“Before starting the MBA, I felt I was missing part of the big picture”, says Meryem Cherif. “Now I actually get it!” An engineer by trade – currently fully immersed in the first year of the programme – she says that her perspective on both business and the wider world has changed. “I didn’t have the right keys to understand how business worked. The MBA has given me those keys already.”
Her work as a graduate, on development in the Mediterranean region, awakened a heartfelt passion for sustainability. “Just after engineering school I set myself up as a freelance consultant on environment and energy,” she says. “After a while I got involved with policymaking projects that really opened up my perspective of the world. I thought then it would be a great idea to complete it with business knowledge.” She knew an MBA would give her the tools to get this business background.
Meryem says that an MBA was something she always had in mind, but finally decided to apply when realising it would help give her the career she wanted. Hailing from Morocco, she had already lived in France and Spain, and was set on moving to London to start the next leg of her career journey. LBS – with its two-year MBA – was the only choice: “On an MBA, you have three aspects,” she says. “The academic, the personal, and the professional. You need time to explore and really take them all in. The time flies by so quickly.”
For Meryem, receiving a scholarship felt like “winning an award” and an endorsement for her background in sustainability. This has given her the confidence to pursue her dreams.
Meryem’s ties to Africa have been at the heart of her most meaningful LBS experiences. As a executive committee member of the Africa Club, she organises speakers for events: “My favourite time was when the journalist Zeinab Badawi came to LBS to talk to us”, she says. “The Africa Club made it happen! Zeinab talked to us about what she thinks will happen with Africa, and how we need to deal with our history before moving forward. She was so incredible, yet so normal. We gave so much visibility to Africa on campus. That’s what the Africa Club is all about.”
The MBA is having a profound impact on Meryem. “I already knew that the world was small,” she says. “But at LBS the world is in front of you. There are people from all over the globe who I’m incredibly close to, whose experiences I share. I can see all that exists and everything that’s possible.”
Meryem Cherif was a recipient of the MBA Gallifrey Scholarship for Social Enterprise