Embarking on an MBA as an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur without a previous business background means that you learn on the go – fast, and in most cases not in a really systematic manner. In the majority of cases, the time constraints will push you to search for the solution of the specific issue, often without a good understanding of the broader context. That was my case. 

After 20 years of running different businesses – from a little retail chain to a virtual cell operator and a leading marketing automation platform in the ex-USSR market – I realised that I have a lot of intertwined, but incomplete knowledge in my head. I can understand and work with the Profit & Loss system of a SaaS company, but got stuck when things come to, say, inventory management.

Moreover, with the growth of my last company, I’ve encountered completely new pastures for an entrepreneur with my level of experience. I wanted to learn more about investment, borrowing, M&A deals, company culture and strategy. I have reached a stage in which I need to plan the next steps of my company’s growth, such as looking into new markets and new verticals, and errors could be costly. At this stage, it became clear that it was time to invest in education to benefit the growth of my company. 

I started to look at different courses, trying to find something holistic – enabling me both to close my knowledge gaps and organise my existing knowledge better in an academic manner. Obviously, the option to learn over the evenings or weekends was a must-have feature to continue running my business.

From this perspective, studying the part-time Modular Executive MBA at the Business School (formerly Cass) appeared as a great option, so after a thorough selection process, I chose this programme.

So far – it is great. I’ve definitely got what I was looking for and even more. During my selection process, I underestimated the essence of cross-cultural team collaboration experience. Joining the programme and meeting my cohort has opened me up to the ability to expose my company to peers and get extremely useful feedback. The way the MBA is conducted is an excellent way to hone my personal communication style and management skills as well, as learn from others.

I’m approaching my second exams on this course now and am incredibly happy with my choice to study a Modular Executive MBA at the Business School.

Ivan Borovikov, Modular Executive MBA (2022)

Virtual Consulting Week in Colombia

What is consulting week?

As part of the Executive MBA programme, MBA students work in teams of four or five people and work with a company to help them solve some business problem. Business problems can range from drawing up a business plan to expand into a new market or geography, draw up a go-to-market strategy for a new product, or assessment of areas of improvement within an existing business. The week has a number of cultural events sprinkled throughout and ends with a client presentation on the Friday.

Why virtual not in-person?

One of the consequences of 2020 being the year of the coronavirus was that instead of travelling to Colombia to do our MBA consulting week, people in my cohort had the choice between taking part virtually in 2020 or in person in 2021. I chose to do it virtually because several of the business problems on offer were very interesting.

Who was on the team?

I was very lucky to be on a team with people with some very smart people, but also we each have complementary skills, experience, and capabilities. 

  • Katrina – Our Brand, digital strategy, and marketing expert.
  • Ciara – Led our work to define the growth strategies and overall approach to customer experience management
  • Leslie – Our finance expert, let the work define the financial models and metrics we used to value the financial aspects of the business plan.
  • Damien – Led the definition of the Operations and Technology aspects of the business plan.

Damien’s Consulting Week Team

Who was the client?

Our client, Nikadi, is a Colombian premium dark chocolate producer that supports fair trade cacao production and directly employs women who are survivors of domestic abuse. The firm employs 9 other people in its head office, and receives cacao beans from several cocoa farms across Colombia. NIKADI operates both a B2B and B2C sales channels, and has had success across both channels to date, both domestically and internationally.

So what’s the business problem?

Our client wanted to expand their business into the UK. Our goal was to have a marketing, legal and financial plan to accelerate the firm’s market penetration and enter the UK as soon as possible within the constraints of launching with less than £15k and breaking even within two years.

Naturally, this is a very interesting problem for us having spent the previous year or so studying business from several different angles. It was a chance for us to put all the business related frameworks, models, and theories to go use. Although, ultimately the client was only going to be interested in the outcome, rather than the method used.

How did we work?

We worked virtually as a team each day over the week, with daily conversations with our client, professors, and two social events during the week.

We made very heavy use of an online collaboration tool, Mural.co, google docs and sheets, and Microsoft Teams to help us to both visualise our ideas but also to help us to collaborate and communicate.

