EGMiM 10 Years 1920x580px

10 EGMiM Stories - Balnur Shonatayeva

10 years, 10 questions, 10 profiles, every 10th of the month...

Meet our EGMiM alumna Balnur Shonatayeva

I feel I am a well-equipped leader after the programme, having learnt much from the professors and my cohort.

Balnur Shonatayeva


Balnur Shonatayeva 465x620px

Tell us about yourself.

I am a finance professional with 10 years of experience in the oil and gas sector. Certified Chartered Accountant (ACCA) and soon to be alumni of the Executive Global Master’s in Management (LSE). Born and raised in Kazakhstan, I went to a Russian school in Kazakhstan and an American school in Scotland. In the early days of my career, had the opportunity of going to the Philippines for couple of years. I take pride in this cultural fusion that I am. 

What’s your current job?

Business Finance Support Manager at Tengizchevroil

Why did you choose to study the EGMiM programme?

I was inspired by my sister Ulzhan, who was in the EGMiM 2020 cohort. She’s done all the research finding the programme, so it was all easy and familiar for me. I knew I wanted to get my master’s from a top school someday and hearing about Ulzhan’s incredible experience just accelerated my plans.

How has EGMiM benefitted your career?

The whole experience helped me to make an important life decision to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I am currently at the point of changing jobs and location. Overall, I feel I am a well-equipped leader after the programme, having learnt much from the professors and my cohort. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to those who will start the programme next year?

Enjoy the ride! It is easier than it looks, as the Russian proverb goes “eyes fear, hands do”.

What was the most challenging aspect of the programme?

Switching to online, the shock of it. The new format was first tested on us, it was a learning process for both LSE and us. One of the most challenging aspects for me personally was the decision to continue online and accept the fact that the international modules will not be happening, which was what attracted me to the program in the first place. That decision entailed that inevitably I will be parting from one half of the cohort that will be postponing their studies.

What was your favourite module and why?

Modules 1 and 2 because they were in person – minimum sleep, maximum fun! The energy of the cohort was unmatched. The thrill of meeting new people and having much to look forward to made it all so enjoyable. I miss sitting in a packed room, full of laughter and pure excitement. It felt like the first module lasted for months, so much had happened, that it took me a few weeks to ease back into my routine. 

Do you have a funny EGMiM story that you would like to share?

It was in the accounting class, I got distracted and was very occupied with my phone. So much so I did not hear a thing that was being discussed. All I remember is Yally’s voice pulling me back into the present and as I looked up, he was standing in front of me waiting for an answer to his question. I got so embarrassed, I accidentally answered the question correctly. I remember the whole class bursting in laughter.

If EGMiM was a …. What would it be?

Car make

Range Rover – it’s a British brand, expensive, and classy. Definitely gives you some bragging rights. And it is still improving its technology

Disney character

Mufasa, the Lion King. He is a great leader and gives some seriously good advice to Simba about becoming a king, at the same time teaches him to always remember who he is. I’ve learnt a great deal about leadership and management in the program but most importantly I’ve come to understand myself better through the experience.


‘My octopus teacher’, obviously I enrolled to learn and expand my horizon but to my surprise, the biggest learnings turned out to be beyond academic. I would not say there are similarities in the storyline but rather the feelings I got after watching the movie were alike to what I feel about EGMiM. Just like the movie, the program was a good ‘pandemic era antidote’, kept me busy and now I proudly say I spent the time with purpose.

Name three personality traits of an EGMiM student?

  • Dynamic and likable - that’s what built a strong bond in our cohort from day one
  • Willingness to learn - I remember having ‘asking for a friend’ moment with some of my class mates - if they read all the ‘required readings’, all unanimously answered yes, that got me thinking I should step up my game
  • Creative - diversity of creative ideas and interesting perspectives I got to witness in teamwork was incredible