“Being an LBS alum absolutely got me the role I have now”, says Conrad Woodring MBA2016. Fresh from presenting a case study to a new cohort of MBAs, he’s full of the kind of grounded confidence that being on the right career path brings.
“Nicos [Savva, LBS Associate Professor] helped me with a problem with optimising debt at work, so I developed a case study out of it”, says Conrad, who is now Project Director for Globeleq, an independent power producer in Africa. “Then he asked me to present it to the class. It was fantastic. You always kind of idolise the people presenting at the front of the class when you’re a student. You think ‘They’re so successful! They have such great jobs!’ I thought, if I can be someone like that, that would be fantastic. And then, a year later, I was that person!”
For Conrad, the LBS MBA was a chance to hit the reset button. It was about changing trajectory, rather than progression. As a construction engineer, his pre-programme role at Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals took him to Turkey, Australia, Gabon and Texas, and he started to tire of the constant upheaval. “I didn’t want that for myself”, he says. “I want a permanent position based in one spot.” London is his first choice. Why? “Sailing!” he says. “There are great sailing opportunities here. Because it’s cold, there’s more racing and less cruising! I’m in an offshore sailing team and I sail for LBS still too. I organised a Turkey sailing trek, there was a regatta in Athens, and we do Italy, Spain and Portugal too.”
Conrad says that without his scholarship, he would have had little time to dedicate to the sport. “It allowed me to throw myself into life at LBS. As well as sailing, I was on the Diwali Committee, the Summer Ball Committee twice, and the Tattoo Committee twice.”
Conrad chose LBS because he wanted “a top-tier school”, but when he was offered the London Business School Fund Scholarship, he knew that he would get much more out of the School than an MBA. “I would not have been able to carry on sailing without it”, he says. “I would also not have been able to dedicate so much time to student groups. The scholarship allowed me to have fun and get involved, instead of just worrying about making money to pay for it.”
In his job now, Conrad is part of what he describes as “a little LBS alumni cohort”. According to him, one of the most important things that an LBS MBA bestows on somebody from an engineering background is the ‘soft’ skills, like negotiation. “There’s a course on power that really helps with dealing with complex stakeholder situations. Now I can look at these situations from a wider perspective. I never had a structured way of thinking about them before.”
Conrad’s enduring connection to the School is testament to the fact that the LBS community is a network for life. “I see classmates and LBS people all the time”, he says. “There’s such a diverse group of people with diverse experiences and diverse ideas. Going back into the job world, I was worried that I would never be among such interesting people again. But no two people in my row at work are from the same country. It’s like being back at LBS. I like that!”