Ash Athawale

Ash Athawale

Nationality: American
Full-time MBA, 1995
Pre-MBA: Sales Executive, HCL Technologies, Mumbai, India
Post-MBA: Senior Managing Director, Robert Half - Executive Search Practice, Washington DC, USA
Current industry: HR
Transitions made: Industry, Function, Location

What have you been up to since graduating from the MBA?

After graduating from Cass, I worked in business development, recruitment and retained Executive search in India, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. After managing practices for Robert Half in the United States, I moved to the United Arab Emirates to set up our technology practice. While in Dubai, I was very active with the Cass Dubai Centre in promoting the school in the region and working with alumni there. I am now based in Washington DC working with some of the best clients nationally and globally, in helping them identify and recruit talent for their senior leadership teams across diverse industries and functional skills.

What challenges have you faced in your current career that your MBA has prepared you for?

The Cass MBA has helped me build credibility with executives in organizations that I work with. The reputation of Cass and the MBA programme has been an important asset for me. It has helped me understand organizations and their challenges and be able to help solve them. Something else the Cass MBA helped me prepare for is to quickly understand complex global organizations and their culture, which helps me find global talent to make them more effective and develop. I also honed my expertise to be strategic and tactical. Another area that I learnt to further enhance, was management and team development. The Cass MBA has helped me become a better leader, and I have been able to mentor and guide teams to be successful and be engaged in their personal and professional development.

What motivated you to do an MBA?

After graduating with a computer engineering degree, I wanted to understand the non-technical side of business to round off my engineering background. I also wanted to better understand finance & accounting, operations and human resource management as I began to move toward executive recruitment. I looked at a number of schools but the Cass reputation and the fact that City was celebrating 100 years when I graduated – was what drew me to choose Cass. I graduated in 1995, over 20 years back.

How would you describe your overall experience and what was the most rewarding aspect of the MBA?

The Cass MBA programme, living and studying in the “square mile” in the heart of the financial district in London, was absolutely fantastic. The professors, the experience of working in a dynamic and progressive environment accelerated the learning. The knowledge that I gained in class and from my cohort was world-class. The friendships that I built then are still on going after 2 decades. Now being part of University of London network, that network has grown significantly. I visited Cass last year after 20 years and the welcome was phenomenal.

What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of doing an MBA at Cass?

If you are looking for a well-recognized, triple accredited, FT-ranked business school with a strong reputation, global alumni network and a great learning environment, look no further than Cass. The quality of the education, collaborative environment, peers, strategic thinking and management will only add to your skills and experience. In 1995, while at Cass, I was a management consultant for a global IT services company working for a Cass alumni, there I was able to use my engineering and management skills, to work on a strategic plan for “Secure Payment Systems over the Internet” – now commonly referred to as e-Commerce. Cass provided me the platform to work on something so cutting edge and well before it’s time.