Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2025

Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2025

The London Business School is a lot of things.

A finance school? Well, a quarter of LBS graduates find work in private equity, investment banking, hedge funds, and venture capital.

A consulting school? Hard to argue: over a third of graduates enter consulting – with the MBB being the biggest consumers of LBS talent.

An urban school? Think 8.8 million people, with the Square Mile rivaling Wall Street as the finance capital of the world.

These days, there is something else being increasingly associated with the London Business School brand…

Entrepreneurship!  

A PLACE TO START A VENTURE

Big picture, the LDN startup ecosystem is the 2nd-largest in the world according to Startup Genome. The ecosystem itself is valued at $364 billion dollars – or more than ten times larger than the global average. The region generated $18 billion dollars in early-stage funding from 2020-2022 and $102 billion in overall investment from 2018-2022. What’s more, the London ecosystem produced 42 unicorns from 2020-2022 – and 1,529 exits from 2018-2022. Not surprisingly, nearly three-quarters of the UK’s private equity and VC investors are based in London. That doesn’t count  Silicon Valley firms like Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners deepening their footprint here in recent years

The London Business School has certainly taken its cue from its surroundings. Finishing 9th in P&Q’s 2023 Entrepreneurship Ranking, LBS has invested heavily in its entrepreneurial programming. Entrepreneurial electives account for 29.5% of its courses, with 58% of students participating in startup-focused clubs according to P&Q research. From 2018-2022, 8% of LBS graduates joined a startup after graduation, with 70% of students involved in a startup from 2022-2023.  At the same time, 9% of 2018-2022 LBS graduates joined a venture capital or private equity firm – the highest percentage in the world. And it isn’t just students who are passionate about starting a business. A third of LBS faculty teach entrepreneurship and innovation courses. At the same time, LBS ranks 3rd for providing mentor hours to student founders P&Q’s research.

These strengths made an impression on the Class of 2025. Nicholas Latifi has been weighing following in his father’s footsteps and starting a venture. To start, he plans to join the Entrepreneurship Club and participate in events like Pitch Night. His classmate, Christine Darla Bautista, plans to build on her entrepreneurial experience. That includes gaining greater exposure to pitching and fundraising.

“LBS provides options to hone such skills through programs, such as its Entrepreneurship Summer School and its Summer Startup Experience, where I got to work with LBS Alumni Founders on their early-stage ventures in a region that I’ve never worked in (UAE).”

Graduation celebration at London Business School

PROVEN STARTUP TALENT

Fatema Salim Haveliwalla started her career in finance. Now, she is looking for LBS’ programming to give her the tools to validate her concept and better align her product with the marketplace.

“I am eager to delve into courses like New Venture Development, Pathways to Startup Success, and Managing Impactful and Responsible Business, learning from thought-leaders like Gary Dushnitsky and Rupert Merson,” she adds. “I intend to use the Entrepreneurship Summer School to crystallise my ideas and soft launch my startup. I will amplify my learning through the Entrepreneurship Club and Private Equity & Venture Capital Club, joining a collaborative environment of peers eager to shape the future. I am certain the strong and supportive network I develop at London Business School will be invaluable for my future success.”

…or current success. Haveliwalla isn’t just dabbling in a startup. After leaving a secure role as a P&G Brand Manager, she has helped raise c.USD 250M capital as a member of her venture’s core leadership team member over three years. At the same time, Christine Darla Bautista has turned her startup into one of the most recognized and respected brands in the Philippine health and wellness market. This includes designing a digital campaign that tripled her startup’s size.

“I’ve since led my team in working with 1,000+ body-positive content creators and 20+ feminist and youth organizations to forward our brand’s mission,” she adds. “Today, Trizie has built a community of 60,000+ customers, ranks as a Top 10-20 Health brand in Philippines’ largest E-Commerce platforms, and is distributed in 500+ drugstores nationwide. In the process, I’ve personally been recognized by Tatler Asia as one of its Gen.T Leaders of Tomorrow 2022 (top 300 emerging leaders in Asia under 40).”

A FLEXIBLE APPROACH

And what can these students do to increase the odds of startup success? For Sharvan Pethe, a second-year MBA who is launching his own venture, one of the differentiators has been a supportive network “to help push through tough times and celebrate the good ones.”

Recently, I competed in the final of the Launchpad programme, a venture accelerator at London Business School. I was pleased to be alongside three of my stream mates: Rachel Sackett, another competitor, and Aastha Kamra and Martin Reyes, who both helped organise the programme. 13 of our stream mates came out on the day to vocally support the four of us who’d put months of effort into the programme. I can’t begin to express how glad I was to have so many friendly faces in the audience.”

