Q&A with Executive MBA student Sarah Okorafor
09 September 2020
Executive MBA (London) participant, Sarah Okorafor, joins us for a Q&A session about her MBA experience, telling us what attracted her to WBS and which elements of the programme she values most.
Hi Sarah, firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a mum, a wife and an investor relations professional who enjoys reading, singing and spending time with the family. Coming from an Economics background, my career to date has been largely centred on finance. I have worked in investment banking, consulting and now I work within investment management. I am committed in my church, taking on roles as lead of the youth choir and a coordinator of the entire church youth body.
What first attracted you to Warwick Business School (WBS)?
Three years ago, my husband reminded me of the dream I had to embark on an EMBA at a prestigious institution, but to only do so when it made sense in my career and the timing was right. At this point I had hit a brick wall in my career and wasn’t sure how to leap to the next level. The timing for the EMBA was perfect. WBS stood out for many reasons beyond the widely attested factors such as their strong position as a world-class business school, and the diversity of the network a student gains access to.
For me, the location at The Shard was ideal and fit into my lifestyle perfectly, furthermore, realising that a cohort was not typically filled with finance professionals was a winner for me. I wanted the opportunity to meet with people from all walks of life, cultures and industries and WBS was a great platform for this. The variety of study options, current engagement in top world affairs and a structure that didn’t require examination made this the school of difference for me.
What elements of the programme do you value the most and why?
Key modules that have stood out to me have been Organisation Behaviour, Managing Organisation Performance as well as the Psychology of Investing and Financial Decision Making. The standard of teaching is indeed world class and the variety of teaching techniques brought to each module is unique. The modules offered are really useful, relevant and timely.
The topics discussed are current and interesting and provoke deep thought as well as innovative thinking. They teach new ways to approach many challenges experienced in the corporate world and the impact of external influences on these. The application of knowledge also recognises that in many areas, theories are still evolving as the world changes providing a platform for creativity and encourages contribution.
What is it like studying for an MBA?
For me, studying for an MBA is refreshing. It was exactly what I needed and has completely changed my perspective on many things. It had grown my confidence and helped me realise the potential I have to really make a difference. It also, for some of my colleagues, attracted them to another industry where they feel they are more passionate. Studying for an MBA is like a wake-up call, it buffs up your skills and uncovers many treasures we all possess and may not know.
What kind of support have you received from the careers team? How has it helped you?
The careers platform at WBS is brilliant! There are constant seminars, events and job vacancies being shared with students and alumni. The opportunities presented come from an array of industries and global regions confirmed WBS’s global reach. I appreciate the time taken by WBS to really invest in their students. A mentor is assigned to all students, which has been a great tool for me personally in uncovering my potential and developing confidence.
How do you find the work/life balance?
The variations of study options and the flexibility of choosing the particular delivery of modules which you attend shows that WBS are very understanding of the importance of work/life balance. It was difficult at first, finding my rhythm in balancing work, school, church and life at home with a then two year old. The pressure does mount up at times, I can’t lie, but the flexibility offered helps and through studying my EMBA I have significantly improved priority management. I took the evening delivery option, so most of my modules have been Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, and The Shard is located on my way home from work so it has been ideal.
Even through the Covid-19 pandemic, WBS have been very ‘on the ball’ with adapting lessons to these unprecedented times. I have been able to continue my studies, whilst those who prefer face-to-face interaction have been given the option to put things on temporary hold.
Do you have any advice for anyone currently thinking about studying for an MBA?
I am a definite advocate of the MBA, it provides so much opportunity to evolve in multiple forms. I have developed some great relationships from this course which I know will stand for years to come. I have grown significantly as an individual and a leader; developing skills and applying practical advice provided on the course to overcoming challenges. It has also taught me about prioritising and time management, just by the virtue of having another item on your plate. It’s a useful tool for self-discipline and growth. I don’t believe anyone who takes the MBA will regret it, the benefits are beyond the classroom!
Find out more about the Executive MBA (London).