London celebrations

Rajbir Singh Turna | London Business School


  • Diploma

    Program:
    Full-Time Master in Finance

  • Global

    Nationality:
    British

  • Profile

    Post-Employment Program:
    Senior Specialist – Mergers & Acquisitions, HIS Towers

Having gained a solid track record with seven years of experience in the financial sector, Rajbir Turna, MiFFT2020, knew he wanted to change direction and accelerate his career as soon as possible. This decision led him to study the Masters in Finance program at London Business School, which helped transform his career in just 10 months.

I started my career in auditing at PWC, where I obtained the ICAEW chartered accountant diploma, before moving into mergers and acquisitions advisory, first in a boutique, then as a mergers and acquisitions at BDO UK in London.. I had about seven years of experience before applying for the MiF, and there were several reasons why I applied. First, I have always dreamed of studying at London Business School. Second, I was already in London and it was a good time to apply, given where I was in my career. I thought a lot about whether to take the MiF or MBA program, but since the full-time MiF was more focused on the finance sector and I could complete it in 10 months, I decided to choose the MiF.

I have always wanted to study at London Business School because of its excellent global reputation, the great diversity of students and the unique learning experience it offers. I wanted to improve my expertise and expand my network and this seemed like the right place to do it. I also wanted to study the MiF so I could move from sell-side to buy-side advice. I had been an advisor for four years, helping clients sell/buy businesses or raise funds, so I wanted to cross over and do acquisitions and investments globally.

Since completing the program, I have managed to achieve this and am currently working as a Senior Specialist at IHS Towers. This is one of the companies I encountered as a case study during the Private Equity option I took during the program. I was amazed by its business model, growth trajectory, and the infrastructure space it specializes in; an understanding that helped me transition into my current job.

My previous role was mainly advising UK clients on the sale of their businesses to overseas buyers. Since graduating from LBS, my role has become more global. For example, I have worked on acquisitions and investments in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia with valuations ranging from $100 million to over $1 billion.

The first few months of the program are very intense with studying, getting to know everyone and working on job applications. However, the second half was a bit more relaxed for me and I used some of my time for other networking, student club competitions, part-time internships and events.

LBS alumni are always happy to chat or meet in person, which I think is invaluable. The alumni network is so strong that you can email or connect on LinkedIn, and you’ll get a really good response. My current boss is a school alumni and he also studied MiF, it helped me to communicate better with him and have a good conversation when we met.

I found the school’s career center very helpful and tried to make the most of everything they offered. I attended many events organized by the Career Center, including resume and cover letter writing events, and used the interview preparation materials they shared. I was also a career representative for my cohort, which involved being a bridge between the students and the career center and attending meetings where I acted as the voice of my fellow students, helping them raise any issues they had. This allowed me to develop relationships with my peers as well as with the Career Center staff.

I found many of the modules and electives I studied during the program really helpful in my current role. First of all, the corporate finance elective allowed me to further strengthen my technical skills and knowledge. During the Advanced Corporate Finance option, we also looked at the impact of currency and inflation on long-term projects, and I now use this knowledge regularly. The Private Equity & Venture Capital option as well as the Investments and Entrepreneurial Business Finance options helped me develop an investor mindset.

While at school I also participated in the Global Oxford Private Equity Modeling Challenge which we won. This involved competing against teams from other leading business schools around the world on a Private Equity case. For this, I had the privilege of leading and building a solid team which was then selected to represent the School in this competition. We have all worked extremely hard and around the clock throughout this case. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we were unable to make it to the finals in person, but our submission was chosen as the winner, which was a memorable result for all of us.

I was also co-leader of the London Private Equity Trek 2020. The trek is one of the school’s most competitive physical education treks. I had done a lot of research before starting the program and this was one of the activities I really wanted to get involved in. So I applied to participate and luckily my interview was successful, and I was selected as co-leader. For the first time at the school, we decided to do two hikes, to allow more students to attend. Previously, only about ten students had been able to attend, but we were able to offer double the number of places. My co-leader and I received over 150 applications and we had to narrow down the number of applications, which was not easy, especially since many of our friends applied. But to be fair to everyone, we developed a standardized metric and assessed each candidate against established criteria. Overall the hikes went well and provided invaluable information, and we managed to visit many well known names including KKR, CPPIB and Silver Lake to name a few. We had to do the first in person and the second was delivered virtually due to the pandemic.

Being a co-leader of the Private Equity Trek meant that I was also a member of the executive committee of the Private Equity Club, and it was really useful to network with the other members of the committee. I’m still good friends with many of them. I also attended several events organized by the Private Equity Club. In the first half of the program, they had a research fund event, which is a fairly new concept, and I really enjoyed it; so much so that I ended up doing an internship in a research fund. My work in the fund was linked to the buy-side, which was the trajectory I wanted to follow after the program. Career Center resources also helped me find another opportunity at a private equity firm which I completed in the summer of 2020.

I received the MiF Alumni scholarship, and it was very helpful to me in many ways. Financially, this meant I didn’t need to take out a loan or find a part-time job, which meant I could fully immerse myself and focus on the program itself and wider extracurricular activities for make the most of my time at the School. It was also really good to meet other scholars who had received different scholarships; the school organizes an event for the scholars to come together.

My advice to anyone considering the MiF program is that it is quite an investment, in terms of finances and time, but very rewarding. Do lots of research before you come here and have a good plan of what you want to achieve as there isn’t much time and it can be quite a steep learning curve but if you prepare in advance , you will know exactly what you want to get out of it. I would also say try to get involved in as many activities as possible.

My thoughts on the next steps in my career are changing every day, but going forward I would like to stay on the buyer side and want my career to be as holistic as possible. I would also love to help entrepreneurs grow their business and help them achieve what they want to achieve.

There were quite a few aspects of the program that I found really valuable. At this point in my career, it’s less about the technical skills and more about the network I have, from peers to alumni. So going to events like coffee talks and being able to meet alumni and build those relationships was great. The bottom line is that when you start doing electives, you meet students from other programs. For example, I studied the Turnaround option with students from the MBA, Executive MBA and Sloan programs. So you’re working in a classroom with CEOs and CFOs and there’s a lot of knowledge sharing, which I’ve found very helpful.

I have also found it beneficial to learn through case studies and get involved in extracurricular activities, as well as attending the guest speaker event series. Some of the memorable events I attended included a visit from Stephen A Schwarzman, the co-founder of Blackstone, who shared his experiences working in an investment bank to found his own private equity firm, which is now one of the largest private equity firms. in the world, and the struggles he faced in the early days. It was amazing to listen to one of the pioneers of the industry and fascinating to hear his story directly from him. This is one of the best things about London Business School; be able to gain first-hand knowledge from people in the industry.

Find out more about our master’s program in finance.