Saturday, May 25, 2024

2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Alistair Adams, London Business School

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“A passionate and caring leader, dedicated to inclusion, community support, and growth.”

Hometown: London, UK

Fun fact about yourself: I’m a sucker for Dungeons & Dragons, and today am dungeon master for a 4-year old campaign. Talk to me about your next campaign!

Undergraduate School and Degree: BA Physics – University of Oxford

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Global Project and Strategy Manager – Bupa

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023? Growth Strategy Intern – Tendable (Health Tech Scale up)

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

* Co-President of EUROUT 2023, Europe’s biggest student-led LGBTQ+ conference

* Co-President of Out in Business (OiB), LBS’ LGBTQ+ student club

* Co-President of Swim Club

* Tattoo 2023 SVP Head of Entertainment (Tattoo, an annual on-campus celebration of cultural diversity, is an LBS tradition. Run by students for students, it showcases the multicultural nature of the student community through international food, cultural performances, and a student talent show).

* Stream Community Representative

* Student Ambassador

* School awards and honors:

  • Dean’s List (class of 2024)
  • LBS Fund Scholar

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It has to be planning the biggest-ever EUROUT, EMEA’s leading LGBTQ+ Conference. Over three days, each November EUROUT attracts the best LGBTQ+ talent from MBA programs, and target organizations, around Europe and beyond.

With a strong legacy to build on, my Co-President Devon and I, as well as the entire organizing committee, set our sights high; we were amazed to see a record number of attendees (over 500 in person) join from across the world. We also generated record income from ticket sales and sponsorship – not just for EUROUT, but for any LBS student club conference.

Achieving this required a huge lift from so many committee members: 50 people working on everything from signage to security, panelist bios to sponsor management, and banner design to menu choices (I recall a hilarious discussion late one evening where the team was completely split on whether or not to get balloons). For Devon and I, it was a part-time job for six months, and a full-time job for two.

The conference itself goes by really quickly when you look back at the months of planning. Ultimately, it was an amazing experience of motivating a diverse team around a vision, and a common goal. It was a fantastic community spirit, and I made lifelong friends in the process.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I fought for, spearheaded, and delivered the transformation strategy for digitalization across 1,000 dental clinics at Bupa. It was a huge project, which involved collaborating with teams across the globe. Our team of three worked on it for six months, culminating in a three-page executive summary, a ~150-page supplementary report, and a tour of presentations around business leadership teams.

What’s exciting is that it is still used today, and has led to digitalization projects around the world (chatbots, dental video consultations, and more) at Bupa.

Here’s to the future!

Why did you choose this business school? For me, it was the variety of what the program has to offer. No other school in Europe has the breadth of opportunities, all in one place. The curriculum is great, the clubs are fantastic – there are even amazing opportunities I haven’t had the time for – such as the Entrepreneurship Summer School – because I’ve been focused on other areas.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a tough one, but I would have to say Aneeta Rattan, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at LBS.

Aneeta took my stream for GLAM (Global leadership Assessment for Managers): a leadership course that we all take at the beginning of the program. Many learnings from that course – such as the importance of taking time to reflect, and putting others’ perspectives front and center – stick with me today.

Further, Aneeta is an amazing LGBTQ+ ally, and was a huge help with planning content for EUROUT. Over the summer, our team worked with Aneeta to curate our panel topics: it was a privilege to be part of those conversations.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? LBS has a course that club presidents can apply for in their second year: the Leadership Incubator. It runs over a 6-month period, and is co-run by the Leadership Institute, and experiential learning departments. They invite some of the best faculty, coaches, and guest speakers, to lead interactive sessions on a range of leadership topics. I even have a leadership coach!

Joining the Leadership Incubator alongside running Out in Business, EUROUT, and Swim Club, has been a profoundly enriching experience for my leadership journey. Throughout, I’ve had the privilege of learning invaluable lessons and behaviors that have shaped my approach to leadership. It’s been a humbling process, one that’s taught me the importance of resilience, reflection, and empathy.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? There are the bustling conferences, the daily impromptu gatherings, and the summer barbecues…but I have to choose Tattoo. Tattoo is huge – an enormous party that celebrates the cultures of the LBS student body. Everyone gets behind it – staff, faculty, students. 1,400 students coming together to celebrate diversity is an amazing thing.

