“The world is becoming more globalised day by day, as countries become more interdependent on each other. Having exposure to large networks of people from different cultural backgrounds has already begun to push my interpersonal skills to that next level”
The road to LBS
After completing a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Auckland, I spent the first seven years of my career split between KPMG and one of New Zealand’s major banks, Westpac. I’d always wanted to study in the UK, and came across the Executive MBA programme when first considering advancing my education. However, looking at the requirements, I decided to develop a little more professional experience before applying. An opportunity came up to move to New York with Westpac, so I made the move and spent several years on the ground there, running the operational risk function for their local NY branch. Following my time in New York, I moved to London with the goal of pursuing further education. With London Business School widely renowned as the best in Europe, it was an obvious choice for me.
So far, the part-time studying experience has been challenging, but still workable, and ultimately very rewarding. The programme has pushed my time management skills to the next level, giving me the strict discipline to know what's important in terms of prioritisation. The programme is also building my confidence in regards to both my level of expertise and professionalism. The other important takeaways for me are a combination of the network, and the interpersonal skills to effectively use that network, giving me the ability to build rapport with a diverse group of people.
Getting the opportunity to interact with people in a completely different field to my own has opened up my networking opportunities. For example, a classmate of mine from Israel is a senior executive of a cyber-security company, and has experience working in many countries. I’ve managed to connect this classmate with the cyber-security expert in my workplace so they can build a relationship and maintain it at an expert level, which may lead to future opportunities. Connecting people that I know with people that I meet in the programme has really enriched my networking experience.
Our study groups include students with extremely varied backgrounds. For example, my study group has people with roles in retail, funds management, consulting services, and entrepreneurship. These are people you can’t easily find and interact with at the same workplace that you're in, or in your circle of friends, because you tend to be around people that are more like yourself. The reality is, the world is becoming more globalised day by day, as countries become more interdependent on each other. Having exposure to large networks of people from different cultural backgrounds has already begun to push my interpersonal skills to that next level.
Seeing things differently
This type of classroom environment pushes you and opens your mind to what is out there. One of the things that I am considering as a result of meeting different people on my programme is to potentially further advance my career in the consulting space, which I never really thought about before coming to LBS. I always intended to follow my risk career trajectory and move upwards from there, but I never thought about actually looking outside of that and seeing what's possible. However, the interactions that I've had here made me realise that there is more than one way to get to my end goal - talking to someone with an entrepreneurial mindset helps to open up my world of what's possible.
Our managerial economics class has been one of my favourites, as it’s taught in a way that turns what is often considered a very dry topic into something humorous and interesting. Additionally, the course around data analytics follows a similar approach, and is delivered in a style that is very easy to understand and apply in practice. Despite only having had one lecture so far, the macroeconomics course has stood out to me already, as it brings topics from the current news agenda into the classroom, which makes everything much more relatable.
An open-minded approach
My advice for anyone considering the EMBA would be to figure out what you want and really think about it – then look at how this programme can help you achieve that. Whilst it is a part-time programme, it does require a lot of self-study, which certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. Having an open mind is really important, because you are going to meet a lot of people that are very different from yourself. Be open to different things and different opportunities, and you’ll definitely begin to expand your horizons to that next level.