How did the final presentation go?

The final presentation went well, there was not much in the presentation that Nikadi didn’t already know about because we had been sharing our thoughts through the week. It was just laid out in a way that told the whole story in one presentation. Here are a few key messages from the presentation.

Key Message – Nikadi is not alone in the UK market as a South American Fairtrade chocolatier.

Key Message – we considered the impact to Niakdi of launching each different business propositions from several different angles.

Key Message – From a finance perspective, an approach with a heavier focus on online channels (gift & subscription boxes & e-commerce sales) performed better than other options.


Key Message – At a high level there are 4 things Nikadi will need to focus on landing well to succeed in the UK market. Our approach hinged on the idea of raising brand awareness, making initial sales, gathering customer data, and then leading into growth within repeat business channels.

Would I do a virtual consulting week again?

The short answer is yes, absolutely. I certainly learnt a lot from my teammates, the client, and the various experts and professors we spoke with during the week. I also enjoyed the process of building a business plan for a client and thinking about how we can use our knowledge of the market, business, and chocolate to help Nikadi to thrive in the UK.

Also, I suspect we also drank a lot less and got more sleep than we would have had we all been in Colombia – but this could be seen as an upside or a downside, depending on your point of view.

Damien O’Connor, Executive MBA (2022)

Why I decided to do an Executive MBA under 30 years old

Why do an Executive MBA under 30 ?

I remember when I first decided I wanted to do an MBA. I was sitting at home and was browsing the different courses I could do. I love to challenge myself, and at the time, I was working in a small startup, and had reached C-level position, so I knew that this was as far as this role would take me. I began thinking about everything I had learnt in the last 5 years of my career, how far I had come, the hurdles that I had overcome and began to think – well what’s next?

And so my journey begun! I began looking at different academic institutions, and offerings but could not find an institution that reflected my entrepreneurial spirit and practical application of learning, that was until I found the Business School (formerly Cass). I felt that the Business School embodied the balance between academic theory and practical application, with lecturers and professors having been in companies and corporations, living and breathing their topic – and I knew this was the school for me.

When coming for interview, I knew that I had less experience than other candidates on the Modular Executive MBA with an average of 10+ years experience – but I knew that the richness of experience I had from working in start-ups/scale-ups and the multiple positions I had held, across sales, BD and product teams as well as experience in VC funding and opening offices internationally that there was a lot I could offer.  I was accepted into the Modular Executive MBA in 2019 with a scholarship  and began the course a few months after accepting the position.

So fast-forward to today – I am pleased to say that I am one elective and a dissertation away from completing my course, and have thoroughly enjoyed every moment.  One of my favourite parts of the course has been cohort that I am part of. The Modular Executive MBA Class of 2021 is a class full of rich talent spanning the world of science, sport, engineering, oil & gas, finance, media, consulting and technology and the networking opportunity has been fantastic.

This MBA was the right time for me as I was at a crossroads and knew that I had some gaps in my knowledge. Three months into the course I joined one of the largest technology corporations in the world, and I have managed to use the skills learnt in the course immediately into the corporation. From corporate finance, to corporate strategy  to understanding the world of M&A, I have been able to practically apply the knowledge in the course and better navigate the world of business.

So, if you are thinking about doing an MBA and are under 30, my advice to you would be the following:

  • Are you willing to be out of your comfort zone, often and frequently?
  • Are you willing to sacrifice weekends, birthday parties (before COVID-19)and nights out (OK you can have nights out, but with your MBA cohort post-essay submission)?
  • Do you have someone who can listen to you moan/vent/ cry about how much work you have to do?
  • Are you hungry for the next leap (not step) in your career?
  • Are you prepared to work hard for what you want ?

If the answer is no to any of these, the MBA might not be for you.

If it’s yes, then let’s go.

See you in the boardroom.


Georgia Matthews, Modular Executive MBA (2021)

Why Designers Should Study an MBA

“If you’re not getting outside of your comfort zone, then you’re not growing” –  Chad E. Foster

Full-time MBA: Class of 2021

From design school to business studies

After spending seven years in design-related roles, I am now studying strategy, organisational behaviour, finance, economics and marketing among other subjects as part of the Full-time MBA. This wasn’t an easy or smooth progression for someone caught up in the construct of the dominant right brain.

