Such was the appeal of an MBA in the UK that Joseph John left a six-year career at Standard Chartered, the emerging markets-focused bank, to enrol at Lancaster University Management School.
He had worked as an associate manager at StanChart, based in Chennai and Bangalore in India, in the loans processing unit, for three years. But the MBA program at LUMS, ranked no 35 globally by the Financial Times, proved alluring.
In particular, Joseph values LUMS’ focus on “Action Learning” — practical approaches to modules. On the LUMS MBA, real-life consultancy projects and business challenges help MBA students apply and assimilate their learning.
Previously, Joseph joined StanChart as a graduate trainee, after getting a bachelor's degree in commerce in Bangalore. He worked his way up through the ranks to team leader, a role he held in Chennai, before becoming an associate manager.
How can MBAs really impress the StanChart hiring team?
I was fortunate to have a manager, who to date is still my mentor, who used to always advise me to approach a situation with critical questions. I never valued and practiced it as much as I did in the MBA. Be it in a case study analysis, report, or module discussion, asking questions critically was key. I think this is important [to StanChart recruiters] particularly in banking operations, where the risk level is very high.
What is the best lesson you’ve learnt during your career at the bank?
Over the years, I learnt that it was always important to consider both sides of the coin before any implementation of a project, process or improvement. To achieve this, it was always important to observe and listen to your seniors, peers and subordinates’ opinions and ideas.
What should people know about LUMS before they apply?
Future students should know that the management are very approachable, and faculty are insightful. And it will be a diverse experience, thanks to a diverse MBA cohort.
Did you apply to any other business schools, and what made you pick LUMS’ MBA over others?
I did apply to other business schools in the UK. There are times when you just have to listen to your intuition, or respond to your gut feeling. Upon extensive browsing of ranking pages, comments/blogs on webpages, and videos of the various universities, LUMS stood out. The Action Learning and practical approach to modules are what I always yearned for. And, of course, connecting with other students who have done programs in LUMS and other universities helped me make my decision.
What are your plans upon graduation?
I always thought that the phrase, “an MBA opens new doors with respect to your future career”, was very clichéd! But it actually holds true.
But I would like to go back into banking and finance-related roles, as I feel I have scratched only the surface of the vast technical context of this sector, and hence would like to seek opportunities to be a specialist in a particular area in the future.
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