Graduating with a degree in Economics at the University of Reading, I went on to complete a Leadership Rotation Programme at Hewlett-Packard (HP). Each rotation was insightful and inspiring but it was my last rotation – assisting in building out a world-wide go-to-market strategy – that would prove pivotal in my future development and leadership roles. During this professional experience, I discovered two key qualities of the CxOs in leadership positions at multi-national firms: financial acumen and an appreciation of adaptive strategies to operate within a global environment. The rapid advancement of technology has undoubtedly changed business, but what effect does this have on leadership teams and their approach to conducting business? How should they create an operational globalised model and effectively manage organisations & teams with very diverse experiences, backgrounds and cultures? These two questions were key in determining my next steps – I went on to study an Masters in Finance at SOAS, University of London in addition to continuing my development in regional and international roles.
Following my MSc, I assumed the role of Worldwide Business Strategy & Planning Director of the Big Data Analytics division at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and am currently acting as Chief of Staff at Micro Focus.
Why the Weekend MBA and why Imperial?
I am a firm believer that education is critical to success – whether that’s in the classroom or through professional experience. I knew that the MBA would provide me with the personal and professional development necessary to maximise success in leadership roles; a focused environment with like-minded, ambitious individuals at a top-tier educational institution, with opportunities to apply learning in a practical setting – there is simply no better way to learn and the MBA at Imperial offers all of those and more.
The Weekend MBA is a great programme that allows me to accommodate my demanding professional role as well as my desire to study in the classroom and get the face-to-face interaction, which I think is essential for effective learning. Having got to know everyone on the cohort, it is clear to see that everyone is motivated, and has the skills and determination to succeed, which provides a key facet of an MBA – a global contact list of future leaders. The format ensures everyone is able to be fully focused in concentrated periods throughout the year and immerse themselves in sharing their own experiences to enrich the rest of the class.
Lastly, the prestigious reputation of Imperial was truly global; the comprehensive combination of a STEM-focused institution, coupled with the focus on innovation from a business perspective, set in the heart of London, made it difficult for rival schools to match. It’s very exciting to see that ICBS is rapidly investing in the programme to continue its development which is helping students to have an even more enriching experience.
Balancing work, studying and life
One of the most crucial skills learnt during the Weekend MBA was time management. Whilst this point is usually laboured during any programme, this was greatly honed during the Weekend MBA. We have to balance work, family and study, all at the same time. Naturally within the cohort, you have existing and aspiring leaders who work hard, so everyone is in a similar situation and supports each other. Prioritisation is key! You quickly discern what is a ‘priority’ and what is not. Many students a few months in wonder what they did with their time prior to the MBA, and now many are questioning what to do with all the free time afterwards!