Our Experiential Learning Experience at the LBS Leadership Incubator

By Priyal Keni (MBA2024) and Anthony Sayegh (MBA2024)

The Leadership Incubator at London Business School is an innovative experiential learning programme designed to sharpen the leadership skills of selected students holding leadership positions on campus through a series of dynamic and strategic learning sessions. Aimed at fostering the next generation of global leaders, the incubator combines rigorous academic theories with practical leadership exercises. This experiential approach allows students to explore and enhance their leadership styles, decision-making capabilities, and team collaboration skills. In this collaborative article we (Priyal serves as the president of the LBS Student Association, while Anthony leads both the LBS Art and Business Club and the LBS Swimming Club) share our experience of being a part of the incubator’s 2024 batch. These positions afford us unique perspectives and experiences and have provided us with a unique platform to apply and test the theories and strategies explored in the incubator throughout the year.

Now in its 9th edition, the Leadership Incubator at London Business School is a pioneering programme designed to cultivate essential leadership capabilities in its participants. With a focus on experiential learning, the programme aims to develop adept leaders who can navigate complex business environments, drive innovation, and lead diverse teams with integrity and insight. The Leadership Incubator has evolved to incorporate the latest in leadership theories and practices, adapting to the changing landscapes of global business. Over the years, it has made a significant impact on its participants, empowering them with the skills needed to lead effectively in their future careers. This continuous refinement and commitment to leadership excellence highlights the programme’s enduring relevance and its critical role at London Business School.

The leadership incubator features a diverse array of sessions and activities, including insightful guest lectures, interactive workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, and thought-provoking team building exercises. Guest speakers, who are often seasoned leaders from various industries, provide real-world insights and share their experiences in navigating successful careers. A particularly memorable session was led by Sir Andrew Likierman on using one’s judgement. Together, we explored the application of judgement across various significant areas such as key hires, strategy development, and major projects, emphasizing the less obvious yet crucial aspects like setting personal priorities and shaping organisational culture.

Workshops, another core component of the incubator, focus on strategic leadership, ethical decision-making, and effective communication. For example, one innovative workshop used role-play scenarios to simulate high-pressure decision-making environments, where participants must navigate ethical dilemmas and make decisions that affect not only themselves but the team they lead. A few thought provoking questions we reflected on were: Do you provide resources to people in need or take things in your own hands? Do you lead by example or empower juniors to lead, or both? Additionally, the Leadership Incubator includes four one-to-one coaching sessions with an executive coach. These sessions offer personalized guidance about problems they might be encountering within their clubs or leadership positions in LBS, helping participants refine their leadership style, set career goals, and develop strategies for personal and professional success.

“Participating in the Leadership Incubator at LBS has been a pivotal chapter in my leadership development. It offered me a unique, risk-free environment to experiment with and refine my leadership style, allowing me to explore leadership dimensions that resonate most with me. It was here that I discovered my authentic leadership voice, learning not just to lead, but to inspire and empower.”

– Anthony Sayegh, President of the LBS Art & Business Club and Co-President of the LBS Swimming Club.

Looking back at the past 8 months, participating in the Leadership Incubator at LBS has truly been a life-changing experience, both personally and professionally. The programme offered a safe space where we, as student leaders, could develop our skills and tap into our potential by engaging in workshops and discussions. This training in leadership was incredibly valuable as it taught us how to lead, motivate, and manage our teams effectively. The programme was instrumental in bringing us together with our peers who were navigating similar challenges and striving toward similar ambitions. This connection wasn’t just about meeting new people; it was about building a network of like-minded individuals who could understand and support each other’s journeys.

Moreover, the sense of community and teamwork nurtured by the leadership incubator was truly outstanding. It created a unique environment where we all could trust each other, and work towards our shared goals for the LBS community with a collective spirit. This atmosphere of cooperation not only made our efforts within the programme more productive but has also instilled a lasting mindset of teamwork and mutual support that extends into our professional environments. We learned to leverage diverse perspectives and strengths to tackle complex problems and drive meaningful initiatives. This experience has underscored the importance of community in achieving personal and group successes, shaping how we approach both leadership and collaboration.

As leaders of significant student organisations, we directly applied what we learned, testing leadership theories in real-time. Given our transformative experiences, we highly recommend the Leadership Incubator to other students looking to deepen their leadership capabilities and make a substantial impact in their careers.

“The Leadership Incubator has been an unparalleled catalyst in my journey of personal and professional growth. It has not only provided a nurturing and safe environment for learning from my peers and expert mentors, but also enabled me to practically apply these insights and lessons in real-time as the SA President.”

– Priyal Keni, President of the London Business School Student Association.

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