Amitesh Podder

Country of origin: India

Assistant Manager, KPMG

Having worked in senior roles in renowned organisations, I had a clue as to how an MBA can shape one's career and make a difference. So choosing the best programme that suits my needs and personality was the first thing that struck me when I started applying for business schools.

I didn't want to be just another MBA, having only knowledge of management literatures, even if from a top-ranked business school. To me, especially after the corporate debacles of Enron, etc., the proper mixture of management studies, managerial ethos, practical philosophy and action-based learning was the key differentiating factor for an MBA curriculum.

The Lancaster MBA simply stands out from other schools on this aspect. That’s why even after getting two other offers from schools in Europe in the top fifty in the FT ranking, I chose the Lancaster MBA. So, in nutshell, the Mindful Manager module running across the whole MBA and three real-time projects with small, medium and big organisations intrigued me and finally made me opt for Lancaster.

In my view, the Mindful Manager is not just a module but an experience that is difficult to put into words: an eye-opener to all and to be cherished in every walk of life. However, let me try to give some sort of insight to this module.

The Mindful Manager first takes you out of your comfort zone by showing the real world to be complex, uncertain, political, power-driven – prejudiced on one hand and full of challenges, opportunities and innovation on the other hand. Then, drawing on the western and eastern philosophies of Aristotle, Socrates, Buddha and others, the module explains how these various aspects evolve and how to deal with by them by being mindful. I am sure everybody with experience of working in organisations or running businesses has encountered all these aspects and sometimes struggled to get by without compromising ethics. The most important aspect of this module is not just its unique content but also the way it is taught.

In the first two terms I completed two real-life projects in the oil and gas industry and in consulting. The effect of these projects was shown in terms of developing or encouraging entrepreneurial skills and understanding the challenges a start-up or a medium-level company faces.

I also participated in the RICE Business Plan competition, the world’s largest and richest business plan competition. Only 42 teams, out of 1700 teams worldwide from top universities, were selected for the final two rounds and we were honoured to be the only team from the UK in this mega competition in the USA.

Being an engineer, I had never ever imagined that management subjects such as Accounting, Finance and Economics would be so interesting to study. This was made possible by professors who are not only distinguished in their own academic field but equally successful in the business world. And I felt privileged to be taught by one of the most eminent professors in strategy, whose book is widely read by students across most of business schools in Europe and North America.

International learning

In the era of globalisation and the emerging dominance of the eastern economies, especially China, getting first-hand experience of the local business and culture is vital for any future managers. The International Business in Context module was the right platform to gain such valuable experience. The visits to various industries in China and lectures from eminent personalities such as the Head of the Central Bank of China in Guangdong province were not only valuable but equally insightful to the economic policies of China. Continuing on the international dimension of the Lancaster MBA, I was selected for the MBA International Student Program in St Gallen, a prestigious university in Switzerland.

Honestly, in retrospect, I can only say that the Lancaster MBA curriculum overall and the co-operation from the professors went far beyond my initial expectations. I strongly recommend the Lancaster MBA to everybody who aspires to make a difference.

I am now working as an Assistant Manager for KPMG in India.