- Course: Executive MBA
- Year of graduation: 2014
- Job title: Vice President - Digital Strategy and IoT
- Company: Avnet
Tell us about your degree - why did you choose it? What elements of the degree inspired you to study it?
I completed my Executive MBA studies in July 2014, after what feels like a 2 year rollercoaster ride where I spent most of my time juggling study, work and social life. The aftermath of which I have described in my first LinkedIn blog as ‘A Bittersweet Experience’. As an engineering graduate, I always knew that I would one day take on an MBA to help broaden my commercial acumen, and achieve my ultimate aspiration to lead large organisations. So when the time was right, and I was in a good place in my career, working for a supporting firm, I began my research into Business Schools in the UK. The reputation and research heritage, matched with the industry links and course delivery – made it very easy for me to narrow down Leeds as one of the most viable options. It was then down to the nature of course delivery, and the block week formats worked perfectly with my work commitments. Everything from there on is what I can only describe as life changing.
What was the best part of your studies here? What did you enjoy the most?
Like everyone in my cohort, I learned a lot about stuff you would expect to – from books, case studies, academics, etc. But the one learning channel I hadn’t accounted for was from my class mates. We had a very good balance of diverse students with a ton of industry experience and practical knowledge, that made learning fun. You could easily relate to any theory, as we always had such good examples of real life implications of every imaginable academic theory. Furthermore, and more importantly we all got along very well even outside the classroom, and we have kept that connection going post MBA.
What were your career aspirations when you arrived? Do you think the experience and skills you gained here will help/helped you in your future career plans? In what way?
I often use myself as an example of where one can see a direct tangible benefit from an MBA. I could not do what I do in my current role if it wasn’t for the learning and development I had over those two years at the Business School. Only a few months into my MBA, I was able to directly apply my coursework to a real business environment, and was successful in securing the role to work with our Chief Strategy and Marketing Office to deliver a FTSE 250 Global eCommerce organisations three year Corporate Strategy. This is just one example of many, and it shows how, if done the right way, an MBA can really help you accelerate your career like nothing else. I now work in Strategic Marketing for Premier Farnell, leading and delivering strategic and tactical initiatives across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. My remit is truly diverse and exciting, which sees me working on projects such as new market entry strategies, to developing and launching new solutions for our customers.
What are your ambitions for the future?
My ultimate aspiration to lead an organisation such as Premier Farnell one day. Some might see this as an unrealistic ambition, but I am determined and committed to work towards it and give it my 100%. At least that way, I will never have to be the ‘what if’ guy!
What was your impression/experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the student union, the City of Leeds and the region itself?
The Executive MBA is a serious course. It takes a lot of commitment both financially and emotionally. So I recommend any prospective student to do their due diligence well in advance and do it properly. And once you’re committed to doing it, be prepared for a life changing experience. It is worth pointing that the more you invest, participate, and engage, the more you will get out of it and the whole experience will become even more rewarding.
I cannot speak highly enough of the facilities and staff the Business School has to offer. The quality of the service is truly remarkable, and one you would expect only from a leading establishment such as Leeds University Business School. We had the full support network to succeed, and we did!
What would you say is your defining memory of studying here?
The Executive MBA has been a tough experience, but it has equally yielded so much pleasure. I have learnt so much, met such great people, and most importantly developed the skills required to expand that knowledge even further, continually. I look forward to building on this in the years to come, while cherishing every moment of that bittersweet experience. I would highly recommend the Business School MBA.