – we love it! Every week during the programme, we had to present, challenge, discuss topics across a diverse set of stakeholders and tailor the message and optics depending on our audience. The MBA truly built up my self confidence – I’m far more comfortable in my own skin – and I’ve become far more assured in communication and presentation – all skills that I use day to day at Sky!

  5. Finding reward in helping others
    The best part about LBS is the community that’s collaborative and not competitive. I truly found joy in helping others to succeed, and inspiring people to do things that they themselves thought wasn’t possible. As I’ve said many times, helping students with their applications to LBS is one of my key activities! In my role at Sky, I’m now a people manager for the first time – and the attitude and approach of finding pleasure in helping others has been key to driving success within our team at work. The MBA has helped me think about how to build, manage, inspire and lead teams.

  6. Rapid prioritisation & structured decision making
    A few years ago, I really couldn’t tell you how I made decisions at work. I just didn’t have a process. However, through the MBA I learnt how to think, structure problems, drive consensus and propose solutions, as well as balancing time! I find I approach problems completely differently, and leverage what I learnt during the MBA to ruthlessly structure, analyse and drive decision making, dynamically adapting to competing priorities. Indeed, this skill has been incredibly useful in my role in a large matrixed organisation, navigating the organisation to drive consensus and deliver results.

  7. Managing time & driving efficient work
    I live and die by my Outlook calendar! Pre-LBS, I simply wasn’t efficient in work, spending hours and hours, even on weekends, to try and deliver 100% perfection in everything that I did. Guess what? That’s not sustainable performance. The MBA taught me how to manage time, be organised and work efficiently. Crucially, I learnt where to draw the line – the classic 80/20 rule. This has been key in my current role – as I’m no longer simply an individual contributor, but delivering through teams – so managing my time and my colleagues time has been vital, and it’s something that I’m continuously learning how to optimise.

  8. Relationship building & driving self-reflection
    Pre-MBA, I was more concerned about what I was doing, and not how I was doing it. The MBA taught me to be far more self-reflective, not only when something when wrong, but also when something went well! I learnt how to effectively build global relationships, build rapport easily with people that I don’t know, and how to navigate across organisations to, simply put, get things done. I now focus on how I’m completing tasks, and ensure that others are brought along in the journey, fostering global, long-lasting deep relationships, a key skill personally & professionally, especially at Sky being such a people-focused business.

  9. Seeing the bigger picture & driving ambition
    Simply put, the MBA teaches you how to think bigger. Sure, you’ve solved a specific problem. But what else did we unearth during the process? Where else can we optimise? What’s the next step? What are the other opportunities? These questions are now part of my problem solving and decision making process. I’m constantly looking to see how we can make things better, and create impact beyond my own role. As part of my work, I actually have a OneNote file called ‘Things which don’t quite make sense’ – where I write down what I’ve observed during my projects (outside of the core delivery) that I think could be improved, and then reflect & discuss on how to optimise.

  10. It’s not just the end goal – it’s the journey
    The MBA really taught me to focus on my journey rather than chase specific end goals. While I’m still target and KPI focused, I’m now much more aware of the journey to get there – and crucially, I enjoy the moment! Rather than obsessively chasing targets, I’m now able to break down a goal into incremental delivery, continuously add value from day 1, and build a journey towards a solution that drives not only the target outcome, but positive impact that we didn’t think we’d have as ancillary benefits. This has been key for me at Sky, as I help drive complex, multi-year programme across our streaming business – but still endeavour to balance incremental delivery and impact with long term vision.

If you would like to learn more about where an MBA could take your career, please visit our website.

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