From coaching sessions to practical workshops, current Executive MBA participant Richard Waumsley discusses how his experience has been much more than just an academic exercise.
Executive MBA participant, Dr Nathalie Huther, describes her experience at WBS and highlights her favourite module so far.
In just over six months, and with several core modules of my Executive MBA already under my belt, I can certainly say that my transformation has well and truly started. All of the modules have been challenging, thought provoking and have given me valuable tools to evaluate and apply my learnings to various situations at work, sometimes with very different perspectives.
As an experienced executive, I often find myself connecting learnings during lectures to real life examples, from current or past organisations. The interactions, debates and group work with my cohort (even when connecting in-between modules) are also extremely enriching as they provide insights and perspectives from other industries and roles within a wide range of organisation types and sizes. Having spent most of my career in the pharma/biotech industry, it is refreshing to get the input from people outside of my usual professional networking bubble.
The way the course is structured has enabled me to study alongside my work commitments. Although intense and, at times, exhausting (some of the group assignment preparation can finish late, and let’s not forget the very important networking aspect of meeting your peers socially after class), it allows me to completely immerse myself in the topic.
One module in particular, the first one taught in our cohort, had a particular impact on me. This was Organisational Behaviour (OB) which, by interpreting organisational interactions, identifies why people make decisions, stay motivated and productive.
I can’t deny that sitting in that lecture theatre back in September through the initial OB lectures, just after we completed our induction, felt quite overwhelming at first. Although I used to be quite academic and already had a Postgraduate Doctorate (PhD in Chemistry), it had been a few years since I last sat in a lecture theatre. Besides all my prior education was in applied sciences and looking at social sciences’ theories, concepts and models initially felt hard to grasp, even feeling out of my depth at times wondering whether I did underestimate how hard this MBA would be.
However, I have so far found it to be one of the most relevant modules and one that I could immediately start to apply in my work environment. In my case, the company I worked for just went through an acquisition and we were in the middle of a reorganisation, merging teams and reallocating resources. I found the opportunity to reframe situations through the OB framework lenses using the tools we were taught, as well as reviewing academic literature specifically about OB applied to M&As, extremely valuable and, when applied to how the changes impacted my own role in the new organisation, somehow even therapeutic.
As a manager, understanding and addressing individuals’ motivations and engagement, as well as group dynamics, particularly in times of structural changes is crucial and using the learnings from this module first hand has therefore been invaluable. Most importantly, I feel I am now able to identify all of the variables in the human structure that organisations represent.
As I now further grow my team, understanding group dynamics is still pretty much a hot topic for me and I am amazed how my initially very scientific/process-driven brain has adapted to developing a more theoretical and critical understanding of human behaviour at work.
Although learning about OB has been a bit of a highlight for me so far due to its particular relevance and timing, I have found myself, sometimes unexpectedly, applying learnings from most modules so far and I am certainly looking forward to continue to learn more through the rest of my journey as an Executive MBA participant at WBS.
Find out more about our Executive MBA programme here.