MBA Stories. Rohail Lashari

 Rohail Lashari will complete his MBA at HEC Paris. As he was interning for The Coca-Cola Company in Pakistan, he found a love for marketing and decided to pursue this love further by learning all the fundamentals of this field at HEC Paris. Rohail cites the international cohort as one of the best parts of his MBA experience.

I started asking the question: ‘Who am I supposed to become?’ at a young age because of the inspirational people around me.

But the moment people heard my full name, they asked: ‘Are you related to the Lashari’s?’

What I was really being asked was if I was in anyway related to Kamran Lashari, my father and arguably one of the most popular and respected bureaucrats in Pakistan. Or perhaps they meant if I was related to my eldest brother, Bilal Lashari, the country’s most successful and celebrated film director, or was it Omar Lashari, my Cornell educated, financial analyst brother?

It would always be a moment of pride, however short-lived, since my admission would summon the next big question: ‘What are you doing?’

Never would I muster up a compelling answer. After all, how could a high school student be in the same league? I needed to earn my place in the family. I was consumed by a maddening passion to achieve something. Anything. I was determined to follow my heart and conquer the world. I knew what I had to do – start a rock band!

Our band ‘JHOL’, gained somewhat popularity in Lahore. It had been a dream of the band to perform at the most celebrated music platform in the country, Coke Studio.

However, we stopped composing music after the members of the band became busy in their personal lives. That said, I was not ready to give up my passion. As an undergrad finance student in my final year, about to face the corporate world, I wanted to join a company that realised my passions and challenged me to explore my creative side.

A few months later, I was interning in the marketing department of The Coca-Cola Company in Pakistan. Two months working as an intern, with shifts of 15 hours a day and taking on any challenge that was put forth, I proved my dedication, creativity, and commitment to the company, and was fortunate enough to receive a permanent job offer.

I was leading the creative strategy for Coke Studio! The very platform I once wanted to perform in as a kid. My decision not to let go of my passion for music had finally paid off. The company decided to make me the studio leader, since they knew I had a background in music and that I strongly believed in the company values of Coca-Cola. Leading nationwide marketing, I was in control!

My time at Coke showed me that I had a knack for marketing. It made me realise that marketing is what I had been doing all my life, even when I was a musician. If it wasn’t marketing a brand or a product, it was marketing my own songs!

At that moment, I knew I had to build my fundamentals in this field and started my search for the perfect MBA programme. After a lot of research and talking to alumni, one of which was also a colleague at Coca-Cola, I selected the perfect university, HEC Paris!

With over 50 nationalities in my cohort, I could not have asked for a better international experience!

While I can go on forever about the brilliantly organised programme, and vast options of electives that the HEC Paris MBA offers, the true learning and experience lies with the people you work and interact with. I have met the most brilliant minds, worked with the most competent individuals, and made a few crazy friends along the way.

Some argue that academia is not the road to success and throw a few examples of some famous dropouts in your face. But while I agree higher education might not be the only road to success, studying for an MBA abroad has provided me with experiences, cultures, and people so different to anything I would have experienced back in Pakistan. I truly believe that life begins at the end of your comfort zone so, if you have the option to study abroad, take it. It will change the way you think, it will change your life. It changed mine.