Unlocking Clarity and Confidence From an MBA Experience


For Divya Tolath, ESSEC Global Master of Business Administration (GMBA) class of 2020, the MBA was key to her career breakthrough.

In 2018, Divya Tolath had over five years of human resources experience under her belt and thrived as a talent acquisition manager. Yet, she felt pigeon-holed in her career and believed she had hit the ceiling for her achievements.

Today, the ceiling is broken. Divya is the Account Director at global research and advisory firm Gartner and is responsible for managing account direction for financial services firms in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. She has grown from hiring to working closely with C-suite executives in identifying and addressing their business needs.

All of this, she says, is thanks to the skillsets acquired from the ESSEC GMBA program. ESSEC’s strong and far-reaching network gave her access to potential employers, which eventually opened the doors to a career in Gartner. Beyond merely providing access and guidance, ESSEC also inspired her to dream.


“My peers were my biggest asset, challenge, and motivation throughout the year,” Divya shares, explaining that the intimate cohort size meant working closely with — and in turn, sharing and learning from — experienced professionals from diverse industries and backgrounds.

Also, with around 50 percent of the cohort being female participants, there were multiple examples of female leadership in the workplace.

What she saw was an “ability to affect change as a cohort because of our demonstrated aptitude for reasoning, willingness to learn, and thirst for knowledge,” which, coupled with the guidance of the professors and mentors she met, drove her to achieve more.

While previously, she had envisioned her career growth to remain within the boundaries of the recruitment field, now, her eyes are opened to a whole slew of other possibilities. 


The GMBA’s thorough curriculum also helped her understand how each function in an organization must work together to stay relevant and profitable.

This big picture perspective strengthened her decision-making capability and equipped her for a broad spectrum of leadership roles.

Most importantly, it trained her in critical thinking. She explains, “Now more than ever, the world is looking to leaders who understand the need to pivot and those who can thrive in uncertainty. Demonstrating agility and quick wit while harnessing problem-solving abilities will be crucial in leading organizations towards the future.”


Graduating during a pandemic made it all the more apt that she had chosen the Strategy & Digital Leadership track for her MBA, she notes.

Equipping her well for the times, she learned how digitalization is inseparable from business strategies and gained useful insights on its impact on various business functions.

Would Divya still be where she is today without the ESSEC GMBA? She admits that it’s a tricky question because, with some luck on her side, the door might still have opened. What she is sure of, though, is that without it, “I don’t think I would have been able to do my job as effectively.”

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