With a successful career that has already taken her from France, to China, and then on to Nigeria, some might question why Maëlle Chérubin MBA2018 needs an MBA. But watching and learning from her line manager – a London Business School (LBS) alumna at Jumia Nigeria – provided genuine inspiration. “Sandhya Domah (MBA2013) really helped me grow into my role. Through her insight, I came to understand my own potential to be a good leader and manager and see how an MBA could play into that. I realised I wanted to transition to a role that combined management and operations – and the people I knew who made that kind of move all had MBAs.”
Applying to LBS, Maëlle was aware of the financial commitment she was making. “A two-year MBA is a big investment, but one which was much more relevant to me than a shorter programme. Being awarded a scholarship made a huge financial difference; my experience would have been much more uncertain and tense without it.”
The scholarship Maëlle received was the MSc09 25th year Reunion Gift. “It means such a lot that my scholarship was funded from alumni giving. I hope to play that same role in the future, and I’m thankful that the LBS community is so strong and supportive.”
Free to focus on her studies without financial restraint, Maëlle joined the programme excited and ready to share her own experiences. But, she says, “Nothing prepares you for the cohort that you meet at LBS. The peer-to-peer learning is difficult to explain – there are just so many positives, so many people who are experts in their field. I hope I’ve contributed to my classmates as much as I’ve gained, because the kindness and openness I’ve encountered is a hugely humbling experience.”
Unsurprisingly given her background, it’s been the intrinsically international aspect of the LBS MBA that has really appealed to Maëlle. “My GBE (global business experience) in Johannesburg was amazing. We were working with micro-entrepreneurs, helping them with their ventures. It was incredible to see people who actually have very little, manage to create opportunities for themselves and their communities.
“But I also loved my New Venture Development class with Rupert Merson. It’s a great way to apply entrepreneurial concepts and make them concrete. It elevated my learning away from something that’s purely theoretical.”
Does this passion for new ventures mean Maëlle is now looking to an entrepreneurial journey of her own? “I’ve just completed an internship with Uber Eats in operations and logistics – I enjoyed the data driven side of the business, and was impressed with how the company managed this very entrepreneurial division. It’s not always easy to convince people that you can do something different than you’ve done previously, so the MBA is a great chance to try new things out.”
And as for what’s next: “I'm launching my own business with Sandhya - a line of eco-friendly dresses called Belle Ombre. I am also looking at recruitment options in start-ups and tech, but whatever happens, long-term I’ll be heading back to France, hopefully to grow our venture.”