UCL School of Management

Ashleigh Topping | 9 January 2024

Meet the MSc Management alumna driving H&H Group's Brand Strategy in India

Graduating from UCL School of Management’s MSc Management programme in 2018, Ambika Luthra returned to India to launch her successful career in the digital marketing space. Currently the Brand Manager for Swisse Wellness at H&H Group, a multinational organisation specialising in wellness, Ambika is pivotal to the formation and execution of the brand’s strategy, and recently conceptualised an online campaign that starred Indian actress and model Sanjana Sanghi.

We recently caught up with Ambika to find out more about her current role at H&H Group, as well as her experiences studying at UCL School of Management and the ways in which our Careers Team supported her on her career journey. She also tells us about her exchange module with HEC Paris while at UCL SoM, during which time she studied digital marketing, as well as her passion for women’s health and wellness and why this is such an exciting time for international brands in India.

Can you tell us about yourself?

I’m Ambika Luthra, hailing from the sacred city of Amritsar, Punjab. My early years were spent soaking in the rich culture and values of this vibrant city. From very early on, the importance of education was instilled in me by my grandfather, shaping the foundation of my journey. As I grew up, I found a passion for sports, exploring unconventional activities like roller skating and archery and developing my skills in these areas.

After completing my early schooling in Amritsar, I dared to venture beyond my familiar surroundings and made it to Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. This pivotal move not only marked my academic evolution but helped me to develop the courage to embrace the unknown.

Professionally, I’ve found my niche in the marketing field. Beyond my career, I am a vocal advocate for female health, striving to make a positive impact in this crucial area. My free time is a haven for my many interests. You can catch me in the kitchen, whipping up a delightful tea cake, or nestled in a corner with a cup of tea and a good book.

tell us about your current role

I’m currently working as the Brand Manager for Swisse Wellness at H&H Group. Swisse, an Australian wellness brand established in the 1960s, made its way into the Indian market in 2020, and I joined the team in 2022. I handle all things brand marketing for Swisse India, collaborating closely with the channel team to launch and position our products effectively in the Indian market.

My work encompasses working on brand campaigns, as well as partnerships with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) for ad film launches, overseeing social media execution and the overall formulation of our brand strategy. An example of my work is the Swisse India brand campaign, which I conceptualised. This period is particularly exciting for international brands in India, given the increasing awareness among Indian consumers about their wellness needs and the demand for high-quality products.

Which programme did you study at UCL School of management and why?

I studied MSc Management - Finance pathway at UCL School of Management (UCL SoM). I chose this programme after completing an undergraduate degree in commerce (B.Com) because I saw it as an excellent opportunity to delve deeper into the areas of management, strategy & finance. My decision to study at UCL SoM was intentional, as it really stood out to me as one of the very few institutions offering these diverse pathways.

Coming from an educational background of accounting and finance, I decided to pursue my postgraduate study in the same field, aligning my academic journey with my existing expertise and interests. The MSc Management programme at UCL SoM focuses on specialised and non-generic management modules that provide a more tailored and in-depth learning experience.

how was your experience at ucl overall?

My time at UCL was a dynamic and transformative experience - it was both intense and life changing. At the tender age of 21, I ventured out of my country to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, which also happened to be on a different continent. While the initial days were a bit overwhelming, I soon adapted and found my rhythm. Interacting with peers from various backgrounds created an environment conducive to idea exchange and collaborative learning, especially during project collaborations.

The coursework demanded dedication and study hours, but the challenges were outweighed by the rich learning experiences. Our Programme Director, Magda Hercheui, played a pivotal role in my academic journey at UCL. Beyond offering valuable advice, she was also my guide throughout my business research project. There were some modules that I really enjoyed studying - one standout was the Business Strategy module, which was heavily rooted in case studies that pushed me to critically evaluate different scenarios.

Another highlight was the Markets and Customers module. I still remember working on the essay for this class - Joe Gladstone’s sessions on consumer behaviour were particularly interesting. UCL SoM presented me with numerous opportunities, and one that stood out was my selection for a summer programme at HEC Paris, where I studied digital marketing. This experience proved to be a pivotal moment and significantly influenced the trajectory of my career.

did you utilise the uclsom careers team during your studies?

The UCL careers team played a pivotal role in my journey. They organised numerous insightful sessions, especially during the early stages. I distinctly recall seeking their one-on-one guidance for crafting my resume and receiving valuable feedback that enhanced my resume-writing skills. Navigating interviews as a recent graduate can be challenging, and I found their assistance invaluable in preparing for these crucial interactions.

can you tell us about your experience of the graduate jobs market?

Navigating the post-graduate job market proved to be a challenge, particularly as an international student. I quickly observed that having prior work experience played a crucial role in positioning oneself favourably in the job market.

Personally, I took a slightly different approach and didn’t apply to numerous graduate programmes. Instead, I was keen on exploring opportunities with startups. I believe securing internships is a valuable starting point to pave the way for job offers. Many of my classmates did end up securing impressive job offers in the UK.

what have been your career highlights so far?

In the early chapters of my professional journey, I was instrumental in the expansion of my family’s business by spearheading its digital transformation. Yet, a desire for fresh challenges and a passion for working on 0-1 ventures led me to Mosaic Wellness, a house of D2C wellness brands. During my tenure, I not only played a hands-on role in launching India’s very first sexual wellness brand, but I also had the opportunity to work on both demand and supply aspects, launching an expansive product portfolio in the personal care sector.

My stint at Mosaic proved to be more than just a career move; it was an eye-opening journey that revealed my profound connection with women’s health issues. The ability to engage authentically and empathise with women on subjects like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and period care set me on a distinct trajectory. This realisation fueled a shift in my focus towards crafting and promoting PCOS supplements for women at Bodywise. It was in the heartfelt conversations with women navigating the complexities of PCOS and other hormonal disorders that I found the impetus to embark on a mission—to create a safe space for women with PCOS.

where do you see your career progressing in the future?

I envision my future in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and direct-to-customer (D2C) sectors, where my passion lies in working with consumer brands. Having successfully navigated the initial stages of business development (0-1 and 1-10), my focus is now on the 10-100 journey, aiming to scale impact and contribute to substantial growth.

Find out more about studying the MSc Management programme at UCL School of Management.

Last updated Wednesday, 10 January 2024