Edinburgh MBA Students Target New Careers In Entrepreneurship

Two class of 2018 MBA students at the University Of Edinburgh Business School want to use the experience to develop their own ventures

There are many reasons to pursue an MBA, but Kaleb Vanderham and Arunima Malik both wanted a program to help them succeed in their own entrepreneurial pursuits.

The University Of Edinburgh Business School’s full-time MBA program offered just that. And the diversity and global exposure on offer at Edinburgh is something that both students value.

77% of Edinburgh MBAs are international students, and 49% are female. 21 different nationalities represented in the current Edinburgh MBA class.

As they prepare to start their degree, BusinessBecause caught up with both students to find out more about why they decided to pursue an MBA, and their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Kaleb Vanderham, a former winery worker from California, joined the Edinburgh MBA to strengthen his business analytics and leadership skills. He plans to relocate to Scotland and make an impact in the drinks industry.

Why Edinburgh?

Scotland is a world-renowned region for spirits production, and of course whisky and gin production is now being accompanied by some really interesting craft brewing. This factor combined with the program’s focus on strategic leadership within rapidly changing industries made the decision easy.

There’s also a lively sense of community in Edinburgh that I find incredible. I first visited the city in 2015 and was immediately drawn to its vibrant food and drink scene. I am grateful to have the opportunity to study here and hope to build a business that will enable me to give back to such a welcoming community.

What are your aims going into the MBA?

I’m from a farming family in central California and have grown up watching my parents run a successful business. Before moving to the UK, I also ran a small wine consulting business. It’s safe to say that entrepreneurial spirit is something my family has always valued highly!

My post MBA goal is to build an international drinks business focused on developing and supporting industry relationships between the US and the UK. In each country, there are so many passionate people working on creating innovative products, as well as markets who are open to trying something new. I want to be involved in supporting emerging brands and developing their exposure internationally.

With new innovations in product packaging and logistics, my aim is to find a way to monopolize on these to allow smaller brands a fighting chance alongside much larger companies that have the resources to control pricing and dominate shelf space.

How will the Edinburgh MBA help you achieve your ambitions?

Its focus on strategic and entrepreneurial leadership, as well as its excellent foundation in core business principles, will give me the tools I need to start making my vision a reality. My current understanding and network are not enough to fulfill the goals I have set for myself.

This program will help me refine, sharpen and expand my skill set and will hopefully extend my network farther than I could have otherwise. Being in a cohort of people with experience in different sectors and regions will be a very rewarding experience as we all develop, and I am really looking forward to building a network with students that will give us the tools to achieve our ambitions.

Diversity drives innovation. It allows us to grow as people, encourages us to constantly re-evaluate our ideas and, ultimately, leads to finding new and improved ways of doing things. Any workplace context which operates as an echo chamber for your own thoughts and ideas isn’t going to stretch you very far.

This is something I intend to be mindful of as I move forward with developing my own business. I want to build a team of people with different backgrounds, experiences, and skills so that we can produce a space in which creativity can flourish and make something that is stronger than the sum of its parts.

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Arunima Malik lost her father at the age of 21 to a sudden heart attack. She established the Dr. Sanjiv Malik Foundation in his memory which provides healthcare and education sponsorships. She’s hoping to gain further management and business skills to expand the foundation.

Why Edinburgh?

The city of Edinburgh, with its rich culture and heritage, has intrigued me for several years. I felt that the University of Edinburgh MBA was the best fit for me and my career objectives. My grandfather completed his medical studies in Edinburgh, so I’ve always felt a connection to the city.

What are your aims going into the MBA?

The MBA will provide me with the skills and knowledge needed to take my foundation forward. Through the foundation, I hope to promote the concept of inclusive development. I aim to tackle the problems of inadequate healthcare facilities in India, especially for women as well as the lack of resources for financially underprivileged children to pursue quality higher education.

In the next five to seven years, the foundation is looking to adopt a large number of villages to encourage and promote health seeking behaviors in these low awareness areas. Further, through the Foundation I hope to start a mentorship program for children and adults in various stages of their lives.

Lastly, the foundation will fund the higher vocational education of students from low income groups, as that I feel is the first step towards inclusive development.

How will the Edinburgh MBA help you achieve your ambitions?

The Edinburgh MBA will allow me to understand the nuances of organizational growth and business dynamics of a developing country, which are imperative for me to successfully run the foundation and undertake large scale development projects.

The distinguishing factor between a dream and a reality for any organization is good leadership. That is what I aim to learn on the MBA program. An MBA will give me a platform to delve deeper into strategic policy making and aid me in building a sustainable and responsible business model. I don't want the foundation to be solely dependent on grants, as the sustainability of such a model is extremely vulnerable.

Finally, the importance and respect for diversity has been ingrained in me from an early age. The exchange of cultural values, life experiences and interactions with people from various backgrounds are some of the things I’m looking forward to during my MBA program and am hoping for an enriching experience.

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