Programme: Executive MBA, 2017
Current Position: Senior consultant/Account Director, Westco
What motivated you to do an Executive MBA and why did you choose Cass Business School?
As a self-employed communications strategist for over 7 years in the UK and abroad, my ambition is to go one step further and set up my own communication agency. I chose Cass after attending one of the evening information sessions because:
- Opportunities: Equip me with a more holistic business approach in a collaborative environment that will challenge me.
- Imagination: Cass offered the perfect space to test my business proposition and approach to expanding my business in a safe but challenging environment.
- Connections: I have the drive, resilience, and sector expertise but would like to broaden my connections, strengthen my networking skills & develop my self-confidence in my business proposition. From my research, including attendance at the evening information session, Cass provides a suitable balance of academic rigour, a space to imagine and to make new connections.
- Tools & techniques: The programme is challenging my understanding of running a business and has taken me out of my comfort zone. Beyond my expertise in marketing and communication, it is increasing my understanding in the practical side of running a business. My background is not in financial management & accounting and Cass understands that not everyone interested in an MBA comes from the world of finance & banking.
- Sectoral capabilities: The course opens you up to a world of opportunities where I gain exposure to all sectors. You are perceived by a diverse range of potential clients as having the capabilities and understanding of the private sector as well as the public and not-for-profit organisations. Cass has a good mix of sectors, experience & international reach.
- People: One of my key strengths is people management and leading teams, successfully, through change, whether organisational or departmental. I would like to explore and develop my approach to leadership and hone my soft skills. I know from speaking to one of the alumni, Cass sees this as a key plank of the programme.
What are your career goals and what do you hope to achieve after you have graduated?
As a self-employed communications strategist, I am hungry to take what I have built over the last 7 years to the next level as well as bringing my ideas and central business proposition to fruition. It is not about the glory of running a business but a visceral drive to create a new type of PR that remains largely untested. It would be a social enterprise and/or a collaborative partnership of communication strategists who share a passion for co-creating communication approaches. It would be a think-tank of ideas as much as a communications consultancy with business goals.
My short-term goal is to research, test, assess, refine and finally go out to market in phase III.
How would you describe your overall experience of the Executive MBA so far?
This is an intense course not for the light-hearted! Modules are short-lived and you are expected to get up to speed on complex issues and topics, with 5 weeks per module covering 14 modules in the first year as well as 12 exams and 14 group or individual assignments. It's unsettling, exhilarating, challenging, and enjoyable all in equal measures. Cass has ensured that you are supported along the way - mentor programme, group working and dedicated Cass members to respond to your queries, etc...
How do you balance your work and personal life with academic studies?
Work smarter, rely on your mentor group, structure your time more efficiently, seek help when you need it but don't forgot all your social activities - I haven't given up on my climbing as I find it's the best wind down after an intense day/week.
What has been the most challenging aspect?
Time management and group assignments – the latter has been a good challenge as it teaches you to work with others who have had very different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives - your group could consist of an accountant, a nurse, an IT specialist, a data analyst and a Public Relations expert!
How would you describe your fellow cohort?
The total number in the EMBA first year cohort is 44 - from all walks of life, with different backgrounds and nationalities.
What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of doing the Executive MBA at Cass?
Seek the best fit for you rather than choosing the top, the most expensive or competitive.
Be clear about your objectives, what you want to achieve and where you want to be after completing the MBA. Make sure you attend information sessions to gain the best insight.