Unlocking the Full Potential of an Executive MBA

03 October 2023

Cristiana Trigo, current participant on the Executive MBA programme, shares her key takeaways from her studies so far as well as her advice for maximising your MBA.

Studying an MBA is so much more than going to lectures and doing assignments. To get the most out of the programme it is important to be proactive and to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Take advantage of the resources available, network and make an effort to meet new people (outside of your cohort), have conversations about your passions and goals, and most importantly, keep challenging yourself!

For me, the above goes beyond studying, as I believe that having this approach can also add immense value to our careers.

I recently attended a networking event hosted by Warwick Business School (WBS) where I had the pleasure of networking with current WBS students and alumni. I was asked by some of my fellow students what my top takeaways from the MBA are at this point (with the finishing line just coming into sight!). I continued thinking about this and I realised that I have many, but I narrowed it down to the below:

  • Critical thinking- to me this is one of the most valuable skills the MBA is helping me strengthen. But it’s a difficult concept to grasp and apply in general. The key is to approach your learning and assignments with a critical mindset. In other words, rather than just applying concepts and theories, continuously challenge the concepts by reflecting on your own perspective. This will help strengthen problem-solving skills, which in turn drives innovative results. Be curious, reflective, and creative!
  • Knowledge share - approach the School as a community, ask for help when you need it and be ready to help others! We’re all better at some areas than others - being able to ask for help and being confident in your skills to help others is a valuable approach. Always be kind.
  • Most importantly, look after your mental health- Studying can be overwhelming, so it’s important to know when you’re pushing too hard and when it’s time to slow down. My experience with the Executive MBA is that there’s a lot of flexibility in adjusting the pace of studying, so go at your own speed and avoid comparing yourself to others. We’re all following individual paths and facing different challenges. Be easy on yourself.

I believe that the academic parts of the MBA alone are extremely valuable and worth the fees. However, I also believe that it is up to the individual to enhance the value of the MBA even further to get the most out of it. Here are some of the things I did to maximise the value of my Executive MBA.

  • Get involved - business schools like companies have professional networks that promote student/alumni development in various fields. Look for a network that resonates with a passion and find ways to contribute to the network’s growth and expansion. Doing so has provided me the opportunity to take on a leadership role within a network, meet new people, present workshops, and enhance networking skills. All whilst promoting a cause that I’m passionate about!
  • On the topic of networking- take advantage of networking events. I’ve continuously made an effort to attend networking events. This has provided me with the opportunity to grow my network and connect with people from various industries. When attending these events, I don’t normally have a particular agenda. I like meeting new people and hearing their stories and I believe that this is the best way to find common areas of interest and create genuine connections… the rest takes care of itself!
  • Take on opportunities to learn new skills (outside of the taught modules) - whenever I can, I attend professional workshops provided by my school. I’ve attended workshops on enhancing LinkedIn profile, salary negotiation, and even a whole weekend conference on AI! I’ve picked up many tips and valuable skills from these sessions, which have helped immensely with my career and personal development.