"Amazing, intense, and enjoyable"  Three months into the Distance Learning MBA programme

18 November 2021

Distance learning MBA participant Neil Perrins' shares his experience on the programme so far, from online learning to Warwick Week. 

I’m an experienced strategic leader and a qualified accountant with 20 years’ experience operating in organisations who have a clear social purpose and commercial mind-set. I’m currently working for Barking Riverside Ltd, a commercial Joint Venture between the Mayor of London and L&Q (one of the largest Housing Associations in the UK) to regenerate the old power station site in Barking by the River Thames and create a new diverse community with over 10,000 much needed homes. 

I chose Warwick Business School for three reasons: it’s long-standing high reputation and quality as a Business School; it’s evidenced rankings as a top Distance learning MBA programme; and the ability to return to Warwick 20 years on from my undergraduate degree, which originally set me up for a great career so far, to hopefully use the MBA to set me up for an even better next 20 years of my career.

I value the variety of the modules and the academics leading them, alongside the gently blended learning approach of a well-structured online platform with the in-person weeks twice a year, called Warwick Weeks. Now three months into the programme, while I’m naturally an introvert outside work, I’m massively valuing the diversity within the cohort and getting to genuinely create a global network of professional contacts, some of whom are already becoming good friends through the informal social side of working together and discussing topics on a distance learning MBA. The first Warwick Week has been brilliant for meeting people in person who I have digitally interacted with previously, strengthening previously forming friendships and building many new ones.

The first three months studying for an MBA have been an amazing, intense, and enjoyable. The online platform helps keep the right pace and structure of a lesson per week per module, alongside the formal forums and my cohort’s informal slack group has helped us all support each other to discuss and learn about topics more widely. It is a challenge re-learning how to write academic assignments again having become well versed in writing many Board papers in recent years!

I’ve found the Leadership module a useful consolidation of my previous learning and experiences, as well as opening up new perspectives and latest academic thinking in this area. The broad range of case studies and perspectives has been great, as has Dimitrios’ (Spyridonidis) push on encouraging us to remember the difference between the badge of being a leader versus truly excellent leadership, alongside remembering that the ‘best’ approach depends on many things and there’s never a single correct answer to leadership.

It’s a bit early for support from the Careers team for me but I found the Career Pivot session during Warwick Week, alongside the talk from Sarah Ellis about the Squiggly Career really thought provoking on what to do next in my career and how I could use the dissertation to help open up both my perspective and doors to entry into that next career stage.

Through the MBA I hoped to gain new knowledge, consolidate my experiences through academic application, and broaden my perspectives. I am already getting this and much more. The diversity within the cohort has added much to the vibrancy of what we are all experiencing, and the informal support network forming digitally and now in person is helping me rapidly see the world from many different individuals, professionalism, and cultural perspectives.

My one piece of advice for anyone currently thinking about studying for an MBA is to stop and reflect on why you really want to do it. The MBA badge is great, however when you are truly ready to open your mind, listen, be curious, contribute, and develop yourself to help bring more positive change to the world, then you will get so much more from an MBA programme at WBS.

Find out more about our Distance Learning MBA programmes here