A career in top gear
“I started a new job at the beginning of the programme and was promoted less than a year later.”
Fred Le Ballois
Fred Le Ballois
“I’m an engineer by background. Before I joined the Executive MBA programme, I had been working at Shell for about 15 years. My last position involved leading an internal start-up helping commercial fleet businesses to reduce their fuel consumption through telematics. I was managing 20 people in the local team and an outsourced team of 20 developers in India."
“My appointment was a last-ditch effort by Shell to win the critical mass of customers required to support the P&L of the business. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to achieve that in the time required, so I was tasked by Shell to find a third-party telematics solutions company to partner with. Then, I made myself redundant. That was 2016.
“For the first time in 15 years, I didn’t know what my future looked like, and I was really nervous. I knew I didn’t want to go back to a technical role - I wanted to progress in the commercial environment in a strategic leadership role. I wanted to successfully grow a start-up focused on exciting technology innovation for the benefit of business and wider society."
“But the roles I wanted to pursue all asked for MBA qualifications. It was frustrating, and I knew I needed more business skills and knowledge to transition into the new career I craved.
“I had some money saved and thought that I could either invest it in my house, or myself. I decided that if I used it on myself I would get a better return on my investment financially, as well as in terms of future career satisfaction."
“I looked at London Business School’s Sloan Masters, but that is a one-year full-time programme. I knew that I wanted a programme where I would be able to immediately apply the learning to add value in the real world, making sure that at every stage, I would be absorbing the rich theory, insights and techniques the programme and the whole experience would offer."
“So, the fact that the London Business School EMBA is a part-time programme, mainly delivered on Fridays and Saturdays, suited me. It offered me the time in between to absorb the broad learning and skills, find relevant applications at work and have interesting exchanges with peers based on the week’s topics.
“Why London? I was recently married, and working full-time, I needed to complete the programme in a way that I would still be married after graduation!
“Why London Business School? Comparing the top business schools, I most liked the structure of the learning at LBS. Other schools focused on online learning, LBS offered the face-to-face experience. Without that, you can’t make the kind of bonds that our cohort of 70 have. I know who I can I call on for which type of problem.
“In fact, I would say a surprise takeaway of the EMBA was how much I actually learned from my peers. The quality of the cohort was exceptional and it’s clear that LBS work very hard to shape the class with diverse skills and work experiences, while putting together people with similar values, mindset and ambitions."
“You spend most of the first year working in your team and, at first everyone has their own priorities. But you quickly get better at appreciating other people’s priorities so that you can get the best work done. I’ve learned a lot about myself, what my key strengths are as a leader and what motivates and inspires me. I’ve also learned a lot about other leadership styles, and how to work with them"
“New Technology Ventures is a compelling elective about technology and digital entrepreneurship ...this elective, led by Michael Davies, hit the spot.”
“Access to world-leading businesses on the Global Business Experience is extraordinary. We met with start-ups and senior figures at Google and LinkedIn.”
An exciting road ahead
“Out of six exciting choices for the Global Business Assignment, you shortlist two and get assigned one of those. As I wanted to explore the theme of digital disruption and start-up culture, I chose San Francisco and Argentina. In the end, I went to San Francisco. The access to world-leading businesses on the trip was extraordinary. We met with start-ups as well as senior figures at Google and LinkedIn."
“Pascal Finette’s talk on exponential growth and the mindset that has to be embraced across an organisation to keep up with the rapid pace of technology innovation to stay one step ahead of the competition had a massive impact on me. It’s a thought process that I will take with me throughout my working life, and resonates with me specifically now I manage a network of on-street electric car charge points."
“Whatever industry you’re in – from space, to energy, to cars - it’s not good enough to think about product and service design as linear anymore. You need to anticipate the next wave of innovation and disruption. That’s what Finette’s talk was about. I’ll never forget it.
“What I also enjoyed about the LBS EMBA was moulding it to suit my interests in the second year."
“I chose seven electives. My favourite was Advanced Corporate Turnaround. It was all about companies going pear shaped and what strategies were put in place to turn them around. It was particularly useful for me, considering my previous experience at Shell. Also, it involved integrating many of the management areas we dealt with separately in the first year, including macroeconomics, marketing, accounting, finance and strategy. It was like bringing the pieces of a jigsaw together. Now I have a much clearer picture of how a company should be managed effectively."
“New Technology Ventures is a compelling elective about technology and digital entrepreneurship and the journey from big idea to funded business model. For me and my career goals, this elective, led by Michael Davies, hit the spot. Michael has excellent credentials and it was a joy to have someone with such expertise in entrepreneurship and deep business expertise lead us through the programme."
“The most difficult thing at LBS is the sheer amount of exciting opportunities and activities over and above the degree. There are so many fascinating clubs, talks, trips and events. I attended a number of Entrepreneurship club events and also volunteered to be the social coordinator for my class, a role I have agreed to continue with as an alumni."
“I graduated in the summer of 2019 and the feeling is a bit like the moments after completing a marathon. It’s an overwhelming mix of emotions. I know my relationship with the School is not over. I am very much looking forward to the reunions!
“An EMBA is an investment in yourself and choosing the right school is vital in maximising your returns. For me, that was London Business School."
“I started a new job at the beginning of the programme and was promoted less than a year later. I’ve already seen the acceleration on my career and continue to see it. The EMBA has opened the door of my leadership path, and I feel more secure in my future earning potential and the scale of opportunity ahead of me as a result."
“I used to think I wanted to get to the top. Now, I question what that means. I want work that has a good mix of challenge and interest. I want to work in start-ups. The rest, I hope to figure out."