Why did you choose to study the Weekday Executive MBA specifically at Imperial College Business School?
Reputation; as an academic I am only too aware of the brand advantage of elite universities. Equally important was the science and technology focus, and the overseas study tour.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same Business School programme as you?
It can be a tad tough on top of the day job, but the time management challenge is more than offset by the rich experience studying alongside those from a wealth of different backgrounds not just in business and finance, but law, science and the public sector. My advice is to soak up the rich breadth of offerings in the first year, especially in areas you might consider left of field for your sector. Then in year two, do the opposite: tailor your electives and thesis to focus on your interests and building your future career
How has the Business School helped develop your career?
The MBA was life-changing in so many ways, but the legacies that stood me in greatest stead were leadership and change management. A real treat was Rifat Atun’s instruction in Biopharma and Global Health, turning student assignments into joint publications in the literature. Another plus is that I am less bamboozled by bean counter spiel. I have benefitted from these skills in changing my main career thrust from a humble hospital doctor and lab researcher to senior administrator, firstly in a medical research institute, and now as Dean of a university faculty with over seven thousand students and three thousand staff.
What do you enjoy most about your work and what are the main challenges that you face?
Motivating people to achieve as a team is quite a task with academics who traditionally behave as a loose alliance of sole traders. In a public sector institution, the main challenge is doing more with less, diversifying the income base to capitalise on philanthropic and trading opportunities. The parts I enjoy most are the variety and the competition.
Which books would you recommend alumni read?
I can’t go past autobiographies of life’s maverick thinkers:
- A Life Decoded by Craig Venter
- Hitch 22 by Christopher Hitchins
- To the Castle and Back by Vaclav Havel