Remin Raphael Alappatt joined Aston Business School’s one-year MBA program as the youngest student in the class. Aged 25, he relocated from the Middle East to pursue the triple-accredited MBA in 2014.
Today, he’s in a leadership role at Ahli United Bank in Kuwait, applying his MBA learnings daily, and managing teams of up to 50 employees.
“It’s quite tough!” he says. “You don’t tend to get everyone in one room at the same time. Managing people, and getting the right informational out of them, is something I learnt from the MBA.
“The Aston MBA prepares you for the real world,” he continues. “When I mixed with more mature MBA colleagues, I got more of an idea of how to handle tough situations.
“In a multicultural class – with around 20 different nationalities – we were always split into different groups for different modules. That helped me understand different ways of thinking, and gave me the ability to work internationally and talk to colleagues and customers from around the world.”
The Aston MBA class is over 90% international. 30% of MBA students are women. Aston MBA students have an average of seven years’ work experience.
A focus on collaborative learning and personal development is ingrained throughout the MBA curriculum. And MBA students can tailor their learning to suit their own career ambitions.
As the MBA reaches its conclusion, students can choose to do an internship, a research project, a consulting project for a real-life client, or create a business plan for their own entrepreneurial venture. Around 90% land new jobs within six months of graduation.
“The Aston MBA gave me a push when I was putting my resume out there,” Remin (pictured below) continues. “Employers here, especially banks and investment companies, are really impressed by an MBA from the UK. I got a lot of offers.”
Indian student Gaurav Khaitan studied at Aston at undergraduate level and, after several years forging a career in real estate in India, returned for his MBA.
“I remember that I came across a lot of things I didn’t know,” he says. “How to strategize a business deal, how to present to a client, even handling and managing data; I thought these were things an MBA would help with.”
And help it did. After completing his MBA studies in 2014, Gaurav landed a management job at Fortune 500 real estate giant JLL India.
“Looking back, I was immature as a person when I started my MBA. I did not have the confidence to speak to people from big organizations,” Gaurav explains. “But, because of the number of presentations I gave at Aston, because of the number of public speaking events, and the networking I did, my confidence has grown twofold.
“Now, I’m in a very good position, doing things which a lot of people my age don’t get the opportunity to do.”
In his current role, Gaurav is applying the leadership and strategic skills he picked up at Aston during his MBA. He’s learnt to adopt a personal leadership style, putting himself in his colleagues’ shoes. And he’s driving ethical business practices in his line of work.
“I used to feel that there were no ethics in real estate in India,” he says. “In certain parts of the country, without paying bribes you won’t be able to complete any transactions.
“Through my MBA I learnt how I could get ethical value in real estate in India,” he continues. “I’ve now stopped these transactions completely. While you may face a loss in the short term, the long-term gains mean more clients will come back. Our trust with our clients has built in the past year.”
Would he be where he is now without the Aston MBA? “No! It would be very difficult,” he says. “In India, you need an MBA just to apply to these big companies.
“I had to go through presentations, group discussions, and personal interviews. You have to talk about strategy and the knowledge you have about business around the world. These are things I learnt from my MBA.”
Fellow Indian Aston MBA grad Rituparna Pratihar agrees. She’s vice president of strategy and planning at BNY Mellon in Pune. She too is using her MBA learnings in her day-to-day work.
“The Aston MBA helped me structure my strategic thought process and take a holistic view of businesses,” she says.