London Business School students want to find ways to make a meaningful difference. The Wheeler Institute for Business and Development supports this desire to develop the skills and outlook they need to pursue a successful career while also bringing about positive social change.
Here’s what some of them have to say about what they gained at LBS.
Head of the Growth Team and Senior Economic Adviser at the UK government’s Department for International Development
“I have always had a passion for international development. Prior to LBS I worked in Tanzania, Zambia and Guyana leading expenditure reviews and providing economic expertise for the World Bank and the Department of International Development. International development organisations are moving more towards working with the private sector, and corporates are looking more at social impact and investment. Given my background as an economist, I decided to pursue an MBA to gain the technical knowledge to understand businesses and be more useful in the emerging space.
I believe LBS has provided me with the skills and understanding I might have otherwise struggled to gain in my industry. As the public, private sector and NGOs become more closely aligned I now have a fuller understanding of how these three spaces can come together, and the opportunities this could afford. Through LBS, I have access to people across these three sectors which has helped me to bridge my previous knowledge gaps and will enable me to have greater impact in the future.”
2017 President of the Student Association at LBS
“My LBS experience has been defined by some crucible moments which have challenged my assumptions and introduced me to business experiences that I would never have imagined before. For example, during our Global Business Experience in Mumbai, in the space of a few hours, we went from a gilded ballroom in the Taj Hotel, discussing investment approaches and exit opportunities with angel investors, to a ground-level tour of Asia's largest slum Dharavi, where our eyes were opened to the realities at the base of the pyramid. My key takeaway was that it's possible for enterprise to thrive under all manner of circumstances. I feel fortunate to have observed this humbling juxtaposition of diverse lived experiences – something quintessentially LBS.”
"I came to LBS not knowing what career I would pursue. My only wish was to find a meaningful job, a purpose to drive me. I got involved in the Net Impact Club, going to most events that were somewhat related to the social impact space and networking with professionals coming to LBS. The most amazing resource at LBS is its alumni, so I drew on this as much as possible, meeting everyone whose job seemed interesting to me. This is how I heard about Acumen’s opportunity in Ghana in their West Africa team, where I did my summer internship. I was supported by LBS to take on this internship through the MSc11 Award for Outstanding MBA students in the Non-Profit Sector. I heard about my second internship, at Social Finance, through meeting with alumni too. I am now happily working part-time in their international development team as an associate, joining full-time as soon as I finish my MBA.”
London Business School also helps companies make a meaningful difference through its trailblazing Executive Education programmes.
For instance, LBS and Danone established the successful Danone Leading Edge Programme in 2004. One of our longest-running programmes, Leading Edge pioneered ‘discovery learning’ to take a different approach to senior leadership development and achieve deep impact.
This involved disruptive experiential learning in an unfamiliar environment through a series of ‘creative encounters’ at a range of social and commercial enterprises, including: an experimental school in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, a political think tank in Istanbul and a high security prison outside Boston.
Flemming Morgan, a participant in this innovative international programme, calls it, “The most inspiring, memorable management programme I’ve been on. I was impacted by the visits to different organisations – not just business organisations; I started to realise there’s a whole world out there. ”
Participating in the 2005 London programme inspired CEO Franck Riboud’s thinking, leading him to launch the Dream project, which aims to give the largest possible number of people access to food that will make them healthier. This strategic shift has contributed to Danone’s mission of “bringing health through nutrition”.