When Mandeep stepped off the plane, into a new role at twofour54 in Abu Dhabi, she was faced with two challenges. “I needed to speak the vernacular of venture capitalists and to integrate in a region I’d never worked in before.” The project was a collaboration of Reuters, the BBC and government, creating a platform between Hollywood and Bollywood in the Middle East. The stakes were high.
Tasked with setting up the media venture capital fund – with £100 million to offer media talent – although her banking, development and journalism background served her well, she was determined to speak the same language as the investors and business people she sat with. “I didn't feel I had enough rigour in business, so I started an Executive MBA at London Business School," she says.
Her experience did more than boost her confidence in the board room. It showcased that media and business together, are powerful. “When you have resources and funding,” she says, “you can afford to have a vision and a clear purpose. You don’t have to change course according to where the funding comes from”.
“It was clear it was a really innovative business school,” says Mandeep. “It is not only global in its research, and what it teaches and says, but it is global in terms of where its students come from, where they are physically taught (uniquely) and what they go on to achieve.”
When Mandeep joined, only one class of Dubai-London EMBA students had passed through London Business School’s (LBS) doors. She says: “It is one of the only business schools in the world that have opened a campus in the UAE.” But that is not the only reason she chose the programme. Its structure, the direct learn and apply style, suited her fast-paced life.
“It directly fed back to my organisation,” she says. “You take examples of whatever you are working on, the difficulties and successes, and you bring them back into the classroom. My classmates were in the middle of their careers. They brought experiences from that week; not something they remembered from years ago.”
Today, as CEO of Creative Visions Global, Mandeep supports 100 active projects across the world, and is tasked with setting the company up to operate globally, outside of its established US base.
Mandeep is surrounded by creative activism and sees the powerful social impact media has on the world. Because of that, she’s got big plans with a framework of values – a model that rates values, cherry picked from 101 countries, to help with decision-making. “I want to open the conversation up about global values. When you distill people’s values, you start building bridges, because often, we are working towards the same goals. If we are aware of that, then I believe the barriers would be broken down.”
Read Mandeep’s alumni story