My Delta Partners sponsored LBS MBA journey
Having worked at Delta Partners in the Johannesburg office for nearly four years, I was lucky enough to be awarded the opportunity to pursue an MBA. I applied to several European business schools and was fortunate to be admitted to the London Business School (LBS) program. I was fortunate because LBS’ MBA is globally top ranked, fortunate because it allowed me to live in the heart of an international city and to travel easily. I was fortunate for all these things – and for so much more.
In this blog, I’d like to highlight some of the less obvious (but in my view most important) learnings from pursuing this MBA. I could write about the value of learning how each aspect of a business works, or the benefits of building a strong network – but almost all MBA blogs will tell you those things. I want to get into the more nuanced benefits and learnings. For me, these have been the opportunity for sustained self-reflection, the opportunity to gain professional perspective, and the opportunity to invest in my interests.
The MBA environment is an interesting one – nearly every person you meet is looking to make a significant change in their lives. Whether it be a professional pivot or a fresh start in a new city – most people are looking for change. Together with the numerous personality evaluations, strengths and weaknesses analyses, and other self-evaluation devices that are part of the MBA experience, this creates an environment of constant introspection. The value that comes from having the time and space to think about your personal and professional goals in an environment that supports change cannot be overstated.
Being a sponsored student, I was lucky to watch the recruitment process unfold from a distance. I have watched my ex-investment banking friends barrelling towards jobs in tech, while my ex-tech friends fight over investment banking jobs – and have gained a new perspective on how much greener the grass on the other side can seem. I have been told to hurry my career up by ambitious 25-year-old friends, and been told to slow everything down and to not rush by successful executive-MBAs in their 50s. I’ve learned that everyone’s idea of success (and their ideal route to it) is different and will likely change over time. There is no silver bullet to career success (not even an MBA!) – we must find success, happiness, and fulfilment along the way.
As ambitious professionals, we are accustomed to side-lining our hobbies and interests in pursuit of professional goals. The MBA has given me the opportunity to delve deep into my hobbies, to invest time into my passions and to find new interests. I play in two bands – one of which headlined the annual “Battle of the Bands” event on campus in front of a huge crowd of friends – a major MBA highlight. I take time to enjoy film photography. I exercise often and remember how valuable it is. I’m learning a language and travelling whenever I can on a student budget. This experience has given me the time to remember what experiences I find most fulfilling, and the space to chase them down.
It goes without saying that pursuing an MBA at a top business school provides an amazing education and an expansive, useful network. I have learned so many things about business, management, and leadership that I otherwise might have missed out on. I’ve learned these things surrounded by friends I otherwise certainly would have missed out on. I’m grateful for these – but I’m equally grateful for the other, less obvious opportunities I’ve had. I’m grateful for the opportunity to introspect, the opportunity to gain perspective, and the opportunity to pursue fulfilment.
MBA blog – Murray Steinhobel