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Homepage / A journey of transformation: When hospitality met the MBA’s power

A journey of transformation: When hospitality met the MBA’s power


Picture this, a young professional from the hospitality industry embarking on a transformative MBA journey. At first glance, it seems like an unlikely pairing—a world of hospitality merging with the complexities of business. Yet, it was precisely this fusion that unveiled the extraordinary potential hidden within. As the MBA journey unfolded, I realised the benefits of coming from a different professional background, helped me find synergies between my professional experience and core business skills, and also brought a unique set of strengths that set me apart in the ever-evolving world of business.

The MBA course programme

The MBA experience began with foundational terms, immersing me in a wealth of business knowledge. Core subjects like Strategy, Strategic Marketing, Economics, Operational Management, and Financial Management, opened my eyes to the diverse intricacies of the business world. I was able to leverage my Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) expertise to understand the operational aspects of the curriculum, while my hospitality background cultivated a customer-centric approach, which helped me grasp key concepts like value proposition, perceived use value, and customer personas easily. This harmonious blend of skills laid the groundwork for the transformation that lay ahead.

As the journey progressed, the MBA delved into both technical and soft skills, creating a holistic transformation. Beyond the technical aspects, the Organisational Behaviour Developing Leadership (OBDL) module delved into the intricacies of human behaviour and leadership principles, enabling a period of self-discovery and understanding of interpersonal dynamics. This transformative experience not only empowered me as a leader but also equipped me to handle the nuances of people management—a critical aspect of any job.

The “Leadership in Action” (LIA) module helped me apply various leadership theories to my past experiences where I was managing teams from very early on in my career, as I was a product of IHG’s graduate program , IGrad. I was able to understand how I have progressed as a manager and could chart out my values and path to becoming an effective leader. Incorporating aspects of customer service excellence and personalisation from my hospitality background, I developed a roadmap to a unique leadership style that resonated with both teams and customers.

Simultaneously, the Change Management module became an eye-opening revelation. Having weathered unforeseen challenges in the hospitality industry, I was no stranger to embracing change. The MBA equipped me with the necessary tools and a structured approach to harness this experience, refining my ability to navigate ambiguity and strategically implement transformations—an invaluable skill in the fast-paced business landscape.

New found confidence

While the MBA furnished me with these vital soft skills, it also emboldened me to venture beyond my comfort zone. With new found confidence, I explored electives like Corporate Finance, Investment and Risk Management, and Supply Chain—areas that seemed intimidating at first. My operational expertise proved invaluable, bridging theory and practice seamlessly, while the finance modules helped me look at decisions from the other side of the lens.

The MBA journey extended far beyond the classroom. The support of executive coaching became a guiding force, leading me through moments of self-reflection and growth. Elevator pitch sessions and crisis management press conferences emerged as invaluable opportunities to hone my communication skills, enabling me to confidently “pitch myself” in any professional scenario.

The MBA experience was not just about honing skills—it was a holistic experience that transformed my entire outlook on life. During the orientation week, the emphasis on challenging the status quo and the assurance of a safe space for growth empowered me to step forward. I pitched myself as the cohort’s representative in competitions, and this exhilarating experience led to a network of lifelong friendships and partnerships.

International experience

The apex of my MBA journey culminated in the international experience in Japan where I immersed myself in the culture of the country – a heaven for any operations professional. This unique experience showcased the global interconnectedness of businesses, imparting a profound understanding of diversity and complexity in today’s world. This eye-opening experience transformed my strategic outlook, making me more adept at embracing diversity and complexity. It made me further internalise that we are the fragments of our journey because everything that Japan is today, is a product of how that nation has evolved over the years and the things it has witnessed.

In conclusion, the journey from hospitality to the MBA’s transformative embrace has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. My non-tech/financial background, far from being a limitation, became my superpower. By combining my hospitality and IFM experiences with the MBA’s business acumen, I feel capable enough to be a versatile leader excelling in any domain. As my diverse background aligned harmoniously with core business skills, it became clear that my journey had only just begun. The MBA has unlocked unparalleled potential, enriched my leadership capabilities, empowered my customer-centric approach, therefore preparing me to thrive in any domain.

To those contemplating an MBA transformation from a non-traditional background, I offer this advice: Embrace your uniqueness, for it is the catalyst that sets you apart. Step into the transformative power of the MBA, where the fusion of your experiences with business acumen will redefine your career trajectory. Challenge the status quo, seize opportunities, and unveil the exceptional leader within you. Let the period of transformation begin—it has been an adventure of a lifetime!

Applications are now open for the Transformation MBA. If you are interested in finding out more, please book a call with our helpful sales team.



Shivanshi Marwah

Written By: Clare Hanson

Current FT MBA student

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