The Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy programme is one of our most senior programmes offered here at London Business School. It brings together a high calibre of professionals and entrepreneurs who are ready to take their career to the next level.
We spoke with Sunil Prashara, a student on the Sloan 2022 cohort, to find out how his experience has been so far.
Why did you decide to study the Sloan programme at London Business School?
My company was recovering from the dramatic impact of Covid that hit during an enterprise-wide digital transformation. As CEO, I had to keep the transformation on track, keep the staff and clients safe and engaged, minimise the financial impact and realign our product portfolio and business in readiness for a new normal. There were no prescribed, tried, and tested strategies and solutions, so we were navigating unchartered waters.
I turned to the LBS Senior Executive Programme (SEP) for insights and guidance. The course was amazing and opened by eyes to how much more there is to know and understand about management, leadership, and change – despite my 25 year career in executive posts, things were moving at a pace I had not contemplated.
The LBS Sloan offered me the opportunity to really go deep into what the SEP programme had highlighted. An opportunity to learn alongside fellow executives, a world class faculty and amazing, top notch guest speakers and presenters proved very attractive to me. Notwithstanding, the fact that LBS is one of the best business schools in the world, the course content was as expected; both comprehensive and relevant. The core material allowed me to refresh my knowledge and a broad range of electives covered the areas that I was keen to learn about such as: sustainability, macro-economic trends and digital strategy. LBS gave me a one-year academic uplift and reflection time I was looking for to go on to the next stage in my life. Hence why I decided to apply for the 2022/2023 Sloan programme.
What has been the highlight of the Sloan programme so far?
There have been several highlights.
I enjoyed going back and refreshing myself in some specific areas. For example, the Accounting and Corporate Finance course content is set just right for executives to understand the key salient principles, causes and effects and is supported by interesting real-life case studies and content.
The core strategy course by Jessica Spungin was informative, packed full of even more interesting cases going beyond theory and into the application of strategic structures and frameworks. I especially enjoyed learning in small groups when completing case assignments as I got to experience a variety of perspectives from senior students from different industries and cultural backgrounds.
However, the biggest highlight has come from the interactive work with members of my cohort facilitated by the lecturers. These have proven to be a brilliant way to learn, whether it’s a class debate facilitated by Professor Andrew Scott in Global Corporate Agenda class, or heated “Union negotiations” between two student groups in the brilliant, Professor Niro Sivanathan’s, Negotiation and Bargaining elective. The Sloan experience is peppered with such interactive sessions, and it’s a great way to learn and put new theories into practice in real life situations.
What are you most looking forward to after graduating?
This one year at Sloan is turning out to be the best year in my working life. It’s a year I dedicated to developing myself, after decades of working for others. I wish I had done this ten years earlier, if I’m honest. I have learned a lot and I have also had to “unlearn” things that are, maybe, not so relevant anymore. I’m looking forward to my next chapter post Sloan – I have definitely been given the opportunity to explore different options, be it a smart start up, another CEO post or a portfolio career in an advisory capacity or NED for several companies.
I was grateful of the dedication that Annette Minihans showed whilst facilitating the Sloan Career sessions on how to position yourself after Sloan. It was very comprehensive covering topics from CV content, social media, networking, role profiling, presentation skills etc. Equipped with these insights, I have the confidence to not be scared (at my age) to try something totally new. Maybe I will partner up with some fellow Sloan’s and do something in the Sustainability sector? Who knows, I’ve got four months to go before I graduate, and I intend to enjoy every minute and not worry too much (yet) about what’s next.
What advice would you give students who are preparing for an application?
If you are preparing for the application, try and think through the pivotal points in your career to date. What caused them, how you responded, who helped (who didn’t). Think about the business strategies that you have seen – did they crystalise? What works, what doesn’t.
I also would think about the outcomes and impacts you have had on employees, companies, friends and family as you have progressed through your career. What “lights you up”? What/who drains your energy and why?
The interview process covers two broad areas – what you have done to date, where you want to go and more importantly, what do you bring to the party that others will learn from. Speak to past alumni and some folks already on the programme to get a better feel.
The LBS Sloan is your own personal investment in YOU and as you progress don’t be frightened if you start to change your own perspectives as you learn more. This seems to be a normal thing – it will change you. It will make you a better version of yourself and it will highlight paths that you may wish to follow different to the path you are on today.
Above all, for me it’s a both a total and special privilege to be in the company of some of the smartest brains in the world, learning from them and contributing to their thinking with my own perspectives. We are, after all, equals. In 2022 LBS was voted as the best business school in the world and the Sloan programme is its flagship course. Welcome onboard.
If you would like to learn more about the Sloan programme and how to apply, please visit our website.