Category: Alumni

Building a bright future

International Consultancy Week in Dublin

Typing down a reflective essay could take a great deal of time! And why not? After all I was scrupulously penning down a yearlong journey of my MBA at Cass Business School that concluded on 22nd January this year. Collecting my degree as a Full-time MBA with Distinction in the presence of my cohort of qualified MBAs and Executive MBAs from Cass Business School, family, friends and other postgraduates from City, University of London was truly a proud moment. The Reception party organised by the School was equally quintessential.

From classroom lessons to leadership training week at Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and Digital Innovation elective that included a notable Design Thinking seminar at Stanford University in San Francisco, Cass MBA proffered a plethora of experiential learning at each stage of the programme.  Some of these learning experiences culminated into great successes and were directly entered in my resume. Working with the C-suite as a Strategy Intern at a London-based travel company and as an external MBA consultant at a health-tech company for my International Consultancy week (arranged by Cass in Dublin) are a few to list. The icing on the cake for me was getting a chance to learn about the different industries in which these companies operate.

People make the difference. Cass Business School made me feel this much more than I had thought. The school’s fantastic academic staff assisted me round the clock for all official activities, well-qualified professors offered exceptional teaching in core MBA subjects and welcomed after class discussions; and well-trained external faculty from iOpener Institute offered personality development workshops on when and how to lead and follow teams. Jorgen Sundberg’s session on ‘How to Build a strong and an attractive LinkedIn Profile’ and David Ohrvall’s ‘Crack the Case’ session were truly skilful and elucidating to leverage my professional profile.

To top it all, MBA classes were a complete fun with an energetic cohort of 70+ people from 23 countries. How could I miss bringing up here ‘The Great Cake-Baking Event’? It was the most frenzied way to learn strategy while baking cakes in groups. Besides giving weight to group exercises, the Cass MBA geared me to look at the business world with a unique lens through its Business Mastery Project. My project demanded understanding of concepts from several subjects – strategy, operations and digital innovation and the MBA programme had underpinned this right in the first half of the course year with its four learning blocks of 12 subjects and 6 electives where I covered all managerial subjects from HR to Corporate Strategy.

Study tour in San Francisco

For obvious reasons (MBA fun – activities, classes and exams), time flew very fast in those 12 months but that same clock ticked unrushed at the very end of the programme aka the job-hunting process. To make this process seem quite effortless, Cass Careers department provided me with copious amount of guidance and motivated me how to key-in my tech experience with management studies for various consulting roles. I’d like to give a special thanks to Laura Levy, MBA Relationship Manager for this! Starting with getting my resume and cover letters apt for these roles to preparing me exhaustively for assessment and partner rounds, the team helped massively before I accepted a role in a Big Four professional services firm in London. Ever since I’ve been on the job, the combined learning experience of the MBA networking events as well as the classrooms sessions of Digital Technologies and Business Innovation, Operations, Analytics and Corporate Strategy have been immensely useful.

Cass FTMBA is a fast track MBA in its complete sense. It opens up a whole new set of interesting alumni benefits, such as attending one free elective per year, which is rarely offered by other business schools. It has brought a great opportunity for me to learn something purely for my own personal interest or curiosity. Just last week, I started studying an elective on fast track venturing. As my learning continues – be it on a new role, project or industry, I look forward to build a positive future in the business world!

Finally, we graduated!

Prerna Thitme
Full-time MBA, 2018

 

Adventure of a lifetime

“President, I have the honour to present for the award of an Executive Masters in Business Administration… … Dominic Graham” my name was read out as I ascended the stage to in turn shake the hands of the Lord Mayor of London, the Dean of Cass Business School, and collect the certificate of my graduation as an Executive MBA.

While a climb of a mere five steps, it evoked the summiting of Everest. Doing so in the company of my cohort, and witnessed by family, friends, and fellow graduates from City, University of London, made it all the more momentous, and a fitting recognition of a significant milestone.

