- Course: Full-time MBA
- Year of graduation: 2010
- Nationality: South African
- Job title: Group Risk and Capital Optimisation
- Company: Prudential PLC
I chose to do my MBA at Leeds by looking at a number of areas. I researched good MBA schools via the internet and AMBA (Association of MBA’s), and then I looked at the overall MBA offering: makeup of faculty, reputation in the market, rankings, cost, duration, references from alumni and admin support prior to studies.
I needed to have a more strategic approach to my career development focusing on qualitative aspects of development: leadership, management and strategy. The MBA was an obvious choice for career fast tracking and diversification in order to be more competitive.
The course offering was diverse, and in line with leading business schools, an indication of demands in the market. Leeds University Business School is also known for its leading role on research and for international business.
One element of the course which added true depth to the experience was the people. The cohort was made up of at least 22 nations under one roof. We had high quality discussions and I was able to learn about best practices from so many different countries and able to benchmark with own experience.
The overall highlight of my time at the Business School was regularly attending events and with professional who shared their experiences. Everything I learnt was practical and applicable to own experiences. The Global Talent Centre was an additional service whichwas crucial for my career planning through career coaches, industry advisors and personal development seminars.
My aim for my MBA year was to become more globally aware, so I sought out international extra-curricular opportunities. I was chosen to represent Leeds University Business School at the World Business Dialogue in Germany. Later, I attended the Harambe Endeavour Symposium (Harvard, Boston) focusing on Scenario Planning on Africa. I applied my learning and gained a distinction for my dissertation on this topic.
I am now part of Prudential’s Momentum Programme - an International Management Programme aimed at attracting high potential individuals to be fast tracked in taking leadership roles within the group. This entails rotations across business units and countries. My current role is at Group Risk and Capital Optimisation, at Prudential PLC, working on an EU Risk and Capital regulatory project that is being introduced across the group, called the Solvency II risk management.
My experience on the Leeds MBA helped me in my current role, by realising that the world is a global village; and having an outside perspective on things goes a long way. Always think beyond the obvious and find connections in all that you do.
My advice to current students is that there is no substitute for hard work. Do as much as possible earlier rather than later… it does pay off at the end. Also take advantage of what the business school offers, i.e networks, seminars, student societies etc, because at the end of the day, it goes beyond the classroom. Learn from day to day interactions, discussions with fellow students, and build your networks beyond your comfort zone. Plan out your career early on and seek advice at all times.
My ambitions for the future involve 3 scenarios. Firstly I would like to build my corporate career to a strategic level within a multinational, and influence change and the strategic direction of the firm. I would like to also play a meaningful role in African politics, starting with South Africa and then expand within the continent. Finally, I am also interested in international politics, specifically joining the UN, World Bank or the IMF, focusing on poverty alleviation, economic development and young people empowerment. I have no doubt that all will fall into place at the right time.