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Former Investment Banker Drives Entrepreneurship At London B-School

Once an investment banker with Royal Bank of Scotland, Vaibhav Negi is trying to foster entrepreneurship with a student-run society at Cass Business School in London.

Vaibhav Negi is studying the full-time MBA program at Cass Business School, based in London.

A former banker with the Royal Bank of Scotland, he is also the president of the Cass Entrepreneurship Society.

The student-led group aims to foster entrepreneurialism within the leading UK business school. The society had more than 500 members as of September 2014.

One of a growing number of students ditching corporate careers and opting for entrepreneurship, Vaibhav has plans to launch his own business immediately after graduating.

He previously studied aeronautical engineering at City University, Cass’ base, where he was a student ambassador.

After graduating, he engineered himself a career with British Airways, the UK’s flag carrier airline, before moving into financial services at Royal Bank of Scotland, the state-backed lender.

He worked as a business analyst at RBS’ investment bank in London, before moving into a technical writer’s role, and was eventually promoted to investment governance operations lead for RBS Markets’ £440 million investment portfolio.

The former president of the City chess club will be hoping his next move can satisfy a growing hunger to be involved in entrepreneurship.  

Why did you decide to begin an MBA?

For many years now, I’ve been nurturing a growing desire of entrepreneurship. I’ve had several failed and part-successful endeavours, and I was confident that an MBA is my ladder to becoming a successful businessman.

My intention is to leverage my learning from the course to start a business immediately after graduation, and I hope to be running a sustainable small-to-medium scale business within five years.

An MBA will help broaden my knowledge of several streams like strategy, finance, marketing, HR and operations. It will make me a more complete person and improve my confidence.

Also, it will allow me to think strategically and manage change better. I knew that during the MBA experience, I would be able to make connections that will last for life.

What made Cass Business School standout?

There were several credible reasons for choosing Cass. Not only is the location unbeatable, but the school has a top-notch reputation of being one of the finest, and certainly the best value-for-money MBAs in London.

After attending the MBA open day at Cass and sitting through finance and entrepreneurship lectures, I was convinced of the facilities and the quality of academia on offer.

I spent considerable time speaking to the current students, and lecturers and found that the culture fit.

Additionally, I’ve a deep personal connection with City University, and fond memories of my time here previously. The love for City University brought me back.

Which aspects of the MBA have you valued most so far?

Academically, I’ve found the subject coverage very good. The MBA puts a lot of emphasis on core subjects like strategy, finance, accounting, marketing, HR, and operations. They are taught well, with plenty of examples and real-life case studies.

There are opportunities to do joint projects with companies, which offer great professional experience. It is not unusual for some of these to end with an offer of employment.

Cass frequently brings in guest speakers to mix things up. There are several networking opportunities, and MBA candidates make great, lasting connections.

There’s a good array of optional electives in the second part of the course, which allow me to customise my MBA – I’m taking a lot of subjects that I believe will help me with my entrepreneurial vision.

There are also plenty of extra-curricular activities that you can get involved in.

There are a few international trips, which are always fun. I’m visiting Iceland next month, and a month later I’m visiting Silicon Valley in San Francisco.

Are there any unique benefits to studying in London?

Where else would you rather be? The networking opportunities here are unmatched. Cass is well-located for the City of London and Canary Wharf – where financial careers are made.

Not only is this one of the biggest financial hubs of the world, but Tech City is around the corner from Cass.

Socially, London is amazing – there’s so much to do. There’s beautiful tourism, fancy restaurants, nice high streets, plenty of sports and leisure centres to keep fit, and more.

What are your goals for the Cass Entrepreneurship Society?

Our vision is to infuse the Cass community with a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. The society believes that inside each budding entrepreneur lies a great idea that could potentially change the world – or maybe just make a lot of money.

The society’s mission is to create a dynamic environment that enables individuals to share ideas, inspire each other and build a diverse network, by connecting with individuals passionate about entrepreneurship.

We deliver this through hosting events, collaborating with other entrepreneurial bodies, raising our profile and building our network.

Why do you think more MBA students are beginning to consider entrepreneurship as a career path?

Most aspiring entrepreneurs like the idea of setting up their own business because they like autonomy, independence, creativity and flexibility, and want to make their own decisions.

An MBA candidate develops knowledge and an understanding of several core areas of business.

Moreover, MBAs usually grow an appetite for making connections and thinking outside of the box. This is key to entrepreneurial success, and hence the MBA candidate finds themselves well-placed.

In which ways can the Cass Entrepreneurship Society help students who are hoping to launch start-ups?

We seek to equip our members with the knowledge, inspiration and support to go out and start their own entrepreneurial ventures. This is done via events, motivational guest speakers and networking opportunities. We ensure that our members are aware of and receive the right support that they seek.

What are your future career plans?

I am working on a business idea. If all goes according to plan, it will take shape this year.

I am also keen to work for an organisation that will allow me to grow as an individual, where I will have some degree of autonomy and be at the forefront of business.

I’m involved in charity work and volunteering. In the long term, I’d like to work for charitable causes full-time. It gives me a sense of fulfilment.

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