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Sir Ranulph Fiennes inspires Cass students to scale new heights

World's greatest living explorer offers new cohort tips on conquering MBA

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, one of the world's greatest living explorers, offered advice and inspiration to Cass students as they took their first step on the MBA.

The adventurer, who was the first to reach both Poles and cross the Antarctic and Arctic Oceans, joined the new Executive and Full Time MBA cohorts for dinner at the weekend.

The MBA weekend marks the beginning of the accelerated process of personal and professional development that prepares students for the MBA programme and beyond.

Dr Sionade Robinson, Associate Dean of MBA Programmes, said: "Taking the decision to begin an MBA shows ambition and a desire to discover and shape your future. 

"Studying for an MBA is not only about acquiring knowledge and expertise in applying that knowledge, but it is about using all your resources - skills, capabilities, experience and network to map out your future. 

"To do that within the one year frame of the Full Time programme, and in combination with the demands of a career for Executives, means really pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and towards your goals.

"Who better then to enthuse Cass MBA students, than Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who joined the new cohorts for dinner. With humour and humility, Sir Ranulph gave an insight into his extraordinary life and achievements.

"We sat back in awe at his wry observations on identifying challenges, selecting teams, meticulous planning and resourcefulness. It was inspiring to hear of the many occasions when he had to force himself to keep going against seemingly impossible conditions."

Drew Judge, who has joined the Full Time programme from the US and previously worked in finance, said: "Sir Ranulph Fiennes is true inspiration to those of us just beginning the MBA programme. While we're not braving the cold of the continent of Antarctica, many of us are exploring a new city, country, and culture. To say nothing of the coursework! But he showed us that the challenges of seeking out the unknown and difficult can be overcome and are worth the risk."

Rupert Hill, another FTMBA student from the UK, added: "Sir Ran captivated the audience with his tales of exploration and, while making everyone feel rather inadequate, also made us reconsider the boundaries of what might actually be possible in our lives."

Rakesh Kumar, from the Executive MBA programme, and who works for one of the UK's leading fund management companies, said: "A truly humbling experience. To have the opportunity to listen to the challenges he has faced over the years provided us all with a moment to reflect and put things in perspective. He simply epitomises determination."

What advice did Sir Ranulph have for students? Dr Robinson asked the explorer where he took inspiration from and he quoted Marie Curie, the founder of the charity for which he has raised more than £6m. "Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."

Sir Ranulph's achievements

  • Discovered the lost city of Ubar on the Yemeni border in 1992 (after seven previous search expeditions over a 26 year period)
  • First to reach both Poles 
  • First to cross Antarctic and Arctic Oceans
  • First to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis (with Charles Burton, a three year, 52,000 mile odyssey which has never been successfully repeated)
  • Achieved world first in 1992/1993 by completing the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Continent -the longest unsupported polar journey in history
  • In 2003, only three-and-a-half months after a massive heart attack, three day coma and double bypass, Sir Ranulph (together with Mike Stroud) achieved the first 7x7x7 (seven marathons in seven consecutive days on all seven continents)
  • Raised more than £16m for charity.
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