Beyond entrepreneurship, you could add diversity to the mix too. After all, more than 90% of LBS students traditionally hail from outside the UK. Not only do students enjoy a truly diverse perspective inside the Regent’s Park campus, but can also tap into the 42,000 alumni who are found in nearly every region, industry, and function. That diversity is complemented by something equally formidable: flexibility.

“[The flexibility] allows every student to make the program their own. LBS recognizes that MBA students come from many different backgrounds and the school allows everyone to tailor their program to their interests and career goals,” says Viktor Hainski, who comes to LBS from BlackRock. “Students can choose from 80+ elective courses, they can go on exchange to one of 30 partner schools around the world and even decide the duration of their program. Having the option of completing the program in 15, 18 or 21 months allows everyone to decide what best suits their professional development.”

London Business School’s Women’s Touch Rugby Team

A RUGBY DEFENDER AND FORMULA 1 DRIVER

The same could be said for the school’s array of student clubs, which number over 80 (not counting over a thousand club-related events. “LBS has a vibrant ecosystem of student clubs, which allow students to explore a range of personal and professional interests,” Hainski adds. “The club offering at LBS is truly impressive – there are clubs focused on blockchain, food, geopolitics, sailing and music just to name a few. There is even a club for students interested in outdoor adventures called the Expedition Club! The variety of student clubs adds to the flexibility of the program, allowing everyone to pursue an interest that is closest to their heart.”

Ed Vickers-Willis has already made this transition. He started out as a professional athlete: a defender with the North Melbourne Football Club of the Australian Football League. Eventually, he found a new passion: consulting – with the Boston Consulting Group.

“I think what I am most proud of is the purpose I have found in my work after my professional sporting career finished. I had 11 operations in 6 years playing Australian Rules Football and at many stages I didn’t really know what the future held. To have been able to support some of Australia’s leading companies to navigate the post-COVID world, including with some of their biggest decisions, is not something I thought I would have been doing three years ago.”

Vickers-Willis isn’t the only elite athlete in the Class of 2025. Most recently, Nicholas Latifi was a Formula 1 driver for Williams Racing. “My biggest accomplishment in my career to date would have to be earning a seat as a Formula 1 Driver with Williams Racing. It was a dream and goal of mine that I had worked towards since I was 13 years old. To have been lucky enough to have spent three years as a Formula 1 Driver, as one of only 20 drivers in the world, is something I will never take for granted.”

FROM BANANA BOAT TO WARSHIP

The Class of 2025 isn’t just elite in athletics. Chris Town jokes that he learned how to navigate on a banana boat using the stars. He may have started on an inflatable, but he eventually found himself commanding a warship for the Royal Navy for two years.

“Leading the men and women onboard was a genuine privilege and a life-changing experience for me, one that I will always look back on fondly,” Town reminisces. “Furthermore, I am especially proud that through teamwork and absolute commitment – and despite some significant challenges like COVID-19 – we became the top-rated patrol ship in the fleet, winning an award for operational excellence in the process.”

Deborah Carey also made her name in public service. Before business school, she worked as a policy advisor for the US Department of Commercial, where her permanent role involved trade with nine African countries.

“I was an organizer of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which took place on Day 2 of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Here, President Biden launched his Africa strategy and convened 50 African heads of state in D.C. for the first time since President Obama’s inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014. In particular, I was honored to co-lead the partnerships committee (managing the guest list of 350 U.S. and African CEOs) and the interagency deliverables committee which galvanized commitments of $15 billion in new investments as a part of the Summit.”

Outside LBS’ Sussex Place Building. Copyright Richard Moran

RISING AT BLACKROCK

Rhydian Harris and Fernanda Camilo Aguiar developed digital products from the ground up in healthcare and finances. Precious Kilimo challenged conventional wisdom by pushing her firm’s leadership to stop its COVID-19 testing program early based on the evidence she’d collected. The result: she produced 28% in budget savings. For Viktor Hainski, it has been his biggest achievement has been path through BlackRock.

Growing up in a small country like Croatia, I would never have imagined that I would one day be working for the world’s biggest asset manager in some of the firm’s most strategically important businesses. I started my career in BlackRock by managing fixed-income portfolios with over $30 billion in AUM and executing trades on behalf of clients. After transitioning to BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory team, I led complex workstreams in strategic client projects, including banks and public sector institutions. I recently led a major workstream in one of BlackRock’s flagship projects focused on infrastructure and decarbonization.”

Away from work, Fatema Salim Haveliwalla has swam with blue whales in the Indian Ocean, while Deborah Carey has summitted Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Rhydian Harris was part of a choir that sang in front of 80,000 people at the Wales vs. Ireland rugby match. And how is this for an unexpected turn for Nicholas Latifi?

“I failed my first driving test even though I was a racing driver at the time, and I’m not the only racing driver to have done the same!”

Next Page: Q&A with the Programme Director

Page 3: Profiles of 12 LBS First-Year MBAs

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *