Jo Wardle (Executive MBA 2015)

Jo Wardle

How did you hear about Leeds University Business School and why did you choose to study here?  
I heard about the Executive MBA (EMBA) course at Leeds University Business School originally through a colleague who had completed an MBA a number of years ago. It’s local to work and home and has an excellent reputation. It seemed an obvious choice!

Tell us about your course – why did you choose it? What elements of the course inspired you to study here? 
Leeds was able to offer a course that fits around my hectic and demanding work life. Its lecture dates helped to balance taking some time out of the regular working week and also from some weekends but in six week cycles. This made it all much more manageable. The EMBA content is wide ranging and covers highly relevant areas for an effective senior leader in an organisation. I was looking for something challenging that would give me a more strategic view of business and provide in-depth knowledge – and it has certainly delivered!

Did you receive a scholarship to study here? If yes, why did you apply for the scholarship and why do you think you were successful? What did it mean to you to receive it and how did it help you? 
I applied for the ‘Women in Leadership’ scholarship in 2013 by submitting a short paper on my experience and success to date, followed by an interview. I was successful and received a part scholarship for a year. This helped to support the business case I presented to my employee to fund the remainder of the course. It highlighted that the University were confident in investing in me as a student and gave me confidence that I was right for the course. As a result, my employer was happy to contribute to my studies. 

What has been the best part your studies so far – what have you enjoyed the most?  
I have been lucky enough to have some amazing lecturers who have provided excellent subject matter on their specialist areas. They have also successfully facilitated interesting discussions within the lectures using the experiences and knowledge of the cohort. I have also met some amazing, intelligent and fun people. We’ve supported each other and enjoyed learning about the variety of industries and organisations that we represent. It has been a collaborative environment which has been surprise. 

What are your career aspirations? Do you think the experience and skills you’ve gained here so far have helped you in your career plans? In what way?  
I have no doubt that the Executive MBA at Leeds has enhanced my aspirations. I no longer feel tied to a specific sector and feel that my skills will map over into a wide range of environments. I’ve had some great additional support to assist with my thinking about future career options and I am in no doubt that the support will continue post MBA. 

How has your career progressed since joining the Business School? Have there been any notable highlights?
When colleagues are aware that you are studying for an MBA I think they see that it’s a big commitment and it shows resilience and self-motivation. I now have a professional mentor in the workplace who supports my professional development. This relationship lead to us working together on a very high profile project in the the industry. In return, the opportunity provided me with primary-source research for an MBA assignment. My result for the module was a distinction and the whole experience added comendable value to this project.

Where are you currently working, and what is your role?
I currently work in Marketing at Clydesdale Bank as a Senior Proposition Manager but I also have my own property investment business with my husband. The EMBA has been valuable for both areas of work. 

Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here?  
I would certainly recommend the Leeds Executive MBA. I think you have to be prepared to throw yourself into a two year programme that needs commitment, time and self-motivation. In return you get a wide range of knowledge and insight, and a chance to get to know a diverse group of new people with opportunity to share ideas and perspectives. It’s not all about the learnings – it goes much wider than that.