Nearly three years since I began my MBA journey, and what an adventure it’s been: travelling as far afield as Chile, China, Dubai, and Las Vegas; learning about everything from accounting, analytics and HR, through to corporate strategy and M&A from some of the world’s leading experts in their fields. Not to mention my MBA colleagues with whom I’ve worked to deliver innovative and exciting coursework assignments including designing a casino for Las Vegas Strip (it was Formula 1 themed), and redesigning operations and marketing strategy for a zipper manufacturer.

Looking back now, time has flown by so fast, and it’s almost surreal how much I’ve learned and experienced during the process – truly the adventure of a lifetime, and which is already helping me to pursue career opportunities. But most of all it was the people that made the difference, from the friendships forged with my fellow MBAs, to the Cass academic staff and team, who have designed and delivered such an extraordinary experience for us. You have all helped to make this a life-changing experience, and I close this chapter with fond memories of the times we’ve shared.

And speaking of Everest, as a member of the Cass MBA Expeditionary Society, our challenge is to climb the 8,800 meters, or so, height of Everest between our collective expeditions in 2018. And thus, the adventure continues, as I look forward to ever more peaks to scale!

 

Dominic Graham de Montrose
Executive MBA (2017)

Getting Disruptive post MBA

Mahmood Jessa started his own business, NgageU whilst studying for his Executive MBA Programme at Cass Business School, Dubai in January 2015. He graduated from the programme with Distinction in May 2016.

On April 17th 2017, his company launched their third digital platform, Name Your Rent; a disruptive digital service which Mahmood describes as “A revolutionary way for renters to find their new home and a powerful platform for Real Estate Agents to serve their clients, smarter.”

The Dubai based business is a story teller & concept builder in the digital and mobile app space with a primary focus on creating customer convenience solutions as well as developing propriety and client commissioned B2B & B2B2C platforms. Mahmood and his co-founder established the business after collaborating on various projects where they realised they held a shared vision of building digital solutions.

Mahmood credits his family’s deep roots in trading, his extensive commercial experience both in the UK & UAE along with the Cass Business School, Dubai’s Executive MBA as a factor in successful launch of Name Your Rent.

 

How would you describe your overall experience of the Cass Executive MBA?

Many people have asked me about the Cass Executive MBA saying that they really want to sign up but don’t have the time. The old adage of we have to make time is so true when you are trying to juggle full time work, a young family, a ‘side hustle’ and an EMBA. The EMBA not only makes you appreciate that time management is a crucial life skill but it also moulds you into a sharper individual and motivates you to achieve your goals. Nothing is more challenging than waking up at 5am to get some background reading done to only have your toddler waddle over, 30 minutes later, to give you a hug and want to play with your laptop!

 

What made the Cass Executive MBA the right choice for you?

Like for many people currently contemplating the Cass Executive MBA there were mixed feelings at the beginning, however, I felt that going back to university, after such a long gap, though daunting would be an exciting & bold challenge. When I originally signed up for the EMBA I had just finished a role as Operations Director and had started new role as Chief Intelligence Officer in the Digital Media business of Dubai Duty Free. It was during my MBA interview that I received my first piece of sterling MBA advice. Having built up a professional network from 12 years of working to suddenly drop off the radar would not be a sensible move and hence I signed up for the executive programme. A decision I certainly don’t regret!

Are there any life lessons you have taken from the experience?

I was in the fortunate position of undertaking 6 electives after completing 12 compulsory core modules and it was a journey which took me across the world, from Dubai to China to London to Chile. The hunger to learn as much as possible brought me in contact with so many different people and ways of doing business, that the EMBA experience is something I recommend on a weekly basis to anyone wanting to achieve anything they have their mind set on. However gruelling it may seem today, taking the bold steps in life pays off handsomely in the future.

Do you still keep in contact with members of your class and what do you think is the value in maintaining those relationships?

