From banking to travel and tobacco, Bharti Syal worked five years as a systems engineer for a variety of companies in her native India before relocating to the UK.
After a year at Lloyds Bank in London, she decided an MBA would be the best way to move forward in her career, and transition from the technical into more strategic consulting roles.
Making a career switch isn’t easy, and employers value real-world business experience highly. That’s part of the reason Bharti chose Lancaster University for her MBA, where a world-renowned Corporate Strategy module sees students work in groups exploring case studies on the strategic issues faced by real-life firms.
The course forms part of the Lancaster MBA’s core Strategic Management module—led by strategy experts Martin Friesl; David Pettifer, a former partner at PwC; and best-selling author Gerry Johnson. The Lancaster MBA is ranked number one in the world for corporate strategy by the Financial Times.
Through the one-year Lancaster MBA program, Bharti secured some pretty cool consulting experience working with Microsoft on a smart city project based in London. With a group of fellow MBA students, she researched major smart city trends across the world, explored opportunities for Microsoft technology in the smart cities field, and put together a marketing strategy.
“I chose Lancaster because of its strategy module—a topic I wanted to specialize in,” Bharti explains. “[Working with Microsoft] was a great experience where I put all my learnings on the MBA into action.”
Aside from its strength in teaching corporate strategy, Bharti chose Lancaster for its close links to corporate leaders.
While at the school, Bharti was introduced to Kevin Roberts—former Saatchi & Saatchi CEO—who mentors students on the Lancaster MBA program (pictured). She was then chosen to attend a two-day executive leadership masterclass delivered by Kevin at his home.
Bharti says the Lancaster MBA—which costs £35,500 ($40,000)—represents the best value money for a top-ranked program in the UK. Its location, and proximity to the Lake District—where students escape for the MBA’s unique Mindful Manager module—also stood out.
On the Mindful Manager module—integrated throughout the entire Lancaster MBA program—students take pause for self-reflection and personal development.
“That had a huge impact on me, and my thinking and way of looking at things has changed,” says Bharti. “I am a better human being now, and I know what I want from life and why.
“I’m happy I chose Lancaster University,” she continues. “I made friends from all over the world—our class had 22 nationalities—and I gained a worldwide business view.
“Now, I look at the bigger picture. I am here till January and will look for jobs—Lancaster are helping me in every way they can.”
Moving from India to the UK, Bharti was delighted to find the MBA program that best fit her needs. What advice does she have for Indian business school applicants looking to do the same?
“The time I’ve spent here has been the best part of my life, and I would never exchange it for anything else,” she beams.
“I’d say don’t just go with the rankings; look beyond the rankings. Look at the MBA courses, what you want to do after the MBA, and why you think the MBA is the best choice degree to help you pursue your dreams.”