Position pre MBA: Accounting
What motivated you to do an MBA and why did you choose Cass Business School?
I wanted to make a change in my career but wasn't entirely sure which way to go. I felt an MBA would allow me time to explore and consider many options while improving my skills and network. As someone who was working in a small town in America, I knew I wanted to experience city life and hoped to find opportunities to work internationally. If I was going to take on the burden of education debt, I wanted it to offer a return on a personal level. Having been on holiday in London the year before, I quickly decided UK as my preferred destination, and Cass Business School was a well-regarded institution with a one-year course and an exciting international focus.
What are your career goals and what do you hope to achieve after you have graduated?
I have a background in accounting and operations, and I hope to continue to have elements of both in my career after graduation. I'm interested in exploring consulting or mergers & acquisitions. My ideal position would be based in London but involve some amount of travel. I expect that neither position would be a lifelong career therefore my plan is to accumulate a lot of experiences and transition into a high-level finance or management role within a company.
How would you describe your overall experience of the MBA so far?
The MBA has surprised me by often being more intense than my full-time job was - but the work has been meaningful and satisfying to complete. Much of the work is done in groups, which helps me bond with people I may otherwise have not interacted with and allows us all to practice working in an international group. The connections we make within the cohort provide us all with a group to explore the City with - partaking in food and drink together is especially popular.
I’ve also been pleased with the additional events put on by Cass– numerous desirable employers have come to speak and network with Cass students, teambuilding events like white water rafting and a leadership course at Sandhurst Military Academy, have been extremely enjoyable and quite valuable.
What has been the most rewarding experience for you so far?
The most rewarding experience has been the integration week that followed block 1. It was an intense period but my team pulled together a presentation we were proud of and presented it well. Public speaking is one thing I've never felt comfortable doing, but between the strength of our material and the amount of times we practiced the presentation itself, I was able to get in front of the class and deliver my portion with a minimum of nerves and mistakes, it was a very satisfying.
What has been the most challenging aspect?
The aforementioned group work has been a challenge. A lot of time–with more than half a dozen people spent discussing ideas and making decisions–I know I could work quicker if I were working alone. Juggling the scheduling needs and wants of the group with our individual schedules, required a lot of flexibility, and occasionally, patience. Disagreements between us have come and gone without incident but properly working through them was still a challenge.
How would you describe your fellow cohort?
The cohort is made up of over 70 people from all over the world and from all kinds of professional backgrounds. These diversities make all of our interactions, in and out of the classroom, more interesting and a valuable part of our education on the programme. It also allows for there to be a set of people within the cohort who have experience in different subjects, which helps us bond as we advise each other on our subjects of choice. As someone who hopes to work internationally, having so many opportunities to meet and network with so many people from around the world is invaluable.
What has the learning experience been like? How are classes taught and what sort of expertise do the academics bring?
Classes are largely two-hour lecture blocks with interactive portions. The professors bring a strong background with real-world experience in addition to their academic credentials– some of them are authors of the texts we study. Graded assignments are rare, most of our assessment is based on one or two projects per course and an exam. We also have seminars unrelated to our core modules which typically cover some of the important employability skills which are crucial for succeeding in business; networking, putting together a CV, presentations, and other "miscellaneous" things every business student will need to know how to do. The short duration of the programme means that the modules are quite condensed and the workload can be intense, but the trade-off is that we can quickly return to our careers with an MBA.
What are your thoughts on living and studying in London and does Cass’ location bring any added benefit?
The opportunity to live in London was one of the reasons I chose to come to Cass Business School. The School itself is located near the heart of London– making it very accessible to people traveling from anywhere in the city. Students in the city also benefit from their proximity to businesses and events - I have heard of students from other business schools travelling from Oxford and beyond to attend some of the networking functions we can access with a short ride on the tube.
What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of doing an MBA at Cass?
Cass provides one of the few one-year MBA programmes worth looking at in London. The programme will take you overseas at least once, with more opportunities at your discretion, and of course while you're in London you're immersed in one of the world's greatest international cities. The School will occasionally bring you out of the City for numerous activities which enhance the attractiveness of the programme including a short stay at a military academy and some light mountain climbing.