Strategy & Innovation participant, Trevor Hoyle, describes the benefits of working with a diverse cohort and why we must become life long-learners.
I have worked at FedEx Express for 25 years, having started as a supervisor on the parcel sort in a depot, I can still remember that 4 am start. I have been very fortunate to have progressed to such a senior position. Whilst I left school and entered the world of work at 16, I have always been a strong believer in life-long learning and have frequently enrolled on courses and read a lot, although I have never undertaken a program as academic as this one. I was attracted to Warwick due to its reputation for its Executive programmes, and whilst I am attracted to the idea of completing an MBA, I didn’t want to commit to a programme longer than 12 months. I also have several colleagues who have studied with Warwick and speak very highly of their experience.
I also felt that the Executive Diploma in Strategy and Innovation complemented some of the business challenges that I am currently dealing with and would complement the practical experience that I have gained over the years, enabling me to contribute more. Whilst I had initially expected to spend four days of face to face / group study along with online sessions, the current challenges of lockdown have forced everything to be 100% online and the tools have been first class. The access to information, materials, the library etc., the sophistication and capabilities have been very impressive.
Whilst I had anticipated that the academic modules and teaching would be first class, I hadn’t appreciated how valuable it would be to be part of a cohort. The collaboration and support given to everyone is amazing, considering none of us have been able to meet. I feel as though I have bonded with people that will remain in my life beyond this programme and with the cohort WhatsApp group you can ask a question knowing that you will always receive several responses.
One of the great things about the cohort is the diversity of backgrounds and experience. We are all geographically and globally spread with the furthest member living in New Zealand. The diverse age range is also valuable. I am the oldest and least technical, so there’s a bit of reverse mentoring from younger members. Listening to the speakers has also been thought provoking and insightful, especially as many are from past cohorts and are able to talk about how they have utilised and benefited from the programme.
In terms of career, it is fair to say that I am at a stage where I am on the back nine of the golf course, and already far exceeded the career expectations of that 16-year-old, who left School with two CSE’s. Now unless you’re over a certain age, you will be wondering what a CSE is (think O-level and go down a level). However, that doesn’t mean that I am not interested in still improving my game. Today’s world is moving so fast, we all must become life long-learners. When I enrolled on the course, it was with the aim of contributing more where I am now with my career and to feel more confident in my contribution, and there is no doubt this is exactly what I am finding.
My advice to anyone thinking about studying for a Warwick Executive Diploma, is to stop thinking and go and enrol. I thought about this for several years and told myself I didn’t have time, but as the years rolled by I have become busier, yet I have found time despite there being a lot of reading. Most importantly, I am finding it enjoyable to learn. I am past the initial apprehension of academic writing (some great resources to help you with this as well) and despite the pressure leading up to each assignment deadline, I feel really motivated after each submission and I am already thinking about what to do next year!