Kate Davies

Programme: Evening Executive MBA, 2017
Nationality: British
Current position: Investor Relations Manager, Coller Capital

What motivated you to do an Executive MBA and why did you choose Cass Business School?

I have made advances in my career by constant marginal gains, little improvements that have added up to a whole lot. But there are three things I believe I need to improve upon: confidence, a broader business knowledge base and a bigger and more diverse network of smart people. An MBA will arm me with these three things and become a foundation towards me achieving my ambitious goals.

Following my research, Cass stands above all other business schools to me. I knew of its strong reputation for education and standing among prospective employers. But what is most apparent to me is the collegiate atmosphere that exists in Cass. All the alumni and current students I met have talked about it, and it’s far more apparent than at other business schools. I believe I will flourish in this atmosphere, and Cass more generally.

What are your career goals and what do you hope to achieve after you have graduated?  

My mentor repeatedly says to me "think about where you want to be in five, ten and fifteen years’ time, work back and fill in the steps that you need to get there". It’s a process I regularly do. Fifteen years’ time is easy: I want to be the CEO of a leading Irish company. In ten years, I want to be in an executive-level role with responsibility for the strategic direction of the company, executing acquisitions and communicating with investors; a direct report to the CEO. And in five years’ time I intend to be a business development director at a leading Irish business, such as Paddy Power, or the European HQ of a multinational, such as Google.

How would you describe your overall experience of the Evening Executive MBA so far?  

I have been impressed by the business school from the start, the induction week was well planned, it allowed the cohort to get to know each other and gel as a group, which has been important given the time we now all spend together. I have found balancing work and personal life a challenge but the support from family and friends is invaluable. They tell you an MBA is tough but it is only when you are fully immersed in it do you realise really how tough it is!

How do you balance your work and personal life with academic studies?

At one of our induction talks, they told us that "you will learn a new kind of busy". This statement is certainly true. My main tip would be that time management is key and using your mentor groups as effectively as possible. We have found by working "smart" we can cover more ground and learn more in the process.

What has been the most rewarding experience for you so far?

So far, I have been enjoying the intellectual challenge that comes with doing an MBA. Exploring new areas or revisiting old ones has been refreshing. Making new friends and creating an immediate network that will stay with us throughout our business careers is really one of the most rewarding parts of starting an MBA.

What has been the most challenging aspect?  

I would say that the volume of work has been the largest challenge, staying on top of the readings is a challenge but as I alluded to earlier this can be effectively managed by working "smarter" and using the collective efforts of your mentor group.

How would you describe your fellow cohort?  

Our class size is 45, which is a nice size as it allows for intelligent discussion and debate in class. There are people from all over the world with a variety of backgrounds which is a fantastic way of getting different perspectives on the course work. Our class is a talented bunch and I think we will look back in twenty years and discover each have gone on to forge successful careers for themselves.

What has the learning experience been like? How are classes taught and what sort of expertise do the academics bring?

The learning experience has been great. The academics bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, often encouraging class discussions and debate. As Warren Buffet says "surround yourself by those that are better than you, and you will soon find your behaviours will drift in their direction".

What are your thoughts on living and studying in London and does Cass location bring any added benefit?

The location of Cass is convenient, especially for the Evening Executive MBA where you typically need to come straight from work. I also think being in the city is especially beneficial as you are close to the financial district and also have the technology hub on your doorstep.

What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of doing the Evening Executive MBA at Cass?  

My advice would be to make sure you have thought about the impact it will have on your work and personal life and ensure you have the right support network from family and friends. The future support from your cohort will be invaluable and the experience will be hugely rewarding. I would wholeheartedly recommend undertaking the Evening Executive MBA at Cass. Challenging as the experience is, it will be something you are proud of for life.