Radhika Taneja: my journey from prospect to MAM student

I remember penning down my interests for the essays I had to submit for my application at LBS and how I described my passion for numbers and storytelling. As I approached graduation from engineering school, I started reflecting on what kind of a career trajectory I saw for myself going in and whether I was equipped with the right resources and skills to achieve what I wanted to achieve. I knew that I definitely did not see myself sitting behind a computer screen trying to fix errors, but I was also equally fascinated by how technology was growing in the business space.

I realized that while I knew the science of data, there was a world that I had left untapped – the art of data.

While I interned at Publicis Sapient and Bain & Co. during my undergrad, I began to understand how important it was to be able to tell a story with your numbers. I started exploring how I could leverage data-driven insights to make a positive impact on businesses. And this led to my decision to pursue a Masters in Analytics and Management.

With this pursuit, I started reading up on people’s experiences after pursuing business analytics, what corporate employment looks like after having completed the course, and how it positions you compared to students from other courses like the MiM or a Masters in Engineering Management. What helped me was to question myself at each stage – would it be better if I worked for a year or two before embarking on this journey? What locations do I see myself working in two years down the line? Do I want to merely upskill myself or do I want to specialize myself in this line of work? Does it fit in the grand scheme of things?

After speaking to my friends and family, and having coffee chats with people in my targeted industries, I knew this was the right decision for me and in fact aligned with my career goals. Having narrowed down the course, the next step in this direction was to find the school and the programme that excited me the most. I researched schools in the US and the UK, I went through course curriculum and understood their admissions requirements. Specific to the MAM, what helped me the most was to look into whether the programme I was looking at was more data science research-oriented or more catered to corporate and data-driven businesses.

If you ask my friends for a one-word description of me, they would most likely describe me a “planner”! In the spirit of that, I had maintained extensive sheets on schools and programmes I was interested in, and their admissions criteria, with London Business School proudly assuming the dream spot.

The MAM at LBS was a no-brainer for me. As I read faculty and alumni profiles, interacting with people on why they chose the MAM, and saw the holistic impact that LBS created on its students’ careers, I knew that the programme was the perfect fit for me. Among all the programmes I assessed, it was the best balanced in terms of analytical requirements and market dynamics. Going through LBS’ website, looking at the opportunities that LBS provides to network with industry leaders, and to bring my passions beyond academics to life. It gave me the confidence to know that LBS’ values aligned with my own. If I got in, I would get the chance to learn among a cohort of the most driven and innovative minds from across the world and learn from their experiences.

As I look back, the one important insight I gained from my experience of applying to schools is that it’s important for the school to gauge how entrepreneurial you are. This does not mean that you need to be passionate about start-ups or that you need to be a successful business owner. To me, it simply means that I need to ask myself:

  • Am I a natural leader? Or do I prefer my work to be reflected through others?
  • What is one area that I am passionate about that I would feel confident incubating in?
  • What are my creative strengths? And my logical weaknesses?

While it might be cliché of me to mention this, I felt that it was important for me to be true to myself in my essays while also bringing out my best, most impressive self to the school. I thought of the things that were important to me beyond my work experience and academics and tried to showcase them through my words, how I would make the best out of this opportunity; how I was driven to meet and form a network of people who I could grow together with.

The day of the interview was probably the most nerve-racking for me. Being true to myself, I planned. Having gone through interview processes for other schools, I feel what worked out best for me was not having set answers for set questions but making a mental note or list of things that were important to me, and that I wanted to cover in my interview.

I made a list of 13 things that I felt were integral to my application. While the interviewer asked various natural questions to get to know me and my aspirations, I ensured that I addressed at least one item from my checklist with each prompt. To some, it might appear a little mechanical, but I feel it’s important to feel at ease as you speak with an interviewer.

Reflecting on my application journey, I am so grateful for all the support I received from my family, friends, my education counselor, and the massive LBS community. I remember crying happy tears the day I received my offer to LBS, because I knew I made it happen. I knew that it was a stepping stone for me to build a life where I would look forward to going to work every day. I hope I make the best out of this opportunity and can’t wait to see what the future holds. It’s only onwards and upwards from here!

Written by Radhika Taneja MAM 2024.

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