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From Engineering To Strategy Consulting: How The Copenhagen MBA Helped My Career Shift

Rahul Shah became a partner at Nordic strategy consulting firm QVARTZ, later acquired by Bain & Company. The Copenhagen Business School MBA was the catalyst for his strategy consulting career

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Tue Aug 4 2020

BusinessBecause
November 2019 will always stick in Rahul Shah’s mind. It’s the month he climbed the next rung in his strategy consulting career, becoming partner for consulting house QVARTZ, just seven years after completing his MBA at Copenhagen Business School (CBS).

His advice to MBAs pursuing a similar career is that “hard work is vital, but if it is also aligned with your passions and you have your feet on the ground then things often work out.”

Rahul credits his education on the MBA with preparing him to lead successfully, with giving him a helicopter view of business, and with the ability when problem solving to see things from multiple perspectives.


Why MBA: Copenhagen Business School 

Rahul grew up in India. He spent part of his upbringing with little money for education, and he recalls while studying for his engineering degree that his professors would lend him their textbooks. 

He learned from that experience to always be humble. “I have seen in my life that education has made a big difference. I could not have got here without the people who enabled me, and that’s where my roots are. I’m a firm believer that I need to pass it on.” 

Before business school Rahul worked in semi-conductor design in California and then tech consulting in India, where he managed over 200 consultants. A craving to learn and grow even further and a desire to enter strategy consulting led him to the MBA, and he picked Copenhagen Business School for multiple reasons. 

He explains that although he had options in the US and India, he liked the appeal of the small class size at CBS—his cohort was 41 students—the average work experience was seven-and-a-half years, and it was a one-year course. It was also an international melting pot, with peers coming from all over the world. 


Copenhagen Business School’s leadership development program

The Copenhagen MBA immersed Rahul in leadership development. The Leadership Discovery Process (LDP) runs alongside all the modules on the MBA. 

Students study cognitive coaching, the functioning of the brain, team dynamics, situational leadership, and human understanding. A series of outdoor activities also allow them to put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom—this all takes place alongside a mentorship program that connects MBAs with executives working in Scandinavian firms. 

Rahul says the LDP was tantamount to him assimilating to professional life in Denmark. “The Nordics want to know you as a person first and then about your skills,” he says. 

“I think [the LDP] made a difference because I could articulate who I was and that made a difference in my consulting interview.”

That approach is mimicked in the classroom at CBS. Doing things is not just about delivering results but knowing who you are as a person. 

“My whole exposure to sustainability and that different way of living from a work life balance point of view came from CBS.

“When you go through the MBA it not only gives you that business education but also the personal education, so you’re comfortable with yourself and can best deploy your resources under normal or difficult situations—that starts becoming the foundation of who you are as a leader.” 


Launching a strategy consulting career after the MBA

Right after graduating, Rahul launched a career as a consultant with QVARTZ, working his way up to partner over the next seven years. In April 2020, Bain & Company acquired QVARTZ, and Rahul became a partner for Bain, where he also co-leads their Nordics Advanced Analytics practice.

The Copenhagen MBA helped him get there in two ways. 

It firstly gave him a helicopter view of a business that he didn’t have pre-MBA. He didn’t have the platform or ability to articulate the mechanisms of every area of a business, say finance, accounting, or HR. “That gave me the understanding to see the world from a lot of different lenses,” he explains.  

Secondly, though he had been leading people before the MBA, when you go through the MBA you’re given team challenges that you will struggle to solve. To do so, you must learn how to lead a variety of personalities and to maneuver cultural barriers. You can’t do that without first looking inward and learning more about who you are as an individual. 

“Before you lead people you need to know how to lead yourself. I wasn’t given that exposure before I did the MBA,” says Rahul.

Since launching a career in Denmark, Rahul hasn’t looked back. He’s since had a daughter and has been blown away by the support for new parents in the workplace in Scandinavia. 

“Before I came to Denmark, I had never experienced such a strong community and focus on work life balance. The stability and sustainability are why I like the community so much.

“The Copenhagen MBA has been one of the most defining moments in my career growth so far.  Like many, I had the ambition to broaden my career path by re-visiting and adding to my fundamentals of business. The Copenhagen MBA was the right enabler I needed.”


Read more Copenhagen MBA stories:

After 5 Years At KPMG, Here’s How An MBA Enhanced My Career

Leadership: Copenhagen MBA Students Take Top Secret Trip Into The Swedish Wilderness

Student Reviews

Copenhagen Business School (CBS)

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.