Study

Ryan D'Souza

Ryan D'Souza

Nationality: United Kingdom
Position pre MBA: Barrister


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

My initial motivation was to transition from private practice into the commercial world. To do so, and progress beyond the norm, I felt I needed to fill some knowledge gaps for which the MBA is ideal. An MBA is also the perfect opportunity to take a step back for a year and re-focus your career in line with your passions and interests.  

Cass Business School was my first choice business school for two main reasons.  Firstly, the course is just one year, keeping the opportunity cost down.  Secondly, the location in the heart of the City and next to 'Silicon Roundabout' is ideal for opportunities to build an international network for the future.

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

Prior to the MBA I left a good role in a good industry. However, after the MBA I hope to transition into a role and industry that I am passionate about. I am primarily interested in working the sports industry and possibly within consulting.

That said, new ideas and options are opening up to me on a daily basis during the MBA so, whilst it is important to have clear strategic career goals, I have chosen not to pigeon hole my plans too soon.

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

I have been extremely impressed with the set-up of the Cass MBA and my cohort. Within two weeks, I felt I already knew all 75 of my cohort to a reasonable extent, which is remarkable given that roughly 34 nationalities are represented and that there will inevitably be strong personalities in any MBA programme.

The volume of academic work has been challenging but enjoyable. The course content is also practical and, unlike undergraduate education, I can see the real world value in every subject. After just two months, my knowledge base has increased exponentially and it has been genuinely eye opening.  

Away from the academics, the emphasis on improving employability skills (leadership, executive presence, team working, speed reading, presentation skills etc.) has been extremely beneficial and, having spoken to other London MBA cohorts, is unique to Cass.

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

Thus far, the single most rewarding experience has been my ability to learn from my peers.  I have thoroughly enjoyed learning from the experiences of my cohort and the differences between cultures.  

The MBA is heavily focused on group work, much like the real world. All MBA students want to lead and are competitive, but the improvement in team working, employability skills and emotional intelligence has been very noticeable. I can certainly see the benefits of the multicultural cohort and the breadth of experience, which is undoubtedly benefitting us all.  

I am certainly looking forward to our international electives– for which option are fantastic and significantly better than rival business schools. The learning experience at Cass takes you as far afield at Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, Dubai, South Africa, China, Iceland and many more

What has been the most challenging aspect?

Returning to an academic mindset after twelve years away from formal education was initially a challenge. In addition, I had minimal need for mathematics as a barrister but I've had to work at understanding some of the quantitative subjects.  However, as time has progressed, I have become more confident and feel I have caught up with my more experience peers in that regard.  We all have our strengths that relate to our previous careers. Recognising and improving weaknesses has been challenging but also rewarding.

How would you describe your fellow cohort?  

My cohort consists of 75 students and 34 nationalities.  I can honestly say that every individual has something different to offer and a significant experience to share.  

Prior to the MBA, I was concerned that the cohort would be very similar with regard to professional background i.e. a majority from finance or engineering.  However, I have been pleasantly surprised there is very little overlap between class members.  There is a balanced and diverse mix where even the few from the same profession are within different subsets of that profession.

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

The learning experience is very interactive. Class participation is encouraged and academics often become discussions, with the cohort offering valuable insights from their own experience. The content has been relatable to real-world and current examples.  It certainly enhances the learning experience when you can see the practical benefits.

The academics are clearly experts within their fields and what has particularly stood out, across the board, is their enthusiasm. Much of the assessed work is group based which, although a challenge to begin with, has become an enjoyable experience as we learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

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

I was born and raised in London so I'm somewhat biased.  However, it’s without question that London is one of the global leaders in finance, technology and innovation.  From a career perspective, Cass is certainly the best located of all the business schools in London, in the heart of the commercial city and literally next door to 'Silicon Roundabout', a relatively new technology and innovation hub.

Away from professional life, the history and culture of London simply cannot be beaten. There is something new and different to see or do every day no matter what your tastes. As a Londoner, even I often feel I've only experienced the tip of the iceberg.

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

The Cass MBA programme, which lasts only twelve months, is undoubtedly challenging. The volume of work is substantial but manageable; however, it is helpful that all of your cohort are in the same boat and a collegiate and supportive environment quickly develops.  

For any new student, time management is critical. You will need to be organised to be able to complete the volume of work and maximise the potential for learning.  The MBA is all consuming and you will need to make sacrifices in your personal life.