I was lucky enough to run the entertainment team last year. This involved curating two music stages, non-musical entertainment (casino, arcade, outdoor games), and performers / makeup artists. Was it stressful? You Bet. Was the planning hectic? Of course! Do I regret it? Not at all.

That being said – I am not part of the team this year…so am looking forward to attending as a ‘punter’…and seeing Out in Business win the talent show (fingers’ crossed!)

What is the biggest myth about your school? People often think that because the campus is in central London, it is busy and crowded.

In reality, it’s right next to Regent’s Park, which is a great place to visit for a walk with a friend or a break between classes. The Sussex campus gardens are also gorgeous, I have had many a reflective stroll on the lawns.

What surprised you the most about business school? A lot of people see an MBA as a stamp of approval, one necessary to get that consulting job or promoted to C-suite. I have learnt that that is not true.

The value in the MBA is, primarily, the skills, experiences, and network you develop over the course of the program This is what gets you that consulting job, or the C-suite promotion: your development over the course of the program.

The program does not spoon-feed you your development – rather, it lays it out in front of you, and you have to get involved to make the most of it.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This one is easy, it’s Devon Chen (MBA2024). Devon is my Co-president for Out in Business. I was so happy when we finally agreed to run for President together, and have learnt from him every day since.

Managing a team of 50 people, planning EUROUT and the OiB agenda for the year has its challenges. For EUROUT especially, we encountered huge hurdles, and surpassed them together.

You get to know someone very well in this kind of role. We are similar in some ways, and different in others. We are both collaborative in nature and passionate about inclusion, excellence, and pushing the heights of Out in Business. Meanwhile, we have different working styles: I tend to prefer structure, Devon prefers being flexible. Through this – but one example – you constantly learn from each other.

What’s more, he’s an excellent cook.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I want to drive meaningful, long-lasting, impactful change, through intelligent use of technology. I love learning about new tech, and generative AI is very exciting. For me, tech presents the opportunity to help my future organisations be better organisations: be it lower costs, efficiencies, or a better proposition for customers. It means we can improve the quality of people’s lives: both the general population, customers, and employees. I have had the privilege to enact change in my career so far, most recently as an AI / Automation Analyst at Testronic, a Games Services company. I am excited to think about what comes next.

Second, I want to inspire others to be their best selves. Seeing someone reach their full potential because of your influence is incredibly rewarding. I owe a lot to those who inspired me, and I’m honored to pass that gift on to others. It’s not easy to inspire—it takes hard work and commitment. I’ve learned that being genuine and open is key; people need to see the real you.


What made Alistair such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“One of the key messages I share with students at the start of the MBA is the fact that what they will get out of the MBA, depends on what they are willing to put in. Looking at Alistair’s journey since August 2022, he has been the epitome of leaning in, and getting so much more out of the experience as a result.

Alistair’s enthusiasm was clear from the very beginning, putting himself forward as both Student Ambassador, and Community Representative for his MBA stream. Always looking to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible, Alistair’s early engagement with key student clubs was again a clear indicator that he wanted to be not just involved, but to be a leader – and that he was willing to put in the hard work needed in order to feel the real benefits of the program. These benefits have not just been for Alistair, but for the wider program, and indeed even wider School community. As the Program Director, I know that a motivated and engaged community is vital to the student experience, but I also know it can only exist when students like Alistair are eager and willing to take the opportunities, and turn them into real, tangible experiences.

Alistair’s specific focus on championing the importance of LGBTQ+ within our community is integral to our values of supporting a diverse and inclusive student community. The ever-growing impact of the EUROUT conference is testament to the work and commitment Alistair has shown in this area. Alongside all of this, Alistair has continued to excel in his academics, as well as showing up for everything with a smile!”

Helen Foley
MBA Program Director

DON’T MISS: THE 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAs: CLASS OF 2024

 

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