Supporting Scholarships: Our Donors' Stories

Our alumni care deeply about the quality of students joining the LBS community. Scholarships ensure that we attract the finest applicants, ultimately enriching our alumni community and adding tremendous value to the whole LBS family. Donors also know that scholarships unlock possibilities for those who have potential, but who live within limiting circumstances.

Hear from some of our donors about why it was important to them to change lives by supporting scholarships.

John & Antoinette Vermilye

The Gallifrey Scholarship: Making an impact in social enterprise

The Gallifrey Scholarship supports an MBA or Sloan student coming from a social entrepreneurship background with aspirations to move into the social impact space after graduating.

The BK Birla Scholarship Programme

Image of Kumar Mangalam Birla

LBS Alumnus, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, generously donated £15m to create an endowed scholarship programme at the School to support 10 full-time exceptional MBA candidates every year in perpetuity. Five scholarships are awarded to students from India and five from the rest of the world.

The BK Birla Scholars Programme honours the legacy of Mr Birla’s late grandfather, celebrated industrialist, philanthropist and pioneer Basant Kumar (BK) Birla who viewed access to higher education as a fundamental right for all. The BK Birla Scholars Programme is the largest endowed scholarship gift to a European Business School.

BK Birla Scholars represent the most impressive talent across the School’s full-time MBA programme and embody academic excellence and high leadership potential. The top 5% of the class is eligible for the award. “I am extremely proud to honour my grandfather’s legacy and create something enduring through this landmark programme at LBS. Through this programme, we look to build a diverse and vibrant community of next generation leaders who are committed to the ideals of integrity, dedication and service to humanity. The very values epitomised by my grandfather.”

“The scholarship gave me the necessary push and support to focus on – and achieve – the career goals I had set for myself when I applied.”

BK Birla Scholar, Akhil Pawar MBA2022 describes the impact the award has on his life: “The scholarship gave me the necessary push and support to focus on – and achieve – the career goals I had set for myself. Knowing that I had received a rare chance, I took greater risks and persisted with my goals – to further my experience in and push the boundaries of impact investing. Post MBA, I joined an impact investment firm focused on supporting some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa. Beyond that I will continue to take (calculated) risks to further my goal and grow the impact ecosystem in India and beyond.”

Still from video of Jason Schretter

Jason Schretter MBA2005: Fuelling entrepreneurial mindsets

The Tech Disrupt and Transform Scholarship supports an MBA student with a passion for innovation who wants to explore entrepreneurial ideas to disrupt the status quo in technology or the customer experience.

The Rayner Miller Scholarship Fund

Image of Nuhamin Mengiste

Through their philanthropy at London Business School and closer to home in the United States, Robert Rayner MSc09(1976) and Mindy Miller are testament to the fact that supporting education can have an unprecedented impact on a person’s life. Here, Bob and Mindy share more about their longstanding commitment to helping lift students and their families out of poverty through the power of education.

Bob Rayner MSc09(1976) and Mindy Miller established the Rayner Miller Scholarship Fund in 2016 to support and provide education to underserved students, particularly of Black or Mixed Black heritage.

As an LBS alumnus, Bob attributes much of his success to having received a transformative business education. Both MBA graduates – Bob from LBS and Mindy from NYU – the couple believe that education provides the opportunities and the tools to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

For Mindy, creating a named scholarship that reaches applicants with demonstrable financial need is driven by a personal passion. For over 13 years, she has been involved with the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) – a non-profit in New York working with families in need from birth to college graduation. Through Mindy’s experience with HCZ, she and Bob have seen first-hand the incredible effect access to education can have on an entire community.
“Over many years, I have seen how providing opportunities for young children and parents have profound effects on their lives. Even today, I continue to have relationships with many of my kids, and I’ve proudly watched them prosper over time. When they find something that opens an avenue for them, it changes their life. It’s wonderfully rewarding.”

Beyond Harlem, their support of educational opportunities has taken a more global focus. Since 2016, six LBS students have benefitted from their generosity, providing them access to a world-class postgraduate business education. “Recently, under Francois’ leadership, the school developed several goals, one of which is to create a more diverse student body, which we applaud. With our goals aligned, we decided to fund the scholarship at a higher level.”

This past year’s recipient of the Rayner Miller Scholarship Fund, Sibusisiwe (Busie) Dhlodhlo, further inspired Bob and Mindy to increase the award to include living expenses.
“When we first heard about Busie and her story, it was clear that scholarship alone was not enough, and that living expenses were equally essential. Without this additional support, we realised that students like Busie wouldn’t be able to attend LBS. Now we feel confident we’re reaching deserving candidates with the greatest need.” says Bob.

“Meeting Busie and seeing her single-minded determination and drive to overcome huge obstacles has been truly inspirational. Mindy adds: “Whether Busie continues to work in England or goes back to Zimbabwe, we know she will make a significant impact.

Bob and Mindy have clear hopes for Busie and the other LBS graduates they have supported over the years. “We trust they will realise their full potential, going on to accomplish great things. In our view, everyone benefits. It is enriching for Busie, her family and community, and for the LBS student body at-large who benefit from interacting with and getting to know people from all over the world, especially in today’s global economy..”