Meet the London Business School MBA Class of 2024


“What got you here won’t get you there.”

Every successful entrepreneur has heard this warning. Call it a speed bump – a reminder to stay humble and curious – and not be afraid to deviate or evolve. After all, the real test is not turning an idea into a solution. No, legacies are cemented by evolving an operation and maintaining a culture.

This next step was a big part of London Business School’s call for Spandana Palaypu. Six years ago, she launched ZoEasy, which she describes as an “award-winning social enterprise that educates and matches blue-collar migrant job seekers with ethical employment opportunities.” While Palaypu graduated near the top of her undergraduate class as a business major, she joined the MBA class of 2024 to expose herself to concepts like human-centered design. In other words, Palaypu knew it was time to take an exit ramp, so she could come back with new ideas and proven methods.

A STARTUP TO WATCH

“With my business having reached a certain stage, I now have the time to step back and approach it with a fresh perspective by pursuing the MBA at LBS,” she says. P&Q. “This will not only help me improve my overall foundational skills, but will give me the opportunity to think more and innovate with my diverse classmates, build a stronger network to expand further, and even connect with potential co-founders who have similar visions.”

As a founder, Palaypu had already produced enviable results. In 2019, ZoEasy was chosen as the winner of the Lead2030 challenge in the Quality Education category. In this challenge launched by the United Nations and One Young World and funded by Credit Suisse, ZoEasy beat out 1,200 participants from more than 100 countries. Along the way, Palaypu has been featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 and Forbes 50 startups. His big achievement? ZoEasy has created financial literacy training for 15,000 couriers that sets the benchmark in the UAE.

And that’s just the beginning…

“After graduation, my goal is to empower 1 million job seekers through dignified employment, and eventually make ZoEasy the go-to global platform for blue-collar workers (a kind of super-app ),” Palaypu said. P&Q. “In order to reach this scale. However, I need to push beyond the skill set I currently possess, and what better time to do that than now! »

Outside the Sussex Place building of LBS. Copyright Richard Moran

FROM OLYMPIAN TO MBA

So far, Palaypu has been inspired by the wide range of professional experiences and cultural perspectives – the kind that “stimulates a lot of creativity”. The same could be said for its locality of London. A hub for finance, technology and entrepreneurship London is the kind of place, she says, where an LBS MBA “opens as many doors as you can imagine”.

“The best part is that LBS is at the heart of it all,” adds Palaypu. “The MBA class has the opportunity to build this incredible network, meet global industry leaders, and practice everything that is absorbed in the classroom through the multitude of opportunities this dynamic city has to offer. Plus, living in London will prepare you for life in general… The LBS MBA and this city as a whole will push us beyond our comfort zones to reach our highest potential. It is a place where every opportunity is accessible, but WE have to work at it, and the reward is all the more special.

ryan owens knows all about hard work and delayed gratification. In his own words, the freshman LBS “spent the last 11 years of my life building an event that lasted a total of 51 seconds at Tokyo 2020.” By Tokyo 2020 he means the 2020 Olympics, where he was a member of the UK cycling team. Sure enough, the sacrifice was worth it after Owen won a silver medal – not counting his 2nd place finishes at the World Championships and European Championships.

“Achieving that goal in Tokyo last year left me very satisfied with my sporting career so far,” he said. P&Q. “I remain open to all options as I begin my MBA, but I have an initial attraction for strategy consulting. The teamwork, commitment to excellence, and willingness to dig deeper into issues used in counseling mimic my favorite parts of life as an athlete. »

WOMEN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Ironically, Alexandra Rico Lloyd combines his passions for entrepreneurship and cycling. Bike Club founder Rico-Lloyd has helped 40,000 British families get involved in the sport. In turn, you could call Nhlanzeko Khanyile rather intrapreneurial. Before business school, she was part of the five-person team that launched Africa’s first renewable energy efficiency company.

“I was able to experience what it feels like to work in a ‘start-up’ environment and play a valuable role in building something from the ground up,” notes Khanyile. “The real achievement was making the first investments and seeing the fund include assets that positively contribute to the energy crisis in Africa and promote good ESG standards.

