Interview 6: Mihir Bhushan

Mihir Bhushan (MEng, University of Cambridge), MIT Sloan School of Management

2020 Scholarship Winner

Before starting his MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management, Mihir was a digital product focussed FinTech Entrepreneur. In 2017, he built a group saving app called Squad. Squad won an Open Banking for Good award from Nationwide Ventures that helped fund the go to market proposition. Squad was eventually acquired by another UK based FinTech called StepLadder whose digital ROSCA deposit raising products were helping first time homebuyers save towards their first homes. As part of the acquisition, Mihir joined StepLadder as their Chief Product Officer and built out their entire digital product offering along with a team of developers.

Why did you decide to do an MBA?
After three years as an entrepreneur hacking and learning everything on my own, I wanted to go to back school and take the time to educate myself properly about business. I’m confident that, with an improved grasp of Marketing, Strategy and Communication amongst other skills, I can be a significantly more effective entrepreneur and product manager. Further, my chosen MBA program at MIT Sloan allows me to continue to work on my technical skills by taking specific classes from the engineering department as well as specific courses that apply data analytics techniques to various functions within a business.

What stage in your career were you at when you decided to do the MBA?
After my startup was acquired, I spent a year and a half leading the digital product development of the resultant business. This culminated in me delivering a brand-new platform that improved onboarding conversion from 23% to 68%. We focused hard on our digital product development through the COVID affected period where we struggled to acquire new customers.  As a result, the next phase of the business will focus on marketing rather than further product development.  As a product manager, I felt I needed to be in an environment where I could continue to grow, develop and learn at a rapid pace so decided to exit the business and join MIT Sloan for an MBA.

How will you use what you learned on your MBA course to further your career?
Through my MBA, I hope to develop into a more well-rounded entrepreneur and product manager so that I can approach problems from a variety of perspectives beyond the technical perspective. I hope to broaden my perspective by living in a foreign country and meeting other students from incredibly diverse backgrounds, both geographically and professionally.

What are your hopes/expectations of being part of the SMF network after business school?
I expect to be able to give back to the SMF community and help new awardees to find their feet in the same way that the SMF community is already helping me. For me, the opportunity to speak to SMF alums who have gone through the same move from the UK to the US has been an incredibly valuable one.

I hope to have a number of dinners and other such events to go to where I might meet some interesting people and learn from them. Even through the interview process, I got a taste for the distinguished experts in engineering and industry who are part of the wider SMF community.  For myself, this is a great opportunity to find professional mentors.

How do you hope to support SMF after you graduate from business school?
After business school, I would love to mentor young engineers and get involved with SMF initiatives as well as starting some new ones.  I will also try to support the programme financially if and when I am able to.

How was your experience of applying for the scholarship – anything that you found surprising?
I found my interview to be surprisingly enjoyable.  My interviewers were very pleasant, and we had a fascinating conversation about where we saw technology making an impact in the next decade and how the US and the UK differ.

What difference has the scholarship made to you?
This scholarship has given me the freedom to pursue my passion after the MBA without a substantial financial burden that might heavily influence my choice of future career.

What tip would you give to someone seeking financial support to do an MBA?
It’s important to find a source of financial support that really resonates with who you are and what you are hoping to do.  Not only does that improve your chances, it also means that the network you build and the people you meet might be more relevant to your professional aspirations.  For me, as an engineer entering the world of business, the SMF was the perfect fit.

Find out how to apply for a scholarship.

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