2020 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Kimberly Brown, London Business School

Kimberly Brown

London Business School

“Executive MBA at London Business School, with a career in the humanitarian sector working for international organisations such as the Red Cross.”

Age: 40

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta (Canada)

Fun fact about yourself: I lived in Bangkok for four years, working with the Canadian Government and then the International Red Cross following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • University of British Colombia (Vancouver, Canada). Bachelor of Arts, (Graduated in 2001)
  • Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand). Masters of Arts in Political Science and International Development. (Graduated in 2005)

Where are you currently working? I am the Head of Humanitarian Policy at the British Red Cross, and am soon to be taking up the role of Head of Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation at GSMA.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Recipient of the London Business School Women’s Scholarship

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was honoured to receive the Women’s Scholarship at London Business School, which is the single scholarship awarded in the Executive MBA cohort.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I have had the opportunity to work on several multilateral negotiations and agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants. I am inspired by the power of diverse stakeholders working together towards global change, including civil society and governments. I am passionate about public-private partnership, and am therefore thrilled to be taking up a new role as the Head of Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation at GSMA in July this year.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? There are numerous reasons that I chose to study at London Business School, one being the opportunity to work closely with people from varied professional backgrounds. One of my aims was to explore how diverse networks can work together towards social impact. For example, throughout my time at LBS so far, we have built a partnership between the Red Cross globally and the school’s Wheeler Institute for business and development.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The mix of academic and technical skills learning through the coursework, combined with broader viewpoints and knowledge through collaboration with my classmates and professors brought a holistic and inspiring experience.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Using your time efficiently and wisely was imperative to succeeding in the Executive MBA programme, while also maintaining a full-time job, personal life, and work travel. Understanding what is a good use of time, and what isn’t, is a skill that all Executive MBAs will have developed – and it is something that will serve us well throughout our careers.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Try to find the right balance between academic learning through the coursework and the networking opportunities that come through getting to know your classmates and the school community. Both are equally important.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I have always wanted to do an MBA, but was waiting for the right time in my career to do so. I attended an event at London Business School, and found the students speaking on the panel to be very dynamic and impressive. This compelled me to follow-up and start the application process.”

What made Kimberly such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Kimberly is a very pro-active individual. From the outset of her programme, she was committed to bringing about a collaboration between the private sector and the humanitarian field, as she felt strongly that both sectors could benefit from engaging.

The Wheeler Institute was initiating professional learning experiences that complemented existing opportunities for LBS students. We were initially thinking to engage with our usual stakeholders, however, Kimberly was keen to experiment with our pilot bringing business expertise to a specific challenge in the humanitarian field. She has been a key partner as we developed a portfolio of 3 pilots in Malawi, Malaysia and Kenya.

The response to the project was overwhelming the Wheeler Institute received over 100 applications for 12 internship positions. Kimberly’s readiness to give her time as we not only shaped the experience but to drive/champion the pilot through her own networks was instrumental in getting this initiative off the ground. She put significant personal collateral on the line with her senior stakeholders and took on the role as project sponsor in addition to her existing workload.

She was an invaluable collaborator in the process of bringing energy, professionalism, and ambition to the project. However, I should note this entire opportunity benefitted students beyond Kimberly’s class, so our London Business School community has greatly benefitted from Kimberly’s dedication to engaging fully with her EMBA experience.”

Amelia Whitelaw
Executive Director, Wheeler Institute for Business and Development

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.