Highly motivated and ambitious are distinguishing characteristics of our MBA candidates. Throughout March we're finding out more about the women on our MBA to discover what makes them tick. Our fifth blog of the 2020 series celebrates the achievements of Full-time MBA participant Charlotte Lavelle.
What makes Charlotte a stand-out MBA candidate?
An energetic leader, adventurer, and accomplished self-starter, Charlotte is one to watch. Since graduating from the University of Sheffield with a first-class degree in History, Charlotte has gone from strength-to-strength, securing herself a graduate scheme at BT Plc, London, and achieving BT Graduate of the Year 2015. Over the past six years, Charlotte has progressed in Procurement and Software Product Management roles within the company, as well as being awarded BT Future Leader in 2016 and 2017, and offering her support as a mentor to two young individuals affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster. In September 2019, Charlotte swapped her life in London for full-time study at WBS, embarking on her latest challenge: the Warwick Full-time MBA. We spoke to Charlotte to find out more.
What led you to pursue the Full-time MBA?
BT taught me so much, and I am very grateful for my time there, but I knew that I didn’t want to be there for my whole career. As I didn’t quite know what I actually did want to do for the rest of my career, I wanted to go and do an MBA to learn lots of new things about the business world, and open my eyes to other opportunities.
I chose WBS for three reasons: because the core modules were amazing, the careers support was incredible, and it wasn’t in London. I really valued the core modules as I knew it would give me the foundations of everything ‘business’, which is exactly what I was looking for. The CareersPlus team really attracted me due to the one-to-one coaching available, which I really needed as I wasn’t at all clear on my path post-MBA. Finally, having spent six years in London, I was keen to get out of the bubble, move somewhere new and have a fresh perspective. Coventry offers the best of both worlds – amazing opportunities in the West Midlands but also close enough to London to visit there too!
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is spending two months travelling across India on my own during my gap year when I was eighteen. This might sound like an odd choice, but having never been away by myself, and having never been to Asia, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. But during that time I learnt more about the world and myself than I ever thought possible. It was truly life-changing, and the kindness of strangers that I met will stay with me forever. It was the trip that started my love of solo travelling – I still try and go away on my own every year just for some space, a challenge – and an adventure!
How have you found studying at WBS so far?
Studying at WBS has been incredibly rewarding and challenging all at the same time. Doing the full-time course means I am always on the go – lectures, reading, group work, assignment, careers events - it never ends! I have found the lectures really interesting, and the group work has been so rewarding – getting to know people in that small working environment and achieving things that never would have been possible on my own has been amazing. Additionally, getting to know my cohort has been fantastic – I have learnt so much more about the world and other cultures, and truly made some friends for life!
What aspects of the course have you enjoyed so far?
There have been so many favourite aspects of the course. Meeting so many new people has been incredible, but the learning has also been fantastic. My favourite modules have been Strategic Thinking and Organisational Behaviour. Strategic Thinking has been amazing as I have never learnt anything about strategy before, and I was very scared of it. But the lectures have made it so accessible and interesting that I really feel like I have learnt so much. The Organisational Behaviour module has been fascinating for a different reason – I am fascinated by people and human interactions, and this module has really helped me to analyse why people act in the way they do and to challenge some of our normal thinking. It’s been fascinating to really dig deep into human nature. Finally, I have to mention the Accounting and Finance module – as a completely non-finance person, I was very scared of this module, but the lectures have been so fantastic in making it simple and accessible – I understand things I never thought I would be able to.
What advice would you give to students embarking on the MBA?
I have three pieces of advice for anyone about to start on the MBA. Firstly, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get involved, learn from internationally renowned lecturers, and make some friends for life. So really make sure you put yourself out there and get involved. Secondly, I would say to have a good balance between work and social life. Some of the most rewarding and interesting conversations I have had on this course have not all been in the classroom – so make yourself available to join in with the social events going on and use the opportunity to speak to people you wouldn’t normally speak to. My final piece of advice rather goes against the first two, but it’s to make some time for yourself too. In the first term, I struggled a bit with everything going on to process and understand everything I was learning and experiencing, and I ended up feeling a bit overwhelmed. I learnt that I needed to give myself time and space to take it all in. So, if you can get the balance right, you will be better prepared to make the most of the time you do spend learning and meeting new people!
Find out more about the Full-time MBA.