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Executive and professional education

 

Thusitha Abeyesekera, a member of the Executive MBA 2017 cohort, expands his business and management skillset as his career advances.

Thusitha Abeyesekera of the EMBA 2017 cohort.
Thusitha Abeyesekera (EMBA 2017)

Thusitha Abeyesekera, a member of the Executive MBA 2017 cohort, has been promoted to a senior leadership position at British American Tobacco (BAT). Based at BAT’s global headquarters in London, UK, Thusitha is taking on new challenges in this influential role at the company’s Global Brand Group.

Thusitha is now responsible for strategic marketing and global deployment of new innovations, aligned to the potentially reduced risk product agenda of this FTSE 100 company.

A global career in
Marketing

Starting out at BAT as a Management Trainee in Sri Lanka 12 years ago,
Thusitha has had an impressive tenure at the company, working his way up
through key leadership roles across several continents. To date, he’s led
marketing in Russia, headed up brand in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, worked as Head
of Shopper Marketing and at the Corporate Strategy office for the South Asian
Cluster. Prior to his promotion, Thusitha was working as the company’s Senior
Global Brand Portfolio Manager.

Thusitha’s hard work for BAT has been recognised on several occasions.
In 2012, he was the recipient of the prestigious Chairman’s Award in Sri Lanka,
and in 2015 he scooped the company’s ‘Tier 3’ award in Pakistan. These are
considered the highest forms of recognition awarded to BAT employees in the
respective geographies. He was also awarded the Business Leaders Award by the
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in 2013 for outstanding
professionalism and service.

“I’m very excited and humbled to have been given the opportunity to
shape a key strategic enabler for the group,” says Thusitha. “I
believe my experiences with BAT globally, and the more recent exposures gained
via the Cambridge Executive MBA, have helped prepare me for this role”.

Broadening experiences at
Cambridge

Thusitha is keen to discuss the importance of the things he learned on
the Executive MBA programme.

“The Cambridge experience was an awe-inspiring journey. The
education goes beyond the classroom to practical experiences which were truly
gratifying. I believe my experience was epitomised by the motto of my college,
Downing: ‘Quaerere Verum’, which means ‘to seek the truth’.”

“I especially enjoyed the exposure to the startup environment in
Silicon Valley, to appreciate and learn from individuals with a very different
mindset and approach to business,” continues Thusitha.

“I’ll definitely be applying things I gained from these experiences
in my new role, which involves bringing to life innovations and also ensuring the
end to end global delivery impacting the P&L positively”.

Thusitha also says he found the exposure to other professionals within
the programme through its network of fellow participants rewarding.

“I enjoyed the diverse experiences my cohort brought into the
classroom, from the discussions of case studies to the varied paradigms of
corporate leadership. Over time, we built a strong sense of camaraderie and
friendships which I believe which will remain for years to come”