An MBA from a top Asian school and a decade of experience in financial services were not enough for Ravi Chaturvedi, who last year returned to the classroom and embarked on the Fletcher School’s Master in International Business.
Ravi earned his MBA from the Asian Institute of Management when he was 25, and spent a year at Copenhagen Business School as an exchange student. He followed this up with nearly a decade of experience in retail financial services in the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia with companies such as American Express, Standard Chartered, HSBC, and Hewlett Packard.
“My philosophy is that one should go back to school once every ten years in order to prepare oneself for the ever-changing world that we live in. For example, the biggest financial crisis of our generation and some of the biggest corporate scandals such as Enron happened in the last few years. There are lessons to learn from them and the best place to do that is in the classroom”, he explains.
Ravi chose to apply to the Fletcher School’s MIB programme for several reasons: first of all, he wanted to look at business from an inter-disciplinary perspective: “I was looking for a programme that would help me look at business from many lenses,” he says. “The MIB programme at Fletcher, in addition to providing the students with the essential core of business, looks at business from the point of view of government, society and other stakeholders. You don’t get these inter-disciplinary perspectives in other schools.”
Secondly, he wanted to have time to work on his own ideas and research projects: “When I did my MBA, the academic pressure was so heavy that it didn’t allow me to focus on anything else but finance or strategy. MBA programs don't leave space for intellectual inquiry.”
The Fletcher School’s focus on the emerging markets was a third factor: “Given my background and research interest in emerging markets, the Centre for Emerging Market Enterprises (CEME) at the school seemed the perfect fit.”
What he likes most about Fletcher School is its team-oriented environment: “Small is beautiful in Fletcher's case. It fosters a collaborative environment not just amongst the students but between the students and the faculty as well,” he says.
“For example, at the moment, I am collaborating with two of my professors on a paper about sovereign wealth funds and the privatisation of state assets. The idea for the paper was an outcome of a fortnightly roundtable discussion of global events between a group of students and professors. I can’t think of other schools where the environment conducive for such collaboration is encouraged”.
Every year, the Fletcher School issues a few scholarships to deserving students. Ravi was awarded the CEME scholarship: “The school was very generous in recognising me as an emerging market scholar, and while the scholarship itself doesn't obligate me to work for the Centre, it would be a shame to not take advantage of it.”
The CEME Fellows, says Ravi, have decades of experience in multinational organizations, multi-lateral organizations and the like. “Everyone needs a mentor and CEME gives access to a pool of them.”
The MIB programme and research at CEME are hard work, but Ravi likes it: “Every minute at school is a learning opportunity. Being engaged in all those activities is an intellectual investment.”
He adds: “One is tempted to skip sleep since time at Fletcher is limited, and besides you can always sleep when you are done with school”.
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