We caught up with Full-time MBA student Ruchi Sankrit for a brief conversation about what brought her to study at Warwick Business School and how she is finding the experience so far.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in a small town in India, exposed to entrenched inequality. This made me more conscious of the society I lived in and it wasn’t a surprise that I chose the social impact sector as my career choice. I have been working for more than ten years, the last seven year with the federation of the largest trade union of informal economy women workers in India.
Many people find it difficult to decipher why someone from the social impact sector chose to study an MBA! I think this confusion largely stems from the fact they perceive social impact to be essentially charitable and non-profitable. That is not entirely true. For the past seven years, I worked on business models to enable low-income households to access clean and affordable energy products in order to address their basic energy needs. This was an entrepreneurial driven model operated by women from local communities. The development sector is evolving with spurts in social enterprises, addressing the world’s gravest social problems and I increasingly used this approach and decided to pursue an MBA to build my business acumen and know-how to design and operate profitable entrepreneurial models on social issues.
What first attracted you to Warwick Business School (WBS)?
I was specifically looking at MBA programmes in Europe as I realised that European business schools were more diverse in terms of their student’s professional backgrounds and I also wanted a year-long programme as I wanted to get back to my job as soon as possible. My initial criteria when looking at business schools were based on curriculum, tuition-fees, rankings, scholarships and location. For the curriculum, I specifically looked at schools which had a focus on entrepreneurship and sustainability.
Post-application, I had offers from other business schools, but I eventually chose WBS, as it was one of the schools that perfectly matched all of my criteria. During the entire application process, WBS was extremely responsive to my questions and I felt welcomed even though I had not yet joined the class!
What is it like studying an MBA?
I am so thrilled to be studying after almost 14 years! The learning environment is extremely stimulating with so many different perspectives and interpretations offered by my MBA colleagues. My favourite module has been the Leadership module, which focusses on introspection and committing yourself to change based on those reflections. I particularly found it useful to reflect on how I worked in the past, what my areas of development are and what skills I bring to the table.
My other favourite module is Organisational Behaviour. The lecture and discussions almost transfer you to a real organisational set-up. The discussions around identity, diversity, power and groups reminded me of so many events in my professional career! I now understand the organisational dynamics in a more nuanced manner.
Have you taken part in a project for an external organisation? If so, can you tell us a bit more about this?
At present, as part of Leadership module, I am working with a client to build their social enterprise that aims to support refugees. The client organisation is designing and selling backpacks. My syndicate group has people with experience in finance, marketing, IT, operations and graphic design. It is so exciting to observe how we complement each other and how powerful diverse teams are. This project is the perfect platform for me to apply my business and social impact skills.
What kind of support have you received from the WBS CareersPlus team?
One of my biggest learning areas was how I viewed ‘career’. We have a fantastic careers team at WBS that help us to view career more holistically. We have had workshops to understand our own values and motivations, skills and interests. Furthermore, there have been sessions on client persuasion, networking, presentation, interviews, CV’s and so on. I also have unlimited access to coaching sessions that has helped me to structure my own career plans. Before my MBA, I would hide myself in any networking related events, I literally detested networking! Viewing networking more as relationship building process has changed my perspective and made me more at ease in networking events.
How did you find the work/life balance during the programme?
I moved to the UK with my family, which includes my two year old daughter, so before coming to study at WBS, I was extremely anxious about how I would balance my work and life. A week into the class, our syndicate facilitator, Sue Thorn, told me that on the contrary, mothers usually find their MBA journey much easier as they are used to a much more complex lifestyle! This is absolutely true and this is the advice I intend to give to any prospective MBA applicant who also happens to be a parent. You can do it! Don’t abandon your MBA dreams thinking it would be unmanageable. It isn’t. My cohort has around 15 students who are parents and they all are excellent managers.
The best part of the MBA journey are my fantastic peers who challenge so many stereotypes and from whom I learn so much from!
Can you tell us about your career plans? What’s next for you?
I will continue to work in the social impact sector and I am looking to get into leadership roles in social entrepreneurial focused organisations.
Find out more about our Full-time MBA.