A selection of our MBA and Executive MBA students’ views on studying at Norwich Business School:
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
Clare: When I discovered that I was pregnant with my second child, I saw this as an ideal time to complete an MBA and I was able to fund myself with a career development loan. Everyone else thought I was mad, including the course leader, but I knew that maternity leave would provide an ideal opportunity for me to start the course and also keep my mind engaged, giving me something more to think about than dirty nappies.
James C: My main reason for applying is because I’ve been working in a sales environment for the last 15 years and realised my skill set is a little one dimensional. The MBA is giving me the opportunity to gain exposure to a variety of different areas, and experiences from other members of the course.
Alex: I wanted a new challenge, I just didn’t know what. I had a good few years’ experience as a manager in Norfolk’s voluntary sector but I didn’t have an obvious next step in my career. An MBA sounded interesting but also looked scary. I read through the website and attended an open evening at Norwich Business School to find out more – I left impressed and excited. Within a few weeks I had applied, been accepted and left my job to start the full-time MBA.
What have you enjoyed about your course so far?
David: There’s no doubt that my MBA experience helped broaden my thinking and apply myself in a more strategic way, simply having a solid base to build new ideas and use the experience to inspire others with the confidence that success breeds success.
Clare: The absolute best thing about the MBA at UEA is the cohort experience, which enables theoretical learning but also discussion about practical application and real life problem solving. In such a diverse group of professionals, there are a diverse group of skills so discussions are lively and meaningful. If I don’t understand something, there will always be someone who can help me understand from a practical perspective, just as I can help others from time to time.
Heather: One of the highlights of the course is the week spent in Prague working with local businesses. A fantastic city and lovely people to work with! The teaching has been the best education that I personally have ever experienced and I find that the learning is very practical and underpinned by academic theory and models.
James C: I have been very lucky with the fellow colleagues on the course. There is a real willingness to share knowledge and contribute, which is making it a very positive environment to learn in.
James H: The people you’ll meet are fantastic, and you’ll carry each other through it. If you’re not sure, come to an open evening and talk to some of us. We’ll soon bring you around…With the right lecturer, even Accounting is exciting!
Alex: Although I’ve only been on the course for two months I can already feel my mind stretching. I’ve met loads of great people – students and lecturers. It’s friendly, supportive and academically first class. The facilities are great, both at the Business School and the UEA. And if you don’t know it, Norwich is simply a brilliant place to live!
What challenges do MBA students face?
James C: 6 months in and still no regrets! The workload has been challenging at times but manageable, and it’s all been extremely interesting.
David: At the time I was studying it was a tough mix of trying to juggle a busy job as the Regional Director of Hayssen together with bringing up a young family and racing backward and forwards to Norwich in the evenings. However, it is one of the best things I ever did.
Clare: Juggling a family, a full time job and two small children along with the MBA isn’t easy, but with the support of family, my cohort and the lecturing team, my experience has been truly positive.
Heather: I was concerned that I would struggle with the work commitments as I work full time and have 3 children. I was right to be concerned about this, as the course does take up much of what in the past might have been the “me time.” Despite this, the course has been well worth it. The course deadlines in relation to assignments and exams are always challenging, particularly around Christmas. However, all of this is outweighed by the weekly “fix” of getting back together with the Exec group and enjoying the general fun and banter.
James H: The first year of the Executive MBA at NBS is tough. I don’t make it easy on my wife and I, as I’m a bit of a last minute sort. With a 2 year old rampaging around the house and another on the way, disappearing into the study every evening for a fortnight is not going to be popular. Needless to say we’ve got through it so far, with some late nights and a little sympathy from my manager. My life mirrors that of many people on the Executive MBA. We’re all holding down full time jobs. Lots of us have families. Compared to some people, particularly the people running their own businesses, I have it easy!
How have you used your MBA?
Heather: I have found that my approach to my work has changed and I think differently; I feel that I do have a better understanding of business and I find myself thinking more strategically and making suggestions at work in relation to this.
Clare: I have thoroughly enjoyed every module completed so far, and the main benefit is being able to apply it immediately into my role back at work. I have implemented my learning from marketing, operations and logistics and finance and accounting at the very least.
James H: As someone who has always worked in the NHS, it’s like learning a new language and being trained to do 10 different jobs all at the same time. My boss is overjoyed we suddenly speak the same language, and the course changes the way you work forever
David: When taking my MBA, I was particularly interested in strategic planning and entrepreneurship, both topics that have continued to help me with my career development:
Having worked up to the position of MD at Hayssen and after 23 years, I approached a Swiss based machinery company, whom I had been tracking, and proposed that I join their team as a Global Aftermarket Manager. I’d identified a need as they were a direct competitor of Hayssen and considered Ilapak to be a good “project.” The project has been a great success, I’ve increased the global parts sales from €12.5 million to around €19 million with an increased margin from 68% to over 72%, overall a pretty measurable achievement!
Advice for prospective MBA students:
Alex: If you’re at all interested in taking an MBA, come to an open evening and meet some of the lecturers and current students. Taking an MBA should be life-changing and should change how you think. It’s challenging but it’s also immensely rewarding.
James H: If you’re thinking it isn’t the right time, it never is. If you’re thinking you can’t afford it, think of it as deposit on your next job. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can kick-start your career. The people you’ll meet are fantastic, and you’ll carry each other through it. If you’re not sure, come to an open evening and talk to some of us. We’ll soon have bring you around.
Heather: My one bit of advice to any student thinking of undertaking this course is… do not miss the first lecture of Finance and Accounting!