Mumbai to Warwick's MBA: A Journey Unfolded, Dreams Enrolled

09 October 2023

Full-time MBA participant Madhu Menon provides an inspiring testament to breaking moulds, seizing opportunities, and fostering empowerment.

In a world where conventions often shape destinies, my journey from Mumbai, India to pursuing a Full-Time MBA at Warwick Business School is a testament to breaking moulds, seizing opportunities, and fostering empowerment. Through this blog, I will take you through the remarkable chapters that have woven together to create my unique story.

Unswerving Family Support

I had the fortune of belonging to a family where I was always encouraged to pursue my dreams and ambitions. As a child, I was encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities such as dancing, acting, art, and sports – all important elements which helped shape my personality. I grew up watching my elder sister slaying as a lawyer, and dreamed of being independent like her. Growing up, I was aware that the support my sister and I received was not common for all the girls in my city – let alone country. However, I also grew up in a time when India was evolving and I was exposed to women being powerful in the workplace.

Citi's Global Environment

Stepping into the corporate realm, I found myself amidst the dynamic landscape of Citi, a global powerhouse known for its diversity and innovation. It is here that I learned about the importance of diversity – especially gender diversity, which is a prime concern in a country like India. I was involved in a variety of diversity initiatives at Citi through the Women’s Network and even had the opportunity to host annual gatherings with themes relevant to empowering women at the workplace.

Decision to Undertake an MBA

Alongside managing a 24/7 team at Citi, I found myself facing a daunting obstacle: the GMAT. My earlier attempts in 2016 and 2017 had yielded mediocre results, leaving me apprehensive about taking on the test once more. It was a moment of self-doubt, questioning my abilities, and wondering if I was truly cut out for the MBA journey.

However, as the desire to pursue an MBA and reach for top leadership roles grew stronger, I knew that I had to confront this fear head-on. The pivotal moment came when I realized the importance of having a clear goal. I had witnessed Jane Fraser becoming Wall Street's first female CEO, and her achievement became a source of inspiration. It crystallized my vision of where I wanted to be in the future, leading a global organization, making strategic decisions, and driving change.

With this clear goal in place, I made a conscious decision to set aside 2 hours a day for myself, dedicating them exclusively to GMAT preparation. It was a commitment, not just to the test but to my own growth and aspirations. These daily hours of study became a ritual, a sacred time where I confronted my doubts and honed my skills.

The journey to overcome my fear of the GMAT was not easy. It required discipline, focus, and an unwavering determination to succeed. There were moments of frustration and self-doubt, but I reminded myself of the bigger picture—my dream of pursuing an MBA and carving a path to leadership. Each day of preparation brought me closer to that goal, and with every practice test, I saw incremental improvements.

Looking back, there wasn't a single defining moment when everything clicked, but rather a gradual realisation that putting in the extra effort was worth it. As my GMAT scores improved and my confidence grew, I understood that my dedication was transforming me into a more capable and resilient individual. The GMAT wasn't just a hurdle to clear; it was a stepping stone on my journey to empowerment and leadership.

The lesson I learned during this period was that a clear goal, combined with consistent effort and determination, can help us overcome even our deepest fears and doubts. It taught me that when you have a vision and are willing to put in the work, you can turn obstacles into opportunities, and fear into strength.

In the end, my GMAT journey wasn't just about acing a test; it was about proving to myself that I could rise above challenges and seize the opportunities that lay ahead.

Embracing Warwick's Diversity

In my quest to find the right business school, Warwick Business School emerged as a beacon of hope where diversity thrived and inclusivity was more than a buzzword; it was a way of life. The moment I dipped my toes into this vibrant academic community, attending online information sessions and engaging in conversations with the admissions team, I could sense that this was a place where my values and aspirations were not only respected but celebrated.

The culture at Warwick Business School resonated with my core beliefs. It was a place where diversity was not just acknowledged but actively promoted, where inclusivity was not a mere goal but a lived reality. This commitment to creating a global and inclusive learning environment was evident in every interaction I had, from faculty members to fellow prospective students.

I vividly recall the moment when my journey took a significant turn. It was December 17, 2021, a day etched into my heart forever. As I sat in the midst of my best friend's wedding celebrations, an acceptance letter from Warwick Business School arrived, and with it, a flood of emotions and elation. That day marked a profound shift in my life, a turning point that would set me on a transformative path.

My formal journey at Warwick Business School commenced in September 2022, and it has been nothing short of extraordinary. From the very beginning, I encountered mentors and professors who not only imparted knowledge but also encouraged me to push the boundaries of my thinking. Their guidance and support have been invaluable, igniting a thirst for knowledge and a passion for innovation.

However, it's not just the faculty who have contributed to my growth. My fellow classmates, hailing from 33 different countries, have broadened my horizons in ways I could never have imagined. The classroom discussions, collaborative projects, and late-night brainstorming sessions have been a mutual exchange of ideas, and a collective pursuit of growth. In this diverse cohort of over 100 participants, I've learned not only from textbooks but also from the rich tapestry of experiences and perspectives my peers bring to the table.

The friendships forged at Warwick Business School are not just casual acquaintances; they are bonds that will endure a lifetime. Together, we have laughed, learned, and supported each other through the challenges of academia and the triumphs of personal and professional growth. These connections are a testament to the inclusive and nurturing community that Warwick Business School fosters.

Co-President of Women in Business

Fuelled by the desire to empower others, I embraced the role of Co-President of Women in Business at Warwick. This platform became a springboard for change, a space where I could amplify the voices of aspiring female leaders. Through workshops and seminars, we cultivated an environment of innovation and resilience, one that echoed the values I held dear.

A Glimpse of the Future

As I look back on this odyssey, I am humbled by the transformation that has unfolded. From defying norms to navigating global corporations and embracing leadership, every step has been a testament to the power of persistence. This journey is a reminder that barriers are meant to be surmounted, and dreams are worth pursuing with unwavering determination.

My narrative is not merely personal; it's a testament to the limitless possibilities that emerge when passion meets opportunity. As I look ahead, I am resolute in my commitment to championing empowerment, gender equality, and leadership. My journey from India to the world of MBA is a chapter that echoes a universal truth – that every individual, regardless of their origins, has the potential to reshape destinies, shatter ceilings, and forge paths to greatness.

And so, dear reader, my story continues – a narrative that emerged from India's landscapes, bloomed within global corporations, flourished amid an inclusive academic haven, and now stands as a beacon of inspiration for those who dare to dream. The journey is a testament to the fact that true empowerment is not confined by boundaries or circumstances; it's a force that resides within us all.