Unlocking Success: A Journey through the Sloan Programme with Puneet Khunger

The Sloan programme stands as a path of learning and growth for experienced professionals, event without a business education. Puneet Khunger, one of the members of the Sloan 2019 cohort, knows this firsthand. Networking plays a major role in enabling participants to achieve high performance and reach the goals, and this is something our alumni community made through the Sloan programme.

Let’s hear more from Puneet in the interview below:

Could you please tell us a little bit about your background, what did you do pre-programme and what were your career goals and motivations at the time.

Puneet: I am an architect specialising in large public building design and project management. Prior to Sloan, I worked for global design firms, leading delivery of projects such as major stadiums, entertainment arenas, convention centres and museums, primarily in the geographies of India, Australia, Middle East, and China. I also ran a studio office of 20+ architects for a multinational architectural firm. My goal, then and now, has been to deliver great public buildings where large numbers of people can converge for shared experiences. However, the set of tools at my disposal to help achieve me this has grown considerably since Sloan.

Have your goals changed throughout the programme? If yes, why do you think this happened?

Puneet: I came to Sloan because I was a self-taught manager from the design industries, who felt I could enhance my skillset in a business school environment, perhaps for a better job post programme.

However, Sloan gave me the confidence to venture into independent consultancy roles. This was an outcome of both my increased understanding of the macro business environment outside of the design world, and the added credibility provided by the LBS and Sloan brands, which gave clients the confidence to independently engage with me for significant roles within projects.

What are the most essential takeaways from the programme and still apply to this day?

Puneet: Being a specialist technical consultant, I learned a lot about state-of-the-art management practices.  I would say that the programme can bring a lot to the table for those like me who come without prior formal business education, and in that sense it was full of curriculum-based takeaways for me, many which I now intuitively apply in my day-to-day work. That said, probably the standout takeaway has been the outstanding network I have managed to build on the back of my time at LBS, which continues to add value day after day.

I am aware that you made use of the LBS incubator. Could you please explain what the incubator is and how this helped with your career move?

Puneet: The incubator is a great ecosystem within LBS. While many who enter the incubator go on to create great companies, for me it was a learning in applying some of the principles used by today’s tech-enabled start-ups in my consultancy roles. Jane, Jeff and the rest of the Incubator management were incredible in helping create both industry connections but also an internal environment that enabled an exchange of ideas between founders creating many different types of companies.

What kind of ‘doors’ Sloan can open and what the students have to do to make it happen?

Puneet: Unlike programmes which typically have cohorts with fewer years of experience, I feel the Sloan graduate’s method of opening doors needs to include a much more relationship and networking-based approach. This is not atypical of how a senior professional would go about building their career in any case, whether the doors they are seeking to open are those in a corporate environment, or in building their own venture. The key should be to spread one’s wings wide, and the learning provided at LBS Sloan certainly enables that.

You hold some senior and advisory roles at the moment, and we would like to find out more about how you managed to secure those.

Puneet: I found that leveraging my existing overseas network to create new opportunities within the London environment worked well for me. My approach included a combination of connecting with existing contacts and apprising them of my LBS and Sloan credentials, meeting a wide variety of UK-based professionals and organisations (both new contacts through LBS and otherwise, and those connected to my existing Indian and global networks), and then finding opportunities to connect them. The timing has been helpful, as Indian and UK-based organisations today are generally are looking to work with each other.

If only given 3 words, how would you describe your experience within Sloan?

Puneet: Growth never stops.

Do you have any final advice for upcoming Sloan candidates?

Puneet: Do not treat Sloan as a magic bullet to global success, but rather as a great multiplier for the initiative and momentum one puts in both during and after the programme.

For more information regarding our Sloan programme, please visit our website here.

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