A degree in textile design prepared me for careers ranging from fashion and lifestyle to digital communication—and I explored each opportunity. Working across apparel exports, retail and e-commerce sectors, I found myself gravitating towards the operations and management side of the activities.

Parallelly, my side hustle with a consulting firm exposed me to the concepts of business. This kindled entrepreneurial aspirations in me and I decided to launch my fashion label. I built and ran the venture in partnership, learning on the job and relying on intuitive decisions.

As I navigated the challenges of running a business, the idea of taking up a formal business education got planted in my head. After contemplating pursuing my studies for about two years, I finally embarked on my B-School adventure.

That has been my journey from being a design graduate to an MBA candidate. I’d encourage people from a design background to consider an MBA even if your journey has been nothing like mine. Here’s why:

Advancing on the ladder

Technology has disrupted almost every industry, paving the way for design roles across all sectors.

Traditionally, the career graph of a person pursuing design plateaued after stepping into the role of a senior designer. But this is no longer the case. Chief Design Officer is now a key role in many big companies and designers are finding a place in the C-suite. Today, a vast majority of C-level executives at successful startups are required to get involved in design decisions.

Top consulting firms are entering the design consulting space. This is because design-led companies are performing measurably better in terms of brand awareness, customer retention and even sales.

There is a skill gap that needs to be filled in order to leverage these opportunities. Designers can’t be expected to make strategic decisions equipped only with a sound sense of colors, shapes, patterns, aesthetics, materials, and design tools and design courses don’t teach any of the business skills required to go beyond a certain level on the corporate ladder.

We live in the age of deep generalists with expertise in one or more areas. That is where an MBA plays a powerful role. It helps designers learn skills such as competitive strategy, business analytics, effective communication, number crunching, making sense of elaborate spreadsheets and understanding design in a bigger scheme of things.

Switching Industry

Another reason for designers to invest in an MBA is that it provides a fantastic opportunity to explore other industries and can help facilitate a career switch.

Burnout is a common and real struggle for people working in creative industries. Coupled with growth stagnation, this can lead to high levels of dissatisfaction among designers. An MBA not only opens up a multitude of new options beyond the conventional fashion, lifestyle, communications and marketing industries but also provides skills and a launchpad to potentially make a successful transition.

Three months into my business school training, I am absolutely content with my decision of taking a break to study the Full-time MBA and strongly recommend designers from fashion, lifestyle, textiles, graphics and all other backgrounds to explore MBA as an option if you are planning your next career move.

An MBA is not reserved to people from analytical and trade backgrounds. Do not be discouraged to apply to the Business School; more and more programmes are selecting candidates from design backgrounds to prepare the workforce of the future. Spend time finding an MBA that aligns with your goals and it will be worth your while.

Monika Sharma, Full-time MBA (2021)


Integration Week: An MBA Sprint

It’s been about three weeks since our cohort’s first integration week, as such I’m beginning to feel emotionally prepared to put the experience onto paper.  What is integration week? As the name implies, it integrates your knowledge.

The purpose of an MBA is gaining new skills and knowledge and being able to apply them in the real world. Knowledge on the programme is taught in concentrated blocks of three subjects, delivered over a month. Integration week plays a huge role in putting practical application to the theoretical learned during these blocks in the form of an intense week-long challenge.

I won’t go too much into the nature of the assignment (that would be cheating), but you’ll receive a task and you’ll have a week in which to achieve it. However, what I can disclose are a few of the challenges you’ll likely face and some of my learnings from the process:

  • Focus – You have a week, this is a sprint, not a marathon. Perhaps not surprisingly, the task is business related, so you’ll be given a sector, country or business with a problem. There will likely be a lot of data: financial reports, annual statements, shareholder communications, etc., so it’s easy to get distracted, or find yourself down a wormhole. The problem you’ll be tasked with solving should be relatively easy to discover. Once you find it, focus on it.
  • Answer the question – something I used to hear a lot when I was younger and I’m surprised that I’m still learning this lesson. Simply answer the question. Once you’ve focused on the problem, make sure your presentation is designed to answer the questions you’ve been given in relation to the problem that you have discovered.
  • Simplicity is Key – As the design principle says: “Keep It Simple Stupid”. Remember you’re not an expert, as much as you’d like to be. The work needs to demonstrate your knowledge, and that you’ve learned to apply this knowledge, and used effective research to reinforce it.

