It has been six months since I wrote my last blog post about the MBA graduation, and for reasons that I will later explain I thought now would be a good time to write a final blog post about my MBA journey. Looking back through my reference files I realised that it is six years since I initially considered undertaking an MBA, when I attended an MBA open event in 2010. In 2011 I spent some time choosing between a number of business schools and applied to two different MBA programmes, accepting a place on the Warwick Business School DLMBA starting in January 2012, just over four years ago.
The three and a half years that followed were some of the busiest of my life (so far anyway) – but full of some wonderful learning experiences, challenging assignments to write, interesting people to meet, and seeing the business world from a whole new perspective. Here’s a quick breakdown of my experience in numbers:
- 39 x Months
- 13 x Modules
- 23 x Textbooks
- 4 x Trips to Warwick
- Too many webinars to count
- Around 20 x Tutor Marked Assessments
- 10 x 3,000-word Assignments
- 1 x Group Assignment
- 3 x Exams
- 98 x Research Articles
- 15 x Interviews
- 111 x Dissertation pages
- 50 x Blog Posts
So after all that, I’m sure some people are wondering – was it worth it? To answer that question, I probably need to mention my initial motivations for undertaking an MBA:
- I had a personal interest in understanding the business world better – for all I appreciated the basics, I was really interested in learning more detail about areas such as strategy, finance, marketing, operations, people and change
- Having mainly worked in technical roles since I left University in 2000, I wanted to make the transition to a more business-focussed role where I would be involved in some of the areas above
- When I had completed that transition, I wanted to have an educated view of the field I was in, rather than just knowledge based on my exposure to it from previous roles
Although hard work, I can certainly say that the MBA fulfilled my personal interest in the field of business. I now have a really strong understanding of the many topics covered – and not only have I applied these when working with my customers and employer, but I also have a much better understanding of things happening outside my organisation and industry. I also thoroughly enjoyed studying the various subjects over the 3.5 years.
Transition to a business-focussed role
I actually started this transition at the same time as embarking on the MBA, when I moved into a business development role. However, I admit that when exploring new opportunities after graduating I was somewhat unsure as to whether the MBA would help me complete that transition, as I didn’t feel I was leveraging effectively what I had learned on the MBA in my job search.
One point I want to mention is that after looking around the WBS alumni website to see if I could get any ideas to help me, I discovered that I was entitled to an initial WBS alumni career consultation free of charge. I would highly recommend this to anyone considering a career transition, as it provided an independent third-party who helped me to understand and appreciate my strengths that would be applicable to a career transition. There are also many other resources available at that website, so it’s definitely worthwhile students taking a look after completing the MBA.
Moving into the application process, what I found is that whilst having the MBA qualification did not appear to be a pre-requisite factor in the selection process (for the industry and roles I was considering), I think it provided a valuable insight for potential employers into me as an individual, and the knowledge and perspectives I built up from the MBA helped me during the interviews themselves. This resulted in me being offered a number of positions, and I accepted a role that I will be starting tomorrow – completing my motivation to make a career transition.
Educated view for a future role
I’m extremely excited to be joining Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway team, where I will be involved in developing and building Cisco UKI’s innovation capability, and working with startups, partners, customers and other third-parties on their innovation programmes such as IDEALondon, the Cisco BIG Awards and the National Virtual Incubator. This role directly aligns with some of my favourite modules from the MBA, including Innovation & Creativity, Strategic Marketing, Management of Change, and Complexity, Management & Network Thinking, as well as linking to my MBA project research, and so I believe it will be a great opportunity for me to put into practice what I have learned – and hopefully I will make a bigger impact in the role because of it.
So as my MBA journey is now complete, and I embark on the next phase of my career, this will be my final blog post. Thanks to everyone for reading over the last four years, and to those of you who have contacted me to say you are applying for, starting, or completing your MBA at Warwick Business School – good luck, and I hope it proves as valuable to you as it has to me.