QS MBA Leadership Scholarship Winner 2021: Matthew Lobach | TopMBA.com

QS MBA Leadership Scholarship Winner 2021: Matthew Lobach

By Niamh Ollerton

Updated August 24, 2021 Updated August 24, 2021

"The QS Leadership Scholarship also recognised the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in leadership appealed to me because I believe the link between business and sustainability is increasingly important for organisations around the world," says Matthew Lobach, this year's winner.

Attending business school is a huge expense for students.

Scholarships, financial aid, and funding offer students’ additional monetary assistance should they need it to help with the expenses associated with higher education.

Matthew Lobach will begin his studies on Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University's Executive MBA Metro NY Class of 2023 this year.

Matthew won this year’s QS MBA Leadership Scholarship (worth US$10,000). TopMBA spoke with Matthew to find out what the scholarship meant to him and his future studies.

How difficult was the scholarship process?

The scholarship process, overall, can be quite daunting as there are numerous scholarships available for different schools and various majors. Engaging with QS helped me to consolidate this process and really focus on the scholarships that were most applicable to my background and areas of interest.

Additionally, having the opportunity to network and speak to representatives at many schools around the world at QS events, allowed me to gain insights into potential programmes and better target what I was looking for in an MBA programme.

How important are scholarships for education today?

As education costs continue to rise, scholarships offer a path to help reduce some of the financial burden of pursuing an education and attaining the skills needed to achieve your goals, and have a positive impact on the world.

Do you think there should be more scholarships available for students across business schools?

I think that the more scholarships that are available to students trying to attend business school, the more valuable that is in building a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and subjects of expertise in business school. This in turn will strengthen the richness and diversity in the classroom and in turn in the business sector as a whole.

Which other scholarships did you look at? And why did this appeal to you?

I found many scholarships were pretty narrow in scope, whereas QS had a mixture of both broadly and narrowly focused scholarships that could be applicable to most anyone looking for a scholarship. In particular, the fact that the QS Leadership Scholarship also recognised the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in leadership appealed to me because I believe the link between business and sustainability is increasingly important for organisations around the world.

How did your career/experience ensure you earned the MBA Leadership Scholarship?

As the Senior Director of Sustainability at Hersha Hotels and Resorts, my background is primarily in real estate and sustainability. Over the past eight years I have built and industry-leading sustainability programme – branded EarthView® - that is utilized by 125 hotels around the world, reduced hotel greenhouse gas emissions by 44%, and developed social impact initiatives around the world pertaining to clean water and hygiene. A core tenant of the programme is the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which I’ve found to be a helpful guide for organisations on understanding how their businesses have an impact on both internal and external stakeholders worldwide.

Why do you think leadership scholarships are important? And what sets the process apart from other scholarships?

I previously earned a Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership toward Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden. One of our professors often said, “the question of solving some of the world’s greatest challenges is not about if we have enough energy or resources – we have those. The question is if we will have enough leaders in time.” I think that solving any complex problem – for a community, a company, or a government – requires a strong leadership skillset. The better we are at developing strong, compassionate, and effective leaders, the better we will be at addressing some of the world’s most challenging problems.

How did you make the decision on Cornell?

I am pursuing my MBA at Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business. The entrepreneurial culture and engaging people I met at Cornell really helped me decide on their programme over others. As someone who is self-driven and passionate about enhancing my literacy of foundational business and management concepts, Cornell’s academic focus and team-based collaboration provides the opportunity to build my leadership skills critical in today’s dynamic business environment.

Additionally, I am amazed by the diverse backgrounds and industry experience of faculty and fellow students in my class whose knowledge and perspectives make for an innovative and collaborative culture. Cornell’s integration of global immersion courses, new venture creation, and sustainable global enterprises really resonated with my goals of continuing to turn ambition into impact post MBA.

If you could give advice to prospective students hoping to earn the academic excellence scholarship, what would you say?

QS offers so many helpful resources throughout the entire process of deciding to go to school. In addition to applying for scholarships, I would recommend engaging with the QS team and taking advantage of their events and information, interacting with school representatives at QS events, and attending as many sessions as you can to determine what schools and programmes best align with your goals.

Specifically for the leadership scholarship, I really tried to outline my experience and integrate my “voice” into how to best answer the prompt. Even though there is a lot to think about with applying to school and scholarships, try to have fun and enjoy the process!

This article was originally published in August 2021 .

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