As mentioned, this is a sprint. So you’ll be short on time – this is of course by design – time is not unlimited out there in the real world after all. At some point during the week, you will find yourselves over-debating a topic, or running over on time or word count. Concentrate on focusing, answering the question and maintaining simplicity by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Could you explain it to an alien? Is the logic undeniable? Do you have the data to back up your assumptions?
  2. What is the question? Does this sentence, slide, graph or topic answer the question or simplify the explanation? If not, you’d better move on.

In summary – focus, answer the question, and keep it simple.

Peter Walls

Peter Walls, Full-time MBA (2021)

Time to Refocus: Studying the Modular Executive MBA


After a long and diverse career in the automotive industry, developing from a graduate trainee to international roles with a leading global auto manufacturer, I decided earlier this year to take a break from the corporate world and return to academia to finally fulfil a career-long ambition to study for an Executive MBA.

While most friends and colleagues understood the timing and motivation behind my decision, some did question why I would need to go back into education at such an advanced stage of my career. However, my reply was always the same: although there’s no substitute for industry experience, an MBA programme would enhance the next stage of my career through three principal benefits:

1. Content

Providing an academic framework around career experience to better understand why things worked (or didn’t work!) in real-life execution, as well as exploring the most recent best practises in fields such as Business Strategy and Digital Transformation.

2. Cohort

Mixing with a diverse, international group of extremely smart people (who have absolutely nothing to do with the automotive industry!) who contribute different perspectives on business issues, as well as building a close, new network from around the world.

3. Contemplation

Taking a “time out” from a linear career path to reflect on past experiences and reassess the direction for the future, whether it be within the automotive industry or something completely different triggered by the MBA experience.

Is it living up to expectations so far? Absolutely!!

Each module has further developed an area of my knowledge gained through industry experience, whether it be a more structured understanding of finance and accounting, providing a robust framework for the development of effective business strategy or the understanding underlying issues around organisational behaviour.

Nobody could have predicted the disruption to all aspects of work, education and day-to-day life in 2020, but our cohort was fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet each other during the Induction Weekend before the first national lockdown was introduced. This enabled us to get to know each other, form our new project groups and subsequently bond as a cohort during the multitude of video calls that followed as the lectures and workgroups moved online.

Any regrets? Only that I didn’t find the opportunity to embark on an MBA earlier to have been armed with these skills for a longer portion of my career. That said, given everything that has happened this year, it may turn out to be the perfect timing to stop, breathe and refocus in preparation for whatever comes next!

Ian Hucker, Modular Executive MBA (2022)

Choosing the Full-time MBA: Follow your gut instinct

Choosing the right business school for you

Selecting a business school can be a very confusing process.

There are hundreds within the UK and thousands globally. The top schools will teach you marketing, accounting, HR, entrepreneurship and offer a range of exciting elective modules. They’re triple accredited and rank highly in the FT rankings. They will all ensure high percentages of post-degree employability and have notable alumni and promising partnerships among globally renowned firms.

This can make selection of a business school very challenging. To make the best choice, I came up with the following criteria: location, quality, size and gut feeling, all which led me to study the Full-time MBA at the Business School (formerly Cass).

I hope that this account of my selection process and experience with the Business School can help to guide anyone making one of the biggest commitments to change of their professional career.

Peter Walls


The first level of selection was done purely on location.

I started my professional career in London. As such, I am fortunate to find much of my professional and personal support network in a city which is home to a number of globally renowned business schools. This proximity to my ‘nearest and dearest’ made it very challenging to look beyond London.

