WINNER | Shrilekha Appicharla


Prior to starting her MBA at INSEAD, Shrilekha’s professional experience was primarily in Operations Consulting with Deloitte. She advised Fortune 50 companies on strategic initiatives to transform their global operations, increasing profitability and incorporating sustainability principles. Her experience in consulting allowed her to work with a range of stakeholders and manage multidisciplinary teams to deliver positive impact for clients.

What do you hope to achieve through your MBA experience?

I hope to become a well-rounded business professional to lead organisations through sustainability transformations. I believe that the business sector needs to radically transform itself to address the most pressing challenge of our times – Climate Change. Through my MBA at INSEAD, I am looking to widen my business understanding of all aspects of business, from strategy through to finance and marketing. I am looking forward to participating in lively class discussions with a truly diverse and international cohort. This exposure will allow me to learn from my classmates and view problems from different perspectives. My studies will also provide an opportunity to further develop my entrepreneurial skillset by taking part in INSEAD Venture Competition and Start-up Bootcamp.

How will you use your MBA to further your career?

In the short term, I would like to work in corporate strategy functions within industry or within consulting to help set strategies for businesses to achieve their sustainability goals. In the long term, I want to lead companies and support their transformation with radical, innovative business models to have a positive impact on both their customers as well as the planet.

How did you go about finding about financial support for your MBA?

I researched the scholarships available at INSEAD through their website and spoke with INSEAD’s Admissions team to understand the scholarship application process, the statistics of percentage of students awarded a scholarship, and average value. I also reached out to several alumni to understand how they financed their MBAs and costs to expect. This allowed me to plan my finances and have realistic expectations.

How was your experience of applying for the SMF scholarship?

I had a positive experience applying through the scholarship application as there was sufficient guidance available on the criteria of the award to help formulate the answers. SMF alumni were also able to provide guidance and I am thankful for their support throughout the process. As an engineer who loves to be in the detail, I initially found it challenging to be concise with my answers to the application questions. However, a thorough introspection allowed me to focus on the key messages I wanted to communicate and answer the application more succinctly. I would encourage future applicants to also consider the key achievements they want to highlight and focus their application on those.

What difference has the scholarship made to you?

The Sainsbury Management Fellowship is a significant aid to my MBA journey, both financially and socially. I will benefit tremendously from the mentorship and guidance I can receive from distinguished alumni, 40% of whom hold executive board roles.

What are your hopes of being part of the SMF network after business school?

I am excited to be part of this unique network, which consists of accomplished leaders, many of whom are pioneering solutions to address sustainability issues. I hope to be able to lean on this network for mentorship and invaluable advice on career decisions in the future.

How do you hope to support the SMF network after you graduate from business school?

I was pleasantly surprised to find out how warm and welcoming SMF members have been through all my interactions – a testament to the network’s values. I am grateful for the guidance and mentorship I have received from SMF alumni whilst preparing for my application. I hope to give back to this community by continuing this culture of supporting others. I am looking forward to mentoring and encouraging prospective engineers looking to apply to MBA programmes. I am also keen to support mentorship of enterprising undergraduate engineering students through competitions held by Royal Academy of Engineering.

Shrilekha talks about the Sainsbury Management Fellows Scholarship

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