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When Navin Valrani turned 40 in 2011, he took stock of his life and put down a list of things he wanted to achieve. On it was an MBA.
“I read the Financial Times and when the rankings came out, there was LBS at number one,” says Navin. “Then I came across an ad for an information session on the EMBA Dubai programme. I went and met the admissions team who gave me the application and said I needed to do my GMAT. So I did and the next thing you know I was in for the September programme.”
The two years that followed changed Navin’s life and career forever. “It was wonderful in so many aspects,” he says. “First of all, the knowledge that you pick up on the Executive MBA (EMBA) gives you a fantastic toolkit to work with. You’re exposed to the most outstanding faculty you could possibly come across, and you can socialise with them after class and have some really good informal discussions. I am where I am today in my life, and with the growth rates of the businesses that I lead, because of LBS. The organizations I lead have experienced a top line growth of 63% and a bottom line growth of 85%, within two years of graduating from LBS.”
Navin credits the EMBA with reinvigorating his ambition and giving him and his businesses an energy that pervades his life to this day. “I felt I was 10 years younger! Everyone doing an MBA is ambitious by definition. You’re doing it because you’re moving, maybe you want to change roles or get promoted, you want some change in your life. Ambition is very, very contagious. When you’re around people who are that driven, you become more ambitious and it becomes a cycle that drives ambition in everyone.”
The EMBA’s impact on him, his family and businesses has created a bond between him and the School that is changing the lives of today’s students. “Until the program, I never seriously looked at acquisitions within the construction industry. Within 3 months of graduating, we had completed our first acquisition within the construction services sector. LBS gave me a whole new perspective on how to look at business. However Navin credits the greatest impact on his life on his association with school after he graduated. “When I graduated, I was so happy that the team could design a scholarship that fits with my values, for Indian women who want to study at LBS. For too long, far too many women from the Indian subcontinent have not been given the opportunity to pursue the kind education I had at LBS. The Monica and Navin Valrani scholarship fund intends to give such opportunities to female students from India who would otherwise not be able to afford an education at LBS. It’s such a privilege for my family and I to be able to give back to the School.”
Navin’s company, the Al Shirawi Group, is opening a preparatory school this September under the name of Arcadia. From the vision of Navin’s father, it will hopefully be the first in a series of schools that will change the fortunes of children in Dubai. “My contribution to the school every day is valued as a result of my education at LBS,” he says. “Arcadia will be the most impactful venture we have undertaken in the UAE. It will truly be transformational as far as the K1-12 English education scene in Dubai is concerned.”