LBS welcomes fifth intake of BK Birla Scholars

A generous endowment from the Aditya Birla Group sees 10 new scholars join the school

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London Business School (LBS) has welcomed ten new BK Birla Scholars to its MBA programme and the wider school community.

Now in its fifth year, the BK Birla Scholars programme provides funding in perpetuity to 10 outstanding full-time MBA candidates each year, five from India and five from the rest of the world. The programme is supported by a generous endowment from the Aditya Birla Group.

The programme honours the legacy of Basant Kumar (BK) Birla, a celebrated Indian businessman, philanthropist and pioneer, who viewed access to higher education as a fundamental right for all. It provides scholarships for LBS MBA candidates who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential and honour the spirit of BK Birla, upholding the ideals of integrity, dedication and service to humanity.

The BK Birla Scholars joining LBS’ MBA2025 class are: Fatema Haveliwalla (India); Aiswarya Kishor (India); Mohith Mahadevan (India/USA); Gaurav Pooniwala (India); Priya Virmani (India); Conrad Bannister (UK); Jenna Denton (UK); Shin Lim (Singapore); Justin Roberto (USA); and Zak Szymonski (Poland).

The BK Birla Scholars Programme, which was created in 2019, has now provided financial support to 50 of the most talented students across the MBA programme, supporting their ambitions to be the emerging business leaders of the future.

Priya, the first person in her family to be able to leave India to get a degree thanks to the scholarship, is setting her sights on a senior product manager role in London at a fintech company once she completes her MBA.

“As I look to the future, my aspirations are driven by a desire to make a meaningful contribution to the business world, particularly in the fintech space. I am wholeheartedly committed to leveraging the knowledge and skills I am acquiring throughout my MBA journey to create a positive impact. I view this opportunity as a BK Birla Scholar as a platform not only to contribute to the LBS community by sharing my professional and academic insights with my peers and incoming students but also as a means to make a lasting impact on society by developing meaningful products and opportunities.” (Priya Virmani)

Conrad, who was key in drafting and publishing the UK National Health Service (NHS)’s Primary Care Recovery Plan for NHS England while seconded from Boston Consulting Group before joining LBS, hopes to use his career to deliver concrete improvements to citizens’ everyday lives, by improving the public sector services that they rely on.

“The first few weeks have confirmed just what a life changing opportunity this is. I have met my exceptional professors and colleagues whom I’ll have the privilege to work alongside at the School. Both in the classroom but also outside it, whether that is racing sailing boats again, or delivering pro-bono consulting to NHS hospitals… My particular area of passion is public sector healthcare. I believe huge improvements can be delivered by improved use of data, AI, and software. I want to use the LBS MBA to explore how best to have impact in this area.” (Conrad Bannister)

Speaking about the benefits scholarships bring not only to scholars, but to the School and the world of business in general, David Simpson, Recruitment & Admissions Director at LBS says:

“Scholarships change students’ lives. They enable us to make progress with our ambitions to build amazingly diverse classes of brilliant students and future alumni who will become the next generation of leaders. Scholarships allow us to recruit the best, whatever their financial circumstances. BK Birla Scholars represent the most impressive talent across the School’s full-time MBA programme, and embody academic excellence and leadership potential.”