I attended a number of open days and even interviewed outside of London, however when it came to decisions and prioritisation, the location put the London-based schools leagues ahead.

Prestige, quality and investment

A second challenge was to find a balance between three measures: prestige, quality and investment.

When looking at such a significant investment of time, opportunity cost and— let’s be honest— money, the return on investment was a key consideration. Programmes vary in length, generally one to two years for full time programmes and financial investment.

In addition to the quality of the teaching, the name and prestige of the school play a significant role in the cost.

There are a variety of scholarships, bursaries and financial awards available, so finding those which I qualified for and could feasibly be awarded also had an influence.

My priority at this stage was to ensure the highest possible quality of education and prestige while remaining in the realms of the financially viable.

By this stage I had a shortlist that you could count on one hand and a very challenging decision to make. I applied to all the schools on my shortlist, attended networking events, webinars, open days and interviews. I asked them about their unique selling points.


Cohort sizes are generally between 50 at the smallest size, up to three or four hundred students for some of the larger programmes. Research within my connections and network lead me to favour a smaller programme.

Size helped me to narrow down the shortlist to three schools – each of which with extremely impressive teaching faculty and wider teams. They all had small and intimate cohorts, guaranteeing a personal experience whilst still ensuring a high degree of diversity.

Full-time MBA: Class of 2021

Gut instinct

In the end, the final decision came down to gut instinct and the quality of candidate experience. The Business School team were helpful, supportive, challenging and genuine. They were always quick to respond to queries and offered flexibility in the application timeline.

The open day was remarkably fun, especially the sample lecture which was delivered by the charismatic programme director. Dr Paolo Aversa’s introduction was entertaining, engaging and down to earth. He described the Business School’s Full-time MBA programme as “the Vodka Redbull of MBAs” and one with teamwork and cooperation at its heart, rather than competition, which greatly appealed to me.

The interview process was informed and caring. My final interview was with a senior faculty member, where other schools had me speaking with another member of recruitment. The interviewing Professor offered me invaluable advice on how to choose a school and his inquisitive nature and passion for his subject and education were highly infectious.

The whole application process made me feel highly valued— a person rather than an applicant, and a true asset to the future cohort. All things considered, when waiting for my final offers, during the agonising days of refreshing my email every thirty seconds, I knew that the offer I was truly excited to receive was the offer from the Business School.

Questions to ask yourself

My advice to business school and MBA applicants would be to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Think about your personal balance of investment, prestige and quality when looking at the schools. Do any of them offer a specialty that resonates with you and your future career goals?
  2. Find potential locations: cities and countries. What about them appeals to you?
  3. Do you want a big, competitive cohort of 300+ or a smaller, collaborative one?
  4. Go with your gut. How do you feel about the interview process? Which school’s email are you waiting for? At this stage, you’ve got to do what feels right to you. 


Peter Walls, Full-time MBA (2021)

Studying Virtually During a Pandemic: the Cass Modular Executive MBA

Selin Sefiloglu and Lingling Delicata, Cass Modular Executive MBA (2022) are the recipients of the 2020 Professional Excellence Scholarship. Selin works as a Finance Manager at Kingfisher plc and Lingling is the Group Internal Audit Manager at Hyperion Insurance Group. Each have over ten years’ experience and are qualified Chartered Accountants. Coming from different industries, they share a common goal: pursuing an MBA at Cass to develop their leadership skills, expand their professional networks and accelerate their careers. Selin and Lingling reflect on their MBA journey so far and the shift to online teaching.

After attending our induction and meeting our fellow cohort, the UK went into lockdown and Cass prepared to switch to online teaching to protect its students and staff.

Leading up to our first week of online lectures on the Modular Executive MBA (MEMBA), the Cass team worked incredibly hard to keep us updated on the lecturers’ arrangements. This included recommended pre-reading (available on our online platform, Moodle), preparations for team discussions and ongoing technology support (thank you Omar Iqbal).

