Katie Esarey
Director of Operations, LAFAZA
Global Online MBA (2021-2023) (was Distance Learning MBA)

Tell us a bit about yourself 
I am a dual citizen raised in five countries. After completing my undergraduate degree, I joined the Peace Corps in Jordan as a Youth and Community Development volunteer. After being evacuated, I was then sent to Madagascar as a TEFL teacher in 2015. I stayed in Madagascar post-Peace Corps service working for local and international NGOs and I am now working in vanilla procurement and exporting.

What first attracted you to Warwick Business School?
Being based in Madagascar I was always wanting to complete an online MBA programme. I was looking into top-rated European and USA business schools. My dad was a MBA and Business PhD professor and he had only good things to say about Warwick Business School (WBS).

Why did you ultimately choose Warwick Business School for your MBA?
When I saw “For the changemakers” whilst looking at the WBS website, I was instantly sold! That phrase spoke to me deeply, as it is an idea I have modelled my life around since my undergraduate university experience. I felt I would find a home at WBS.

I applied on the very last day knowing that, if I got in, I would accept. The change maker vision for the students, the non-traditional course topics pulling together insights from different areas like innovation and creativity in organisations or strategic advantage, and the truly international student body (reading the bios everyone posted pre-course start was extraordinary!) drew me to WBS. The number one Distance Learning MBA ranking multiple years in a row ended up just being a fantastic bonus.

What elements of the programme do you value the most and why? 
The interactions with my cohort on the learning platform and during lectures are my favourite part of the programme, as everyone shares their understanding based on their unique viewpoints. The professors are exceptional teachers, making their subject matter interesting, accessible and fun. The two Warwick Weeks at The Shard in London bring it all together into two busy yet highly enjoyable weeks, with face-to-face time with outstanding professors and cohort members. I have really enjoyed getting to be a student again, and being in The Shard in central London coming from rural Madagascar makes it even more inspiring. 

What is it like studying for an MBA?
No one was kidding when they told me ahead of time that an MBA would be a lot of work. My job includes significant and regular overtime, so there are some weeks when I cannot even find the time to login to my.wbs, the online learning platform, to see what is going on. But the programme is very flexible as the lectures do not require attendance and are all recorded, so much so that, so far, the only times I have had to really manage my schedule are when assignments are due.

Tell us about the community at Warwick Business School. 
The cohort is incredible! Filled with inspiring people doing great things, all looking forward to engage with each other and work together on our degrees. The social bonds and support from cohort members, turned good friends, have been among the greatest parts of this journey. I am grateful to the online MBA programme for putting me in touch with such extraordinary people.

What did you hope to get out of our programme? What have you actually got?
Since I studied in the humanities for my undergraduate but have a senior management role in a small- to mid-sized firm, I was hoping to get the formal business learning to support and improve my performance at my daily work responsibilities. Instead, I have received a fully integrated education, cleverly structured and high quality, and an incredible group of fellow students to learn with and from. Any type of education is an investment into one’s goals, and I am glad I invested into this.

Do you have any advice for anyone currently thinking about studying for an MBA?
It is a lot of work, especially around assignments’ due dates. Critically look at your schedule to see when your free spaces are (or could be) and choose the programme that works for you. If you’re like me and need the flexibility to come in and out at different times during the year but also think you’d enjoy the short face-to-face sessions to meet your cohort and engage further, then the Global Online MBA programme at WBS is a great option!