Case Studies and bedtime stories

The EMBABE Diaries

February inspiration – LBS alumna Shefali Modi

on February 25, 2014

I’m fascinated by other women’s EMBA experiences, not just because it’s encouraging and inspiring to see how others have dealt with similar challenges, but also because it’s a great reminder of the wonderfully different ways in which we each craft our own way to success. After a long break, for which I take full responsibility, the EMBABE of the month returns. Vive la difference!

Our first EMBABE of 2014 is Shefali Modi, a low-carbon solutions expert whose LBS EMBA experience (JEMBA2012, for those in the know) gave her just the impetus she needed to launch into entrepreneurship. Some great advice from Shefali below, so read on.

Shefali Modi
Shefali Modi

Position before EMBA: Principal Sustainability Consultant, Helix International Group

Current position: Entrepreneur, in the initial stages of setting up my own firm.

Why did you decide to do an EMBA? I had wanted to start my own business for a while, but had little experience outside of carbon and energy consulting and wasn’t sure how to start. I hoped the EMBA would help with this. Also I had recently moved to London from the US and wanted to build a local network.

Application process / GMAT tip: The school has some flexibility with application deadlines. If you make a late decision to apply, just speak with the programme office. I decided to apply the day after the deadline for the third round. The school allowed me two grace weeks to get everything ready. The essays are important. Showing how you will contribute to the school/your class is as important as displaying what you hope to gain from the program. I had a high GMAT score. The trick is to do as many practise tests as you can.

What was your greatest concern before starting the programme and how did you overcome it? I don’t remember being concerned. It was a new adventure and I was just very excited.

Best / toughest EMBA moment:

Best: There were so many good moments, it’s hard to pick one. Often on the first day of a new class, I got a high when I realised how fantastic the teacher is and how interesting the subject matter is. Those moments made it worth all the sweat and sleeplessness.

Toughest: Somewhere in the third semester I began to feel the accumulated exhaustion. My husband was also feeling my constant absence. It was emotionally and physically difficult. Fortunately, after a few weeks the fixed courses were over and the electives provided more breathing room.

Of the things you learned while at LBS, what do you use most often? In my new venture I’m more responsible for marketing and finance. So lessons from the relevant electives have been very useful. Oddly the most useful skill came from the EMBA itself and not a class. The EMBA has forced me to become a better time manager – a skill I really value now that I’m a mother and an entrepreneur.

Favourite course: Financing the Entrepreneurial Business. The professors are amazing! The course work is fascinating.

Advice for keeping personal life afloat while on the EMBA: It’s tough. It helps a bit if your partner bonds with your classmates and joins in on social events. The really old friends will get it, and just wait until you are able to resurface.

Necessary luxury: A cook. I saved seven hours a week and got to eat healthy.

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