Alisha Chowdhury is another freshman that paves the way for finance. At college internship interviews, she was discouraged that none of her counterparts looked like her. Despite these obstacles, she persevered to become an investor – who never forgot how hard it was to be an outlier.

“At my former employer, I helped create a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) committee and led an initiative to donate over $150,000 to two organizations focused on increasing D&I in the finance,” recalls Chowdhury. “In addition, I supervise female students interested in investing by preparing them for interviews and advising them on their careers. Through these experiences, I developed leadership, confidence and courage. I went from the young girl who was afraid to go to an interview to the female investor who brought about change in the financial sector. »

Class of 2024 Orientation in August

AN LBS MBA: A FAMILY AFFAIR

In the theater you will also often find men holding the coveted role of producer. It starts to change with JAnya Agarwal, who last worked as a producer in the famous company Paines Plow. Do you think producers have it easy? Ask Agarwal the day she vaccinated 250 pigeons for an outdoor show! His greatest achievement? Production of a 7 week tour during the pandemic.

“It was a tricky and precarious time to create live theater and it involved a lot of risk management (and expert knowledge of COVID protocols in a very short time!),” she explains. “I managed everything, including hiring the creatives, negotiating with venues and raising over £160,000 in capital. As a result, the show was nominated for the 2022 Visionary Honors Award in the Best play/musical for its social impact in culture, media and entertainment.

Now, for her second act — or again — she plans to follow in the footsteps of her father, a ’98 LBS MBA who made the leap from chemical engineering to investment banking. “I want to take a step back to develop new skills and explore how I want my professional life to evolve. My ambition is to continue working in the entertainment industry, but focusing on streaming services with one of the leading content creation companies.

OF RESEARCHERS AT GROILLA TRACKERS

In the promotion of 2024 you will find all types of backgrounds. The European Commission has awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship to Freya Svedberg-Keating, allowing the doctoral work of the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research. In contrast, Maria Jose Lagos led revenue management at CCU, Chile’s largest producer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Here it partnered with McKinsey & Company to develop a strategy to stem its losses. It was a huge success, with CCU’s annual revenue (as a whole) growing from $1.858 billion to $2.485 billion from 2020 to 2021.

“Together with their team, we undertook a complete strategy review for the core part of the business which was constantly losing market share. After 6 months, we managed to deliver a detailed proposal which allowed the business to recover much of the lost market share while increasing profits.I was also responsible for the tools we had acquired and the implementation of the new strategy.

Apart from their professional backgrounds, Anirban Mukhopadhyay is a certified gorilla tracker, while Ori Stern spent his teenage years working as a cowboy. Freya Svedberg-Keating completed the ‘Death Walk’ of Dodentocht in Belgium, covering 100 kilometers in 20 hours. At the same time, Ezzy Ndujiuba – a mathematician by trade – was a backing vocalist for Kelis on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival. And Ndujiuba isn’t the only singer in the class of 2024.

“I am a Bangladeshi-American-Cajun-Muslim woman with a passion for financial equality and independence,” writes Alisha Chowdhury. “I sing soul and fun music.”

A CLASS PROFILE

Like most business schools in the 2021-22 application cycle, London Business School saw a drop in applications from 2,993 to 2,540 compared to the previous cycle. Despite this, the school enrolled 509 students in the class of 2024, down just 2 students from the previous class.

Overall, the class averaged a 702 GMAT, with the median score being 710 and the range from a low of 600 to a high of 780. In keeping with the program’s cosmopolitan reputation, 91% of the class hails from outside the UK – to the tune of 74 countries. Women also make up 37% of the class.

Professionally, consultants represent 28% of the class. Finance follows closely, holding 25% of the class. Technology (9%), energy (5%), retail and luxury (5%) and healthcare (3%) are also important segments of the class.

Next page: Interview with Helen Foley, MBA Program Director

Page 3: Profiles of the first years of 12 LBS

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