Rajasekar Sukumar

Country of origin: India

Client Services Director, Aditi Technologies (London)

Lancaster MBA changed me! A change that taught me I need to learn to ‘unlearn’ to learn, and critically reflect on my own experiences. I should be mindful of my approach towards business and its people. The unique Mindful Manager module enabled me to come to terms to such realities, and in my perspective it is Lancaster MBA’s killer edge over other programmes. The real learning only becomes apparent once you get back into the real world, after completing the MBA.

I am a technology and gadget fanatic! Working in a technology solutions company like Cognizant gave me an immediate high. Cognizant gave me the right platform to meet, interact and collaborate with some of the best minds from within and from global multi-national companies. However, it didn’t take too long for me to realise that I am more of a customer-facing guy, helping them with strategic decisions on technology adoption as route to competitive advantage. I wanted to be in the forefront, driving the business, and I believed pursuing a top-class management education would give me the necessary competitive edge.

I researched and applied for a handful of business schools and got admitted as well. However, a very inspiring interaction with a senior Lancaster MBA alumna made sure that I booked my tickets to Lancaster. The Lancaster MBA was highly ranked, and the conviction and connection in the way the alumna presented her experiences and learning convinced me that the MBA programme’s reputation was built on a solid foundation.

Having completed the full-time MBA from Lancaster University Management School in September, I was recruited as a Client Services Manager at Aditi Technologies, an IT services and product engineering company based in Bangalore with offices in London, Seattle, Boston, New York, Mountain View and Jakarta. I joined their Client Services team in London in the beginning of November. My role is primarily to do with business development, account management, customer relationship management and overall customer experience from a sales perspective.

The selection process for this post was gruelling, and involved three separate rounds of interviews. The first two interviews, with the department’s Vice-President and Director, were focused on getting to know me, my pre-MBA and MBA experience. They were particularly interested in the approach I took while tackling challenges during the MBA programme.

The third and last interview was a case-based interview, where I was given a very short introduction to a big pharmaceutical company, a few numbers and the company’s vision. Placed in a client meeting scenario, my task was to analyse the company’s current situation, ask relevant questions and identify a possible business opportunity for the company I was being interviewed for. I was expected to have a holistic knowledge of the company to successfully engage with the exercise.

Paving the way to success

Looking back on this experience I see the Lancaster MBA was instrumental in my performance throughout the recruiting process.

The practice interviews and the CV review sessions on the MBA Career Advancement Programme were essential in my preparation for these interviews. The demanding schedules and aggressive deadlines helped me to discipline myself with respect to prioritisation, time management and quality work.

The multiple team working opportunities demanded effective collaboration and this helped me to build a sense of conviction and connection while working in teams. The professors at Lancaster MBA constantly reminded us that the teams in a MBA classroom are some of the most difficult teams to work with. They were right. An MBA team is diverse and there is no hierarchy. Everyone is a star, and there is no boss.

In addition the programme’s content has strengthened my business acumen and redefined the way I address problems. The Strategic Management module and the three action-learning modules required that we draft strategic solutions for companies, while being outsiders to the problem. Hence, I was able to develop the ability to conduct detailed diagnostic analysis of organisations that were not in a field where I had prior expertise and to critically assess information at hand. I took a similar approach to researching and analysing Aditi Technologies and its competitors to draw out the company’s competitive advantage and areas of opportunity. This enabled me to ask probing questions about the pharmaceutical company featured in the case and understand its key issues and business goals. I then went on to provide my hypothetical client with a set of recommendations he could implement with the help of Aditi Technologies.

Lancaster MBA gave me the opportunity to meet and work with world-reputed professors, a Global CEO and also the rich and diverse MBA group itself. These experiences will stand me in good stead not only in my career, but also in life as a whole. I am really glad I chose Lancaster MBA – easily the best decision I have made!