I never look at my cohort as a network, they are more than friends, they are my extended family. Many of whom I meet with on a regular basis and am continually doing business with. During the launch of Name Your Rent many of my cohort attended and were my most ardent cheerleaders, a deeply emotionally charged feeling, which I will always cherish.

 

 

 What was the most rewarding aspect of the Cass Executive MBA for you?

Though my original goal had been to pivot my career into the Management Consultancy field given that I had worked in myriad of industries believing that the programme would enable to fill some of the gaps in my business knowledge, the Executive MBA ended up rewarding me in three significant ways:

Firstly; when you’re self-funded you may doubt your ability, however, after being awarded the Entrepreneurship scholarship, that thought was squashed instantly.

Secondly; being given the opportunity to adopt and implement what you have been taught during a class the very next day was an extremely motivating experience. The satisfaction of knowing that you were instantly benefiting from the programme gave me the drive to work harder and see the truly practical side of this education programme.  Learning before was about just passing the exam, whilst the EMBA really helped to shape me.

Thirdly; after all the hard work over the 2 years, attaining a distinction gave me the gusto to believe I can achieve anything if I set my mind to it.

What advice would you give to someone considering to do an Executive MBA at Cass Business School?

When we are at school it is all about our personal results.  When we decide to enter into further education as a mature student and embark on a qualification as challenging and practical the results are not the be all and end all, as the journey is as important if not more so then merely finishing it.

Here are my 3 tips:

Enjoy it – some children today believe that school is boring and they don’t learn anything. Definitely none of us would have reached the places we have if we hadn’t learnt anything.  You’ll meet some amazing people who you are always bouncing ideas off or are able to give you some insight you never thought you would get access to.  You will hear great stories and build a new family. Don’t think of the MBA programme as a networking exercise because then you’ll be bored and tired of the programme by the second weekend!

Share it – the most satisfying aspect of being part of the EMBA programme is your ability to share what you’ve observed and learnt from the Professors, immediately. My kids always say sharing is caring and it’s something I believe whole heartedly especially in respect of education or attained knowledge. Without sharing the knowledge, it is purely information; it is through the sharing that we grow and help others to do so too.

Live it – to really enjoy anything in life you need to have a passion for it and the EMBA is definitely something you must develop a passion for. Don’t read the text book because the Professors said you needed to, read snippets and see how you can empower yourself to better your performance. The EMBA is not just about improving your work life but all aspects of your life. Once you realise that, then you’ll be drawn back into reading the whole text as it will hold deeper meaning for you.

Lisa Sohanpal on her Executive MBA Experience

 

Lisa Sohanpal graduated from an Executive MBA programme at Cass Business School in 2008. She now runs her own business Nom Noms World Food. Founded in the UK, Lisa manages the business remotely from her home in Toronto Canada. The business came from wanting to feed her children authentic international cuisine that was aimed at kids but flavoursome enough for the whole family. Nom Noms World Food is the first family focused brands in the UK and every meal purchased feeds a hungry child in India. So far Nom Noms has served over 400,000 meals to school children in India, to keep them off the street and in school so they can gain an education.

Lisa says ‘‘Nom Noms allows families to be able to enjoy international cuisine together. We’ve secured a deal with 550 stores with Carrefour across France and a major international airline which is amazing for the brand’’.

Nom Noms World Food launched in February 2017 with the world’s largest online grocery retailer Ocado, and sold out within 50 minutes of going live. The brand has gone on to win 18 global awards including the Great British Entrepreneurs award 2016 for the small business category and is sponsored by BMW, Natwest, Diageo  and AXA insurance. Lisa credits her family upbringing, extensive international business experience complemented with the Cass Business School, London’s Executive MBA as a factor in her business  and career success.

How would you describe your overall experience of the Executive MBA?

Overall it was excellent. It was workload intensive, but that is to be expected from an MBA. The programme is open, collaborative and the professors are very approachable.

