I work in the Financial Services industry as a Senior Product Manager – that means I build services for businesses and people when they want to do anything with money online. I don’t do any of the actual coding, I work with engineers, the emphasis is more on “what we should focus on” and “why” and “what problems does it solve”. My role is quite expansive. It covers technical, commercial, operational and strategic aspects and it forces you to think from different perspectives.
For my personal development but also to contribute more strategically at work, I wanted to do an MBA as it covers all the above aspects in greater detail but in an applicable way. I was conscientious about which school I wanted to go. It had to be online that allowed me to work at the same time, it had to be highly regarded, the course had to be well rounded and cover all salient aspects of business management and be renowned on a global scale. Warwick Business School hit all those criteria and more. It has an excellent alumni network, superb teaching faculty and an emphasis on coaching the next generation of leaders.
There are three main elements of the programme I value most. The first is how relevant and applicable the module content is. There is sometimes a belief that theoretical knowledge is not so applicable in the real world, or you must be in the same situation for the learnings to be useful. That is not the case with the Warwick MBA. Whilst the case studies and examples might be specific, the main ideas can be transferred to any situation, and this is really what the module leaders focus on. The second element I value is the cohort and our groups. Doing an online MBA while working means you will be working by yourself, whether its reading, re-watching lectures or doing your assignments. However, for each module you have a study group. A cohort of peers who are in the same position that you can speak to and share knowledge. The bonus of doing an MBA with Warwick is the international students it attracts who bring their own experience and ideas that you would not be otherwise exposed to. Lastly, the face-to-face Warwick Weeks were incredible. I’m part of the London cohort so I had the opportunity to work at the Shard for a week and meet so many of my fellow students in person. It was also great to be in person for some of the lectures and engage with the staff. I met so many great people that I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with and build relationships, it was an invaluable experience.
My short-term goals are to use the skills and learnings from the WBS MBA to maximise the potential of the opportunities in my current role. The MBA has already given me practical learnings I can apply to my current role and be a more impactful leader.My long-term career goals are to build on my industry knowledge, experience and skill set, and transition into a more senior, directorial position. I want to use the skills from the WBS MBA to develop my strategic thinking and improve my leadership skills so that I can be a better-rounded global executive.
Studying for an MBA, any type of MBA anywhere, is intense and challenging work. It is also an immensely gratifying experience. I found that it expands your horizons quickly, you can start to apply theories and models you learn in your job, and it challenges you in a completely different way than your corporate work would. This is why I found myself leaning towards an online MBA. It gives me that much needed flexibility. I have to find time in my work and life schedule to dedicate to my lessons and assignments. With the online MBA and all the materials and recorded lectures made accessible from any device, it allows me to adapt my study schedule around my work/life balance. I read the required textbook chapters and journal articles in the morning with my coffee, I can jump on calls with my team in the evenings for the group assignment and plan my weekend ahead. I have found that the skills I use in my job are helpful. I have to be pragmatic, disciplined and plan ahead. This helps me be focused and keep going at pace without experiencing burnout.
My advice to anyone thinking about studying for an MBA is to be clear about why you want to do any MBA and what your goals are. It is a time commitment that requires discipline and dedication so have the right motivations is imperative.