Global Women - Cassie Newman
Cassie believes there is much for public sector workers to gain from business school, though she works for a private firm manging public contracts
As Head of Interventions for a rehabilitation company, working to reduce reoffending rates for over 30,000 offenders, Cassie Newman makes for an unusual MBA student.
She is studying part-time at London’s Cass Business School — which, she concedes, is perhaps better known for producing financiers, with its strong connection to the City of London.
But Cassie believes there is much for public sector workers to gain from business school, though she works for a private firm manging public contracts.
“I’ve always been interested in how inefficient the public sector can be, I’ve always found it frustrating,” she says with feeling. “It’s quite slow in terms of the development of modern technology. I’ve always felt there’s a huge amount we could gain from MBAs.”
As a woman, Cassie is also in another minority group at business school and in business, but is working hard to change that. She is the newest member of the Global Women’s Leadership Programme at Cass. It aims to inspire, equip and connect women throughout their career.
Members develop and practice their leadership skills by coordinating development events in London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Beijing and New York.
Cassie sees it as a personal priority to improve the representation of women in the senior ranks of business.
“I am very passionate about equality and diversity and ensuring boards represent the people they serve,” she says.
“I come from the public sector where around 80 percent of workers, most of our frontline, are women. But as you work your way up in senior management, that hasn’t always been the case. About five-six years ago, I had an entire senior management team of men. That was totally disproportionate.”
Cassie began her career as a special constable in London’s Metropolitan Police Service, before working as a probation officer. For the past several years she’s been in a variety of management jobs for the London Community Rehabilitation Company, the largest private sector probation provider in England.
She wanted to get an MBA to broaden her experience, and learn how to apply private sector knowledge to the public sector.
The Londoner joined the course at Cass earlier this year, attracted by a mutual affiliation to the third-sector, as the school has departments and courses specialising in charity, such as the Centre for Charity Effectiveness.
Making the transition to business school, to a more commercial mindset, has been a challenge.
“Success comes in a different shape to many of my colleagues on the MBA,” says Cassie, who once worked as a loss prevention officer for a department store on London’s Oxford Street. “Making one small difference to people in my job is a win.”
She continues: “What I’ve learned from everyone on the course is that we all bring a difference perspective to the table. I would welcome more people from less traditional backgrounds to apply for an MBA. I don’t think people consider it. They see it as a finance or investment banking place.”
Just six months into the MBA, the degree has already proved useful in terms of developing specialist knowledge in areas including finance and accounting.
“The value of the MBA is bringing a new perspective to the workplace,” Cassie says. “It has benefited the company, having a fresh pair of eyes.”
Because she works full-time she can apply the MBA insight directly into her job. But balancing the two is difficult.
“It’s not a nine-to-five, there’s always things that come up, you really have to be organised in managing your time, to get the best out of it,” she says.
But Cassie is in no doubt that the degree will be valuable throughout her entire career, as she moves up the corporate ladder and strives to help other women achieve their goals.
“It’s been invaluable so far,” she says.
Read more about our Global Women's Leadership Programme.