“Making the jump from design to management is not a natural transition, nor was there really a model for me to follow,” she says. “The Bentley MBA was a perfect program for someone with my unconventional business background.”
That “unconventional” background includes a childhood split between Europe and Africa, degrees in economics and sportswear design, and an eight-year retail career that included assignments in Asia and Australia. Bentley’s distinctive fusion of business and the arts and sciences took away Mahaniah’s apprehension, as did the news that British fashion label Burberry had named its creative director as CEO, the first time a designer had been put in charge of the business side of such a prestigious brand.
“That news proved to be an omen,” she remembers, “and allowed me to believe that a career linking design and business was viable.”
In the end, Bentley gave Mahaniah the confidence to take on a role at one of her dream companies: the iconic American shoe company Converse.
“The position is a real challenge, requiring sophisticated and nuanced leadership skills as I move from team to team,” she explains. “I connect the dots and facilitate communication from product creation all the way down to our customers. It’s a role that I would have not been able to get or succeed in without my Bentley MBA.”