What Our Alumni Think
Asanka De Silva
I started my career in business development but soon moved into marketing as my preferred choice of career path. Having always been interested in consumer brands, I stayed within the FMCG industry over the next 15 years. During that time, I held many marketing leadership roles at the local, regional and global levels giving me the opportunity to manage some of the most well known brands in the world.
Although I had an excellent understanding of marketing and how the businesses operate cross-functionally, I was keen to expand my horizons and get a deeper understanding of other functions so that I could progress to general management.
The MBA gave me that basis to develop and further my career. It is a multi-faceted course, which made it very interesting. However, the most valuable part of the MBA for me is the mindset it created and the soft skills I learned by juggling many things during the three years.
In 2014, I moved to my first general management role. Soon after at the end of 2015, I set up my first start-up focused on liver health. I am currently the Founder and CEO of Liver Health UK.
After graduating with my LLB, I spent most of the 1990s practising law primarily involved in commercial and civil litigation acting for organisations within Scotland. Much of my work involved negotiating legal settlements and conducting court work. Although I very much enjoyed practising law, I wanted to both run my own business and to work more internationally, so in 2000, I decided it was time to do my MBA.
Learning to work effectively in a high pressure environment with a culturally and professionally diverse group of highly competitive individuals was both exciting and hugely educational.
It has been exciting to watch the Business School grow, move home, and adapt to the changing demands of both students and employers alike.
The MBA also allowed me to understand that although I defined myself as a lawyer, my core skills were actually more to do with communication, problem solving, influencing and leadership.
For me, taking the 'Negotiations' module turned out to be the key to my future career. It made me see what I had been doing as a lawyer in a completely different light and directly shaped my future both professionally and academically. I now work internationally through my own consultancy, meeting and working with very interesting people doing something that I really enjoy.
Prior to my MBA, I'd been moving up through the ranks within what we now call FinTech companies. After graduating, I went back into FinTech but at a higher level, eventually managing a global division of a company called Dealogic.
In 2012, I switched gears, moving from London to live in Southern California. As there were few opportunities in FinTech at the time, I moved into managing an outsourcing firm, and then a year later I founded Enshored. Fast forward five years, and the firm is growing rapidly; we have over 200 staff and are about to open our second centre in the Philippines.
On the MBA, I really enjoyed the group work and the challenges it threw up. I really enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds and I use that experience every day managing a diverse team. It also has helped me in interviewing MBA candidates from other schools. If someone has done group work then that is the basis of my interviewing - and how people responded and reacted to group work has been for me a huge indicator if there will be a fit with my personal management style.
One of the best things about the MBA was meeting all my cohort. I married a fellow MBA student, I hired another to help me run Dealogic, and I have had help along my journey from countless others.
Running a business is not easy, there is a lot more stress than when you are an employee, and having this great support network has been huge. Sometimes it might just be talking things over with a classmate when I am in another city - the little things like that really matter.