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“It was a real confidence boost, and helped me to trust my instinct and have confidence in what I already knew”
I came from a legal background, heading up the legal team at the Lawn Tennis Association, the national governing body for tennis in Great Britain, and going on to run their charity, the Tennis Foundation. After working in similar companies for over 14 years I decided I wanted to make a change. I was unsure as to exactly what I wanted to do, but knew that I wanted to take a step away from the working environment. Despite learning a lot on the job, I’d never had any specific business academic grounding and it was in this area that I wanted to further my skills. With this in mind, the LBS Sloan programme appeared to tick all my boxes.
It is a huge thing to stop working and freeze the income you’ve been pulling in for so many years, especially working in the not-for-profit sector which is where I would like to continue to work after the Sloan programme. I felt it was the right decision for me, but I was concerned whether it was right for my family for me to be investing this much in myself. The opportunity to have the benefit of a scholarship really opened up the possibility of doing the course, but also in receiving it, I was frankly blown away that my experience and goals were felt to be deserving of it. It gave me a sense of pride, and the practical financial impact made a huge difference.
Through the LBS Sloan programme, I have learnt practical information on how to run a business backed up by the academic research that goes alongside. It was a real confidence boost and helped me to trust my instinct. The core courses provide you with a rigorous foundation which you can then enhance through your choice of a wide range of electives, in whatever area is of interest to you. The lectures from Herminia Ibarra, a talented and charismatic teacher, on organisational behaviour, definitely piqued my interest. I also really enjoyed being introduced to macroeconomics with Andrew Scott. With an arts background, I’d never actually studied any type of economics before, which meant I got a lot out of it. Jessica Spungin’s Strategy course is also challenging and thought-provoking. Across the board the various components making up the LBS Sloan programme have really been excellent.
Both LBS and the programme are incredibly multi-national, and I have loved meeting people from so many different places and learning about their cultures and the ways in which different people approach solving problems. It has been really interesting to see how this dynamic works, especially through the group assignment work as part of the programme. In my group, I have people from Brazil, China, Colombia and India working alongside myself. It’s been great to see how people culturally approach problems in different ways, and how to harness that difference to help us achieve really good results, but also learn from each other.
I’m aiming to return to the not-for-profit sector. I believe the programme will give me a real foundation in my next leadership role, in addition to that which I’ve already built, allowing me to hone my abilities. I am highly confident that it has already provided me with the knowledge and skills to transition and take the next step up within the realms of leadership.
Two years later
Since graduating from the Sloan programme, I have co-founded a law firm, London Law Collective. We provide accessible, high quality legal advice that you would expect from a big firm to growing businesses of all sizes including startups. We, and many of our clients, have a long term commitment to the world and we are delighted to have recently been awarded Pending B Corp status.
When I commenced the Sloan programme I was of the view that I would then seek a senior role in a large not-for-profit, and it hadn’t crossed my mind that I might found a company. The Sloan programme gave me the skills and confidence to do this, and I haven’t regretted it for a moment.
Joanna Farquharson was a recipient of the Sloan LBS Sloan Women's Scholarship (LBS Fund)