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Claire Hardy

Programme
Executive MBA
Nationality
British
Job after graduation
Director of Corporate Affairs and Global Social Impact, Worldpay
Year of graduation
2018
Claire Hardy EMBA 2017
Claire Hardy, Executive MBA
“You learn so much on the MBA, and being able to immediately put some of your learnings into practice is really beneficial. As well as the academic learning, there’s a lot of informal tools and techniques that you’re taught along the way.”

Professional background

I head up the External Communications at Worldpay, a FTSE100 company and global payments processor. It’s a varied role which requires liaising with a range of stakeholders, from the media to shareholders, governments and regulatory bodies. A large part of my day-to-day activity is related to the financial markets – the reporting of our results, for example, as well as participating in investor roadshows and speaking to national business editors on our group performance and future ambitions. 

Why an Executive MBA?

I decided to study an Executive MBA because – given the changes underway in recent years at Worldpay – one of my remits has been to shake up the External Communications function and to build it from what had historically existed in more of a private equity-backed company setting into a function befitting a FTSE100 company. This was a great challenge for me, and I really wanted a toolkit to understand how all of the different aspects of the business work together and how I could pull from that to build an efficient team. I also wanted to improve my leadership skills and general knowledge of traditional business subjects, such as finance and accounting, which are integral to shaping a business. Upskilling is only ever a good thing.

Why Imperial?

I chose to study an EMBA at Imperial for lots of reasons. Imperial College London obviously has a fantastic reputation and I was really impressed with the EMBA after going to one of the Admissions Days. We had a sample lecture, networked with other prospective students and got to talk to faculty members. The event showed the flexibility in the mindset of Imperial, that they’re hosting these events at times that work for prospective students. The staff running the event were very open and I was really impressed by the calibre of both the existing students that we met and the teaching staff holding a taster lecture.

The Imperial community

The programme content is exceptional but the people who I’m actually mixing with on a day-to-day basis when I go into lectures – the cohort – are absolutely integral to the programme. Without their ideas and discussion points the lectures wouldn’t be the same. For me, it’s been really rewarding to work alongside such a high calibre of students.

"The programme content is exceptional but the people who I’m actually mixing with on a day-to-day basis when I go into lectures – the cohort – are absolutely integral to the programme."

Building credibility

You learn so much on the MBA, and being able to immediately put some of your learnings into practice is really beneficial. As well as the academic learning, there’s a lot of informal tools and techniques that you’re taught along the way. I’ve been putting these into practice already and this has helped quite significantly in building credibility at my business.

The balance between work, life and study

Studying while working full-time is obviously difficult. I don’t think that anyone who takes this on is under any illusions that it’s not going to be a significant jump in workload and time commitment. I’m really lucky as my employers are tremendously supportive. It’s really important to have those conversations really early on – with your family members, your friends and your employer. To make sure that they understand why you’re going to have a lot more time commitments and that they’re willing to support you.

A blend of online and on-campus learning

For each module, we have a series of online pre-reading and materials to complete via The Hub, the Business School’s online learning platform. These have been set into a digestible format with attached time estimates. This really helps you to plan how much preparation time you’ll need to allocate before the weekend sessions. I work through that activity stream during the month ahead – and try not to leave it all until the last minute, naturally!

Enriching your global perspective of business

As part of the Executive MBA we go on three international residencies to locations across the world. These are really useful trips to help you increase your knowledge of operations in business environments across the globe. During these trips, not only are you hosted by local business schools who give you lectures on all of the cultural and operational aspects of business in the region but it’s a great chance to be on the ground and witness for yourselves how business environments work. 

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