Caroline Holloway

Programme: Weekend MBA

Undergraduate education: PR and Marketing, London Metropolitan University

Current position: Institutional Marketing Manager, Royal London Asset Management

Caroline Holloway was a Weekend MBA class of 2016-17 student. When joining Imperial College Business School, Caroline was working as an Institutional Marketing Manager at Royal London Asset Management

Professional background

I am an Institutional Marketing Manager with a large asset management company. It’s a great role with both strategic and tactical elements. My role entails creating a strategic marketing plan for the year, including tactics that will help market the various funds that my company have to offer. No two days are the same, I may be creating brochures and fact sheets, planning a round-table event or using social/rich media such as webinars or videos. The great thing about doing the Weekend MBA is that you are able to implement so much of what you learn straight away within your organisation.


Choosing the Weekend MBA and Imperial

An MBA is a great accomplishment. I wanted to study for one because it provides an all-round business qualification. As I was progressing in my career I wanted to have a clearer idea of the routes to achieving career success, I also wanted to propel my career from mid management into senior management. I certainly didn’t go into my MBA thinking that it would accelerate my career immediately, but I wanted to have the tools ready and available for when the time was right.

Apart from Imperial College Business School having a great reputation and good MBA ranking, ultimately it was the best fit for me. I liked that there was so much diversity in the type of industry backgrounds people had. Some of the other schools I visited are known for having a skew towards finance for example. Having worked in the finance industry for some time now, I thought it would be beneficial to learn from/with those from a totally different sector, in order to expand my knowledge and perspective. While there are a number of students from a financial background, I feel at Imperial College Business School the split is more even.


A diverse cohort

Our cohort is large and diverse, there are around 70 of us from all over the globe, with lots of different careers including medical doctors, engineers, consultants, lawyers, marketers and even a brewer. The rich mix of talent is evident and although we are a large group we have formed long lasting bonds. The great things about such a diverse group is that you can always call on someone for help, whether that’s an accountant for help with accounting revision or a foot in the door when you are trying to look for employment.


Experiences of the Weekend MBA

I have learned so many subjects that I haven’t ever learned before in a structured setting. I have really enjoyed learning about Organisational Behaviour, there is so much that goes into building and maintaining a strong culture within an organisation. I have also grappled with economics and accounting, I had to work really hard on them but learning the subjects was a great learning curve. An added bonus is that they have already come in handy in my day job.

I would definitely say the network that I have developed at the Business School is incredible. The most rewarding part is when I get to share what I have learned with my team at work or I’m able to have input on areas that I would not have felt confident enough to have an opinion on before I joined the course.

The College have many events and activities usually organised by the students themselves. The latest event that I attended was a talk by Charles Rolls co-founder of Fever Tree, which was organised by the Enterprise Lab Team.

Weekend sessions are always very intense, there is a lot of information to learn within the time frame. I tend to read the core content and cases ahead of the classes, I try not to do it too far in advance so that the content is still fresh in my mind. I’ll take notes while going through the material and write down any questions that spring to mind, ready for discussion with the class.


Looking forward to the rest of the Weekend MBA

I really want to develop my strategic thinking and problem solving. In the second year of the course you get to choose electives that really focus on the areas that you want to enhance. I have chosen a few strategy classes as well as international business and digital business. Each of these modules give some core models to help think through strategic problems that occur in work, but have also taught me to be flexible enough to use the model effectively to fit into any context.


Juggling the work life balance

This has been incredibly difficult, no matter how many times you are told it will be difficult, you don’t really believe it until you are in the midst of it. You have to make plenty of sacrifices to achieve what you want to get out of the MBA. There will be missed arrangements and you can forget about binge watching the latest box sets! The first few months are the most intense, but after that you will start to get the hang of it, prioritising what is an absolute necessity and what is nice to have, and organising your time accordingly.


Top tips for prospective Weekend MBA students

Choosing a school can be difficult but I’d advise going to each school, sit in on lectures if you have the opportunity, and meet with MBAs who are currently at the school. This will give you an indication as to what the school’s culture is and if that is the best fit for you.

Programme: Weekend MBA

Undergraduate education: PR and Marketing, London Metropolitan University

Current position: Institutional Marketing Manager, Royal London Asset Management