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Anupama Rai

  • Programme: Executive MBA London
  • Nationality: British
  • Job Pre-programme: Independent consultant, ARAI Consulting

“It’s up to you to turn your experiences into opportunities. You must be proactive. People at LBS know how to get what they want.” 

There were two things that were clear for Anupama Rai when she was choosing where to do her MBA. One: she wanted to be able to work at the same time. Two: a globally recognised and respected name was vital. She knew an Executive MBA (EMBA) was her best option for fitting in the running of her business while studying. “For an EMBA, I was left with a choice between London Business School (LBS), INSEAD and a few US schools”, she says. “It was crucial that the school I choose has a good brand, a global reach and diversity in terms of the people. LBS is also well-known for excellence in strategy and entrepreneurship, which tie in with my future career endeavours perfectly well. It had to be LBS.”

Anupama’s business delivers technology-enabled business transformation. To execute that, she looks in depth at the strategy of an organisation or service line, before scoping, planning and implementing change projects. She already has a successful company, has worked as a consultant for Atos Origin and Deloitte and spent two and a half years at HSBC as Global Lead Client On-boarding Analyst, so for her, the EMBA isn’t about climbing the ladder. It’s about expanding her portfolio and opening up further opportunities. “The LBS community has helped me do that”, she says. “I have a solid background in implementing technology and executing projects and programmes. The EMBA has provided a toolkit to offer an additional service and bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Now, I can look at organisations and understand where they are and what they’re doing. The EMBA has helped me to build leadership and commercial acumen.”

With her passion for strategy and leadership, Anupama had her eye on the Global Business Experience (GBE) in Argentina from the very start of the programme. Focussed on strategy, the Argentina GBE sees students getting underneath the skin of the country through working with family businesses and entrepreneurs, alongside other EMBAs and LBS Sloan Fellows. “Argentina was one of the highlights for me”, she says. “I have been on other treks more on the social side with the wider LBS community and those treks were all highlights too. I’m a foodie so I went on the Foodie Trek in San Sebastian last year. This year I’m going to Lyon! You get to meet and get to know students from across other programmes. Its fun. You have business treks too. The Luxury Management trek took us to Spain to see how Zara HQ operates: the distribution and operation of fast fashion. At the end we had a competition to pitch a marketing strategy for Ferrari. We came second and went to the Ferrari factory in Maranello! These experiences don’t come knocking at your door. LBS makes them happen.”

Away from campus on these international trips, the pressure of classes and assignments melted away and enabled Anupama to relax and get to know her fellow students. “The networking and bonding opportunities on these trips are endless”, she says. “The clubs are also the best places to make friends and expand your network, and the quality and range of speakers is amazing. In the real world, it’s difficult to meet or hear about these people - some of whom are high profile speakers - attract their attention and time to hear your pitch. Through the clubs at LBS, you do get that time. You get to put a face to the name and you can follow up with a chat over a coffee. By making these connections you can understand what’s going on in their space, so when you apply to jobs you have an insider view into the industry and company you want to get into.”

She’s pragmatic, however, about the responsibility that comes with undertaking a programme as transformative as the EMBA. Taking the first step and reaching out to someone who inspires you can be daunting, but according to Anupama, completely necessary. “Nothing is handed to you,” she says. “It’s up to you to turn your experiences into opportunities. You must be proactive. People at LBS know how to get what they want.”

Anupama says that the person she was two years ago has changed. The personal and professional development that has come from meeting new people, attending events and putting herself in new and nerve-wracking situations, has given her a springboard for success. “Everyone is testing themselves at LBS. It’s a safe environment – we are all in the same boat”, she says. “We’re all here to develop, learn and grow. I found a mentor in someone who came to speak at LBS who has done exactly what I want to do. We’ve met three times and it’s been such an enriching experience. I’m so sad that the EMBA is nearly over!”