Carla Priddon
CEO - Read Easy UK
Distance Learning MBA (2019 - 2021) (now Global Online MBA)

What first attracted you to Warwick Business School?

The quality of the course, the modules on offer, the rankings, and the Athena Swan recognition. I felt from the first interaction that WBS was genuinely committed to diversity of thought and cohort and that my less common background (third sector) would be a benefit rather than a weakness. The balance of genders was also a positive for me and the cohort of 100+ different nationalities. I wanted to learn from people who were not necessarily ‘like me’ or just had similar experiences to me.

Why did you ultimately choose Warwick Business School for your MBA?

I did not apply anywhere else. It was WBS or nothing for me. The DLMBA format was positive, especially as it made it more affordable than more traditional options and could be fitted around my existing commitments. The scholarship I received also made it possible for me to attend, as I was self-financing.

Did you utilise the WBS CareersPlus team whilst you were studying at WBS? How did they help you?

I did. I took advantage of every session, programme, resource and coaching session available. I found my 1:1 session valuable in considering options and considering what I love about my current career as well as looking at other things.

What elements of the programme did you value the most and why?  

The experience and skill of the cohort, the choice of elective modules (especially Economics of Wellbeing and Managing Performance), the chance to study abroad (although I was unable to go to China for mine in the end due to Covid), the flexibility of learning and the resources provided to do so.

What was it like studying for an MBA?

It was a joy, but it was also tough. It is rigorous but you get immense satisfaction from doing it and learning new ways of thinking and exploring challenges and business problems. It was relaxed and there was much scope for discussing ideas with the cohort and a range of different assessment measures. Overall, it was much more enjoyable than an undergraduate programme (in my experience) and very much felt like I could tailor the course and my learning to suit my current employment and any future ambitions I had. I was constantly inspired by those around me too and really value my time as part of WBS.

Tell us about the community at Warwick Business School.

I cannot speak highly enough of the community. I felt part of it from the day I attended an information session. It is so useful to meet people from all the major industries, in a range of roles and to learn from their experiences and approaches. I was also mentored by a previous alumni and it was lovely to see their evident commitment to the community. The people I have encountered have been open, warm and supportive and given advice and/or introductions where possible with open minds and hearts.

What does your job involve?

I lead a national charity which teaches adults how to read. My role involves generating income, managing a senior team, leading on strategy, innovation and activity planning, HR, governance and a million and one other things that a charity CEO does!

How did the MBA help you prepare for your role?

In particular, around ways of thinking about strategy/strategic advantage. I was already a CEO, but it gave me a stronger foundation for continued learning and development and also gave me future ideas both in this role and the ones that will follow.

What were the key things you took away from your course? How have they helped you in your career?

Practically, structure and systems for strategy, theories to apply across all areas of business, new ways of thinking and exploring ideas. I have also made lifelong friends with people I otherwise would not have met. Less tangibly, confidence, networks and a clearer sense of self.

How did things change for you on completing your course, what opportunities opened for you?

I moved from a local charity CEO position to a national one with a broader remit. It has also opened networks I have never considered and gave me the chance to hear about other roles and industries in a low-risk way.

What would you say to someone thinking of applying for your course at WBS?

Speak to alumni and people on the course. I am always happy when people reach out to me on LinkedIn and have been delighted when more than a few people have come back and told me they have applied successfully and/or been given scholarships. It is a community and good to be involved from the outset. Consider how you will balance it with employment/family commitments. It is a commitment that should be considered seriously.

Do you have any advice for anyone currently thinking about studying for an MBA?

Go for it. You won’t regret it. More specifically, do it on your terms. Consider the benefit/outcome you want to get from the programme and then commit fully to all experiences once you are on the course. Take modules that are aligned with future ambitions and network and take advantage of all lectures, resources and support. You really will get out of it what you put in.

What is the one phrase that sums up your time at WBS?

Life-changing (socially, intellectually, career-wise). It was all I hoped for and more.

Find out more about the Distance learning MBA programme.