I dropped out of high school in New Zealand at 16. I barely scraped through my undergraduate business degree. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to do more with my life than I was on target to do.
An MBA was the answer, as it would provide me with the skills and knowledge to take things to the next level. For me, it represented a personal challenge. Of-course, I hoped there would be some financial and career pay-offs after completing it, but, mostly, it was about proving to myself that I could do it.
Cass Business School had come highly recommended. The Executive MBA programme allows you to study around your job, which was an important factor for me. It was so different from the other business schools I had explored. It has a very inclusive atmosphere focused on learning and ideas. I immediately felt comfortable there. And the size and diversity of the cohort, as well as the
broad range of elective modules available were also very appealing. There are some world-class teachers at Cass. They do a good job of structuring the courses to balance theory and practice. Every assignment that I did, I took something tangible away that I could apply in real life.
The EMBA experience has been invaluable. It was brutal at times. Particularly the first year, which was very, very tough. You really have to want this to get through it, but it definitely makes you a better person and a more employable person. There is so much work to do, you have to find a way to manage your time more effectively to get things done. As a result, my capacity to get work done has gone through the roof.
For me, the personal highlight was the consultancy elective in Vietnam, which was pretty amazing. My group worked with the state-owned beer company, Habeco. We did some really great work out there – it’s incredibly challenging to be set a re-branding project and turn it around in a week.
The EMBA has changed my career path completely. Around the time I graduated I got a considerable promotion, working as a Coffee Trader with Falcon Coffees. I wouldn’t have been in a position to grasp the intricacies of managing a futures book and helping and advising clients on futures strategies had I not done the EMBA.
There are also plenty of networking opportunities within your cohort and cohorts from other programmes. Also, in my current role, in terms of looking for potential opportunities, it’s been very promising. I’ve had several meetings with people from the course and the alumni group that have been interested in our services.
The programme also opened up opportunities that I wouldn’t have had the self-confidence to pursue before. For example, I always wanted to start my own business, but I never had the confidence to do it. During the programme, I actually started a small business with three other guys from the course, making and selling craft cider. Without the EMBA that wouldn’t have happened.
We’ve just signed a distributor in London, and are looking for some others to come on board in 2018.
It’s been a transformative journey and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.