Giri Kesavan (MBA2021) applied for an MBA because he wanted to add a layer of business knowhow to his practical tech skillset. He ended up actively developing the programme and leaving behind a pioneering MBA Tech and Analytics concentration. Here, he reflects on the process and tells us what makes the LBS tech offering so unique.
After my undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London, I spent five years in product management and business analysis at Deutsche Bank. I focused on all our client-centric initiatives from a technology perspective and built out new fintech products on a global scale. My time at Deutsche Bank was purely focused on execution, and I knew that to take the next step I needed to couple my technical skillset and delivery mindset with a more holistic, business-centered approach. I wanted to do this at a business School that was truly driven by students, where the focus was on not just completing an MBA but driving real change. This led me to London Business School, where I beganMBA in 2019.
I chose LBS because of the emphasis placed on student-led impact, the collaborative nature of the School and the way the programme adapts to an ever-changing market. As soon as I started, I could see that a mix of engineering and business skills was a potent combination. You don’t just need to know how to do something; real success lies in knowing why it’s worth doing. I wanted to bring this mindset to the MBA and create a platform for other students where this blend of skills could be cultivated.
While studying, I quickly realised that as well as traditional routes like banking and consulting, students were increasingly looking for careers in tech. Using my own background, I began to put together a whitepaper, which I presented to the School as part of a data-led pitch for a new focus on technology and media education and careers at the School.
“One of the best things about LBS is that there isn’t much of a barrier between the ‘institution’ and ‘students’”
My vision was simple: to connect our students with global opportunities across technology and media. Implemented in May 2020, the new Tech and Analytics concentration allows students to build their skills in the tech space, with key courses covering analytics, marketing and product management. We equip students with practical skills like SQL, Python and Tableau to help them understand data, but we also highlight how important it is to communicate that data properly. It’s all about turning the spreadsheets into stories. Today, 28% of the MBA class of 2020 are in full-time tech careers and half of the MBA class of 2021 have taken on tech-focused internships.
One of the best things about LBS is that there isn’t much of a barrier between the ‘institution’ and ‘students.’ Rather, we work as one to craft, develop and evolve the MBA programme together. I wanted tohorizontally across the School, bringing together every step of the student journey from Recruitment and Admissions to the Career Centre to our Alumni and Advancement programmes to create a holistic tech and media offering.
“From day one, I had a clear idea of what I wanted the programme to be: student-led. Faculty-sponsored. Industry-focused. Collaboratively implemented.”
The development of the concentration was about more than just improving our degree education – it was about signaling the value of the LBS MBA to the wider industry. We wanted to cultivate a reputation for being the go-to business school for students looking for careers in tech. By producing graduates who can sit across all parts of a business, we’re energising the whole sector.
From day one, I had a clear idea of what I wanted the programme to be: student-led. Faculty-sponsored. Industry-focused. Collaboratively implemented. These were the values that inspired me to create a Steering Committee to continue adding value across the whole student journey.
Developments like this can only happen at a place like LBS, because we take a very different approach to education. Nobody is telling students how to think. Instead, we’re empowered to drive change and look beyond our time at the School. We’re able to actively develop the programme as we study, rather than the School just handing us a degree at the end of the programme.
“My advice for future MBA students? Be ambitious. This is probably your last degree, so get involved in every single element”
Leading the Tech and Media Club (TMC), I’ve been in a unique position across student-led initiatives as well as School-wide programmes to drive students into tech and media. Student clubs at LBS have an ambitious mandate, and our vision for the TMC was to really focus on three pillars: education, inspiration and collaboration. We connected students to industry on a global scale, with 100+ events, 7+ international treks, an 80+ strong cohort in our mentorship programme, as well as project-based experiential learning and countless events.
Following the MBA, I'm working at Sky (part of the Comcast Group) as Strategy Manager for Global Streaming Products. Covering a mixture of technology, media, strategy and product management, I'm looking at not only defining but implementing the future of streaming for Sky. It's a role that truly brings together my engineering background with the MBA, and covers all aspects of product management, from strategy to execution.
My advice for future MBA students? Be ambitious. This is probably your last degree, so get involved in every single element. And if you’re a current or prospective student and you want to know more about LBS’ tech and media offering, you can find out more here.
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