Vonnie Pella
Continuous Improvement Office Manager at Medical Research Network
Executive MBA (2020-22)

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

I attended an open day at WBS in January 2020 which was the beginning of my investigation into MBA programs. I was very impressed by the facilities, the teaching quality in the sample lecture, and the helpfulness of the program staff.  The student panels seemed very genuine and helped me to see the benefits of Warwick. Additionally, when I was doing my cost benefit analysis, Warwick had the best balance of ranking and price. In the end, I only applied to WBS and was very fortunate to be accepted.

Tell us about the community at Warwick Business School. This could be your cohort or the wider Global community. 

Although I have only been a student during the social distancing regulations due to the pandemic, I still feel that there is a great community at WBS and within my cohort. We are a diverse cohort and it is always really interesting to see how people approach situations and lecture discussions differently.  Even though we sit in little Perspex boxes and have had fewer pub trips, the cohort is close and I have gotten to know many of my classmates. We have a cohort-wide WhatsApp group and one of our classmates hosted a barbeque a few weekends ago. 

Have you taken part in a project for an external organisation? If so, can you tell us a bit more about this? 

I am just now embarking on my dissertation journey but am planning on doing a project with my current company. This will be a great opportunity for both the business and myself. I will get more exposure across the business and have a chance to learn more about one of our key operational departments while the business gets focused resource on a project that otherwise would be difficult to implement and has the potential to improve operational efficiency. 

What did you hope to get out of our programme? What have you actually got? 

I chose to do an MBA to help me progress in my career more quickly.  I have been with the same company since I graduated from college so an MBA was a way to get wider business exposure without having to leave my company. The timings for our modules have been ideal for me – I was supporting our business through our annual strategy review right as we began the Strategic Advantage module and I attended a financial and investment review a few weeks after our Accounting and Financial Management module. It was really helpful to have the knowledge I gained from these modules during these points in my career. I felt much more confident having discussions with senior management and was able to contribute more to these meetings. 

How did you find the work/life balance? 

This has been tricky but is completely feasible if you plan ahead and have clear priorities. During the stricter periods of pandemic lockdown, it was easy to just use my weekends to focus on MBA work since there was little else to do. Now that lockdown is lifting, I am having to be much more focused with my time to ensure that I can fit work, social, and academic time into my week. I spread the assignment work over several weekends so that I can still have some fun and decompress.  Typically I will spend about 4-5 hours on a Sunday morning and do a little reading throughout the week so that I stay on top of my assignments and learning but don’t have to say no to social activities.