Zoom team meeting

Our lecturers have adapted to the shift to online teaching in light of Covid-19 by using different communication channels to deliver our programme. We are grateful for how they are keeping us engaged with group exercises and role plays– an effective and entertaining method for studying our Strategic Leadership, Organisational Behaviour, Analytics for Business and Accounting, and Financial Reporting modules virtually. Our cohort’s ability to adapt is wide-ranging– one student even participated with class discussions on his exercise bike!

Group assignments play an essential role in our MEMBA programme. Split into smaller teams of five to seven students from diverse professions and cultural backgrounds, we were tasked with our first assignment during the induction weekend: creating a Team Charter.

Meeting our team at induction

The lockdown did not deter us from our MEMBA commitments, and we quickly established the most efficient method to balance our family and personal lives. Following virtual brainstorming sessions on what teamwork means to us at a granular level, our group outlined our ways of working under three main pillars: Thinking, Communicating and Doing. This provided a clear framework for us to operate as a unit, interlinked by our team’s core values.

Open collaboration is a one of the most important factors for success and ensuring everyone stays committed and contributes equally to the group discussions. It’s not about who brings the winning idea to the table– instead, we are creating a safe environment for everyone to present their arguments effectively, contributing to our development as effective business leaders.

Lingling Delicata

As recipients of the Professional Excellence Scholarship, we are both honoured for the recognition of previous achievements in our careers. The scholarship shows how Cass endeavours to empower and support women in business. We’re equally grateful to be on the same project team during the first term, as we are currently in the midst of our Strategic Leadership group assignment with the incredible support of our team mentor, Lisa Delaney.

Selin Sefiloglu

We are looking forward to seeing the final project output and to celebrate our project with team drinks, whether that may be in person or online!

Selin Sefiloglu, Modular Executive MBA (2022)

Lingling Delicata, Modular Executive MBA (2022)


Lessons in resilience: using my MBA to adapt to Covid-19 in the travel industry

Growing up in poverty taught me the importance of education.

I vowed to work hard while obtaining professional qualifications to strive for a better life. I am driven to finding the keys to success and my drive has shaped me into a better and more authentic leader.

I have worked as a European tour operator serving Asian travel agents for 16 years and I am passionate about ensuring all of our travellers have the best quality experiences. I endeavour to make sure our travellers enjoy amazing moments as they discover the unique cultures of each incredible travel destination on our list.

Cass provides an exceptional learning journey and powerful networking opportunities. I am inspired by the energy of my cohort: each is a positive professional and an exceptional global leader. My cohort are committed to sharing and contributing their valuable experiences, knowledge and ideas to make the business world a better place. I also love the fact that Cass promotes women’s leadership and provides mentorship and skills workshops for women.

We have now shifted to online teaching in light of the current pandemic situation and I am impressed by how the lessons have remained highly engaging. Our lecturers have demonstrated a world-class example as to how learning should be: dynamic, exciting and insightful. The programme has opened my eyes and taught me how to apply what I have learned immediately into my current organisation during this challenging time in the travel industry. I am learning to assist and support my organisation’s President with business planning for the future. In addition, I have gained confidence in my leadership skills and my ability to develop strategies to overcoming business challenges. I am able to identify the opportunities to restructure the organisation and ensure our business is sustainable and aligned with our global core values and beliefs.

I can’t express how proud I feel right now knowing I am not only making the right choice in embarking on the MBA course. Studying the Modular Executive MBA at Cass has been the best choice because I am surrounded by a good mix of people who have invaluable knowledge and experience from diverse cultures, backgrounds and industries and have the same goals in mind. What could be more exciting than embarking on a new learning journey with a like-minded cohort for the next two years?

Vivian Kmiotek, Modular Executive MBA (2022)


Building a bridge to my future career: My Full-time MBA journey at Cass

An MBA programme is like a bridge that connects yourself from yesterday to your future self. Crossing this bridge is a journey. You unearth your skills of detecting problems and delivering compatible solutions by learning and practising mechanisms, methodologies and frameworks. The ingeniously designed campus life at Cass and studying on the Cass Full-time MBA, ranked top one-year programme in London by the Financial Times Global MBA rankings in 2020, have helped me build this bridge.

