Reflecting on experiential learning at LBS: Harshal Vora, MBA2024

Harshal Vora, MBA2024, Senior Officer – Alumni and Careers, Student Association shares his thoughts on Experiential Learning at LBS.

Before the MBA: From Fintech to LBS

Before embarking on my MBA journey at London Business School, I was at the helm of growth and partnerships at a fintech company in India. In this role, I frequently interacted with many LBS alums, whose experiences and encouragement significantly influenced my decision to pursue an MBA at LBS. Their shared stories and my aspirations converged, making LBS the natural choice for my next career step.

Why LBS?

My decision to join LBS was driven by two main factors: experiential learning opportunities and the community. I thrive on practical learning experiences, and LBS’s strong emphasis on experiential learning perfectly matches my learning style. The two-year programme structure offered ample time to engage in extracurricular activities and focus on personal development. Additionally, the warmth and curiosity of everyone I met at LBS, from alumni to current students, made me feel valued and confirmed my choice.

Highlights of the LBS Journey

My involvement with the Student Association has been a significant highlight, notably leading the Alumni and Careers pillar. This role provided me with valuable exposure to LBS alumni worldwide and allowed me to apply my learnings from resources such as the Leadership Incubator. Engaging with the alumni network has offered a glimpse into the promising career trajectories possible post-graduation.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Joining LBS

I wish I had realized how swiftly the time would pass. Seizing every opportunity that comes your way during this transformative period is crucial. The MBA at LBS is incredibly action-packed, with activities ranging from recruitment to cultural events and leadership roles. Initially, two years seemed like a lengthy period, but with the bustling pace and myriad of activities, it feels all too short.

Experiential Learning: Leadership and Internships

Applying for Student Leadership

I applied for the Alumni and Career Officer role within the Student Association because I recognized the importance of LBS’s immense career resources and outstanding alumni network – key reasons many choose LBS. During my first year, I discovered the extensive resources available and saw enormous potential for further development. Believing in proactive problem-solving over passive complaining, I was driven to tap into this potential and initiate impactful changes.

Internship Experiences

I engaged in multiple internships to maximize my learning experiences at LBS. My main internship was with Mastercard, my target company to work for post-LBS, where I also secured a full-time position post-graduation. Additionally, I ventured out of my comfort zone by taking a part-time role with Food of Gods, an LBS-incubated startup specializing in premium spices. I am completing another part-time internship with Saathi, an India-UK fintech firm started by an LBS alum, continuing my explorative journey.

A-ha Moments in the Leadership Incubator

The Leadership Incubator was instrumental in shaping my leadership perspective, especially during the peer-led sessions moderated by our fantastic career coach, Anne-Marie White. These sessions provided a safe space to discuss challenges and experiences with fellow student leaders. Leadership can sometimes feel lonely, but the peer-led sessions revealed others were facing similar challenges, and we could collectively experiment and share learnings. This realization that I was not alone, supported by a community facing similar challenges, was a profound a-ha moment for me.

LondonCAP Experience

My LondonCAP project was an extraordinary opportunity to work with WPP, one of the world’s most prominent advertising and marketing agencies. Collaborating directly with their strategy team, we were tasked with developing a five-year strategy for an upcoming board meeting. This project was vast in scope and marked my first foray into consulting. The experience was exceptional, offering deep insights into the advertising industry and allowing us to apply our theoretical knowledge in a highly practical, impactful manner. LondonCAP, though an optional elective, is something I highly recommend to everyone. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn about a new industry and apply the skills learned in year one of the MBA.

Global Experience: Cultural Insights in Lima, Peru

The key takeaway from my Global Experience in Lima, Peru, was understanding the importance of cultural context in business, even though the core principles remain consistent worldwide. Before the GBE, I spent two terms taking Spanish classes at LBS. Additionally, having befriended many classmates from Peru, I was well-prepared to engage effectively with our client, the sole distributor of Caterpillar in Peru. The combination of cultural insight and solid business acumen allowed me to help my team navigate discussions and successfully deliver a critical project within a compressed timeframe of five days. All this while concurrently attending workshops, industry visits, and networking events organized by the Global Experiences team at LBS.

My journey at LBS has been nothing short of transformative, equipping me with the skills and experiences to be inspired and ready for tomorrow.

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