An Engineer by training
As my interest in science and mathematics dates back to my childhood it seemed only logical that I pursue a career in engineering. I specialised in electronics and telecommunication engineering and embarked on a career in the telecoms sector as a Corporate Technical Solutions Engineer at Suntel Ltd (the largest fixed private telecommunication provider in Sri Lanka). While working at Suntel, I realised that I enjoyed working with people and had strong interpersonal skills. Therefore I started the MBA so that I can transition from engineering, to a less technical field, and to broaden my prospects.
A personalised approach
Cambridge was one of the few schools that made me feel like a 'person' rather than just a 'statistic' from the very beginning of the application process. This was especially important for me as I was based in Sri Lanka, and I did not have the option of visiting schools or going for their open days. The personal touch from Cambridge even before I was called for an interview made a major impression on me.
Finding my new career through the Global Consulting Project
When I started the MBA, I was uncertain about the sector I would move into, and it was through the Global Consulting Project with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that I realised my passion for working in the not-for-profit sector. It is a funding body which provides additional financial resources to scale up proven interventions to fight against the three diseases in developing countries. Subsequently, I also did my final Individual Project with the Global Fund on the application of Knowledge Management in the not-for-profit sector.
Cambridge as a setting for study
I also found Cambridge to be a very inspirational town, with its historical significance, and all the buildings which have wonderful stories behind them, like the famous Eagle pub where Crick and Watson announced the finding of the DNA to the public. Just walking on the streets you feel the sense of all the amazing people who have walked in these same footsteps and how they were able to stand against opposition to defend their discoveries which have led to the world being what it is today… It helped to make me realise that I too could change the world for the better, even if it's in my own little way.
Continuing my non-profit journey
Subsequent to obtaining the MBA, I joined the Global Fund based in Geneva Switzerland as a Project Officer in the Strategic Information Department. I worked on improving the Performance-based funding policies as well as designing and implementing systems working with IT. Therefore I was able to use my skills developed through both the MBA and engineering. Although I have loved my time at the Global Fund, I have decided it is now time for me to move back to my home country Sri Lanka. I will start work with LIRNEasia, a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific from next year. I am looking forward to this new career where I will be able to continue working in the not-for-profit sector while also using my telecommunication skills. I am also looking forward to being part of rebuilding of Sri Lanka after the end of a 30 year war.
The people you meet
For me, even more than the academic learning, the biggest gain was the networks and classmates who really brought the lectures alive. No matter what sector you would like to work in, the people you meet are invaluable. So I would advise new candidates to spend a lot of time making friends, not just exchanging cards, but really getting to know people and their cultures which is becoming more and more important in this Global Village.
— Roshanthi Lucas Gunaratne, Global Fund
Cambridge MBA alumna