To define the trip, I would like to break it into three categories, being described by the triple ‘re’: rediscover yourself, reshape your thinking and mindset and revitalise your transferable skills. The triple ‘re’ happens coherently and cohesively throughout the programme.

Rediscover yourself 

Our magical journey started with a careers orientation week. Self-awareness is one of the most popular words from then on. Truly knowing yourself is easier said than done.

We immersed ourselves into designed activities, including taking personality tests to know our strengths, following instructions to list life goals in time slots, reviewing personal profiles to examine previous performances, attending learning workshops to find out where we may have weaknesses and talked with the Careers and Professional Development Team.

Following all these activities, I got to know what the starting point was in my bridge and what my next steps needed to be to link the two points on this bridge.

Reshape your thinking and your mindset 

As a group of people who had achieved professional successes, we do not lack basic competences. What we are looking for is to become even more competent and to bring our skills from good to great.

What we share in common is our desire to develop a keen eye to see the core causes of work-related issues, to discover the logical structure to analyse problems and to develop our creative thinking to come up with solutions. All these things are already skills we have developed on the programme.

In class, the core modules of the programme have taught us more than technical knowledge. Through numerous case studies and discussions, we learned how to decipher the main clue from an abundance of information, how to draw a whole picture of the situation strategically, build up an independent analysis system and how to create a personal toolkit to solve problems.

Out of class, the two and half days of professional development teach us how to handle the relationship between an individual and a group. We investigated leadership and groupwork models, such as the leadership/followership model, role-modelling, contribution and regular debriefing.

We learned how to find appropriate solutions under strange circumstances by learning about how to choose a correct direction, the best way of doing an appraisal of task, and looking into creative trails, agile progress and independent thinking.

When it comes to soft skills, we learned more about how a good spirits and trust in a team can help individuals and groups under pressure: it is important to remain calm, build trust, collaborate, remain open-minded and to build resilience.

Revitalise your transferable skills 

Practise, practise, practise! Teamwork, exams, integration week, strategic projects, international consultancy week and various events provide loads of opportunities for us to test what we have learned.

Studying and working together with a cohort of 30 nationalities is exciting and memorable. Getting convergencies within a multicultural group needs mutual understanding, smart influencing and persuading and thorough communication. Critical analysis is the underlying skill tested by exams.

Working very hard for four days to solve a mixed problem with lovely group of members from day to night was an excellent and interesting experience. Swiftly understanding the core question, making up a logical structure and defining efficient actions for each person are major factors for success.

The two consulting projects we undertook with real companies were amazing experiences that allowed us to use all of the knowledge and skills we have gained throughout the Full-time MBA, particularly the ability to dig out the strategic problem and use a top-down method to delegate the problem mutually, exclusively, collectively and exhaustively.

I have also found that attending events is the best way to network and learn fresh ideas from talented people.

A special episode of the trip 

When the MBA programme is disrupted by an unprecedented event such as Covid-19, what can we do? There are multiple choices and using the triple ‘Re’ is one option I suggest. Analysing the situation objectively and strategically by using tools learned from lectures made me keep independent thinking.

Our “Achieving Your Potential” week at the Sandhurst Military Academy, which was a key part of our professional development training, reminded me how to make myself become calm, peaceful, positive and resilient under pressure. The week gave me extra energy and taught me how to encourage and console my cohort.

Today, we are learning to exercise our leadership skills during group assignment remotely. I found more extensive engagement, trust and positive spirits in my group, which we have used as pillars to maintain collaboration when face-to-face meetings were replaced by virtual ones. Our great effort in adapting to a challenging time and new ways of working meant my team was awarded a distinction as part of a recent team group project.

I would also like to extend my thanks to the School. The dedication, support and collaboration of the staff has helped us continue studying the programme in these unprecedented times and has also taught us how to cope with unexpected global crises.

As I reflect on what I hope to be the next point of my bridge, I hope to be a person who has strong insight into the essence of things in this changeable world. My MBA journey is leading me to that point. Covid-19 can disrupt our physical distance temporarily but cannot disrupt the pursuit of our dreams.


Lin Yang, Full-time MBA (2020)

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