Tag: Online learning

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

Location

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.

Size

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. 

Welcome!

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)

 

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