Inside the Accelerator MBA: Motivations and first impressions

31 May 2024

Introducing our first Accelerator MBA cohort. Learn about their motivations for choosing this MBA format and gain insights into their initial impressions of the first module and fellow students. The first in a series of six blogs, as we follow three participants from our first Accelerator MBA cohort through their MBA journey.

Alannah Coupar

Image of Alannah, Accelerator MBA participant

I completed my undergraduate degree in History in 2016. After graduating, I joined one of the UK’s largest financial service organisations, where I began my career managing proposition and product design. I then played a key role in establishing our first sustainability team and strategy. Currently, I lead efforts to embed human rights and social responsibility across the organisation.

What motivated you to pursue an MBA? Working in sustainable finance, my decision to pursue an MBA was motivated by my desire to learn more about how businesses can balance commercial success with societal and environmental impact, as well as an opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of business management. I hope this will equip me with the strategic and operational insights necessary to advance my career. The emphasis on leadership was a crucial aspect of my decision, as I aspire to lead teams and organisations towards responsible business practices.

Why did you choose the Accelerator MBA format? Since graduating, I’ve been contemplating doing an MBA but the idea of taking a year off work always held me back. The flexibility of the Accelerator MBA is perfect because it lets me enjoy the face-to-face interactions of an MBA while continuing to work full-time.

What are your first impressions of your cohort? What really stands out to me about my cohort is that they come from a range of sectors and parts of the world, bringing unique perspectives and experiences to our discussions. The group is collaborative, and the in-class conversations and groupwork are always thought-provoking. Plus, the social side has been great, I’ve loved getting to know everyone over a few drinks after class!

How did you find the first module? My initial impressions have been incredibly positive. The curriculum is tough but rewarding, and I have been really impressed with the quality of the teaching. The professors bring a wealth of knowledge to every session, making each class engaging.

I have also been really impressed by the career support and networking. Attending the professional network events has allowed me to connect with other students and alumni. I can already see the benefits of being part of such an inspiring community of changemakers.

Looking ahead, what are you most excited about as you continue your MBA journey? Looking ahead, I'm excited about what the next two years have in store and truly believe this experience will be transformative for my career. I'm particularly thrilled about the practical applications of our learning. The focus on case studies will help me apply theoretical knowledge to real-world problems. I'm also looking forward to the overseas module, which will offer me a global perspective on business and help me build a diverse, international professional network.

In short, embarking on this MBA journey at Warwick Business School is more than just a career move for me. It's a chance to make a meaningful impact in the business world while growing both personally and professionally.

Henry Middleton

Image of Henry, Accelerator MBA participant

I joined the British Army in 2009 after completing my undergraduate degree in Arabic. After an intensive year of leadership training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, I commissioned into the Royal Artillery where I managed to squeeze in a couple of operational tours, training overseas, and some excellent lessons in applied leadership through trial and error! I left the Army in 2016 to work for a social enterprise who implement international development projects in the Global South and am now the Chief Operations Officer there supporting project teams to deliver some amazing, impactful projects in places like Yemen, Haiti and Lebanon.

What motivated you to pursue an MBA? I was noticing gaps in my knowledge as I was becoming exposed to having to make more commercial, strategic business decisions and I was also developing a growing interest in how private sector investment can have positive social and environmental impact and wanted to explore that more. I’d been considering various MBAs for a few years and had never quite taken the plunge due to various work and personal commitments, and the small matter of a global pandemic, which I felt would limit the opportunity to grow my network. When I read about the Heropreneurs WBS scholarship last year and looked at the programmes available at WBS, I decided to go for it and I’m really glad I did.

Why did you choose the Accelerator MBA format? To be honest it chose me, or rather when I applied for the Heropreneurs WBS scholarship the course hadn’t yet been announced. After I found out that I’d been accepted by WBS they suggested that I take a look at the Accelerator MBA, which blends the flexibility of the top ranked Global Online MBA with the in person Executive MBA in a roughly 20:80 split. This format is perfect for me and blends the best of both worlds and fits around my work life, which often involves travel.

How did you find the first module? I’ve just completed the first module on Organisational Behaviour and am starting the Operations Management module this week. My first impressions are hugely positive. Everyone at WBS have been brilliant, enthusiastic and helpful from the get-go and they really foster an amazing culture that is both motivating and nurturing. The course material itself is really interesting and I found myself immersed in the topic for the first assessment and finding that I was immediately able to apply my new knowledge into my professional life.

What are your first impressions of your cohort? I think the group are brilliant. Everyone comes from such different backgrounds and bring rich experiences from their own careers. Everyone is hugely motivated with a number of our cohort travelling to London from around the word for the face-to-face sessions and getting online late in the night for their time zones. Everyone is so committed, and you can see why WBS MBA graduates are Change Makers.

Looking ahead, what are you most excited about as you continue your MBA journey? I’m conscious that the MBA will fly by very quickly and so I want to be quite strategic in how I use it to achieve my goals. For me this means, making some tough choices about which modules I want to take as electives as they all sound so interesting. I also want to engage with the WBS CareersPlus team and the Executive Coaching that is available to make sure I maximise the opportunity, whilst at WBS.

Caroline Sze

Image of Caroline, Accelerator MBA participant

After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2019, I stepped straight into the corporate world as a management trainee at a large company. Supporting a HR transformation project at that time was a whirlwind of learning and growth, which led me to a transition into the world of consultancy as a strategy and organisation consultant in one of the largest global consultancy firms now.

What motivated you to pursue an MBA? Despite my career’s upward trajectory, I always harboured a desire for further education. I explored various master’s programmes, but it was the MBA that resonated deeply with my career aspirations, promising a natural progression to the next level. 

Why did you choose the Accelerator MBA format? The term ‘accelerator’ suggested a dynamic, fast-paced journey that could catapult my career forward. Warwick’s esteemed reputation and rich history, combined with the extensive alumni network and proven teaching quality, made it an appealing choice. The school’s core values of curiosity, openness, restlessness and excellence spoke directly to my personal ethos and professional ambitions. 

Eager for international exposure but unwilling to forfeit my job in Hong Kong, Warwick’s blended format was the perfect solution. It offered the flexibility I needed without compromising the immersive educational experience I sought. From the first day, I knew I had made the right choice!

What are your first impressions of your cohort? The diversity and brilliance of my classmates is astounding. As we share our stories and experiences, I feel a sense of belonging and safety that is unlike anything I have experienced before. Typically reserved, I have found myself opening up, confident that my thoughts and opinions are valued and respected. 

How did you find the first module? The induction sessions were meticulously planned, introducing us to the Careers team and featuring insightful alumni talks. Warwick’s dedication to personal growth and career development was evident throughout. The alumni sessions provided a treasure trove of inspiration and networking opportunities. Initially apprehensive about networking, I discovered that our small cohort fostered genuine, effortless connections, and it turned out to be one of the highlights. The camaraderie was natural and unforced, ending the induction course on a high, leaving us all inspired and deeply connected. 

Our first module, Organisational Behaviour, although aligned with my professional background, offered fresh perspectives through its application of organisational theories to real world scenarios. Class discussions and case studies, enriched by diverse viewpoints, made the learning process incredibly engaging. 

Looking ahead, what are you most excited about as you continue your MBA journey? As I look ahead, my enthusiasm for the journey only intensifies. I am most excited about the exchange programmes and international electives. I eagerly anticipate the chance to learn from international experts, engage in cross-cultural collaboration, and bring these rich experiences back to enhance my professional and personal growth. Each new adventure WBS offers fills me with a sense of anticipation and exhilaration, as I prepare to embrace every challenge and opportunity that comes my way!

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