The course began with an intense team building activity at HMS Bristol, which involved saving your team members from a sinking ship and it allowed us to get to know each other. Among our cohort it felt like a family including academic staff. When you go into an MBA you know that we are all here to achieve similar things so we supportive of each other.

What made the Executive MBA the right choice for you?

I chose the Executive programme because I wanted to improve my business knowledge and move into a more senior leadership role. The EMBA also enabled me to continue working full time while studying. This worked really well as I was able to take the things I learned from lectures and apply them immediately to my day to day work.

Are there any life lesson you have taken from the experience?

One key lesson I learned is how important time management is. With so many deadlines and the time pressure to achieve everything, you find you are just constantly on the go trying to meet every deadline. Going through all this whilst managing a full-time career meant that when I became a mum to three children in three years I was able to adapt to the fast paced demanding role and I now believe that anything is achievable for me and my business.

Do you still keep in contact with members of your class and what do you think is the value in maintaining those relationships?

I do yes. We all got to know each other really well during the programme. I feel like I can always pick up the phone and call friends from the MBA and it doesn’t matter if we haven’t spoken or seen each other for years. In terms of the value, well one of my MBA colleagues is the CFO for a major retail brand and that brand is one of our targets to get our products into. There is an immediate connection from the programme that could prove invaluable.

What was the most rewarding aspect of the MBA for you?

At the time of starting my MBA I was quite clear on my goal, and that was to triple my salary and get into a business leadership function in a highly reputable and credible global organisation within the medical devices industry. The most rewarding aspect for me is that the Executive MBA enabled me to achieve this goal. It is an extensive programme especially if you are self- funding, I wanted to make the most of it and I feel proud that I have achieved my return on investment.

What advice would you give to someone considering to do an Executive MBA at Cass Business School?

One of the biggest reasons for me choosing to join the programme at Cass was that they were very encouraging for women to join. The cultural, gender and sector diversity among the cohort was strong.

My advice would be to look for a programme with strengths that align to your goals rather than your current position. You have to expect that when you embark on an MBA programme that you will be expected to step out of your comfort zone and be challenged many times over. I would also advise going to the information sessions and speaking with alumni from different and similar industries to your own. This will allow you to hear about what previous students have achieved and the value they’ve received from their own Executive MBA experience.

 

A bit about us:

Are you ready to transform your career with Cass Executive MBA?

New Year is always a good time to think about your next career move. Whether you are looking to accelerate your career or change direction, the Cass Modular Executive MBA programme will help prepare you for your next business challenge, taking you on an unforgettable transformational journey personally and professionally.

Delivered over a long weekend (Friday to Monday), once a month over a 24 month period, the Modular Executive MBA programme gives you the flexibility to work full-time yet acquire new business skills, knowledge and expertise which you can apply in your work place immediately.

With over 20% of the current class commuting from Europe, our city location with excellent transport link is a great option for those based outside of London.

 “I was motivated to do the Modular Executive MBA as I wanted to consolidate what I already knew and add new, more structured ways of looking at the world of business. I selected the Modular Executive MBA because of its practicality, given I was already working long hours and travelled internationally for business, the monthly weekend option was more feasible. The programme gave me an opportunity to put some of what I had learnt in my existing career and in the lecture rooms at Cass, into practice. I was promoted shortly after completing the Executive MBA. It was hard work, took great commitment and sacrifice, but if I had to do it again – without a doubt, I would”.IMG_3862_APPROVED

Shelley Doorey-Williams, Modular Executive MBA alumna (2011-2013)

Head of Wealth Planning and Sales Management, UBS Wealth Management

 

We have a limited places left for March 2016 entry. If you are interested, please get in touch.  I can provide you with personalised feedback based on your experience; advise on your eligibility to the programme; walk you through the admission process and answer any questions you may have. I can also arrange for you to come and sit in on an Executive MBA class and put you in touch with an EMBA alumni.

Are you ready to transform your career?

5 people, 5 reasons for choosing the Cass MBA

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