Seeking a course that bridged the gap between the best theoretical teaching and hands-on business skills, Agnieszka was thrilled when she discovered London Business School’s Masters in Analytics and Management (MAM). Having studied Quantitative Methods in Economics and Information Systems at the Warsaw School of Economics, and enjoyed a successful first year in the industry, she was looking to take her skills to the next level.
It was the combination of technical elements such as analytics, data science and machine learning, alongside more business-oriented and management subjects, that attracted me to the MAM. It was amazing how much scope there was to determine your own pathway through the programme. I immediately realised this was the programme for me and I was determined to be admitted.
I took the Data Visualisation and Storytelling course with lecturer Kostis Christodoulou; this, and his courses on statistics, shaped the way I think today. The Data Visualisation and Storytelling course showed us how to look at data in a broader context, and what a powerful tool it is in business. The management-focused courses such as The Economics of Marketplaces, Marketing and Operations Management were always hands-on and provided a perfect counterpoint to the analytics side of the programme. There were some elements, such as marketing, which although I do not use in my day-to-day working life, provided crucial wider business knowledge that has helped my career progression.
After the programme, I successfully secured a place on the Mastercard graduate programme, which has such amazing opportunities to develop your skills and career. My work focused on operations and technology in the Mastercard Technology team. I was also lucky to be involved with the company’s Open Banking operations – in the spotlight at the moment after Mastercard acquired the Open Banking technology company Aiia. I helped with the integration of both companies by extracting the technical knowledge from newly acquired solutions and by supporting tech sales. I also had the opportunity to leverage the analytical skills I learned on the MAM by handling data and building dashboards in SQL – some of which are for European regulators and others for key clients throughout the UK.
I was promoted off cycle before the end of the graduate scheme to a mid-level business analyst position. My main responsibility at present is building Mastercard’s network resilience strategy in Europe. It offers me incredible opportunities to extend my connections in the company and work on high-profile projects, getting exposure across multiple departments, and coworking with product managers, engineers, strategy, sales and senior stakeholders from regional and global teams. The second pillar of my job is risk and incident management from the regulatory compliance point of view. I track incidents, and I’m involved in the problem-solving process, making sure that relevant third parties receive appropriate information. I am also involved in a Metaverse research project with the innovation team, helping them deliver knowledge on the market space.
The MAM allows you to become the bridge between technical expertise and the business world because of the unique set of skills you gain. The professors are not only subject experts, they are also successful in the business world, so they know what matters in the here and now. I am constantly using concepts that I studied at London Business School, and often find myself referencing old lecture notes for expertise. In the Digital Strategy and Managing a Digital Organisation courses, there were brilliant explanations of the blockchain and how digital businesses work. It helped me better understand what is needed for the business to succeed and think more strategically. My electives focused on digital strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship – the business acumen and strategic thinking I learned has been so helpful.
“The MAM allows you to become the bridge between technical expertise and the business world because of the unique set of skills you gain.”
The extracurricular activities I was involved in at London Business School taught me so much and introduced me to people who have been hugely influential. I was an executive committee member in the Entrepreneurship Club and the co-lead of LBS Hackathon, which is how I met my mentor – Kathryn Larin, who was co-lead with me. She was an MBA student, and such a successful person – I really look up to her. Working together on projects, we were able to form the kind of bond you cannot achieve through normal networking.
I was also lucky to participate in London Business School’s Builds programme. A selective programme, it provides the opportunity to work in small groups with MBA and Sloan students. It was a great opportunity to learn best practice from C-suite level individuals. The programme focused on leveraging product design and design thinking to solve problems for startups from around the world. We co-worked on a US edtech startup. Another extracurricular programme I participated in was LBS Elevate, which was organised by the Tech and Media Club. The programme helps students explore different sectors and roles in the industry through sessions with company experts. Through LBS Elevate I also received mentorship from a Silicon Valley Google executive.
The networking available to you at London Business School is incredible. The whole experience teaches you how to get out of your comfort zone. I cannot express how much that has helped me in business. I learned how to take calculated risks, to embrace rather than fear change, and to be comfortable asking for what I deserve. My time at London Business School was profoundly character forming.
“Being a woman in fintech, I am still in the minority, and I am really thankful to have built my confidence to navigate in the business and be bold about my ideas and needs.”
Being a London Business School alumnus puts you in a pretty select group. When I tell people I am a London Business School graduate it comes with a certain wow factor. I do not think I would have been able to get such a fantastic job with Mastercard without having the School on my CV. What is more, I keep getting contacted about new roles. I am very happy where I am, but it is a huge compliment that I am regularly approached with new opportunities. I know I can reach out to an alumnus regardless of their role or seniority. When you speak with them you can be confident they will have the same mindset as you.
I was a guest at a wedding recently and it transpired that one of the guests was a London Business School alumnus I had called last year for advice. They were so excited to hear about what I am now doing, and how I had progressed in my career. That is typical of the generosity of spirit that others in the community extend. When you are studying you can always ask for help and you can continue to do so after your studies, and as you progress in your career you return that service to others. It is an unspoken principle of being a London Business School alumnus. I think it’s a beautiful part of the programme.
“I know that I can reach out to a London Business School alumnus regardless of their role or seniority. When you speak with them you can be confident they will have the same mindset as you.”
The London Business School Career Centre guides you through your job search, taking care of you from the start of the process to the end. I still use the CV and cover letter templates they provided. When I secured interviews, they put me in touch with people at the relevant company so I could ask questions about the culture and expectations.
In the future I see myself as a leader – that is a mindset that the MAM programme really nurtures. I want to manage and develop talent myself and help people get to where they want to be in their own careers. Mastercard offers fantastic opportunities to shape your career and try out new things, which is so exciting. For example, last year I was working on a side project in product development using design thinking, now I have a chance to support the Metaverse project. These are very different from my day to day job, but a real thrill to be involved with.
“The best piece of advice I have to offer people who are considering studying the MAM programme is to believe you can do it no matter where you are from.”
Being a woman in fintech, I am still in the minority, and I am really thankful to have built my confidence to navigate in the business and be bold about my ideas and needs; to be able to build a network of stakeholders and mentors, think strategically about my future development and career, and to never settle.
The best piece of advice I have to offer people who are considering studying the MAM programme is to believe you can do it no matter where you are from. I come from a small town in Poland and whilst studying at high school I could never have imagined going to a world-class business school. In my experience the School appreciates people who believe in themselves and never give up in pursuit of their goals. Ultimately, it does not matter what background you come from, if you are motivated and bold enough then London Business School will spot that. The School chooses people who it knows can and will support each other. The community is amazing, and you meet people who become friends for life. There is a real sense of belonging – you all feel like you are part of something bigger.