London celebrations

Gina Mirow | London Business School


  • Diploma

    Program:
    MBA

  • Global

    Nationality:
    German/Liechtensteinian

  • Profile

    Pre-employment program:
    Investment Associate at Skagen Conscience Capital, London

Having lived in Germany, France, England, Ireland and the United States, exploring a number of impact-oriented career paths, Gina Mirow decided to study an MBA to develop her financial toolkit and gain more exposure to the private sector. Having quickly gained confidence in a number of key areas, she now looks forward to her plans for the next term – and beyond.

I’m half German, half Liechtenstein by education, but I moved a lot throughout my school years. I ended up studying philosophy and psychology at Trinity College Dublin, including a year abroad at UC Berkeley, where I lived in a social justice-themed co-op. Immediately after my undergraduate studies, with my interest in people, I thought I would be a psychologist and started working in the counseling field. I found the work rewarding, but also realized that I was also interested in working on issues at a more systemic level. I realized that finance was the foundation of any system, and that led me to move into impact investing.

I started working in public-private partnerships, bringing together actors from the social, public and private sectors to work on innovative social interventions. I did this for a few years and really enjoyed the more analytical work and the impact the agreements had on organisations, people and policies. But I felt like the solutions to some of the biggest problems we face, such as economic inequality and climate change, had to come from the private sector. With this in mind, I moved into a family office, concluding agreements with companies with a social and environmental vocation.

I liked the job, but I decided to do an MBA because it gave me the opportunity to do two things. On the one hand, I could develop a set of skills in which I had not been formally trained. I had worked in finance roles, but everything I learned was on the job, and I really wanted to sit down and learn the basics of accounting, economics, and finance. On the other hand, I wanted to gain more exposure to the private sector on a larger scale.

When deciding which school to go to, London Business School stood out for the strong internship opportunities it offered; as a career change, it was important for me to have this time with a dedicated internship. I also knew that the school had a very good reputation in finance, and while browsing through the courses, I was drawn to a number of finance-focused courses.

It would not have been possible for me to do the MBA without the SARI Foundation Trust scholarship, so finding out that I had been awarded was amazing. As someone who is a little less represented in the MBA, as a queer woman and from the social sector, having this validation from the School that my background was valued and my potential recognized, gave me a sense of belonging and confidence from the start.

The SARI scholar community is small but growing and has been a great resource for me since joining the MBA. Coincidentally, many academics want to use finance as a tool for large-scale change. So it’s great to have a group of alumni to look up to and look up to. When I first joined LBS, I didn’t know anyone in investment banking at all. So it was really helpful to be able to write to them and say, “where do I start, how do I approach this?”

Content-wise, the first trimester of the program is really intense, but I completely immersed myself and came out of it more confident in exactly the areas I wanted to feel confident in; finance and business accounting. I have already learned a lot of things, so it was a big mark.

I also really liked the macroeconomics courses; once a week we met for three hours to talk about any topic of interest in the economy at that time. Having the opportunity to discuss things I had read in the news in a classroom setting, with people who have a lot of very different backgrounds in different sectors and industries, guided by someone who really knows what they speak, makes really interesting and insightful conversation. I feel like I’ve really grown in terms of my ability to articulate my understanding of the major trends currently shaping the global economy.

There is also a real “yes” attitude about the MBA; whatever you want to do, you’ll probably find someone who wants to do it with you, and I think that’s great. For example, in my first few weeks, I heard of a bike trip to Paris. I was then chatting with four people from my stream and we all decided to sign up, even though we barely knew each other. It’s really fun and quite unique, as people often don’t have the time or flexibility to do this during their ‘normal’ working life.

When you join the MBA, people always talk about the triangle of priorities: socialization, career, and studies, and it’s a challenge to do all three well. Last term I was focusing a lot on career and studies, so this term I want to spend a little more time on the social side. I would like to do a few more rides with the cycling club and do some hiking to get to know my classmates better. I’d like to put the skills I learned last term to work for an internship, so for my electives I’ve chosen to focus on finance and accounting.

I am responsible for speaker events within the Finance Club, and I would like to set up events more focused on diversity in finance. The club is primarily there to help people get into investment banking, and a lot of recruiting into investment banking is based around networking and building awareness. My realization is that if you’re female, if you’re queer, and if you’re not white, most of the time you don’t have as much network in the banks, so it’s a lot difficult to set foot in the door. By creating mentoring opportunities or roundtables with minorities in banking to talk with potential recruits, I hope I can help level the playing field a bit.

My advice to people is twofold (in all honesty, one advice comes from Savio Kwan MSc09 (1976), my scholarship donor, but it rings very true, so I’ll share it here):

First, be very clear about why you want to do the MBA and how it will help you advance your career. Talk to people who have done an MBA to get an idea of ​​what you’ll really learn and the career opportunities that may open up to you afterward (as well as to find out which career changes are more difficult or unrealistic) .

Second, Savio Kwan MSc09 (1976) wisely recommended that we spend as much time thinking about what we can bring to the MBA as we do thinking about what the MBA can bring us, which touches me. The magic of the MBA truly thrives on the experiences, initiatives, and culture that its students cultivate. So before joining the MBA, think about what you will uniquely bring, whether it’s a collaborative way of working, an ability to organize the best events or raise the profile of an underrepresented community.

Finally, two years seems like a long time, but it goes by so, so quickly. If you want to get into investment banking or consulting, then from day one you’re on the right footing. So the more clear you can be about what you’re trying to achieve and what your goals are, the better your chances of getting there are.

If all goes according to plan, after the MBA, I will apply the skills I learned through finance and accounting courses to close large-scale financial transactions. I want to learn more about the key driving forces shaping our economy and how to thrive in a great institution. My long term goal is to build an impact investing company once I understand how to make impact investing work at scale.